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Things To Do This Week In London: 26 June-2 July 2023

Things To Do This Week In London: 26 June-2 July 2023

Things to do this week is sponsored by City Cruises.

All week

Things to do this week in London: a old-fashioned public telephone, with a backdrop of a poster about a meteorite in the desert - part of the Wes Anderson exhibition
Celebrate all things Wes Anderson at Asteroid City

KENTISH TOWN: A reminder that as of Monday, Kentish Town tube station is closed — though the Thameslink station remains open. The closure will last about a year, and is to allow for essential repairs.

ED BYRNE: Comedian Ed Byrne brings his work in progress show Tragedy Plus Time to Soho Theatre, ahead of its full debut at Edinburgh Fringe. It sees him mining the most tragic events in his life for laughs, in a bid to test out Mark Twain’s theory that tragedy plus time equals humour. 26-30 June

NEWHAM WORD FESTIVAL: A steady stream of  free poetry and storytelling events flows through east London this week, as writers including Michael Rosen, Angie Thomas — and Londonist contributor Momtaz Begum-Hossain — take part in Newham Word Festival. FREE, 26 June-9 July

LONDON INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL: Europe’s largest South Asian film festival is back at BFI Southbank for screenings including the UK premiere of Amar Colony, about six neighbours in the Lower Himalayas, and To Kill A Tiger, a documentary about a father seeking justice for the abduction and assault of his daughter. Until 29 June

ARCHITECTURE FESTIVAL: We’re into the final few days of this year’s London Festival of Architecture, and there’s still time to catch some fantastic events, including a panel discussion about the evolution of Waterloo, a short film about the overground sections of the Northern line, a talk about the design process of a new pocket park in Clerkenwell, and plenty more. Until 30 June

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY: It’s one of our favourite exhibitions each year — and this is your last chance to see it. Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum showcases photos from all over the world which depict the beauty and fragility of our planet. Until 2 July

CORPORATE QUEER: Perfectly timed to coincide with Pride, Corporate Queer is a free exhibition of photos of LGBTQI+ professionals in the City Of London. Head to Guildhall to see portraits of the current Lord Mayor of London, Nick Lyons; comedian and political activist Eddie Izzard; Sue Gossedge — Market Constable at Smithfield Market; and Broadgate jet washer/cleaner Michael David McLaughlan, among others. FREE, until 2 July

Things to do this week in London: Paul Donovan on London Bridge in red t-shirt and boxing gloves, punching towards the camera - an image from the Corporate Queer exhibition
Paul Donovan — Chief Economist, UBS Wealth Management, features in Corporate Queer.

WES ANDERSON: There’s nothing #AccidentallyWesAnderson about the latest exhibition at 180 Strand — Asteroid City is Anderson through and through, coinciding with the release of the director’s film of the same name. Get up close to original sets, props, miniatures, costumes and artwork from the film, which is set in an American desert town in the 1950s — immersing you into Anderson’s world. Until 8 July

BST OPEN HOUSE: This being the week between the big BST Hyde Park concerts this year, the festival site is opened up to non-ticketholders for a programme of free events. Outdoor cinema, pilates sessions and a circus showcase are just a tiny selection of the BST Open House events, with entertainment for kids, and a street food market and bar too. Monday-Thursday this week, and until 5 July

CINEMA OF THE WEEK: London’s newest cinema is the three-screen Sidcup Storyteller, located quite fittingly, on the site of an old Blockbuster. As well as showing new movies, and recordings of ballet shows, there’s a coffee shop, bar and live performance space. A spiffy addition to the area.

PUBS OF THE WEEK: While we’re in Sidcup, let’s highlight this quarter of southeast London’s remarkable array of micropubs (well it is almost in Kent after all). You’ll find gallons of real ale/friendly crowds at the Hopper’s Hut, the Hangar, the Broken Drum, the Hackney Carriage AND the Halfway House. Blimey.

DAY TRIP OF THE WEEK: Take yourself off to a beautiful island with gorgeous beaches, pastel-hued beach huts and top-notch oysters — but time your trip carefully, as Mersea Island in Essex is cut off from the mainland twice a day at high tide. Find other inspiration for day trips and weekend breaks in our Beyond London section.

