Things To Do This Week In London: 12-18 September 2022

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Things to do this week is sponsored by London Symphony Orchestra.

In light of the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, it's worth double checking events you're intending to go to are definitely going ahead.

All week

A Santander e-bike parked in front of Big Ben
Santander e-bikes are available from Monday. Image:TfL

OPEN HOUSE LONDON: It's the most wonderful time of year, when all manner of London buildings and structures which are usually off-limits to the public fling their doors open and welcome us in. Open House London 2022 highlights include a chance to go inside Temple Bar, and a peek inside the mysterious UCL PEARL building. 8-21 September

GENERATION HOPE: Young people aged 16+ are invited to take part in five days of workshops, panels and talks about climate change and the planet's future. Generation Hope at the Natural History Museum aims to inspire and motivate young people to take action and get involved with decisions about the environment. FREE, 12-16 September

LARKIN WITH WOMEN: It's the last week to catch Larkin With Women at the Old Red Lion Theatre, an exposé on the love life of Philip Larkin, who was a great poet, but a d**k when it came to relationships. Until 17 September

E-BIKE HIRE: As of Monday, the Santander Cycles hire scheme expands to include e-bikes. 500 new e-bikes will be available, fitted out with an electric motor to aid your pedalling along. We don't know where exactly they'll initially be available, and of course they'll be redistributed as people ride them, but do keep an eye out for them. From 12 September

TOURS OF MUSEUM STORE: Ever wanted to poke around in the museum stores of the Royal Museums Greenwich? The Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre in Kidbrooke is the place, and it's holding FREE open days on Mon-Fri this week. Tours focus on "Astounding Inventions", including an underwater telephone and a Diorama of the building of the Great Eastern. From 12 September

FREE FILM FESTIVAL: Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is on until Saturday, offering free screenings of selected films at venues around the area. Watch 2014 film Pride at The Star in Plumstead on Monday, or 1974 Bond film The Man With The Golden Gun at Shrewsbury House Community Centre on Friday. Browse the full programme. FREE, until 17 September

FOOD FOREVER: It's the final week of Food Forever, Kew Gardens' summer festival looking at where our food comes from, and how to make it more sustainable. Enjoy four art installations and a major exhibition on the theme, and there's also a free daily walking tour about edible plants. Until 18 September

LONDON PODCAST FESTIVAL: Headphones at the ready for London Podcast Festival at Kings Place, which sees both mainstream and niche podcasts filmed in front of a live audience, with some of the recordings streamed online too. James Acaster, and Drunk Women Solving Crime are some of the big name shows this week, along with offerings on comedy, food, politics and more. Until 18 September

BRITISH BLUES: It's also the last week of  The British Blues Exhibition. The Barbican Music Library display charts the rise of the musical genre through Radio Caroline, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, Cream, and Jools Holland. Objects on display include instruments, sheet music and posters. FREE, until 19 September

TOTALLY THAMES: An archaeology walk in Putney, an interview with the creators of London's smallest museum, and a guided walk around the London Bridge area are among the special events on the Totally Thames programme this week, alongside the excellent ongoing events throughout the month — browse the full schedule. Until 30 September

Monday 12 September

Wild red poppies growing through a wire fence on the pavement
Get the lowdown on urban nature on Tuesday

ROUGH TRADE BOOKS: Time for the monthly Rough Trade Books party at The Social. Rose Blake explores poetry and short fiction from Ella Frears and Ben Pester. And there's a special guest appearance from a certain Jarvis Cocker. 7pm

MONDAY BLUES: New Orleans themed bar Plaquemine Lock hosts the Cinelli Brothers for its Monday Blues session tonight. Grab a mint julep and soak up the sounds of this 60s/70s Chicago and Texas blues-inspired duo. 7.30pm-10pm

COLLECTING SPAIN: The V&A celebrates the publication of new book, Collecting Spain: Collecting Spanish Decorative Arts in Britain and Spain. Hear from museum curators, and the co-editors of the book, about how the museum has acquired textiles, furniture and other objects from the country. Attend in person or online. 7pm-8.45pm

HAPPY MONDAYS COMEDY: Returning to the Amersham Arms in New Cross, MC Siôn James hosts this weeks Happy Mondays Comedy, with BGT winner Axel Blake showcasing his current work in progress, along with some secret special guests. 8pm

COCKTAIL: Charlton and Woolwich (above) isn't the only Free Film Festival on at the moment. Head to the Waverley Arms in Nunhead to watch 1988 film Cocktail, part of Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival. It stars Tom Cruise as a business student, working behind a bar in New York until he gets his big break. FREE, 8pm

