MUSEUMS: Explore London museums after hours during a weekend of special Museums at Night events and activities – even sleepovers. Here are our recommendations, including our Thames quiz at Museum of London Docklands’ Cockles and Mussels late on Saturday.
OPEN STUDIOS: Wimbledon Studios host their Summer Open Studios Art Show from Friday to Sunday. Nose around the artists’ creative spaces and see and buy work from them direct, whether painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, textiles or furniture. Free entry, just turn up, open Saturday and Sunday 11am-6pm
HORTICULTURAL HAPPENINGS: Chelsea Fringe blossoms into life for three weeks of green-fingered, flowery fun events celebrating the pleasures of gardening around London. Check the website for the full programme.
PHOTOGRAPHY: The Syngenta Photography Award Exhibition opens at Somerset House on Friday, so go and see the winning pictures this weekend, themed around Rural – Urban. Free entry, just turn up, 10am-6pm
BEER FESTIVALS: Seek out real ales and ciders in Kingston and Ealing.
Saturday 18 May
MORRIS DANCING: It’s the 60th anniversary of Westminster Day of Dance. Lots of Morris troupes will be coming to London to dance at prime locations across the borough: Westminster Cathedral, St James’ Park, Victoria Embankment, Tate Britain, Duke of York Steps, China Town and Trafalgar Square. Check the schedule at the Westminster Morris Men website. Free, just turn up, from 10am-4pm
GALLERIES: It’s Gallery Day in EC1 and WC1 meaning special events and extended opening hours at 23 galleries, so go out and discover new spaces and new art. All free entry. Check the website for a map and more info.
CYCLEFEST: The Yellow Jersey Press Cycling Festival takes place outside Foyles on the Southbank with books, games, quizzes and talks. Free, just turn up, from 11.30am-4pm
MAY FAIR: Notting Hill Mayfest is in full swing. St John’s Church, Lansdowne Crescent is the venue for a bit of traditional maying, including maypole dancing, jam and tombola. Free, just turn up from 1pm
UNUSUAL WALK: If you like history, science, surprising stories and walking round London, discover Invention, Intelligence & Enterprise in Vauxhall and Lambeth with the excellent Laurence Scales. Tickets £10, prebook, 2-5pm
CEMETERY: Magnificent Nunhead Cemetery holds an open day with catacomb tours, stalls, kids activities and crafts. Free entry, just turn up, 11am-5pm
MANGA: It’s ComicaMangAsia day at the Festival of Asian Literature: take the kids to a free manga workshop from 12pm and browse the fair. Buy tickets for talks and workshops for adults in the afternoon at Asia House, New Cavendish Street W1. Open 11am-4.30pm
SCIENTIFIC SIMON MAYO: The radio DJ heads up a family friendly afternoon, talking about his passion for science and the creation of ITCH. Expect lots of live experiments and take part in an elements treasure hunt at the Royal Institution. Tickets £10 adults, £7 concessions, 3-7.30pm
EUROVISION: We made a list of Eurovision parties going on around town but these are all bound to be very busy so please check with the venue about tickets. Or stay home and have a drinks and cheeses of Eurovision party like what we’ll be doing. Tune in to BBC One, live, 8pm
ROSS SUTHERLAND FAN CLUB ALERT: SJ Fowler, Ross Sutherland, Hannah Silva, Honor Gavin and Outfit are at Rich Mix for a night of Electronic Voice Phenomena, cutting edge poetry, music and performance. Entry £10 / £8, starts 8pm
FREE FILM: Watch anime classic Spirited Away in Brockwell Park as part of the Herne Hill Free Film Festival. Free, just turn up, 8.30pm
Sunday 19 May
GEFILTEFEST: Ivy House in Golders Green hosts the London Jewish Food Festival with 50 sessions including cookery demonstrations and workshops but also talks and discussion sessions about the art and culture of food. There’s a kids’ programme too and live music and stalls in the garden. Tickets £25 adults, £12.50 children, prebook, open 9.30am-6pm
CAMERA FAIR: Photographica is the UK’s largest photographic collectors fair and there will be over 135 tables offering images, cameras, books, accessories and restoration tools. £5, just turn up, from 10am
RAW WINE: Discover and taste natural wine at the RAW Wine Fair in the Old Truman Brewery. Tickets £20 advance, £25 on the door, open 10am-6pm
MUSICTECHFEST: A festival of music ideas looking at the latest developments in music, performance and technology. Workshops, talks, performances, music making, hacking at The Rave campus, North Greenwich. Free, preregister – only tickets left for Sunday’s Hackers, Jammers and Beatboxers all-dayer from 12-11pm
SE LONDON: Dulwich Park Fair is a highlight of the ongoing Dulwich Festival with a steam fair, loads of stalls, animals from Vauxhall City Farm, a dog show plus local ales and food. Free, just turn up, 12-6pm
FLEA MARKET: Mooch to Candid Arts in Islington for a flea market featuring 50 traders proferring collectables, upcycled, vintage stuff and have a go on the tombola. Free entry, just turn up, 11am-6pm
PUB DANCE: Cloud Dance Sundays bring contemporary dance to the pub. Watch talented and promising artists show you their stuff while you ease into the end of the weekend with a beer or two. At Lion and Unicorn, Kentish Town. Tickets £15, £12 concessions, book or just turn up, starts 7.30pm
Other good stuff
- What’s on stage and art shows to see
- Live comedy in London
- Booky and spoken word events
- Events for curious-minded Londoners
- Free things to do in London
- What’s on in the big Museums and Galleries
- Food and drink
- Listen to our latest podcast
Westminster Day of Dance photo by McTumshie via the Londonist Flickrpool.