Things To Do This Weekend In London: 23-24 March 2024

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All weekend

Two women sitting on a beach
Holiday is screened as part of Cinema Made In Italy

ITALIAN FILMS: Film festival Cinema Made In Italy takes place at Institut Francais in South Kensington, screening 11 Italian films over five days. Highlights this weekend include Holiday, about a young woman just released from prison, and There's Still Tomorrow, set in Rome in the 1940s. Both are followed by Q&A sessions with their respective directors. 20-24 March

FLARE: Film fans are very well catered for this weekend, as BFI Flare also continues. The LGBTQI+ film festival spans feature films and shorts from 41 countries, and highlights this weekend include celebration of platonic intimacy Can We Be Friends? and Lady Like, starring RuPaul's Drag Race royalty, Lady Camden. Many screenings have already sold out, so be quick if you want in. Until 24 March

BOOK FESTIVAL: The North London Book Festival is at Alexandra Palace with big-name authors taking part in talks and readings. Michael Rosen, Patience Agbabi and Lemony Snicket are among the faces appearing on Saturday, with Laura Bates, Natalie Haynes and Stuart Turton just some of the names on the Sunday programme. 21-24 March

Exterior of the Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall hosts the final Teenage Cancer Trust gigs this weekend. Image: © David Levene/Royal Albert Hall

PRINT FAIR: Print dealers and publishers from around the world gather at Somerset House for the 39th London Original Print Fair, which claims to be London's longest running art fair. Works by new artists are for sale alongside those by more established artists, with pieces by Hockney, Rego, Milhazes, Picasso and Matisse all on display. Particularly exciting is the promise of new work by Londonist favourite Adam Dant. 21-24 March

IDEAL HOME SHOW: Pimp up your pad at the Ideal Home Show at Olympia. Interior designers, furniture suppliers, window and conservatory installation services, candle brands, home accessory stores, and garden DIY experts congregate under one roof to help you make the changes you want in your home. 22 March-7 April

EAT & DRINK FESTIVAL: As part of the Ideal Home Show, Eat & Drink Festival is also at Olympia, aimed at London's foodie types. Tuck into all manner of street food at The Great Eat, stock up your kitchen cupboards with produce from the Artisan Producers Market, and pick up tips, inspiration and possibly a new recipe or two from celebrity chefs on the Eat & Drink Stage. 22 March-7 April

SOUNDS OF BLOSSOM: Kew Gardens is going all out for blossom season this year, with a musical soundtrack playing in the gardens' blossom hotspots from Saturday. The new pieces of music were composed and recorded by students from the Royal College of Music, and are included in your entry ticket. 23 March-14 April

Saturday 23 March

A man pointing at a painting depicting a battle on horseback
Join a curator for a tour of the National Army Museum

MODEL RAILWAY SHOW: Chug down to south London for the Beckenham and West Wickham Vintage Model Railway Show. Up to 12 layouts from the likes of Hornby, Hornby Dublo, Bassett-Lowke, Marklin, Triang and Chad Valley will be on display, and specialist traders will be present, selling you what you need to work on your own layout at home. 10am-4.30pm

CHILDREN'S MARKET: Kids outgrowing their clothes and toys far too fast? Head to Enfield Grammar Upper School for the Little Children's Market where you can browse and buy nearly new clothing and toys from other parents, with items ranging from birth to 8 years of age. 10.30am

CURATOR TOUR: Art curator Anna Lavelle leads a tour around the National Army Museum's collection, focusing on artworks which represent the British Army through the centuries. See depictions of historic battles, striking portraits of officers, and representations of everyday experiences. 11am-12pm

WOLF HALL: The Literary Footprints festival of book-themed walks continues all month. Today, take a tour visiting the locations linked to the real-life events depicted in Wolf Hall, starting at Blackfriars station and finishing near Liverpool Street. 11am-1pm

CASTELLERS: Building 'Castells' is a unique Catalan tradition in which brave folk climb on top of one another to create a human tower. Today, you can see it in action at the Blue Market Bermondsey, courtesy of the Castellers of London. There's also a chance to try some climbing yourself, and dig into calçots with romesco sauce. FREE, 12pm-1pm (followed by workshop 1pm-2pm)

RIVER RACE: The Head of the River Race is rowed annually from Mortlake to Putney, with up to 400 crews of eights taking part. Get down to the river's edge to watch the action taking place. FREE to watch, 3.15pm

ICE HOCKEY: Not long left of the ice hockey season now — see the Haringey Huskies in their final match, taking on Guildford Phoenix at Alexandra Palace. Doors 5pm