Tuesday 13 September

A group of performers on stage, singing together
Stage & the City hosts a performing arts experience evening

UKRAINIAN BALLET: For four days, the United Ukrainian Ballet performs Giselle at the London Coliseum, raising money for the DEC Ukraine Appeal and The United Ukrainian Ballet Foundation. 13-17 September

PHOTO-FANTASTIC: Southbank Centre opens a new exhibition, Photo-Fantastic, in which local Black and dual-heritage photographers respond to the current In the Black Fantastic exhibition. The photographers, from Lambeth and Southwark, took part in a free week-long course before producing their photos, which explore mythology, science fiction, spiritual traditions and folklore. FREE, 13-29 September

CLOUD SPOTTING: Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, is at the Royal Institution to give a talk on how to identify the different types of cloud formation. If you don't know your lenticularis from your cumulus, or the rarer fluctus, here's your chance to get the lowdown, and find out what the different types reveal about our atmosphere. 7pm-8.30pm

MISS MARPLE: Online tickets are still available for An Evening With Miss Marple, the British Library launch of new book 'Marple'. The book is a collection of 12 stories each featuring a new mystery for Agatha Christie's Miss Marple to solve, contributed by writers including Naomi Alderman, Jean Kwok and Val McDermid. 7pm-8.30pm

PERFORMING ARTS EVENING: Head to Academy Mews Dance Studios in Camden for a performing arts experience evening by Stage & The City, a performing arts school for adults. Take part in short workshops on drama, singing, dancing and musical theatre — no experience necessary, everyone welcome. 7pm-9pm

URBAN NATURE: Head to the Amersham Arms in New Cross for an urban wildlife event. Nature authors Florence Wilkinson (Wild City: Encounters With Urban Wildlife), Luke Turner (Out of the Woods) and Roy Vickery (Vickery’s Folk Flora) discuss why we should engage with other urban species, and how nature has adapted to the manmade changes to its environment. 7pm-10pm

Wednesday 14 September

The interior of Ruby Lucy - dim lighting, mismatched chairs, and neon lighting on the walls
Head to Ruby Lucy to take part in a Naked Negroni session

FOURTH PLINTH: Trafalgar Square's oversized ice cream is gone, as the Fourth Plinth artwork is being replaced. Samson Kambalu's Antelope is unveiled today, a sculpture depicting preacher and pan-Africanist John Chilembwe alongside his white friend John Chorley, based on a photo from 1914. FREE, from 14 September

GREENWICH COMEDY FESTIVAL: Frankie Boyle, Rosie Jones, Reginald D Hunter and Sophie Duker are among the headliners at Greenwich Comedy Festival, which kicks off today with Simon Amstell. It takes place in a seated arena in the grounds of the National Maritime Museum. Arrive early to make the most of the pop-up bars and street food stalls running alongside the festival. 14-18 September

CARDBOARD GOTHIC LATE: Twickenham's Strawberry Hill House keeps its doors open for a Cardboard Gothic Late. It's a chance to see the current display of Pollock's Toy Museum miniature theatres, and follow a trail of 14 Gothic plays from the early 19th century. There are two performances of The Castle of Otranto (an 1840s burlesque version of the Gothic novel by Strawberry Hill's original owner, Horace Walpole) throughout the evening.6pm-8pm

NAKED NEGRONI: Waterloo-based hotel and bar Ruby Lucy holds a Naked Negroni evening. Take part in a naked life drawing session, consisting of multiple poses to sketch, with breaks in between, all while sipping on Ruby's take on a classic negroni. Drawing materials are provided and no experience is necessary. 6.30pm-8.30pm

IAN MCEWAN: Author Ian McEwan — known for books such as Atonement and On Chesil Beach — is at Southbank Centre to discuss his latest work. Lessons spans a 70-year period, from the end of the second world war, through the Suez and Cuban missile crisis, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and continuing right up to the current pandemic and climate change. 7.30pm

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Your early evening music fix

A young man in a suits plays trombone in front of an orchestra

Here's a clever, cultured way to get two evenings out in one go. The Half Six Fix is an hour's burst of classical music from the London Symphony Orchestra — a pint-sized concert that you can fit in before going on to drinks, a meal, or whatever else you like to do with your evening.

The latest Half Six Fix on 14 September at the Barbican carries the theme of French Connections. Enjoy short pieces from French masters Berlioz, Debussy and Ravel, alongside a "Zen garden in sound" by Tōru Takemitsu, a Japanese composer heavily influenced by French music. The evening is introduced by legendary conductor Sir Simon Rattle, who will put the pieces in context and explain why they were chosen.

