Things To Do In London This Week: 10-16 January 2022

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At time of writing, the Covid-19 situation is fast changing, with the possibility of new restrictions being introduced , so do check that events are still going ahead before you set off.

All week

Last chance to see Akari light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi at Barbican

LAST CHANCE: This week is your last ever chance to skate on the Natural History Museum ice rink, as it enters the final few days of the final season. Take to the ice in front of the beautiful museum façade before warming up with hot drinks at the cafe alongside the rink. Natural History Museum (South Kensington), £11.50 adults, book ahead, until 16 January

CONSERVATORY CLOUD: Barbican Conservatory has had a bit of a makeover, in the form of Akari light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi. This week is your final chance to explore the huge greenhouse with the Japanese washi paper lights suspended overhead. Barbican, free, book ahead, until 16 January

LAST HUSSAR: National Army Museum unveils a new, short-run exhibition, featuring the work of British artist Tobias Wilkinson. His photos show the day to day life of the UK’s last tank regiment in Germany, The Queen’s Royal Hussars, before they returned to the UK in 2019. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 10-28 January

Cirque du Soleil returns to the Royal Albert Hall

MIME LONDON: Juggling, hand puppets, string puppets and short films all feature on the programme for this year's London International Mime Festival, which brings together performers from around the world for almost a month of shows. Too much choice? For our money, Gandini Juggling is always a treat. Various locations and prices, book ahead, 12 January-6 February

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: Luzia is the latest show from the ever-impressive Cirque du Soleil, who swing into town for six weeks. The show, which is set in Mexico, takes water and light as its inspiration, with trapeze artists performing through pouring showers. Hoop diving, acrobatic stunts and a surreal menagerie are all part of the fun — and let's face it, with Cirque, you know it's going to be good. Royal Albert Hall, from £43, book ahead, 12 January-27 February

Monday 10 January

Catch Olga Koch's new show at Soho Theatre

SQUISH SPACE: Barbican brings back Squish Space, its sensory play space, after a long closure. Aimed at under-5s and their families, it's an ideal place for preschoolers to burn off energy while exploring, hiding and jumping, using tactile objects. Barbican, free, book ahead, 10-13 January (and selected future dates)

TITANE: This bizarre 2021 French-Belgian horror film is about a woman who has a titanium plate fitted into her head following a car crash, then develops a 'thing' for vehicles. Prince Charles Cinema (Leicester Square), £10.50, book ahead, 1pm and 6pm

POP QUIZ: Swot up on your music, film and TV nous for the Bedford's weekly Pop Quiz. From Bieber to the Beatles, The Godfather to Game of Thrones — this is a fun way to get your grey matter in gear at the start of another week. The Bedford (Balham), £2.50 pp, just turn up, 7.30pm

OLGA KOCH: Comedian Olga Koch offers special warm-ups of her newest show, Homecoming. In it, she tries to figure out who she is, as an immigrant and certified teen drama queen. Soho Theatre, from £12, book ahead, 8.45pm (repeated Wednesday)

Tuesday 11 January

West Ham's Boleyn Ground is just one of London's lost football grounds

HOW PARLIAMENT WORKS: Ever wondered how parliament works, what MPs do, and how they differ from peers? This online talk offers an introduction into the workings of UK Parliament, with a chance to ask your own questions at the end (or submit them in advance). Online event, free, book ahead, 12pm

UNIVERSAL VALUE OF NATURE: Professor Jacqueline McGlade hosts this lecture, looking at the difficulties with putting a value on nature, e.g. trying to make meaningful estimates of what water contributes to our lives. Barnard's Inn Hall (Holborn) and online, free, book ahead, 6pm-7pm

SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: The London Schools Symphony Orchestra is joined by Guildhall School Musician Olivia Boen for performances of works by the likes of Wagner, Strauss, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky. Barbican, £9-£26, book ahead, 7.30pm

LOST FOOTBALL GROUNDS: Footprints of London guide Rob Smith hosts a virtual tour of lost football grounds of London. From your own home, 'visit' well-known former stadiums such as West Ham's Boleyn Ground, and go further back in time to the first of London's football grounds like the homes of Wanderers and Thames Ironworks. Online event, £8-£16, book ahead, 8pm-9pm

Wednesday 12 January

Find out about restoration of the Elizabeth Tower. Photo: UK Parliament

VEGANISM: Can veganism help save the planet? That's the topic under discussion by Dr Richard White from Sheffield Hallam University, who looks at the effects veganism could have if widely adopted. There's a Q&A session after the talk. Online event, free, book ahead, 2pm

