Things To Do This Week In London: 5-11 February 2024

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All week

A group of musicians posing and smiling with their instruments, against a childlike backdrop of grass and sky
Imagine Children's Festival begins at Southbank Centre this week. Image: Andrew Walmsley

LGBT+ HISTORY MONTH: February is LGBT+ History Month, with heaps of events going on in London to mark the occasion. Highlights this week include at LGBTQ+ tour of Tate Modern, and an online talk about the hidden queer history of myths and monsters.

GENETIC AUTOMATA: Artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy exploring race and identity in an age of avatars, videogames and DNA ancestry in Genetic Automata at Wellcome Collection, delving into where our ingrained ideas about race come from. This week is your last chance to see the exhibition. FREE, until 11 February

REBEL FASHION: Björk's iconic swan dress, worn at the 2001 Oscars, is one of the centrepieces of REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion at the Design Museum, which also closes this week. Items worn by Harry Styles, Sam Smith, Rihanna and Kate Moss also feature in the show, which highlights London’s unique fashion culture on the world stage. Until 11 February

BURMA TO MYANMAR: The country of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is the subject of the British Museum's current exhibition, another one coming to a close at the weekend. It looks back at 1,500 years of the isolated country's history, from civil war to military dictatorship, and the extraordinary artistic output which came about as a result. Until 11 February

A Kew employee putting the finishing touches to a flower arch inside a conversatory
Kew Gardens is currently abloom with orchids from Madagascar. © RBG Kew

CHOREOGRAPHY FESTIVAL: The Royal Opera House runs a Festival of New Choreography, which aims to support new and upcoming choreographers, and diversify the field. There's a launch event this Monday, then performances of new works this week and beyond. 5-15 February

MIME LONDON: Theatre festival Mime London (previously London International Mime Festival) is ongoing, and this week El Patio Teatro perform Insides at Barbican. Until 17 February

ORCHIDS: A reminder that the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens is currently abloom with species of orchids from Madagascar, the theme country of this year's Orchid Festival. It's included with entry to the gardens, so why not make a day of it? Until 3 March

TUBE STATION OF THE WEEK: If you're in the vicinity of Hatton Cross tube station anytime soon, be sure to swing by to check out the artworks installed by artist Dan Maier in the upper windows of both entrances. The colourful vinyls, featuring flowers and birds bring a splash of vibrancy to the brutalist building.

CINEMA OF THE WEEK: The Castle Cinema in Hackney is a great little community cinema, with a swanky barrel-vaulted bar which recalls the heyday of Hollywood. Films being screened this week include Poor Things, All Of Us Strangers, and The Zone of Interest.

Monday 5 February

Eight members of the cast, dressed in black and lined up posing in front of the London skyline, beneath dark clouds
Standing at the Sky's Edge opens on Thursday. Image: Steve Gullick

LITERARY TOUR: Head to Southwark Cathedral this afternoon for a tour around the building focusing on the literary figures who are intertwined with its history. John Gower, Shakespeare, and Charles Dickens are among the names who feature, and the event marks Dickens' birthday on Wednesday. 2pm-3pm

DIGITAL HUMANITARIANISM: Join Prof Nishat Awan for a Gresham College talk exploring how satellite imagery and testimonies from social media help us learn about refugee movements. FREE, 6pm

LAUGHING AT DEATH: Joanna Ebenstein, editor of Mel Gordon’s book Cabarets of Death, gives a talk about the death-themed cabarets of 19th-century Paris, and other death-themed events. Takes place at the Last Tuesday Society in Hackney, and your ticket includes a glass of Devil's Botany Absinthe. 7pm

GHOST STORY LIVE: Fan of podcast Ghost Story? Delve deeper into the tale at Ghost Story Live at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Hosted by Elizabeth Day, the event reveals previously undisclosed evidence in the murder of Dr Naomi Dancy, who was killed at her home in Richmond in 1937. 7.30pm

KATHRYN MATHER: As part of Soho Rising Festival, award-winning comedian Kathryn Mather performs Please Just Give Me A Chance, a dark but whimsical show about working for the NHS, finding love against the backdrop of the pandemic. 8.45pm

