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47 wonderful things to do in London this weekend

movinonagroove[Photo: movinonagroove]

This weekend couldn’t get any better! The clocks spring forward meaning those balmy summer nights are drawing ever closer, and our round-up is off the charts with fun-filled events. Don your best pyjamas and head to the Prince Charles Cinema for back-to-back Pixar flicks, pick from a super selection of food markets and festivals, or have your mind blown by the coral reef collection opening at the Natural History Museum, which includes specimens collected by Charles Darwin himself. Here’s everything you need to know about the next few days…

Things to do 

Friday Late: Spectacle of the Species, V&A, TONIGHT, free. Celebrate the opening of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. Expect great music, talks and workshops all exploring the natural elements that were intrinsic to McQueen’s design vision.

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.

Independent Label Market and London Brewers’ Market, Old Spitalfields Market, Saturday, free. Pick up vinyl, CDs, tapes and other goodies from some of the UK’s best independent record labels at this excellent market.

King’s Cross Fête, Cubitt Square, Saturday, free. Get a big breath of fresh spring air at this event in the newly opened Lewis Cubitt Square in King’s Cross. The fun-focused selection of activities includes croquet, lawn games, children’s art activities and a pop-up photo parlour.

Festivaleyes Open Day and Launch Party, The Russet, Saturday, free. Festivaleyes is an online market where independent designers sell their festival-inspired creations. Almost everything for sale is one or more of the following: sparkly, feathered, tasselled, spandex, metallic, animal print or sequinned.

Death By Chocolate, The London Dungeon, Sat-Sun, £20.50. As tradition dictates, The London Dungeon has ignored the fact that Easter is generally a fluffy, friendly holiday and thought up a ghastly treat for visitors. A Victorian sweet shop will be tempting guests with is colourful confectionary and providing a sinister twist: its proprieter Miss Edmunds is a notorious poisoner.

Frock Me! Vintage Fair, Chelsea Old Town Hall, Sunday, £4 general, £2 students. Frock Me! returns with some of the best vintage the capital has to offer. Catering to everyone from serious collectors to fashion enthusiasts, Chelsea Town Hall will be filled with over 50 stalls of vintage and designer clothing, accessories and jewellery.

Hackney DIY Art Market, EPIC Dalston, Sunday, free. The people behind Hackney’s monthly Flea Market bring you the DIY Art Market, a celebration of London’s emerging independent artists and makers. With over 50 handpicked exhibitors, it’s a great way to discover unique pieces at affordable prices.

Little Black Classics, The Book Club, Sunday, £5. Presented by Penguin and The Book Club, this evening celebrates the Little Black Classics series which cost only 80p each. FOWL Cabaret host the event which boasts games, quizzes and fun performances.

Beard, Somerset House, all weekend, free. Here, all manner of facial tufts come under the spotlight from John Hurt’s wiry fisherman’s whiskers to Harnaam Kaur’s unexpected beard, which she’s been growing since she was 16 when she was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries.

Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea, Natural History Museum, all weekend, £10, £4.50 concs. Find out whether life really is better down where it’s wetter at this exhibition of images and information collected during the three-year-long Catlin Seaview Survey of coral reefs. More than 250 specimens from the Natural History Museum’s collections will also be on show, including coral collected by Darwin on the HMS Beagle.

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

Brockley Market

Eating and drinking

Brockley Market, Brockley, Saturday, free. Located in Lewisham College car park, this friendly market makes a great place to pick up some quality groceries. The focus is on locally sourced seasonal food, whether that’s a joint for your Sunday lunch, your basic supply of fresh fruit and veg, or cakes, artisan breads, cheese and charcuterie for a special occasion.

Urban Food Fest, Euro Car Parks, Saturday, free. A revolving cast of dozens of food stalls and trucks serve a frankly intimidating variety of global cuisine at the Euro Car Parks in Shoreditch. Jerk chicken, wood-fired oven-cooked pizza, pad thai, halloumi souvlaki, sushi, schwarma, fried chicken, burritos – we could go on.

Rosewood London’s Slow Food & Living Market, Holborn, Sunday, free. Grand Holborn hotel Rosewood London is putting its inner courtyard to good use every Sunday by hosting a food market with the ‘Slow’ (sustainable, local, organic and wholesome) Food and Living ethos at heart.

The Chocolate Festival, Business Design Centre, all weekend, £9, £4 children. Willy Wonka eat your heart out: for three days only – and just in time for Easter – the Business Design Centre becomes a one-stop shop for all your sugary needs. There’ll be free samples, of course, and more than 60 chocolatiers in attendance.