ELIZABETH TOWER: Learn about the history and current conservation project of the Elizabeth Tower, the Westminster tower which houses Big Ben. This online talk gives an overview of conserving both the bell and the clock, with a chance to ask your questions at the end. Online event, free, book ahead, 6pm

CHRIS WHITTY: We've become familiar with Professor Chris Whitty speaking on the topic of Covid-19, but he tackles a different subject in this Gresham College lecture; sexually transmitted and intravenous infections. The Chief Medical Officer and newly minted 'Sir' discusses how pandemics including HIV and syphilis have been transmitted via this route, along with the cancer-causing infections Hepatitis B and HPV, and what can be done to stop them. Online event, free, book ahead, 6pm-7pm

LIVE ICELANDIC: Authors Nína Björk Jónsdóttir and Edda Magnus discuss their new book, How To Live Icelandic. Pick up tips on highlights of Icelandic music, literature, cultural attitudes, food traditions and celebrations from two Icelanders themselves. Online event, £5, book ahead, 6pm-7pm

LGBTQ+ SALON: London Metropolitan Archive's LGBTQ+ salon hosts trans tattoo sensation Billy Slicks of Tits4Tats, whose tattoo studio raises money to help support trans people and fund their surgery. Online event, £5, book ahead, 7pm-8pm

POLPERRO: In need of a holiday? Take a virtual trip to Cornwall with this online talk, organised by the South West committee of the Royal Geographical Society. Art historian David Tovey discusses the Cornish coastal village of Polperro as an art centre. Online event, free, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

Thursday 13 January

Echo Juliet DJs Skate Lates at Somerset House

OPEN GARDEN: The South London Botanical Institute — which we visited in 2016 — opens its garden to the public for the day. Wander among the plants and chat to the gardeners as they go about getting the garden ready for spring. South London Botanical Institute (Tulse Hill), £5, book ahead, 11am-4pm

GETTING OLD: Scientist Andrew Steele is at the Royal Institution to discuss the ageing process in humans, and current research into slowing down or even stopping the ageing process entirely. In-person, £16/£10/£7 or online £10, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

COUNTRY DANCING: Put on your dancing shoes and learn the steps for English country, Ceilidh and barn dancing, under the guidance of experts teachers and accompanied by lively music. Choose whether you just drop in for this session, or sign up for the whole term. Cecil Sharp House (Primrose Hill), £10/£8, book ahead, 7.30pm-9.30pm

SKATE LATES: There's not long of the ice skating season left, so make the most of it with Skate Lates at Somerset House Tonight, producer and DJ Emily Jones — better known as Echo Juliet — takes to the decks to provide the soundtrack as you skate late into the evening. Somerset House, £17.50. book ahead, from 8pm

Friday 14 January

Get a preview of Guildhall Artists at Carnegie Hall

LONDON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL: Taking place at several independent cinemas around the capital, the London Short Film Festival programme includes a wealth of new drama, documentary and animation short films, competition-winning films, and industry events such as Q&A sessions and speed-pitching sessions. It begins today with Funny Shit, a series of comedy films, and Touched, which features films by female and non-binary filmmakers. Various locations and prices, book ahead, 14-23 January

BATTLE OF WATERLOO: Military historian and author Andrew Field gives a talk about the Battle of Waterloo from the often-overlooked French perspective. Find out how the battle unfolded on Napoleon's side, and how his defeat affected the lives of the men fighting for him. National Army Museum (Chelsea) or online, free, book ahead, 12pm

KING ALFRED, THE OPERA: It's not every day you can watch a free opera about King Alfred, but today is one such courtesy of Unreal City Audio. A New England is a chamber opera with 10-piece orchestra, which explores the relationship between the scholar-king and his advisor Asser (whom you may remember from such works as BBC2's The Last Kingdom), as they forge the blueprint for England. Royal Academy of Music (Marylebone), free, book ahead, 1pm

MUSIC PREVIEW: Before they travel to New York to play at the famous Carnegie Hall, Guildhall Artists perform a preview concert here in London. Mezzo-soprano Alexandra Achillea Pouta and pianist Élisabeth Pion team up for the performance. Milton Court (Barbican), free, just turn up, 6pm

LIVE MUSIC: Poplar Union's regular Friday Sessions live performance event is hosted by East London singer/songwriter Jordan O. Tonight he shares the stage with spoken word artist Poet RS and singer/songwriter Femi V. Poplar Union, free, book ahead, 7pm

