Things To Do This Weekend In London: 18-19 May 2024

All weekend

A photograph of a woman in an open-top car, drinking through a straw with her hair flipped forward in the breeze
Fragile Beauty opens at the V&A. Image: Ryan McGinley, Dakota Hair, 2004 © Ryan McGinley Studios

SKATEBOARDS: This is the final weekend of Skateboard at Design Museum, an exhibition looking at the history of skateboards from the 1950s onwards, displaying 90 rare and unique skateboards along with 100 other objects relating to the sport. Until 19 May

EUROPEAN WRITERS' FESTIVAL: Over the course of the weekend, 30 writers — each representing one European country or territory — make appearances at the British Library for the European Writers' Festival. Hear a panel discussion about how Europe and storytelling have changed since the first post-Cold War generation, find out how war and displacement influence writers' work, and hear from special guest, prize-winning Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov, among other events. 18-19 May

OPEN STUDIOS: Over 60 artists in the area take part in this year's Crouch End Open Studios, opening their homes, studios and venues to the public. People working in painting, ceramics, glass, drawing and mixed media are among those taking part, and there's a group exhibition at Hornsey Library too. 18-19 May

DULWICH FESTIVAL: This is the final weekend of Dulwich Festival 2024, with a wealth of events to choose from. Take a pub history walk around East Dulwich, visit the Goose Green Fair, get stuck into a family-friendly ceilidh, or browse the programme for other events spanning walks, talks and shows. Until 19 May

LONDON CRAFT WEEK: Also ending this weekend is London Craft Week, a celebration of London's creative industries. Take part in a Yemeni embroidery workshop, view an exhibition about planet-saving innovations, see stunning glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly at Chelsea Barracks, or learn to knit at the Design Museum. Until 19 May

Two women posing for a photo in front of a car and displays of clothing and accessories in a car park
The She Inspires Me Car Boot takes place at Selfridges on Saturday. Photographer: Bronac McNeill

PHOTO LONDON: International fair Photo London is back at Somerset House for a celebration of all things snap happy. As well as a chance to collect and purchase photos from around the world there are talks, tours and workshops on all aspects of photography. 16-19 May

RARE BOOKS: Books, original manuscripts, letters and rare items are all for sale at the annual Firsts: London's Rare Book Fair. Taking place at Chelsea's Saatchi Gallery, this year it has a theme of 'The Art of the Book', with special focus on beautiful books, including pop-up books and Japanese woodblock printing. 16-19 May

ELTON JOHN: Over 300 photo prints from the private collection of Sir Elton John and David Furnish go on display in the V&A's new exhibition. Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection features the work of scores of 20th and 21st century photographers selected from a 7,000 strong collection, including shots of The Beatles, Elizabeth Taylor and Chet Baker; the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s; AIDS activism of the 1980s; and 9/11. 18 May-5 January

Saturday 18 May

A close-up photo of a pot plant being passed between two people
The first ever Brunswick Botanical Day is free

CHEAM CHARTER FAIR: Rumour has it that the Cheam Charter Fair dates back to 1259 — though even the modern-day organisers can't verify that. Either way, head to the London-Surrey border for a traditional fair of stalls, kicking off with a procession. FREE ENTRY, from 9am

HIGHWAYS FESTIVAL: Today's the main day of Highways Festival, a Country and Americana music event at the Royal Albert Hall. Choose from four events today: Country for Kids in the Elgar Room (10am); the intimate Songwriters Round (2.30pm), the Official After Show Party (11pm), and a Late Night Special with Remember Monday (11.30pm).

KENSINGTON DOLLSHOUSE FESTIVAL: Experience life in miniature at the second and final day of the Kensington Dollshouse Festival. 120 top miniaturists from 14 countries exhibit and sell their works for anyone looking to kit out their own dolls house, plus there are displays, kids' activities and more. This year also marks the centenary of the famous Queen Mary's Dolls House. 10am-5pm

FRAGRANCE FAIR: Barnes is smelling extra good today, thanks to the return of the fragrance fair. Follow your nose to talks, walks and workshops from top fragrance experts and writers. 10am-5pm

CALLIGRAPHY WORKSHOP: Try your hand at brush pen calligraphy as you explore London Wetlands Centre. The workshop begins with a short walk around the reserve in Barnes, followed by local calligraphy artist Laura Edralin guiding you through the basics of modern brush script, inspired by the nature around you. 10.15am

WATERLOO CLASSICS: The monthly Waterloo Classics sees owners of classic vehicles parking them up in Lower Marsh, allowing members of the public to coo over them. FREE, 11am-2pm

BOTANICAL DAY: The first ever Botanical Day at the Brunswick Centre is a celebration of all things green. There's a market selling plants, flowers, porcelain flower jewellery, terrarium kits, floral resin art and the like — and free activities include botanical drawing workshops, and talks on topics including growing ferns, creating terrariums, and blending teas. FREE, 11am-4pm

CARIBBEAN TAKEOVER: The Caribbean Social Forum takes over the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich for a family-friendly day of music, games, talks, food, workshops and dancing celebrating Caribbean culture. Highlights include demonstrations of quadrille dancing, a talk about historic Black Greenwich, African drumming performances, and food trucks selling traditional Caribbean food. FREE, 11am-5pm

