Things To Do This Week In London: 23-29 May 2022

Things to do this week is sponsored by Loire Valley Wines.

All week

Catch Chris Redd at Soho Theatre

THE GLASS MENAGERIE: Amy Adams makes her West End debut in this production of Tennessee Williams' memory play, The Glass Menagerie. She plays Amanda Wingfield, with the play focusing on the effect her husband's abandonment has on her, and her relationship with her children. As you'd expect, it's a popular one, so the best ticket availability (and cheapest seats) can be found for dates later in the run. Duke of York's Theatre, from £24, book ahead, 23 May-27 August

CHELSEA IN BLOOM: West London gets a floral glow-up as free flower festival Chelsea in Bloom returns. The theme this year is 'British icons', to coincide with the Queen's jubilee, so expect to see plenty of Union Flag-themed large-scale floral installations at shops, restaurants and other businesses around Chelsea. Chelsea area, free, just turn up. 23-28 May

CHRIS REDD: American comedian, actor and Saturday Night Live cast member Chris Redd is in town, performing his new show, Why Am I Like This? His last two shows at Soho Theatre sold out, so this'll be a hot ticket. Soho Theatre, £13-£22.50, book ahead, 23-28 May

BELGRAVIA IN BLOOM:While Chelsea (above) gets all regal, neighbouring Belgravia adopts a similar 'Beautifully British' theme for its own flower festival, Belgravia in Bloom. Again, expect to see plenty of large-scale installations, including flower arches and sculptures, as you wander around. Belgravia area, free, just turn up, 23-29 May

JUBILEE AFTERNOON TEAS: Getting ready for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations next week? Start the party early by tucking into one of these Jubilee themed afternoon teas being served around town. Crunch on a corgi, or have a bite of Her Majesty's hat.

Monday 23 May

Catch a screening of The Blue Hour

SINE WAVE: Start your week with a dose of science at this free Gresham College lecture. Professor of Geometry Sarah Hart talks about the many practical uses of the sine wave, from springs, to sea eaves, to sound and light waves. Museum of London or online, free, book ahead, 1pm

HOME SEAMSTRESSES: The experiences of Bangladeshi seamstresses in the East End during 1975-95 have been recorded in a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Community Fund. The end of the project is celebrated at a special event today, featuring a book launch, exhibition, and theatrical performances to bring some of the stories to life. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), free, book ahead, 3pm

THE BLUE HOUR: As part of the Queer East Film Festival, catch a screening of The Blue Hour. The 2015 Thai film explores themes of repressed sexuality and desire through the story of two young men who meet at an abandoned swimming pool. Screening followed by a talk with director Anucha Boonyawatana. Barbican Cinema, £12, book ahead, 6.10pm

APES AND GENDER: What can apes teach us about gender? That's the subject of this lecture by primatologist Frans de Waal, who discusses the impact that biological sex differences have on culture and socialisation in ape communities. Find out what this can tell us about where gender identity originates. Royal Institution (Mayfair), £16/£10/£7, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

HAPPY MONDAYS COMEDY: Clinton Baptiste headlines this week's Happy Mondays Comedy show, with guests Isabelle Farah, Dan Tiernan, Louise Atkinson, Tommy Moore, Matt Hutson and MC Siôn James. The Amersham Arms (New Cross), £6.36, book ahead, 8pm

Tuesday 24 May

Two Chelsea pensioners in their red uniforms - one with a plant pot, the other a wheelbarrow full of flowers
The Chelsea Flower Show gets underway. Image: RHS

RIDE THE ELIZABETH LINE: The day we thought would never come has finally arrived — the Elizabeth line officially launches today. If you're planning to be among the first people finally riding the Purple Train, read our Elizabeth line user's guide first — we've covered times, frequency, and more importantly, which bits still aren't connected up, including one major station which won't be opening today. From 6.30am

CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW: A calendar highlight for any green-fingered Londoner, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes over the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, with gardeners from all over the country showing off their work; stalls where you can buy flowers and plants to take home; and a chance to pick up tips from gardening experts. Royal Hospital Chelsea, from £40.85, book ahead, 24-28 May (though the first two days are for RHS members only)

WALK TALK: Where My Feet Fall is a new book, which invites 20 writers to each tell a story about a walk that means something to them. Tonight, author Kamila Shamsie and editor and writer Duncan Minshull discuss the project, along with the importance of going for walks. Stanfords (Covent Garden), £5, book ahead, 6.30pm-8pm

