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54 wonderful things to do this bank holiday weekend

Steve Coughlan[Photo: Steve Coughlan]

Bring on the bank holiday! Head to Brockwell Lido for a rummage through beautiful twentieth century design, grab a caffeine kick at the London Coffee Festival, or party every single night at the pop-up spots springing up all over town. Here are the best things to do over the long weekend.

Things to do 

Late at Tate: Speculate, Tate Britain, TONIGHT, free. This late-night event will see sound researchers, theorists, musicians and performers explore the different ways the gallery spaces can be experienced through disruption and also question the way in which we think about art.

Streets of Spain, Southbank Centre, Fri-Mon, free. Spanish wine megabrand Campo Viejo brings four days of Spanish food and culture to the Southbank Centre for the third year running. New for 2015 is a Soundscape which will allow visitors to hear the flavours of the wine they’re tasting. Tasty.

Deptford Heritage Festival, Deptford High Street, Fri-Mon, free. Deptford is going traditional this May bank holiday weekend with more than 100 events planned for this community festival. Shops and restaurants will stay open late into the evening and add extra seating on the roads which are closed to traffic.

Tie Dye High Five, Queen of Hoxton, Saturday, £15. Give your clothes a colourful makeover at these monthly tie-dye workshops on a rooftop in east London. Each workshop lasts 1.5 hours, and you’ll have access to unlimited dye, a free tropical t-shirt to get creative on, and a delicious drink.

Electric Run, Wembley Park, Saturday, £29.50-£40. A glow-in-the-dark fun run that sees participants party their way round a spectacular 5km course.

Brockwell Lido Modern Movement Design Fair, Brixton, Sat-Sun, free. Head to Brockwell Lido and you’ll find that in place of deckchairs, a wide range of 20th century design dealers have set up stall around the 1930s pool, offering 1950s furniture and specialist lamps, vintage Danish design from the 1960s and 1970s, industrial furniture, jewellery, vintage clothes, glass and objets d’art.

Dash Arts Dacha, Rich Mix, Sat-Mon, free. This multi-facetted venue modelled on the Russian country house or second home returns for 2015 after a smash-hit run at Latitude Festival last year. The space will constantly transform as the Dacha moves through time from Tsarist 1913, Socialist 1937 and into post Soviet 1997 over 14 hours.

Rabble Election Special, multiple venues, Sat-Mon, £7.50 returning members, free to newcomers. For this election special, attendees must choose whether they’re Labour, Lib Dem or Conservative before going head to head with the other parties in a series of themed games which include knockout dodgeball, canvas chase and pass the buck.

VE Day Celebration, Royal Gunpowder Mills, Sat-Mon, free. Flick those Vs at this annual celebration of Victory in Europe Day which transports visitors back to the 1940s for a weekend of re-enactments, street parties, military vehicles, performance and food form the Home Front period.

Canalway Cavalcade, Little Venice, Sat-Mon, free. The pretty waterways of Little Venice will be even more colourful than usual for 2015’s May bank holiday weekend as the Inland Waterways Association organises their annual gathering of canal boats.

The Alice Look, V&A Museum of Childhood, Sat-Mon, free. Discover how Wonderland’s most famous visitor has become a fashion icon in the 150 years since her creation.

Streetfest, Tobacco Dock, Sunday, £15 adv. Let’s face it: everyone could do with improving their street cred occasionally. Thankfully, we can all up our game at Streetfest – which takes in top-level DJs spinning underground beats, furiously fresh rappers and cutting-edge designs from graffiti artists and tattooists.

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

London Coffee Festival

Eating and drinking

London Coffee Festival, Old Truman Brewery, Fri-Sun,£14.50, £11.50 online. Returning for 2015, the London Coffee Festival is the UK’s largest coffee and artisan food event, a celebration of London’s vibrant coffee culture featuring gourmet coffee, speciality tea, artisan food, demonstrations from world-class baristas, live music and a comprehensive ‘lab’ seminar programme that will educate even the keenest of coffee lovers.

Exquisite Cocktail Masterclass, Raindance Film Centre, Saturday, £40. Bored of the same old booze? Shake it off at these hands-on cocktail in which mixologists will teach you how to knock up four classic cocktails. You’ll be taught all the theory you need to create your own concoction, and the barmen’s favourite will win a prize

Hackney Drinks Market, Hackney Downs Studios, Saturday. This monthly gathering of London producers is a more liquid sister to the Dalston Food Market, so if your passion is for things that come in bottles, you’ll be in thirst-quenching heaven.

Malaysia Kitchen Spring Market, Southbank, Sat-Sun, free. Stroll along the Riverside Walkway between the OXO Tower and Waterloo Bridge, to sample beef rendang, chicken satay and spicy laksa from around 15 Malaysian restaurants.

Dalston Food Market, Petchey Academy, Sunday. This weekly food market brings locally produced food and drink to an already hungry east London crowd. It’s set on the lawns within a Dalston secondary school and visitors are welcome to settle in for picnics and enjoy the live music as well as the food.

