Things To Do This Week In London: 5-11 June 2023

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Things to do this week is sponsored by BFI.

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Things to do this week: a selection of red and purple flags in the courtyard at Somerset House, part of the Malta Pavilion at London Design Biennale
The London Design Biennale is underway at Somerset House. Image: Malta Pavilion

LONDON DESIGN BIENNALE: Bake bread, witness an AI robot designing, weave a tapestry, get inside a space pod, find inner peace and visit a virtual garden — just some of the activities available at the 2023 London Design Biennale. The theme this year is The Global Game: Remapping Collaborations, and Somerset House hosts work from more than 40 designers around the world, created in response to the theme. Until 25 June

LONDON FESTIVAL OF ARCHITECTURE: A celebration of architecture and 'city-making', the London Festival of Architecture programme is packed with events throughout the month, from public installations to talks, tours, debates and performances — including some family-friendly events too. Highlights this week include an exhibition of photos of the Thames Barrier, a free talk about the architecture of disability, and a film about the Northern line Edgware branch. Until 30 June

CIVILIZATION: One of our art critic's top picks for June is Civilization: The Way We Live Now at Saatchi Gallery, which displays 150 photos across eight different themes to show how humans have completely changed the way our planet looks. Until 17 September

A colourful selection of Indian bites, served thali style
En Root has set up a kitchen at Tulse Hill's Railway Tavern

EAT OF THE WEEK: The Railway Tavern outside Tulse Hill station is home to En Root for the next three months, meaning hearty home-cooked Indian meals like tandoori wings, jerk dosas, pakora burgers and mango lassi cheesecake. It's all vegan, and it's served daily — until well into August (and if all goes well, beyond).

READ OF THE WEEK: Speaking of pubs with excellent Indian cuisine, David Jesudason's new book Desi Pubs takes you into the world of Indian-run boozers, where mock duck, tandoori lamb chops, and big screen football is the name of the game. Covering the whole of the UK, the book has a fab London section, featuring desi pubs from Wembley to Croydon.

DAY TRIP OF THE WEEK: Fancy a day out that combines history, the great outdoors, and a little-known slice of Star Wars? Head to Hever Castle in Kent, a stunning fortress with links to Henry VIII, surrounded by gardens (the rose garden is spectacular at this time of year), a maze and a lake, plus a dolls' house museum and a military museum.

Monday 5 June

A man in a white t shirt with a red background
Adam Kay kicks off a new book club at Sea Containers. © Charlie Clift

INNS OF COURT: Dive off Fleet Street and into another world, aka London's four Inns of Court, on London Walks' guided tour. Discover stunning architecture and hidden gardens, and feast on anecdotes from the city's wits, windbags and wayward wigs, harking back centuries. 2pm

ADAM KAY: Sea Containers launches a new book club in cahoots with The Orion Publishing Group, and to kick things off, Adam Kay (of This Is Going To Hurt fame) is reading from his latest bestseller, Undoctored. Kay will also be sharing (perhaps literally) side-splitting anecdotes from his time on the wards. 6.30pm-8.30pm

QUEER COMEDY CLUB: Mondays nights mean free comedy at The Queer Comedy Club, a new venue in Archway specially created for LGBTQ+ performers and audiences (although allies are more than welcome to come). These Raw nights at the start of the week feature both experienced acts testing out new material, and box-fresh performers taking their very first steps onto the comedy scene. FREE, 7.30pm

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN: Drag queen Topsie Redfern hosts tonight edition of God Save the Queen at CellarDoor in Aldwych — one heck of a way to start your week, especially if you knock off work early, and take advantage of the retro drinks prices on offer till an hour before kick off. 8pm

Tuesday 6 June

Things to do this week: a dish with two croquetas
Catch the final of the Croquetas Challenge

