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44 fabulous things happening in London this weekend

James Guppy[Photo: James Guppy]

If you’re trying to be a wholesome, well-rounded human in 2015 then there lots of events to help you out this weekend. Head to yoga and exercise classes across the city, learn how to solve cryptic crosswords, or while away the hours birdwatching from your garden. If you’ve packed it all in though, head to the Korn and Slipknot show on Friday instead. Here’s the 411 on London fun this weekend…

Things to do 

Wilder, Brixton, Fri-Sat, prices vary. Two relaxing days of food, yoga and talks curated by The Pressery and Beehive Place from a loft in Brixton.

UK Cold Water Swimming Championships, Tooting Bec Lido, Saturday, Swimmers from £20, spectators £2. This festival of cold water swimming sees some very bold swimmers brace themselves for races in the almost literally freezing (as low as 1°C) waters of Tooting Bec Lido.

Cryptic Crosswords: How To Solve Them, Conway Hall, Saturday, free. No longer will cryptic crossword clues sound like ancient Chinese proverbs with the help of these three-hour workshops that will demystify the rules, structure and clue formats of the traditional brow-furrowing puzzles.

Flex in the City Boxpark, Shoreditch, Saturday, £12. Build core and upper body strength while learning to express yourself against the backdrop of our beautiful city in these 90-minute workshops run by Pilates trainer and street athlete Nicola Cher Geismar.

The Ultimate Snowdrop Sale, Myddleton House Gardens, Saturday, £3.50. A select range of nurseries will be offering both common and rare varieties of Snowdrops for early planting. Proceeds from the ticket price go towards the restoration of EA Bowles’ Rock Garden.

Citydash, various London locations, Sunday, £15. This hour-long street game sees you (and any friends you trust enough to be on your team) solve clues, plot routes and sneak past rivals and guards to reach as many checkpoints as possible within the deadline.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, various London locations, Sat-Sun, free. The RSPB’s annual bird count is the world’s largest wildlife survey, with over half a million people taking part. Seven million birds were counted last year alone.

Chatsworth Road Market, Sunday, free. The market that spawned Sir Alan Sugar’s business success via a shampoo stall, Chatsworth Road has reopened its stalls after dwindling trader numbers forced the market to close its doors in the 1990’s.Flash-forward over ten years later and the market is back with 40 stalls a week offering up vintage children’s wear, ethical clothing, original paintings and more.

41 guided walks, various locations, Sat-Sun, free. If you didn’t do much walking in a winter wonderland in December and are keen to get outside for a stroll, you should know about TfL’s 41 free guided walks happening this weekend.

Churchill’s Scientists, Science Museum, all weekend, free. We’d never have won the war without science on our side, and a great number of breakthroughs took place under the direction of Winston Churchill. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the portly Prime Minister’s death, this exhibition celebrates the inventions and scientific endeavour which came to Britain’s aid during World War Two.

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

Burns Hootenanny

Eating and drinking

Burns Hootenanny at Kerb Clubhouse, 105 Monier Road, Saturday, £40, £35 adv. Burns Night has become an excuse to celebrate Scotland’s stereotypical traditions for one night a year, and though we love poetry and everything, we’re totally fine with it. This party at street food wonders Kerb’s Hackney Wick Clubhouse has all the essential ingredients for a kilted knees-up: Scotch, haggis, bagpipes, tartan and a ceilidh band.

One Day Fizz School, Brasserie Blanc, Saturday, £85. This one is for the bubbly drinkers. The daylong champagne and sparkling wine course includes 12 wines and a three-course lunch.

London Chocolate Tour, Green Park Station, Saturday, £39. Chocoholics are in for an informative and delicious treat on this two-hour tour of Mayfair visiting some of the world’s finest chocolatiers. Learn more about the history of chocolate and how its produced and traded as well as sampling chocolate, truffles and macaroons along the way.

Babaji, Shaftesbury Avenue. Alan Yau has created some of London’s most influential restaurants of the last quarter-century – Wagamama, Busaba Eathai, Hakkasan, Yauatcha. And now, in a radical departure from noodle bars, dim sum, Thai and Italian (Princi), Yau has opened a Turkish pizza place near Piccadilly Circus.