The Cheese and Wine Festival, Business Design Centre, all weekend, £12. Following five years on the Southbank this festival is relocating indoors; with potentially pongy repercussions. Cheese lovers can expect more than 200 types of cheese from over 30 companies including artisan cheesemongers Paxton & Whitfield and La Cave à Fromage.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Cardinal Burns


Cardinal Burns, The Four Thieves, TONIGHT, £12-£18. Expect silly, slightly perverse sketches and subtle, worryingly believable performances. Dustin Demri-Burns and Seb Cardinal are mighty talented.

Nish Kumar – Live at the POW, Prince of Wales, TONIGHT, £10-£12. Our reviewer gave Nish Kumar’s third solo show, ‘Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity’, a whopping five stars at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Basically, if you like your comedy to be intelligent, inventive, thought-provoking and delivered with a passion, urgency and enthusiasm that makes an hour feel like a fantastic ten minutes, then you’re going to love Nish Kumar’s show.

Banana Cabaret, The Bedford, Fri-Sat, £11-£16. There are always strong line-ups at this long running club, which is soon approaching its 30th year. Alistair Barrie, Tom Wrigglesworth and Geoff Boyz play both nights with Robert White joining Friday’s lineup too.

Suspiciously Cheap Comedy, Backyard Comedy Club, Sunday, £5, £3 concs. Joining Gein’s Family Giftshop and Goose tonight are shambolic poet and ‘Alan Partridge’ star Tim Key, prop-comedy sensation The Boy with Tape on His Face and sketch duo Beard.

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

 Nicki MinajNicki Minaj

Live music

GoGo Penguin, Union Chapel, TONIGHT. Celebrating a Mercury Prize nomination for their album ‘v2.0’ – which continues to display their eclectic influences, ranging from Brian Eno and Massive Attack to EST, Debussy and Shostakovich – pianist Chris Illingworth, bassist Nick Blacka and drummer Rob Turner comprise this high-octane, Manchester-based trio.

Nicki Minaj, The O2, Saturday, £40-£55. It’s been ages since Nicki last played a headline show in London, and in that time she’s turned to acting (in ‘The Other Woman’), become an ‘American Idol’ judge, launched a fragrance range (smell like Nicki!), and got into varying degrees of controversy for two videos featuring (respectively) her bum and some definitely Nazi-esque imagery.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Royal Albert Hall, Saturday, £35-£71. With Oasis now a distant memory, Gallagher senior has well and truly taken flight with his High Flying Birds. As you might expect, there are lots of ’60s-leaning, jangly pop and psychedelia-inspired moments to enjoy and sing along to, but with his sky-high avian bandmates Gallagher’s voice – literally and in songwriting terms – is bolder and more direct than ever.

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

Erol Alkan


Erol Alkan, XOYO, TONIGHT, £12.50 adv. Architect of seminal indie/electro mash-up Trash in ex-nightclub The End, Erol Alkan plays a rare (these days) London set. Kamera, Dark Circles and Lemmy Ashton support at this show presented by Bugged Out.

Skirt, Stokey Stop, TONIGHT, £5. ‘Liberté. Egalité. Beyoncé!’ reads the tagline for this night of seriously sassy music. As well as Queen Bey, you can shake your respective stuff around to tons of pop, funk, soul and rock gems, plus guilty pleasures, from across the decades, from the likes of The Supremes, Tina Turner, Nirvana, the Beach Boys, Mariah Carey, Bowie, Prince, Aretha Franklin and plenty more.

Straight Nasty, Vogue Fabrics, Saturday, £5, free before 11. Abandon every notion of cool, descend to the Vogue Fabrics basement and party to the pop anthems you lived for when you were a tween: everything from Destiny’s Child to the Spice Girls to Peter Andre. (When’s he getting a knighthood, anyway?)

Need2Soul, The Qube Project Club, Saturday, £15. Inimitable disco-house legend François K, who’s played seminal NYC spots Paradise Garage and Studio 54, steps up for a rare London set alongside Phil Asher and Ricky Morrison.

The End of the World Party, Scala, Saturday, £7-£12. Party like it’s your last night on earth with epic anthems, a photobooth and cosmic glamour fancy dress.

