Things To Do This Weekend In London: 8-9 June 2024

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Things to do this weekend is sponsored by Opera Holland Park.

All weekend

Aerial view of crowds of people in a festival in Brockwell Park
The Lambeth Country Show takes over Brockwell Park on Saturday and Sunday. Photo: Eventlambeth via creative commons

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: Spanning both fiction and documentary films, Sundance Film Festival takes over Picturehouse Central for the whole weekend. The programme includes 11 feature films plus a curated programme of UK short films. 6-9 June

DISCOVER DEGAS: The National Gallery's new exhibition delves into Edgar Degas' fascination with circus performer Miss La La, and her gravity-defying performances. Find out about the creative process behind the paintings alongside an array of preparatory sketches that reveal Degas' dedication to capturing Miss La La's extraordinary aerial feats. 6 June-1 September

JAIPUR LIT FEST: Novelist Maggie O’Farrell, historian Mary Beard, broadcaster Mishal Husain and Nobel Laureate Venki Ramakrishnan are among the speakers on the line-up for the London Jaipur Literature Festival at the British Library, a satellite event of the huge Jaipur Literature Festival which takes place in India each January. 7-9 June

BASEBALL: The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies are in London this weekend, playing two games at the London Stadium. If you don't have tickets though, Trafalgar Square is hosting a free fan festival, screening both of the games (on Saturday and Sunday), and various baseball-themed activities. FREE, 7-9 June

People beneath a 'Big Grill' sign
Tuck into live fire cooking at The Big Grill

SERPENTINE PAVILION: Head to Kensington Gardens to see this year's Serpentine Pavilion. The temporary structure is designed by Seoul-based architect Minsuk Cho and Mass Studios, and features five themed 'islands' designed around an open space and inspired by a form of traditional Korean house. FREE, 7 June-27 October

LAMBETH COUNTRY SHOW: The annual two-day Lambeth Country Show pitches up in its usual spot in Brockwell Park for all manner of entertainment spanning sheep shearing, vegetable sculptures, live music and... a wall of death. FREE, 8-9 June

THE BIG GRILL: Europe's largest barbecue festival The Big Grill travels from Dublin to London, pitching up at the Five Points Brewing Co in Hackney for two days of live fire cooking by a range of chefs. Tuck into all manner of barbecue dishes, including Cuepoint London's Afghan-London BBQ with an Irish twist, along with Irish cocktails and live entertainment. 8-9 June

OPEN GARDENS WEEKEND: London Open Gardens Weekend is a chance to explore the city's green spaces via open days, tours and talks. They range from allotments to small private gardens, to the larger gardens including the likes of Eaton Square Garden, usually only accessible to local residents with a key. Think of it as the open-air version of Open House weekend. 8-9 June

THE LORE OF LOVERBOY: Opening at Somerset House, The Lore of LOVERBOY is the first exhibition on international fashion house Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, which counts Harry Styles and Tilda Swinton among its fans. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the building of the fashion empire, with archival and newly-commissioned works on display. 8 June-1 September

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Experience the opera — in one of London's most beautiful parks

Fancy an evening out with a difference? Opera Holland Park is back in its summer home, putting on critically-acclaimed performances, surrounded by beautiful formal gardens and woodlands in west London — just a few minutes walk from a tube station.

Current production The Barber of Seville is fantastic for both opera aficionados and those who are new to the genre. Rossini's comedy is a fast-paced show with brilliantly inventive arias and ensembles — but we won't spoil it for anyone who's not yet seen it.

Opera Holland Park is about much more than what's happening on stage, though. Make a unique afternoon or evening of it, with hampers by local restaurant Il Portico comprising classic Italian and modern Mediterranean dishes (think chilled gazpacho, and venison and pork belly sausage rolls), available to eat at the venue's picnic tables ahead of the show. The Theatre Bar also serves drinks and snacks before the show and during the interval, making Opera Holland Park a rather special place to visit this summer.

The Barber of Seville is at Opera Holland Park, 4-21 June 2024. Various other productions are happening throughout the summer too — check the website for details and tickets.

Saturday 8 June

People taking part in a yoga class in front of the trees in the roof garden
Take part in free workshops at Wharf Wellness.

BROCKLEY MAX: Today's the final day of Brockley Max a festival celebrating live music, theatre, art, comedy and poetry in the south-east London neighbourhood. Craig Charles DJs a summer party at the Fox and Firkin, there's a guided walk tracking the evolution of Crofton Park, and a live folk festival at the Wickham Arms, among other events. 9am-11pm

WHARF WELLNESS: Also ending today is Wharf Wellness, a four-day wellbeing festival in Canary Wharf. The day's schedule includes a yoga class at the Crossrail Place Roof Garden, a mindful colouring workshop, and a kids' creative workshop. FREE, from 10am

WORLD NAKED BIKE RIDE: If you're prudish, you may wish to avert your eyes as the World Naked Bike Ride pedals into town. Cyclists let it all hang out as they ride in a group on one of several pre-agreed routes. Don't forget your suncream. FREE, various start times from 11am

QUEEN'S READING ROOM FESTIVAL: Hampton Court Palace hosts the Queen's Reading Room Festival, a literary event which combines music and history in rather flash surroundings. Miriam Margolyes, Helena Bonham Carter, Sir Ian Rankin and Harlan Coben are among the headliners this year. 11am-9.30pm

FESTIVAL OF COMMUNITIES: Created by Queen Mary University London, the Festival of Communities is a celebration of everything great in east London. Taking place in Stepney Green Park, events include sports trial sessions, hands-on science, and craft activities. Try Thai Boxing, make herbal tea, learn about tropical butterflies and more at this family-friendly event. FREE, 11.30am