Tickets for Half Six Fix are just £18, or as low as £10 with wildcard tickets (i.e. guaranteed entry, but your seat could be in any section). Or take a 2-for-1 offer by entering the promo code 241HSF14 when prompted at the checkout (valid on all priced tickets).

Thursday 15 September

Comedian Lou Sanders on the roof of The O2
Lou Sanders does a comedy gig on the roof of The O2.

RARE BOOKS: Banned books is the theme of this year's Firsts London Rare Book Fair, taking place at Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea all weekend. Fascinating censored books are on display — and for sale — including a 1933 edition of Ulysses featuring an original erotic fore-edge painting inspired by the novel’s “Circe” episode, and a first edition of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. 15-18 September

LONG COVID: Watch in person or online as Professor Monica Lakhanpaul gives a Gresham College lecture about Long Covid. Find out about the medical issues that many are still experiencing long after they've had the virus, and look at new therapies and treatments being developed to help those suffering. FREE, 6pm

ROOFTOP COMEDY: Here's a comedy show with a difference —head up onto the roof of The O2, where Lou Sanders performs a set. Enjoy the laughs as you soak up the view, before heading back down to solid ground. 7pm

SPACE EXPLORATION: In two years, the European Space Agency will launch a mission to explore the icy moons of Jupiter. But why are they so interesting, and what does the mission aim to uncover? Space scientist David John Southwood answers these questions at the Royal Institution tonight. 7pm-8pm

POLARI PRIZE: The Polari Prize is the UK's only LGBTQ+ book awards, and tonight is a chance to hear this year's shortlisted writers showcase their work and discuss it with the judges at the British Library. 7.15pm-8.30pm

Friday 16 September

A glass cabinet with several rare books on display, some opened to a certain page, with information labels next to them.
Firsts London Rare Book Fair is on all weekend

YINKA ILORI: Artist Yinka Ilori — best known for colourful works such as these psychedelic pedestrian crossings — is the subject of a new Design Museum exhibition. The playful show invites visitors to dive into Ilori's colourful world through joyful installations, patterns and graphics. Expect to see this one all over Instagram... FREE, from 16 September

DECOLONISE FEST: Decolonise Fest — the UK’s only punk festival created by and for people of colour — is back as an in-person event for the first time since 2019. Head to Signature Brew Haggerston for three days of music, panels, and workshops designed to centre and celebrate the contributions of people of colour to the DIY punk scene. 16-18 September

HYDE PARK TOUR: Join a guided tour of Hyde Park, which covers little-known stories about the Royal Park. Learn about the inception of Speakers' Corner 150 years ago, the criminals who met their end nearby, and visit the Victorian pet cemetery. 12pm-1.30pm

THE LEBANESE HOUSE: Hear from architect Annabel Karim Kassar, the designer of the V&A's new installation, The Lebanese House. It's a five-metre high recreation of the sort of house which was destroyed in the explosion in Beirut port in 2020, and this event looks at how Beirut is being reconstructed after the tragedy. Listen in person or online. 7pm-8.45pm

SPORTY SPICE: Head to Barbican for an evening with former Spice Girl Melanie C. She celebrates the publication of her autobiography Who I Am: My Story by talking about her life, from playing at Wembley, conquering the BRITs and closing the Olympics to the difficult lows she's experienced along the way too. 7.30pm

Saturday 17 September

The Band of the Scots Guards dressed in red tunics and black bearskin hats, performing music at Chelsea Physic Garden
Get stuck into Chelsea History Festival. © James McCauley

HOWTHELIGHTGETSIN: Gwenno and Django Django top the bill at HowTheLightGetsIn, which dubs itself as 'the world's largest philosophy and music festival'. It's on today and tomorrow. Until 18 September

ASTRONOMY PHOTOGRAPHY: The 14th Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition opens at Royal Observatory Greenwich today. Ogle awe-inspiring scenes from this year's shortlist, capturing the Milky Way rising, galaxies colliding, stellar nurseries, and the luminous Aurora Borealis. From 17 September

QUEEN'S PARK BOOK FESTIVAL: The annual Queen's Park Book Festival is back, 50 guests taking part in 20 different events. Hear from Robert Harris about his new novel, Act Of Oblivion, celebrate the centenary of James Joyce's Ulysses, and hear a discussion about the controversy surrounding the Qatar World Cup. 17-18 September

