Things To Do This Week In London: 17-23 June 2024

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

All week

Two men with babies sitting inside a giant teacup - a replica of a ride at Disneyworld
Last chance to see Disney 100. Photo: Luke Dyson

HOUSE OF BONDAGE: "It is an extraordinary experience to live as though life were a punishment for being black." The words of the late South African photographer Ernest Cole, whose House of Bondage project, which documented apartheid, has been described as one of the most significant photobooks of the 20th century. You can now see it at the Photographers' Gallery in Soho. Until 22 September

DAD'S ARMY: Wilton's Music Hall in Limehouse hosts Dad's Army Radio Show, with three episodes of the popular sitcom adapted for radio for the first time. Two actors use two microphones to bring more than 25 characters to life on stage, helped along with vintage music and sound effects. 17-22 June

ROMAN ARMY: This week is your last chance to see the British Museum's huge exhibition Legion: life in the Roman army, which offers the lowdown on the West's first modern, professional fighting force through the life and service of a real Roman soldier, Claudius Terentianus. Letters written on papyri by soldiers from Roman Egypt and the Vindolanda tablets — some of the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain — feature. Until 23 June

DISNEY100: Also closing this week is Disney100, a large exhibition celebrating the centenary of the Walt Disney Company at ExCeL. It spans 10 galleries, covering films, theme parks and more. The carousel horse which Dick Van Dyke rode in Mary Poppins (1964) and the crystal glass slipper from Cinderella (2015) are among the exhibits. Until 23 June

WANDSWORTH FRINGE: The eclectic Wandsworth Arts Fringe programme continues until the end of this week, with events including (but not limited to) a procession by a marching street band, a look at transgender issues through the eyes of Shakespeare, a Fem comedy night, and bedtime yoga stories for the kiddos. Until 23 June

CHAKA KHAN’S MELTDOWN: An electrifying week of live music awaits at the Southbank Centre, as the 29th edition of its artist-curated festival, Meltdown, continues. The line-up’s as diverse as curator Chaka Khan’s own discography, spanning jazz, R&B, soul and more. Highlights include the original street band WAR, a fusion of sounds born from the West African diaspora courtesy of Balimaya Project, and acid jazz collective Incognito. There are also free parties, workshops and more. Until 23 June (sponsor)

Poster for Dad's Army Radio Show
Two actors take on 25+ roles in the Dad's Army Radio Show

FOOTBALL SCREENINGS: You can't have failed to notice that there's a little footie tournament going on at the moment. UEFA 2024 matches are happening in Germany every day this week (England play Denmark on Thursday...) and many London venues are screening the matches live. Take a look at our guide to where to watch the football, and get booking your table. Until 14 July

ELECTRIC BOATS: Summer officially begins this week – and what better way to celebrate than with a picnic on London’s waterways? (Yes, we said on, not by!) GoBoat lets you captain table-equipped, eco-friendly electric vessels, available to hire from Kingston, Thames Ditton, Paddington & Canary Wharf. Book ahead (sponsor)

SUMMER BY THE RIVER: A reminder that there's plenty of free entertainment to be had at Summer by the River, the pop-up festival alongside the Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. Live music, a film screening and dance performance are among the free shows this week. FREE, until September

CLUB OF THE WEEK: We were recently invited to check out the latest venture from Croydon superstar Stormzy — a club in Soho that apes American/English house parties, with replica rooms scattered with actors pretending to be nihilist stoners/drunk nans/aggrieved neighbours, plus DJs, drinks and pizza. House Party is a riot — so much so, the 'police' arrive at one point... and then start dancing. Every Tues-Sat

DAY TRIP OF THE WEEK: This week's Beyond London idea is inspired by the above. If you find yourself in the vicinity of the Norfolk town of Thetford, swing by the Dad's Army Museum (though do check opening times first). The sleepy, flint-cottage-lined market town was used for much of the exterior shooting on the series, and within the museum you'll find recreations of Captain Mainwaring's bank office, and the church hall stage.

