Things To Do In London This Week: 20-26 May 2019

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All week

It's Chelsea Flower Show week

CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW: It's the most flowery time of year. The Royal Horticultural Society's flagship event brings together nurseries, florists, plant experts, garden designers and other green-fingered types for a week of all things garden. If that's not your cup of tea, plenty of free spin-off events are going on too, including Chelsea In Bloom, Belgravia In Bloom, Covent Garden In Bloom... are you sensing a theme yet? Royal Hospital Chelsea, from £45, book ahead, 21-25 May

HITHER GREEN FESTIVAL: Check out the full programme to see what's going on at Hither Green Festival, a celebration of history, culture and community in the local area. Events this week include kids' story time, a history walk, and a schools' concert. Various locations and prices, book ahead, until 26 May

MARTIN PARR: Time's running out to se this exhibition of photographer Martin Parr's work, focusing specifically on a subject he doesn't usually cover — people. Plenty of Parr's own wry observations about Britishness are thrown in. National Portrait Gallery, £18-£20, book ahead, until 27 May

NELSON MANDELA: Also closing soon is Mandela: The Official Exhibition, a look back at the life of South African leader Nelson Mandela, from his early expulsion from school for his activism through to his election as President. The topics are often hard-hitting, and the items on show are fascinating — we just hope the technical teething problems we witnessed have been solved by now. Leake Street Gallery (Waterloo), from £15, book ahead, until 2 June

UNDERBELLY: This is your occasional reminder that the delightful Underbelly Festival runs on South Bank from May-September, with an eclectic mix of comedy, cabaret, acrobatics, circus and kids's shows — the programme is well worth checking out. South Bank, various prices, book ahead, until September

Monday 20 May

Clare Balding talks about women's football

ISLE OF DOGS: Footprints of London tour guide David Charnick leads a wander around Cubitt Town — the area of the Isle of Dogs that was redeveloped by William Cubitt in the 1840s. These days, the community he created is often overshadowed — literally and metaphorically — by the nearby financial district, but this walk aims to redress the balance by remembering the international impact of Cubitt's work. Jack Dash House (Cubitt Town), £12/£9, book ahead, 2.30pm-4.30pm

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL: Clare Balding and guests offer an overview of the history of women's football in Britain, from the days when they were banned from playing at professional grounds, to the sport's current popularity ahead of the World Cup. Guests include retired Arsenal and England striker Kelly Smith. British Library, £15/£10, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

BATTLE OF PERSPECTIVES: Established and up-and-coming playwrights share their new work on the theme of the trials and tribulations of the millennial generation. Particular focus is on modern gender perspectives, with a lot crammed into 90 minutes. Pleasance Theatre (Islington), £10, book ahead, 7.30pm

Tuesday 21 May

The Moth StorySlam comes to Rich Mix

BURIED LONDON: Babble Talks are grown-up talks for parents with babies — but not about parenting.  Today, Paul Duncan McGarrity  — Museum of London archaeologist by day, comedian by night — talks about what is buried under London's tarmac. Yes, there's the tube, but also whole subterranean buildings and streets, and pits full of bodies. Crouch End Picturehouse, £10, book ahead, 11.30am-12.30pm

ROGUE ONE: All profits raised from Welcome Cinema and Kitchen go to Amnesty International. The event consists of a screening of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and a supper club of a traditional Iftar feast, served at sundown to observe Ramadan fasting. For every ticket bought, a refugee or asylum seeker can attend for free. Amnesty International (Shoreditch), £18-£25, book ahead, from 5.30pm

STORYSLAM: Mama Rules is the theme of tonight's Moth StorySlam. If you want to have a go at spinning a yarn, prepare a five minute story about mothers or motherhood — be it your own mother, someone else's, a mother figure, or being a mother yourself. Not keen on performing? Just sit back and enjoy everyone else's stories... then go home and call your mum. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £12, book ahead, 7.30pm

Wednesday 22 May

Babble Talks takes on rainbow astronomy

BAZALGETTE'S EMBANKMENT: Take a guided walk along the Thames, focusing on the Embankment, constructed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Metropolitan Board of Works. Learn about the effect building it had on the river itself, and the people who lived nearby. Pimlico station, £10, book ahead, 11am-1pm

RAINBOW ASTRONOMY: Astrophysicist Dr Jen Gupta gives today's Babble Talk, explaining why the secrets of the universe lie in manipulating light, which allows astronomers further insight into what's out there. Find out how they do this, and what has been revealed so far. East Dulwich Picturehouse, £10, book ahead, 11.30am-12.30pm

