Things To Do In London This Week: 24 February-1 March 2020

All week

Last chance to see The Tiger Who Came To Tea exhibition

DIFFERENCE FESTIVAL: All this week, the University of Westminster hosts Difference Festival, a series of free events honouring the institution's roots, with a focus on 'truth' and what that means in the age of fake news. All events are free and range from the hunt for alien life to lie detectors to our addiction to cars. University of Westminster (Regent Street), free, book ahead, 24-28 February

A WESTMINSTER STORY: Theatre show A Westminster Story follows the tale of a free spirited Scottish musician who's new to London, and a conflicted politician, and what happens to them as a result of a chance meeting on Albert Embankment one night. Waterloo East Theatre, £16/£13, book ahead, 25 February-1 March

TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA: Last chance to see the National Trust's exhibition dedicated to beloved children's book The Tiger Who Came To Tea. It marks 50 years since the book's publication, features some of Judith Kerr's original illustrations, and offers visitors a chance to sit in the kitchen where the tiger visited Sophie and her mother. Osterley Park and House, included in admission, book ahead, until 1 March

A Westminster Story opens at Waterloo East Theatre

LIGHTOPIA: The evenings are getting lighter, but London's illuminations season rumbles on in the form of Lightopia. The west London festival is on for a couple more weeks, with Chinese-style lanterns, rainbow light tunnels and interactive artworks to see. Chiswick House & Gardens, £18/£11, book ahead, until 1 March

ORCHIDS: Kew's beautiful Orchids Festival is still on — and it's a great excuse to warm up in the tropical glasshouse. Wander through rainbow floral arches, ogle the volcano centrepiece floating on a pond, and look out for model orang utans, rhinos, and other wildlife from this year's chosen country, Indonesia. Kew Gardens, included in admission, book a time slot, until 8 March

VAULT FESTIVAL: Consider this your regular remind that Vault Festival still has a hefty programme of theatre, comedy and cabaret. This week's picks include theatre show Life and Death of a Journalist, spoken word performance This Poo Shall Pass, and gender bending show The Adventures of the Bearded Lady. Waterloo Vaults, various prices, book ahead, until 22 March

Monday 24 February

Michael Billington looks back on his career

LONDON'S BLOODY PAST: Take a two-mile walking tour around the Smithfield area, hearing tales of burnings, butchery and the Black Death as you go. Learn about how the city disposed of Black Death corpses, the execution methods used in the Middle Ages, and the notorious slum which Dickens used as the setting for Oliver Twist. Barbican station, £13.52, book ahead, 10.30am-12.30pm

MICHAEL BILLINGTON: As Michael Billington steps down as The Guardian's theatre critic after almost 50 years and 10,000 reviews, hear him talk about his work. He chats to Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris, and other guests including actors Simon Russell Beale, Penelope Wilton and Oliver Ford Davies. National Theatre, £9/£6, book ahead, 5.45pm

CATO STREET: Due to its 200th anniversary, you may have heard a bit about the Cato Street Conspiracy recently, but what was it? Join actor David Benson for an evening focusing on the events of the attempted assassination of the entire cabinet, drawing on the British Library's archives. British Library, £16/£8, book ahead,7pm-8.15pm

Tuesday 25 February

It's Pancake Day!

PANCAKE DAY: It's Shrove Tuesday, which means there's a flippin' good time to be had in London if you know where to look. Take a look at our guide to Pancake Day events, including races and special menus.

SIR RANULPH FIENNES: Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is in north London to talk about some of the extreme adventures he's undertaken, risking life and limb to do so. He also talks about his book, Living Dangerously, which covers his life from early childhood to global expeditions. Alexandra Palace, £37, book ahead, 6.30pm

FOOD WASTE: Entrepreneur workshop Fast Forward 2030 hosts an evening of talks and panel discussions about the problem of food waste and how to solve it. Guest speakers include Jessica Barlow of Karma, an app which helps people find surplus food from restaurants and cafes. Wayra (Soho), £10, book ahead, 7pm-9.30pm

Wednesday 26 February

Louisa Johnson performs at 100 Wardour Street

BRITISH SURREALISM: Dulwich Picture Gallery opens a new British Surrealism exhibition today, marking 100 years since the birth of surrealism. 70 works from 42 artists including Leonora Carrington, Francis Bacon, Henry Moore and Paul Nash are on display, and there's a curator's introduction tour tomorrow if you want to find out a bit more. Dulwich Picture Gallery, £16.50, book ahead, 26 February-17 May

