Things to do this week is sponsored by Ballymore.
LONDON NOW: Art auction house Christie's hosts London Now, a festival of art and literature with events showing how the two disciplines are intertwined. Auctions, exhibitions, talks and more are on the programme, including a late night opening this Wednesday, and a talk about John le Carré on Saturday. Christie's (St James's), free, book ahead, 6 June-15 July
CHIMPS: 28 bronze sculptures of chimpanzees — some larger than life — are now on display by the Thames, each designed to represent some aspect of chimp behaviour. They're the work of artist duo Gillie and Marc, who created them in support of WWF's chimp conservation work. London Bridge City, free, just turn up, until October
CROWN AND CONFLICT: Something you may have missed with all the Jubilee hullabaloo is Crown and Conflict: Portraits of a Queen in Wartime. The Imperial War Museum exhibition consists of 18 photos charting the Queen's experiences of war, from her service in the ATS, to public duties involving members of the Armed Forces. Imperial War Museum (Lambeth), free, just turn up, until 8 January
SUPERBLOOM: Another Jubilee celebration that's still with us is Superbloom, a wildflower-style meadow that's taken over the Tower of London moat for the whole summer. View it from without, or slide (or walk) down into the moat to wander among the colourful blooms. Tower of London, from £12, book ahead, 1 June-18 September 2022
THE LAST WORD: We're around half way through this year's The Last Word Festival, a celebration of spoken word through theatre, live podcasts, workshops and more. Highlights this week include the Roundhouse Poetry Slam Final and Diaspora Dialogues, an evening of conversation, sound and food honouring London's Diaspora. Roundhouse (Camden), various prices, book ahead, until 10 July
Monday 6 June
TUBE STRIKE: At time of writing, there are plans for a tube strike on Monday 6 June, expected to affect most zone 1 stations. We're hopeful it'll be called off, but keep an eye on TfL for the latest updates, and it might be worth having a contingency plan.
SOLDIER STORIES: Children aged 7+ and their families are invited to the National Army Museum to hear the story of Walter Tull, a professional footballer and one of the British Army’s first infantry officers of black heritage. An actor plays Tull, telling his stories from football pitch to trenches. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, just turn up, 11am-2.50pm
BEGINNERS' URBANISM: Get a crash course in urban planning, and find out about the many issues town planners currently face, from suburbanisation to neglect of public space to a lack of political direction. Architecture specialists Peter Smíšek, Manijeh Verghese and Osamu Okamura take part in the debate, which is part of London Festival of Architecture. Czech Centre (Kensington), free, book ahead, 7pm
JESTER JESTERS: Martin Creed, Chantal Feduchin-Pate, and Chris Timoney are among the acts on the line-up at tonight's Jester Jesters Comedy, all trying out their newest material. Age 18+. The Betsey Trotwood (Farringdon), £3, book ahead, 8pm-10pm
Tuesday 7 June
WILDLIFE EXHIBITION: Artist Hannah Shergold exhibits her colourful, wildlife-inspired art for one week only. All works from her new Sovereign Collection are for sale, to raise money for conservation charity Tusk. Oh, and if Hannah and her work seem familiar, she was a competitor in the 2019 series of Sky Arts 'Portrait Artist of the Year'. Mall Galleries, free entry, just turn up, 7-11 June
STEPNEY WALKING TOUR: Join tour guide Rachel Kolsky (author of the superb Women's London) for a walking tour around the Mile End and Stepney area, learning about the history and famous people linked to the neighbourhood as you go. Mile End station, £22, book ahead, 6pm-8pm
MADE IN AMERICA: Catch a screening of 1985 film Ornette: Made In America, about jazz musician Ornette Coleman. It's part of the Journeys Across Afro-Futurism series, and looks at how his interest in space technology influenced his music, to the extent that NASA asked him to record some compositions to be beamed into space. Barbican Cinema, £12, book ahead, 6.30pm
FLAME OF RESISTANCE: Hear from Damian Lewis, author of The Flame of Resistance, about the book's subject — singer, dancer and spy Josephine Baker. Lewis discusses Baker's career, from highly-paid female performer to being banned from the stage, to special agent helping the USA, France and Britain in the second world war. Online event, £5, book ahead, 7pm
REWEIRDING: Regular event Reweirding is back, and this time the focus is on William Blake — with a puppet of the poet in attendance. Writer John Higgs — who specialises in finding previously unsuspected narratives — tackles Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, plus Blakeogeographer performs some of Blake's poetry, and puppeteer Myra Stuart offers a performance along the lines of Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets meet the Ancient of Days. The Miller (London Bridge), £5/£3, book ahead, 7pm
Wednesday 8 June
PENNY WORLD: Works spanning the last 30 years by artist Penny Goring are on display at new exhibition Penny World, at the ICA. The works exhibited stem from the artist’s personal processing of trauma, and include poetry, sculptures, drawings, paintings, and videos works. The ICA (The Mall), £5, book ahead, 8 June-18 September
