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London Mural Festival
Photograph: Sean Pollock

Things to do in London this week

Discover the biggest and best things to do in London over the next seven days

By Alexandra Sims and Katie McCabe
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Art exhibitions have relaunched, pubs have reopened and people are going out for dinner again (albeit with a newly installed curfew). Check out our pick of the best things to do in London over the next seven days, chosen by Time Out editors. We’re finding new ways to engage with the city, whether that’s seeing free art on an enormous scale at the London Mural Festival, browsing for fancy clay mugs at London Artisan craft fair, or taking part in the first ever Brent Biennial. And if you’ve got a tip for something fun going on in London, tweet us your suggestion and help spread the word. You’ll be begging for a night off by Sunday

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in London every week of the year.

Camille Walala “Belleville" at Rich Mix for London Mural Festival
Camille Walala “Belleville" at Rich Mix for London Mural Festival
Photograph: London Mural Festival

1. Brighten your day at London Mural Festival

News City Life

French designer Camille Walala is one of 150 artists from around the world who will be treating our city like a big canvas for the first ever London Mural Festival. The fest will culminate in a mass mural-painting party across a 500-metre-long wall in Stratford’s International Quarter London (October 3 to 4). It wasn’t what they set out to do, but the organisers have managed to create the perfect lockdown experience – a festival of accessible art that can be seen at a safe distance. Find out more here

hot house for london design festival
hot house for london design festival
Photograph: Studio Weave

2. Visit The Hothouse in Stratford

News Events & Festivals

Back in the 1930s, the Lea Valley corridor had the largest concentration of greenhouses in the world. Playing on that nugget of horticultural history, design company Studio Weave has decided to grow real crops like oranges, quinoa and pomegranate inside a big glasshouse installation in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It’s not some pretty take-your-granny garden centre, though; it’s meant to be a comment on climate change. At the rate the world’s temperature is increasing, all the exotic fruits in The Hothouse could be grown in the UK by 2050. Suddenly that guava isn’t looking so tasty.

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george michael
george michael
Dawn Mellor's Studies of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley (1984-85) Courtesy of the artist

3. Say hello to a nine-metre-tall mural of George Michael

News Art

Brixton might have Bowie, but Brent has George Michael. And now the late singer is being immortalised in a nine-metre-high mural by British artist Dawn Mellor as part of the first-ever Brent Biennial. Larger than life and sporting a luxuriant Princess Di-style ’do, George’s likeness will be on display in Kingsbury, near where he grew up and went to school. Find it on Kingsbury Road

Introductions: Early Embodiment from A Countervailing Theory, (2019) © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Image courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

4. Visit Toyin Ojih Odutola: ‘A Countervailing Theory’ at The Curve

Art Barbican Centre, Barbican

The Curve is not what you’d normally call a ‘blockbuster’ gallery. But the sheer intensity of its bendy, pitch-black space means that once you’ve seen a powerful piece there, you never forget it. We have high hopes for the takeover by Toyin Ojih Odutola, whose cycle of 40 drawings will fill the gallery’s 90-metre sweep, accompanied by a conceptual soundscape from Peter Adjaye and
a new text from author Zadie Smith.

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Photograph: Barnaby Barford
Photograph: Barnaby Barford
Photograph: Barnaby Barford

5. Get involved in Kensington + Chelsea Art Week

Remember when the King’s Road was cool? Neither do we. The days of Chelsea counterculture – the psychedelic tailors, the mods, the Led Zeppelin-owned record label – feel like they were from another dimension, let alone another era. Kensington + Chelsea Art Week (which begins Thursday, October 1) is one of those events that helps the most polished parts of K&C soften their stiff upper lips by filling the place with art. The festival is returning in full force for 2020 with talks and exhibitions (look out for ‘Tête-à-Têtes’, a show of West African portraiture at David Hill Gallery). Make time to tread the KCAW Public Art Trail, where you’ll find a giant rotting apple sculpture by Barnaby Bradford and our favourite, ‘Alphabetti Spaghetti’, an anxious little red post box with a knot in its gut. We feel ya, buddy. 

El Pirata
El Pirata
Photograph: Rosie Marsh

6. Tuck into a Spanish Bottomless Brunch at El Pirata

Restaurants Spanish Mayfair

We’ve all lived the nightmare. You go for tapas with your friends, and everyone wants to share. That’s fine, it’s tapas, you were prepared for this. But the vegetarian has vetoed the jamón Ibérico. Another ‘hates all seafood’ so it’s goodbye gambas. It doesn’t have to be like this. At El Pirata, you get a set menu of seven tapas dishes to share (there are gambas, we checked) and unlimited Estrella or Sangria. It’s £35 per person, which isn’t too shabby for a Mayfair restaurant, and you won’t be clashing forks over scraps of pan and patatas bravas at the end. Book your spot here. 