AFTERNOON TEA: Fashion, music, chocolate, dim sum and London itself are the inspirations behind some of the newest afternoon tea menus being served in London. Treat yourself to fancy sandwiches, scones and pastries in posh hotels, a railway station or a cocktail bar.

Monday 26 June

Things to do this week in London: a swing chair carousel, part of Open House at BST Hyde Park
Head to Hyde Park for BST Open House. Image: Sophia J Carey

WOMEN AT WAR: Catch a screening of Sky News film, Women at War: Mexico – Murder, Migration & the Missing. The documentary explores the systemic violence faced by women in Mexico today and those individuals fighting against it, and tonight’s screening at Everyman Cinema in Borough Yards is followed by a discussion with Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford. 6.15pm-8pm

COLERIDGE AT 250: Coleridgean enthusiasts Richard Holmes and Seamus Perry, chaired by Drummond Bone, discuss the life and works of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge at the British Library. Hear about his life beyond poetry, including as a public lecturer both on utopian politics and on Shakespeare’s plays, a brilliant philosopher and interpreter of European Romanticism. 7pm-8.30pm

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HAPPY MONDAYS COMEDY: Patrick Monahan, Peter Rethinasamy and Fatiha El-Ghorri all offer previews of their Fringe Festival shows at this week’s Happy Mondays Comedy at the Amersham Arms in New Cross. As always, Sion James hosts. 7.30pm

MONDAYS IN LONDON: Looking for something else to do, today or any other week? Take a look at our guide to things to do in London on a Monday — we’ve gathered together live music venues, comedy and cabaret clubs which keep going on what is usually the quietest day of the week, along with guided walks and tours scheduled on a Monday, and a few special offers too.

Tuesday 27 June

A previous Sculpture in the City installation – Jesse Pollock, The Granary (2021), Copyright the artist. Photo © Nick Turpin

SCULPTURE IN THE CITY: Huge outdoor art trail Sculpture in the City is back from today, with works by 17 artists from 10 countries dotted around the Square Mile, including a fibreglass sculpture and a neon text piece. You can download the app for more information on each piece, or else simply wander around and see what you stumble across. We’ve always found it best explored at weekends, when the City is a little bit quieter. FREE, from 27 June

LONDON JAZZ SUMMER SERIES: The musically-astute among you will know that the EFG London Jazz Festival takes place in November, and you’re right, but we’re also being treated to a Summer Series, for anyone who can’t wait that long. It kicks off tonight with world music ensemble Shakti headlining the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith. 27 June-15 July

HELLO, BOOKSTORE: Bertha Dochouse in Bloomsbury screens Hello, Bookstore, a documentary about a beloved local and independent bookshop in Massachusetts, which is supported by the community when dire financial circumstances threaten it with closure. Followed by a Q&A with director A.B. Zax, and the shop’s owner, Matt Tannenbaum. 6.20pm

COVENT GARDEN PAST: Covent Garden in the 19th century was a strange mix of fruit market, red light district, leading theatre and (on the borders) notorious slums. Guide Richard Watkins explores this heady mix with his walk through the area. 6.30pm

KINKY BOOTS: 2005 film Kinky Boots is shown for free as part of the Movie Nights series in Canary Wharf. It’s based on the true story of a drag queen helping to save a shoe factory by showing them how to diversify their products. Certificate 12. FREE, 7pm

PRIDE PUB QUIZ: Walthamstow’s Big Penny Social hosts a Pride Pub Quiz, with trivia and activities, with a chance to win a £100 bar tab and rolling jackpot for your team — and it’s only £2 entry per person. 7pm-9pm


Sponsor message

Sail through London with City Cruises this summer

See the city’s finest sights from the river this summer, with one of City Cruises’ unique experiences.

For a taste of adrenaline, board the Thamesjet speedboat and ride down the Thames in style. Start at Westminster Pier and pass the likes of London Eye, Tower of London and Tower Bridge, snapping photos as you go. Then, hold on tight as your captain hits full throttle all the way out to Canary Wharf and back again. Children aged 3+ are welcome on the Thamesjet, as well as adults — so why not treat the whole family over the summer holidays?