Monday 17 June

An actress dressed as Marilyn Monroe, viewed through a keyhole
The Marilyn Conspiracy opens at Park Theatre on Wednesday

SRI LANKAN TEXTILES: Sourced, Sri Lanka, is the UK's first two-day Sri Lankan fashion and textile show, spotlighting the country's manufacturing. Pop along to the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster to browse and buy fashion, fabrics, accessories and more, with over 50 manufacturers in attendance. 17-18 June

WREN'S CHURCHES: City of London Guide Jill Finch leads a guided tour around the Square Mile, themed around the churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Start near St Paul's and look at how Wren and his team rebuilt the entire London skyline following the Great Fire. 11am-1pm

TED X SOHO: 12 speakers each give a short talk on stage at the Cambridge Theatre, for TEDx Soho. Climate activist Fehinti Balogun, disability ambassador David Holmes, BBC news correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan and former Downing Street advisor Samuel Kasumu are among those taking part, sharing their thoughts and ideas. 6pm-10pm

GHOST SIGNS: Try Jane Parker's popular tour of Islington 'ghost signs' — faded adverts painted onto walls decades ago, still promoting long-lost businesses. 6.30pm

LONDON'S BAWDY BOROUGH: Historic London Tours offer the latest in their series of Zoom tours, raising money for London's Air Ambulance Charity. Today's hour-long event focuses on the areas of Borough and Bankside, delving into why this space just beyond the City of London's jurisdiction became known for seedy goings-on. 7pm

FRINGE PREVIEW: 'Tis the season when London's comedians are warming up for Edinburgh, testing out and tweaking their material ahead of the biggest shows of the year. That includes Luke Rollason, who previews his fantasy fairytale-inspired show, Let Down Your Hair, at Pleasance Theatre in Islington. 7.40pm

Tuesday 18 June

Two people admiring a wall of artworks in a gallery
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition opens today. Image: Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2023 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts, London / David Parry

ROYAL ACADEMY SUMMER EXHIBITION: A highlight of the London art calendar every year, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition brings together established and rising artists to display their work. Prints, painting, film, photography, architectural works and sculpture all feature among the 1,200 pieces, coordinated this year by sculptor Ann Christopher RA. 18 June-18 August

EARTH PHOTO EXHIBITION: Also opening today is Earth Photo 2024, a free exhibition of winning photographs and videos in several categories, including people, place, nature, changing forests and a climate of change. FREE, 18 June-21 August

DOGS IN ART: Bow-wow-wow your way over to Guildhall Library (or watch online) for a free talk about dogs in art. Alexandra Epps, Arts Society Lecturer, delves into the role animals play in artists' lives, from Landseer, Queen Victoria’s favourite animal painter, to Picasso’s obsession with a dachshund called Lump. FREE, 2pm-3pm

SOANE'S CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: Art historian — and the museum's former curator — Bruce Boucher is at the Sir John Soane's Museum to talk about his new book, John Soane's Cabinet of Curiosities. It's an in-depth study of the famous architect's collection of antiquities, and his motivation for collecting. The event includes a chance to look around the museum, and a drinks reception.  7pm

HOUSEPLANT PROPOGATION: Struggling with your houseplants? Take yourself along to the Garden Museum where Hilton Carter celebrates his new book, The Propagation Handbook, by offering tips and techniques on the process of propagating houseplants. 7pm-8pm

Sponsor message

2-for-1 tickets to see the LSO perform Prokofiev’s final symphony

Half Six Fix is back! The Barbican concert series that’s all about opening up orchestral music to more people has one more outing before its summer hiatus – and it sounds very special indeed…

At 6.30pm on Wednesday 19 June, the London Symphony Orchestra invites you into the wistful world of Prokofiev’s final symphony. No stress if you’re not familiar with this sort of music – your conductor, Gianandrea Noseda, is something of a Prokofiev pro. He’s earned rave reviews for his explorations of the composer's work, and will be spilling all sorts of trivia about the piece – originally commissioned for Soviet state children’s radio – in his pre-performance intro.

As usual, the whole thing lasts just an hour, leaving you with plenty of time to enjoy one of the lightest evenings of the year afterwards. But that’s no fun if you’re flying solo, so we’ve secured 2-for-1 tickets for our readers. That way you can bring a mate or date to enjoy a burst of brilliant music music, then debrief over a drink – or two! (you are saving on tickets after all) in one of the Barbican’s lovely bars. Summer nights don’t get much better than that. Just enter the code LDN23HSF at checkout to redeem.

