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48 flippin’ fabulous things to do in London this weekend

crossrail gardens[Photo: helenoftheways]

Brunch like you’re in Berlin with a Sunday spread at Crate Brewery, pick up knockout comics and prints at the fourth edition of ELCAF, or feast your eyes on London’s next batch of sensational creatives at degree shows popping up all across the city. Here are all the best ways to spend your time this weekend.

Things to do 

Heresy Solstice Gathering, Ali Baba Bar, Sat, free. Join Heresy Label in celebrating the summer solstice at their all-day party in Peckham, where DJs will be spinning psych, acid folk, garage rock, and new wave.

Kew Midsummer Fete, Kew Green, Sat, free. The main attraction at this annual local get-together is the traditional Victorian fairground, featuring a ferris wheel, flying chair-o-planes and a tots’ merry-go-round. Live entertainment on the stage comes from bands including Snake in the Grass and Rupert’s Blues, plus the exotic sounds of Brazil from percussion group Maracatu Estrela do Norte.

Modball Rally, Pall Mall, Sat, free. More than 150 of the world’s most statement-making sports cars will line up in Pall Mall’s Waterloo Place at the start line of the Modball Rally Europe, a week-long race for modified cars which races (and parties) its way through Paris, Milan, Rome and Monaco on the way to the finish line in Barcelona.

CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle Midnight Walk, various, Sat, free. Usually spelled Largactil, it’s the world’s oldest anti-psychotic drug, infamous for inducing extreme physical side effects including a shuffling, lumbering gait. Don’t worry: the organisers of this summer solstice midnight walk will not try to drug you. They will, however, do their best to blow your mind on a 4.8 mile tour of Southwark, starting outside Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and ending at the Maudsley Hospital.

Amnesty International Book Sale, Church of the Ascension, Sat, free. Lovers of books and bargains will be delighted by the Blackheath and Greenwich Amnesty International Group’s annual book sale. Donations, which are often brand new, come from individuals, publishers and book reviewers.

The Big Tramp, various London locations, Sat, £39, £30 concs. The Cardboard Citizens theatre company is a charity that provides support for homeless people by teaching them performing arts skills and producing touring productions. They’re recruiting for a fundraiser that will see supporters walk a mile – well, eight and a half miles, actually – in the shoes of someone who has experienced homelessness.

ELCAF, The Laundry/ Space, Sat-Sun, £3 per day or £5 for the whole weekend. Now in its fourth year, the east London comic and airs fair has extended to two days and two venues. International illustrators and graphic artists will be running workshops and talks, and over 100 exhibitors will be selling prints, books and more.

The Yard Sale, Netil Market, Sun. Netil Market’s Yard Sale returns for the summer months, with it’s usualy array of vintage clothing, homewares and furniture, and art and photography. Once you’ve shopped up an appetite, refreshments will be on hand courtesy of Terrone & Co coffee, Morty & Bobs, PizzasDon’tCry and the Gamby Shack.

Summer Sunday Love In-Volunteer Celebration Day, The Proud Archivist, Sun, free. This event celebrates the work of volunteers in Malawi,  giving attendees the chance to hear about the work they’ve undertaken in the last few years. Expect workshops, live music, good food and free massage treatments.

U.N. International Yoga Day, Alexandra Palace, Sun, free. The longest day of the year – June 21 – has been officially designated International Yoga Day. This event invites anybody who wishes to celebrate to a full programme of free saluting, stretching, balancing and generally blissing out.

Grow London, Hampstead Heath, all weekend, £16, £14 concs, free under-16s, £10/£8 adv. This contemporary garden fair brings together more than 100 exhibitors offering unusual plants, equipment and garden paraphernalia. Free workshops and talks will inspire you to pick up some new greenery while garden-less Londoners needn’t feel left out; it won’t take long to see the potential of that window ledge/back step/front wall.

Crossrail Place Gardens: Bloom, Canary Wharf, all weekend, free. This summer time celebration takes place in the recently opened Crossrail Place gardens, and provides a free programme of events and workshops geared towards the local community.

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

Swallows & AmazonsSwallows & Amazons

Eating and drinking

Stoli Lemonade Van tour, Covent Garden, TODAY, free. Head to central London to grab free samples of Stoli Mint Lemonade sorbet and Stoli Lemonade being dished out from a converted H van.

