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52 thrilling things to do in London this weekend

Posted at 12:15 pm, November 21, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Free, Fun London, Music & Nightlife

Wendy Dobing[Photo: Wendy Dobing]

Get your Christmas shopping underway with a trip to the Renegade Craft Fair or Scandinavian Christmas Market, hear some great new music at  The End Festival or find out who’s the funniest guy or gal in the capital at the final of the Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year event.  Here’s all the info you need for a wonderful weekend…

Fun things to do

Late London: Sherlock’s City, Museum of London, TONIGHT, £12, £10 concs. At this event, artist and filmmaker Amy Sharrocks’ participatory ‘Invitation to Fall’, inspired by the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, the dramatic waterfall location of the confrontation between Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty in ‘The Final Problem’, will explore the fear, and the art, of falling.

Night Tales, Old Street, TONIGHT and Saturday, £4 entry. Food from Patty & Bun, pizza from Voodoo Rays, hot cocktails, craft beer, DJs and dancing all under a canopy in Shoreditch. Worth the queue to get in but wrap up warm as, even with the tent, it gets chilly.

Rebel Bingo, Electric Brixton, TONIGHT and Saturday, £11-£17 adv. One brilliant head-fuck of a night that combines the pleasures of clubbing with a game of bingo-turned-stage show. There’ll be foul-mouthed number calling, prizes (which have previously included guitars, bikes and jukeboxes), glitter cannons and heaps of hedonistic energy.

Turntables, Hackney Wick, TONIGHT, Saturday and Sunday evenings, free entry. Street food, cocktails, music and fun times at the first weekend of this new pop-up in Hackney Wick.

Zombie Blitz 1940, various venues, Saturday, £55. As the Third Reich’s Luftwaffe continues destroying Britain, and reports of an enemy scientist unleashing biological weapons grip the nation, you’re invited to take shelter in Waterloo station’s underground maze of tunnels and vaults.

Eyeskate, London Eye, Sat-Sun, £12.50, children £9.50. The open-air Eyeskate rink is situated in front of the big wheel itself, its pods gently floating past you as you glide.

Renegade Craft Fair, Brick Lane, Sat-Sun, free. This market usually sets up shop stateside, but lucky for us it’s made a trip across the pond. Those looking for alternative Christmas gifts can pick up treats from cream of the crop crafters, then grab gift wrapping packs at the ‘Adornment Station’ after.

Midcentury Modern, Dulwich College, Sunday, £9, £8 in advance. Vintage furniture dealers come out in force for this excellent mid-century fair, featuring classics of British, American and Scandinavian twentieth-century design from Eames to Ercol.

Clerkenwell Vintage Wonderland, Old Finsbury Town Hall, Sunday, £4, £2 NUS. Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair returns for its final fair of the year, offering the perfect opportunity to pick up some one-off retro gifts or hunt down a vintage party outfit.

The Institute of Sexology, Wellcome Collection, all weekend, free. The Wellcome Collection’s newly expanded gallery space will open with a wink and a blush with The Institute of Sexology, an exhibition that brings together the great pioneers of the study of sex.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, all weekend, free. Fancy stepping into Christmas a whole 34 days early? Head down to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and get a fast fix of the festive spirit from this Friday onwards.

The Scandinavian Christmas Market, Rotherhithe, all weekend, free. Rotherhithe’s Finnish and Norwegian Churches provide the backdrop for this traditional array of stalls selling Scandinavian treats, decorations and gifts.

The Enchanted Woodland, Syon House and Park, all weekend, £7, £3 children. Syon Park is making its woodlands even more magical for a ninth year in 2014, illuminating the gardens to create a colourful trail for visitors to wander along.

Draughts, Haggerston, all weekend, £5pp. Round up some mates, head to London’s first board game café, choose one of the 500 games on offer, get comfy and enjoy.

…or check out more events happening in London this weekend.


Eating and drinking

Pachamama, Marylebone. Forget Machu Picchu, this Marylebone hangout is Peru’s new high point.

Smoking Goat, Soho. Smoking Goat is a café-bar serving half-a-dozen snacks and meals inspired by Thai street food.

