Things To Do In London Today: Tuesday 12 September 2017

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Things to do today is sponsored by the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

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MENTAL HEALTH: How do you ensure your mental wellbeing? Hear real life stories and celebrate the aspects of life that keep our brain healthy at this three-day festival of talks, debates and seminars. There's a great lineup of events, including a talk from Ed Balls. Various locations, from £3, book ahead, until 14 September

DRAWING AND PAINTING: Draw and paint Holland Park — one of London's most picturesque green spaces — on this full day course. All the materials you need will be provided, just make sure you bring a sketchbook and a stool to pitch up on. Holland Park, £85, book ahead, 10.15am-5.15pm

AGAINST ARMS TRADE: This week, one of the world's largest arms fairs is setting up shop at ExCel in east London. Art at the Arms Fair is hosting an exhibition to highlight the inhumanity of the event, in aid of Campaign Against Arms Trade. SET (East London), free, just turn up, 11am-7pm, until 15 September

GINGERBREAD AND TEA: Every Londoner knows that Mayfair is synonymous with a great afternoon tea. But where did the tradition come from? On this tour, discover the surprising histories of some of the world's most famous hotels and eateries. Green Park tube, £12, book ahead, 2pm-3.45pm

GRESHAM TALKS: You've probably heard of Gresham College — you may have even learnt a thing or two from one of its free talks. But who was Sir Thomas Gresham, and why did he leave a large portion of his fortune to educating Londoners through this lecture series? Find out at this lecture and book launch at Barnard's Inn Hall (Chancery Lane). Free, just turn up, 6pm-8pm

Why is Mayfair synonymous with afternoon tea?

TASTER TUESDAYS: We love a bargain, we do. But we love a bargain even more when it involves delicious food. Sample some of Boxpark's tastiest treats on a chilled Tuesday taster evening, from the likes of Arancina and Les Deux Amies. Boxpark Croydon, food from £2.50, just turn up, 6pm-11pm

FRIEND OR FAUX: This talk focuses on the future of authentic design during today's digital age where technology allows even the most complex designs to be mass produced. The discussion includes a panel of leading voices in the field of design who will emphasise the importance of design heritage. Design Museum, £10, book ahead, 6.15pm-7.45pm

SPORTY SHORTS: 1000 Londoners have teamed up with London Sport to share their stories of being more physically active in the city. Run on down to the cinema and catch the screening of these sporty shorts, why don't you? Ritzy Cinema (Brixton), £5, book ahead, 7pm

BOROUGH TALKS: The true cost of the food we eat is discussed at this talk by a panel of agriculture and environment experts. They will discuss how industrialised food production is affecting the earth and if it is possible to produce food in more sustainable ways that are economically viable. Borough Market, £17.50, book ahead, 7pm-9pm

ART ON A UKULELE: Join the Hepatitis C Trust for an evening of music, fine art, and ukuleles painted by artists Mick Rooney, Ramiro Fernandez Suas, Cathy Pilkington, and many others. The instruments will be showcased at this concert hosted by Channel 4 News' Jon Snow. The Jazz Cafe, £35, book ahead, 7pm-11pm


See in the autumn at this free festival

On 24 September, Stratford's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park hosts Harvest Stomp, a day of music, games, food and performances. Say goodbye to summer in the best way possible, by playing classics such as splat the rat, tasting an array of jams and chutneys, and settling down for some tunes with a craft beer.

There's plenty for kids, whether they want to join in an art and craft workshop, learn some cookery skills, or show the farm animals some love. For adults, food stalls, drinks (both boozy and soft), and a cracking line up of bands, choirs and soloists will surely tickle some taste buds.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is the place to be on 24 September. Entry to Harvest Stomp is completely free. Get the lowdown on this end of summer celebration here.


Art review: underwater butterflies & flags

Copyright Alexander James

Artist Alexander James photographs beautiful butterflies and the American flag made from flowers underwater. He then ripples the water so that the image produced distorts and abstracts to create stunning artworks. Alexander James: Death of the Dream with Dellasposa at Herrick Gallery, 93 Piccadilly, W1J 7NQ. Until 17 September, free. ★★★★☆ (Monday-Sunday)

Theatre review: Godot comes home

Samuel Beckett's 1953 play is back in its ancestral home, The Arts Theatre, where it saw its first London performance in 1955.  Absurdist clowning, mysterious pronouncements and a lot of waiting, it's a classic play that's not one for everyone. Irish company AC Productions give a fresh and pause perfect rendition, and their expertise and experience in performing Beckett shines through. Waiting for Godot, The Arts Theatre, 6-7 Great Newport Street, WC2 H7JB £20-43, until 23 September [Monday to Saturday] ★★★★Chris Bridges

Good cause for the day

PUB QUIZ: Everybody loves a pub quiz. This one's in aid of Walking With The Wounded, a charity that supports vulnerable veterans as they re-integrate back into society. There are great prizes up for grabs including a signed 2016/2017 Chelsea shirt, and the winning team even gets to create a set of bespoke Top Trumps cards. Hard Rock Cafe, £15, book ahead, 6.30pm-10.30pm, Thursday 14 September

Fun things to do with our friends and sponsor Funzing...

The Harry Potter Christmas Tour


Get sorted into one of the four magical houses of Hogwarts, and go in exploration of the city’s famous filming locations on this 2-hour walking tour. You’ll meet your guide outside the Palace Theatre, where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is showing, and set off on your journey across town - following in the footsteps of Deatheaters, visiting the inspiration for Knocturn Alley, and marvelling at the Ministry of Magic. And you better brush up on your Potter knowledge, because you can earn points for your house along the way, by taking part in trivia quizzes. The winners? You’ll find out when the tour ends at Platform 9 3/4… Get tickets

Therapeutic Potential of Magic Mushrooms


Tripping as treatment? It exists, and scientists at some of the world's most prestigous universities are studying the benefits of single-use psychedelic sessions to treat severe mental health conditions. But do hallucinogenic drugs have a place in our hospitals? Initial results have been positive, but how do these sessions work? What do these scientists use? What do the participants themselves have to say? Clinic Psychologic Dr Rosalind Watts leads this fascinating talk into the potential successes and pitfalls of using psychedelics in medicine, using her own personal experience as a "trip-sitter" at Imperial College London.  Get tickets

The Original London Loo Tour


We’re fed up of bog standard London tours. Been there, done that. So how about learning some more about the history and surprisingly dynamic modern politics of London’s public toilets? This 1.5hr walking tour covers iconic London from a whole new perspective, as you learn about ‘spending a penny’ at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and explore the capital’s most patriotic toilet. The tour ends in the Cellar Door Cocktail bar, a former gentleman’s lavatory. Delightful. Get tickets