Things To Do This Weekend In London: 11-12 May 2019

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

All weekend


CINEMA BIRTHDAY: Genesis Cinema marks its 20th birthday with screenings of at least one film from every year of its existence. This weekend, pick from Office Space, Mad Max: Fury Road, Moonlight, and other cinematic masterpieces. Genesis Cinema (Mile End), various prices, book ahead, 8-13 May

DULWICH FESTIVAL: It's the first weekend of Dulwich Festival, a celebration of the history and culture of the local area. Full programme available here, but weekend highlights include a children's concert, street art walk and open house artists' studios. Various locations and prices, 10-19 May

CHEESE FEST: There's a free entry festival celebrating all things cheese. Browse the stalls of cheese producers from all over the country, and stock up on cheese and associated snacks (pickles, olives, breads...). For an extra charge you can taste the cheeses and vote for your favourite. Battersea Power Station, free entry, just turn up, 11-12 May

Celebrate Florence Nightingale's birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Mark Florence Nightingale's birthday at the museum dedicated to the Crimean War nurse. As well as the usual exhibits, there are actors dressed as the nurse telling her story — and the first 50 visitors get some free birthday cake. Florence Nightingale Museum (Waterloo), included in admission, just turn up, 11-12 May

KIDS' LIT FEST: Children's authors including Lauren Child and Judith Kerr appear at the Barnes Children's Literature Festival, along with fun performances, a model-making session, an Alice in Wonderland tea party, and a chance to meet the artists and illustrators who bring the books to life. Various locations and prices, book ahead, 11-12 May

Saturday 11 May

Watch free gigs at the Hanwell Hootie

DOLLS' HOUSE FESTIVAL: Avid dolls' house collectors and more casual fans are welcome at the Kensington Dolls' House Festival. Exhibitors from all over the world show off their products — including miniature versions of pretty much anything you can think of — and sell the tools and materials you need to have a go yourself.  Kensington Town Hall, £5-£16, book ahead, 10-11 May

PADDLE BOARDING: Try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding on the canals of east London. Moo Canoes runs a day of sessions aimed at beginner and intermediate paddle boarders, to get your confidence up and improve your technique and efficiency on the board. The Milk Float (Hackney Wick), £24, book ahead, 10am/12pm/2.30pm/4.30pm (sponsor)

TREES IN BLOOM: For a dose of nature in central London, join a walking tour through Hyde Park looking at the species of tree currently in bloom. Visit the Rose Garden, Nannies Lawn and Dell areas, and see the park's rarest arboreal offering. Hyde Park, £10, book ahead, 10.30am-12pm

DEAD MAN'S HAND: Immersive experience experts A Door In A Wall are back with their latest offering, Dead Man's Hand. An illicit gambling den is the starting point for a clue treasure hunt around the streets of Farringdon, in which participants try to solve the murder of gambler Jack Spade. 34 Cowcross Street (Farringdon), £32.50, book ahead, 1pm-5.30pm

Stock up on fashion for a good cause

SHE INSPIRES ME: This car boot sale sees fashion designers and stylists, influencers and celebrities selling off their pre-loved and last-season items at bargain prices. Pick yourself up a designer label or two, and justify it by the fact that it's for a good cause — the event is fundraising for Women For Women International, a charity supporting female war survivors. Brewer Street Car Park (Soho), £10, tickets available on the door from 2pm

HEDGEHOG AFTERNOON: As part of Hedgehog Awareness Week, SW15 Hedgehogs (which we assume is a group of humans, not the hedgehogs themselves), hosts an afternoon of fun dedicated to the spiky creatures. Learn how to build hedgehog houses and feeding stations to protect them, learn a bit more about them, and keep kids busy with crafts and storytime. Putney Lower Common, free, just turn up, from 2pm

Lucha Libre comes to Roundhouse

LUCHA LIBRE: Mexico's greatest art form, Lucha Libre, comes to London for one day. Professional wrestlers go head to head in the ring, weaving in acrobatic manoeuvres and wearing colourful costumes and masks. Roundhouse (Camden), from £20, book ahead, 2pm/7pm

WIMBLEDON'S HEROES: Tour guide and Londonist contributor Laurence Scales leads a guided walk around Wimbledon, focusing on the history of science, technology and medicine in the area. Topics from drains to astronomy, and from pathology to clocks are covered — but you don't need to be scientifically minded to enjoy the tour. Copse Hill, £11.13, book ahead, 2.30pm-5pm

SISTER ACT: It's the final day to catch this stage musical version of 1993 film Sister Act. Original songs and plenty of dance moves keep the story of a disco diva hiding out in a convent choir lively. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), £22.50/£18.50, book ahead, 2.30pm/7.30pm

Hip Hop Karaoke comes to Tate Modern

HANWELL HOOTIE: Apparently London's largest free music festival, the Hanwell Hootie brings musical acts and comedians to a variety of venues in the Hanwell area, including pubs, schools and even a meadow. Plan ahead to make sure you don't miss your favourite act — there's a lot to see. Various Hanwell locations, free, just turn up, from 4pm