Brooklyn Beefsteak London, Shoreditch Studios, Sunday, £38-£42. As you can probably guess from the name, the guys behind Brooklyn Beefsteak usually bring meat to the masses state-side. Lucky for us, they’ve touched down in London for their latest event which invites diners to gorge themselves silly on an all-you-can-eat meat feast.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Milton Jones and the Temple of Daft


Milton Jones and the Temple of Daft, Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, TONIGHT, £25. Loud shirt-wearing ‘Mock the Week’ regular Milton Jones is back on the road with a brand new show. With a heady mixture of bizarre and hysterically surreal one-liners, Jones weaves a hypnotic web of lunacy.

Mark Thomas – Cuckooed, The Four Thieves, Fri-Sat, £15-£18, £12 concs. Thomas has roped in director Emma Callander to help him tell a remarkable true story: Thomas discovered that a close friend of his was spying on him for Britain’s biggest arms dealer. We’re certainly intrigued.

London Sketchfest 2015, Cinema Museum, Fri-Sun, £14 per show, £25 day ticket, £65 festival ticket. This increasingly popular weekend-long blowout ‘The London Sketchfest’ is the capital’s only festival dedicated to the underrated art of sketch comedy.

Sara Pascoe vs History, Udderbelly, Sat-Sun, £15.50, £14 concs, £20.50 Sirloin seats. 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.

Andrew O’Neill’s History of Heavy Metal, The Garage, Saturday, £12.50 adv. Wonderfully whimsical transvestite headbanger, dabbler in black magic and Edinburgh Fringe regular Andrew O’Neill has combined his two loves – stand-up comedy and heavy metal – in his latest solo show.

Alex Horne – Monsieur Butterfly, Soho Theatre, Monday, £10. In ‘Monsieur Butterfly’, Horne builds an elaborate, Rube Goldberg-style contraption on stage each night, made from bits and bobs bought at B&Q, as he talks about his current life. It’s delightfully daft, and his best show is yonks.

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

flying lotus

Live music

Flying Lotus, O2 Academy Brixton, TONIGHT, £27.50-£29.50. Masked, moody hip hop legend MF Doom joins FlyLo as support, adding further woomph to an already heavyweight bill, also featuring Shabazz Palaces, Kutmah and UK electronica producer Lapalux.

The Zombies, Union Chapel, TONIGHT, £20. The re-resurrected baroque pop originals are back for more, playing a stripped-back acoustic set in the beautiful Union Chapel.

Mobb Deep, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Saturday, £29.50. Back together after a brief split, and even promoting a new album called ‘The Infamous Mobb Deep’ – which revisits their nihilistic genre classic, 1995’s ‘The Infamous’ – dynamic New York duo Havoc and Prodigy have kept it real through hip hop’s golden age and right into the twenty-first century.

Nick Cave, multiple venues, Sat-Sun, £40-£77. The dark and dapper singer-songwriter takes to the piano for a set of superbly mournful ballads.

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

We Buy Gold


We Buy Gold, Birthdays, TONIGHT, £5. Wildly innovative footwork warper DJ PayPal headlines WBG’s return, with support from rave monster Warlock and Deville, both playing exclusive 160 BPM sets.

Flamingo Pier, Counter Café, TONIGHT, £10-£12. One of the finest and most fun pop-up parties of last summer, Flamingo Pier is back for summer 2015, which is great news for anyone who likes their pop-ups with a big dose of tropical indulgence.

The Paperworks Summer Launch Party, Elephant and Castle, TONIGHT, free. After a storming summer session last year and transforming itself into a winter hideaway, south London pop-up happening The Paperworks is back for another summer session, which will sadly be its last run before it closes. Fleisch Mob, will be launching a European summer BBQ and the cocktail menu has been revamped and will use fresh ingredients from the Paperworks planted herb garden.

Egg London 12th Birthday Weekend, Egg London, Fri-Sat, £10-£15 adv. Still one of the top places for house and techno-heads to get their fix after 12 years, north London rave cave Egg celebrates its 12th birthday with a weekend of prime partying.

Feeling Gloomy, The Phoenix, Saturday, £6, £5 before midnight/NUS all night, £4.50 adv. A soundtrack of melancholy pop and bedroom anthems where misanthropes gather to cut loose and have fun.

Land Of Kings, various Dalston venues, Sunday, £25 adv. There’ll be plenty of bleeding-edge electronic explorations from the likes of Nathan Fake and Koreless, dancefloor-focused flavours from house revivalists Waze & Odyssey, cosmic-disco duo Psychemagik and party-starters The 2 Bears, plus crossover vibes from hot-topics like Wyles & Simpson and NZCA Lines, soulful sounds from Portico and Mo Kolours, and alt indie riffing from Landshapes.

Up On The Roof, Prince of Wales, Sunday, £10-£14. Norman Jay sure does love those summer rooftop vibes – he returns for another daytime Sunday session perched on the roof terrace of Brixton’s ace Prince of Wales, ready to roll out a three-hour set that showcases his Good Times Soundsystem funk and soul…

Secretsundaze, multiple venues, Sunday, £19.50 (combined part one and two ticket), £5-£12.50 (part two only). Over the past 14, James Priestley and Giles Smith have created one of the most enduring and engaging London parties with Secretsundaze, bringing in some of the finest house, disco and techno selectors from around the globe to create some absolutely stellar events, attracting those who like to party hard.

