Things to do this weekend is sponsored by St Paul's Cathedral.
ROUNDHOUSE RISING: Emerging music festival Roundhouse Rising is a chance to see tomorrow’s big names and headline acts before they’re famous. A whole range of musical genres are covered, from grime to pop to electrobeats, with performers from as far afield as Dublin and Sweden — and plenty of homegrown talent too. Roundhouse (Camden), various prices, book ahead, 15-29 October
AFFORDABLE ART FAIR: London’s been awash with art fairs this month, but the Affordable Art Fair is aimed at your every day art fan, rather than industry insiders. Prices for pieces start at just £50, ideal if you’re considering getting into art collecting — but it’s equally useful if you’re just looking for something to fill a blank wall in your home. Battersea Evolution (Battersea Park), £9-£27, book ahead, 17-20 October
LITERATURE FESTIVAL: It's the first weekend of London Literature Festival, a huge celebration of the written word featuring talks, workshops, gigs and other performances. Highlights this weekend include author Jung Chang talking about 20th century China, and authors Bernardine Evaristo (who just won the booker!) and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi discussing our perspectives of ourselves and the country we live in. Southbank Centre, various prices, book ahead, 17-27 October
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY: One of our favourite annual shows, it's the first weekend of the new Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. See 2019's winning images (announced at a ceremony on Tuesday) alongside other shortlisted images, taken by photographers all over the world. Standards are always exceptionally high, and the show offers cute animal snaps alongside more serious insights into environmental issues. Natural History Museum (South Kensington), £13.95, book ahead, 18 October-31 May
RUMFEST: Where has all the rum gone? To west London, where RumFest sets up for a two-day celebration of pirates' poison of choice. Sample and buy from a selection of 400 of the most diverse and rare rums from across the globe, soak it up with Caribbean-inspired food, and listen to talks about rum, including one by Jamaica's oldest rum estate, Worthy Park. Earl's Court's ILEC Conference Centre, from £42.50, book ahead, 19-20 October
ICE RINK: The Natural History Museum’s winter ice rink opens for the season this weekend. It’s back outside the museum building, surrounded by twinkling trees and centered on a towering Christmas tree. A cafe bar and viewing platform run alongside. See when London's other ice rinks open. Natural History Museum (South Kensington), from £12.65, book ahead, 19 October-12 January
BIGGER THAN THE PLATE: It's the final weekend of the V&A's Bigger Than The Plate exhibition, which looks at where our food comes from, how we consume it, and how it could be produced in the future. At times tough to stomach, it's likely to make you think twice about what's on your plate, but has some positive stories too. V&A Museum (South Kensington), £17, book ahead, until 20 October
WATER LIFE: It's also your last chance to see photography exhibition Water Life by Aida Muluneh. Commissioned by charity WaterAid, the pictures show issues of water scarcity and ecological emergency in Ethiopia. Somerset House, free, just turn up, until 20 October
HALF TERM: As of this weekend, most kids are off school for a week. But fear not — we’ve put together a guide to spending half term in London, covering family-friendly events, exhibitions, theatre shows and other activities.
Kids Go Free to St Paul's Cathedral This Half Term
St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the wonders of London — something every child should see. And this October half term (19 October-2 November) your kids can visit absolutely free.
Enjoy a family day out as you count the animals in the ceiling mosaics (look out for lions and dolphins), encounter the nation’s heroes in the Crypt and marvel at panoramic views of London from the Stone and Golden Galleries.
During the first week of half term the Cathedral is running craft activities and character costume tours — maybe you'll even get to meet the Cathedral's architect, Christopher Wren! Check the website for more details.
Enhance your experience of St Paul’s Cathedral with their free family multimedia guides — featuring fly-throughs of the dome galleries and zoomable close-ups of the breathtaking ceiling mosaics.
Select the number of child tickets required and use the promo code KGF2019 when booking your ticket to apply the child ticket discount (family tickets not included in promotion).
Terms and conditions:
Up to three children can receive free entry per paying adult, concession or disabled visitor ticket holder accompanying them. Child tickets apply to those aged 6-17. Infants under 6 receive free entry. The offer cannot be used in conjunction with other offers, group booking or discounts and is valid only when buying tickets direct with the Cathedral. Free entry for children is not valid for the Where Light Falls Late Night opening. St Paul’s Cathedral is closed for sightseeing on Sundays.