LONDON CONCOURS: Luxury cars meet garden party at the London Concours, taking place at the Honourable Artillery Company in the City. The classic car show brings together 80 of the world's most unique cars, including a celebration of the Porsche 911 RS. 6-8 June

HAMPTON COURT PALACE FESTIVAL: It's a music festival, but not as you know it. Hampton Court Palace Festival is a rather civilised affair, taking place in the palace grounds, with the option of enjoying a picnic before the music starts. Artists performing this year include Grace Jones, Kool & The Gang, Kaiser Chiefs, Tom Jones, Björn Again and Rick Astley, but it's Gladys Knight who kicks things off tonight. 6-17 June

TARANTINO LIVE: Immersive theatrical musical Tarantino Live launches tonight. It's a celebration of film director Quentin Tarantino's work, featuring visuals, and new arrangements of classic songs from his films. The plot sees the 'Fox Force Five' — a group of  superwomen based on five of Quentin Tarantino's most iconic female characters —  take on the Tyranny of Evil Men. 6 June-13 August

RETRO GAMING: PocketSquare rooftop bar at the Hyatt Place hotel in Whitechapel hosts occasional retro gaming social sessions. Head along tonight to play games from the '80s and '90s, while enjoying themed drinks, live music, and views across London. 6pm

CROQUETAS CHALLENGE: One for foodies: Salt Yard Borough hosts the final of the Croquetas Challenge, a culinary contest which sees teams from different restaurants battling it out to whip up the best croquetas. Bibo at Mondrian Shoreditch, Bar Douro, Cin Cin Fitzrovia and Vori are among the teams in the final, and your tickets includes two drinks, plus one croqueta from each restaurant. 6pm-9pm

WE CAN BE HEROES: Writer and AIDS activist Paul Burston is at the British Library to discuss his new memoir, We Can Be Heroes, with author Susie Boyt. The book charts Burston's journey, from coming out in a small Welsh town in the 1980s, when ‘gay’ still felt like a dirty word, to witnessing the AIDS pandemic and battling his personal demons in London. 7pm-8.30pm

Sponsor message

Experience the inaugural BFI Film on Film Festival

Something very special is coming to BFI Southbank this week: the first ever BFI Film on Film Festival.

It's a rare chance to watch cinematic classics as they were originally intended, via the magic of celluloid. Every screening on the festival programme is projected on film — plus, there are rare screenings of highly volatile nitrate prints, at the only cinema in the UK able to publicly screen them.

So, what's on the line-up? Silent cinema, Hollywood classics, world cinema gems and modern masterpieces all feature, including Malcolm X, Rebel Without A Cause, In the Mood for Love, and Dial M For Murder. Families are catered for with Disney's The Sword in the Stone, and a screening of children's TV classics. Plus, the largest cinema in the UK hosts a Dark Knight Trilogy all-nighter. Some screenings have already sold out, so grab your tickets while you can.

BFI Film on Film Festival takes place 8-11 June 2023. Find out more and book your tickets now.

Wednesday 7 June

Things to do this week: a huge skull shaped pinata and colourful bunting hanging from the ceiling at Tobacco dock for La Pinata festival
La Piñata opens at Tobacco Dock on Friday

HER BODY, ALMOST YOU: Alexandra Charlotte Pullen's exhibition her body, almost you launches at Richmond's One Paved Court space today. Her works feature intricate black ink drawings, tentative paintings, and hybrid photographic pieces, exploring themes of identity, health and sexuality. 7-25 June

42ND STREET: Sadler's Wells hosts a brand new production of classical musical 42nd Street, about singer and tap dancer Peggy Sawyer who arrives in New York City dreaming of seeing her name up in lights. 7 June-2 July

THE CRUCIBLE: The National Theatre’s acclaimed production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible transfers to the Gielgud Theatre in the West End for a limited run, opening today. It's a partially-fictionalised retelling of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-93. 7 June-2 September

