Things To Do This Week In London: 16-22 May 2022

All week

Athena Kugblenu is at Soho Theatre all week

ATHENA KUGBLENU: Star of BBC Radio4 series Cancel Culture and podcast The Guilty Feminist, comedian Athena Kugblenu brings her new show, Shaking Her Class, to Soho Theatre for the week. She asks whether social class is much a state of mind as it is a state of money. Kugblenu is expected to go on to even bigger things, so catch her while you can. Soho Theatre, from £11, book ahead, 16-21 May

URBAN TREE FESTIVAL: London's leafiest festival is back for another programme of talks, walks and workshops all celebrating London's arboreal diversity. Check out the events guide to find out what's happening near you. Various locations, booking restrictions and prices. 14-22 May

EGGS OF AN ERA: Wildlife charity Elephant Family kicks off its Platinum Jubilee celebrations with Eggs of an Era, a free trail of giant egg-shaped artworks, each designed by a well-known artist. Track them down across Chelsea before they're auctioned off to raised money for conservation work in South Asia. Chelsea area, free, just turn up, 16 May-12 June

THREE DECEMBERS: Wilton's hosts the UK premiere of new opera Three Decembers, which tells the story of a Broadway stage actress  and her two adult children. It takes place over three decades of the AIDS crisis, and each section recalls the events of a December as the characters struggle to connect when family secrets are revealed. Wilton's Music Hall, £15-£30, book ahead, 17-21 May

That's quite a stage set. Three Decembers gets its UK premiere at Wilton's

MINIGOLF: As of Tuesday, free minigolf is back in Canary Wharf. Artists Craig Redman and Karl Maier have transformed Montgomery Square into a colourful and fun course with novelty features. Clubs and balls are provided by stewards on site. Montgomery Square, free, just turn up, 12pm-6pm daily, from 17 May

DULWICH FESTIVAL: Dulwich Festival 2022 enters its final week, but there's still plenty left to see and do. Our picks include The Handlebards' performance of Twelfth Night, a family-friendly musical fairytale forest, a chance to hear from author Monica Ali, an open day at Dulwich Picture Gallery, and the grand finale, the Goose Green Fair. Various locations and prices, until 22 May

PECKHAM FRINGE: Coming-of-age comedy Can I Call You Back?, a local comedy night, and a theatre show about love, climate change and people power are among the Peckham Fringe highlights this week  — browse the full programme. Theatre Peckham, various prices, book ahead, until 5 June

Monday 16 May

Visit Lambeth Palace Gardens, like we did in 2017. Photo: Londonist

LAMBETH PALACE GARDENS: Lambeth Palace occasionally opens its gardens to the public during the day (we visited in 2017), but tonight there's a rare chance to visit the riverside walled garden in the evening. The event is part of the National Garden Scheme, which gives the public access to green spaces which are usually off-limits. Lambeth Palace, £6, book ahead, 5pm-8pm

CAPTAIN SANDY: Below Deck's Captain Sandy moors up in the West End to spill the beans on life at the helm on the popular TV show. She chats to broadcaster and author Riyadh Khalaf about the filming locations, the art of parking a boat, and the never-ending drama we see on screen. Lyric Theatre (Shaftesbury Avenue), from £21, book ahead, 7pm

SHARON HORGAN: Actor, writer and comedian Sharon Horgan is in conversation with author Kate Folk, about the latter's new collection of short stories, Out There. The pair are currently working together on adapting the collection for TV. Online event, £5, book ahead, 7pm-8pm

ZIGGY STARDUST: Legendary record producer Ken Scott and Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy — founder of the Classic Album Sundays events — focus on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars. The 1972 album is widely credited as cementing David Bowie's star status, and there's a chance to hear the album and put your questions to Scott. British Library or online, £16, book ahead, 7.30pm-9.15pm

ART CAR BOOT FAIR: You've got until midnight tonight to peruse and make purchases at the online Art Car Boot Fair. The in-person event took place on Saturday, with the virtual event running alongside it, giving you a chance to purchase new artworks directly from the artists. Until midnight

Tuesday 17 May

Go on a tree-themed walk in Wembley Park

WEMBLEY TREES: As part of the Urban Tree Festival (see above), learn about the technical challenges of urban tree planting on this free guided walk around Wembley Park. You'll visit the newly completed Olympic Way and hear about a planting programme that's been going on for 17 years, as well as wider maintenance of the area. Olympic Steps (Wembley Park), free, book ahead, 3pm-4.30pm

HMS PINAFORE: Ahead of the Opera Holland Park 2022 season beginning, hear from a panel of experts about the use of satire and patriotism in Gilbert & Sullivan's naval opera, HMS Pinafore. Online event, suggested donation £5, book ahead, 6pm

TRAVELS IN BOLIVIA: Award-winning travel writer Shafik Meghji is at Stanfords to discuss his new book Crossed Off The Map: Travels in Bolivia It shines a light on parts of Bolivian history which are little-known beyond the country's own borders, but which have shaped the wider world, touching on subjects from dinosaurs to Che Guevara. Stanfords (Covent Garden), £5, book ahead, 6.30pm-8pm