UNITED STRINGS OF EUROPE: Musical ensemble United Strings of Europe celebrate their new album, Renewal, with a programme that explores themes of loss and alienation through new works and arrangements for string orchestra. They're joined by deaf actor Vilma Jackson, who gives an account of Beethoven's struggle with hearing loss in British Sign Language. Wilton's Music Hall, £9-£26, book ahead, 7.30pm

CRICK CRACK CLUB: Storytelling experts Crick Crack Club return for their latest show, The Origins of Life and Death. Jan Blake takes to the stage to share tales of creation and of extinction, and the reasons behind both. Crick Crack Club events tend to sell out, so be quick if you want tickets. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £12.50, book ahead, 7.30pm

Saturday 15 January

Take the family on a walking tour of Roman London

ROMAN LONDON: Kids and their families can join a Museum of London expert guide for a walk through the streets of Old Londinium, the area of the modern City of London which was once occupied by the Romans. Visit the remains of a Roman wall and the site of a lost amphitheatre. Age 5+. City of London, adult £8/child £6, book ahead, 10.30am

FAMILY FILM CLUB: Barbican's Family Film Club is back, and this week its new Disney comedy Ron's Gone Wrong, about a futuristic personalised robot friend who malfunctions. The screening is followed by a talk by Christina Last, Data Scientist at the Alan Turing Institute. Usual rules apply — all kids must be accompanied by an adult, and all adults must be accompanied by a kid. Barbican Cinema, £3.50 adult/£3.50 child, book ahead, 11am

SUFFRAGETTE CITY: Join Footprints of London tour guide Oonagh Gay for a guided tour around the Holborn area, focusing on suffragette history. Visit the church where Emily Wilding Davison’s funeral cortège began, and the headquarters of the Women's  Social and Political Union, and learn about topics such as the 1922 census boycott as you go. Holborn station, £12/£9, book ahead, 11am-12.30pm

LONDON IRISH: Edinburgh Rugby visit west London for this clash with London Irish in the EPCR Challenge Cup. Brentford Community Stadium, from £25 (adult) and £7 (children), book ahead, KO 3.15pm

Sunday 16 January

Have a rummage at Peckham Salvage Yard

ROBIN'S WINTER ADVENTURE: Aimed at ages 3-7, Robin's Winter Adventure uses puppetry, poetry and music to bring the story of a young boy's journey with his feathered friend alive on stage. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), from £9, book ahead, 11am/2pm

SALVAGE YARD: Keen to buy more second-hand goods in 2022? Get down to Peckham Salvage Yard where you can vintage furniture, homeware, clothes, collectables and more, sold by more than 50 different specialist traders. Well, it beats IKEA... Bussey Building (Peckham), £1 entry, just turn up, 11am-6pm

PAINT STREET ART: Try your hand at painting, and create your own version of Banksy's Girl With Balloon at this Pop-Up Painting session. All materials are provided, as expert guidance, and drinks are available to buy to get those creative juices flowing. Sipping Room (Canary Wharf), £34.99, book ahead, 3pm-5pm

SILENT CINEMA: BFI National Archive's curator Bryony Dixon and Dr Sarah Evans from the Royal Geographical Society give an illustrated talk about some of the early women explorers and their films. Rosita Forbes, Hettie Dyhrenfurth, Osa Johnson and aviation legend Amy Johnson all feature. BFI Southbank, £6.50, book ahead, 3.30pm-5pm

COMEDY FOR THE CURIOUS: Laugh off those Sunday night blues with this comedy panel show, about relationships — which intriguingly features a generous dose of science, and a "Versus the Audience" game. Host Robyn Perkins is joined by Seann Walsh and Mark Silcox. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5.50, book ahead, 8pm-10pm

Urban oddity of the week

The women's suffrage walk on Saturday probably won't go as far as Finsbury Park, but if you exit that station you can see a statue remembering a remarkable suffragist. Edith Garrud was not only a key player in the rights movement, but she was also an influential jiu jitsu instructor who taught many other women the marital art. Her statue is one of a group of three local heroes, alongside Jazzie B and Florence Keen. Not sure who that bloke is, mind.

Good cause of the week

Could you take an icy plunge to help end homelessness? Crisis are offering the chance with their 2022 Icebreaker Challenge. The event takes place on 22 January at Parliament Hill Lido, Hampstead Heath. Sign up now with a £25 fee and a target of raising at least £150 through sponsorship.