Things To Do Today In London: Tuesday 18 July 2017

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Things to do today is sponsored by Alexandra Palace.

Hear about the history of London’s railways

What we're reading

  • 'Shazam' for bats is being trialled at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
  • West London will see a mega-basement to end all mega-basements, but it's not oligarchs this time.
  • Pay attention to London's stained glass windows — this church window features a double decker bus.
  • Sure, Wimbledon tennis was great this year, but the people-watching was just as good.
  • Airbnb bookings in London double in just one year, despite a few horror stories.

Things to do

LONDON'S POPPIES: How did 2014's 'Poppies In The Moat' at the Tower of London come about? Major Kirsty Baxter will provide the background, preceded by a talk on how the book Poppies, Pomp and People came about, with accompanying photos. Army And Navy Club (Pall Mall), £5/£6, book ahead, 6pm-8pm

RAILWAY HISTORY: From the rediscovery of structures associated with the early Brunel Great Western Railway to the untold stories of Crossrail, head to Museum of London Docklands for a talk tracing the history of the railways. Museum of London Docklands, £10, book ahead, 6.30pm-9.15pm

MUSEUMS SHOWOFF: This cabaret-style show is for people who love museums, with comedy, talks, debates and more from people who work in museums, or who simply can't get enough of them. The Phoenix (Oxford Circus), £6, book ahead, 7.30pm

GOODNESS GRACIOUS: Help Late Night Gimp Fight whittle down their endless jokes and comedy gold into something that will see them bowl over Edinburgh Fringe. Those with delicate sensibilities might want to do some research on this comedy act first... Soho Downstairs, £12, book ahead, 7.30pm (until 22 July)

COTTINGLEY FAIRIES: London Fortean Society marks the centenary of the Cottingley Fairies — a photo taken in 1917 showing a young girl in a garden, with four fairies dancing in front of her. It wasn't revealed to be a hoax until the 1980s — this talk discusses the effect it had on society in the intervening years. Conway Hall (Holborn), £9.25, book ahead, 7.30pm-9pm

Poppies, Pomp and People Talk. Photo: Robert Pittman

COMICAL TIMING: Get the giggles from some up and coming and professional comedians in a modern Mediterranean restaurant that has seen the likes of Alan Sugar, Bill Bailey and Olly Murs sit at its tables. Grove Bar and Restaurant (Hammersmith), free, book ahead for a table, 7.30pm-9.30pm

DAIQUIRI DAY: Bacardi has teamed with with Drink Up London to put on Daiquiri tours to celebrate National Daiquiri Day early. Three bars have been lined up for you with black cabs in between each venue to make sure your rum-based adventure goes off without a hitch. 68 and Boston (Greek Street), £25, book ahead, 7.30pm-10pm

COMICAL FUN: Posh-talking comedian Tom Allen, who you may know from the likes of Mock The Week, meets up-and-coming Stuart Laws for a double bill of comedy previews. 2 Northdown (King's Cross), £7, book ahead, 7.45pm-10.15pm

FACE THE CAMERA: A soldier wants to forget, his wife wants her sacrifices honoured, a photojournalist wants the truth, and the director wants their story. This play about consent and ending conflict responsibly is told through the actions of four characters united by conflict. King's Head Theatre (Islington), £12, book ahead, 8pm (until Saturday)

DANCE DANCE DANCE: It's a Kizomba party at Loop Bar where you can step in time to this Angolan dance. The slow, romantic rhythm should see you through to the early morning hours whether you're a beginner or a regular dancer. Just follow along with the other dancers and you'll be perfecting the moves and having fun in no time. Loop Bar (Mayfair), £10-£12, book ahead, 9pm-1.30am

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Don't miss this giant waterslide at Alexandra Palace

Head to Alexandra Palace this weekend for the Summer of Love-themed all dayer, where you can get down to Craig Charles's funk and soul DJ set, fill your face with tasty street food, and enjoy a craft beer (or three) in front of those Instagram-worthy city views.