Swallows & Amazons, Maltby Street, Fri-Sat, £26. Set out for an evening of cocktails, snacks and barbecued dinner against a backdrop of intriguing architecture and antiques at this supperclub run by food and drink events experts Disappearing Dining Club and Background Bars.

Forza Win, Peckham, Fri-Sat, £35. The evening sun is streaming through the open door, a huge piece of meat is slowly turning over the wood-fired grill and there’s a good-natured buzz of anticipation across the communal tables; summer means that supper club Forza Win is back in its spiritual home.

Bethnal Green Beer Festival, St Margaret’s House, Sat, £5. Tankards at the ready! The inaugural Bethnal Green Beer Festival is landing for a day of boozey fun. Local craft breweries will set up throughout the garden and hall of St Margaret’s House, including Redchurch, Hackney Brewery and Redemption.

Berlin Brünch, Crate Brewery, Sun, £22. This event presents a Berlin-style brünch spread of meats, cheeses, smoked mackerel paté, granola, fresh fruits, ‘eggs in a glass’ and unlimited E5 Bakehouse sourdough and rye breads. There are even German cakes and desserts for afters, which you may eat as much of as you please.

Dinerama, Shoreditch Yard, all weekend, £3, free before 7pm. Street Feast have turned an old car park in Shoreditch into a street food mecca for summer 2015, featuring 15 different food vendors, six bars and space for up to 1,000 hungry visitors.

Taste of London, Regent’s Park, all weekend, £20-£29, £14 6-16s, free under-6. The annual Taste of London outdoor food festival returns in June 2015. Whether you wince at the prices or have your fork at the ready, these culinary events (of eight sessions over five days) will be returning for another year of gastronomic Glastonbury.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Magic Challenge


Magic Challenge, Betsey Trotwood, TONIGHT, £7. Jerry Sadowitz tones down his trademark ragingly offensive stand-up in this magic panel show, suitable for all audiences, which he’s testing here at the Betsey Trotwood.

Katherine Ryan – Glam Role Model, Udderbelly, Fri-Sat, £15.50, £14 concs. Biting Canadian stand-up Katherine Ryan finds humour in the things in life than make us bitter, and now she’s bringing her brand new solo show, ‘Glam Role Model’, to the Soho Theatre.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?… Live, Adelphi Theatre, Sat-Sun, £20-£47.50. Now, this is a big deal. For the first time ever (officially, at least) legendary TV improv show ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ is becoming a live show, playing a short run in the West End.

The Horne Section’s Questions Sessions, Udderbelly, Sun, £19.50, £18 concs. Alex Horne’s jazz-accompanied comedy-party returns to the Udderbelly, but this time as a quiz show. It’s heaps of fun, with games, challenges and nonsense from Horne and his hugely talented band, plus special guest comics accompanied by live music.

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


Live music

Akala, Rich Mix, TONIGHT, £10, £7 adv. Mobo Award-winning rapper Akala (Ms Dynamite’s little brother) headlines with his soulful hip hop. He’s unashamedly brainy – his lyrics are riddled with Shakespeare references, and he’s written for the Huffington Post and performed in the British Library – but he’s a dab hand at catchy tunes too.

Take That, The O2, TONIGHT, £55-£85. Gary Barlow leads out the nation’s favourite man band – now a trio – for a huge run of arena shows in Greenwich.

BRITISH SUMMER TIME: Blur, Hyde Park, Sat, £75. The Britpop heroes play their fourth headline gig in Hyde Park as part of this year’s BST series.

Hejira, Second Home, Sat, free (see website for ticket info). Fuzzed-up London act Hejira headline, performing their lo-fi, avant-garde take on R&B.

BRITISH SUMMER TIME: Kylie, Hyde Park, Sun, £53. The pint-sized pop princess performs a grand show in Hyde Park as part of the British Summer Time series of concerts.

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

regression sessions


Regression Sessions, Fire, TONIGHT, £5-£20 adv. A superbly silly, ultimately fun monthly party, featuring retro games and activities (think space hoppers and photobooths), plus DJs spinning party bangers.

MTA Records, Oval Space, TONIGHT, £15-£17.50. Chase and Status’s label night returns, serving up massive dubstep, D&B and bass sets from secret special guests that aren’t announced beforehand – you just turn up and see who’s playing.

Sink The Pink Summer Ball, Troxy, Sat, £27.50. The polysexual dance arty-party extravaganza celebrates the summer with a seriously big night out, taking over the Troxy and filling it with drag, cabaret, glamour and – most importantly – Little Mix!