GARY LINEKER: At time of writing, there are a few tickets left for an evening with Gary Lineker tying in with current football exhibition Designing The Beautiful Game. Lineker reflects on his 44-year career as footballer and later football commentator, and discusses how the sport has changed in that time, in conversation with Design Museum Director Tim Marlow. The Design Museum (Kensington), £25, book ahead, 7pm-8pm

xPROPAGANDA: German synthpoppers Claudia Brücken and Susanne Freyta play tracks from their new album, The Heart Is Strange tonight. They've previously sold out this venue twice, so grab a ticket while you can. The Garage (Highbury & Islington), £33.75, book ahead, 7pm-11pm

Sponsor message

Get a taste of France with Loire Valley Wines' Bucket List

Loire Valley Wines is back in the capital this summer, taking Londoners on a journey through the ‘Garden of France’ with its series of Bucket List wine-related events.

Things kick off with Alice in Wine-derland, a floral art installation coming to the Chelsea In Bloom flower festival this week (23-28 May). The ‘Drink Me!’ artwork can be admired for free on Pavilion Road, putting a wine-themed twist on Lewis Carroll’s beloved story.

That’s just the start of a summer of wine tastings, pairings and promotions taking place across London this summer, showcasing everything the Loire Valley wine region has to offer

Find out more about Alice in Wine-derland, and other events on the Loire Bucket List.

Wednesday 25 May

Cancer Revolution exhibition © Science Museum Group

CANCER REVOLUTION: Get an insight into how cancer is detected, prevented and treated, at Science Museum's new Cancer Revolution exhibition. It features objects and personal accounts, and aims to dispel myths about the disease, as well as highlighting the progress that's been made towards tackling it. Science Museum (South Kensington), free, book ahead, 25 May-January 2023

SPRING FAIR: Chelsea's definitely the place to be this week — along with all the floral goodness, The Chelsea Barracks Spring Fair is a new event taking place on the former site of a British Army barracks. Expect food and drink stalls, floral installations, talks, workshops, and a market showcasing goods from independent makers. Chelsea Barracks, free entry, just turn up, 25-27 May

ANTIQUES MARKET: Hunt out a bargain or two at the Wembley Park Antiques Market, a sprawling monthly market with up to 700 traders present each time, selling antiques, collectables, salvage, vintage homeware, jewellery, furniture and much more. Wembley Park, free entry, just turn up, 7.30am-4pm

SCIENCE MUSEUM LATES: There's a special late night opening at the Science Museum to celebrate the new Cancer Revolution exhibition (above). Head along after work to be one of the first to see the exhibition, and a brand new interactive artwork. There are talks, tours and workshops on the theme too, as well as the usual Lates highlights including a pub quiz and a silent disco. Science Museum, free, book ahead, 6.15pm-10pm

MAYFLOWER 400: The (delayed) series of talks marking 400 years since the Mayflower set sail from Rotherhithe continues. Tonight, hear from Jennifer Potter, author of The Jamestown Brides, and Rita Cruise O’Brien, about the importance of women in early colonial history. Canada Water Theatre, £3.75, book ahead, 7.30pm

Thursday 26 May

Beating the Bounds takes place at All Hallows by the Tower

BEATING THE BOUNDS: We love London's many unusual traditions and customs, including Beating the Bounds, an ancient ritual still observed at the church of All Hallows by the Tower. Watch as members of the Clergy and Livery Companies visit each parish boundary to pray for protection and blessings — including boarding a boat to reach a boundary in the middle of the Thames. All Hallows by the Tower, free, just turn up, from 4.15pm

NIGHT MARKET: Head over to Canary Wharf after work for the Night Market, a selection of street food stalls with cuisines ranging from burgers to bibimbaps. There's also music, and a chance to play mini golf as the sun sets. Montgomery Square (Canary Wharf), free entry, just turn up 5pm-10pm

ELIZABETH TOWER: As the conservation project on Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower comes to an end, this online talk gives an insight into the work that went on behind the scenes. View previously unseen footage from the project as Simon Barnes, Heritage Photographer in the Parliamentary Archives, discusses how he captured the work in progress. Online event, free, book ahead, 6pm

