Things To Do This Week In London: 1-7 April 2024

Things to do this week is sponsored by the Horniman Museum.

All week

Swimmers in individual lanes in the middle of a race
The British Swimming Championships take place at the Aquatics Centre

EASTER HOLIDAYS: Most London schools are closed for the Easter holidays this week. If you've got little ones to entertain, peruse our guide to Easter holiday events in London, for ways to keep them busy, whatever their age and whatever your budget.

BRITISH SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS: There are six days of action at the London Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park this week, as the British Swimming Championships take place. Tickets are available for the public to watch both heats and finals events, with Olympic and Paralympic swimming event schedules running concurrently (the championship event plays a role in team selection for the Paris Olympics this summer). 2-7 April

CONCRETE AND CLAY: Last chance to see a 1:22 scale model of the Barbican Centre and Estate, on display in the foyer as part of the current Concrete and Clay: Archiving the Barbican exhibition. Architectural plans, drawings, photos, objects and leaflets from the design of the building are also available to view. Until 5 April

WOMEN IN REVOLT: A major survey of work by over 100 women artists working in the UK from 1970 to 1990, Women in Revolt! explores and reflects on issues and events such as the British Women's Liberation movement, and the visibility of Black and South Asian Women artists, through painting, drawing, sculpture, film and performance. Final week to see it at Tate Britain. Until 7 April

A gastro pub
The Florence in Herne Hill has been refurbished

DIVA: The V&A's deep-dive into the power and creativity of iconic performers from the 19th century onwards, DIVA closes very soon. The exhibition looks at the origins of the term 'diva' and how it has been subverted and embraced through film, TV, music and fashion. Until 10 April

FASHION CITY: Coats worn by Princess Diana and Dot Cotton, alongside items from high street retailers including M&S, Wallis and Moss Bros are part of Museum of London Docklands' Fashion City exhibition, which looks at how the Jewish tailors and designers of the East End shaped fashion worldwide. Until 7 July

PANSEXUAL PREGNANT PIRACY: All aboard the good ship Soho Theatre for Pansexual Pregnant Piracy, a swashbuckling gender-bending comedy, loosely based on the real-life 18th century pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Until 13 April

COMEDY CLUB OF THE WEEK: Big Belly just got bigger — that is, the Vauxhall comedy club has opened a sister venue on the South Bank, with stand up comedians performing on a regular basis. Come on Monday or Tuesday and you get a free shot with your ticket, too (which'll make the comedy even funnier).

PUB OF THE WEEK: The Florence in Herne Hill has been a wonderful place for a post Brockwell Park stroll pint for years — but it's just been refurbished, and is serving a new menu, featuring some particularly delish looking pies.

Easter Monday 1 April

Sparkly dresses on display in the V&A for the DIVA exhibition
Time's running out to see DIVA at the V&A. Image: (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

BANK HOLIDAY: Today is Easter Monday, a bank holiday. If you're lucky enough to have the day off, you'll be needing our Easter weekend events guide, as well as our guide to spending a bank holiday in London.

LORD OF THE RINGS: The legendary Prince Charles Cinema once again screens all three Lord of the Rings films (extended versions, natch) back to back, in an event lasting more than 12 hours. Ideal place to head if you're not a fan of Easter. Or daylight. Or you hate hobbits but are also a sado-masochist. 10.30am-11pm

BERMONDSEY HISTORY WALK: Parents and carers with babies are invited on a history walk around Bermondsey. Bring Your Baby walks build in stops for feeding and changing your little one along the way, and this one covers the area's food history, a former leather market, a Victorian murder, the former Bermondsey Abbey, and plenty more. 11am-2pm

COVENT GARDEN TOUR: Over the other side of the river, there's a walking tour around Covent Garden, open to all, and focusing on the lesser known parts of the area. Footprints of London guide Joanna Moncrieff takes you past a burial ground and workhouse, the site of a leper hospital and ghost signs hinting at the area's past. Hear secrets including pubs allegedly linked by their cellars. 2pm-3,30pm

FAMILY FILM CLUB: There's a special edition of Barbican Cinema's Family Film Club, screening 2020 Pixar animation Soul, set in the place where souls are born and looking at how we become ourselves. All children must be accompanied by an adult, and vice versa. 2.30pm

BASEMENT ORCHESTRA: 50-piece musical group Basement Orchestra rock up at Big Penny Social for a lively afternoon of music in a relaxed setting. Though the concert is designed for adults, under-18s are welcome. 3.30pm-5pm

Tuesday 2 April

A black and white Baker Street platform with coloured roundel
Meet at Baker Street before delving into some fascinating tube stations. Image: Rajiv Bhuttan via creative commons

