Things to do today is sponsored by the Old Royal Naval College.
What we're reading
- London has 20,000 empty homes, but not one was seized by town halls last year.
- A London Redditor has made a helpful tube departures web app.
- Could your local Pret turn into a makeshift police station?
- This fascinating animation maps optimal routes from London to 2000 different UK locations.
Things to do
REFUGE IN ART: It's your last chance to explore the stories of real stories of refugees through Raquel Chinchetru's art, which looks at both individual and collective perspectives of people seeking asylum. Conway Hall, free, just turn up, 9am-10pm
LOOKS LIKE BASQUIAT: It's not the work of that American though — instead this comes from celebrated LA contemporary artist Danny Minnick. His whimsical style and sensibility mean his characters elicit a more heartfelt reaction than his comparator. Maddox Gallery (Mayfair), free, just turn up, 10am-6pm
DISCOVER CROSSRAIL: Crossrail has dug a lot of dirt. Discover key details about the area, from archeological findings to never-before-heard stories in unique buildings, unexpected spaces and new viewpoints on this Museum of London guided walk. Tottenham Court Road, £25, book ahead, 11am-1pm
HATTON GARDEN FESTIVAL: Hatton Garden plays host to two jam packed days of entertainment, competitions, talks, workshops and the big Diamond hunt — perfect for those who are thinking of popping the big question sometime soon... Hatton Garden, free, just turn up, midday-6pm (and tomorrow)
GIN AND TONIC: World Gin Day was last month, but we can see no reason to stop celebrations. There's a pop up gin bar outside St Pancras, so bottoms up. St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, free, just turn up, 5pm-10pm
CROWDED: Become a guinea pig in the crowd at Crowd Control Festival, where researchers have planned a weekend of exhibitions, experiments and spontaneous happenings. It's to test the collective interactions between individuals, groups and their environments. Hackney Wick, free, 6pm-9pm, until Sunday 23 July
FAWTLY TOWERS: Don't worry, we're not being unfair on Holiday Inn — they're hosting this comedy dinner event, where Basil, Sybil and Manuel do their very best to look after you in the only only way they know how. Chaos and mayhem served in large portions. Holiday Inn London Bexley, £35, book ahead, 7pm
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU: No not you, silly, it's just a screening of the film at a park in Fulham. Bring something comfy to sit on, grab a cold pint from the fully stocked bar and stuff your face with popcorn for a great night. Bishop's Park (Fulham), £12, book ahead, 7.30pm-late
IMPROMPTU SHAKESPEARE: Wouldn't it be great if Shakespeare was still around, knocking out a few plays? This is the nearest we'll get, as this quick thinking cast throw together an improvised Shakespeare play on the spot, inspired by audience suggestions. The Nursery Theatre, £8, book ahead, 8pm-10pm
PUTTING NZ ON THE MAP: Fans of Flight of the Conchords will love this tribute night, dedicated to finding out if Australians can ever feel love. Expect lots of tunes and the challenge of having to listen to Bowie, Shaggy and The West Side Story soundtrack all on one night. Dead Dolls House (Islington), £7, book ahead, 9pm-2am
Get up close to some of Europe's best artwork
There's a new way to see the exquisite baroque paintings that line the walls and ceilings of the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College. Rather than admiring them from the ground, you can now ascend a 60ft high observation deck and get up-close to the artwork, exploring the mysteries and intricacies of these masterpieces.
It's all due to the fact that the Hall's 40,000sq ft of paintings are being restored in a major conservation project. On this limited edition tour you'll see the conservators at work too. The Painted Hall Ceiling Tour really is a viewing experience like no other — find out more here.
Art review: talking heads
Floating top halves of heads are suspended from the ceiling in a darkened gallery. Duck underneath and peek inside to see what they represent, each one covering a part of our personalities, including jealousy and the ego. Then there's a clever touch you'll notice upon looking down: they project a speech bubble of light on the floor. It’s an enjoyable and playful installation from ceramic sculptor Emma Hart. Emma Hart: Mamma Mia! At Whitechapel Gallery, until 3 September, free ★★★★☆ (Tuesday-Sunday) Tabish Khan
Food review: peak Hackney
Oslo is very Hackney. It has its own lager, an extensive cocktail list, the walls are lined with exposed brick, there’s a trendy live music venue upstairs and it’s even right next to the Overground station. Not that any of this is a bad thing, indeed quite the opposite. Instead all these factors combine to make Oslo an excellent after work drinks spot. Then to top it all off there’s the delicious food. The steak is done to perfection, topped with juicy tomatoes and a delicious sauce on the side. Our inventive veggie burger was a nice change from the usual falafel or mushroom trend, instead stuffing copious amounts of delicious goats' cheese between the buns. The only downside were the chips that had us worrying about our sodium levels; we wonder if they were bathed in salt. Still, you’ll forget all about them after washing down the meal with a perfect pink caipirinha. Oslo, 1A Amhurst Road, E8 1LL, ★★★★☆ Harry Rosehill
Theatre review: a sad, delicate swansong
Kevin Elyot scored a huge success with his 1994 tragicomic gay play ‘My Night With Reg’ but his later playscripts floated beneath the radar as his career focused on Marples and Poirots for TV, so this smartly-cast outing for Twilight Song is its first. Sadly, despite a few crisp one-liners it’s a frail Rattiganesque slice of sixties’ repressed sexuality contrasted with an awkward contemporary tryst between Adam Garcia’s cash-strapped estate-agent-turned-hustler and Paul Higgins’ desperate mothers’ boy. However, Philip Bretherton and Hugh Ross play a glorious gentlemanly pair of ripe and conflicted old fruits. Twilight Song. Park Theatre, Wells Terrace, London N4. £18.50-29.50, until 12 August. [Monday-Saturday] ★★★☆☆ Johnny Fox
Good cause for the day
PEDAL FOR POVERTY: Pedal a pedibus around the city, passing famous buildings and raising money for charity. Come as an individual, or take on the challenge as a team — just make sure you've got enough pedal power. London Bridge, £25, book ahead, 3.30pm, 30th July
Fun things to do with our friends and sponsor Funzing...
London is a city of incredible transformation. With structural remains that date back to ancient history still in existence, this unique walking tour takes in Lost London in all its former glory. From the Titanic booking office to the graveyards of man's best friend, you'll discover the weird and wonderful places that used to exist in the capital but are now only committed to memory. Using old photographs, newspaper cuttings and stories from the past, you'll be amazed at what has largely been written out of our history books... Get tickets
How well do you really know London? Visit the streets that inspired Harry Potter locations and see London's most superstitious hotel. On Matt's tour you will explore hidden places and discover stories unknown to even the most knowledgeable of Londoners. Get tickets
If you've never paired ceramics and prosecco before, why on earth not? It's a match made in heaven as Sam and Diana, co-creators of 'Make Your Own', prove at their wonderfully welcoming ceramic painting workshop. Pull up a stool, don an apron and get to work on your very own mug, plate, tile, bowl or ornament. They provide the ceramics as well as a selection of patterns, and will show you exactly how to transfer designs and paint to your heart's content. It's BYO so feel free to pop the prosecco and enjoy the company of like-minded Londoners as you get stuck into your creations. Get tickets
Take to the waters and glide about in this beginner paddleboarding session. By the end of it, you'll be standing up and paddling solo, and there's plenty of help on hand to improve your technique. Change of clothes required. Get tickets