Things To Do This Weekend In London: 22-23 April 2023

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Things to do this weekend is sponsored by Camden Market.

All weekend

Things to do in London this weekend: a woman playing a game at Roof East rooftop bar
It's the first weekend of Roof East's summer season.

The London Marathon takes place on Sunday (details below) so be aware that there may be road closures in place along the route all weekend, which may affect bus routes and the like. Worth checking before you travel.

CHRONIC YOUTH: For two days, Barbican Cinema is taken over by Chronic Youth Film Festival, a series of films depicting memories of life, looking at how we choose to remember and what we choose to share. There are six screenings across the weekend, including a programme of shorts, with films from Georgia, Belgium, Sweden and the Czech Republic. 22-23 April

STORIES OF ST JAMES'S: Last chance to catch Stories of St James's Burial Ground, a free exhibition about the archaeological discoveries made during HS2 excavations on the former St James’s Burial Ground near Euston. Dressmaker Elizabeth Mercer, and Charles Fortnum of Fortnum & Mason were among the 11,000 people buried there — find out more at the exhibition at St James's Piccadilly. FREE, until 23 April

CHINESE AND BRITISH: Also closing this weekend is the British Library's free exhibition about the culture of British Chinese communities. Chinese and British uses photos, interviews and manuscripts to explore what it means to be both Chinese and British. FREE, until 23 April

DON'T CLAP FOR ME: Agape Theatre Company are at the Cockpit Theatre with their latest production Don’t Clap For Me Mr. Johnson, about the heroic efforts of NHS staff to keep the country going, even when they themselves are wounded, hungry, and battle-worn. Until 23 April

QUEER EAST: Taking place at venues across London, Queer East Festival is a celebration of LGBTQ+ cinema, live arts, and moving image work from East and Southeast Asia and its diaspora communities. This weekend catch South Korean film Stateless Things, or Cambodian documentary Lotus Sports Club, which was filmed over a five-year period, among others. 18-30 April

Things to do in London this weekend:  a black and white photo of a coffee machine and cup at London Coffee Festival
Get your fill of beans at the London Coffee Festival.

ACID JAZZ: Pioneering record label Acid Jazz celebrates 35 years with a touring exhibition, in Camden Lock Market this weekend. The exhibition features rare video footage, magazine and radio interviews, photography, posters and flyers, record label artworks of the music and musicians from the archives. 19-24 April

LONDON COFFEE FESTIVAL: Wake up and smell the coffee at the London Coffee Festival, a four-day programme of tastings, demos, competitions, shopping and more at The Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. 20-23 April

SICILY FEST: Food and drink from the Italian region of Sicily are centre stage at SicilyFest, a four-day event at the Business Design Centre. Browse and buy pasta, sauces, jams, cakes, desserts and wine — and learn how to put them to good use with live chef masterclasses. 20-23 April

HERSCHEL SAMPLE SALE: Browse for huge hard-shell suitcases, city break backpacks, and big beach totes, with up to 75% off at the Herschel Supply Co. sample sale. Running in Piccadilly all weekend, it's giving us nearly-time-for-summer-getaways vibes. 20-23 April

ROOF EAST: Stratford's 'adult playground' Roof East reopens its doors for the summer season from Friday, offering bars and street food vendors, games including Birdies Crazy Golf and Sluggers batting cages, and a rooftop open-air cinema, all offering views over east London and beyond. From 20 April

LAPHROAIG MARKET: Scotch Whisky brand Laphroaig opens the Laphroaig Market at Borough Yards. Browse and buy market ingredients from some of London's most interesting producers, and then take them to be cooked over an open fire by chef Tom Aikens and his team, right in front of you. 21-23 April

Things to do in London this weekend: chef Tom Aikens cooking over an open fire
The Laphroaig Market opens at Borough Yards. ©Foodstorymedia

ANIMALS: The British Library opens a new exhibition, Animals: Art, Science and Sound, which looks at how the animal world has been documented through the ages. Sound recordings, manuscripts and artworks all tell stories, including the first scientific description of a duck-billed platypus, which was so bizarre it was thought it must be a hoax. 21 April-28 August