DOGS DON'T DO BALLET: Aimed at ages 2-6, Dogs Don't Do Ballet is a lively theatre show featuring music and puppetry, about Biff the dog who thinks he's a ballerina. Running time is only 40 minutes, so ideal for younger viewers. See it at Artsdepot in Finchley. 2-7 April

HORNE'S DESCENT: A young priest tries desperately to escape the trauma of the first world war in a dark new drama at Old Red Lion Theatre by Pither Productions. This female-led fringe theatre company specialises in bringing dark and twisted stories to life — and Horne's Descent is no exception, exploring the destruction of man through themes of religion, free will, and classism. Book by 1 April for 2-for-1 tickets (code: EASTER241). Until 13 April. (sponsor)

LURE OF THE UNDERGROUND: Explore inside and out of several tube stations on London Walks' Lure of the Underground guided tour, designed a few years ago to mark 150 years of the tube. Meet at Baker Street (Oyster/Travelcard required as the tour includes some tube travel) and expect to see things that you've never noticed before, even if you're familiar with the stations. 10.45am-12.45pm

JOHNNY LLOYD: North London-based singer-songwriter Johnny Lloyd headlines the Green Note in Camden tonight. Along with special guests, he performs songs from his three solo albums. Table seating at the venue is limited, so worth getting there early. 7pm

GO YOUR OWN WAY: Fleetwood Mac tribute show Go Your Own Way offers a single performance at the Adelphi Theatre — a chance to hear the band's hits including Dreams, Don’t Stop, Everywhere, Rhiannon, and Songbird performed by an ensemble of musicians. 7.30pm


Sponsor message

New Museum Late alert! Explore the Horniman after-hours this week

Late at Horniman Museum

If you’re curious about global cultures, fascinated by the natural world, or just relish the chance to get up to close to an array of extraordinary objects, you’re probably a fan of the Horniman Museum & Gardens. With its onsite aquarium and and the plethora interactive elements built into its free-to-visit collections, it’s hugely popular with families. Now, though, you’re invited to experience it away from the daytime crowd, at an adults-only after-hours experience.

The first in a new series of monthly Horniman Museum Lates takes place on Thursday 4 April, 5.30pm-9pm. Explore the museum’s galleries at your own pace and discover eye-opening exhibitions like Adolescent Wonderland, in which photographer Naomi Hobson conveys the beauty, love and humour of the First Nations young people in her northern Queensland community. Another highlight is the 茶, चाय, Tea (Chá, Chai, Tea) exhibition, which explores the history and enduring significance of tea across the world- Cantonese speakers are invited to join Hongkongese milk tea barista and historian Calvin Tatara on a tour of the space. If all that tea talk leaves you feeling parched, you’ll be pleased to know that the cafe is also staying open late to serve up a tempting array of refreshments.

Entrance to Horniman Museum Lates is totally free. What’s more, visitors can take advantage of discounted tickets to the both the aquarium and its Dinosaur rEvolution exhibition, feat. huge animatronic models. Whether or not you’re adding on one of these extra activities, pre-booking is recommended. You can do so via the Horniman Museum Lates webpage.

Horniman Museum Lates take place 5.30pm-9pm on the first Thursday of every month. Book your free place here.


Wednesday 3 April

Andrew O'Hagan in a white shirt drinking a coffee in a cafe
Andrew O'Hagan talks about his new novel. Photo: Christina Jansen

MEANDERING THROUGH MARYLEBONE: Join City Guide Jill Finch for a walking tour through the Marylebone area. Begin at Baker Street and make your way to Cavendish Square, exploring the local area as you go. 11am-1pm

KITCHEN SCIENCE: Learn how to conduct science experiments in your own home, using materials available in supermarkets, pharmacies, or hardware stores. Kitchen Science at the Royal Institution is aimed at age 7+, and is hosted by Professor Stephen Ashworth, who illustrates simple chemical principles using basic equipment and ingredients. 6pm-7.15pm

GAMES NIGHT: The Table in Battersea Rise holds a games night on the first Wednesday of the month — where you and your pals can dig into a range of board games while sipping a cocktail or two, or even shovel smoked ham hock and chorizo hash into your gob while contemplating your next move. 6pm-10pm

LIVE STORYTELLING: When's the last time you heard a good story told from a stage instead of a screen? Head to Islington’s Union Chapel where popular storytelling podcast and radio show The Moth is going live. Be regaled by a riveting evening of true tales, told by the likes of Benji Waterhouse, Tiq Milan, Carole Radziwill, Viv Groskop, and Shayla Lawson. 7pm doors for 8pm start (sponsor)

