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45 fun things to do in London this week

!!XX!! Photography[Photo: !!XX!! Photography]

Find the finest flowers, gardens and prized plants at the RHS Flower Show in Chelsea, have breakfast in bed at a pop-up café in Old Street, or feast your eyes on stunning images in the new Photo London exhibition and fair opening at Somerset House. Here are all the best things to do with your week.

Things to do 

Where the Wild Things Swim: Short Film Screening & Talk, 15 Hanbury Street, TONIGHT, £3-£5 + booking fee. Summer’s nearly here which means planning as many ways as possible to avoid sweltering tube carriages and buses with broken air-con. Find out about the best places to escape the heat and take a wild dip at this screening of ‘Where the Wild Things Swim’ which documents personal stories of wild swimmers and their favourite places to roam the waters.

Rich Mix Petition Projections, Rich Mix, TONIGHT, free. Since the cinema created a petition on Change.org to help save it, over 11,000 people have shown their support and signed to keep the doors from closing. Tonight, projections of comments from supporters will cover the building for two hours from 8.45pm. A decision about the future of the venue will be made in July.

The Great Grant Knit-a-Thon, Grant Museum of Zoology, Tuesday, free. Bring your knitting needles along to stich one, purl one and create an animal skin inspired by Ruth Marshall’s knitted Tasmanian tiger. From 10am till 10pm visitors are invited to pop in, at lunch or after work with a glass of wine, and knit a menagerie of weird and wonderful creatures.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Tue-Thu, £31-£59 public days (May 19 and 20 RHS members only). More than 500 exhibitors will already be making plans and tending to their most prized plants in preparation for the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show, which has taken place annually (apart from a few gaps during the two world wars) for over 100 years now.

Inspired by Soane: I Found This and Thought of You…, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Tue-Thu, free. An A-class group of artists, architects and fashion designers have created original postcard artworks for this charity exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum. Big names including Manalo Blahnik, Christopher Bailey, Zaha Hadid and Antony Gormley have contributed to the show, inspired by 100 objects from the collection which aren’t usually on display.

Clerkenwell Design Week, various Clerkenwell venues, Tue-Thu, free. The three-day design festival will bring creative innovations from all over the world to Clerkenwell for a sixth year in 2015, opening showrooms, studios and galleries in the area to the public.

Plonk, EFES, Wed-Thu, £7.50. Combine beer with balls at this ramshackle but imaginative crazy golf course which has, er, plonked itself within Efes Pool Hall. The nine-hole course has been built using lots of reclaimed and recycled material lending it a touch of the Wombles.

York & Albany’s Beach Hut, Camden, Thu, free. The courtyard at York & Albany will get a seaside-style makeover this summer, with sand, deckchairs and even a beach hut. Order up beach-themed booze such as seaweed martinis, Pimm’s ice lollies and rum slushies, or tuck into some mini fish and chips, pickled seafood or something more substantial from the barbecue menu.

One Stop Photo London, Seven Dials Club, Thu, free. This exhibition brings together a small group of photographers and their immediate network of artists/collaborators for an event in central London.

Chelsea in Bloom, various Chelsea venues, all week, free. Garden-obsessives and Titchmarsh megafans have already bought up all the Chelsea Flower Show tickets, but that doesn’t mean there’s no horticultural fun to had out west this weekend. The shops in and around Sloane Square, Sloane Street and Duke of York Square will decorate their fronts (and/or sides) with plants and flowers for Chelsea in Bloom in the hope of winning either an expert judging panel’s top prize or The People’s Champion Award, which you can vote for online.

UCL Festival of the Arts, UCL, all week, free. This five-day festival sees UCL open its doors to show off their latest research and celebrate the arts. More than 30 free events will take place, including tours, concerts, exhibitions, talks and screenings.

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

Breakfast in Bed Café

Eating and drinking

Breakfast in Bed Café, Blackall Studios, Mon-Wed, free. Affordable flat-pack heroes Ikea have got an offer we can hardly refuse for Londoners with the arrival of this pop-up café which sees guests booking a bed and pillow of their choice for an hour of food, drink and naps. Breakfast will be served until noon.

Dessert Island, 15 Bateman Street, Wed-Thu, free. Get away from London’s hustle, bustle and chilly spring weather with this pop-up pudding bar to promote Gü desserts. Each diner will be transported to the virtual desert island of their choice and served up an individual pudding which they can enjoy in peace and quiet all on their own.

London Calling Beer Festival, Shaftesbury Tavern, Thu. This north London boozer, which is owned by the people behind the Dragonfly Brewery so already rather good at beer, will be pouring from around 25 casks and kegs for this pint-packed bank holiday event.

