Things To Do This Weekend In London: 17-18 February 2024

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All weekend

Boxpark decorated with pink ballooons and decorations
Spend your Saturday at a Mean Girls bottomless brunch.

HALF TERM: With most London schools closed for February half term, there are plenty of family-friendly events, shows and exhibitions going on around the capital, featuring dinosaurs, flowers, ice skating and more. Take a look at our half term in London guide and fill the weekend with family fun. Until 18 February

VALENTINE'S AFTERNOON TEA: One of our picks of the best new afternoon teas to try in London right now is the Valentine's afternoon tea at the Great Scotland Yard Hotel, available until this weekend only. The menu has been designed to combine the aromas and flavours of Floris London's Santal fragrance with pastries and teas. Dishes include a wild mushroom and rocket quiche, a Jerusalem artichoke and cheddar Yorkshire pudding, and a chestnut, blackcurrant and hazelnut love sponge. 12-18 February

WWF WINTER WANDER: Need an excuse to get outside? The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) wants people to organise their own sponsored walk, to raise money for its work. To get involved in the Big Winter Wander, complete a 5k or 10k walk in your local area, either on your own or with family and friends. 12-25 February

A PINCH OF VAULT: A year after it was announced that VAULT Festival was being kicked out of its Waterloo home, it's back! A Pinch of VAULT features four weeks of early-stage shows across theatre, comedy, and cabaret. Highlights this weekend include a rehearsed reading of new play Cancer B*tch!, and the premiere of courtroom drama The Lancashire Witches. 12 February-10 March

DEAR ZOO: Take the kids along to Artsdepot in Finchley to see children's book Dear Zoo brought to life on stage. Singing and puppetry feature as Ben and Sally try to find their perfect pet at the zoo. Aimed at age 2+. Disclaimer: your little ones may put in a request for a pet lion after seeing the show. 14-18 February

A graphic of a children's entertainer holding a globe
Imagine Children's Festival ends on a high on Saturday

SOULSCAPES: Painting, photography, film, tapestry and collage all features in Soulscapes, a new exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery which aims to expand and redefine the genre of landscape painting. Established and emerging artists feature, offering a view through the eyes of artists from the African Diaspora. 14 February-2 June

YOKO ONO: One of our picks for the top exhibitions to see in London this year, Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind at Tate Modern features 200 of the artist's works to look back over her 70-year career. Visitors can get involved, by playing on her all-white chess set, leaving a photograph and a message on a long wall dedicated to mothers, or dedicating a wish for peace on her 'wish tree'. 15 February-1 September

LONDON BOOKSHOP CRAWL: London Bookshop Crawl encourages you to visit as many independent bookshops as possible over the course of this weekend (sounds like a challenge we can absolutely get on board with). There are events at different shops around the capital, as well as online, to foster a community of book lovers. The aim, of course, is to support London's independent bookshops, while treating yourself to a few new reads. 16-18 February

LONDON MOTORCYCLE SHOW: Start your engine for the London Motorcycle Show, wheeling into town for three days at ExCeL. Ogle the latest bikes, kit and accessories, and visit a 'base camp' hosted by Charley Boorman. 16-18 February

Saturday 17 February

A painting of a family enjoying time outside in a field or park
Be one of the first to see at Soulscapes at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Image: Kimathi Donkor, On Episode Seven, 2020. Courtesy of the Artist and Niru Ratnam, London. Photo: Kimathi Donkor

IMAGINE CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL: Today's the final day of Imagine Children's Festival at Southbank Centre — and there's still time to catch some of the fun, including dance-circus show Starchitects, Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho discussing his new book, and two appearances by The Marvellous Myth Hunter. From 10.45am

HOUSING CRISIS: Southwark Cathedral hosts a day of talks focused on tackling London's housing crisis, with various experts taking part. Topics include post-war council housing, lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire, and gentrification. 10am-4pm

OUT AT SEA: As part of its LGBTQ+ History Month celebrations, the National Maritime Museum hosts Out At Sea, a family-friendly festival exploring LGBTQ+ stories through workshops, talks, live performances and storytelling. Highlights include a zine-making workshop celebrating people assigned female at birth who lived as men at sea. FREE, 11am-4pm

PORTRAIT MASTERCLASS: Artist Sara Shamma leads a workshop, where you'll learn how to create a self-portrait using oils, and the layered painting technique that Shamma uses. All materials are provided, and it takes place at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Adults only. 12pm-4pm

MEAN GIRLS BRUNCH: Get in loser, we're going brunching. Boxpark Croydon hosts a Mean Girls bottomless brunch, where the original film is screened, along with food, drink and other entertainment. Your ticket includes a cocktail on arrival, £10 towards a street food dish, and bottomless prosecco/cocktails throughout the whole film. 1pm-5pm

CZECH YOUR POUR: Focus is on Czech beer at Big Penny Social in Walthamstow, which holds a Czech Your Pour session. Learn how to pour beer the Czech way, with free beer up for grabs. 2.30pm-4.30pm

SLICE AND A SIP: Head to Hackney's Netil Market this afternoon for a seductive Valentine's pizza and wine deal: you can grab a special ox heart ragu pizza slice from World Famous Gordos and a glass of New Theory Love Bite wine, for just £6.90. 4pm-8pm

Four members of Holiday Ghosts looking down at the camera
Holiday Ghosts guest DJ at Scared To Dance