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 6 February

Victor La Valle wearing a suit, glasses and a flat cap, posing in front of a suspension bridge
Victor La Valle takes part in a discussion about Imaginary Cities. Image: Teddy Wolff

GRANT MUSEUM REOPENS: After being closed for almost a year for refurbishment, UCL's Grant Museum of Zoology reopens today. The updated displays cover the topic of biodiversity loss and the human impact on the planet’s diversity of life, as well as how UCL research is responding to the planetary crisis. From 6 February

ASIAN TIGERS: Why have economies in east Asia been more successful in escaping from under-development and achieving high levels of growth? Prof Martin Daunton explores in a Gresham lecture. FREE, 6pm

VIRTUAL ALDWYCH: Can't make it into central London? Tour guide Richard Watkins does excellent virtual tours which you can enjoy from home. Tonight, he takes a stroll along Aldwych and Kingsway — two grand streets carved through central London in Edwardian times. 6pm

COLD WAR SPIES: Major General Peter Williams is at the Imperial War Museum to give a talk about intelligence gathering during the Cold War — a period when he worked as Regimental intelligence Officer. Find out about the challenges and triumphs of intelligence collection, from clandestine work in East Berlin to peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. Your ticket includes after-hours access to the current Spies, Lies and Deception exhibition. 6.30pm

1950s YOUTH CULTURE: Writer Travis Elborough hosts crime novelist Cathi Unsworth and author of Mod, Richard Weight, for a trip back in time to the 1950s and a look at the colourful youth culture which was emerging in Soho at the time. Takes place at the Century Club on Shaftesbury Avenue. 7pm

IMAGINARY CITIES: The British Library streams an online discussion about whether imaginary cities in fantasy fiction can change the world. Authors N.K. Jemisin and Victor LaValle, and chair Irenosen Okojie talk about how both imagined and real urban settings in fiction can lead to social change and activism in the real world. 7pm-8.30pm

PILGRIM PLAYS: "Samuel Beckett meets Blackadder" is how The Pilgrim Plays has been described; the one-person show charts the journey of Stink, a medieval outcast and a fool, who's struggling to find love, fleeing from death... and all the while being moo'd upon by cows. It's on for one night only at St Paul's in Covent Garden. 7.30pm

DULWICH HISTORY: Local history is the order of the day at Bell House in Dulwich, where life-long resident Brian Green discusses how the area has changed. He combines then-and-now photos with interviews with past residents, as well as his own memories. The event is an online talk, to be watched from your own home. 8pm-9pm

Wednesday 7 February

A young woman on stage in front of a projector screen
Generation Hope focuses on climate action © Trustees of the Natural History Museum

GENERATION HOPE: Young climate advocates, educators and Museum scientists team up at the Natural History Museum for Generation Hope: Act For The Planet. Free talks, pop-ups and workshops take place across four days, all exploring the topic of the climate emergency. Topics include climate disinformation and how to tackle it, and how policy decisions relating to the climate are made by the government. FREE, 7-10 February

IMAGINE CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL: Southbank Centre's Imagine Children's Festival is back for February half term, celebrating all facets of kids' literature, theatre, dance, and music. The programme is packed, catering to all ages and budgets (plenty of events are FREE!), but stand-out events include appearances by children's laureate Joseph Coelho, comedian Rosie Jones and author Michael Rosen. 7-17 February

HUMAN EVOLUTION: Professor Robin May offers a quick overview of 300,000 years of human history, in a free Gresham College lecture about human evolution. Find out how our own species has changed in the 300,000 years of its existence so far. You can watch in person at Barnard's Inn Hall, or online. FREE, 6pm

BRITISH SEASIDE: The great British seaside resort is the topic of a debate at LSE — specifically, how the once-booming coastal towns can regain their prosperity now that they've lost many of their visitors to package holidays abroad. FREE, 6.30pm-8pm

AFRICANS IN LONDON: Footprints of London guide Rob Smith offers a virtual tour focusing on some of the people born in African countries who have made London their home — some famous, some not so. Africans have been arriving in London since Roman times, and this online talk spans the whole of the capital's history. 8pm-9pm

Thursday 8 February

Four people standing around talking in front of an Imperial Lates screen
Imperial Lates has a romance theme © Brendan Foster Photography