Evan Lewis and Tom McGreevy
Ducks Ltd DJ at Scared To Dance

DRAG BRUNCH: Devonshire Terrace near Liverpool Street hosts a lively drag brunch. TV star queens including Choriza May (RuPaul’s Drag Race UK) and Anna Phylactic (Netflix) appear, among lip sync showdowns, comedy, games, and a two-course brunch meal. 12pm-4pm

FASHION CAR BOOT: The She Inspires Me car boot sale parks up in Selfridges car park — though it's not your usual car boot sale. New, past-season, vintage and pre-loved designer fashion donated by luxury brands, designers and fashion and beauty insiders are for sale, with 100% of the proceeds going towards supporting women survivors of war. Advance tickets have sold out, but get down there at 10am to try to bag one of the limited number available on the day. 12pm-6pm

ROCK 'N' ROLL BONANZA: In the market for 12 hours of non-stop rock 'n' roll (followed if you so wish with an afterparty)? Get thee to the Fiddler's Elbow in Kentish Town, which is hosting the Camden Rocks All Dayer — an avalanche of live, loud music from the likes of Red Road, Dogz or Godz, Barking Poets, and many many more. 1pm-1am

FAIRYTALE SCIENCE: The science behind fairytales is tackled at the Royal Institution, where author Catherine Cawthorne discusses whether you could really dance in a pair of shoes made from glass, what happens to gingerbread houses in the pouring rain, and whether big ears are really better for hearing with. Aimed at children and their families. 2pm-3.15pm

BAROQUE FESTIVAL: This year's London Festival of Baroque Music comes to a close at St John's Smith Square, with a performance by Early Opera Company celebrating the vocal duets written by Handel throughout his career. Soprano Mary Bevan and countertenor Iestyn Davies are directed by Christopher Bucknall. 7pm

WILD ISLES LIVE: Alastair Fothergill, producer of BBC documentary series Wild Isles, is at Southbank Centre to talk about the programme. See footage that hasn't been shown before, and hear behind-the-scenes stories about the filming process, followed by a Q&A. Age 7+. 7.30pm

SCARED TO DANCE: Evan Lewis and Tom McGreevy of rock band Ducks Ltd are the guest DJs at tonight's Scared to Dance, an alternative club night playing post-punk, indiepop, new wave and art rock music. Takes place at the Shacklewell Arms in Dalston. 11pm

Sunday 19 May

People sitting and standing around in the sunshine with drinks
Party like it's 2014 at Roof East

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 cheeses are available from a range of producers, along with bread, crackers, chutneys and the like. 9.30am-3pm

ANTIQUES FAIR: Like clockwork, the monthly Adams Antiques Fair rolls back into town, bringing together 120+ exhibitors at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster, selling antique jewellery, silver, decorative pieces and collectables. Note that a queue usually forms before the doors open, so arrive early if you want first dibs. 10am-4.30pm

TUDOR PULL: Head for the banks of the Thames to watch the Royal Waterman's Tudor Pull, a rowing event taking place between Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. It's a ceremonial event, with the flotilla presented to the Tower's Governor in a short ceremony on arrival. FREE, from 10.30am

URBAN VILLAGE FETE: Live music and dancing, street food stalls, crafting workshops, and talks on topics including sports and sustainability are all part of the Urban Village Fete. It's a family-friendly event taking over Greenwich Peninsula all afternoon. FREE entry (charge for some workshops), from 11am

A DJ holding headphones to her ear at a DJ deck
Greenwich Peninsula hosts the Urban Village Fete. Photo: Kris Humphreys Photography

2014 PRICES: To mark its 10th birthday, Stratford's Roof East — a sky high playground/food hall — is doing food and drink at 2014 prices today only. That includes £6 burgers, pints of cider for £4.65 and Paloma cocktails for £6.50. It's also 50% off games. Let's hope the weather plays ball! 12pm-11pm

BASKETBALL PLAY OFFS: See some of the country's best elite basketball teams go head to head in two games, as the British Basketball Play Off Finals bounce into the O2. 12.30pm

DIRTY FILTHY BOOK: Writer and historian Michael Meyer gives a free talk about Annie Besant, who was put on trial in Victorian London for publishing and selling a birth control pamphlet, along with her confidant Charles Bradlaugh. Meyer uses unpublished archives, private papers and courtroom transcripts to tell Besant's largely forgotten story. Takes place at Conway Hall in Holborn. FREE, 2pm-3pm

FOLK UNLIMITED: Emmie Ward and Nick Goode are at Cecil Sharp House in Camden, leading Folk Unlimited, a creative, inclusive, multi-sensory music-making session for disabled young people. 2.30pm-4.30pm

COLOMBIAN SUPPER CLUB: Notting Hill cocktail bar Viajante87 continues its supper club Series, The Culture Exchange, by hosting restaurant Celele and bar Alquimico for one night only. Tuck into a four-course feast, each dish paired with a cocktail, followed by a bar takeover for the rest of the evening. 5.30pm