© David John - Flickr: DavenJohn


44 lovely things to do in London this weekend

Posted at 1:00 pm, February 13, 2015 in Arts & Entertainment, Design, Food & Drink, Free, Fun London, Music & Nightlife
kiss © John Phillips

© John Phillips

There’s no getting away from the Valentine’s bug this weekend. Luckily, London hasn’t sugar-coated everything in sight and there are plenty of events shunning cupid, including an anti-Valentine’s party at Bounce, a screening of ‘My Twisted Valentine’ at the Barbican and a comedy night just for singles. If you’re head over heels, though, the city is serving up great spoonfuls of lurrrve with pop-up bars, vintage wedding fairs and endless parties. Take your pick from the list below and have a bloomin’ lovely weekend…

Things to do 

Feline Lonely?, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, TODAY, £2, £1. Meet your pawfect match at Battersea this Valentine’s Day. Visit the Cattery and enjoy a complimentary glass of bubbly, get to know a furry friend in the Cat Cuddle Booths (first come first served) and potentially meet the cat-ch you’ve always dreamed of.

Love/Hate Valentine’s Late, Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising, TONIGHT, £10. It may traditionally be a day for romance, but the Museum of Brands will be opening late to celebrate the tragedy and comedy of Valentine’s Day with this event for over-18s. Guests will receive a free drink on arrival and their evening will be packed with live entertainment, a Time Tunnel challenge, themed cocktails and even dancing.

Sleeping with Sherlock, Museum of London, Saturday, £175. Apologies if the title got you all hot under the deerstalker – this event does not signal Cumberbatch’s turn as a gigolo. But you may well dream of Holmes (if you choose to get any shut-eye, that is) at this adults-only sleepover in the Museum of London.

Valentine’s Day Cooking for Two Course, Billingsgate Seafood School, Saturday, £250 per couple. If you and your other half love nothing more than a three-course feast but you’re dreading the aphrodisiac-laced set menus of Valentine’s Day, this seafood cookery course might seem like a gift from Cupid himself.

11 Million Hands for Love Flashmob, Trafalgar Square, Saturday, free. Join the crowds for a love themed flashmob in central London where participants are encourage to create messages on the palms of their hands in honour of lost loved ones.

The Sunday Sketch, Design Museum, Sunday, free with admission. Pick up your pencils and get sketching in the museum’s Collection Lab exhibition. An expert tutor will guide you through a series of fun drawing activities and give you helpful pointers.

Bricks in the Sky Lego Exhibition, ArcelorMittal Orbit, Sunday, £15, £12 concs. This exhibition of London-inspired Lego models takes place inside one of London’s landmarks.

Kate Tempest, Electric Brixton, Sunday, £16.50. South London poet, rapper and playwright Kate Tempest plays from her Mercury Prize-nominated new album ‘Everybody Down’. Her punchy flow is halfway between rap and straight-up spoken word, as she spins out absorbing tales of urban malaise, hope and ‘beigeness’ accompanied by a live band and a dance troupe.

All Dogs Matter Valentines Dog Walk, The Garden Gate, Sunday, £5 per dog. Whether it’s puppy love or old pooch smooches, show some affection for your four-legged friend at this annual Valentines walk. It starts at 11am, so arrive at 10.30am to register your dog.

The National Vintage Wedding Fair, Chiswick Town Hall, Sunday, £4, £3 adv. Make sure your wedding is timelessly beautiful by, er, picking a time period to style it around. This fair features 45 exhibitors presenting wedding supplies that are from or inspired by fashions from Edwardian times to the ’70s.

Game of Thrones: The Exhibition, The O2, Sunday, free. Season five is coming. And if you’re one of the many whose TV-watching schedules have been heavy with the fur-toting, flesh-revealing, plot-twisting inhabitants of Westeros and Essos you’ll definitely want to get your hands on tickets to this exhibition in Sky Studios and Sky Backstage at The O2.

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

symmetry breakfastSymmetry Breakfast

Eating and drinking

Symmetry Breakfast, Mr. Buckley’s, Sat-Sun. There’s no excuse for food envy at this clever little pop-up, where diners are served identical, symmetrical plates of food. Or if you’d prefer something more boozy, there’s also cocktail making classes in the basement.

