Things To Do This Week In London: 25-31 March 2024

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All week

A dish that's part of the Holi menu at Babur
Babur celebrates Holi with a special tasting menu all week.

HOLI CELEBRATIONS: Forest Hill based Indian restaurant Babur marks Holi festival this week. On Monday, MasterChef UK 2023 finalist Anurag Aggarwal joins the kitchen to create a five-course Rang (meaning ‘colour’) tasting menu, served with wine pairings, and performances from Bollywood Vibes dance group in a one-off event. The special menu is then available alongside the regular a la carte for the rest of this week. 25-31 March

LITERARY FOOTPRINTS: This is the final week of the Literary Footprints festival, which has a programme of walking tours themed on books, authors and the like. Our picks this week include a tour of Ian Nairn's London around Westminster, a route following Daniel Defoe's account of the plague of 1665, and an online talk about secret agents in fiction. Until 31 March

PAWS ON THE WHARF: London's latest free sculpture trail is Paws on the Wharf, which sees individually designed sculptures of dogs dotted around Canary Wharf in aid of Guide Dogs. The free trail is in situ for six weeks, after which the artworks are auctioned off to fundraise for the charity. One to bear in mind for keeping children entertained on the cheap during the school holidays! FREE, 25 March-17 May

A large modernist housing estate with balconies
Our book of the week features a cornucopia of semi-utopian/semi-dystopian housing estates. Image: Thaddeus Zupancic

EASTER BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND: This coming weekend is Easter weeekend. Make the most of it with our guide to spending a bank holiday weekend in London — we've got you covered, come rain or shine, whether you want culture, the great outdoors, or fantastic day trips. We've also got a guide to special Easter weekend events, including a bunny hunt and a spring fair. 29 March-1 April

EASTER HOLIDAYS: And of course, with Easter weekend comes the school Easter holidays. Exact dates vary from school to school, but here's a guide to family-friendly holiday events in London over the next couple of weeks.

BOOK OF THE WEEK: If, like us, you cannot cram enough semi-bleak modernism into your eyeballs, then Thaddeus Zupancic's London Estates: Modernist Council Housing 1946-1981 is well worth adding to your (modernist?) coffee table. It's brimming with scores of images of post-war estates, including the likes of the Lansbury Estate, and the (now demolished) Binsey Walk in Thamesmead.

DRINK OF THE WEEK: Oriole was a wonderful subterranean joint inside Smithfield Market that sadly closed at the end of 2022. But now, it's preparing to reopen elsewhere in London — and as a 'sensory test flight' for the relaunch, makeshift bar Prelude by Oriole is mixing up cocktails and serving up small plates in Covent Garden. There's live piano music every night too.

Monday 25 March

A golden coloured Guide Dog looking up at a dog sculpture
London's new free sculpture trail opens today.

PARENTS' PUB QUIZ: It's the turn of Eltham GPO to host the Bring Your Baby pub quiz. It's like a regular pub quiz, but takes place in the daytime, and is for parents and carers with young babies. Breaks for feeding and changing your little one are built in, and questions are always repeated so that nobody misses anything. 12pm-2.30pm

SECRET HEADLINER: If you like surprises (and live music), the New Cross Inn is putting on a secret headliner tonight (they're from the US, that's all we know) — while support comes from ska punk bands Filthy Militia and Till I'm Bones. Which leads us to conjecture that the headliners are going to be of a similar genre... Doors 6pm

LEAD: Leaded petrol has now been phased out around the world, but it took the oil industry a long time to play ball. Dr Ian Mudway is at Gresham College to talk about the eradication, and the toxic legacy we're still living with. FREE, 6pm

TWIN PEAKS: Dr Lindsay Hallam, Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of East London, delves into the world of Twin Peaks in a talk at The Last Tuesday Society in Hackney. Hear how a show which started with the investigation into the murder of fictional homecoming queen Laura Palmer became a pop culture phenomenon, with a prequel and a subsequent revival. 6.30pm-8.30pm

FOC IT UP: Soho Theatre hosts The FOC IT UP! Comedy Club, a celebration of comedians of colour who are not cis-men. Tonight's line-up hasn't been revealed at time of writing, but past participants have included Kemah Bob, Desiree Burch and Yuriko Kotani. 9.15pm

MONDAYS IN LONDON: Looking for something else to do, today or any other week? Take a look at our guide to things to do in London on a Monday — we've gathered together live music venues, comedy and cabaret clubs which keep going on what is usually the quietest day of the week, along with guided walks and tours scheduled on a Monday, and a few special offers too.