Reggae Roast, Ministry of Sound, Sat, from £10. In the first of three special summer parties, the Reggae Roast crew hit Ministry of Sound’s courtyard for a daytime bash featuring Gilles Peterson, KIKO Bum, Aba Shanti-I and more. Plus magicians, food stalls and a marquee.

Horse Meat Disco, The Eagle, Sun, £6. This long-standing residency from obscenely funky and highly acclaimed DJ crew Horse Meat Disco has become a Sunday night staple for many. Though often to be found spinning rare disco gems in a New York loft party or Berlin basement session, one or more of the crew always makes it back to this Vauxhall party boozer to lay down a storming set.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.

Mr HolmesMr Holmes


Open City Docs Fest: ‘Best of Enemies’, Regent Street Cinema, Sat, £11, £10 concs. In its fifth year, Open City reigns supreme as London’s finest documentary festival. Our top pick is this American doc looking at the fierce TV debates between lefty Gore Vidal and right-winger William F Buckley, Jr, in the run-up to the hard-fought 1968 US elections.

‘Pride’ Screening and Q&A, Clapham Picturehouse, Sun, £12.60. Last year’s BAFTA-winning British comedy-drama ‘Pride’ told how Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners came to lead the London Pride march in 1985. The organisation are set to do it again this year and this one-off screening is part of the celebration.

One Deadly Summer, Ciné Lumière, Sun, £8, £6 concs. For the first twenty minutes or so, this looks like an all-too-familiar chirpy French rural comedy: pert-buttocked coquette Isabelle Adjani arrives in a small village and sets the local manhood afire with lust and rumour. Then the tone shifts and we discover that she’s out for revenge for some outrage inflicted on her in childhood.

Or at the cinema…

Mr Holmes ★★★☆☆ Sir Ian McKellen is a pleasure to watch as an elderly Sherlock Holmes, though the drama isn’t as compelling as it might have been.

…or see all of the latest releases.



Hang, Royal Court Theatre, Fri-Sat, £12-£35. Savage brilliance from Debbie Tucker Green and her boiling star Marianne Jean-Baptiste.

West End Live, multiple venues, Sat-Sun, free. Get ready for outdoor dancing and sing-a-longs with the best of the West End’s musical theatre stars: West End Live is back. It’s the initiative that makes the most expensive place in London to the cheapest. An annual outdoor extravaganza where casts of some of London’s best shows emerge blinking into the open-air for a weekend of free alfresco performances in Trafalgar Square.

InTransit Festival, various venues around Kensington and Chelsea, all weekend, prices vary; many events free. Kensington and Chelsea’s festival of performance returns. Immersive, site-responsive dance, theatre and music takes over west London for the ninth year in a row. Immersive design and production ‘specialists’ O’Neill/Ross return to curate the line-up.

Traces, Sadler’s Wells, all weekend, £15-£38. Traces’ is the award-winning show that brought worldwide attention to Montreal ‘cirque nouveau’ collective The 7 Fingers, way back in 2006. It’s toured to 200 cities since then, and its scruffy, highly personal and personable aesthetic has been adopted by other new circus companies.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

Museum of London

This week’s best new art

Christina Broom: Soldiers and Suffragettes, Museum of London Docklands, all weekend, free. The life and work of the extraordinary female photographer is celebrated in this survey.

BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, all weekend, free. From famous sitters to family members, like Michael Gaskell’s acrylic painting of his niece ‘Eliza’ (pictured), every face tells a different story in this annual portrait prize.

UnfinishedŠ Works from The Courtauld Gallery, Aldwych, all weekend, £8.50, concs available. The Courtauld’s summer showcase brings together a variety of works from the permanent collection, which are described as unfinished. Dating from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century, the paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture reveal the working process of an artist.

London art college degree shows, various locations, all weekend, free. We’ve rounded-up all the degree shows you need to see this summer, including BA and MA courses in disciplines including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, textiles, architecture, ceramics and curating at colleges including Goldsmiths, Chelsea College of Arts, Royal Academy Schools and the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… an immersive ‘Alice in Wonderland’ experience at ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’

Grab… priority booking: tickets for dreamthinkspeak’s ‘Absent’ at Shoreditch Town Hall

Book… these gigs while you still can

Best of the blog

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