MI9: How much do you know about second world war organisation MI9? It was established to help Allied forces to escape from behind enemy lines, and historian Helen Fry offers further insight in an online talk hosted by the National Archives. Find out how MI9 saved thousands of live and contributed to wartime intelligence gathering. 7.30pm

THE GETAWAY: 1972 film The Getaway — starring Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw on the run after a botched heist — is screened at the Cinema Museum in Kennington. It's the first in a series of road films on 16mm film due to be shown at the venue, by regular film club The Nickel. 7.30pm

CALEDONIAN ROAD: Author Andrew O'Hagan is at Southbank Centre to discuss his new novel, Caledonian Road. It charts an art historian's fall from grace, tangled in a web of crimes, secrets and scandals as he reaches middle age. 7.45pm

Thursday 4 April

Adults and children wearing costumes made from colourful shapes
Now Play This opens at Somerset House on Saturday. Photo: Ben Peter Catchpole

ARCADIA FESTIVAL: Stanley Arts in South Norwood launches Arcadia Festival today, with various talks, workshops and performances reacting to climate change. It begins today with a short film (One Last Breath), four short plays (Seasons and Reasons for Change) and a dance piece (The Four Elements). 4-7 April

LONDON'S BEST PUBS: City Guide Pete Smith gives a free talk about some of London's best pubs, from those with opulent interiors, to spit and sawdust venues. The talk takes place at Guildhall Library, and you can watch in person or online. FREE, 2pm-3pm

HISTORIC GRAFFITI: What if walls could talk? To historian Madeleine Pelling, they do — and she shares what they're saying in an event at Southwark Cathedral. Her book, Writing on the Wall, tells the story of the 18th century through the marks of its citizens — from all parts of society — left behind, in the form of graffiti. 6.30pm-8pm (See our recent newsletter about the rooftops of Christopher Wren for some fine examples of masons' graffiti.)

DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: In an event postponed from February, celebrate the 50th anniversary of roleplay game Dungeons and Dragons, at the British Library. Hear from Sir Ian Livingstone, co-founder of Games Workshop, who was responsible for launching the American game in Europe. There's also a panel of enthusiasts, discussing how the game has been reimagined over the years. 7pm

BRYONY GORDON: Journalist and author Bryony Gordon is at Southwark Cathedral to discuss hew new book, Mad Woman: Older. Wiser. Madder? Ten years on from her first book about her own mental illness, she talks about how views on mental health have changed, and what she's learnt over the intervening decade. 7pm-8.30pm

LATE NIGHT JAZZ: Here's one for night owls: Pianist Robert Mitchell's trio, Epiphany 3, perform a late night jazz concert in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall. Enjoy a drink or two as they work their way through pieces from Mitchell's own albums. 9.30pm

Friday 5 April

A boy whispering into the ear of a rabbit
See The Velveteen Rabbit come to life. © Luke Waddington

VELVETEEN RABBIT: Beloved children's book The Velveteen Rabbit comes to life in ballet form on stage, as part of dance company BalletLORENT's 30th anniversary celebrations at Sadler's Wells. Storytelling, music and dance all features as a nursery of toys comes to life. 5-6 April

WORLD UNSEEN: In partnership with the RNIB and camera brand Canon, Somerset House opens new photography exhibition World Unseen. It ensures that everyone, including people with sight loss, can experience the images in the same way, using a combination of new printing technology, soundscaped audio of photographers describing their images, braille, and tactile printing. FREE, 5-7 April

CITY PUBS WALK: Following Thursday's free talk about London pubs (above), Guildhall Library offers a walking tour around some City pubs — including sampling one or two — around the Blackfriars and Fleet Street area. The Black Friar, the Olde Cheshire Cheese and the Old Bank of England all feature. 2pm-4.30pm

COMEDY SHOW: The Hilarious Deep Amazing London Comedy Show is back for a night of laughs at The Book Club in Shoreditch. South African comedian Gilli Apter headlines tonight, with a show about whatever and whoever happens to be in the room at the time. 7pm

ENGLAND V SWEDEN: The Lionesses are at home to Sweden, as they battle for glory in this Euro 2025 qualifier. Last time the teams met it was 4-0 to England, so let's hope for a similar result tonight at Wembley. KO 8pm

THREE BLACK HALFLINGS: Dungeons and Dragons podcast Three Black Halflings, presented by William Cartwright, Olivia Kennedy, and Jeremy Cobb, has a live recording at Leicester Square Theatre tonight. 9.30pm

Saturday 6 April

A pole dancer in a pose on the floor, surrounded by pink smoke
Blackstage Presents: Community at Clapham Grand

ICE HOCKEY WEEKENDER: See out ice hockey season in style, with the NIHL Playoffs taking place at Alexandra Palace all weekend. South Divisions 1 and 2 of the National Ice Hockey League play in six matches across the weekend, with one ticket giving you access to watch them all. 6-7 April