Dishoom, King’s Cross. The third branch of this crazily popular Bombay-style eatery has just opened near Granary Square and it’s massive!

Franks Canteen, Highbury. This is a tiny café in Highbury, opened in October 2014 by wedding caterer Paul Warburton. The small menu sees numerous egg dishes and specials changing daily.

Dram & Smoke, 2-3 Black Swan Yard, Fri-Sat, £40. Tuck into a menu of the finest foods that Scotland has to offer – yes, that includes haggis – at this evening of ‘scran, bevvy and general flumgummerie’.

The Colombian Food Fest, South Bank, Saturday, free. The Embassy of Colombia host this one-day festival celebrating the best of the country’s food and drink. Eight London-based chefs will be cooking up contemporary Colombian cuisine, and demonstrations will run throughout the festival.

Taste of London Winter, Tobacco Dock, all weekend, from £19. Taste of London bring their array of tasting dishes, chef demonstrations, talks and tasters to Tobacco Dock, so food-obsessed Londoners can eat their way into the winter months.

Tequila and Mezcal Festival, Tower Bridge, all weekend, £15. Get a taste of Mexico this weekend with talks, exhibitions, food tasting, music and lashings of booze.

…or see Time Out’s recommended restaurants.

Sara Pascoe vs History

Sara Pascoe


Con Fu Se, BL-NK, TONIGHT, free. A mix of stand-up and cabaret acts, for free, at this Old Street gig. You can catch Phil Kay, Lewis Schaffer Ali Brice, Mr Susie and many more.

Sara Pascoe vs History, Soho Theatre, Saturday, £12.50. Sara Pascoe’s latest show focuses on big, complex ideas. But she’s a master at explaining them without any sense of superiority – she often undermines her own intelligence with a daft gag or silly pop culture reference.

Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year 2014 – Final, Leicester Square Theatre, Sunday, £15. The grand final of this fun competition to find the funniest new act. From 300 comedians, down to 14, after 34 heats. A panel of judges decide who wins the gong.

…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.

Mos Def (Yasiin Bey)

Live music 

Mos Def (Yasiin Bey), The Forum, Saturday, £25.50. The conscious MC formerly known as Mos Def (and born Dante Terrell Smith) plays a London show. He hasn’t released an album since 2009, despite rumours that he’s ready to reunite with Talib Kweli for a new album under the pair’s Black Star name.

Banks, O2 Academy Brixton, Sunday, £21.50. This soulful, downbeat LA singer’s warm productions and romantic R&B vocals have made her a hot ticket – and got her onto the BBC’s often self-fulfilling Sound of 2014 list – so she’s probably a safer bet than most actual banks nowadays.

Adam Ant, Islington Assembly Hall, all weekend, £35. The former whooping and clattering King of the Wild Frontier continues his successful return to the stage.

The End Festival, The Earl Haig Hall, all weekend, £25 (festival pass), individual shows various prices. This weekend, sedate N8 becomes a musical wonderland as The End festival takes over. Set up by seasoned promoter and local resident Howard Monk, The End has been bringing great acts to the area since 2010, with a slant towards up-and-coming indie pop and folk acts.

…or take a look at all 44 live music events in London this weekend.

Mike Skinner and Murkage present: Tonga


Mike Skinner and Murkage present: Tonga, The Victoria, TONIGHT, £5. This new club night is co-run by Mike Skinner from The Streets and Murkage, the renowned Manchester-based collective of musicians and artists including several hot-topic grime names, such as Madam X.

Livin’ Proof, Village Underground, TONIGHT, £7-£12 adv. It’s LP’s seventh birthday tonight. The residents will be on the decks all night ripping up Village Underground with killer beats.

Bugged Out XX: 20th Birthday Party, Fire & Spice Within Double Three by Hilton Marble Arch, Saturday, £15.50. It’s a Bugged Out stormer, with ever-impressive musical encyclopedia Andrew Weatherall leading the charge, plus a top cast of other DJs covering selected time periods with thier sets: Brodinski spins tunes from 1997-2000, Erol Alkan takes 2000-2002, Justin Robertson hits 1999-2001.

…or see all 52 parties planned this weekend.