Wednesday 19 June

A Japanese artwork of two figures beneath a cherry blossom tree
There's a new exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Image: Yoshida Hiroshi, Kumoi Cherry Trees, 1926. Courtesy Fukuoka Art Museum

THE MARILYN CONSPIRACY: New thriller play The Marilyn Conspiracy focuses on the death of Marilyn Monroe, asking what happened in the five hours between her death at home, and her apparent suicide being called into the police. Catch it at the Park Theatre, opening tonight. 19 June-27 July

JAPANESE PRINTMAKING: Artistic Japanese dynasty the Yoshida family are the subject of a new exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery. See works by three generations, culminating in a new site-specific installation of cherry blossom by a living member of the family. 19 June-1 November

MYSTERY BOOKSHOP CRAWL: The organisers of the annual London Bookshop Crawl are back with a Mystery Bookshop Crawl. Join a guide for a tour around some of London's bookshops and other literary locations, alongside your fellow book lovers. Sounds like a rather dreamy afternoon to us. 1pm-4pm

WANDSWORTH PRISON HISTORY: Curator and author Stewart McLaughlin is at London Metropolitan Archives to give a free talk about the history of Wandsworth Prison. It was built in 1849 as Surrey House of Correction and was intended to hold 750 prisoners serving short sentences — and it's still in use today. FREE, 5.30pm-7pm

TASTE OF BRITAIN: Tuck into a four-course dinner menu inspired by the British Isles at the Soho Hotel. The Taste of Britain experience by Executive Chef Joe Fox's champions seasonal native ingredients, highlighting wild and local produce. There's also the option to add on a drinks pairing. 6pm-10pm

LAFF-UCCINO: Nish Kumar headlines a special comedy show for Refugee Week, joined by Rosie Jones, Rhys James and Kiri Pritchard-McLean, as well as comedians from refugee and migrant backgrounds. It's on at the Union Chapel in Islington, organised by social enterprise Haven Coffee. 6.30pm

JOZ NORRIS: The hilarious Joz Norris is joined by a gaggle of chums (John-Luke Roberts, Lorna Rose Treen, Ben Target, Ada & Bron, and Bec Hill) at Camden Comedy Club, as they road test new ideas and material and vie for your laughter. 7.30pm

Thursday 20 June

Several small dishes on a table
Get a Taste of Britain at the Soho Hotel on Wednesday

INSTREATHAM FOOD FESTIVAL: Discover the dizzying array of cuisines that SW2 and SW16 have to offer at InStreatham Food Festival. From now till Sunday, more than 40 of the neighbourhood’s restaurants, cafes and bars will be serving up taster-dishes for just £5-£10 a pop. On top of this self-guided food tour, the Saturday Food Fair brings globe-spanning al fresco feasting to Streatham Green, where you’ll also find live music, dance demos, and even exercise classes. FREE ENTRY. Until 23 June (sponsor)

SIX LIVES: The National Portrait Gallery opens a new exhibition focusing on Henry VIII's queens. Six Lives features Tudor paintings by Hans Holbein the Younger and contemporary photography by Hiroshi Sugimoto, chronicling the representation of Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr throughout history and popular culture in the centuries since they lived. 20 June-8 September

NAZI-ERA PROVENANCE: Head to the V&A at lunchtime for a free lecture about the possibility of items on display in museums and galleries around the world having once belonged to victims of the Nazis. The V&A’s Senior Provenance Research Curator, Jacques Schuhmacher, presents his new book on the Nazi-Era Provenance of Museum Collections, talking about how the Nazis claimed their victims' possessions, and how this legacy could be confronted in the future. FREE, 1pm-1.55pm

DENMARK V ENGLAND: If you happen to be into football, and furthermore happen to support England (or indeed Denmark), there's the small matter of a match this afternoon. If you're still looking for somewhere to watch it, may we draw your attention to our roundup of cool venues screening the action. KO 5pm

GARDEN OPEN EVENING: If you'll be in the Clerkenwell area this evening, swing by the Charterhouse for the first of its Open Garden Evenings this summer. Enjoy live music from the Sol Grimshaw Trio as you explore the courtyard garden, with food trucks and a bar on hand for refreshments. 5.30pm-8.30pm

CHARITY QUIZ: Maggie's West London Centre at Charing Cross Hospital holds a quiz night, to raise funds for its work caring for people with cancer. Gather a team of up to five to take part in the quiz, along with food, drinks and live music. 5.30pm-8.30pm