CANDLELIGHT CLUB: Glamorous speakeasy night The Candlelight Club pops up in a secret south London mansion (with its own ballroom) for an evening of drinking and dancing. Entertainment at the Spring Ball includes live jazz music, vintage vinyl records, burlesque performances and tarot readings, all hosted by Champagne Charlie. 1920s gladrags are required, and there's the opportunity to book for dinner too. 7pm-1am

ROLLER DISCO: A reminder that Roller Nation in Tottenham hosts a roller disco every Saturday night. Take to the rink while a DJ plays classic disco hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Age 18+. 7pm-1am

COMEDY OF ERRORS: Catch a performance of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors at Barbican. Guildhall School of Music & Drama showcase the comedy of mistaken identity, which sees two sets of twins separated by a shipwreck, before crossing paths again 20 years later. 7.30pm

CHEMICAL BROTHERS: The Teenage Cancer Trust's series of fundraising gigs at the Royal Albert Hall come to an end this weekend. Tonight, catch electronic music duo The Chemical Brothers taking to the stage in the iconic venue. 7.30pm

RESISTANCE COMEDY: Lateef Lovejoy, Darran Griffiths, Junior Booker, Michael Hackett, Matthew Rose, Farhan Solo, and Rajiv Poojara are all on the programme for this month's Resistance Comedy, which takes place at Dugdale Arts Centre in Enfield. 8pm

EARTH HOUR: For one hour on Saturday evening, London's switching the lights off for WWF's Earth Hour, raising awareness of the effects of global warming. Individual businesses and households are encouraged to take part by turning off the lights, but several of the capital's major landmarks will be plunged into darkness too. FREE, 8.30pm

LESLIE LIAO: US comedian Lesley Liao makes her London debut at Soho Theatre. Her show, The Nighttime Routine, is a look at the life and loves of a single Chinese-American woman living in LA. Tonight's the final performance in a week-long run. 9.15pm

Sunday 24 March

A table laid out with various children's toys and games
Browse for bargains at the Little Children's Market on Saturday

PALACE HALF: If ever a half marathon route was fit for a king/queen, it's the Palace Half. Start your run at the gates of Hampton Court Palace and take in the local area — including crossing the Thames twice, before finishing in the palace gardens. Plenty of charities are still looking for runners to take part on their behalf. Not a runner? Why not head down there anyway to cheer them on. 9am

ANTIQUES FAIR: It's that time of month again — Westminster's Royal Horticultural Halls are taken over by the Adams Antiques Fair, bringing together 120 antiques dealers from across the UK selling antique jewellery, silver, decorative pieces and collectables. 10am-4.30pm

MIDCENTURY MODERN: 85 midcentury dealers and modern designers descend on Dulwich College, selling chic film posters and artwork, furniture, lighting, rugs, textiles, ceramics and wallpaper. The Midcentury Modern also had food vans on site, and if you can wait until after 3pm, entry is free. 10am-4pm

THE GREENHOUSE: Take the kids along to Artsdepot in Finchley for a performance of The Greenhouse, a dance and theatre show which brings plants to life and shows that they have senses just like we do. Aimed at age 4+. 11am/2pm

FEMALE SLEUTHS: Women’s history author Caitlin Davies talks about some of the real life female detectives who have been investigating crime since the mid-19th century. Often incorrectly portrayed as busybody spinsters in popular culture, hear about women who have solved cases spanning burglary, missing people, blackmail, drug dealing, marriage scams and murder. Takes place at Conway Hall, with a livestream also available. 3pm-4.30pm

VULTURE CAPITALISM: Author, journalist and political commentator Grace Blakeley shares her views on where capitalism has gone wrong. In an event at Southbank Centre to launch her new book, Vulture Capitalism, Blakeley talks to activist Mikaela Loach about how governments have shifted away from competition and democracy and towards monopoly and control. 3pm

CHANGING WITH THE TIDES: Barbican Cinema screens Changing With The Tides, a selection of short films about the shifts in the fishing industry in the last 70 years, in locations ranging from Sicily to Scotland. The event also includes poetry, and a talk with Daniel Cook, director of one of the films, The Bayview. 3.30pm

DICKENS AFTER DARK: Another one from the Literary Footprints festival:  guide Mark Rowland gives a virtual tour around the areas of London which were visited by Charles Dickens on his legendary night time walks. When he suffered from insomnia, the author would wander through London in an attempt to share some of the experiences of his characters. Find out how what he saw of London after dark both inspired and appalled him. 7pm-8pm

TEENAGE CANCER TRUST: The Teenage Cancer Trust gigs wind up tonight with Ovation, a look back at the past 24 years of gigs for the charity. The Who musician Roger Daltrey goes out with a bang for his final year curating the line-up, with some of his friends including Paul Weller and Kelly Jones joining him on stage. 7.10pm