BOW STREET POLICE MUSEUM: One of London's newest museums is the Bow Street Police Museum, and tonight there's a chance to learn about how it was created. Curator Jen Kavanagh talks about how the museum's content was gathered, and the partnerships that were forged in its creation, to mark one year since it opened. Bow Street Police Museum (Covent Garden) or online, £5.40-£12, book ahead, 7pm

IMAGINING IRELAND: Dublin-born singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow brings together exciting young Irish musicians for an evening of the sounds of modern Ireland. Alongside McMorrow himself, performers include metal-inspired acoustic group The Scratch; punchy, poppy emo-folk-rock musician Sorcha Richardson; RnB artist Aby Coulibaly and contemporary folk artist Niamh Regan. Barbican, £25, book ahead, 7.30pm

Friday 27 May

Someone dressed as Spiderman crouches on the ground, while a woman in Spiderman costume (without a mask) poses behind
MCM Comic Con is back

MCM COMIC CON: Dust off your cape — MCM Comic Con is back at ExCel London. Highlights include a replica of the Stranger Things set (just as season four launches); a chance to get a photo with stormtroopers; become a Jedi Knight with the Silver Sabres combat academy; or try your hand at Quidditch. Plus there are the usual guest stars, author talks, costume competitions and more. Excel London, from £17.50, book ahead, 27-29 May

RIDE LONDON: There's been a bit of a change to this year's RideLondon — instead of veering into the Surrey countryside, the 100-mile bike ride is routed through Essex, beginning at Victoria Embankment and heading out to Braintree, before retuning to the finish line at Tower Bridge. Though you've missed the chance to sign up for this year's race, why not line the route on the day to cheer the riders on? Whatever you're up to, be aware of road closures across the capital and beyond all weekend. 27-29 May

ROSÉ FESTIVAL: Celebrate all things pink at the Rosé Festival, which brings together rosé wine producers for a weekend of food and drink in the grounds of Fulham Palace. Stay well watered at the Rosé Spritz bar, and enjoy live music, and food and wine pairings. Fulham Palace, £25, book ahead, 27-29 May

PUB IN THE PARK: Rosé not doing it for you? There's all manner of other drinks (plus food and live music) at Pub in the Park. Try dishes from award-winning restaurants, pick up tips at live cooking demos, drink your way around pop-up pubs, and enjoy live music and DJ sets from the likes of Faithless, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and Basement Jaxx. Wimbledon Park, from £40 adult/£25 child, book ahead, 27-29 May

ABBA VOYAGE: Mamma Mia, look who's back! Avatars of ABBA members Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid take to the stage for Abba Voyage, a series of concerts at a purpose-built venue in Stratford, combining the Swedish group's iconic tunes with newer releases. The first few shows are sold out, so look further ahead for best ticket choices. The ABBA Arena (Pudding Mill Lane), from £86, book ahead, from 27 May

DIPPY RETURNS: One of London's most famous museum exhibitions, Dippy the (replica) diplodocus returns to the Natural History Museum after its national tour, starring in a special exhibition. However, it's only here until December, so be quick if you want to welcome it back. Natural History Museum (South Kensington), free, book ahead, from 27 May

Saturday 28 May

Classic cars galore at the Enfield Pageant of Motoring

HALF TERM: For many schools across London and beyond, Half Term begins today. Take a look at our guide to school holiday activities in London for ways to keep kids of all ages entertained, whatever the weather (or your budget). 28 May-5 June

ELEPHANT & CASTLE TOUR: Learn about the history and heritage of the ever-changing Elephant & Castle area, with one of these free tours taking place this weekend. As you walk, actors bring the stories you're hearing to life. Castle Square, free, book ahead, 28-29 May

ENFIELD PAGEANT OF MOTORING: Start your engines, as the Enfield Pageant of Motoring roars into town for the first time in three years. Head down there to see hundreds of classic cars, bikes and other vehicles. Entertainment includes demonstrations, a fairground, live music, food stalls and a bar. St George's Playing Fields (Enfield), £10 adult, just turn up, 28-29 May

ENCANTO: Recent Disney animated film Encanto is the pick for this week's Family Film Club, offering families a budget-friendly way to see the Colombian-set hit movie — be warned, you'll have We Don't Talk About Bruno in your head for the rest of the day. Plus, turn up before the film to take part in a free creative workshop led by Colombian artist Ivonne Vargas. Barbican Cinema, adults £3.50/kids £2.50, book ahead, 11am