CLIMATE CRISIS: Will the climate crisis make us more vulnerable to hazards? That's the topic of this free online Royal Geographical Society lecture by Dr Natasha Dowey, an expert in explosive volcanic hazards, and also on sustainability, diversity and inclusion in geoscience. Online event, free, book ahead, 2pm-2.30pm
FIESTA WEDNESDAY: Renowned live music venue 100 Wardour Street has launched Fiesta Wednesdays, a regular lively evening of themed food, live music and plenty of sangria. Tuck into three courses from the set menu (think Korean fried chicken with pickled cucumber or blackened Cajun spice salmon burrito) as the resident party bands perform live music. 100 Wardour Street (Soho), from £35.99 per person, book ahead, from 7pm
STORYSLAM: Birthdays is the theme of this month's London Moth StorySLAM, a regular open-mic storytelling competition, where anyone can share a five-minute tale on that evening's theme. Prepare your own birthday-themed story and throw your hat in the ring to perform, or just sit back and enjoy others doing their thing on stage. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £13.52, book ahead, 7.15pm
THE POISONOUS SOLICITOR: Ever heard of Major Herbert Armstrong? He's the only solicitor ever to be hanged in England, as punishment for poisoning his wife Katharine with arsenic in the 1920s. But was he actually guilty? Hear more of his story at this online National Archives talk, which is followed by a Q&A session. Online event, suggested donation £5, book ahead, 7.30pm
Paint a waterside masterpiece at The Brentford Project
Heard the news? For the third time, the Summer Series is back in Brentford, bringing all sorts of fun and creative events to the west London neighbourhood, courtesy of Ballymore. It shines a spotlight on the creative diversity of the town and celebrates the area's beautiful waterside location, too.
This Thursday, head to The Brentford Project to Paint The Town. The creative workshop is led by local artist Mr Mr Pearce. It doesn’t matter if you're a dab hand with a paint brush, or a painting newbie — visit the pretty riverside setting to create your own artwork inspired by Brentford's charming waterside location.
Can’t make this Thursday? Mr Mr Pearce leads two more workshops between now and August. Other events on the Summer Series programme include cocktail masterclasses, a day-long Festival of Wellness, and an immersive theatre show for families at the start of the summer holidays.
Browse the full Summer Series programme and get booking.
Thursday 9 June
BRITISH FLOWERS WEEK: The Garden Museum and New Covent Garden team up for British Flowers Week, a celebration of British-grown flowers and floral design talent. Enjoy a floral exhibition of works by five top florists — expect plenty of colour and scent filling the museum. Talks and a late night opening on Friday are also on the programme. Garden Museum (Lambeth), exhibition included in museum entry, book ahead, 9-13 June
THE CAR MAN: Matthew Bourne's The Car Man is performed at the Royal Albert Hall, for a short run to mark the venue's 150th birthday. 65 dancers and musicians take part in the dance-thriller based on Bizet's Carmen, set in a greasy garage-diner in 1960s America where a small-town's dreams are shattered by the arrival of a handsome stranger. Royal Albert Hall, from £25, book ahead, 9-19 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. It kicks off tonight, with UB40 featuring Ali Campbell. Other artists performing this year include Elbow, McFly, Michael Ball & Alfie Boe, and Kacey Musgraves. Hampton Court Palace, various prices, book ahead, 9-25 June
MYTHS OF THE SUN: Join South East London Folklore Society for a talk on myths and folklore of the Sun from around the world. Tales will be told and songs will be sung — plus you can buy food and drink from the venue to enjoy throughout the event. The Electric Elephant Cafe (Elephant & Castle), suggested donation £5, booking recommended, 8pm
SANDI TOKSVIG: Comedian, writer and presenter Sandi Toksvig performs her latest show, Next Slide Please (sound familiar?), offering us reasons to be cheerful after the coronavirus gloom. Expect funny facts, silly jokes, a quickfire Q&A... and not a single Chris Whitty impression. Southbank Centre, £22-£32, book ahead, 8pm
Friday 10 June
MELTDOWN FESTIVAL: The 27th edition of the UK’s longest-running artist-curated music festival, Meltdown, starts today, and model, singer and actress Grace Jones is at the helm this year. It kicks off with a (sold out) show by Jones herself, and other events include a performance by feminist pop icon Peaches (Saturday), a nightclub with DJs selecting tracks by artists across the Black diaspora (tonight), and a roller disco for all the family (Saturday). Southbank Centre, various prices, book ahead, 10-19 June
FRED PERRY: Tennis player turned fashion brand Fred Perry is the subject of a short exhibition, ahead of Wimbledon in a couple of weeks. It's the sportswear brand that's in focus here, from how it was founded, to the people who wear it, to the man whose name adorns it. Design Museum (Kensington), free, just turn up, 10-19 June
WANDSWORTH ARTS FRINGE: 150 events, including many live performances, make up the Wandsworth Arts Fringe programme, which begins today. There's a particular focus on dance this year, as the Royal Academy of Dance open their brand-new headquarters on York Road, but other events include a family fun day, an open mic picnic, and a chance to try a musical instrument. Various locations and prices, 10-26 June