Tuesday 26 March

Three women standing in an empty room, with artworks projected onto the walls, floor and ceiling
Delve into Surrealism at Frameless Art Talks

ART TALKS: The Frameless immersive art experience in Marble Arch hosts another of its lunchtime Art Talks. This month's theme is Surrealism, with expert Claudia Merkle revealing the hidden meanings behind some of the most famous Surrealist paintings by Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst among others. Ticket includes access to the exhibition. 12pm-12.45pm

OXFORD HOUSE TOUR: Take a guided tour of Oxford House in Bethnal Green, which includes access to its archives, secret chapel, and rooftop viewpoint, as well as a chance to hear about its history from Victorian beginnings to both world wars, to a visit from Gandhi. 12pm-1pm

THEATRE PRODUCTION: The art of theatre production comes under the microscope at the Covent Garden Hotel, as a panel of theatre producers including Francesca Moody (Fleabag, A Streetcar Named Desire) and James Bierman (Prima Facie, The Pillowman) discuss their roles. Find out what the role entails, and what it takes to make a theatre show a success. 6.30pm-7.30pm

WINEMAKER SUPPER CLUB: Germain Croisille from Château Les Croisille in south-west France is the expert leading this month's Winemaker Supper Club at Humble Grape (Battersea branch). Tuck into a multi-course dinner paired with wines (naturally), as Croisille talks you through what makes his wines so special. 6.30pm-9.30pm. The same event takes place tomorrow night at the Islington branch.

MONTHLY DIGESTIF: The London Edition in Fitzrovia hosts regular event The Monthly Digestif, which is a round up of cultural and political stories, with some debate thrown in. Writer and documentary filmmaker Sydney Lima hosts, with panellists including BAFTA winning filmmaker Hassan Akkad, comedian Kemah Bob and creator of  TV show Such Brave Girls Kat Sadler. 7pm-8.30pm

TIBETAN MUSIC: Grammy-nominated Tibetan musician Tenzin Choegyal teams up with pianist Xavier Boot at the October Gallery in Holborn tonight, for Of Mountains and Mystics: An Evening of Music and Poetry. 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 27 March

People sitting around a table enjoying dinner and wine
The Winemaker Supper Club takes place at Humble Grape on Tuesday and Wednesday

GAY SHORT FILMS: Barbican Cinema screens The Gay Short Films of Stephen Cummins, with an introduction by curator Alex Davidson. The programme of short films by Australian filmmaker Stephen Cummins portray beautiful, sometimes provocative, depictions of gay men in the 1980s and early 1990s, including one exploring the aftermath of a homophobic attack. 6.30pm

BIG SPORTS QUIZ: Daniel Norcross from the BBC’s Test Match Special and TNT Sports anchor Kate Mason host The Big Sports Quiz in aid of homelessness charity The Passage. Head to Big Penny Social for a sports trivia showdown with prizes including T20 match tickets, as well as a charity raffle. 6.30pm-9.30pm

GAS LAMPS: With the nights getting shorter and the clocks changing at the weekend, this is your last chance to join one of Jane Parker's wonderful London by Gaslight tours. The two-hour walk explores the history of gas lighting in Westminster, and points out some of the still-functioning gas powered lamps in the area. 6.30pm-8.30pm

SPACE ODDITIES: There are a number of anomalies currently perplexing scientists in the field of space. University of Cambridge and CERN physicist Harry Cliff offers an insight into these puzzles in a lecture at the Royal Institution, including why stars are hurtling away from us at inexplicable velocities. 7.20pm-8.45pm

GAZA WAR SURGEON: Hear from Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who was working in Gaza in October and November 2023. In an event hosted by Amnesty International, he talks about the conditions in Gaza and what it was like working as a surgeon while under intense Israeli bombardment. FREE, 7.30pm-8.45pm

DEATH OF STALIN: Conducted by Matt Dunkley, the BBC Concert Orchestra performs the score of black political satire comedy The Death of Stalin, while the film is shown on a large screen. It tells the story of the power struggle following the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Takes place at Barbican. 7.30pm

GREAT ESCAPES: That might have got you humming a certain theme tune, but tonight's online National Archives event has nothing to do with the Steve McQueen film. Instead, hear from the curators of the current Great Escapes exhibition about prisoners of war and people kept in internment camps during the second world war, both physically, and by finding solace within their surroundings. FREE, 7.30pm