…or see more recommended restaurants.

The NATYS – New Act of the Year 2015


The NATYS – New Act of the Year 2015, Bloomsbury Theatre, Sunday, £15. There are now tons of new act competitions throughout the year, but the NATYS is always one of the most fun (and often most bizarre) grand finals. But rather than have all the acts compete for the top prize, all the finalists are winners here, with the show being a bill of the best acts who made it through the heats.

Suspiciously Cheap Comedy, Backyard Comedy Club, Sunday, £5, £3 concs. The line-up on January 25 – featuring the phenomenal and very silly Pajama Men, triple Fosters Comedy Awards nominee James Acaster and Ellie White and Tash Demetriou as The Sexy American Girl Cousins – is suspiciously good value for a fiver.

Josie Long – Cara Josephine, Soho Theatre, all weekend, £10-£20. ‘Cara Josephine’ is a heartfelt, introspective piece of stand-up about break-ups, family and romantic ideals. It’s her most personal show yet, and it’s another feelgood triumph.

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

Slipknot + Korn

Live music

Slipknot + Korn, Wembley Arena, TONIGHT, £39.50. Iowa’s masked marauders Slipknot headline a nu-metal double-bill that’ll be packed to the rafters with headbanging teens and ’90s/’00s nostalgics alike. They’re supported by Korn, as angsty and dirty-minded as ever they were in the glory days of ‘Freak on a Leash’.

Alt-J, The O2, Saturday, £20-£26. The symbol-named, Mercury-winning trio from Leeds ply their reverb-smothered, off-kilter indie that echoes Yeasayer and Jeff Buckley.

British Sea Power, Barbican Hall, Saturday, £19.50. It looked a bit hubristic back in 2003 when Brighton indie band BSP put the word ‘classic’ on the front of their debut album, but 12 years on ‘The Decline of British Sea Power’ is acclaimed as one of the peaks of the noughties British indie scene.

The XFM All-Dayer 2015, Barfly, Saturday, £15. Catch some great rising stars in a small venue at this all-day showcase of new talent.

…or take a look at all 39 live music events in London this weekend.

Silent Disco at the Cutty Sark


Silent Disco at the Cutty Sark, TONIGHT, £29.99. We’ve partied 244 metres above the city at The Shard and now we’re sailing south with dance floor, headphones and expert DJs all in tow. The latest Time Out Silent Disco will be hopping aboard the Cutty Sark in Greenwich with three channels of perfect pop tunes to keep you dancing all night long.

Ben Pearce + Psychemagik + Will Saul, XOYO, TONIGHT, £12.50. Newly risen deep house ace Ben Pearce heads up a very appealing DJ line-up, also featuring cosmic disco warriors Psychemagik and deep techno producer Will Saul.

Sunday Love, Old Queen’s Head, Sunday, £1. The stellar Sunday sessions continue at this Islington party boozer. On Sunday it’s the turn of enigmatic disco-warper Ivan Smagghe, whose twisted take on house and funk is always a fascinating spectacle. He’s going back-to-back with fellow disco deviant Kiwi, which should prove a thrilling and funky ride.

Burns, Baby, Burns!, St John-at-Hackney Church, all weekend, From £32.50 (includes three-course dinner). Already a strong contender for ‘best-named Burns Night event’ of 2015, this riotously fun party to celebrate Scotland’s randiest poet features all the traditional Burns Night festivities given a modern twist.

…or take a look at 25 parties planned this weekend

Classic Cinema Club: ‘French CanCan


Classic Cinema Club: ‘French CanCan’, Ealing Town Hall, TONIGHT, £7, £6 concs. Director Jean Renoir’s confection in succulent colour runs along Hollywoodian puttin’-on-a-show lines, with veteran Jean Gabin the canny impresario juggling ferociously jealous belly-dancer María Félix and the laundry girl (Françoise Arnoul) he’s grooming for stardom.