Framed Film Festival


‘Begotten’ and live soundtrack, The Horse Hospital, TONIGHT, £6. Susan Sontag called this 1991 left field horror ‘one of the ten most important films of modern times.’

Framed Film Festival, Barbican Centre, Sat-Sun, £5, under-18s £3. Now into its third year, this international film festival is curated especially for children, and the line-up features films, events and workshops that 4-to-11-year-old cinema lovers will be delighted by.

Or at the cinema…

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 ★★★★☆ ‘Mockingjay’ is Katniss’s coming-of-age film as she wrestles with her role in the armed struggle against the totalitarian Capitol.

What We Do in the Shadows ★★★★☆ Fans of ‘Toast of London’ will instantly get this comic horror mockumentary from New Zealand about four vampires living in a suburban semi. We meet the gang at a bad-tempered house meeting.

Winter Sleep ★★★★☆ ‘Winter Sleep’ gives us a few days in the life of Aydin (Haluk Bilginer), a hotel owner and landlord in a remote Anatolian community where houses are carved into rock.

Get on Up ★★★★☆ A piece of magic happens in this music biopic, in which Chadwick Boseman 100 percent inhabits the role of soul star James Brown: the mysterious man behind the legend comes through with heartstopping electricity.

…or see all of the latest releases.

Mother Goose


Mother Goose, Hackney Empire, Saturday, £10-£32. Hackney Empire’s yearly festive offering is pretty much the panto equivalent of royalty. That’s mainly been down to hilariously naughty scripts, Susie McKenna’s direction and a great dame – in recent years the inimitable Clive Rowe was hailed as one of the best.

Stink Foot, The Yard Theatre, Fri-Sat, £12.50, £10 concs. Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles’s play ‘Philoctetes’ is adapted and directed by Jeff James at east London’s DIY theatre.

La Soirée, Spiegeltent at the South Bank, all weekend, £15-£67.50. From its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004, to the celebration of its tenth birthday at the South Bank today, circus-burlesque show ‘La Soireé’ has ooh-la-la’d around the world.

Cans, Theatre 503, all weekend, £15, £12 concs. Exploring the aftermath of a chat-show host’s fall from grace following sex abuse allegations, ‘Cans’ is nothing if not topical.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices here.

Anj Smith

This week’s best new art

Anj Smith, SHOWstudio, TODAY, free. For the latest SHOWcabinet, the British painter brings together a collection of curiosities that inspire her meticulous works.

Quentin Jones: The Fractured and the Feline, The Vinyl Factory Space, Fri-Sat, free. Robert Storey creates specially designed sets to offset Jones’ elaborate photomontages and illustrative mixed media works.

Leila Jeffreys: Wild Cockatoos, Purdy Hicks, Fri-Sat, free. In her latest series of photographic portraits ‘Biloela’, Jeffreys captures the unique and individual character of every Australian wild Cockatoo species.

Saul Fletcher, Alison Jacques, Fri-Sat, free. The British artist photographs wall-based reliefs in his Berlin studio. Extending his practice of rendering assemblages of objects and paint in two-dimensional prints, Fletcher explores family and fatherhood, paying particular attention to the altering effect of time.

Mark Neville, Alan Cristea, Fri-Sat, free. Thirteen works from Neville’s significant photographic projects, ‘Here is London’, 2012 and ‘Braddock/Sewickley’, 2012 that reflect upon the differences of London’s subcultures and Pittsburgh’s industrial communities.

Michael Williams: Morning Zoo, Michael Werner Gallery, Fri-Sat, free. The New York-based artist brings painting into the twentieth century with his inkjet and oil on canvas works.

Hugh Cooney: Italo Sunsets, Radio Hair Salon and Gallery, Shoreditch, all weekend, free. Ever wondered what the sweet sounds of Italo Disco would look like if they were translated into colours and shapes? Pop in to this Redchurch Street salon/gallery to find out – and get a trim while you’re there.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… one of three digital cameras to capture NYE or tickets to Makers and a bundle of artisan goodies

Grab… 50% off a champagne afternoon tea for two at The Courthouse Hotel near Carnaby Street

Book… these gigs while you still can

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