Saturday Sessions at Ministry of Sound, Ministry of Sound, Saturday, £20 adv. French disco-house sensation Dimitri From Paris takes control of the Box with his dapper take on funk and disco. As well as his shimmering cuts you can also dance the night away to Horse Meat Disco and Chez Damier.

Sunday Love, Old Queen’s Head, Sunday, £1. Super-funky dude Daniel Wang brings his colourful disco licks to Islington for a groove session, going back-to-back with Artwork – he of dubstep supergroup Magnetic Man and now a committed disco fan.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water


BFI Flare: ‘Jamie Marks is Dead’, BFI Southbank, TONIGHT, £8–£11.70. One of the best new films screening in the BFI’s lesbian and gay film festival is this unsettling US indie. Based on American novelist Christopher Barzak’s 2008 coming-of-age tale ‘One For Sorrow’, this is a genuinely unusual teen drama poised somewhere between ‘Twilight’ and ‘Winter’s Bone’.

Pixar Pyjama Party, Prince Charles Cinema, Saturday, £20, £17.50 concs. Snuggle up in your jim-jams and settle down to all-nighter of seven of the greatest animated films ever made. None of that ‘Cars’ rubbish, here, either. For the most part, this is a cherry-picked selection of Pixar’s very finest, from insanely inventive adventures like ‘Toy Story’, ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Monsters Inc’ to smarter, more complex tales like ‘Ratatouille’ and ‘Up’.

‘Fantomas’ + live piano, Ciné Lumière, Sunday, £15, £12 concs. Enjoy a screening of the first episode in director Louis Feuillade’s ‘Fantomas’ cycle, based on pulp novels by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain.

Or at the cinema…

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water ★★★★☆ Don’t call this tale of the misadventures of a high-pitched sponge and his random pals living in the undersea village of Bikini Bottom ‘kids’ stuff’. Nickelodeon’s animated TV sensation has always been a home for surreal stoner humour, utterly inappropriate sexual innuendos and a constant stream of one-liners.

The Face of an Angel ★★★☆☆ This is a ghostly and slippery sideways glance at the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007 – a crime that fellow students Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito seem to have been convicted and cleared of ad infinitum ever since.

Get Hard ★★★☆☆ Like a small child with a set of steak knives, ‘Get Hard’ wields sharp ideas gleefully without inspiring confidence. It’s a please-don’t-let-me-get-raped-in-prison comedy starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, and comes with a tongue-in-cheek layer of race gags, wide-eyed sexism and plenty of sweaty gay panic.

…or see all of the latest releases.

A Breakfast of Eels


A Breakfast of Eels, Print Room, Fri-Sat, £25, £17 concs. Like the storm which bridges its final acts, Robert Holman’s play swells, pregnant with meaning and guarded, overcast silences, before breaking into beautiful, painful torrents.

Sweeney Todd, Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop (West End), Fri-Sat, £30-£67.50. Cameron Mackintosh creates a pop up pie and mash shop to home Tooting Arts Club’s excellent production of Sondheim’s musical.

The Chair, Unicorn Theatre, all weekend £16, £10-£13 concs. It may be set on the docks of Tiger Bay in Cardiff, but Lewis Gibson’s fantastical, spooky play for ages seven and up takes you to many more unexpected places.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

Helena Almeida

This week’s best new art

Helena Almeida: Inhabited drawings/Desenhos habitados, Richard Saltoun, TODAY, free. Using her body as the subject for her multi-media work, Almeida documents her choreographed performance with everyday object to create blurred renditions of momentary act.

Michelle Stuart: Trace Memory, Parafin, Fri-Sat, free. The acclaimed American artist whose practice encompasses land art, drawing and sculpture presents selected works from 1969 to the present, which encapsulates the physical engagement of our surroundings.

Isa Genzken, Hauser & Wirth, Fri-Sat, free. Two-dimensional assemblages that borrow from the language of capitalism to confront the current uneasy social climate.

Martin Wilner: Making History, Hales, Fri-Sat, free. The US artist, who is also an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, presents pen and ink works created over a ten-year period, which capture the notion of time and distill the importance of observation.

Los Carpinteros, Parasol Unit, all weekend, free. The Cuban duo’s first London show will include installations, sculptures and a film screening that question the functionality of design.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… a weekend in Paris for We Love Green Festival or a five-star trip for two to Cuba

Grab… £14.50 tickets to see Circolombia at the Roundhouse

Book… these gigs while you still can

Best of the blog

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Russell Brand is opening a café in London

Twelve secrets you never knew about London’s museums

Is London getting a fox café?

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