PLAY FOUNTAINS: It's a sure sign that summer's here when the play fountains outside Southbank Centre are switched back on. Officially known as Jeppe Hein's Appearing Rooms, the water feature is a favourite with kids on hot days, as they try to catch the water jets before they disappear again. Parents: a change of clothes and a towel are advised. FREE, 7 June-3 September

FLOWER PRESSING: Elephant & Castle-based florist JamJar is at Heal's on Tottenham Court Road for a workshop on the art of pressing flowers. Learn the basics of pressing seasonal flowers and creating your own floral artwork. 6.15pm-7.15pm

QUEER FOOT PRINTS: Meet author and activist Dan Glass at Stanfords in Covent Garden, as he takes part in a Q&A about his new guide book, Queer Foot Prints. It takes the reader on a tour of London, uncovering the capital's queer history — or 'queerstory' — from the people who marched in the first Pride parade, to the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub. 6.30pm-8pm

BREWERY COMEDY: Tom Houghton, Paul Thorne, Hatty Ashdown, Fitzgerald Honger and Currer Ball are all on the line-up at tonight's Windsor & Eton Brewery comedy night at The Crown and Treaty in Uxbridge. Sion James is MC, and your ticket includes a free drink. 8.30pm

Thursday 8 June

Things to do this week: storyteller Vanessa Woolf in an abandoned church building, with the sun behind her
Vanessa Woolf hosts a storytelling open mic night.

MEAN GIRLS: School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play, to give it its full title, is set in Ghana’s prestigious Aburi Girls Boarding School in 1986, and focuses on 'Queen Bee' student Paulina and her friends, whose place in the social hierarchy seems to be threatened by the arrival of a new student. It highlights the similarities and issues faced by teenage girls all over the world, and you can see it at the Lyric Hammersmith from today. 8 June-15 July

LUNCH MARKET: If you find yourself in or around Canary Wharf this lunchtime, ditch the chain cafes and head to the Lunch Market in Montgomery Square for an array of street food traders. There are picnic benches on site, and the market runs every Thursday until September. 12pm-2.30pm

CHARITY COMEDY: Lou Sanders hosts a night of laughs at Clapham Grand, featuring Pierre Novellie, Ahir Shah and Glenn Moore — in aid of food charity FareShare. The theme of the night is 'No Jiggery Pokery', and the comedians are shining a spotlight on the 'rubbish' and 'trickery' going on in our everyday lives. 6.30pm

STORYTELLING OPEN MIC: Vanessa Woolf of London Dreamtime is the host of an open mic storytelling night at Streatham Space Project. 'Between Worlds' is the theme of the evening, with anyone welcome to sign up in advance to tell a story — otherwise, sit back and enjoy others spinning their own yarns. 7pm-10.30pm

SISTER SLEDGE: Calling all disco lovers! For one (incredibly glittery) night only, legends of the genre Sister Sledge are taking over the Royal Albert Hall to help you let loose, seventies-style. At Sister Sledge: Live In Concert, you can expect all the hits — from We Are Family to Lost In Music. The vocal group is joined by hitmakers The Real Thing, DJs Dimitri from Paris and Twiggy Garcia, and a live band. Tickets from £34.50. (sponsor)

THE BIG PITCH: Set in a fictional ad agency, The Big Pitch is an advertising-themed comedy night which sees well-known comedians (John Kearns, Joz Norris, Bec Hill and Eleanor Morton, among others) pitching their ideas to you, the client, leaving you to decide which ones land and which don't. Takes place at Bloomsbury Theatre. 7.45pm

Friday 9 June

Things to do this week: a DJ playing live on stage in front of a crowd
Fagamuffin Bloc Party is one of the launch events for this year's Meltdown Festival. Image: Haruki, Faggamuffin 2022

TEQUILA AND MEZCAL FESTIVAL: La Piñata is a celebration of Agave spirits, Mexican culture and an opportunity to taste a diverse range of Tequila and Mezcal from over 20 producers side by side, taking place at Tobacco Dock today and tomorrow. Masterclasses, live entertainment and food stalls are present across both days. 9 June-10 June