LOCO Comedy Film Festival: ‘Hue & Cry’ + ‘A Fish Called Wanda’, Ritzy Picturehouse, Saturday, £12.60 per film. The LOCO Comedy Film Festival, now in its fourth year, offers up premieres of global comedy hits alongside screenings of classic films. This year they’re exploring the theme of comedy and class, which naturally involves showing a fistful of flicks from those masters of the social satire, Ealing.

‘Sunset Blvd.’ + ‘Double Indemnity’, The Rio, Sunday, £10, £8 concs. A terrific double bill of seedy LA noir from director Billy Wilder.

BAFTA Backstage, Piccadilly Circus, Sat-Sun, free. BAFTA are throwing open their doors to the public to celebrate their latest photography exhibition featuring knockout imagery from a vast archive.

Or at the cinema…

A Most Violent Year ★★★★☆ In little over three years and three features, American writer-director JC Chandor has launched himself into the rare company of uncompromising filmmakers with more than superheroes on the brain. ‘A Most Violent Year’, Chandor’s new, absorbing no-bull New York period drama, further clarifies what might be the most promising career in American movies: an urban-headed filmmaker sparing with time and place and with an eye on the vacant throne of the late, great Sidney Lumet (‘Serpico’, ‘Dog Day Afternoon’).

The Gambler ★★★☆☆ There’s a nauseating appeal to watching a player lose fat stacks of chips – and the winning is fun too…

La Maison de la Radio ★★★★☆ Radio France is the Gallic equivalent of the BBC: a public service broadcaster covering everything from news and current affiars to drama, music and spoken word across eight channels. ‘Etre et Avoir’ director Nicolas Philibert’s 2013 documentary covers 24 hours at Radio France’s headquarters, with assorted bulletins from a roving reporter doggedly following the Tour de France.

…or see all of the latest releases.

Bad Jews


Bad Jews, St James Theatre, Fri-Sat, £10-£30. Family tensions are bound to run high when a loved one dies. But in this hilarious new comedy from Joshua Harmon, you frequently wonder whether a tragic death might actually provoke a bloody murder.

Bull, Young Vic, Fri-Sat, £19.50, £10 concs. Two audience members fainted during the press night performance of ‘Bull’, and I can’t say I blame them: anybody thinking the 55-minute running time of Mike Bartlett’s shocking play means an easy ride is sorely mistaken.

The Changeling, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, all weekend, £10-£60. If comedy equals tragedy plus time, then Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s 1622 tragedy ‘The Changeling’ has had almost four centuries to get funny.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne

This week’s best new art

Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne, Royal Academy of Arts, Sat-Sun, £16.50, concs available, free under 16s. The Royal Academy usually scores the first blockbuster of the year, so expectations are high for this exhibition of Flemish baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens – an artist who painted everything from family portraits to ceilings but is best-known for his sensuously fleshy female nudes and the term they spawned: ‘Rubenesque’.

David Altmejd: Faces, Modern Art, Fri-Sat, free. The Canadian-born artist who has a penchant for mirrors and all things glittery, presents new works. Using polyurethane foam, clay, synthetic hair and resin, Altmejd sculpts deformed heads that have two perspectives.

Camilla Steinum: Dubious Desire for Cleanliness, Rod Barton, Fri-Sat, free. Fragmentary sculptural assemblages made with metal and hand-coloured textiles by the Berlin-based artist.

Mary Ramsden: Swipe, Pilar Corrias, Fri-Sat, free. Abstract paintings by the London-based painter allude to smudges and marks on screen based devices from computers to mobile phones.

London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, all weekend, £20, £14 adv, £13 concs. Returning to the Business Design Centre for its 27th edition, the London Art Fair will feature works by leading Modern British and contemporary artists.

The First Humans, Pump House Gallery, all weekend, free. Five artists including Caroline Achaintre, Salvatore Arancio, Vidya Gastaldon, Andy Harper, Ben Rivers and Jack Strange create works that reveal surprising, prehistoric tendencies in contemporary art.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… tickets to ‘Magnificent Obsessions’ at Barbican or tickets to View: A Festival of Art History

Grab… 30% off tickets to The School of Life Live: New Year’s Resolutions talk on January 29

Book… these gigs while you still can

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