London Wine Week, Devonshire Square, all week, £10 wristband. Having popped its cork for the first time last year, London Wine Week is back for 2015, decanting vintages, decoding the wine list, and spitting left, right and centre. The £10 wristband gets you discounts and deals across more than 100 venues in London; it also means you’re entitled to £5 wine taster tours at partnering bars.

FEED at Ceviche, Old Street, until Wednesday £50. If you’re yet to go check out our current gave Peruvian restaurant, why not give their new ‘immersive’ dining experience a try where they’ll be personalising the food and drinks menu to reflect your taste and characteristic.

Half price lunch at Sesame, Covent Garden, all week. Middle Eastern restaurant Sesame is setting up shop in Covent Garden and to celebrate they’re offering 50 percent off all filled pittas or big salads until Friday.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Laugh Out London in Brixton


Laugh Out London in Brixton, The Dogstar, Tue, £7, £5 adv. Another typically brilliant line-up here, with hip-hop improvisers Abandoman, panel show regular Holly Walsh, Rhys James and Danielle Ward.

Jarred Christmas – Hotfoot Mojo, Soho Theatre, Tue-Thu, £10-£12.50. Time Out fave Jarred Christmas promises an electric hour of arse-kicking storytelling comedy in his new show, ‘Hotfoot Mojo’. He’s relentlessly funny – an hour in his company is a real treat.

Knock2Bag Comedy Night, Bar FM, Wed, £10, £8 adv. This month’s bill: ace ventriloquist Nina Conti, deranged stand-up Bobby Mair, Perrier Award-winner Will Adamsdale, Pat Cahill, Brett Goldstein, Jenny Collier, Rory O’Hanlon, Goose and Matthew Crosby.

The Regency Rooms with Lenny Beige – 21st Anniversary Show, Guanabara, Thu, £25. Light-entertainment leviathan, king of leisure and master of synthetics Lenny Beige celebrates 21 years of his club – The Regency Rooms – with an epic comedy-cabaret line-up. Beige is the character creation of Steve Furst: an all-singing, all-dancing, all-round entertainer. He’ll charm you silly.

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

J Cole

Live music

J Cole, The O2, TONIGHT, £33.50-£39.50. The first artist to be signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label back in 2009, Cole has proven himself adept at applying his zippy flows to a range of stylish beats – from soul to punchy, rock-sampling fist-pumpers. He’s over here to give London what for with tracks from his latest album, the intimately autobiographical ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’.

Lianne La Havas, Wilton’s Music Hall, Tue, £20. Still just 25 but tipped by Prince and with a Top Five debut album under her belt, south London singer-songwriter La Havas recalls Feist and Erykah Badu with her velvety vocals and mellifluous, synth-shimmering folk-soul sound. Her new album ‘Blood’ could win her a second Mercury nomination, so hear it first at this special launch gig at the beautiful Wilton’s Music Hall.

Django Django, Koko, Tue, £17.50. The groovy Edinburghers are back for more melancholy electropop, playing a London show to follow the release of their long-awaited second album ‘Born Under Saturn’. If you haven’t yet, listen to their awesome new single ‘First Light’ – a great addition to their Beck-meets-The Beta Band-and-Bon Iver sound.

Lion Babe + Seinabo Sey, Scala, Wed, £12. Pharrell-produced R&B duo Lion Babe do a nice line in rich, electronic soul mixed with chunky hip hop beats, clubby basslines and edgy pop hooks. Listen out for their huge track ‘Treat Me Like Fire’. Swedish songwriter and singer Seinabo Sey, meanwhile, blends nu-soul with African rhythms and melodies.

Best Coast, Electric Ballroom, Wed, £15. Surf-popping Los Angelenos Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno deliver a set full of groovy, pre-loved licks and lo-fi, sweetly melodic fuzz at their first UK gig in a few years. It’s all in aid of their new album ‘California Nights’, which builds on the mellow dream-pop influences that Best Coast picked up for LP two.

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

Sounds Familiar Music Quiz


Sounds Familiar Music Quiz, Trapeze, Tue, £40 (ticket for eight people), £33 (ticket for six people), £24 (ticket for four people), £8 (single-person ticket). Eyes down and ears open for this delightfully raucous, super-fun music-fuelled quiz, featuring rounds such as ‘Round of Cheese’, ‘Office Party’ and ‘Feel the Power Ballad’, plus prizes including mugs, medals, champagne and more, and DJ AL compering and spinning the tunes.

The Deep Hum at the Heart of It All, The Social, Wed, £5, £3 adv or NUS. A midweek showcase of underground indie bands and DJs playing eclectic, alternative tunes.