Thursday 28 March

A set of wooden animals
The Design Museum's Enzo Mari exhibition opens on Friday. Photo: Federico Villa

CRYSTAL PALACE: Explore the development of Crystal Palace with guide Richard Watkins. Discover how the area emerged from the Great North Wood, became a fashionable shopping area, had attractive spas and gardens, and attracted internationally famous writers, actors and artists — all at one of the highest points in London. 11am-1pm

DEAR ENGLAND: If you missed popular football play Dear England when it was on stage at the National Theatre, catch an NT Live screening of it at Barbican Cinema. Joseph Fiennes plays England men's football manager Gareth Southgate in a fictionalised look at the team's struggles and successes. 7pm

FOLK UNPLUGGED: Singer-songwriter MG Boulter and rising folk star Germa Adan take to the stage for the March edition of Folk Unplugged, a monthly live music night showcasing up and coming talent. Takes place at Conway Hall in Holborn. 7pm-9.30pm

OUT-SPOKEN: Regular poetry and live music evening Out-Spoken is back at Southbank Centre, with poets Nikki Giovanni, Mary Jean Chan and Hannah Lavery performing their work. Music is performed by Kadie Aquarius. 7.45pm

TWINKLORE: "Ever since the first twink was discovered on cave paintings in the inner sanctum of GAY Late, they have evolved... mutated... and sniffed a River Thames amount of poppers..." So runs the intro to Twinklore, an extra-impish sounding drag comedy, which plays out in the basement of The Divine in Hackney this evening. Prudes need not apply. Doors 7.30pm

COLLYWOBBLERS COMEDY: The CLF Art Lounge in Peckham hosts Collywobblers Comedy. Sion James heads up proceedings, with Mark Thomas, Miss Mo Real, Jordan Gill, Sallyann Fellowes and Carwyn Blayney also on this month's programme. Worth getting there early to check out the roof terrace before the show. 8.30pm-11pm

PUB: The Thursday before what is a four-day weekend for many people? Rude not to, really. Browse our guide to the best pubs in London, divided by area so you can easily find one near you.

Good Friday 29 March

A trio of actors dressed as Roman soldiers in Trafalgar Square
Free performances of the Easter story in Trafalgar Square on Good Friday. Image: Wintershall

ENZO MARI: The Design Museum opens a new exhibition dedicated to the life and work of 20th century Italian designer Enzo Mari. His projects ranged from furniture, children’s books and games to product and graphic design, and more conceptual installation-based works, and the exhibition gives an insight into his research and creative process. 29 March-8 September

CHOCOLATE HOUSE: Also opening a new exhibition is the Old Royal Naval College, which explores how chocolate was involved in the revival of Greenwich. Chocolate House Greenwich looks at the impact it had on Georgian society when it started arriving from South America, and includes a recreation of the Tosier Chocolate House which was located in nearby Blackheath. 29 March-3 November

PASSION OF JESUS: Every Good Friday, Trafalgar Square is packed out with thousands of people gathering to watch The Passion of Jesus, a free retelling of the Easter story, with 100 actors taking part. Everyone's welcome, but it involves — spoiler — a crucifixion scene so may not be suitable for younger kiddies. Get there in plenty of time to get a space, as it's always a very popular event. FREE, 12pm/3.30pm

MESSIAH ON GOOD FRIDAY: For the 148th time, the Royal Choral Society performs Handel's Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall on Good Friday — a tradition that's only ever been interrupted by the Blitz and Covid. 150 singers are conducted by the choir's music director Richard Cooke, and accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a quartet of soloists. 2.30pm

DRAG COMEDY CABARET: BBC New Comedy Award shortlisted drag comedian Lady Bushra hosts Drag Comedy Cabaret at the Queen of Hoxton. Hear about life in Bradford from a South Asian perspective, in a theatre/cabaret style setting. 7pm

NORMAN JAY: Notting Hill Carnival legend Norman Jay takes the party inside at Southbank Centre. The dance music pioneer is joined by other icons of the genre as well as a live band and soul and disco singer Jocelyn Brown for a lively evening celebrating the UK's music scene. 7.30pm

