Things To Do This Weekend In London: 15-16 February 2020

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All weekend

Half term events begin, including Mr Men and Little Miss on stage

IMAGINE CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL: A family favourite every year, Imagine Children's Festival returns for half term. Southbank Centre brings together authors, performers and other celebrities for events focused on kids' literature. Theatre shows, music workshops and plenty of other activities are all part of the fun — and plenty of the events are free. Southbank Centre, various prices, book ahead, 12-23 February

LONDON MOTORCYCLE SHOW: Rev your engine for the London Motorcycle Show, wheeling into town for three days. See the latest bikes, kit and accessories, watch live racing in the Michelin Thunderdome, and ogle vintage bikes at the Bonhams Classic Zone. Excel London, various prices, book ahead, 14-16 February

The MCN Motorcycle Show is in town

LONDON ANIME CON: Anime, gaming, comic and cosplay plans descend on London Metropolitan University for the London Anime & Gaming Con. Stage events, panel discussions, parties and performances are all on the agenda, including an Anime viewing room, and a chance to meet Manga artists. Visitors are very much encouraged to wear costumes. London Met (Holloway), from £9 per day, book ahead, 14-16 February

OUT OF THE BLUE: Influential company Designers Guild is celebrated in Fashion & Textile Museum's new exhibition, Out Of The Blue. The company started 50 years ago in Chelsea, and the exhibition offers access to its archives, showcasing how it has changed the way we view and use colour, pattern and texture in our homes. Fashion & Textile Museum (Bermondsey), included in admission, book ahead, 14 February-14 June

PERMIAN MONSTERS: Dinosaurs are cool. Fact. But what about pre-dinosaurs? Long before Dippy and co were stomping all over the earth, Permian Monsters ruled the planet. Find out all about them in Horniman Museum's new family-friendly exhibition which includes fossil skeletons and full-sized animatronic creatures. Horniman Museum, £8/£4.50, book ahead, 15 February-1 November

Book yourself a time slot to see the orchids at Kew Gardens

ORCHID FESTIVAL: This year's Orchid Festival continues at Kew Gardens. Wander through the Princess of Wales Conservatory (lovely and toasty at this time of year), ogling 5,000 orchids from this year's festival focus, Indonesia. Flower walls, floral arches and a volcano made from flowers all feature in the photogenic event. Kew Gardens, included in admission, book timeslot in advance, until 8 March

HALF TERM: With most London schools on holiday for the coming week, take a look at our guide to things to do in London in half term. We've covered exhibitions, theatre shows, and other things to see and do, as well as plenty of places to eat.

Saturday 15 February

See Sissy Lea at The Dugdale Centre

THE GREAT STINK: Families can travel back in time with a storytelling session themed on the great stink of London. Aimed at age 5+, it's a chance to learn about the smelly summer of 1858, and the dirt, disease and pollution which created it. Museum of London Docklands, free, just turn up, 15-16 February

ART FESTIVAL: As part of Parsons Green Art Festival, The Make Escape runs two craft workshops. Learn how to use simple embroidery techniques to sew a set of fruit coasters, or use colour-blocking techniques to create a collage. All materials and tuition are provided. Ad Lib Gallery & Boutique, £22.15 per workshop, book ahead, 11am/3pm

FAST FASHION THERAPY: Repairing and recycling old clothes is becoming fashionable again, thanks to the environmental benefits. Take it one step further with this day-long course on visible mending, where you can learn the techniques of darning and Boro patching, and wear your repairs with pride. Museum of London, £65, book ahead, 11am

Learn the art of visible mending

KEATS IN THE CITY: Join an expert from Keats House for a guided walk around the City of London, visiting the spots that poet John Keats would have been familiar with. See where he lived and studied, including Cheapside, Apothecaries’ Hall and Guy’s Hospital, interspersed with readings of his work. Moorgate station, £10, book ahead, 11am-1.30pm

SWISH AND STYLE: Dig out the old items of clothing you don't wear and swap them for something new (to you) at the Swish and Style. Exchange your clean, good quality items for tokens, which can be swapped for togs donated by other people. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), free entry, just turn up, 1pm-4pm

POLARI: LGBT+ literary salon Polari hosts Lucy O'Brien as special guest. The writer, academic and broadcaster gives an illustrated talk about her Dusty Springfield biography, Dusty: The Classic Biography, hosted by Polari founder Paul Burston. Southbank Centre, £5, book ahead, 7.30pm

Lucy O'Brien headlines Polari

SISSY LEA: Enfield's number one drag queen Sissy Lea performs musical and dance extravaganza Sissy Lea X Sicily. Follow Sissy Lea's journey as she leaves Sicily to start her glittering career as a drag queen, with the help of some special guests. The Dugdale Centre (Enfield), £16, book ahead, 7.45pm

LIVE MUSIC: Musical duo Shahbaz Hussain and Zayn Mohammed return to Rich Mix for an evening of live music spanning several countries. Their last show saw them perform six instruments between the, with songs from South Asia, the Middle East, Turkey, North Africa and 15th century England, so expect an eclectic mix.  Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £22.50, book ahead, 8pm

HIP HOP VALENTINE'S: Comedian Romesh Ranganathan hosts a Valentine's-themed hip hop fancy dress party in aid of charity Campaign Against Living Miserably. Don your best hip hop outfit and enjoy a night of hip hop tracks from through the years played by live DJs. Omeara (London Bridge), £20, book ahead, 10.30pm

Sunday 16 February

Take Fido on a Valentine's dog walk

VALENTINE'S DOG WALK: Show your pooch how much you love them at a Valentine's dog walk, raising money for canine charity All Dogs Matter. Wander across the heath with other dogs and their owners. Plus, there's a prize for best dog-human costume on the theme of 'loved up'. The Garden Gate (Hampstead), £5 per dog, just turn up, from 10am

GARDEN TOUR: Join a gardener for a tour of the gardens at Fulham Palace, a building which has been home to the Bishops of London for centuries. Hear how individual bishops shaped the development of the garden, and see some of the unusual species of plant grown there today. Fulham Palace, £6, just turn up, 12.30pm-1.30pm

London Anime & Gaming Con is on all weekend

QUEER TANGO: Queer Tango London hosts an LGBT History Month special. Celebrate the bars and night clubs of Buenos Aires, London or Paris, or the Berlin of Weimar Germany at a same-sex tango with authentic music, interspersed with short talks about the history of same-sex dancing. Colours Hoxton, £5, book ahead, 1pm-5pm

EMINENT MONSTERS: Attend a screening of chilling 2018 documentary Eminent Monsters: A Manual For Modern Torture. It's an investigation into psychological warfare, which uncovers how the psychiatric community has colluded with state sponsored torture. Interviews with victims’ families, whistleblowers, the military and the medical community all feature, and there's a discussion with Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, after the screening. Bertha DocHouse (Bloomsbury), £12.50, book ahead, 2.15pm

The Gould Piano Trio perform at Conway Hall

PIANO TRIO: Spend a relaxing Sunday evening at a concert by the Gould Piano Trio. The renowned chamber music group perform a programme of Mozart and Brahms pieces. Conway Hall (Holborn), £10-£14, book ahead, 6.30pm

THE BOSS ON ICE: Celebrate all things Bruce Springsteen at Club de Fromage on Ice's The Boss special. All of Springsteen's biggest hits are played back to back over the duration of the ice skating club night. Alexandra Palace, £11, book ahead, 8.30pm