BOSFEST: A huge free, unticketed street party, Bankside Open Spaces Festival unfolds across venues including Red Cross Garden, Crossbones Graveyard and Flat Iron Square. Expect live music, sports and craft workshops, a pop-up murder mystery tour, Irish dancing and more. FREE, 12pm-9pm

SCULPTURE WALK FUNDRAISER: Charity Women + Health offers a fundraising walk visiting sculptures of — and by — remarkable women around Camden, beginning at King's Cross. Choose between a 9-mile walk (47 sculptures), a 6-mile route (40 sculptures) or a 3-mile walk (25 sculptures). 1pm-6pm

A still from Beyond Gravity depicting two men
Beyond Gravity is shown at Barbican Cinema

LEGO CLUB: As part of the sprawling London Festival of Architecture programme, North Finchley Library hosts a Lego session, suitable for children age 3+ and their families. Fitting with the festival's theme of 'Reimagine', it's a chance to redesign and build something from your world out of the plastic bricks. FREE, 3pm-4pm

BEYOND GRAVITY: The Queer 80s film festival continues at Barbican Cinema with a screening of Beyond Gravity, a 1988 film made just a couple of years after New Zealand’s decriminalisation of same-sex activity, about a romance between a neurotic gay man and a cocky Italian. Two more short films made in New Zealand are also shown. 6.20pm

WOMEN IN EVOLUTION: Researcher and author Cat Bohannon is at the Royal Institution to discuss the evolutionary purpose of sexism. Her research has included the impact of C-sections on women's pelvic shape, and she reveals how such revelations have radically changed our understanding of evolution and the success of our species. 7pm-8.30pm

LAST TANGO IN LONDON: The Curve Ensemble performs a programme of music inspired by love, passion and tango, accompanied by violinist David Juritz. It takes place at St Giles Cripplegate, as part of the Summer Music in City Churches festival. 7.30pm-9.30pm

MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S RAVE: Stay up late for a Midsummer Night's Rave, an immersive performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream by theatre group Shakesqueer, set to dance music. Takes place in the arches of Putney Bridge. Part of Wandsworth Arts Fringe. Age 18+. 11pm (repeated tomorrow)

Sunday 9 June

Two stilt walkers in colourful costumes alongside a DJ booth
Marylebone Summer Festival takes place in Marylebone Village

FAIRY AND PIXIE LAND: Opening at Dulwich Park, Fairy and Pixie Land is an immersive, family-friendly show in the woods. Taste a fairy potion, choose your own fairy or pixie wings, and make a magic wand before watching a 25-minute promenade performance featuring a famous Scottish mythical creature. The event raises money for local children's charity Whippersnappers. 9 June-28 July

ANTIQUES FAIR: The monthly Adams Antiques Fair returns to the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster, bringing together 120+ dealers from the UK and beyond to sell their wares. A queue tends to form before opening time for this one, so get there early if you want a shot at getting your hands on the best finds. 10am-4.30pm

SUBURBAN CEMETERIES: Take a 5.5 guided walk around Hampstead Garden Suburb, visiting five different burial grounds along the way. Start at Golders Green Library, pausing to appreciate architectural features, and memorials to famous people. Part of the London Festival of Architecture programme. 10.30am-2.30pm

WALTHAMSTOW FLEA MARKET: Head for Big Penny Social to visit the Walthamstow Flea Market, a one-day event with 60 traders selling furniture, homewares, vintage clothes, textiles and oddities. The venue doubles up as a pub/beer hall, so refreshments are readily available throughout the day. 11am-5pm

MARYLEBONE SUMMER FESTIVAL: A pop-up mini golf course, a dog zone, wellness classes by Lululemon, a ferris wheel and fairground rides, live music, and a farmers market are all part of the Marylebone Summer Festival in Marylebone Village, along with pop-up bars and plenty more to entice you into the area. 11am-5.30pm

SOUK EL SALAM: Head to St James's Piccadilly for the Souk el Salam (Peace Market), a fundraising event for the Amos Trust, a charity helping Palestinians in Gaza. Top chefs and food writers including Sami Tamimi, Noor Murad, Melissa Thompson, Philip Juma, Nicole Pisani serve up dishes — two are included in the ticket price. 11.30am-1.30pm (or until the food runs out)

A cardboard tray containing a street food dish with rice, pomegranate seeds and other ingredients
Various delish dishes are available at Souk el Salam © Safia Shakarchi

COMMUNITY TAKEOVER DAY: Take the whole family along to the Camden People's Theatre for Community Takeover Day, part of the Camden Roar Festival. Activities include a sustainable fashion workshop, and a chance to get involved with creating a giant collage. Plus, free drinks and snacks are provided. FREE, 1pm-5pm

FREE JAZZ: Every Sunday at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, there's a free jazz show. Order a wine, sit at a candlelit table, let the sweet sounds wash over you, and forget about those work emails for another few hours. FREE, 6pm-9pm

RICHARD HERRING: Comedian Richard Herring is at Leicester Square Theatre performing his current show Can I Have My Ball Back? — his first stand-up show in six years — about discovering he had testicular cancer, and having his right testicle removed as a result.  7pm

ISRAEL FERNANDEZ: Flamenco musician Israel Fernández comes to Sadler's Wells for a performance as part of London Flamenco Festival. He performs tracks from his latest album, Pura Sangre, in collaboration with Jerez guitarist Diego del Morao. 7.30pm

PUB QUIZ: While pub quizzes tend to be a first half of the week kinda deal, the Rosy Hue in Elephant and Castle hosts its quiz every Sunday night. Pull together a team to tackle mystery voices, TV themes, a picture round and various other puzzles. First prize is £75. 8pm