If that sounds a bit wild for you, see the capital’s landmarks at a slower pace with City Cruises’ other sightseeing options — including the 24 Hour Pass, which allows you to hop on and hop off sightseeing cruises as you please. That means you can explore the city spontaneously, seeing the sights from the river, and hopping off at the next pier to get a closer look at anything that piques your interest, before jumping back on to continue your adventure.

And if it’s a special occasion? Check out the Dining Cruises, where you can tuck into delicious food as you float past London’s world-famous sights. Afternoon tea, lunch and dinner options are available, or there’s a special Jazz Dinner Cruise if you really want to… push the boat out!


Wednesday 28 June

Things To Do This Week In London: 26 June-2 July 2023
Drag Bingo X Gaylidh is at Big Penny Social in Walthamstow on Friday

STEWART LEE: Comedian Stewart Lee scales things down for his latest show, Basic Lee, which you can catch at Southbank Centre this week. He’s ditched massive sets and enormous props for a show featuring just him and a microphone. Age 14+. Thursday’s show is BSL-interpreted. 28 June-2 July

PATRIARCHITECTURE: Join Footprints of London guide Anthony Davis for a guided architecture walk around Mayfair and St James’s, focusing on how the designs of buildings can reveal whether they were designed for use by men or women. For example, why are there big balconies in London’s shopping arcades, or big bow windows in the local gentlemen’s clubs? 10.30am

SUMMER SOUNDS: Every Wednesday for the next few weeks, Jubilee Park in Canary Wharf hosts Summer Sounds, a free outdoor music performance in collaboration with Busk in London. Today, flamenco-funk fusion acoustic guitarist Joncan Kavlakoglu takes to the stage — why not take your lunch along to eat as you enjoy the show. FREE, 12pm-2.30pm

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CURATORS’ TALK: The curators of the British Library’s current (excellent) Animals exhibition give a free talk. Hear from British Library Visual Arts Curators Malini Roy and Cam Sharp Jones and Curator of Wildlife & Environmental Sounds Cheryl Tipp about how they put the exhibition together. FREE, 12.30pm-1.45pm

FABLEHOUSE: E.L. Norry is part of a panel at the Foundling Museum, talking about children in care post-second world war, as well as her latest novel, Fablehouse — which is set in an orphanage in 1954, and follows a magical adventure steeped in Arthurian myth. Others on the panel include Dr Chamion Caballero, Director and Co-Founder of The Mixed Museum; and Ann Evans, who was born during the war and placed into social services soon after. Booking your spot is essential. FREE, 7pm

BODY CONFIDENCE: A new adult event from Festival of the Girl explores ways of talking to girls about body confidence, with a specific aim at parents, carers and teachers of primary school aged girls. 7pm

Thursday 29 June

Things to do this week in London: musicians on stage in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall
Enjoy Late Night Jazz at the Royal Albert Hall

ART AFTER DARK: The National Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts and the National Portrait Gallery open their doors as part of the two-day Art After Dark programme. It kicks off on the Thursday, with late night opening from West End galleries including Cristea Roberts, 3812 Gallery and Stern Pissarro, with the three bigger galleries staying open late on Friday. 29-30 June

THE OTHER ART FAIR: Head to West Handyside Canopy in King’s Cross to browse and buy art directly from 100 different artists at The Other Art Fair. Immersive installations, live performances and DJs and a bar make this slightly different from your usual art fair. 29 June-2 July

MODEST: “Cause here she comes. She’s the baddest, bitchin’ babe of art”… It’s launch night of Modest at Kilburn’s Kiln Theatre tonight. This all-singing, all-dancing story of Victorian art scene superstar Elizabeth Thompson — as performed by some seriously hot drag talent. 29 June-15 July

PAUL MCCARTNEY: Paul McCartney and Stanley Tucci aren’t an obvious pairing, but they join forces for an in-conversation event for the recent reopening of the National Portrait Gallery. They discuss their shared interest in the creative arts, culture and photography, to celebrate current exhibition Paul McCartney, Photographs 1963–64: Eyes of the Storm. It’s a livestreamed online event. 2pm-3pm

