Things To Do Today In London: Friday 20 October 2017

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Things to do today is sponsored by the Museum of London.

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WALTHAMSTOW WETLANDS: Cyclists, walkers, birdwatchers, anglers and red-faced joggers now have free access to a 211-hectare nature reserve, just a 15-minute journey from central London. Complete with restored Grade I Engine House-turned cafe and a Grade II listed Coppermill Tower which offers views of the City and the wetlands. Walthamstow Wetlands, free, just turn up, 9.30am-4pm

TWILIGHT ABSEIL: Gear up to abseil or slide down that big red sculpture in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as the sun sets over London. It's staying open late on selected evenings over the next couple of weeks. After your descent, recover your nerves with a glass of prosecco. Just want to admire the view? That's OK too. ArcelorMittal Orbit, various prices, book ahead, 5pm-9pm

MUSEUM LATE:Enjoy a drinks and canape reception before hearing a talk about the history of anaesthesia and mesmerism, from the days when pain relief meant knocking back brandy, to the introduction of hypnosis. 21 Portland Place, £13.15-£16.32, book ahead, 6pm-9pm

LANTERN FESTIVAL: Lanterns are said to illuminate our past, light the path to our future, and also make pretty Instagram pictures. Join the grand finale of Waltham Forest Parks Festival to see and snap this light spectacle. Langthorne Park, free, just turn up, 6pm-10pm (repeated on Saturday)

INTERACTIVE PERFORMANCE: Ever get the feeling you're being watched? For one night only the BFI will be bugged and your conversations turned into a live soundscape, to coincide with a screening of Francic Ford Coppola's paranoia thriller The Conversation. BFI Southbank Foyer, free, book ahead, 6.20pm/8.45pm


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Meet Paddington bear at the Museum of London this half term

With Paddington 2 hitting the big screen this autumn, London takes centre stage as everyone’s favourite marmalade-loving bear adventures around the capital. To celebrate, the Museum of London is hosting a special behind the scenes display, and during half term, visitors will even get a chance to meet Paddington himself…

From 21 October - 29 October, fans can expect a whole host of family-friendly, Paddington themed special events and activities at the museum — including lively drama workshops and storytelling from Michael Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel. And then there's the biggest highlight of all: the chance to meet the bear himself, as Paddington pays an exclusive visit on Tuesday and Thursday during half term.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it for a meet and greet, though — from 19 October-19 December, visitors will also be able to get a unique behind-the-scenes peek at costumes and props from the upcoming film, in a special behind the scenes display. Costumes and props on show include Paddington’s very own outfit, costume designer sketches, and even the pop-up book that Paddington is trying so hard to buy for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday.

Behind the Scenes of Paddington 2 is on at the Museum of London, from 19 October-19 December 2017. Half term activities run from 21 October-29 October. Admission is free.


LITERARY SUPPER CLUB: Dine like a character in Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own at this literary supper club hosted by Kate Young, author of The Little Library Cookbook. Waterstones Tottenham Court Road, £25, book ahead, 7pm

JAPANESE SANDSCAPES: Descend into a world of Asian percussion, sand art, rice bowls and Japanese beverages in celebration of Japan's active volcano, Mount Fuji. Brunel Museum (Rotherhithe), £10/£5, Book ahead, 7pm, until 21 October

AUTHOR CHAT: Join fantasy novel fans in packing out the Royal Festival Hall to hear 'His Dark Materials' author Philip Pullman discuss why he's chosen to return to Lyra's world in his new book La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One. Royal Festival Hall, £20-£45, book ahead,7.30pm

POWER UP: Gaming geeks, retro fans and anyone with a competitive streak should head to this retro games room, which has been kitted out with 180 consoles so you can get nostalgic over PacMan as well as test the latest VR experiences. Science Museum, various prices, book ahead, until 31 October

AVANT-GARDE ART: A photographic look at the American Avant-garde through the lens of 4 Saints on 3 Acts, a modernist opera — groundbreaking for its all African American cast, libretto by Gertrude Stein and score by Virgil Thomson. The Photographers' Gallery, £4/£2.50, just turn up, until 11 February 2018

Good cause of the day: Go to this gig in aid of the Albert Kennedy Trust

Grab a pint and listen to live music from The Black Smock Band and friends who are performing to raise money for the Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity supporting vulnerable LGBT 16-25-year olds. Gallery Cafe, £5.90, book ahead, 7.30pm-10pm

Fun things to do with our friends and sponsor Funzing...

London's Grime & Punishment Tour


Learn about London's debauched, drunken and disorderly history on this tour of the sordid side of the West End. Have you heard the story of the 15ft high tsunami of beer which rushed through the streets of London? Or about London's unluckiest theatre and most morbidly-located church? This tour will take you from the Covent Garden to Somerset House, entertaining you with tales of hangmen and criminals, prostitutes and paupers and the eccentric characters of Georgian London along the way.    Get tickets

Unlock Urban Camden: Street Art Tour


Camden's known for its street art, but how much do you really know about it? Explore the street art of Camden, and learn about the people who make it from an insider. You''ll visit pieces of street art that are off the beaten track, and get an insight into their possible meaning and inspiration. This two-hour tour will enable you to see Camden in a new light. Get tickets

Hidden London Tour


Visit old pubs, even older churches, hidden rivers, mysterious tunnels and more on this tour of hidden Londo. You'll hear tales of the myths and legends which made the City of London what it is today, and find out the area's links to nursery rhymes and literary figures. Get tickets

The Ultimate Harry Potter London Tour


Get sorted into one of the four magical houses of Hogwarts, and go in exploration of the city’s famous filming locations on this 2-hour walking tour. You’ll meet your guide outside the Palace Theatre, where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is showing, and set off on your journey across town - following in the footsteps of Deatheaters, visiting the inspiration for Knocturn Alley, and marvelling at the Ministry of Magic. And you better brush up on your Potter knowledge, because you can earn points for your house along the way, by taking part in trivia quizzes. The winners? You’ll find out when the tour ends at Platform 9 3/4… Get tickets