CHRISTIE'S LATES: St James's auction house Christie's stays open late for an evening celebrating the life and legacy of fashion design icon Dame Vivienne Westwood. View an exhibition of her wardrobe, including garments, jewellery and accessories, ahead of her personal collection being auctioned off. There are also panel discussions, performances and workshops throughout the evening. It's likely to be a popular one and entry isn't guaranteed, so get there as promptly as you can. FREE, 6pm-9pm

REFUGEE WEEK LATE: Also open late tonight is the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, which has collaborated with Amnesty International UK to mark Refugee Week. Explore the exhibitions and galleries after hours, or take part in a workshop exploring home, journeys and solidarity, led by artist Tasnim Mahdy. FREE, 6pm-9pm

Friday 21 June

Naomi Campbell in a pinstripe suit, posing alongside some of her other outfits
NAOMI In Fashion opens at the V&A on Saturday. Photographer: Marco Bahler

FRIDAYS IN LONDON: Often find yourself at a loose end at the end of the working week? Bookmark our guide to things to do in London on a Friday, full of regular events, from morning walks through to gallery lates.

NOH REMIMAGINED: The Noh Reimagined festival returns to Kings Place, showcasing two masterpieces of traditional Japanese theatre: Sumidagawa and Kinuta. It celebrates the art of Noh, a theatre tradition which originated in 14th-century Japan, offering a creative platform for genre-defying, cross-cultural collaborations, connecting tradition with contemporary life and culture. 21-22 June

MASSAOKE: Warm up your pipes for Massaoke, a mass participation karaoke event at Between The Bridges on South Bank. Join the crowd in singing along to hits by the likes of Queen, Bon Jovi, Oasis, The Killers, Madonna and Rihanna. 6.30pm-11pm

THE MOTH GRANDSLAM: Witness the ultimate battle of wits and words, as 10 open mic storytelling champions regale you with offbeat and extraordinarily intimate true tales. Acclaimed storytelling non-profit The Moth has assembled the best yarn-spinners from its previous StorySLAM events for a spot of friendly competition at Islington’s Union Chapel. Doors open at 7pm (sponsor)

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME: The Cinema at Goodluck Hope celebrates Pride month with a screening of Call Me By Your Name, a coming-of-age film starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. Complimentary refreshments are provided, and the event is part of the Islander Festival, going on around the area throughout the summer. 7pm-9pm

PUB(E) QUIZ: The Vagina Museum's regular Pub(e) Quiz — see what they did there — is back, giving you a chance to show off your knowledge of the female anatomy. Do you know your uterus from your urethra? Compete to win prizes rather different from those you'd get at a regular pub quiz. 7.30pm-9.30pm

POP PUNK PRIDE: A karaoke event celebrating dyke, lesbian, sapphic and queer culture, Dykes on Mics comes to Rich Mix in Shoreditch for a celebration of Pop Punk Pride. Sing along to tracks from 70s and 80s punk protests to more recent pop punk and emo bands. 8pm

IMPROV: Fancy some top-notch unscripted comedy? The League of Improv is back tonight, at new venue 21Soho. Heading the bill is Nabil Abdulrashid. 8.30pm-10pm

Saturday 22 June

Four performers dressed in black singing on stage
Arrive early to get your spot for West End Live. Photo: Pamela Raith

WEST END LIVE: Free musical theatre festival West End Live is back in Trafalgar Square, with the casts of current and upcoming shows performing live on stage — for free. The Lion King, Sister Act and Six are among the shows taking part, but be warned it gets very busy, with spectators often turned away when it reaches capacity. FREE, 22-23 June

NAOMI IN FASHION: After several extremely successful fashion exhibitions in recent years, the V&A opens yet another one. NAOMI In Fashion puts the spotlight on the career of model Naomi Campbell, via the creative output of the many photographers and designers who've worked with her. From 22 June

GREAT WILD WALK: Sign up to take part in a five- or 10-mile walk through Epping Forest, raising money for the World Wildlife Fund. The Great Wild Walk is a family-friendly event, and dogs are welcome, with a fundraising target of £150 per person, and money raised going to the WWF's conservation projects around the world. From 9.30am

ST PANCRAS TOWER: You'll need to book ahead for today's rare chance to visit the St Pancras Waterpoint Tower, with one-hour tours available, giving you the chance to learn more about the pretty-yet-practical structure, and get inside the building, including up to the viewing platform at the top if you fancy it. FREE, 10am-3pm

