Things To Do In London This Week: 7-13 October 2019

Things to do this week is sponsored by the Institution of Civil Engineers.

All week

Chelsea History Festival is on this weekend

LONDON COCKTAIL WEEK: One of the biggest events in London’s boozy calendar (and that’s saying something), London Cocktail Week has bars all over town taking part. Buy yourself a Cocktail Pass — which gets you special £6 cocktails at participating bars, and access to the Cocktail Village on Brick Lane — and look out for other special events going on around town. Various locations, book £10 Cocktail Pass in advance, until 13 October

HERNE HILL FESTIVAL: A variety of musical performances take place at various venues for Herne Hill Festival, which showcases local performers. Several genres are covered, including jazz, folk and African roots. Various locations and prices, book ahead, until 13 October

Get stuck into London Cocktail Week

LONDON HORROR FESTIVAL: Warm up for Halloween at London Horror Festival, a programme of theatre and stage shows designed to give you a scare. Gothic musicals, Italian horror, and an interactive show set in a 17th century settlement all feature on this week's programme. Pleasance Theatre and Old Red Lion Theatre, various prices, book ahead, 8 October-2 November

CHELSEA HISTORY FESTIVAL: Held across three venues, Chelsea History Festival consists of talks, walks, performances and family-friendly events. The full programme is here — our picks include a chance to hear from the Chelsea Pensioners, and a history walk through the area. Various locations and prices, book ahead, 9-13 October

Last chance to see this da Vinci exhibition. Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci attributed to Francesco Melzi ©

DA VINCI: Last chance to see Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing. The exhibition marks 500 years since his death by bringing together more than 200 of his drawings from the Royal Collection. Painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany are all covered. The Queen's Gallery (Buckingham Palace), £13.50, book ahead, until 13 October

SLEUTHS IN THE CITY: If you like solving mysteries, you'll love Text Quest. These guys organise epic treasure hunts around the capital and deliver the clues straight to your mobile phone, so you and your team can set off on your mission whenever it's convenient for you. From picture-based hints to devilishly cryptic puzzles, there's something to suit every sort of sleuth. Various locations in central London, £16 per quest, book ahead, all week (sponsor)

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Throughout October, events are going on all over the country to celebrate the contributions and achievements of black communities. You can read our guide to Black History Month, and check the official website for other events in London and beyond. Various locations and prices, throughout October

Monday 7 October

Hear from David Suchet

LADY OF JAZZ: Michaela Bennison takes on the role of Honey Grey in musical play Lady of Jazz. It's the story of a lead singer in a band in 1920s New Orleans, who's also living a potentially dangerous lie. Wilton's (Limehouse), £8-£20, book ahead, 7-9 October

LADYBIRD LADYBIRD: National Theatre hosts a screening of 1994 film Ladybird Ladybird, as part of a series of events relating to current NT production Faith, Hope & Charity. Ken Loach's film is a drama-documentary focusing on a British woman who is locked in a dispute with social services about the care of her children. National Theatre, £6, book ahead, 5.30pm

DAVID SUCHET: Poirot actor David Suchet chats to interviewer Hannah McInnes about his life and 50-year career to date. He illustrates his tales with photographers he's taken himself through and of his work. His family, life in London, Jewish roots and several other topics are all covered too. Emmanuel Centre (Westminster), £30/£45, book ahead, 6.45pm-8pm

Tuesday 8 October

Is it too late to save our oceans?

SECRET RIVERS: What does the future hold for London's rivers? Secret Rivers exhibition curator Kate Sumnall, Mathew Frith from the London Wildlife Trust, Tideway's Darren White, and artist and activist Amy Sharrocks all look at the challenges and current projects facing the capital's waterways. Age 16+. Museum of London Docklands, £15, book ahead, 6.30pm

ADA LOVELACE DAY:  Celebrate the achievements of women in the science and tech industries at annual event Ada Lovelace Day. Speakers this year are Dame Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the physicist who discovered pulsars, ecologist Dr Bala Chaudhary, mathematician Katie Steckles, imaging expert Yolanda Ohene, marine engineer Hayley Loren, chartered engineering geologist Roni Savage, and evolutionary biologist and science YouTuber Dr Sally Le Page. Comedian Helen Arney hosts. 2 Savoy Place (Strand), £20/£5, book ahead, 6.30pm-9.30pm

OCEAN PLASTICS: A panel of scientists and experts gathers at the Royal Institution to discuss whether it's too late to save our oceans — and their residents — from the plastic hazard that's choking them. Can we reverse the damage already done, and if so, how?  Royal Institution (Mayfair), £16/£10/£7, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm


Sponsor message

A sensational soiree at the home of civil engineering

Here's something a little bit different to your usual after-work drinks: a glitzy celebration of engineering excellence that's completely free to attend. This Friday, the Institution of Civil Engineers invites you into its opulent London HQ for its Engineering Late, an evening of fascinating talks, hands-on activities and live entertainment.

Get to grips with London's largest infrastructure projects and explore the intersection between art, archaeology, and engineering. Hear from Crossrail CEO Mark Wild about how the long-anticipated Elizabeth line is getting back on track. Play bridge themed-mini golf, take on VR challenges, and even try out a robotic arm.

In between discovering who keeps London working (and how they do it), don't forget to take a moment to admire your surroundings — One Great George Street is a bonafide, Grade-II listed architectural gem. Take a guided tour and see if you recognise any bits of the building from its cameos in The Night Manager, Wonder Woman and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. As it's a Friday night, you can also expect live music and pop up bar to ease you nicely into the weekend. Click here to register.


