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44 cool things to do in London this weekend

Posted at 1:00 pm, February 20, 2015 in Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Free, Fun London

chinese new year

Celebrate Chinese New Year this weekend at one of the excellent events happening in central London, pick up a super cute teddy bear at Hugglets Winter Bearfest, or devour some sensational Levantine flavours at a pop-up restaurant on Rathbone Place. Best start planning now as it’s going to take some effort to cram this much fun into just one weekend! 

Things to do 

Harrow Chinese School’s Chinese New Year Celebration, Whitmore High School, Saturday, free. The UK’s largest school for the study of Cantonese language and culture hosts its annual Chinese New Year celebrations and fundraiser.

Kat&Bee Jewellery Workshop, London Fields, Saturday, £100. If you’ve ever fancied crafting your own jewellery, we’ve found the perfect place to start. Kat&Bee founder Kat Berry has opened the doors of her Netil House studio to host a series of workshops, where she’ll be showing guests how to make one of her signature rings.

Textile Designs At Rodney Archer’s House, 31 Fournier Street, Saturday, free but must be booked. Rodney Archer and his good friend Trevor Newton have teamed up to present this exquisite showcase of original French nineteenth-century designs for satin and silk velours. The samples, created at the Lyons factory of Antoine Donat between 1840 and 1865, will line the walls of Archer’s atmospheric lodgings in the heart of east London.

Chinese New Year, Chinatown, Sunday, free. London’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations, the biggest in the world outside China, bring a swathe of Chinatown to riotous life once again for 2015. There will be a small ceremonial event on Saturday February 21, but the majority of the festivities will take place on Sunday February 22.

Hugglets Winter BearFest, Kensington Town Hall, Sunday, £4, £2. Teddy bear picnics are out of the question in this grizzly weather but Hugglets are holding their annual event for collectors, pandering to all your bear-necessities. With around 170 stands, almost 100 artisan creators and over 10,000 teddies for sale there are bears for all budgets, from a few pounds to over £1,000.

The Vintage Furniture Flea, Lambeth Town Hall, Sunday, earlybird £3; general £2. You may want your home to be as retro as your wardrobe, but it’s not always easy to find the right textiles, record players, chairs, tables or ’60s lampshades. Luckily, this fair might have just the solution.

Chinese Open: Year of the Sheep, Q Park Chinatown, Sunday, free. This one-day pop-up is the third incarnation of Chinese Open, a multimedia arts event. This year it will take place across two levels of a multi-storey car park in the heart of Chinatown. Featuring over 100 international creative works, it includes performative live acts and site-specific video installations.

The Braid Bar Pop-Up Salon, Sketch, all weekend, £15. For catwalk worthy hair in just 15 minutes, head to Sketch. During London Fashion Week, the Mayfair restaurant will become a beauty pit stop, playing host to a pop-up salon from the Braid Bar.

Cotton to Gold: Extraordinary Collections of the Industrial North West, Two Temple Place, all weekend, free. This exhibition of treasures on loan from Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Haworth Art Gallery (Accrington) and Towneley Hall (Burnley) includes rare Roman coins, Medieval manuscripts, Turner watercolours, Tiffany glass and even a Peruvian mummy.

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


Eating and drinking

Ceru, 29 Rathbone Place, all weekend. A pop-up restaurant serving the finest of Levantine flavours – that’s dishes from Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel. Expect bold spices and rich flavours from dishes chermoula roasted aubergines, baked sour cherry and lamb meatballs and semolina and cardamom fritters.

London Beer Week, various locations, all weekend. From the makers of London Cocktail Week comes an equivalent for beer drinkers. Buy a wristband for £10 and you’ll be entitled to £3 beers and £5 boilermakers (a beer and a bourbon) in bars that have been specially chosen for their devotion to the good brews.

The Crust Conductor, Brick Brewery, all weekend. Pizza makes a bus better and bus makes a pizza better, right? So it seems the most sensible thing to do with a London Leyland Titan bus from the ’80s is serve pizza in it. Jonny Henfrey of The Gowlett in Peckham is doing just that – his double decker rollable restaurant contains a wood-fired oven and a sound system and is parking up at Brick Brewery for our edible pleasure. Pizzas start at £6.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Matt Forde


Matt Forde – 24-Hour Political Party People, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15, £12.50 concs. Stand-up and radio host Matt Forde – who hosts very popular podcast The Political Party – brings his solo show, which counts down to next year’s election, to Soho Theatre.

Luke McQueen – Now That’s What I Luke McQueen, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £12.50, £10 concs. Luke McQueen’s emotional-breakdown-of-a-show was a big talking point at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. He’s a self-loathing anti-comic, desperate for the audience’s love (which he didn’t get from his father), and he’ll do practically anything to get your attention.

ALT CAB or Where Did It Go Wrong?, Canal, Sat-Sun, free. To run alongside Canal’s photographic exhibition focusing on the 1980s and ’90s alternative comedy scene, the gallery is hosting a bunch of live comedy events, from ‘live installations’ (by Ivor Dembina) to conceptual restaurants (from Simon Munnery) and noble failures (from the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society gang).

The Phoenix Fringe Winter Weekender, The Phoenix, all weekend, £20 (three shows), £10, £8 adv. The Phoenix Fringe’s winter weekender (the gang also run an alternative to the Edinburgh Fringe during August) featuring a ton of top comics, both big names and circuit favourites.

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

FKA Twigs

Live music

FKA Twigs, Roundhouse, TONIGHT, £25. After the success of her Mercury-nominated debut album ‘LP1’, FKA Twigs plays her biggest London shows to date here. If she can bring to the stage even a fraction of the transporting effect of her records, the audience will be in for quite a trip.