Two-day Valentine’s pop-up bar, Ruffians Barber Shop & Store, Fri-Sat. This weekend you can head over to Ruffians Barber Shop & Store on Maiden Lane and get yourself a complimentary Young Cuban cocktail. Barman and mixologist Ally Martin will be mixing and serving up free cocktails to customers, browsers and even passers by.

Hawker House, 260-264 Kingsland Road, Fri-Sat, free before 7pm, £4 after. Street food fiends can keep eating through the winter months thanks to this three-floor indoor night market.

Bompas & Parr: Anatomical Whiskey Tasting, Saturday, £48. An unusual way to experience the spirit which will be drunk from the contours of a performers body, who was born the same year the whiskey was put into the cask. Bompas will discuss the bizarre and arcane uses of the human body as a drinking vessel.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Nina Conti – In Your Face: Work-in-Progress


Nina Conti – In Your Face: Work-in-Progress, Tricycle, Fri-Sat, £16, £14 concs. Nina Conti’s BBC Four documentary ‘Her Master’s Voice’ earned her a Bafta-nom and made a whole new audience think, ‘wait, ventriloquism isn’t totally lame?’ In the British Comedy Award winner’s largely improvised new show she slaps a dummy’s mouth on to unsuspecting audience members and turns them into her puppets. The opposite of what happens to Pinocchio, if you will.

James Veitch – The Fundamental Interconnectedness of Everyone with an Internet Connection, Museum of Comedy, Fri-Sat, £10, £8 concs. Ever had a text about PPI or your work-related injury? Or from a Nigerian prince? James Veitch is the comedian who replies to them. His debut solo show is a Dave Gorman-esque romp through the world of modern connected-ness through the internet.

Luisa Omielan’s Single Ladies Valentine’s Ball, Islington Assembly Hall, Saturday, £20. Feel-good comic Luisa Omielan gets into the anti-Valentine’s spirit, hosting this gig for all the single ladies (well, singletons in general, really – but it’s always good to get a Beyoncé reference in there, right?).

David O’Doherty Has Checked Everything, Hackney Empire, Saturday, £19. Award-winning whimsical Irishman David O’Doherty heads to the Hackney Empire with his new show ‘David O’Doherty Has Checked Everything’. He’ll do some standing-up, sitting down, and songs from a small plastic 1980s keyboard. He’ll charm you silly.

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

These New Puritans

Live music

These New Puritans, Oslo, TONIGHT, £15.60. The precocious art-rockers from Southend are back again, after a quiet patch that followed their delicate, austere, borderline-classical third album ‘Field of Reeds’.

Matt Berry, The Forum, TONIGHT, £18. Famed on screen for roles in ‘Toast of London’ and ‘The IT Crowd’, as well as for his booming voiceover work, in his spare time the multitasking Berry is an increasingly acclaimed musician. He’s made synthy electro stuff, including his ‘Music for Insomniacs’ album earlier this year, but he has also released two albums of lush, weird, ’70s-throwback psychedelic folk via Acid Jazz Records.

Macy Gray, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Saturday, £32.50-£36. She’s never quite matched the huge success of ‘I Try’ in 1999, but the funky, croaky-voiced, Grammy-winning soul singer is still a great live performer. Just hope she doesn’t take this opportunity to drop the Metallica and Radiohead songs she recorded for her 2012 album ‘Covered’.

Carter Tutti, Heaven, Sunday, £15. The ex-Throbbing Gristle duo revisit the pioneering electronic tracks they made as Chris & Cosey.

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

These New Puritans


Anti-Valentine’s Day Party, Bounce, Saturday, £7, £5 adv. Want to avoid the canoodling hordes on Feb 14? Head to this party at ping pong bar Bounce, featuring various fun anti-Valentine’s activities.

Broken Hearts and Promises, Bloomsbury House, Saturday, £25 combined party and cinema ticket, £15 party only ticket. A Valentine’s Day-themed pop-up in a grand central London townhouse, featuring disco, cocktails, a photobooth and a screening of ‘True Romance’.