PUB IN THE PARK: Food and music festival Pub in the Park pitches up in Dulwich Park today. Tinie Tempah, Heather Small, The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club and The Dolly Parton Experience are all on the eclectic music line-up, with a chef demo stage, fire pit, artisan food market and pop-up bars taking care of the food and drink side of things. 9-11 June

MELTDOWN FESTIVAL: The 28th edition of the UK’s longest-running artist-curated music festival, Meltdown, is at Southbank Centre, with French singer-songwriter Christine and the Queens at the helm. Today's launch events include an al fresco sound system celebration of QTBIPOC Pride and visibility at carnival, and a celebration of south-east London queer nightclub The Chateau. 9-18 June

SERPENTINE PAVILION: It's that time of year when a new building mysteriously appears in Kensington Gardens. It is, of course, the Serpentine Pavilion, an architectural commission by the nearby Serpentine Galleries, and this year's is À table, designed by French-Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh. We're promised 'notions of memory, space and landscape' in a low, modest and skeletal structure. FREE, 9 June-29 October

ZOO NIGHTS: London Zoo stays open later than usual almost every Friday in June and July for Zoo Nights, an adults-only event, with tours, games, street food tours, and chance to see the animals at a time when the zoo is usually closed. 6pm-10pm

THE CAB: Hammersmith's Irish Cultural Centre gets you chuckling your way into the weekend with The Cab, an evening cabaret, music, comedy and good craic, starring Derek Murphy, Orla Nothin' (top drag name) and Katie Pritchard. 7pm

Saturday 10 June

Things to do this week: people queuing at the Chucklehead Cider stall at Lambeth Country Show
The Lambeth Country Show is on all weekend.

LAMBETH COUNTRY SHOW: The annual two-day Lambeth Country Show pitches up in its usual spot in Brockwell Park for all manner of entertainment, spanning sheep shearing, vegetable sculptures, live music, chocolate making, and... a wall of death. FREE, 10-11 June

JUNIPLAOOZA: Gin has its moment in the spotlight at Junipalooza, a gin festival at Tobacco Dock where you can meet distillers and brand reps to learn more about their products. There are plenty of tasting opportunities too, as well as food and water to keep you fresh — and note that the first day of this festival overlaps with the final day of La Piñata (above) at the same venue. What could possibly go wrong? 10-11 June

FESTIVAL OF COMMUNITIES: Created by Queen Mary University London, the Festival of Communities is a celebration of everything great in east London. Taking place in Stepney Green Park and the QMUL Mile End campus, events include sports trial sessions, hands-on science, craft activities and more. FREE, 10-11 June

JAIPUR LITERATURE FESTIVAL: William Dalrymple, Shashi Tharoor, Vauhini Vara, Tom Holland, Tahmima Anam, Vishal Bhardwaj, Asma Khan and Sathnam Sanghera are among the speakers on the line-up for the London Jaipur Literature Festival, a satellite event of the huge Jaipur Literature Festival which takes place in India each January. 10-11 June

OPEN GARDENS WEEKEND: London Square Open Gardens Weekend is a chance to explore London's green spaces via open days, tours and talks. They range from allotments to small private gardens, to the larger gardens in the likes of Eaton Square Garden, usually only accessible to local residents with a key. 10-11 June

BARNET MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL: See re-enactments of the Battles of Barnet 1471 and the Second Battle of St Albans 1461, as well as displays by the gunners, archers and mounted knights at this year's Barnet Medieval Festival. New for 2023 is a medieval fashion show and craft demonstration. 10-11 June

QUIRKY KING'S CROSS: Tour guide Chris Burton specialises in "first and quirky" walks, where she introduces some of the odder facts from history. This week, she's touring the railway lands at King's Cross, picking out some of the interesting "firsts" to come from this rapidly changing area. 11am