Saturday 19 October
ROCK SCHOOL: Live out your rock school dreams at Yamaha Music's Learn to Play sessions. Try out acoustic and electric instruments, with professional teachers and musicians on hand to help you sharpen up your technique. It's first come first served, so get there early. Yamaha Music (Soho), free, just turn up, 10am-5pm
WALL STREET ON WATER: Join The London Ambler for a guided walk around Canary Wharf, covering the architecture and planning of the area from the 1980s to the present day. From dockside wasteland to financial hub, hear about the politics, business deals and urban planning that went into creating 'Wall Street on water'. Thames Walk (Dunbar Wharf), £12/£10, book ahead, 10.30am-12.30pm
HOME MOVIE DAY: Finally, a use for those family films you've got lying around. Home Movie Day is a worldwide initiative, encouraging people to dig out and share their homemade footage. Volunteers are on hand to help you watch your film in various formats, and save it for future viewing. Various productions from the London Screen Archives are also shown throughout the day. Cinema Museum (Kennington), free, just turn up, 11am-4pm
CLASSIC CARS: The monthly gathering of classic cars returns to Lower Marsh in Waterloo. Apply for a parking spot if you've got a motor you want to show off, otherwise just turn up and wander among classic vehicles of yesteryear. Lower Marsh (Waterloo), free, just turn up, 12pm-4pm
TAXIDERMY: Artist and taxidermist Ella Kaye hosts a four hour taxidermy class for complete beginners. Your mouse is provided — ethically-sourced and disease-free — and no chemicals are used as your learn the basic techniques to prepare, preserve, mount and position the creature. Museum of London, £85, book ahead, 2.30pm
QUEER TO CREATE: Intended as a safe space for LGBTQ+ makers, Queer To Create is a monthly event for the craftily inclined. Bring a project you're currently working on, start a new one on the day, or take part in a crash course in knitting and leave with a new skill. DIY Space For London (Peckham), £3, book ahead, 12pm-5pm
ENCHANTMENT: The Academy of St-Mary-Le-Bow — a top-notch but non-professional orchestra — performs a concert of music inspired by the theme of enchantment. Expect magic, fairies, witches and wizards, all conjured up using a combination of sound and lighting, with works by the likes of Mendelssohn on the programme. Fans of Disney's Fantasia are in for a treat too. St Cuthbert's (Earl's Court), £14/£12, book ahead, 7.30pm-9.30pm
Sunday 20 October
VALENTINES MANSION: A free exhibition of work by young artists opens at Valentines Mansion today. Inspired by the mansion itself, the artwork is by 6-19 year olds from a local art group, and marks a decade since the building was opened to the public. Valentines Mansion (Redbridge), free, just turn up, 20-23 October
VINTAGE SALE: Stock up on vintage clothes and pay by the weight at the Peckham Vintage Kilo Sale. Rummage through jackets, dresses, skirts, shirts, belts, handbags, jewellery and more and pay £15 per kilo. There's no minimum weight, so choose carefully and you might find an item for as little as 75p. Bussey Building (Peckham), £3/£1.50, just turn up, 11am
BEATING THE BOUNDS: Nature writer and photographer Dr Peter Coles leads an autumnal walk around Hampstead Heath and Golders Green. He points out the boundary trees of the area, which existed back when it was fairly rural, to mark the boundaries between different properties. Golders Green station, £18, book ahead, 10.30am-12.30pm
CROSSNESS ENGINES: Get inside London’s ‘cathedral of sewage’, Crossness Pumping Station, and see the Prince Consort engine in steam. There's also an exhibition about the Victorian sewer system which is still in use in the capital today, and children’s craft activities. Crossness Sewage Treatment Works (Abbey Wood), £8/£2, just turn up, 10.30am-4pm
MAKERS' MARKET: A 'vintage village' pops up inside Poplar Union for the day, bringing a handful of stalls from local makers and vintage traders. Take the opportunity to make a start on the Christmas shopping, or treat yourself, while supporting independent businesses. Poplar Union, free, just turn up, 11am-4pm
VINTAGE FASHION: Give your wardrobe a refresh in time for the chiller weather at the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion autumn fair. 50 traders are on hand to sell items dating from between the 1920s and 1970s, many of which are back in trend right now. Keep an eye out for designer labels too — Biba and Chanel items have made appearances at past events. Freemasons Hall (Covent Garden), £5/£2, book ahead, 11am-5pm
OCTOBER PLENTY: Witness The October Plenty, a traditional celebration on the streets of Lambeth which celebrates autumn. A procession starring the Corn Queene and Berry Man effigies begins at the Imperial War Museum, and meanders through the streets to Roots and Shoots in Kennington, where a play and storytelling session take place. Imperial War Museum, free, just turn up, from 12pm
GARDEN WALK: Apparently Fulham Palace garden is the second oldest botanic garden in London. Join a guide for a tour of the 13-acre site and learn how the Bishops of London made it into what it is today, and how the gardening team care for it. Fulham Palace, £6, just turn up, 2pm-3pm
HAUNTED PUB TOUR: With Halloween nearing, give yourself an early scare on this haunted pub tour, visiting two of London's most idyllic neighbourhoods. Begin in Hampstead, and make your way to Highgate via four stops at haunted pubs, including one where you used to be able to watch an autopsy while you sipped your beer. Hear haunted tales of the boozers, and nearby Highgate Cemetery on the route. Hampstead High Street, £22, book ahead, 6pm-9.30pm (sponsor)