Things To Do In London This Week: 12-18 August 2019

Things to do this week is sponsored by St Paul's Cathedral.

All week

Chihuly Nights begin at Kew Gardens on Thursday. Dale Chihuly, Summer Sun © Jeff Eden/RBG Kew

ANISH KAPOOR: It's the final week of the Anish Kapoor exhibition at Pitzhanger Manor, which launched when the building reopened after extensive renovation. The manor itself remains open beyond this week, but it's your last chance to see Kapoor's perception-altering artworks. Pitzhanger Manor (Ealing), £7.70, book ahead, until 18 August

SUMMER SCREEN: Somerset House's outdoor cinema Film4 Summer Screen continues this week, with the likes of This Is England, God's Own Country and Straight Outta Compton on the programme. If you see something you like, book quickly — the gorgeous courtyard setting means these screenings usually sell out. Somerset House, various prices, book ahead, until 21 August

CAMDEN FRINGE: Performing arts festival Camden Fringe continues, with a programme that gives Edinburgh Festival a run for its money. Highlights this week include a guided walk around London while chatting to someone in Cairo, and a comedy show where you have to guess which of the four stories is a lie. Various locations and prices, book ahead, until 25 August

Film4 Summer Screen continues this week

AUTHORS ON STAGE: National Theatre launches an Authors on Stage series of events, which sees renowned UK and international writers and other famous faces discussing contemporary issues. Adam Kay, Caitlin Moran, Nigella Lawson and Stacey Dooley are all on the programme this week. National Theatre, £15-£45, book ahead, 12 August-10 September

QUEER HISTORY: This week, Southbank Centre hosts various tours delving into the queer history of the building, part of its series of events celebrating LGBTQI+ artists and performers. Find out info such as how 6,000 people celebrated the Marriage Act there in 2014. Southbank Centre, £10, book ahead, 15-18 August

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS: If you're running out of ways to keep your kids/grandchildren/nieces and nephews entertained in the summer holidays, take a look at our family-friendly guide to what's on in London, covering exhibitions, theatre shows and one-off events.

TEXT QUEST: Unleash your inner Sherlock Holmes on an epic treasure hunt around the capital. Simply head to the Text Quest website and choose your mission, ranging from history-themed puzzles to murder mysteries. Then grab up to three friends, head outside, and follow the clues that are sent to your phone. Various locations in central London, £16 per quest, book ahead, all week (sponsor)

Monday 12 August

Live music at The Horse Hospital

WINE AND VINYL: How does an evening of wine and vinyl sound? Nick Shymansky, Amy Winehouse's first manager, talks through the creation of her album, Frank. Listen to the album in full, with accompanying wine provided. Flat Iron Square (Southwark), £16.50, book ahead, 7pm

NICOLA STURGEON: Turkish author Elif Shafak and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon are the first participants in National Theatre's Authors on Stage programme. Hear them discuss women and democracy, and why we need more women from all backgrounds to speak up on human rights. National Theatre, £15-£45, book ahead, 7.30pm

LIVE MUSIC: Egyptian flautist Fayrouz Kaddal and innovative British folk fiddler Daniel Merrill team up for KaddalMerrill, an all-singing, all-dancing collaboration. Each musician's thoughts on culture, place and identity is represented in this live gig, a mash-up of different musical styles from various countries. The Horse Hospital (Bloomsbury), £8/£6, book ahead, 7.30pm

Tuesday 13 August

This talk marks the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre

MR GUM: Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear is a kids' theatre show aimed at 7-12 year olds. If your children are fans, take them along to this workshop where they can learn all the songs from the show — some very silly, some hilarious. National Theatre, £6, book ahead, 11am

SLUMS TO THE STARS: Take part in a guided walk around the Covent Garden area, looking at remnants from the 19th century. At this time, a fruit and veg market, red light district, theatres, pubs and restaurants were all present, many in buildings which are still standing today. Covent Garden station, £12/£9, just turn up, 7pm

PETERLOO MASSACRE: Mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre with a look at impact it had on the parliamentary reform movement. Jacqueline Riding (historian for Mike Leigh’s film Peterloo) and George Hay (records specialist at The National Archives) look at how the peaceful protest-turned-massacre shaped how we think today. National Archives (Kew), £12-£15, book ahead, 7.30pm-9pm


Sponsor message

Explore St Paul’s Cathedral by twilight at these Summer Lates

Thursday nights get pretty darn special this August, as one of London’s best-loved landmarks opens its doors for after-hours exploration. That’s right, this is your chance to experience St Paul’s Cathedral at its most magical, as the sun sets over London.

Climb the famous dome and let yourself be seduced by the panoramic views from one (or both!) of the Cathedral’s exterior viewing galleries, before exploring the exquisite architecture. Hundreds of years of history can be uncovered as you wander the vast Cathedral floor, multimedia guide in hand.

And before you leave? Don’t miss your opportunity to catch the special exhibition all about the Great Restoration of the 1920s, compiled from lesser-known stories and the Cathedral’s own archive materials. Where else would you rather be at sunset?