OLD OPERATING THEATRE: Following a closure to allow for its skylight to be replaced, the Old Operating Theatre Museum in London Bridge reopens to the public from Friday. The museum also launches a new exhibition, Every Body Has A Medical History, featuring 20 original artworks from local artists, displayed among the Museum's historical collection. 10.30am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday

THE BIG ONE: A reminder that environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion has a huge ongoing 'action' planned, taking place outside the Houses of Parliament from 21 April. It will be a "nonviolent, direct action" with people sitting peacefully outside Parliament, hoping to apply pressure to those working inside who have the power to implement change. From 21 April

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Canal cruises, a brass band and floral art at Camden Market

A flower-powered spring festival takes over one of the loveliest corners of Camden this weekend. Head to Camden Market Hawley Wharf on the edge of Regent's Canal for two glorious days of seasonally-themed activities and installations for the whole family.

Hawley Wharf Spring Festival has the theme Power to the Flower, and the area's suitably dressed up for the occasion, with a meadow of blooms by London florist My Lady Garden installed inside the quay. Nearby, you'll find 3 Locks Brewery which hosts a pint-sized Fruhlingsfest (think Oktoberfest, but in spring), feat. a roaming marching band and lashings of beer. Prefer something fruity? Juice Junkiez is on cocktail duty, or you can really push the boat out with a fruit punch cruise down the canal with a live DJ, created by Trap Fruits.

Got little ones in tow? Take them to children's clothing shop Josiah Amari for face painting, or enjoy a spin on the merry-go-round. Then there are sweet treats for kids and adults alike, including Soho Creamery's orchid ice cream. Plus, you can even take a piece of the festival home with you, in the form of a fresh-cut or dried flower bouquet.

Hawley Wharf Spring Festival takes place across two weekends: 22-23 April and 29-30 April. Some events must be booked in advance — details here.

Saturday 22 April

Things to do in London this weekend: a woman posing on a chaise longue in a leopard print catsuit and sunglasses
House of Voga comes to The Westminster Hotel

RECORD STORE DAY: It's Record Store Day across the land, and vinyl sellers in London are getting in on the action with a slew of special events, including live music, deals and drinks. Check out the Record Store Day website to find out what's going down near you.

AZTEC MASKS: Take the kids to the British Museum for a free mask-making session, focusing on the Aztecs. Learn about Aztec masks, then work together as a family to create your own colourful design, which you can then print to take home. Age 5+. FREE, 10am-4pm

SALON PRIVÉ: Into cars? Salon Privé pulls into the Royal Hospital Chelsea for three days, showcasing sets of wheels that you almost definitely can't afford — and today's the final day. Still, it's a good chance to ogle the latest models from Aston Martin, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and the like, many of which get their UK debut at the show. Classic cars are on show at the Concours de Vente. 10am-5pm

RIVERSIDE VOGA: The Westminster Hotel hosts a Voga session (that's a blend of yoga and Vogueing, FYI), on its riverside terrace, with views of the Thames. After the workout, enjoy a brunch of smoothies, yoghurt, fresh fruit and Buck's Fizz. 11am-1pm

EMBRACE NATURE: Where the Leaves Fall magazine hosts an afternoon of talks, nature walks, an interactive fermentation demonstration, and film screening in Highgate. Here's a chance to escape the thrum of the city and embrace nature. There will be samosas and homemade chai too. 12pm-5pm

VAISAKHI FESTIVAL: Vaisakhi — the Sikh and Punjabi cultural festival —  is celebrated in Trafalgar Square today. The free festival features live entertainment and performances, martial arts demonstrations, a showcase of Sikh art, plus food and drink stalls. FREE, 12pm-6pm

Things to do in London this weekend: a still from How To Save A Dead Friend, a film at Chronic Youth Film Festival
How To Save A Dead Friend (Dir Marusya Syroechkovskaya) is part of Chronic Youth Film Festival.

