Things To Do This Weekend In London: 10-11 September 2022

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Things to do this weekend is sponsored by Art of London.

In light of the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, it's worth double checking events you're intending to go to are definitely going ahead.

All weekend

Unlimited Festival is on at Southbank Centre all weekend. Image credit: Harry Elletson

NO SANTANDER CYCLES: Don't forget that from 10pm on Friday 9 September until 6am on Monday 12 September, you won't be able to hire a Santander Cycle anywhere in London (though you can still return any bikes you already have on hire). This is due to the system being upgraded ready for new e-bikes to become available from Monday. 9-12 September

UNLIMITED FESTIVAL: Southbank Centre shines a light on disabled artists and companies with Unlimited Festival. The five-day programme covers dance, performance, comedy, music and visual arts, including BSL performances, and a street art project designed for users of mobility wheels to take part in. Some events FREE, 7-11 September

LONDON PODCAST FESTIVAL: Headphones at the ready for London Podcast Festival at Kings Place, which sees both mainstream and more niche podcasts filmed in front of a live audience, with some of the recordings streamed online too. The Guilty Feminist and the Empire Film Podcast are among the big names, along with offerings on comedy, food and politics. 8-18 September

OPEN HOUSE LONDON: It's the most wonderful time of year, when all manner of London buildings and structures which are usually off-limits to the public fling their doors open and welcome us in. Our previous Open House London highlights include going inside the St Pancras clock tower, and on the roof of 55 Broadway. 8-21 September

CLASSIC BOAT FESTIVAL: Head to St Katharine Docks near the Tower of London to see around 40 preserved vintage boats mooring up for the Classic Boat Festival. Over the course of the weekend, some of the boats are open for visitors to step aboard, with talks and entertainment available on dry land for anyone who hasn't found their sea legs. FREE, 9-11 September

Crowds sitting on the grassy steps by the canal at King's Cross, with a canal boat floating past on the water
Life Lessons Festival takes over King's Cross this weekend

LIFE LESSONS FESTIVAL: The Times hosts Life Lessons Festival, three days of talks, masterclasses, arts and culture in King's Cross. Louis Theroux, Caitlin Moran, Paloma Faith, David Gandy, Dan Snow and Vicky McClure are among those on the programme, along with Jeremy and Ian, the duo behind the All On The Board tube station messages. Topics include business, motherhood, happiness, careers, and the importance of nature. 9-11 September

CITY OPEN HOUSE: The City of London gets in on the Open House Festival action with its own Big Weekend, offering access to iconic and historical buildings, plus guided tours and expert talks across the Square Mile. Drop in to buildings including Guildhall, Temple Bar, Livery Halls and City churches, and enjoy free walking tours by qualified City Guides, starting in Guildhall Yard. 10-11 September (sponsor)

FAMILY FUN WEEKEND: The monthly Family Fun Weekend takes place at Cutty Sark in Greenwich, with additional family-friendly activities on top of the usual seafaring fun. Help make a large, 3D map of the tea clipper's previous voyages, enjoy sea shanty performances, and interact with characters such as the captain. 10-11 September

CARTERS STEAM FAIR: The legendary Carters Steam Fair is hoping to find a permanent location next year, which means this is its final tour — and the final chance to catch it in London (well, on the tube map). Head to Croxley Green at the top of the Metropolitan line to enjoy restored vintage fairground rides and attractions dating from the 1890s to the 1960s. 10-11 September

TURNING TIDES: Free world music festival Turning Tides is back at Greenwich Peninsula. Enjoy live, open-air performances from DakhaBrakha (a world-music quartet from Kyiv who played at Glastonbury this year)  and Brixton Chamber Orchestra, along with street food stalls and a pop-up bar. FREE, 10-11 September

48-HOUR SCI-FI: Calling all budding film makers! The Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Film Challenge is just that — a challenge to make a film in 48 hours. You're given a title, a piece of dialogue, a prop list, an optional scientific idea or theme — and you've got 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a film of up to five minutes in length. 10-12 September

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Hunt down aliens and kaleidoscopic artworks across the West End

Walking through the West End right now, you might find yourself doing a double take. But let us assure you that yes, those ARE little green aliens. They're part of Brighter Future — a public art initiative part of The Art of London Season 2022 — which has transformed the West End into a huge outdoor gallery with a focus on optimism, progressiveness and collective determination for building a better future.

What else is available to feast your eyes and ears on? Well, there's Zarah Hussain's wall mural and patterned flower gardens, inspired by her Islamic heritage. They create a calm and tranquil environment, and are on show in St James's Market till mid September. Meanwhile, Austro-Nigerian artist Fiona Quadri has created Crossing Paths. These colourful freestanding designs are about celebrating London's multiculturalism and diversity, and are accompanied by audio interviews.

As for those aliens, they're the handiwork of a certain Harry Hill (yes, THAT Harry Hill). Track down the little green folk in Leicester Square, St James's Market and The Garden at St James's Church, Piccadilly.