St Paul’s Cathedral Lates take place on Thursday 15, 22 and 29 August 2019, 7pm-9.30pm (last admission 8.30pm). Tickets cost £15 on the door or £12.80 when booked online in advance here.


Wednesday 14 August

Learn about the construction of couture garments

PARIS AND LONDON: Into all things couture? Museum conservator Gill Cochrane and guest curator Teresa Collenette offer a rare insight into couture construction. Get a close-up look at how certain garments were made, and hear the stories behind them. Fashion & Textile Museum (Bermondsey), £30/£25, book ahead, 11.30am-1pm

JACOBEAN THEATRE: Take a dive into the dark world of Jacobean theatre on a guided walk from The Old Operating Theatre to Shakespeare’s Globe. Find out about the history of public entertainment on Bankside, including themes of violence, death and moral corruption. Old Operating Theatre (London Bridge), £10, book ahead, 5pm-6.30pm

Thursday 15 August

Take a wander down the River Wandle

CHIHULY NIGHTS: Kew Gardens launches a series of late-night openings with an artistic twist. Chihuly Nights are a chance to see the current Dale Chihuly exhibition of elaborate glass sculptures as the sun sets. The artworks are illuminated, and there's a specially-commissioned soundtrack, with food and drink available to buy. Kew Gardens, £18/£12, book ahead, 15 August-26 October

RIVER WANDLE: Tying in with the current Secret Rivers exhibition, join the Museum of London Docklands for a walk along the lost waterway of the River Wandle. Begin at Morden Hall Park and trace the route of a river which was once home to hundreds of mills. Morden Hall Park, £20, book ahead, 2.30pm

BEER IN SOUTHWARK: A cathedral isn't the obvious location for a talk about beer, but that's where George Hoyle holds his talk. He reveals the history of beer brewing in Southwark, and the links the industry has with the cathedral itself. Songs and a beer-drinking opportunity also feature. Southwark Cathedral, £10, book ahead, 7pm-8pm

Friday 16 August

Take part in a family bat walk

RUM TASTING: Mark National Rum Day on board a pirate ship. The Golden Hinde hosts a rum tasting, with experts and ambassadors from different brands on hand to talk you through the tipples (at least 15 different varieties, so pace yourself). Golden Hinde (Borough), £20, book ahead, 6.30pm-9pm

WOODSTOCK: It's been 50 years since Woodstock festival. Mark the occasion at a screening of a documentary about the event, which was first released in 1970, and follows the whole show from preparation to clean-up. After the screening, hear from Loraine Burgon from band Ten Years After on what it was like to be there. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £10.95, book ahead, 7pm

BAT WALK: Kids and adults are invited on a dusk walk through a Royal Park in search of bats. Use bat detectors to locate the flying mammals — the park is home to common pipistrelles, soprano pipistrelles and noctules. You might encounter the occasional owl or fox too. Kensington Gardens, £10, book ahead, 8pm-9.30pm

Saturday 17 August

DragWorld is at Olympia all weekend

DRAG WORLD: Life's a drag, darling. At least, it is at DragWorld, a two-day drag convention. Stalls, Q&A sessions, tutorials, meet and greets and panel discussions are part of the line-up... and this is no time to be shy about your outfit. Olympia London, £35-£65, book ahead, 17-18 August

SINK THE PINK: LGBTQ+ collective Sink The Pink hosts a street party-style festival. Over 50 LGBTQ+ artists take to the stage throughout the day, plus headliner Nadine Coyle. Tuck into food from five vendors, and stay hydrated at a 30m long bar, while you watch lip-sync battles, and get up on dance podiums. Finsbury Park, £32, book ahead, 1pm-10pm

SCI-FI LATE: The Royal Observatory's latest sci-fi event is a late night opening with a theme of 'stranger worlds'. Watch a special planetarium show followed by a discussion on sci-fi in popular culture, play themed games, and watch sci-fi short films. Royal Observatory (Greenwich), £16, book ahead, 6.30pm

Sunday 18 August

Whitewebbs' regular Sunday opening is extra special

AMERICAN CAR DAY: Little-known transport museum Whitewebbs holds its monthly open day — with the added bonus of an American car show. When you've finished browsing the museum's own wonderful collection — including a well — clap eyes on American and custom cars. There's also a live band. Whitewebbs Museum (Enfield), £10, just turn up, 10am-9pm

OPERA ENCORE: Watch a pre-recorded screening of the Met Opera's performance of Puccini’s La Bohème. It's taken from the 2013-14 season and was originally broadcast live in that year, but this is another chance to see the young cast, including soprano Kristine Opolais and tenor Vittorio Grigolo. Watermans (Brentford), £18/£15.50, book ahead, 2pm

SWING DANCING: Dance the remainder of the weekend away at this swing dancing session, open to dancers of all levels. Beginners can take a class at the beginning of the evening to learn the basic steps, before taking part in a social dance to which everyone is invited. The soundtrack comes from vintage DJs and a live guest band, there's no dress code, and no need to bring a partner. Bishopsgate Institute (Liverpool Street), £15/£10/£8, book ahead, 6.30pm