Wednesday 9 October

Find out how to save the planet

ILLUSTRATING HARRY POTTER: Hear from Jim Kay, the artist responsible for illustrating special editions of the Harry Potter books. Find out about his inspiration, and how he went about recreating the world-famous Boy Wizard. National Theatre, £9/£6, book ahead, 6pm

SAVE THE PLANET: Author of Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer, spends an evening talking about how to save the planet. He believes that it's not too late, and that we can make a difference — if we're willing to make sacrifices and take collective action. Conway Hall (Holborn), £30-£40, book ahead, 6.45pm-8pm

BRIGHT NIGHTS: The first of a new series of events, Bright Nights, launches at Kensington Palace tonight. Visit the palace after hours to debate the impact of the Empire on contemporary ideas about race and identity. Writers, artists, scientists and psychologists all take part — poet Anthony Anaxagorou, historian Dr Katrina Marchant and ethnographer and journalist Irna Qureshi are on tonight's programme. Kensington Palace, £25, book ahead, 7pm

Thursday 10 October

Curry Curry Bang Bang. Arrive hungry.

KNITTING AND STITCHING: Needles at the ready for The Knitting & Stitching Show, a celebration of all aspects of needlecrafts. Browse stalls to stock up on materials, tools and supplies, get inspiration from textile displays, and pick up tips at the free demonstrations by craft presenters. Alexandra Palace, from £16, book ahead, 10-13 October

NEW SCIENTIST LIVE: All aspects of science are covered at New Scientist Live, a festival which aims to make science accessible to the general public. 120 talks take place across four days, covering topics from rocket engines to time travel to the future of healthcare. No lab goggles required. ExCel London, from £31, book ahead, 10-13 October

CURRY CURRY BANG BANG: One of our picks of the best food festivals in London this autumn, Curry Curry Bang Bang is a National Curry Week event. Dishoom, Yum Bun, Sparrow and Raastawala are among the confirmed traders, all serving up South Asian curries in tasting sizes. Your £10 ticket includes a beer, and a chance to sample the dishes. Hawker House (Canada Water), £10, book ahead, 5pm

Friday 11 October

Mark 50 years of the Barbican Estate. Photo: Max Colson

HOGARTH AFTER HOURS: Stay late at Sir John Soane's Museum and explore the collections in atmospheric lighting. It's a chance to see the new exhibition, Hogarth: Place And Progress, and take a guided tour of the rest of the museum's collection, finishing up with a G&T. Age 18+. Sir John Soane's Museum (Lincoln's Inn Fields), £25, book ahead, 6pm-8pm

HIDDEN LONDON: London Transport Museum stays open late to celebrate the opening of its new exhibition, Hidden London. Be one of the first to see the exhibition, and meet the curators. Elsewhere, take part in a scavenger hunt, or test your London knowledge with a quiz from Londonist's Geoff Marshall. London Transport Museum (Covent Garden), £12, book ahead, 6.45pm-10pm

BARBICAN AT 50: Love it or hate it, the iconically Brutalist Barbican Estate is 50. This Architecture On Stage event features architects, designers and writers who have working on or been inspired by the estate, reflecting on its influence. Barbican, £15, book ahead, 7pm

Saturday 12 October

Party the night away at Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet

DRAG QUEEN STORYTIME: It's a drag queen show, but not as you know it. Aimed at children and adults, Drag Queen Story Time is chance to hear performer and theatremaker The Nightbus tackle society’s capacity to accept and champion queer identity, race and religion. Storytelling and spoken word feature, and the show is followed by a play session. Half Moon Theatre (Limehouse), £7, book ahead, 11am/2pm

GAMING AND MENTAL HEALTH: Hear from Rusty Quill's Head of Video about the links between video gaming and mental health. The gaming company wants to spread the word about mental health in the industry — and there's a chance to play some games at the event too. The Old Library (Camberwell), £8/£6/£4, book ahead, 2pm-4pm

HAVEN'T STOPPED DANCING YET: Dance the night away to funk, soul and disco music from the 1970s-80s. Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet is a disco night aimed at those who remember the songs from the first time round, and anyone else who enjoys a good boogie. Trafalgar Tavern (Greenwich), £15, book ahead, 7.30pm

Sunday 13 October

Hear from the Booker Prize shortlist

IN PRAISE OF WALKING: Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara pays tribute to the seemingly-simple act of walking, celebrating the freedoms it gives us, and the evolution our species had undergone to get to this stage. He also talks about why we need to keep walking, in an era of cars and office jobs. Conway Hall (Holborn), £8/£5, book ahead, 3pm-4.30pm

BOOKER PRIZE: Ahead of the announcement of this year's Booker Prize winner, spend the evening with the shortlisted authors. Margaret Atwood, Lucy Ellmann, Bernardine Evaristo, Chigozie Obioma, Salman Rushdie, and Elif Shafak all appear to read from, and talk about, their nominated work. Southbank Centre, £15-£35, book ahead, 7.30pm

BEST OF QUEEN: Queen tribute band The Bohemians play a gig, showcasing the rock band's greatest hist and back catalogue. Front man Rob Comer makes a very convincing Freddie, and the tribute group have been going since 1996 so they must be doing something right. Indigo at The O2 (North Greenwich), from £23.45, book ahead, 8pm