LONDON TRANSPORT: Stock up on popcorn for a double bill of films about London Transport. 2005's Little Platform, Big Stage, was made to mark the demise of bus conductors from London bus routes, and video clips and interviews with conductors across several decades. 2007 film Underground covers the 150 year history of the tube, and the screenings are followed by a Q&A with director Zimena Percival, BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms and Arena Series Editor Anthony Wall, hosted by Travis Elborough. Regent Street Cinema, £15, book ahead, 7.30pm

LOUISA JOHNSON: Best-known for winning The X-Factor in 2015, singer Louisa Johnson performs an intimate gig in Soho. Enjoy the show with a drink or two, or book a dining package to make a night of it. 100 Wardour Street (Soho), £20 (includes a cocktail), book ahead, 9pm

Thursday 27 February

Watch a screening of Beyond 'There's always a black issue Dear'

BLACK ISSUE: Short documentary film Beyond 'There's always a black issue Dear' celebrates black LGBTQ identities and the influence that black LGBTQ culture has had on fashion, fine art, dance, music and language. Watch the film, followed by a panel discussion about black LGBTQ experiences in the 1970s and 80s. Museum of London, £10, book ahead, 6.30pm

ORCHIDS LATE: Experience Kew's Orchids Festival a little differently — after dark. The glasshouse stays open late for a few selected evenings, illuminating the flowers to show them off in all their glory. Enjoy Indonesian food and performances, and expert talks, as you wander among the blooms. Kew Gardens, £18, book ahead, 6.30pm/8pm

TAP TAKEOVER: Northern Monk Brew Co is the headline brewery at this month's Tate Tap Takeover. The art gallery stays open late for an evening of beers, food and artwork. Try Northern Monks offerings, and make notes on your tasting note sheet so you remember what to order next time. Tate Modern, from £18.95, book ahead, 6.30pm-11pm

Friday 28 February

London Transport Museum stays open late

NIGHT ON THE TILES: Party in London's past at London Transport Museum's Late, which celebrates the capital's nightlife through the years, from Victorian music halls to modern nightclubs. Hear talks, and take part in themed activities, or simply browse the displays and current Hidden London exhibition. London Transport Museum (Covent Garden), £15/£12, book ahead, 6.45pm-10pm

CUTTY SARK DISCO: BBC Radio 6 Music host Huey Morgan is the guest DJ at tonight's club night on board the Cutty Sark. Support comes from the London Disco Society, who spin the tunes as you dance the night away, the ship suspended above you. Cutty Sark (Greenwich), £18-£23, book ahead, 7pm

PALACE OPERA: No, not that palace. Fulham Palace joins forces with the National Opera Studio for a live performance of arias by Bizet, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Lehar. For an extra fancy night out, book yourself a three-course dinner in one of the palace's historic rooms before the concert begins. Fulham Palace, £25-£65, book ahead, 7.30pm-9.30pm

Saturday 29 February

Find something to do with your extra day

EXTRA DAY: 29 February is a gift that only rolls around once every four years. Use it wisely, with our list of 29 things to do in London on 29 February, or perhaps just take the opportunity to do something most Londoners wouldn't normally do.

JEWISH BOOK WEEK: Jewish Book Week begins, with an impressive programme, covering everything from cookery to fashion to spies to politics to trees. Former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen, celebrated novelist Elif Shafak and historian Helen Fry are among participants across the 80+ events celebrating Jewish themes and writers. Kings Place (King's Cross), various prices, book ahead, 29 February- 8 March

WALKIE TALKIE CLIMB: If you're up for a challenge, climb the 896 steps up 36 floors of the Walkie Talkie skyscraper in the City, raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity as you do so. You'll be rewarded with a celebratory drink in the Sky Garden when you reach the top. The Walkie Talkie (Fenchurch Street), £25 + £250 sponsorship, book ahead, 8am-2pm

Sunday 1 March

Book ahead for the Australia Bushfire Benefit London

ST DAVID'S DAY: 1 March is St David's Day. Whether you're Welsh and living in London, or a Londoner wanting to get in on the celebrations, take a look at our guide to where to be Welsh in London, and find your own little slice of Cymru.

BUSHFIRE BENEFIT: Though news of Australia's bushfire crisis has gone quiet, our cousins Down Under could still use some help. The Australia Bushfire Benefit London is a concert, reception and auction raising funds for bushfire charities, with Australian musicians performing, including a full orchestra and choir. Duke's Hall (Marylebone), £10-£60, book ahead, 4.30pm-6pm

GENTLEMAN JACK: You may not have heard of Yorkshire-based folk duo O'Hooley & Tidow, but you probably know their music — they were responsible for the catchy ditty that became the theme of TV show Gentleman Jack last year. Hear them perform it, and other tunes, when their #GentlemanJack tour comes to town. We can practically Anne Lister's long coat swishing through the corridors of Shibden Hall already. Bush Hall (Shepherd's Bush), £22, book ahead, 7.30pm