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40 top things happening in London this weekend

Steve Coughlan[Photo: Steve Coughlan]

Spice up the weekend with a visit to Kew Gardens as they launch their summer events season, celebrate the expansion of E5 Bakehouse at an all day party in Hackney or sit down for a Wes Anderson double bill at the Regent Street Cinema. Study our fun-filled list below and end May in style.

Things to do 

Pop Brixton, TONIGHT, free. This new space was commissioned by Lambeth Council and is a community-friendly area designed to support independent businesses and start-ups, as well as providing a venue for events. The venue launches today and vendors on the starting line-up include Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Miss P’s BBQ, Make Do and Mend and Kyocha Japanese tea house.

Natural History Museum Late, South Kensington, TONIGHT, free. A monthly late opening of the museum and temporary exhibitions, with free entry to the Central Hall and Images of Nature gallery, changing discussions on timely themes, open-mic performances by up-and-coming musicians throughout the evening, and British farmers’-market-style food and drink in the pop-up restaurant.

Soapbox Science, Gabriel’s Wharf, Sat, free. London’s Southbank is taken over for the fifith time in 2015 by some of the UK’s leading female scientists for an afternoon of talks. Each speaker gets a chance to draw in a crowd, explain the ins and outs of their research and take questions from the audience.

Dockside Diner, Doodle Bar, Sat, £28-35. The Doodle Bar’s waterside terrace will host a variety of special lunches from the Grub Club roster this summer, with live blues, Cajun and gypsy jazz music to add to the atmosphere and illustrators capturing the spirit of each event on paper.

Guinness World Record Attempt at Wandsworth Common, Sat, free. Most of us never thought we would qualify to take part in a world-record attempt, let alone a fitness-related one. But all you have to do to join British Military Fitness’s attempt for the most people doing squat jumps simultaneously is pitch up at Wandsworth Common (along with 499 others) and do squat jumps…simultaneously.

Hope in Heels, Battersea Park, Sat, £20 in adv, £25 after May 1, £30 on the day. Don your heels and get moving for charity at this run through Battersea Park. Women and men will be racing around the 2.4km route in their highest platforms to raise money for HOPEHIV which supports children and young people orphaned or affected by HIV or Aids.

Spices at Kew, Kew Gardens, Sat-Sun, free with admission. The summer’s events at Kew are themed around the spice trade – source of rumours, foundation of historic wealth and the starting point for great adventures. The focus of activities is plants that were at one time literally worth their weight in gold.

Nine Elms Apothecary Experience, Riverside Gardens, Sat-Sun, free. Sip your tea in a most unusual way at this futuristic greenhouse-cum-bubble which serves up beverages in fog form. Visitors can drop by at any point to soak up some fragrant steam which is intended to reinvigorate them as they make their way along the River Walk pathway.

Regent Street Pink and Black Party, central London, Sun, free. London’s oldest and best-looking shopping street is stopping traffic to host this jam-packed summer party boasting plenty of discounts, competitions and freebies.

Picnic of the Dead, secret London location, Sun, £3. Hear tales of the ancient underworld at this top secret event taking place in an atmospheric corner of the city. Bring along a flask of tea and an umbrella in the event of bad weather, then sit back and listen to spooky stories about the deceased as well as a spot of live music.

Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair, Old Finsbury Town Hall, Sun, £4, £2 NUS. At the sixth anniversary edition of Clerkenwell’s regular vintage fair, you can find good-quality clothes dating from the 1800s through to the 1980s, including designer names like Dior and Ossie Clark.

Embankment Summer Market, Victoria Embankment Gardens, all weekend, free. From the team behind last year’s Soho Flea Market comes the Embankment Summer Market, which brings together artisans, fashion designers and musicians – not to mention plenty of food and drink, a farmers’ market and family entertainment.

Brockley Street Art Festival, various London venues, all weekend, free. This community-run eight-day festival will bring some extra colour to Brockley with a range of artistic events and activities.