It all kicks off on 22 July and although entry is free, there are plenty of great ticketed events you'd be gutted to miss out on, including an al fresco screening of Austin Powers, a silent disco in the woods and, of course, that epic waterslide. So grab your tickets (and your swimming cozzie) for what promises to be a fun-packed day out.

Art review: wounded portraits

Copyright Juan Miguel Palacios

The face of a woman who seems to be in agony is giving depth by being literally punctured. The surface of the skin gives way to crumbling drywall, as if the very structure is breaking apart from the inside. It's an impactful technique that makes the emotions all the more visceral. Wounded: Juan Miguel Palacios at Lazarides, 11 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HR, free. Until 22 July ★★★☆☆ (Tuesday-Saturday) Tabish Khan

Theatre review: music hall magnificence

Image credit: Alex Brenner

When a show with a cast of three labels itself as an "Extravaganza", there's naturally a temptation to call Trading Standards. Put the phone down, though, and pop along as this hilarious comedy is the perfect summer theatre experience. Taking part outdoors in Battersea Arts Centre's courtyard, the trio enact a whimsical Victorian-era love story with live music, memorable songs, brilliant characters and just the right amount of audience interaction. Get ready for some genuine belly laughs in this slice of music hall magic. Extravaganza Macabre, Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN, £10-£25. Until 29 July ★★★★★ Franco Milazzo

Food review: summertime in the city

Seven floors above Oxford Street, Middle Eastern inspired restaurant Foley’s has popped up in John Lewis’ bucolic roof garden, offering tasters of its menu. The burnt chicken ends may be too spicy for some, but balance them out with the creamier spiced sweet potato fritters and you’ll manage. The alcoholic cocktails are impressive, but on a hot day, the rose lemonade is the way forward. Book ahead if you want a table — or just enjoy the roof with a drink or two. Foley’s at The Gardening Society, 300 Oxford Street, W1C 1DX ★★★★☆ Laura Reynolds (Foley’s is in residence until the end of July — after this a new restaurant will pop up).

Good cause of the day: educating Malaysia

Do your good deed of the day by simply having a laugh. ABC is a comedy night featuring Josie Long, Phil Wang and Yuriko Kotani in aid of girls' schools in Malaysia The Harinder Veriah Trust assists two schools in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, which provide poor girls with primary and secondary education. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5, book ahead, 8pm-10pm

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

LOVE Dim Sum? Learn to Make Delicious Dim Sum!

Fancy some Dim Sum fun? From making and rolling the dough to preparing the fillings and forming the parcels, William will show you everything you need to know to become a Dim Sum pro. William will also teach you the etiquette of Dim Sum - learn what to order and how to order, in Cantonese! Get tickets

Interviews With British Serial Killers

Could you spent hours on end satiating your morbid curiosity by researching serial killers? Hey, you're not alone. Insight into the criminal psyche is a fascinating topic and one covered in this talk by retired police officer, Paul Harrison. You'll encounter the stories of three of the UK's worst serial killers, from their childhoods to their crimes. With over four decades of experience in the Criminal Justice system, join Paul to work through the facts, uncover the details, and get inside the heads of these killers to discover what truly motivates a murderer.  Get tickets

Become Robin Hood for the Day in an Archery Class

Ever fancied yourself as Robin Hood? Join the 2020 archery team in London Bridge and discover how to shoot. The 1.5 hour 'get started in archery' class will teach you how to shoot (relatively) accurately as well as the scoring system and key archery terminology. The session finishes with a mini-competition where you can show off your new-found skills. Get tickets

Sex, Death and Shopping: The Soho Tour

We all know Soho is changing - and fast. But does the Soho of decades past - fiercely independent, occasionally seedy, always flamboyant - still exist? Antony Robbins claims it does - if you know where to look. A former director at the Museum of London, Robbins now leads walking tours of Soho, delving into the area's past and present. His Sex, Death and Shopping tour covers scandals of yesteryear through to present-day erotica - taking in hidden gardens, sinister histories, and little-known facts of famous places. A bit sinister. A bit salacious. And exceedingly well-tailored. It's a tour to have you falling in love - or lust - with this part of London all over again.  Get tickets