ORCHIDS AFTER HOURS: Once again, Kew Gardens stays open late for Orchids After Hours, a chance to see the current Orchids display illuminated in the dark. There's also Madagascan food and music, a nod to the theme of this year's festival, and science talks from Kew's horticultural experts. 6pm-10pm

SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: Beethoven's Romance, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, Mozart's Don Giovanni and Brahms' Festival Overture are all on the programme as Croydon Symphony Orchestra perform classical Viennese music. Takes place at Fairfield Halls. 7.30pm

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: Students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama put on a production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing at Barbican. See their take on the comedy play centred around two romantic pairings — tonight's the last chance to catch it. 7.30pm

MERCHANT OF VENICE 1936: For another take on Shakespeare's work, Tracy-Ann Oberman stars in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of The Merchant of Venice 1936, at the Criterion Theatre. It transplants Shakespeare's play into 1930s Britain, with Shylock as a businesswoman and single mother. 7.30pm (until 23 March)

HIGH HEELS, BASS SQUEALS: Described as 'a contemporary cabaret exploring growing up queer', High Heels & Bass Squeals is at The Other Palace for one night only. Classical clarinet music meets contemporary choreography, vocals and club tracks to tell the story of how young gender non-conforming people overcome adversity and go through their own self-discovery and find acceptance. 8pm

BLACK TO THE FUTURE: Terence Nance's hypnotic debut film An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is screened at the Garden Cinema in central London, as part of the Black to the Future festival tonight — followed by a Q&A with the director. 8pm-11pm

HEART OF BRASS: Head to Queen of Hoxton for a lively evening, as the No Limit Street Band perform their own brass-heavy take on well-known songs, including club classics, house, funk and disco tunes. 8pm

SCARED TO DANCE: Indie rock band Holiday Ghosts are the guest DJs at alternative club night Scared To Dance, which tonight takes place at the Shacklewell Arms in Dalston. They take to the decks alongside resident DJ Paul Richards for tunes by the likes of David Bowie, Talking Heads, Blondie, The Cure and Wet Leg until the early hours. 11pm

Sunday 18 February

A couple looking at a small glass vase, surrounded by other flea market items
Pick up a bargain at the Giant London Flea Market

CHEESE MARKET: Did you know that London has a regular cheese market? Aptly, it's in Chiswick, an area which takes its name from an historic cheese farm or market. Cheesewick happens at Old Market Place on Chiswick High Road. Over 200 varieties are available from a range of producers, along with bread, crackers, chutneys and the like. 9.30am-3pm

CLASSICAL COFFEE MORNING: Ease your way into Sunday gently with a classical coffee morning at the Royal Albert Hall. Tuck into coffee and pastries in the Elgar Room as the Morassi Quartet from the Royal College of Music perform pieces by Haydn, Yanacek and Webern. 10am

LONDON BRICK FESTIVAL: One for Lego fans, the London Brick Festival is a one-day extravaganza of the colourful plastic building blocks, aimed at adults and children alike. Ogle ready-built displays, take part in speed-building competitions, and buy bricks, accessories, retired Lego sets, and more. If that sounds like your thing, book ahead for the Art of the Brick exhibition, opening next month. 10am-4pm

GIANT LONDON FLEA MARKET: Taking place in the multi-storey car park in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (so no need to worry about the weather), the Giant London Flea Market brings together 100+ traders selling vintage home decor and other bits and pieces. 10am-5pm

TRAINS, DRAINS AND REMAINS: Ever wondered what's beneath your feet as you move around London? Footprints of London guide Marilyn Greene leads a guided walk offering you an insight into the drains, sewage pipes, water conduits, burials, Roman remains and Underground lines that run below ground in the City of London, covering both historic and modern infrastructure. 11am-1pm

A black and white photograph of Yoko Ono dressed in black sitting cross legged on the floor in a white room
It's the first weekend of Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind at Tate Modern. Photo by Clay Perry ©Yoko Ono

CRAFT AND FLEA MARKET: Plants, jewellery, ceramics, candles and food are just some of the products available to browse and buy at Walthamstow's Craft & Flea. It takes place at Big Penny Social, with a focus on supporting small and local businesses and craftspeople. 11am-5pm

SEA SHANTIES: The HogEye Men are back at the Horseshoe Inn near London Bridge for another bout of sea shanty singing — audience members very much encouraged to join in. You probably won't see Alistair Green here though. FREE, 12pm-3pm

GOODTIME JAZZ: Ilford's Kenneth More Theatre welcomes Pete's Goodtime Jazz Band this afternoon, who'll be belting out toe-tapping jazz, blues and swing from the 1920s and 1930s, as well as some blues, New Orleans and British trad. 2pm-4pm

PAINTING & PROSECCO: Try your hand at creating your own version of Annie Dalton‘s Mackintosh’s Cat artwork, inspired by Mackintosh's Rose Tear design, at the London Art Bar in Holborn. All supplies are provided, as is a glass of wine to get your creative juices flowing — and there's a professional artist on hand to offer tips and advice. 3pm-5.30pm

THE VOICE BOYS: Three-piece male harmony group The Voice Boys — who appeared on TV show The Voice — perform at OSO Arts Centre in Barnes, singing songs by the likes of Bruno Mars, Take That and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The event is a fundraiser for The Pituitary Foundation. 6pm