THE SKY'S EDGE: Standing At The Sky's Edge — winner of the 2023 Best New Musical Olivier Award — transfers to the West End, having previously been performed at the National Theatre and Sheffield's Crucible. Originally set on Sheffield's Park Hill Estate, it charts the hopes and dreams of three generations over the course of six decades. It opens at the Gillian Lynne Theatre today. From 8 February

EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE: Another treat for musical fans, as Everybody's Talking About Jamie returns to the London stage, this time at Sadler's Wells. It's the story of Jamie overcoming prejudice, beating bullies and stepping out of the darkness, into the spotlight. 8 February-23 March

DOG PHOTOGRAPHY: Heidi Hudson, Curator of Photographic Collections at the Royal Kennel Club, gives a free lunchtime talk at the V&A Museum about the history of dog photography. Find out why dogs have been so popular as photographic subjects, since photography was first invented. FREE, 1pm-1.55pm

MUSEUM LATE: Chelsea's National Army Museum stays open late for an evening event focusing on the importance of leadership during the first world war, and how decisions made by military leaders shaped the outcome of the conflict. Hear from experts including historians Spencer Jones and John Buckley. Adults only. 5pm-9pm

DYSLEXIA: In a busy week for Gresham College, Prof Maggie Snowling looks at dyslexia and how it relates to other common conditions that affect learning. FREE, 6pm

IMPERIAL LATES: Also open late tonight is Imperial College, whose latest Imperial Lates theme is 'romance and reproduction', ahead of Valentine's Day next week, and as part of LGBTQ+ History Month. Activities include an origami Valentine's card workshop, a chance to hear from the founder of the Vagina Museum, and a talk about the world of same-sex behaviour in monkeys in Puerto Rico. FREE, 6pm-9pm

FANNY AND STELLA: The Bow Street Police Museum in Covent Garden stays open late for a talk about Fanny and Stella — AKA Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton, two Victorian men who sometimes liked to dress as women. Journalist and author Neil McKenna, who has written a book about the pair, talks about their arrest and trial. 6.30pm

Friday 9 February

Heartbreak and Magic opens at Somerset House

STRICTLY LIVE TOUR: If you were glued to the latest series of Strictly when it was on TV, catch the live show as the Strictly Come Dancing tour comes to The O2. Past contestants (names TBC) are strutting their stuff, watched by judges Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke and Craig Revel Horwood. 9-11 February

HEARTBREAK AND MAGIC: Somerset House unveils a new experiential VR installation, Heartbreak and Magic, by artist and quantum physicist Dr Libby Heaney. It takes the form of a virtual reality artwork set within a physical installation, inspired by Heaney's own experience with personal grief and sudden loss. 9-18 February

CLERKENWELL TOUR: Clerkenwell has been a hub of culture since the Middle Ages. Join tour guide Nigel Smith to follow in the footsteps of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, William Morris, Agatha Christie, Vladimir Lenin, William Hogarth and Benjamin Franklin, among others. 11am-1pm

ST JAMES'S PARK: Join a Royal Parks guide for a walking tour around St James's Park, sharing some of its royal history. There's also a Q&A with a member of the park's management team, where you can learn about the wildlife in the area. 1.15pm-2.45pm

ORCHIDS AFTER HOURS: Kew Gardens stays open late for the first of its Orchids After Hours evenings this year. Head to the Princess of Wales Conservatory for an evening of food, drink, music and talks on a Madagascan theme, as well as a chance to see the current Orchid festival floral displays illuminated at night. 6pm-10pm (repeated tomorrow)

IAN DURY: What A Waste — a tribute to the late, great Ian Dury — are playing Carshalton's CryerArts Centre tonight. No doubt they'll be hitting you with their rhythm sticks. 7.30pm

ROLLER DISCO: Get your wheels on for a 90s vs 00s roller disco at Rollerscape in Wembley. Regular disco night Club de Fromage takes over the venue for an evening of tunes and singalongs. Age 18+.  8pm-1am

Saturday 10 February

A lion dancer being paraded for Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year celebrations come to London this weekend. Image: Shutterstock

CHINESE NEW YEAR: 10 February 2024 is Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year, with plenty of events going on around London to welcome in the Year of the Dragon — including a parade through central London tomorrow. 10 February-11 February