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

Hotel Chocolat

Eating and drinking

Hotel Chocolat Masterclass and Tasting, Icetank, Fri-Sat, £45. Get a hands-on masterclass in the creation of chocolate with the experts from Hotel Chocolat at this special event which will get you from bean to bar in no time. As well as making your own melt-in-the-mouth treat you’ll taste a selection of different types and flavours, and a glass of champagne is included in the ticket price, too.

E5 Bakehouse 3rd Arch Opening, Hackney, Sat, free. To celebrate the opening of another arch, the Bakehouse are throwing an all day party with live music, middle eastern food, beer, wine and cocktails.

Peckham Farmers Market, Peckham High Street, Sun, free. Serving the residents of Peckham, Dulwich and Camberwell for 14 years, Peckham Farmers Market is a FARMA certified weekly affair. Run by the Urban Farmers Market and offering fresh, home grown produce all under a covered roof, traders include Flour Power City Organic Bakery, Burscombe Cliffe Farm and Alham Wood Cheeses.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

rich mix


Knock2Bag East, Rich Mix, Sat, £12, £8 adv. Tonight’s bill features US alt-comedy hero and ‘Arrested Development’ star David Cross, Aussie storyteller Sarah Kendall, slick sketch duo Max and Ivan, young charmer Joel Dommett, ‘Newsjack’ host Nish Kumar.

Phil Ellis’s Funz and Gamez, Udderbelly, Sun, £10, £15 Sirloin seats. Bring your kidz – or don’t! – to this gloriously silly comedy show. Yes, technically, Funz and Gamez (which won the Panel Prize at the 2014 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award) is for children. But it’s just as funz for adultz. Gamez are played, but the little’unz have no chance of winning, and there are lotz of wildly inappropriate jokez that go straight over the kidz’ headz.

The London Improvathon 2015, LOST Theatre, all weekend, £10 per episode, £7 concs, £55 50-hour pass. The annual London Improvathon – which is now in its eigth year – features 50 hours of continuous made-up-on-the-spot funnies from 20 actors plus guest artists. This year, the team are planning on improvising a whole 25-episode soap opera, all set in Hollywood.

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


Live music

We Are FSTVL, Damyns Hall Aerodrome, Sat-Sun, £95-£135 (weekend), £57.50-£80 (day). This is only year three for WAF, but it’s already established itself as one of the dance festival big guns. Again taking place over two days, it boasts a staggering amount of globe-conquering DJs, white-hot rising talents and a few respected undergrounders.

The Beach Boys, Royal Albert Hall, Sat-Sun, £30-£55. The boys are back in town, still led by Mike Love in the continuing absence of Brian Wilson. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could all just get along, eh? Nevertheless, you can still expect all your favourite sunny delights at this big London show, including timeless classics like ‘Good Vibrations’ and ‘God Only Knows’.

Bassekou Kouyaté And Ngoni Ba, Scala, Sun, £16-£18. Described by blues legend Taj Mahal as a ‘genius’, Malian bandleader Kouyaté has spent his career connecting the lute-like ngoni with the wider global blues tradition. He showcases his incredible chops with backing from his six-piece Ngoni Ba group.

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



Rockaoke, Star of Kings, TONIGHT, £6, free before 8pm. If, like garishly face-painted ’80s rockers KISS, you just love to rock and roll all nite, Rockaoke is clearly the gig for you. Wail and shriek through tons of rock and punk classics, plus a bit of pop and indie if you’re more Mumford than Metallica.

Postcard from the Seychelles, Flamingo Pier, TONIGHT, £15. Vinn Goute will be serving up authentic Seychellois street food which can be washed down with Takamaka Bay tropical Rum cocktails and beer and cider from Crate Brewery. Music comes courtesy of Detroit DJ, Recloose.