WORLD NAKED BIKE RIDE: If you're prudish, you may wish to avert your eyes as the World Naked Bike Ride comes to town. Cyclists let it all hang out as they ride in a group on one of several pre-agreed routes. Don't forget your suncream if you're taking part. FREE to watch, from 11am

BOSFEST: A huge free, unticketed street party, Bankside Open Spaces Festival takes place across venues including Red Cross Garden, Crossbones Graveyard and Flat Iron Square. Inspired by Elephant & Castle, there's a Latin twist to this year's event, with a procession, live music, sports and craft workshops, face painting, historical activities, a dog show and more. FREE, 12pm-9pm

BIG DOCKLANDS STREET PARTY: While its bigger sibling is closed for relocation, the Museum of London Docklands has its own celebration to mark its 20th anniversary. The Big Docklands Street Party takes its inspiration from London's East End, with live performances, street food and pop-up bars and other entertainment, hosted by Drag Race royalty Vanity Milan. 7pm

Sunday 11 June

Things to do this week: comedian Rhys Nicholson
Rhys Nicholson headlines the LGBTQ+ Comedy Festival finale

CLASSIC CAR SHOW: Rare and unusual cars gather in Norman Park for the Bromley Pageant of Motoring. Wander among vehicles of various ages and makes, meet fellow enthusiasts, and have a rummage at the autojumble. There's also a funfair and inflatables for kids, and a live action arena with displays going on all day. 9.30am-5pm

QUEEN'S READING ROOM: Hampton Court Palace hosts the Queen's Reading Room Festival, a literary event which combines music and history in rather flash surroundings. Dame Judi Dench, Gyles Brandreth, David Olusoga and Ben Macintyre are all on the line-up, and there's also a chance to take literary-themed tours of the palace. 11am-9.30pm

ANTIQUES FAIR: Over 100 antiques dealers set up in Marylebone for the annual Church Street Antiques Fair. Peruse vintage furniture, art, homeware and the like. There's also refreshment and live music. 11am-5pm

JAZZ CLASSICS: The Prospective Collective unleash their arsenal of swing jazz classics at Kings Cross's Jamboree venue this afternoon. A wonderful way to wind down at the end of the weekend — and won't cost you a thing, either. 3pm-5pm

COMEDY BLOOMERS: The London LGBTQ+ Stand Up Comedy Festival comes to an end tonight, and it's going down in a blaze of glory with with headliner Rhys Nicholson, plus Kuan Wen (MC), SuperGirly, Spring Day, Matthew Ali and finalists of LGBTQ+ New Comedian of the Year 2022, Dane Buckley, Umby Winters & Alex Stringer. Takes place at the Seven Dials Comedy Club. 7pm

Museum treasure of the week

A green victorian postbox with golden swags dangling from the rim

Clerkenwell's Postal Museum is one of our favourite small museums. It's perhaps best known for the Mail Rail underground railway, which once carried parcels but has since been adapted for passengers. The museum itself houses a bulging sack of postal curiosities. We're particularly fond of this rare Victorian postbox, decorated with golden swags and trim. See our guide to the evolution of the postbox.

Good cause of the week

A group of people holding thank you NHS placards, stood beside a piano
Chris (in orange-brown cardigan at centre) with members of the choir

For this week's good cause, we want to give a shout out to Chris West — a long-time friend of Londonist and author of books about St Katharine's Docks and the Tower of London. Chris recently suffered a bleed on the brain and was rushed for emergency surgery at the Royal London. He's now raising money to support the hospital's new Wellbeing Hub - a facility on the 9th floor where the hard-working staff can take a bit of a breather. Chris has already raised hundreds of pounds, including contributions from an NHS choir (pictured above). Even the Yeoman Warders at the Tower had a whip around. If you can spare a few pounds for this good cause, take a look at Chris's JustGiving page.