Brighter Future displays are fun for all, free to view and HUGELY Instagram-friendly (just saying). There's also a great immersive augmented reality trail (QR codes at each installation), voiced by Harry Hill. Displays run into the autumn. Check out the Brighter Future website for more details.

Saturday 10 September

People sitting and standing around tables at Cocktails in the City at Bedford Square, with orange and blue bunting strung between the trees
It's the final day of the final Cocktails in the City event this year

GREAT RIVER RACE: A 21.6 mile stretch of the Thames from London Docklands, to Ham in Surrey, is the setting for the Great River Race. Head down to the water's edge along the route to see up to 330 crews from all over the world going head to head, from serious athletes to charity entries. FREE, 9.45am

LIGHTYEAR: Today's chosen film at Barbican's Family Film Club is Lightyear, the recently released Buzz Lightyear origin story animation. The film is captioned for the hard of hearing, and there's a BSL-interpreted pre-film Pixar quiz, so start swotting up. 11am

REGENCY DAY: Apsley House — also known as Number One London — holds a Regency Day, a chance to experience what Regency life was like in a grand London home such as this. Try out some dance steps, and learn about the food, drink and etiquette of the time. 11am-5pm

COCKTAILS IN THE CITY: The final Cocktails in the City event of the summer ends today. Bedford Square Garden is home to pop-up versions of some of London's best bars, including The Blind Pig, Callooh Callay, London Shuffle Club and TT Liquor. Sup on specially-concocted cocktails as you enjoy live music and entertainment, workshops and street food. 12pm-4pm/5pm-10pm

WEMBA'S DREAM (CANCELLED): Wembley Park and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra team up for Wemba's Dream, a free performance of music, dance, poetry and carnival arts, celebrating the diverse communities of Brent. FREE, 1.15pm-4.30pm

MINIBEASTS: Zoologist and author Dr Nick Crumpton and entomologist and curator, Beulah Garner, tell you why everything you know about minibeasts is wrong. For example, it's not true that all bees die once they've stung you, or that centipedes have 100 legs. Age 7+. 2pm-3.15pm

ETHIOPIAN NEW YEAR: Head to Poplar Union to celebrate Ethiopian New Year with live music from the Tikur Anbessa Ethiopian band and complimentary food including enjira (or injera), a delicious, spongy flatbread. 7pm-9pm

HAVEN'T STOPPED DANCING YET: A club night launched to offer people in their 40s and 50s somewhere to dance, Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet takes over Islington Assembly Hall for an evening of tunes from the 1970s- 80s. Despite the event's origins, anyone over the age of 18 who enjoys a good boogie is welcome. 7.30pm-midnight

CLUB DE FROMAGE: For tunes from a wider selection of decades, Club de Fromage is at the O2 Academy Islington. DJs play everything from Madonna to Bon Jovi, and Taylor Swift to S Club 7, with confetti cannons, balloons and sing alongs thrown in for a very cheesy night out. 10.30pm-3.30am

Sunday 11 September

Classic boats moored up at St Katharine Docks
The Classic Boat Festival is on all weekend. Image: St Katharine Docks

DREAM CITY: The British Library hosts creative workshops designed specially for deaf families. Helped along by artists Damien Robinson and Mónica Rivas, have a go at building your dream city — think parks made from sweets, or houses made from trampolines. FREE, 11am/1.30pm

MEMORY WALK: The Alzheimer's Society is looking for people to take part in its London Memory Walk. Pick between a 2km or 5km route, both starting and ending at Potters Field Park, next to Tower Bridge, with a fundraising target of £160 per person. The shorter route is wheelchair and pushchair accessible, and suitable for all ages. From 11am

DINOSAURS: Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish is Michael Foreman's environmentally-minded children's book, adapted for the stage. Expect dancing dinosaurs and plenty of rock 'n' roll as the dinos take over Artsdepot in North Finchley. 11am/2pm

LIBRARY TOUR: Join Conway Hall’s Librarian, Olwen Terris, for a tour of Conway Hall’s Library, used by radicals, political and social reformers since 1886. It's also a chance to see a special pop-up display of rarely-seen printed anarchist materials. FREE, 2pm

TWELFTH NIGHT: Theatre group The Handlebards offer a bicycle-powered production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, in the open-air at Strawberry Hill House. Don't worry, it's the cast pedalling, not you — instead, bring a blanket or chair to sit on and enjoy the show, and don't forget your raincoat if the weather's looking dodgy. 7pm

NEW MUSIC BRITAIN: The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, begins its new season with a concert of British music at Barbican — think, past, present and future. Hear work by Elgar, Frank Bridge and current composer Daniel Kidane. 7pm

UNBUILT LONDON: Giant pyramids, monorails, impractical skyscrapers and elegant avenues — just some of the buildings once planned for London, which were never realised. Join Footprints of London guide Rob Smith for an online talk about what London could have looked like, if these buildings had been constructed. 8pm-9pm