SOAPBOX SCIENCE: Gabriel's Wharf transforms into a hub of scientific learning and discussion, as some of London's leading scientists take to their soapboxes to showcase their knowledge to the general public. The focus of this year's Soapbox Science is on game-changing women and non-binary people. Gabriel's Wharf, free, just turn up, 2pm-5pm

BRAZILIAN RESISTANCE FESTIVAL: Rich Mix hosts a day of exploring and celebrating Brazilian resistance through art. Catch the world premiere of a new documentary about four Brazilians fighting for democracy while living in exile, and then enjoy a concert with a very political message. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), book ahead, from 3pm

Sunday 29 May

Amazing Grace hosts a bottomless brunch

PECKHAM SALVAGE YARD: Search for treasures at Peckham Salvage Yard where over 50 handpicked traders and locals will be selling their wares including clothes, furniture and homewares. The event is from the people behind Hackney Flea Market. Bussey Building (Peckham), £1 entry, just turn up, 11am-6pm

GOSPEL BRUNCH: Enjoy a gospel-themed brunch in a bar in a former church, with a live choir. The Gospel Bottomless Brunch at Amazing Grace features brunch dishes including crispy fried chicken waffles, to be enjoyed while a gospel choir serenades you with Motown hits. Amazing Grace (London Bridge), £10 (or £25 for bottomless booze), book ahead, 11.30am-4pm

DRURY LANE: Immersive walks don't come much better than those hosted by Minimum Labyrinth. Their Drury Lane tour (a guided walk with plenty of street theatre) repeats this week, and it's brilliant. Expect a "bawdy, boozy bacchanal," yet bursting with "obscure factlets, dramatic sweeps of history, dark mysteriousness, musical protrusions and theatrical surprises". Trust us, it's worth it. Drury Lane, from £19.50, book ahead11.30am-5pm

HALF PRICE BURGERS: Today's the last day you can get 50% off the bill at the newly-opened Black Bear Burger in Exmouth Market (it's their fourth and biggest location yet). They've got some smashing looking cheese burgers, bourbon BBQ wings and brisket spring rolls. Black Bear Burger (Exmouth Market), 50% off your menu, book ahead, 12pm-11pm

BECKET: “Turbulent priest” Thomas Becket is most famous for being slain in Canterbury Cathedral, but much of his life was spent in London. Join guide Jonathan from London On The Ground to follow in Becket’s footsteps, from his well-marked birthplace on Cheapside to other sites of importance. The walk supports the Becket Pageant, coming to Guildhall Yard on 17-18 June. Barbican station, £15, book ahead, 2.30pm-4.30pm (repeats on Tuesday)

MAKROOH: Enjoy an evening of spoken word and music performed by British Muslim artists at Soho Theatre. Makrooh also has an open mic section, for anyone in the audience who has something to share. Soho Theatre, from £12, book ahead, 5.15pm

COLLYWOBBLERS COMEDY: See out the weekend with a laugh at Collywobblers Comedy. Acts on the bill this week include Babatunde Aléshé, Kuan-wen, Ben Clover, Sonia Aste, Jo Phaure, Ro Dodgson, and MC Siôn James. The Railway (Streatham), £7, book ahead, 8pm

Urban oddity of the week

A sign made of flowers reads I heart NHS

With so much of west London in bloom (see the Chelsea and Belgravia listings at top), here's another one to add to the collection. St Thomas's Hospital, on the opposite side of the river to the Houses of Parliament, became a central focus of grief and commemoration during the Covid pandemic. Its riverside wall is covered in red hearts bearing the names of those who lost their lives. But the hospital grounds also include a floral tribute to the many NHS workers who gave everything during the pandemic, and continue to do so. The I heart NHS sign was made by floral designers Early Hours, and can be found on the southern approach to Westminster Bridge. It's just one of many tributes to the NHS to be found across town.

Good cause of the week

A woman dangles on a rope with her feat resting on a diagonal red beam. The London skyline is behind her.
The view might have changed a bit since this stock image was taken, but the exhilaration remains the same.

Fancy abseiling down the Orbit tower for charity? You've just about got time to get your application in and raise the sponsorship for this Maggie's fundraiser on 27 May. The event is open to anyone over 14 years and under 19 stone. We had a go a few years back and can confirm that it's an unforgettable experience. You'll need to pay a £35 registration fee and attempt to raise at least £500 for the Maggie's charity.