Gloria’s, XOYO, Sunday, £13.50. London, prepare to get fabulous. London’s foremost, glitter-drenched party animals Sink The Pink are back with their wildest and most debauched creation yet, Gloria. Expect a prime party fuelled by the energy, eccentricity and ethos of Sink The Pink, and soundtracked by top disco, house and funk DJs.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.

Far From the Madding CrowdFar from the Maddening Crowd


Kinoteka Polish Film Festival: ‘Mother Joan of the Angels’, BFI Southbank, Saturday, £8.35–£11.75. Part of the Kinoteka season of Polish classics at the BFI curated by Martin Scorsese, ‘Mother Joan of the Angels’ takes a more rigorous, less OTT approach to the same pseudo-historical source material explored by Ken Russell in his baroque horror masterpiece ‘The Devils’.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Hackney Picturehouse, Sunday, £8.60, £7.60 concs. Enjoy the best of the big-screen Trek adventures, back on the big screen. ‘The Wrath of Khan’ is a treat from start to finish: the villain is an all-time great, the plot moves at warp speed and the climax is as unashamedly emotional as sci-fi gets.

Science Fiction Theatre: ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’, The Alibi, Monday, free. London’s finest sci-fi film club completes a run of ‘Mad Max’ movies in preparation for the new film, ‘Fury Road’, next month. ‘Beyond Thunderdome’ was Mel Gibson’s swansong as Max, cleaning up the dustbowls of post-apocalyptic Oz.

Welles Weekend: ‘The Stranger’ + ‘Too Much Johnson’, Curzon Bloomsbury, Monday, £12. The conclusion to three days of Orson Welles at Curzon Bloomsbury is a rare screening of his third film as a director, 1946’s anti-Nazi thriller ‘The Stranger’, supported by his recently discovered avant garde student film ‘Too Much Johnson’.

Or at the cinema…

Far from the Madding Crowd ★★★★☆ Don’t be fooled by the fancy source material: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ may be adapted from Thomas Hardy’s nineteenth-century novel, but it’s still a movie that opens with Carey Mulligan on a pony as it gallops toward a rainbow.

…or see all of the latest releases.

bugsy malone


Bugsy Malone, Lyric Hammersmith, Fri-Sat, Mon, £15-£35. The Lyric Hammersmith’s new building opens with a bang with this new production of Alan Parker’s classic musical ‘Bugsy Malone’.

Eclipsed, Gate Theatre, Fri-Sat, Mon, £20, £15 concs. Danai Gurira’s remarkable play is an epic of war and suffering, compressed into the story of four women’s harsh and stunted lives, painted with warmth, humour and rage.

American Buffalo, Wyndham’s Theatre, Fri-Sat, Mon, £15-£62.50. Damian Lewis and John Goodman head up this starry West End of David Mamet’s classic play about small time crooks.

Bomber’s Moon, Trafalgar Studios, Fri-Sat, Mon, £15-£25. Matt Aston’s production features two barnstorming performances of real depth and sensitivity. James Bolam shines as ex-RAF gunner Jimmy, who used to soar the skies but is now confined to his armchair.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

Idris Khan: Conflicting Lines

This week’s best new art

Idris Khan: Conflicting Lines, Victoria Miro Mayfair, Fri-Sat, free. Layers of intense activity fill the London-based artist’s work that includes painting and photography. Khan’s latest large-scale composite photographs capture the process of making at every stage.

Francesco Clemente: Emblems of Transformation, Blain Southern, Fri-Sat, Mon, free. Inspired by Buddhist and Hindu symbolism, the Italian artist’s long-standing connection with India is exceptionally emotive in this series of small-scale watercolours.

Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness, Whitechapel Gallery, Fri-Sun, free. The Los Angeles-based artist, Christopher Williams has for the past 35 years been deconstructing and demystifying photography, by, wait for it, creating photographs. But for all their glossy finish, once you get up close the con is up and imperfections are revealed.

How To Work Together: Ahmet Ogut, Chisenhale Gallery, Fri-Sun, free. Working with a variety of collaborators is what Kurdish artist Ahmet Öğüt does best. For ‘Happy Together: Collaborators Collaborating’, the 34-year old Istanbul, Amsterdam and Berlin-based artist brings together ten people of varying professions including an auctioneer, a firefighter, a hairdresser, a lip reader and a stuntman to recount their experiences of working with Öğüt on previous projects.

Jack Lavender: A Hardcore Stomping Flashback, The Approach, Fri-Sun, free. The London-based artist continues his quest to readdress the boundaries of sculpture by presenting a new series of freestanding aluminium works, which are decorated with found objects and images.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… a pair of VIP tickets to The Isle of Wight Festival 2015 or tickets for you and three friends to Standon Calling 2015

Grab… £14 tickets to Rooftop Film Club at one of four locations

Book… these gigs while you still can

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