Tuckshop All-Day Rooftop Affair, Dalston Roof Park, Sat, £15. Tuck in to a day and night of hip hop, funk, soul and boogie way up high in the blissful surrounds of Dalston Roof Park. Mr Thing from The Doctor’s Orders will be playing an all-vinyl set, and other beat-fiends in the line-up include J Felix, Russ Ryan, Tappa and Some-Juan.

Saturday Sessions at Ministry of Sound, Elephant & Castle, Sat, £20 adv. Drum ‘n’ bass hero DJ Fresh, formerly of hard-hitting D&B act Bad Company, heads up The Box with his mix of brain-walloping beats and killer basslines.

Savage, Metropolis, Sat, £5. Those restless polysexual party animals Sink The Pink are at it again. Their latest venture is a weekly disco bash at strip club-cum-club space Metropolis, where you can roam around three floors of filthy fun for only a fiver.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.

The Grand Budapest Hotel


Sci-fi London: ‘Who Are You People?’, Stratford East Picturehouse, Sat, £9.50, £5.50 concs. The annual Sci-Fi London festival gets more epic with each passing year. 2015’s programme spans nine days packed with UK premieres, workshops, short films and even a Sci-Fido dog show.

‘Rushmore’ + ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, Regent Street Cinema, Sun, £15, £13 concs. Get happy with a sparkling double bill of Wes Anderson’s finest. ‘Rushmore’ creates a world at once familiar and strange, populated by bored millionaires and Scottish vagabonds, while ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is a pastel-coloured comedy situated somewhere in 1930s Mitteleuropa and peopled by eccentrics and lunatics.

Hoxton Slackers Club: ‘Heathers’, Hoxton Hotel, Sun, £12.50. A wicked black comedy about teenage suicide and pernicious peer-group pressure, this refreshing parody of high-school movies is venomously scripted and sharply directed.

…or see all of the latest releases.

the harvest


The Harvest, Soho Theatre, Fr-Sat, £10-£17.50. ‘The Harvest’ is a tart little comedy by Belarusian playwright Pavel Pryazhko. It’s deceptively slight – we watch four teenage fruit-pickers at work in an orchard – but an hour later, it ends with a grand turnover. Pryazhko takes a pop at shoddy employment practice that puts economy before environment.

Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage, Arcola Theatre, Fri-Sat, £19, £15 concs. When Welsh rugby captain Gareth ‘Alfie’ Thomas came out in 2009, it was one of very few cases ever of a top-drawer sportsman admitting to being gay. When Bridgend teenager Darcey tried to commit suicide, it was sadly one of many attempts by young people on their own lives in south Wales. Robin Soans’ verbatim play, a co-production between touring company Out Of Joint and National Theatre Wales, weaves these two stories together and looks at how they impacted their wider communities.

Peter Pan, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, all weekend, £25-£48.50. JM Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ is revived by Regents Park artistic director Timothy Sheader to open the theatre’s 2015, and boy it’s a showstopper.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.


This week’s best new art

Select15, Photofusion, Fri-Sat, free. Four members of the south London photographic centre, Thomas Caron-Delion, Willem Jaspert, Lucy Levene and Emilia Moisio, showcase their documentary-style work.

Butch Anthony: Old School, Black Rat Projects, all weekend, free. The Alabama-based artist has made his home, which he’s fabricated out of junk, into a Museum of Wonder with all matter of paraphernalia that he either finds or makes. Here, his embroidered and tattooed paintings pay homage to the Americana culture and craft he grew up with.

Eileen Cooper: Hide and Seek, Royal Academy of Arts, all weekend, £3, free with general admission. Spanning 40 years of the British artists career, this extensive showcase of her pastel and charcoal works reveal Cooper’s continued fascination with family, sexuality and the female figure.

George Shaw: The Last Days of Belief, Wilkinson Gallery, all weekend, free. Social realist paintings capture the mundane sublimity of municipal landscapes from the artist’s youth.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… an overnight stay for two at The Westbury Hotel plus cocktails and a Michelin Star dinner

Grab… 40% off entry to the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower with optional food and drink

Book… these gigs while you still can

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