ROYAL WHARF SUMMER FETE: Celebrate the start of summer at the Royal Wharf Summer Fete, taking place at Royal Wharf Park (near Silvertown), with a line-up of live music performances, family entertainment, fitness classes, kids’ workshops, street food stalls and a waterfront craft market. 11am-5pm

OKINAWA DAY: The music, food and culture of Japan's southernmost prefecture, Okinawa, is celebrated in the uncanny setting of Bermondsey's Blue Market today, for the annual Okinawa Day. The programme is packed with the likes of Eisa dancing, Amami folk music and classical music from Ryukyu. FREE, 11am-5pm

GIN AND RUM: It's free entry to the Enfield Gin & Rum Festival, taking place at the aptly-named Pymmes Mews with some of the UK's finest small batch producers exhibiting their tipples and serving up unique cocktails. 11am-11pm

SOAPBOX RACE: Jonesing to see a real-life version of Wacky Races, with homemade go-karts and (non serious) smashes aplenty? The Red Bull Soapbox Race is for you, and it's taking place in the grounds of Ally Pally today. 12pm-7pm

WINDRUSH BLOCK PARTY: The Bernie Grants Arts Centre in Enfield marks Windrush Day with another of its Windrush Block Parties. The open-air event begins with a family party, followed by performances by local Black talent, and live DJs. Caribbean and African food traders are on site selling their dishes too. 12pm-7.30pm

101 DALMATIANS: Puppetry, dancing and songs combine for a musical version of children's book 101 Dalmatians, opening at the New Wimbledon Theatre tonight, and aimed at children age 5+ and their families. Watch as Cruella de Vil attempts to snatch Pongo and Perdi's litter of Dalmatian pups in a bid to make herself a new fur coat. 7pm (and until 29 June)

FULHAM SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: Fulham Symphony Orchestra are at St John Smith's Square in Westminster tonight, with music from Sibelius, Bartók and Bushra El-Turk. The latter is a Londoner with Lebanese roots, who combines Western and Eastern musical styles to thrilling effect in her piece, Tmesis. 7.30pm

Sunday 23 June

Interior of bar 100 Wardour Street, with sofa seating and a red neon sign on the wall
100 Wardour Street hosts a Taylor Swift brunch

SUNDAY FUNDAY: Looking for things to do in London today or any other Sunday? We've compiled a guide to things that happen in the capital on a Sunday, so you can find something to keep you busy, whoever you're with and whatever your budget.

HAYES CANAL FESTIVAL: Boat rides, kayaking and paddleboarding are among the activities on offer at the family-friendly Hayes Canal Festival, taking place on the Grand Union Canal near Hayes & Harlington station. There's plenty to do on dry land too, including crafts and face painting. FREE 11am-4pm

LOST CINEMAS: In the 1940s, when cinema-going in Britain was at its peak, Acton boasted five local cinemas within walking distance of one another. Nigel Smith leads you back in time on his Acton's Lost Cinemas tour, remembering the grand picture palaces to the 'flea pits'. If you fancy a cinema heritage double-bill, Nigel also hosts a celebration of erstwhile indie cinema Acton Screen at ActOne this afternoon. Walk 11.30am-1pm; Acton Screen revisited 3pm-6pm

TAYLOR SWIFT BRUNCH: London will be full of Swifties this weekend, as Taylor Swift performs her first run of shows at Wembley (21-23 June). There are plenty of other themed events going on around town including 100 Wardour Street's Taylor Swift Brunch, consisting of three courses and the option of bottomless brunch, while live musicians perform some of her best-known tunes. 12pm-5pm

WEST LONDON EID FAIR: Celebrate Eid at the West London Eid Fair in Greenford, which includes live entertainment, Halal food and shopping stalls. FREE, 12pm-7pm

RAFAEL TORAL: Rock, ambient, contemporary, electronic, free jazz — Rafael Toral is an eclectic musician alright, and this afternoon you can tune into his brand of mesmerising soundscapes (described as "what sounds like an electronic rainforest in Jupiter") at Cafe OTO in Dalston. 2pm

COLLYWOBBLERS COMEDY: Ria Lina and Patrick Monahan perform at Collywobblers Comedy at the Railway in Streatham, hosted by Siôn James. Ticketholders get 30% off food before 7pm, so get there early if you want to make a night of it. 7.30pm

UKULELE ORCHESTRA: Spend your Sunday evening in the company of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. They're at Fairfield Halls in Croydon for a programme of new tunes and old classics. 7.30pm