CATASTROPHE CABARET: Comedian Fin Taylor headlines this month’s Catastrophe Cabaret at The Half Moon in Herne Hill, with support from stand-up comic Will Owen, and up-and-coming comedians Suzie Peerce and Su Mi. 7pm-9.30pm

LATE NIGHT JAZZ: It’s the turn of the young jazz musicians from the Royal College of Music Junior Department to headline Late Night Jazz at the Royal Albert Hall. Hear tunes from the swing era of the 1930s right up to the present day, including works by Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Michael Bublé, Herbie Hancock and  The Yellowjackets, in a relaxed environment where dancing and singing are encouraged. 9.30pm

Friday 30 June

Things to do this week in London: a group of four women posing for a selfie in front of a large illuminated 'ZSL' sign at Zoo Nights
Zoo Nights invites you to stay late at London Zoo

FUSE INTERNATIONAL: For 10 days, performing arts festival FUSE International takes over Kingston, with a programme of music, theatre, dance, comedy, visual arts, spoken word, circus and more. It begins today with an official opening night music and dance performance, as well as a performative lecture about the art form of cabaret, and Genderfluid Babe Manifesto which uses spoken word, dance, drag and visuals to tell the story of one person’s journey to existing beyond the binary. Browse the full programme. 30 June-9 July

IMPORTANT INVENTIONS: Nail, spring, wheel, lens, magnet, string, and pump are the seven inventions up for discussion by award-winning engineer and broadcaster Roma Agrawal. This online talk by the National Archives explores how these seven simple inventions completely changed humanity, including how handmade Roman nails led to modern skyscrapers. 2pm

ZOO NIGHTS: Another chance for adults to stay late at London Zoo, as Zoo Nights is back. Visit the animals after the zoo closes to the daytime crowd — a time when some species are at their most active. There’s also entertainment in the form of talks, animal-themed games, and a hook-a-duck contest in the listed Lubetkin Penguin Pool. 6pm-10pm

SPITALFIELDS MUSIC FESTIVAL: Celebrate 500 years of music and history at a unique festival that’s taking over ancient churches, East End arts venues, and even the Tower of London! Spitalfields Music Festival kicks off tonight with an atmospheric evening at the Grade I listed Shoreditch Church, where an exploration of protest in song is followed by a late night gig from folk/world music crossover group Kabantu. 7pm/9.30pm, festival runs until 12 July (sponsor)

DRAG BINGO: Big Penny Social gets warmed up for Pride tomorrow with Drag Bingo x Gaylidh. It’s exactly what it sounds like; bingo hosted by drag performers, followed by a ceilidh that’s been rebranded for the occasion. 7pm-12am

QUEER COMEDY NIGHT: Gay Times celebrates the launch of GAG!, a new series of events showcasing queer comedy and cabaret talent at Soho Theatre. Daniel Foxx, Dan Wye, Leila Navabi, Jodie Mitchell, Victoria Olsina, Su Mi and Dom McGovern are on the bill for tonight’s inaugural event, with all profits going to Amplifund. 9.15pm

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Saturday 1 July

Things to do this week in London: a large crowd of people, some waving rainbow flags, walking through London as part of the Pride in London parade
It’s Pride in London day! Image: iStock/petekarici

CIRCUS SCHOOL: Free festival Summer in Battersea Park continues this weekend, with circus performances and workshops to keep the kids entertained while The Ashes is shown on the big screen. There’s a beer garden and street food too. FREE, 1-2 July

EAT THE SCREEN: Today’s Family Film Club at Barbican Cinema is a little different. It’s part of the Eat The Screen series, which aims to generate conversations around farming, food waste and the like. Take the kiddos along to watch a series of short animations all on a food theme, featuring a grumpy gorilla, two brown bears, a genie, and myriad other characters. 11am

CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL: Blackheath Prep School hosts a day of free family entertainment, with author Michael Rosen as a special guest. There are children’s entertainers, author workshops, a craft fair, live music, bouncy castles, arts and craft activities, book trails, raffles, face painting and more. FREE ENTRY (charge for some activities), 11am-5pm