CHELSEA HISTORY FESTIVAL: The National Army Museum, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and Chelsea Physic Garden team up again for this year's Chelsea History Festival, which covers local, national and global history. There's a special concert celebrating 40 years of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse, a walking tour focusing on the spies of Chelsea, and another about Chelsea in the Blitz, and plenty more on the programme for all ages. 17-25 September

LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL: The 20th anniversary edition of London Design Festival continues its aim of showcasing London as the design capital of the world. At time of writing, the programme has yet to be announced, but we're expecting the usual blend of displays and exhibitions, talks and more. 17-25 September

BLASPHEMY AT THE OLD BAILEY: Kennington's Cinema Museum screens 1977 film Blasphemy At The Old Bailey as part of its BBC Centenary LGBTQ+ screening series. The event includes discussion by some of those involved in defending Gay News against Mary Whitehouse, a court case that became the last successful blasphemy trial in the UK. FREE, 7.30pm

MOMENTUM: A mixed bill of seven dance pieces on the theme of losing, finding and moving on, are performed at Sadler's Wells tonight. Momentum features works by artists with experience at Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and Nederlands Dans Theater. 7.30pm

Sunday 18 September

The Italianate-style interior of Chelsea Old Town Hall, with pastel green walls, and dangling chandeliers. The floor is filled with rows of clothes racks for Frock Me! Vintage Fair
Frock Me! Vintage Fair takes place on Sunday

PADDLESURFING: The docks around Canary Wharf host a day of paddlesurfing races, as part of the London SUP Open. Note: the participatory public element of this event has been cancelled, out of respect to the Royal Family. 9pm-8pm

HOUSEMAIDS TOUR: Head to the Charles Dickens Museum to be shown around the author's family home by a tour guide in character as the family's housemaid. Step back into 1838 and discover what life was like, with a few pieces of Dickens family gossip thrown in too. 10am-12pm

VINTAGE FAIR: Rummage out a bargain or two at Frock Me! Vintage Fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall. Over 60 exhibitors are present, selling clothing and textiles dating back as far as the Victorian period. It's not unusual for a designer piece or two to pop-up at this event, so keep your eyes peeled. 11am-5.30pm

BUILD A BOUQUET: Fulham Palace's senior gardener Franziska teaches you how to grow, select and cut stems, to form a beautiful flower bouquet. Then put your skills to the test, using stems from the palace's historic walled garden. 1.30pm-3.30pm

SAUDHA BANGLA MUSIC: Celebrate the evolution of Bangla music at Rich Mix's Saudha Bangla Music Festival. Poet T M Ahmed Kaysher gives a brief introduction on the history and background of each genre (Kirtan, Shyamasamgeet, Ramprasadi Vaishnav, Baul, Pre-Tagorian, Pancho-Kobi, Adhunik all feature) with performances by singers of Indian and Bangladeshi origin. FREE, 4.45pm

FOLK MUSIC: Irish singer-songwriter Lisa O'Neill — whose song Blackbird featured in Peaky Blinders — performs a one-off gig at Southbank Centre, ahead of her new album being released later this year. 8pm

Urban oddity of the week

A blue plaque listing the famous people who've drank at the Cross Keys in Chelsea. Names include Dylan Thomas, JMW Turner, Agatha Christie, John Sargeant, James Whistler and Bob Marley

Now here's an assignment for any creative writing students out there: imagine the conversation between these six notables, were they all to grab a table and get gradually (or quickly in Dylan Thomas's case) inebriated. Such a tale might well fit into the Marple evening of short stories at the British Library (see Tuesday).

The Cross Keys is a fine old pub (with a modern look), not far from the river in Chelsea. It's off the beaten track, so mostly attracts locals. Given the affluence of the area, the clientele no doubt includes a few celebrities who might one day be added to the plaque.

Good cause of the week

A black and white image of people stepping off an escalator, with Elizabeth Line Rail Trail written as a title

Fancy walking the Elizabeth line for charity? Not along the actual tracks, of course, but above ground. The Elizabeth Line Rail Trail takes place on Friday 7 October and will follow a 24 km (15 mile) walk between Woolwich and Paddington.

At every station along the way there’ll be a checkpoint to collect a stamp, and marshals along the route to keep everyone on track. Participants will be given a fold out map with all the walk information and there’ll be a medal waiting for everyone at the finish line.

It costs just £20 to register, with a £100 minimum sponsorship pledge. It's hoped that the Elizabeth line Rail Trail will raise around £25,000 for the Railway Children charity, which helps vulnerable children found on the streets and railways of India, Tanzania and here in the UK. Sign up here.