D’Angelo, Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Fri-Sat, £36-£71. Top-quality slow jams and funk-rock by the R&B singer, who recently returned with his first new album in 14 years.

The Decemberists, O2 Academy Brixton, Saturday, £21. The cult indie outfit from US hipster capital Portland return to London for their first gig in five years, trailing a new album ponderously called ‘What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World’.

Arrested Development, Koko, Sunday, £25. Political conscious, Afrocentric MC Speech brings his crew back to London for more upbeat classics from hip hop’s golden age.

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

CLF Art Cafe


Once Upon a Time at the Fairground, CLF Art Cafe, TONIGHT, £10-£30. A night of fairground games and immersive fun, featuring DJs, live music, cabaret, performance and circus attractions.

DJ Mag Sessions Weekend, Egg London, Fri-Sat, £10-£15. Two consecutive nights of house and techno at a north London club, featuring sets from greats including Kerri Chandler, Omar S and Sven Weisemann.

XOYO Residency Series: Skream, XOYO, Saturday, £13.50. He may have moved away from dubstep, the scene he helped to pioneer back in the early noughties, but for one night only, Skream is bringing back the sound he helped to shape.

Soundtracks, The Monarch, Saturday, £4, £3 before 10.30pm, free before 9.30pm. It’s a battle of the Brits Oscar night special at Soundtracks, which essentially means an excuse to pit the two hottest-topic Brit actors against each other. Are you Team Benedict or Team Redmayne? Pick your side and get dancing.

Krankbrother and Phonica present Move D + Optimo, Fire, Saturday, £15. Molten-hot ticket alert, as party people Krankbrother team up with ace London record store Phonica to fill south London club Fire with some elite electronic talent of the highest degree.

Annie Mac Presents…, Koko, Saturday, £16.20. She’s got more solid DJ sets under her belt than she does curls in her ever-impressive bouffant, and her long-running AMP showcases have become essential tick boxes for many a top DJ and producer across a range of genres.

Sunday Love, Old Queen’s Head, Sunday, £1. Psychedelic house producer Daniele Baldelli and Boiler Room’s Tasker are the guest selectors tonight.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.

The Duke of BurgundyThe Duke of Burgundy


Tale of Tales… and other tales, The Horse Hospital, TONIGHT, £6.50. A showcase of avant garde animation may not sound on paper like the most easygoing experience imaginable, but anyone with a passing interest in the history of cartoon filmmaking can’t afford to miss these five remarkable shorts.

The Anderson Tapes: ‘Magnolia’, ICA, Saturday, £11, £7 concs. This weekend, the ICA and film magazine Little White Lies are screening the entire back catalogue of the world’s greatest living filmmaker (yep, we went there), Paul Thomas Anderson.

Deep Red + live score by Goblin, Barbican Centre, Saturday, £35. Italian horror king Dario Argento’s regular collaborators Goblin (or at least their current incarnation, headed up by original composer and keyboardist Dario Simonetti) return to score arguably his greatest film.

The Duke of Burgundy ★★★★☆ ‘The Duke of Burgundy’, is an S&M passion play between two gorgeous women, Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen, the Danish PM in ‘Borgen’) and Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna). It’s set in a village in an unnamed part of Europe and shot in the lushly naughty style made popular by a series of 1960s and ’70s movies.

Blackhat ★★★★☆ ‘The Insider’ and ‘Collateral’ director Michael Mann tackles an unusually timely topic with his latest thriller: computer hacking. And he wants us to take it seriously, as ‘Blackhat’ begins with a series of those tired shots that cruise along wires and through flashing microchips until we see a nuclear reactor’s cooling fans go belly-up. The resulting disaster deserves its own Bond villain to cackle at the mayhem while stroking his cat.

…or see all of the latest releases.

How I Learned to Drive


How I Learned to Drive, Southwark Playhouse, Fri-Sat, £10-£18. Saying Paula Vogel can write well is on a par with saying Kanye West is quite fond of himself. Her astonishing 1997 play ‘How I Learned to Drive’ brims with a real, raw poetry and treats the harrowing subject of child abuse with an audacious lightness of touch.

A View from the Bridge, Wyndham’s Theatre, Fri-Sat, £19.50-£62.50. Belgian director Ivo van Hove’s phenomenal production of Arthur Miller’s tragedy transfers to the West End with Mark Strong leading a great cast.

The Domestic Extremists, The Space, Fri-Sat, £14, £10. A smart new politically engaged play from Dan Davies.

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

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

Dominic Hawgood: Under The Influence

This week’s best new art

Dominic Hawgood: Under The Influence, TJ Boulting, Fri-Sat, free. The activities of rituals performed in evangelical churches are explored in Hawgood’s photographs that blur the line between fact and fiction.

Tom Butler: Inhabitants, Charlie Smith, Fri-Sat, free. Continuing to give new meaning to old faces, Tom Butler’s appropriation of Victorian cabinet cards transforms sepia tinged images into fascinating new creations through his deft application of gouache.

Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze: A Story in Parts, Tiwani Contemporary, Fri-Sat, free. Interested in what informs our identity, particularly that of transitory individuals, the Nigerian-born, UK-raised and American-based artist’s works are populated with chimeric, hybrid characters, that express a desire to belong.

Patrick Staff: The Foundation, Chisenhale Gallery, all weekend, free. The community surrounding erotic artist and queer icon Tom of Finland is explored in Staff’s film installation.

Mackintosh Architecture, RIBA, all weekend, free. Over 60 original drawings by one of the leading figures of late nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… VIP tickets to London Fashion Weekend or one of 15 family tickets to see the Hogwarts Express before its official opening

Grab… £10 tickets to see Dan Owen, Jack Harris and more at The Proud Archivist on March 19

Book… these gigs while you still can

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