NOW PLAY THIS: Tying in with the ongoing London Games Festival (9-25 April), Somerset House hosts Now Play This 2024, a festival of experimental games featuring interactive exhibitions, live shows, and plenty of chances to test drive some of those games, beginning today. 6-14 April

FLEET STREET: The Fleet Street area is endlessly fascinating for many reasons, as summed up in London on the Ground's guided walk title: "Printers, Papers, Pubs & Prisons". You'll explore all four on this walk, which also includes Ludgate Hill and St Paul's. 11am

VAISAKHI FESTIVAL: Vaisakhi — the Sikh and Punjabi cultural festival — takes place on 13 April this year, but London's main celebration returns to Trafalgar Square today. The free festival features live entertainment and performances, martial arts demonstrations, a showcase of Sikh art, plus food and drink stalls. FREE, 12pm-6pm

SEWING MACHINE MUSEUM: The monthly opening of London's Sewing Machine Museum — located in Balham — takes place today, offering you a chance to see inside one man's collection of the machines. Many of them are historic, including one which belonged to Queen Victoria's daughter — here's some more background on the little-known museum. 2pm-5pm

SPRING IMMERSION: Botswana-born artist, Katlego K Kolanyane-Kesupile's multi-faceted installation Spring Immersion comes to The Garage in Bermondsey. Featuring a live performance, and immersive video screenings, it touches on themes of decolonial discourse and contemplation on grief, loss, temporality, and archiving. 2pm-10pm

FAST ANIMALS AND SLOW KIDS: Colours in Hoxton Square hosts upbeat Italian indie-pop group Fast Animals and Slow Kids, playing head-nodding tracks like Comme un animale and Robespierre. 6.30pm-9.30pm

BLACKSTAGE PRESENTS: COMMUNITY: Pole dancers of colour are in the spotlight at Blackstage Presents: Community, an international pole dancing competition at Clapham Grand. Blackstage is a Black Queer sex worker-led company centring BPOC pole dancers. 6.30pm-10pm

Sunday 7 April

A woman on stage during London's Vaisakhi festival
Vaisakhi is celebrated in Trafalgar Square on Saturday. Image: Greater London Authority

MINIATURE RAILWAY: Brockwell Park's miniature railway is up and running for the season — you can ride it every Sunday, so long as the weather's not utterly miserable, in which case it won't open. Why not fold in a ride with a visit to the newly refurbished Florence (see our Pub of the Week, above). 11am-4pm

MAKER'S MARKET: Big Penny Social in Walthamstow brings together local traders for the Maker's Market. Focus is on high-quality products spanning illustration, vintage bric-a-brac, plants, jewellery, food, ceramics, candles and more. 11am-5pm

CEILIDH DANCING: Folk Dance Remixed host a family-friendly Ceilidh Jam on the Riverside Terrace at Southbank Centre. Take part in maypole and ceilidh dancing and street dance — no experience necessary, you can learn the moves on the day. FREE, 12pm

HAT WALK: Show up at St James's Church, Piccadilly at 1pm today, and you'll be greeted by a multitude of people all wearing hats. This is London Hat Walk — part of an international clutch of such walks taking place across Europe today. It's unclear at time of writing where the walk will head, but it ends up back at the church at 2.30pm. FREE, 1pm

BANNED BLACK FILMS: Black History Walks teams up with film club The African Odysseys for an afternoon of Black films which have been banned. Find out about at least 20 films, including what they were about, why they were banned and the current methods of suppressing Black films that challenge Hollywood stereotypes. Takes places at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton. 1.30pm-4.30pm

FREE JAZZ: Round off the weekend at Kentish Town's MAP Studio Cafe with a cup of coffee/glass of wine, and the sweet sounds of the Equinox Jazz Quartet, laying on some suitably smooth sounds. FREE, 2pm

SKETCH-OFF FINAL: Watch sketch artists and comedy character acts go head to head in the Sketch Off 2024 final at Leicester Square Theatre. The winner receives a cash prize and their own comedy showcase. Age 14+. 7pm

RUPAUL: Drag queen and TV presenter RuPaul is at Southbank Centre to talk about his new memoir, The House of Hidden Meanings, and offer fans an insight into his personal philosophy for living. 8pm

Good cause of the week

Lady garden 5k and 10k run Battersea Park

Fancy doing a fun run around the beautiful Battersea Park in aid of a good cause? Lady Garden Foundation's Annual Run takes place on Saturday 27 April 2024. It's raising money in support of women’s gynaecological health and raising vital funds for gynaecological cancers. The run covers either 2.5K, 5K or 10K, is well geared up for families and children, and sets off at 10am.