Venue says Bottomless Brunch, Spanish Style: enjoy 2 hours of unlimited Cava/Sangria, plus 7 iconic tapas dishes for just £35pp. Saturdays, 12-4pm

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The London Artisan
The London Artisan
Photograph: The London Artisan

7. Browse the stalls at The London Artisan

At the start of every new season, The London Artisan curates a lineup of the country’s best designer-makers who pack its markets with swish jewellery, ceramics and prints. Some of the prices can make your eyes water, but tea just tastes better from a fancy handmade clay mug, we can’t explain it. Find out more here

Pablo Reinoso, Simple Talk. Image courtesy Waddington Custot and Rodrigo Reinoso.
Pablo Reinoso, Simple Talk. Image courtesy Waddington Custot and Rodrigo Reinoso.
Pablo Reinoso, Simple Talk. Image courtesy Waddington Custot and Rodrigo Reinoso.

8. Follow the Mayfair sculpture trail

News Art

Have you ever looked at Mayfair and thought ‘you know what this needs? A giant, building-size handbag’? Well, prepare for all of your dreams to come true at once because London’s fanciest area is getting its own sculpture trail, and one of the main pieces is exactly that: a huge, far-too-big-to-be-practical-let’s-be-honest handbag outside Fenwick department store. Mayfair Sculpture Trail opens on Thursday, October 1 and will feature a whole bunch of works on the streets and in the arcades of Mayfair for the entire month. Read more here.

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StreetEat
StreetEat
Photograph: StreetEat

9. Dig in at StreetEat outdoor food market

Things to do Food and drink events Southark, London

Underbelly’s big fat purple tent was a familiar summer fixture on the South Bank for circus and comedy shows. Now it’s entering a brave new world by pivoting to street food (with the odd free live music and cabaret performance thrown in). You can sit in a safe, socially distanced pod and snaffle food from your friend’s plate. What’s a few chips between members of the same social bubble?

Canopy Market, King's Cross
Canopy Market, King's Cross
Photograph: John Sturrock

10. Have a browse in Canopy Market

Things to do Markets and fairs Canopy Market, King’s Cross

Pick up handmade crafts and fresh local produce from King’s Cross’s weekend market. It’s found new digs in swanky Coal Drops Yard while its usual home is used as a car park for key workers. There won’t be any hot food, but you can still pick up provisions and unique pieces from designer-makers, including jewellery from Audra’s Brooches and blooms from English Flowerhouse. So wholesome. 

 

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Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema
Photograph: Backyard Cinema

11. Watch ‘Tenet’ in a Winter Night Garden

News Film

Housed in Backyard Cinema’s permanent space in Capital Studios, the Winter Night Garden invites Londoners to watch a film while reclining on giant beanbags and sipping luxury cocktails. They will also be able to buy food and snacks from Honest Burgers and Mother Clucker, plus artisan pizzas and vegan dishes. ‘Tenet’ is on the line-up, along with ‘Queen & Slim’ and ‘Pretty Woman’. Ticket prices start at £19.99 and you can book here

Titian 'Rape of Europa' (1562) © Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.

12. See ‘Titian: Love, Desire, Death’

Art National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

It took nearly 500 years for Titian’s series of huge, mythological ‘poesie’ paintings to be reunited in full for this exhibition. Then Covid hit, and the whole thing closed after five days. The run has since been extended to 2021. If you’re going to brave the tube for any exhibition, make it this one.

 

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Kew gardens cherry blossom
Kew gardens cherry blossom
Photograph: Mistervlad / Shutterstock.com

13. Take a trip to Kew Gardens

News City Life

Ready to fully submerge yourself in nature after all those months of not really leaving the house? Get yourself down to Kew Gardens, which reopened last month, for a mega-flora overload. The world-famous Royal Botanic Gardens has been given the go-ahead by the government to welcome visitors. Of course, it will be operating under strict social-distancing guidelines. The biggest change? All visitors, including members, will have to book tickets online for timed slots and show proof of the slot on arrival. This is the first time Kew has insisted on this in its history.

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Andy Warhol Exhibition, Tate Modern, 2020
Andy Warhol Exhibition, Tate Modern, 2020
Photo: Andrew Dunkley

15. Book a ticket to the Tate

News Art

Tate has reopened all its galleries. This includes Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and, most importantly, London’s Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Tickets for a planned time slot must be booked in advance. All the pre-lockdown Tate exhibitions will be making a return, including ‘Andy Warhol’ and Kara Walker’s ‘Fons Americanus’ Turbine Hall installation at Tate Modern, and Aubrey Beardsley and Steve McQueen’s ‘Year 3’ at Tate Britain. If all you want is a free stroll through Tate Modern’s collection, you’ll still need a ticket, which you can book right here

See more great events happening this month
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