ROC KING CLUB: Porchester Hall in Paddington hosts The Roc King Club, a family-friendly immersive theatre and dining experience. Tuck into a three-course meal as you enjoy 'The Greatest Knight of the Year’ an interactive tournament, hosted by the charismatic compere Arthur Chalice, with audience participation between the three courses. Best suited for 6-12 year olds and their families. 10-11 February

ROMEO & JULIET: In what is fast becoming a Valentine's staple in London, Backyard Cinema's incarnation of Romeo & Juilet is back at Union Chapel in Islington. Watch Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film version of Shakespeare's play inside the beautiful building, lit by candlelight, and accompanied by live choir performances of the soundtrack. The show sells out every time it comes to London, so be quick if you want tickets. 10-18 February

HALF TERM: With most schools closed for a week starting today, take a look at our guide to February half term events in London, including family-friendly shows and exhibitions, one-off events and more. 10-18 February

DINOSAUR REVOLUTION: Forest Hill's Horniman Museum opens new exhibition, Dinosaur rEvolution today. It features five large animatronic dinosaurs, and highlights discoveries from recent decades which have changed the way we picture dinosaurs — with an array of colours, feathers, quills and spikes, instead of as scaly green reptiles. It's also a last chance to see the beloved Horniman walrus in situ, as the museum's Natural History Gallery closes in early March, until 2026.  From 10 February

BRIXTON LIT: Brixton has formed the backdrop to many novels, including those by Alex Wheatle, Gerald Jacobs, Zadie Smith, Linton Kwesi-Johnson, Candice Carty Williams and Tom Crewe. Join this London Society guided walk, which includes excerpts from a selection of books and poetry to help transpose fictional characters and events into the real streets of Brixton. 10am-noon

ALL-DAYER: Indie and electronica outfits — including Mylar, Starter Car and Cool Wall — play at an all-dayer at the Victoria in E8. Beach for Tiger, who are launching their new single Take It In, headline. From 5pm

PIANO RECITAL: Highgate's Red Hedgehog hosts a piano recital from Veneta Neynska, performing pieces from Chopin, De Falla, Rachmaninov and others. 7.30pm

Sunday 11 February

Milo Edwards scratching his head
Milo Edwards performs at the Pleasance Theatre

TEA TASTING: Tying in with the ongoing 茶, चाय, Tea (Chá, Chai, Tea) exhibition, Horniman Museum offers a free tea tasting session. Mei Leaf, tea curators and educators, are in the Horniman Conservatory for a casual tea tasting of ancient tree teas brewed in the Gong Fu style. FREE (exhibition also free), 11am-3pm

SYMPHONY OF THE SENSES: Stanley Halls in South Norwood hosts Symphony of the Senses: Colour/Music, a free installation in which large fabric 'sails' fill the venue's Society Room, reflecting and mixing colours and light that you yourself create. FREE, 11.30am-3.30pm

LUNAR NEW YEAR MENU: Daddy Bao in Tooting Broadway marks Lunar New Year with a tasting menu inspired by traditional Chinese dishes, available for one day only. Dishes include venison and plum mini bao, roast duck or mapo celeriac with rice, and lo pa co with XO sauce. 12pm-8.30pm

ASAKA QUARTET: This evening's Sunday concert at Conway Hall is the work of the Asaka Quartet from the Royal Academy of Music, who perform works by Haydn, Mendelssohn, Gjermund Huagen and Bax. 6.30pm-8.30pm

MILO EDWARDS: Comedian Milo Edwards is at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington for a recording of his show, Voicemail. It's your last chance to see the show, about life, death, ageing, money, politics, ‘dad’ music, time travel and the answering machine. 7.30pm

SWING COMMANDERS: Eltham's Bob Hope Theatre welcomes the Swing Commanders tonight, as they get your toes tapping to everything from American Songbook classics to western swing. 7.30pm

SUPER BOWL: Today is Super Bowl Sunday, when two of America's finest NFL teams face off against each other. Assuming you're not jetting off to Vegas to watch in person, here's a guide to Super Bowl screenings and parties in London. It runs into the early hours, so consider booking Monday off work if you're planning to see it through until the end. Kick off is 11.30pm, UK time