UEFA SEMI-FINAL: Current champions of England, Chelsea FC Women, battle it out with current champions of Spain, Barcelona Femení—in the semi-final of the UEFA Women's Champions League today. With tickets starting from £15 adult/£8 child, head to Stamford Bridge for an unforgettable afternoon of football. KO 12.30pm (sponsor)

ALADDIN SANE: Tying in with the current exhibition marking 50 years since the release of David Bowie's Aladdin Sane album, hear more about the album and its cover image from a panel chaired by curator Victoria Broackes. Surprised this one hasn't already sold out, to be honest, so be quick if you want tickets. 1pm

HISTORY TOUR: At time of writing, there are still a few tickets available for the ever-popular history tours of Wilton's Music Hall in Limehouse. Led by a researcher and historian, it's a chance to hear how the venue went from Victorian sailors' pub to music hall to Methodist Mission, to being completely forgotten, before being restored into the live performance venue it is today. 5pm

ARTIST TALK: Londonist's Visual Arts Editor Tabish Khan is at the J/M Gallery on Portobello Road, moderating an artist talk. Hear from contemporary artists Prachi Gothi and Tong Wu, who both have work in the gallery's Dreamscape spring exhibition. FREE, 6pm-7pm

T WITH THE MAGGIES: County Donegal foursome T with the Maggies are at Hammersmith's Irish Cultural Centre, with their brand of traditional Irish folk music, played with bouzouki, harp and the like. 7.30pm (also on Sunday at 7pm)

AMY GLEDHILL: The Girl Before The Girl You Marry is the title of comedian Amy Gledhill's current (and debut) show, which has a final airing at Soho Theatre tonight. Unsurprisingly, with a title like that, it's an entertaining journey through Gledhill's previous romances. 9.15pm

SCARED TO DANCE: Club night Scared To Dance is back at The Shacklewell Arms with guest DJs Porridge Radio. Dana Margolin joins resident Paul Richards at the club for the first time, playing post-punk, indiepop, new wave and art rock music from the likes of David Bowie, Wet Leg, Talking Heads, Alvvays, Joy Division, Dry Cleaning, The Cure, Cate Le Bon, The Velvet Underground and more. 11pm

Sunday 23 April

Things to do in London this weekend:  runners running over Tower Bridge as part of the London Marathon
The 2023 London Marathon takes place on Sunday. Photo: DanHuddleston

LONDON MARATHON: For the first time since 2019, the London Marathon is being held in spring. Around 40,000 runners are expected to tackle 26.2 miles of the capital's streets, from Greenwich and Blackheath to the finish line on The Mall, via Rotherhithe, Bermondsey, Canary Wharf and the City. Read our guide to the London Marathon for info on timings, best places to watch and the like. FREE to watch, from 8.30am

ANTIQUES FAIR: 120 exhibitors rock up at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster for the regular Adams Antiques Fair, where you can browse and buy collectibles, jewellery, silverware, decorative items and more. 10am-4.30pm

BEATLES TOUR: Every Sunday (and Thursday in fact), Beatles fanatic Richard Porter runs a walking tour that takes in various former haunts of the Fab Four, including the site of the famous rooftop gig, and the studio where Hey Jude was recorded. Who knows, you might even spot Paul McCartney along the way... 11am

ST GEORGE'S DAY: Today is St George's Day, a celebration of the patron saint of England (plus Catalonia, Ethiopia, and various other regions). London's free St George's Day Festival takes place in Trafalgar Square with live music and performers, family activities, and food and drink. FREE, 12pm-6pm

Things to do in London this weekend: a cocktail on a table against a black background
KOL Mezcaleria offers a limited edition menu

SPRING WELLNESS: Laura Devonshire is at Oru Space in East Dulwich, leading a session on the Wood Element: Himalayan & crystal singing bowls, gong, koshi chimes and shamanic drum are all employed in this healing spring workshop. 2pm-4pm

SHAKESPEARE: Of course, St George's Day is also Shakespeare's birthday, and this year's is particularly special as it also marks the 400th anniversary of the First Folio (an early collection of the Bard's plays, which ensured their survival). To celebrate London on the Ground's tour explores the locations in the Square Mile connected with Mr S. 2.30pm

MEZCALERIA: KOL Mezcaleria in Marylebone hosts La Punta Expendio de Agave, a pop-up showcasing a limited edition menu of Oaxaca-inspired cocktails. Tuck into six speical cocktails created by the La Punta team and the KOL Mezcaleria team, using three different expressions of agave available from The Lost Explorer Mezcal (Espadín, Tobalá, Salmiana). It's accompanied by a unique antojitos menu by Chef Patron Santiago Lastra which includes Tunworth Buñuelos and Wagyu Empanadas. 6pm-11pm