Saturday 30 March

Boat race on the Thames
It's Boat Race day! Image: Shutterstock

KEW THE RUN: Kew the Run is a 10K or half marathon route finishing in Kew Gardens. The 10K course (Saturday) is entirely contained within the gardens, while the half marathon (Sunday) starts and ends in the gardens, meandering down to Ham House in Richmond and back. 30-31 March

GUARDS MUSEUM: Ever been to The Guards Museum on Birdcage Walk? If not, today's an excellent time to do so, as it's offering half-price entry for its Women's History Month celebrations. Events throughout the day include a chance to meet the women currently serving in Wellington Barracks, and try on a genuine Guardsman uniform. 10am-3.30pm

NERDVERSE: Dugdale Arts Centre in Enfield hosts anime and gaming festival NerdVerse. Live panels, gaming tournaments and cosplay competitions take place throughout the afternoon, along with a live recording of the Nerd Council podcast, a DJ, street food, and more. 12pm

PADDINGTON IN CONCERT: The absolutely enchanting 2014 film Paddington is shown on a large HD screen at Royal Festival Hall, while the London Concert Orchestra performs the score live. In case you need a refresher, Paddington, a bear from Peru, moves in with the Brown family in London, proceeds to cause all kinds of havoc, and ends up in a face-off with a taxidermist. Age 7+, though it's one of those films that's as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids. 2pm/5.30pm

BOAT RACE: The Oxford-Cambridge Boat Races take place on Easter Saturday this year. It'll be broadcast on TV as usual, but if you're keen to see them in person, get down there early to grab your spot — particularly if you're hoping to bag a pew at one of the pub gardens along the route. FREE to watch, 2.46pm (Women's) and 3.46pm (Men's)

RADICAL MUSIC: Sound activist and musician Charles Hayward is back at the Albany in Deptford, for an evening of music that 'questions frontiers' and 'embraces divergent energies'. He's joined by Coma World, Event and Tooth Adderly — while Kwake Bass takes to the decks. 8pm

SE11 SESSIONS: It's time again for the Tea House Theatre's SE11 Sessions — an evening of jazz, soul & funk. If you book a table for dinner, the music's on the house — and if you're just calling in a drink, entry's a bargainous £5. 8.30pm-12am

Easter Sunday 31 March

A group of six musicians posing outside a restaurant
Try out the new Gospel Motown Brunch.

CLOCKS CHANGE: A reminder that the clocks go forward an hour in the early hours of 31 March (which also happens to be Easter Sunday). The bad news is that we lose an hour, but the good news is that it heralds the start of lighter, brighter days.

BRUNCH: The latest brunch in town comes from decidedly debonair canal-side Hackney restaurant Sune — where you can dine on delicate plates of smoked eel caesar salad, and burnt aubergine croque madame. A red snapper or sherry and tonic from the bar should blow away any Sunday morning cobwebs. Every Sunday

EASTER FAMILY DISCO: Kids bouncing off the walls? Take them to Big Penny Social, where there's a family Easter disco, complete with puzzles, interactive games, prizes and more. The first session of the day includes an Easter egg hunt too. Should burn off a bit off energy. 11am-4pm

VINTAGE MARKET: New River Studios, just north of Woodberry Wetlands, hosts the weekly Eade Road Market, peddling vintage clothes and jewellery, records and tapes, arts and crafts — and various other wares from local sellers. There's also pizza and liquid refreshment. 12.30pm-5.30pm

EASTER TRAIL: Alternatively, run off steam at the Easter trail at Lauderdale House in Highgate. Solve riddles around Waterlow Park as you seek out the giant bunny, using a treasure map to help you. FREE, 11am-4.30pm

GOSPEL MOTOWN BRUNCH: The Anthologist near Bank launches a Gospel Motown Brunch. Tuck into brunch dishes such as fried chicken waffles, a mezze board, or fish and chips, with the option to add on 90 minutes of bottomless drinks (Aperol Spritz, Bloody Marys, mimosas or rum punch). Meanwhile, a live gospel choir and Motown singers perform — and audience participation is very much encouraged. 12pm-4pm

ST AUGUSTINE'S TOWER: Like to get up high and see London from different viewpoints? Ever scaled the tower of St Augustine's Church in Hackney? It's free to do so on the last Sunday of each month, which happens to be today! 2pm-4.30pm

PIANO RECITAL: British pianist Viv McLean is the performer at today's Sunday Concert at Conway Hall. Enjoy a programme of music spanning three centuries, including works by Scarlatti, Beethoven, and Chopin. 6.30pm-8.30pm