BOOK SWAP: It's non-fiction night at this regular book swap event, so bring along essays, memoirs, business books and the like to swap with fellow literature lovers. Guest authors also mingle among the crowd. Drink, Shop & Do (King's Cross), £10, book ahead, 6.30pm-9pm

Thursday 23 May

Beverley Knight performs at Southbank Centre

CREATING THE V&A: Find out how Queen Victoria and Prince Albert contributed to the museum named after them. Julius Bryant, Keeper of Word and Image at the V&A, delves into the museum's own history to talk about how the young royals offered their public support to the fledgling collection. V&A Museum (South Kensington), £15-£18, book ahead, 7pm-8.45pm

HISTORY SHOWOFF: Historians, archaeologists, museum folk and comedians come together to talk about the olden days at History ShowOff, a comedy cabaret show about the past. Historian and travel writer Jessica O'Neill talks about circus sideshows, the British Museum's 'Secretum,' and the strange Victorian habit of eating Egyptian mummies... and that's just one act of the evening. Southwark Cathedral, £8, book ahead, 7pm-9.30pm

BEVERLEY KNIGHT: Soul singer Beverley Knight performs a one-off gig in Royal Festival Hall, accompanied by a live orchestra. She performs songs from throughout her 25 year career, as well as tracks by her idols, including Aretha Franklin. Southbank Centre, £35-£70, book ahead, 7.30pm

Friday 24 May

Take a walking tour of Kensington Gardens

KENSINGTON GARDENS: Celebrate 200 years since the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with a guided tour through Kensington Gardens. See Victoria's birthplace, Kensington Palace, hear stories of the games she played as a child, and her coronation while she was still a teenager, and learn how Prince Albert was responsible for the layout of the park today. Kensington Gardens, £10, book ahead, 10.30am-12pm

OPEN GARDENS: Charterhouse's gardens rarely open to the public, as they're used by the people who reside in the almshouses. But tonight there's a rare chance to wander around at an open garden evening. A barbecue and bar pop-up for the evening too. The Charterhouse (Clerkenwell), £10/£8, book ahead, 5.30pm-8.30pm

OPEN AIR CINEMA: For a film screening with a difference, head to RAF Museum, where the outdoor cinema is surrounded by hangars full of aircraft. Marvel's 2018 mega-hit Black Panther is tonight's film, with deckchairs available to hire, and food and drink for sale. RAF Museum (Hendon), £12.50/£10/£5, book ahead, doors 7.30pm/film 9pm

Saturday 25 May

Foodies Festival comes to Syon Park

HALF TERM: The week-long school break begins today, but dodge cries of "I'm booooored" with our guide to May half term in London. Find theatre shows, exhibitions and other events for kids of all ages.

TATTOO SHOW: 300 tattoo artists gather at the Great British Tattoo Show to give you inspiration for your next inking, whether it's your first tat, or the latest addition in a whole tapestry. You can even get it done then and there. Alexandra Palace, £22.50-£30, book ahead, 25-26 May

FOODIES FESTIVAL: You like food, right? Foodies Festival in Syon Park claims to be the UK's biggest food festival, so that's the place to head. Culinary experts from street food to restaurants, as well as drinks brands, are all represented, and celebrity chefs offer live cooking demonstrations. Plus there's live music for a real festival feel. Syon Park, £17-£44, book ahead, 25-27 May

MOTOR PAGEANT: The Enfield Pageant of Motoring is a fundraising event for Whitewebbs Museum, London's other transport museum. Classic cars, American cars, motorbikes, a fairground, live bands and DJs all park up for a family-friendly day of fun. Enfield Playing Fields, £10, just turn up, 25-27 May

Sunday 26 May

Motor sport comes to Crystal Palace

MOTOR SPORT: Vroom vroom. Motor racing comes to Crystal Palace as classic and newer racing cars go head to head in a bid to get the fastest lap time of the day. Bikes get in on the action too, doing a parade lap, and food and drink stalls and a funfair are part of the fun. Crystal Palace, £6-£22.50, book ahead, 26-27 May

JOHN MCENROE: Watch 2018 documentary John McEnroe: In The Realm Of Perfection, which focuses on the relationship between film and tennis. Clips show McEnroe lash out at the refs and more frequently, confronting the cameras watching him. Includes 16mm footage of John McEnroe’s 1984 match at the Roland Garros court. Bertha DocHouse (Bloomsbury), £9/£7/£5, book ahead, 8.15pm