A GHOST STORY: Geffrye Museum may be temporarily closed for refurbishment, but its event programme is still going strong. Watch 2017 film A Ghost Story, starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, about a white-sheeted ghost who returns to his suburban home after his death to console his bereft wife. Geffrye Museum (Hoxton), £10/£8, book ahead, 5pm-7pm

WISTERIA HYSTERIA: Join a free guided tour of the best places to see wisteria in bloom in the South Kensington area. The walk takes place during the golden hour at sunset, meaning any photos you take should look extra lovely. South Kensington, free, just turn up, 6.30pm

Watch a screening of A Ghost Story

FUNNY WOMEN AWARDS: Some of London's most amusing women go head to hear in the Funny Women Awards heats. Former entrants have included Katherine Ryan, Zoe Lyons, Sara Pascoe and Desiree Burch, so expect high standards of gag. Hoxton Hall, from £8, book ahead, 7pm

HIP HOP KARAOKE: Stay late at Tate Modern for an evening of music and beer. Fourpure Brewery serves up craft beer on tap, while hip hop karaoke opens the floor to any wannabe rappers. Tate Modern, £10, book ahead, 7pm-11pm

INDEPENDENT WOMEN: WeLovePop focuses on independent women with the music choices at tonight's pop party. Expect to hear plenty of Beyonce, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Spice Girls, The Saturdays and more, with themed cocktails, and cardboard cut-outs of some of the artists features. Concrete Shoreditch, £6-£8, book ahead, 10pm-2am

Sunday 12 May

Eyes to the skies for Streatham Kite Day

BIRD WALK: Join the Friends of Forty Hall for a wander through the north London country estate, looking and listening out for the resident bird species. Swans, kingfishers, moorhens and herons are some of the birds you may spot. Forty Hall (Enfield), free, book ahead, 10am

SPITALFIELDS TOUR: Tour guide Rachel Kolsky leads a guided walk around the Spitalfields area, focusing on parts of the Jewish East End that have inspired both Jewish and non-Jewish writers. The works of Israel Zangwill, Jack London, Arnold Wesker and Emmanuel Litvinoff all feature, with readings interspersed throughout the walk. Spitalfields, £15, book ahead, 11am-1pm

WATERWORKS AND MARSHES: Take a 6.1km (3.7m) scenic walk exploring the Middlesex Filter Beds, Hackney Marshes and Waterworks Centre nature reserve, an area home to toads, dragonfly, newts and over 60 different species of bird. Then, head up to Hackney Marshes and along the northern border of the Olympic Park before following the watercourse back to the Waterworks Centre at the start. Lammas Road (Lea Bridge), free, book ahead, 11am-1pm

HAMPSTEAD GARDEN SUBURB: Footprints of London guide Marilyn Greene leads a walk around the Hampstead Garden Suburb area, a development built to protect part of Hampstead Heath and the fields of Golders Green from being built on by a railway extension. Hear the story of Henrietta Barnett, the brains behind the suburb, who intended it to be an area for all classes — the antithesis to her East End upbringing. Golders Green station, £12/£9, book ahead, 11am-1.30pm

KITE DAY: With tuppence for paper and strings... you can take to the skies at Streatham Kite Day. Bring your own kite or buy one on the day to join in — otherwise, sit back and watch as expert stunt kiters pull tricks in the sky above you. Streatham Common, free, just turn up, 11am-5pm

There's a festival fair on Goose Green

PUPPET FAYRE: Celebrate the 357th anniversary of the first sighting of Mr Punch in England by Samuel Pepys in May 1662 at the Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival. Punch and Judy Professors from all over the country beyond gather in the church garden for an afternoon of family-friendly shows. St Paul’s Church (Covent Garden), free entry, just turn up, 11am-5.30pm

GOOSE GREEN FAIR: As part of Dulwich Festival, a traditional fair takes place on Goose Green. Face painting, donkey rides and bouncy castles keep the kids amused, while adults browse the stalls and enjoy live music. Plus, there's a beer tent to shelter in if it rains. Goose Green (East Dulwich), free entry, just turn up, 12pm-5pm

Take a walking tour of Spitalfields

CHESTNUT SUNDAY: One of those bizarre London traditions, Chestnut Sunday began as a celebration of the blossom on Bushy Park's chestnut trees. These days, it's a full on festival with fairground rides, stalls, history talks, classic cars, a concert band, stalls, food and drink and more. Bushy Park, free, just turn up, 12.30pm-4.30pm

AMAZING GRACE: Today's early screening of Amazing Grace has a live introduction by the London International Gospel Choir. The documentary shows footage, unseen for 47 years, of Aretha Franklin recording her bestselling album Amazing Grace in New Temple Missionary Church in Los Angeles. Bertha DocHouse (Bloomsbury), £12.50/£10, book ahead, 4pm/8.30pm

LIVE MUSIC: Constituting two violins, viola and cello, the Piatti Quartet perform a concert of classical music by Haydn, Elgar and Mendelssohn to end the weekend on a sophisticated note. Conway Hall (Holborn), £12/£10, book ahead, 6.30pm-8.30pm