TIFFANY & CO: Saatchi Gallery opens an exhibition about famous New York-based jewellery company, Tiffany & Co. Vision & Virtuosity celebrates the jeweller's 150th anniversary in London, with 400 objects from its archives on display, alongside cultural references such as the script from Audrey Hepburn film Breakfast at Tiffany's. Saatchi Gallery (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 10 June-19 August
SERPENTINE PAVILION: Chicago artist Theaster Gates and architects Adjaye Associates collaborated on the design for this year's Serpentine Pavilion. The temporary structure, Black Chapel, is unveiled today, and takes its inspiration from the chapels and kilns of Stoke-on-Trent. Kensington Gardens, free, just turn up, 10 June-16 October
Saturday 11 June
CONNAUGHT VILLAGE GARDEN FESTIVAL: An event in collaboration with the National Garden Scheme, the Connaught Village Garden Festival is a chance to see inside some of the residential gardens in the area just north of Marble Arch. Follow the walking tour to visit them all, and make the most of free workshops, and discounts in local shops and restaurants throughout the day. Connaught Village, free entry, book ahead for workshops, 10.30am-6pm
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 a pre-agreed route — though the route is changing from previous years due to ongoing road closures from the Jubilee celebrations. Pick from eight different routes, from Kew to Tower Bridge to Victoria Park. Don't forget your suncream — you wouldn't want to burn your intimates. Free, just turn up, from 2.30pm
MEET ME HALFWAY: Londonist Visual Arts Editor Tabish Khan hosts a tour and discussion of the current Meet Me Halfway exhibition, a group show of work by MA Fine Art students from City & Guilds of London Art School as they reach the halfway point of their course. He chats to the exhibiting artists about the ideas and processes behind the works in the show. The Art Pavilion (Mile End), free, just turn up, 3pm-4.30pm
OPEN GARDENS WEEKEND: The Connaught Village Festival (above) is part of London Square Open Gardens Weekend, 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, usually only accessible to local residents with a key. Various locations, £5 per garden/£20 weekend, book ahead, 11-12 June
BARNET MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL: Ever heard of the Battle of Barnet? It was fought in 1471, and was significant in the course of the War of the Roses. It's remembered this weekend at the Barnet Medieval Festival, where it's re-enacted, along with firepower and knight-on-horseback displays, music, dancing, storytelling, a medieval market and food and drink stalls. Barnet Elizabethans RFC, £5 adult/£2 child, book ahead, 11-12 June
JUNIPALOOZA: 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. Tobacco Dock (Wapping), from £30, book ahead, 11-12 June
Sunday 12 June
CLASSIC CAR SHOW: Mad about motors? Get yourself to the Bromley Pageant of Motoring. The classic vehicle show has rare and unusual cars on display, car club meet-ups, the smallest car in the world, plus stalls, inflatables and a funfair for kids, and more. Norman Park (Bromley), £12 adult/£5 child, book ahead, 9.30am-5pm
HEAVY HORSE SHOW: The Hertfordshire Heavy Horse Association brings all manner of heavy horse breeds to Enfield for a day of shows, competitions and presentations. There's also a dog show, a chance to explore the venue's own mini zoo and gardens, plus face painting, a bouncy castle, food and drinks stalls. Capel Manor Gardens (Enfield), adult £10/child £6, book ahead, 10am-5pm
ALL OUT COMEDY: The Comedy Factory UK presents All Out Comedy Show, with a line-up including Traviz Jay, Junior Booker, Jay Handley, SistaReen and Victor Daniels, all hosted by Kat from MTV Base. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £17.50, book ahead, 7.15pm
THE EALING CLUB: Ever heard of The Ealing Club? The live music venue was set up by guitarist Alexis Korner, harmonica player Cyril Davies and event manager Fery Asgari, after the former couldn't find anywhere to play their electric blues guitar music because it was too loud. Find out how the club grew to have the likes of Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards playing there, at this documentary screening. Watermans (Hounslow), £8, book ahead, 7.30pm
Urban oddity of the week
Speaking of Ealing, it's one of our favourite parts of town for oddity hunting. This article by local historian Andy Bull points out some of the more unusual sites (such as the North Korean embassy). One of our favourite examples, though, is this sculpture by Robert Thomas in the quad of Ealing Broadway shopping centre. The work shows the joys of childhood, with two children clambering over a bench. What does the plaque beneath say? "NO CLIMBING"
Good cause of the week
Fancy an evening sketching miniature piglets? London Wildlife Trust hosts an event at Camley Street Natural Park (King's Cross) on 8 June, in which you can meet, and draw, a litter of tiny oinksters. The event is open to people (aged over 8) of all drawing abilities.
So what's the Good Cause? The event will also explore the animal welfare issues of the pork industry, especially those of factory farms. 10% of proceeds will be donated to Farms not Factories – a non-profit organisation working to expose the true costs of cheap meat from animal ‘factories’, with the aim to inspire people to purchase meat from healthy, high welfare farms.