PRIDE IN LONDON: The Pride in London parade takes place today, wending its way from Hyde Park Corner to Trafalgar Square, with around 30,000 people and 300 floats expected to take part in celebration of London’s LGBTQI+ community. It’s free (and a lot of fun!) to watch, but whether you’re involved or not, bear in mind that central London will be very busy today. FREE, from 12pm

LEO GREEN: Saxophonist Leo Green has sure got some stamina; he and his band play six shows a week at Middle Eight’s cocktail bar in Covent Garden — and Saturdays are one of those evenings. Whether you attend the early or late show, expect a slew of jazzed-up hits by everyone from Lizzo to Van Morrison. 7pm-9.15pm or 9.45pm-1am

LAUGH FOR LEUKAEMIA: Mr Swallow – AKA Nick Mohammed — Jason Manford, Brett Goldstein, Suzi Ruffell, Kiri Pritchard-Mclean, Catherine Bohart and Tessa Coates are all on the bill at the Laugh for Leukaemia fundraising night at Bloomsbury Theatre. It’s a special one as it’s the 10th anniversary show, raising money for Blood Cancer UK. 7.30pm

CAMDEN CABARET: Queera Lynn, Lucy Luawana, Sarah Callaghan and Violet Thistletease are on the bill at Camden Cabaret at All About Eve tonight — a heady mix of drag, burlesque and comedy, to which prudes will want to stay well away from, and everyone else will love. Doors 7pm, show 8pm

Sunday 2 July

Hot air balloon London: Hot air balloons over central London
The 2019 RICOH Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta®. Credit: Exclusive Ballooning.

HOT AIR BALLOONS?: Cross your fingers for good weather on Sunday morning, as it’s the final date for this year’s Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta. If it does happen, dozens of hot air balloons will take off from Battersea Park in the early hours, floating across the city’s skies as London wakes up. FREE, from 5am

FIRE STATION OPEN DAY: Hillingdon Fire Station throws open its doors to the public today, to show visitors around, and chat about fire safety. Most importantly, there’s a fire engine, which kids (and adults) can climb inside. Maybe they’ll even let you do the siren. FREE, 11am-3pm

PECKHAM SALVAGE YARD: Head to Peckham’s Bussey Building to browse stalls by over 60 traders at this month’s Peckham Salvage Yard. You could end up taking home vintage furniture or homewares, clothes and more. 11am-6pm

THE CALLY FESTIVAL: Islington’s Caledonian Road — affectionately known as ‘The Cally’ — closes to traffic and  puts on its party gear for The Cally Festival. The free-entry celebration of local culture includes live music, storytelling, workshops, kids’ activities and more. FREE, 12pm-6pm

EID BAZAR: The Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha is celebrated at Poplar Union with an Eid Bazar. Sample food from various stalls, browse locally-made products at the market — including jewellery, henna and candles — and there’s even a chance to try paddle boarding on the canal. FREE, 1pm-4pm

MATT FORDE: Political satirist, and star of the likes of Spitting Image, Matt Forde, is at the Bill Murray this afternoon, performing the WIP for his show Inside No.10. It looks at ‘the dark comedy horror that is British politics’… plus there are silly voices too. 4.30pm-5.30pm

Museum treasure of the week

Princess Diana, Mother Theresa and Florence Nightingale stand together on a brown postcard

It’s a peach of a time to visit the Florence Nightingale Museum at St Thomas’s Hospital. The hidden gem has a brand new gallery devoted to military nursing, which includes Florence Nightingale’s wheelchair. But the gallery showing the nurse’s life in 200 objects contains the most peculiar objects. Here we see a postcard showing Nightingale beside Princess Diana and Mother Theresa — a meeting that is not based on actual events.

Good cause of the week

THe front cover of the Peckham Peculiar

The Peckham Peculiar turns 10 this year! The hyperlocal newspaper has won awards for its dedication to local news and views. But like many small publications, it’s finding times tough, with long-standing advertisers cutting back during the cost of living crisis. The paper is having a fundraiser, so that it can host a proper community celebration to celebrate its anniversary. If you value the Peculiar, then throw a few coins at its Kickstarter.

  • June 24, 2023