Shhh Dating at The Jam Tree Clapham, The Jam Tree, Wed, £20 adv. A two-hour dating event consisting of ‘flirting games and eye-gazing’, say the organisers. The catch? You’re not allowed to talk to your prospective partner, meaning you need to break out some seriously hot eyelash-fluttering and win them over with charm that (thankfully) doesn’t have anything to do with cheesy chat-up lines.

Gospeloke, Queen of Hoxton, Thu, £6-£10. A full-on fun karaoke night themed around gospel music, complete with a full gospel choir.

…or see all the parties planned this week.

Pitch Perfect 2


Tufnell Park Film Club: ‘Badlands’, The Lord Palmerston, Tue, £15 membership. This first, magnificent, outpouring of the sporadic genius of Terrence Malick still seems terrifically modern. That’s partly down to the career-best performances of Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek as garbage-collector Kit and naive schoolgirl Holl, the misfit young couple who, like savage innocents, create a brief idyll and end up leaving a trail of blood through the unforgiving Montana badlands.

Haringey Independent Cinema: ‘Concerning Violence’, West Green Learning Centre, Thu, £4, £3 concs. This documentary is a prickly, passionate call to arms. Director Göran Olsson weds extraordinary found footage – a Liberian miners’ strike, an early, hopeful interview with Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe – to the words of Frantz Fanon, the post-colonial social theorist.

Or at the cinema…

Mad Max: Fury Road ★★★★★ The fourth instalment of George Miller’s punky post-apocalyptic ‘Mad Max’ saga feels like a tornado tearing through a tea party. In an age of weightless movie spectacles, here’s a movie that feels like it was made by kidnapping $150 million of studio money, fleeing with it to the Namibian desert, and sending footage back to Hollywood like the amputated body parts of a ransomed hostage.

Pitch Perfect 2 ★★★★☆ Aca-about time! Three years after ‘Pitch Perfect’, the first ladies of a cappella are back – and they’re hitting the high notes. This sequel opens as all-girl group the Bellas are branded a national disgrace after a vagina-flashing incident involving Barack Obama.

…or see all of the latest releases.

High Society


High Society, Old Vic, Mon-Thu, £10-£90. Cole Porter’s musical gets a riotously fun production from Maria Friedman.

Communicating Doors, Menier Chocolate Factory, Tue-Thu, £27.50-£32.50, £25 concs. ‘Communicating Doors’, from 1994, is one of playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s wackier works: it’s a murderous thriller-comedy set in hotel room… which just so happens to be a portal to the past.

Gods are Fallen and All Safety Gone, Camden People’s Theatre, Tue-Thu, £12. What a quiet, restrained and gently devastating piece this is! ‘Gods are Fallen and All Safety Gone’ is an exquisitely constructed two-hander, in which two male actors play a mother and daughter.

Death of a Salesman, Noël Coward Theatre, all week, £12.25-£59.75. Antony Sher and Harriet Walter arrive with this transfer of the RSC’s production of Arthur Miller’s great tragedy.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

Corin Sworn

This week’s best new art

Max Mara Art Prize for Women: Corin Sworn, Whitechapel Gallery, Wed-Thu, free. The fifth winner of the only art prize for women in the UK presents new work following her residency in Italy.

Photo London, Somerset House, Thu, £20, £14-£17 concs, £29 weekend ticket, £52 family. At last London gets its own photography-dedicated fair that will hopefully turn into an annual photo-fest week. Presenting a diverse range of photographic practices throughout Somerset House, the sixty plus leading international and London-based exhibitors will showcase both familiar and celebrated names alongside rising stars.

Art15 London, Olympia London, Thu, £10-£30. With a new fair director Kate Bryan, former director of Contemporary Art at The Fine Art Society, Art15 returns for its third year with a new slot in London’s art calendar. With over 140 cutting-edge galleries selected from 40 countries, the fair continues its commitment to showcase emerging talent and young galleries alongside established artists and representatives of Asia’s burgeoning art market.

Beneath the Surface, Somerset House, Thu, exclusive to Photo London ticket holders. Somerset House’s riverfront position is the inspiration for this, er, immersive exhibition of rarely-seen photographs from the V&A’s collection. Among the 200 works on show, you’ll see William Strudwick’s shots along the Thames from the 1860s and David Kronig’s Whistler-esque images of the river.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… a pair of tickets to the very first Citadel Festival or one of five pairs of weekend tickets to Field Day festival 2015

Grab… up to 56% off two tickets to Foodies Festival at Syon Park (May 23-25)

Book… these gigs while you still can

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