Love Fever, The Laundry, Saturday, £10. Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson joins residents Andy Bird and Kasara V for a vinyl-only night of sophisticated boogie fun. There’s a Valentine’s theme and the venue will be transformed, featuring a neon heart, balloons, projections and pink lasers.

Sunday Love, Old Queen’s Head, Sunday, £1. A new series of Sunday night sessions at Islington party pub The Old Queen’s Head, featuring top DJs spinning house, disco, techno and more.

Take a look at the best Valentine’s parties on offer!

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.

The Philadelphia StoryThe Philadelphia Story


Friday Night Film Club: ‘Dirty Dancing’, Charlotte St Hotel, TONIGHT, £35 inc meal. This 1960s-set wish-fulfilment romance sees sheltered teen ‘Baby’ falling for hunky dancer Johnny on holiday when she’s conveniently required to replace his dancing partner, who’s pregnant (scandal!).

My Twisted Valentine: Cigarette Burns presents ‘Venus in Furs’, Barbican Centre, Saturday, £7.60–£9.50. The Barbican are offering up some dark delights with their My Twisted Valentine season: four days of films exploring the stranger side of romance.

‘Sense and Sensibility’ + Emma Thompson Q&A, Tricycle Cinema, Sunday, £35. Screenwriter and actress Thompson joins her co-star Alan Rickman to introduce her superb 1995 Jane Austen adaptation.

Or at the cinema…

The Philadelphia Story ★★★★☆ Cukor and Donald Ogden Stewart’s evergreen version of Philip Barry’s romantic farce, centreing on a socialite wedding threatened by scandal, is a delight from start to finish, with everyone involved working on peak form.

Fifty Shades of Grey ★★★☆☆ A watered-down adaptation that hides coyly under the sheets, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is full of all sorts of sex, but it’s still a hopelessly softcore erotic drama that fails to be even a fraction as titillating as the EL James books that inspired it. And yet, strangely, that’s exactly why it works.

…or see all of the latest releases.

Gods and Monsters


Gods and Monsters, Southwark Playhouse, Fri-Sat, £18, £16 concs. Ian Gelder delivers one of the best performance in London right now as the great director James Whale.

Ablutions, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15, £12.50 concs. Fellswoop Theatre’s strong adaptation of Patrick Dewitt’s novel about addiction and despair in California.

She Loves Me, Landor Theatre, all weekend, £20, £18 concs. Fringe theatre the Landor revives this musical Broadway hit with customary chutzpah.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

The Last Art-of-Peace Biennale

This week’s best new art

The Last Art-of-Peace Biennale, Richard Saltoun, TODAY, free. To celebrate of the ‘Art of Peace Biennale’ that took place in Hamburg in 1985, works by some of the original exhibiting artists including Joseph Beuys, Henning Christiansen, Sol LeWitt and Francis Picabia will be presented to understand the spirit and context of the exhibition.

Graeme Thomson and Silvia Maglioni: it took forever getting ready to exist: UIQ (the unmaking-of), The Showroom, Fri-Sat, free. The duo makes the invisible, visible through their newly commissioned soundwork.

El Anatsui, October Gallery, Fri-Sat, free. Known for his large-scale draped sculptures, the Ghanaian artist presents a selection of his metal hangings.

Sue Tompkins: Before After, Young Team HQ, Sunday, free. The Glasgow-based artist presents new paintings and specially-commissioned textile works that incorporate aspects of her songwriting. On the show’s opening night (Sat Feb 14), Tompkins will perform new work ‘Move Oil. Say Fanku’ at 8pm.

Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector, Barbican Centre,all weekend, £5-£12. The Barbican’s spring blockbuster showcases 14 artists’ collections that will be a veritable cornucopia of all things eccentric, rare and curious.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… tickets to Whitechapel Gallery’s Adventures of the Black Square exhibition or an amazing Sony prize bundle plus fitness goodies

Grab… £29 tickets for a half-day cookery class for one at The Smart School of Cookery

Book… these gigs while you still can

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