FLIGHTPATH: "A man, a plane, a cadaver: pandemonium!" Thus is the premise for Flightpath, a surreal comedy about things falling from planes, which starts its run tonight at the Brockley Jack pub theatre. Glasgow-based theatre collective, Brief Palava, will, be doing the bizarre script justice. Brockley Jack (Crofton Park), £16/£14, book ahead, until 28 May

WOLF HALL: Join Footprints of London guide Mark Rowland for a virtual tour around the real-life locations linked to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall trilogy of books, themselves based on real-life historical events. Much of the London of that era was wiped out by the Great Fire, but some parts still remain, if you know where to look. Online event, £8 per person/£16 group, book ahead, 9pm-10pm

Wednesday 18 May

Jawdance is back at Rich Mix

PALAZZO: Crystal Palace gets a new Italian bar and diner today, in the form of Palazzo. There's lamb merguez pizza, parmesan and truffle fries — plus lashings of aperitivo/spritz style drinks featuring Campari, Aperol and the like. The joint has a record library, too — which you'd hope features some Italian numbers. Palazzo, Crystal Palace, opens today from 12pm

THE HOP: A new outdoor installation is unveiled at Southbank Centre today. The Hop is a luminous public canopy alongside Hayward Gallery, designed by artist Jyll Bradley, linking London's urban landscapes to the hop farms of Kent. Many families from the Lambeth area travelled to Kent for hopping holidays right up until the 1960s, and the angles of this artwork reflect the geometry of hop-growing structures. Hayward Gallery Terrace, free, just turn up, 18 May-2 October

A IS FOR ATLAS: A is for Atlas: Wonders of Maps and Mapping is a new book, illustrated with the National Maritime Museum’s rarest and most valuable charts and maps. Author Dr Megan Barford is at Stanfords to discuss the book, and the stories hidden within it. Stanfords (Covent Garden), £5, book ahead, 6.30pm-8pm

LONDON QUIZ: Londonist's editor-at-large Matt Brown hosts this annual quiz for the London Historians. Expect 50 fiendish questions about the capital's history. Prizes to be won, as well as the coveted trophy (which is engraved with the winning team name each year). Basement of the Christopher Hatton pub (Holborn), £7.50, book ahead, 6.30pm-9pm

JAWDANCE: Spoken word night Jawdance is back, led by regular host Yomi Sode, with a variety of up-and-coming artists performing their work, plus an open mic slot for anyone from the audience who's feeling brave. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), pay what you can (suggested donation £10), book ahead, 7pm

OBJECTIVELY FUNNY: Harriet Kemsley and John Kearns headline the Objectively Funny Comedy Night, with support from Charlie George, Ali Brice and Kathryn Higgins. Signature Brew (Haggerston), £10, book ahead, 7pm

Thursday 19 May

Are you brave enough to dine at London in the Sky?

KINGSTON BEER FESTIVAL: The Kingston & Leatherhead branch of CAMRA hosts the Kingston Beer Festival. Sample some of 70 ales — many brewed locally — and 11 ciders and perries. The event supports charity Prostate Cancer UK. Kingston Workmen's Club, £5 entry, just turn up, 19-21 May

LONDON IN THE SKY: You'll want to hold on tight to your cutlery at London In The Sky, a dining experience which takes place 100ft up, close to The O2. Choose from breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, cocktails or dinner, get strapped into your chair around the floating table, and soak up the views as you tuck in. North Greenwich, from £80.10 per person, book ahead, 19 May-29 August

IN THE AIR: One of our picks for the best new exhibitions to see this month is In The Air, which looks at our relationship with the air around us. Go back to the 3.5 billion year old bacteria that produce oxygen, all the way up to today's protests against toxic air pollution, and learn about the benefits of fresh air. Wellcome Collection, free, just turn up, 19 May-16 October

CORNELIA PARKER: Another of our top May exhibitions opens today, too. Cornelia Parker creates stunning artworks using everyday objects, including a shed frozen at the moment of explosion. The artworks all have political elements to them, offering a comment on topics such as human rights. Tate Britain, £16, book ahead, 19 May-16 October

KENSAL GREEN CEMETERY HISTORY: Author, historian and cemetery tour guide Henry Vivian-Neal gives an online talk about the history of Kensal Green Cemetery. Find out how the cemetery has developed over time, including the large number of mausolea, buildings which are still being constructed to this day. Online event, £5, book ahead, 6.30pm

Friday 20 May

Claudia Winkleman is in conversation with Mary Berry as part of the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival.

TELEVISION FESTIVAL: The BFI & Radio Times Television Festival always brings together a brilliant selection of actors, writers, producers and various other figures from the TV industry, who are working on the best current and recent TV shows. Hear from the teams behind It's A Sin, Toast of London/Tinseltown, Call The Midwife and others - and attend preview screenings of upcoming shows such as The Outlaws and Malory Towers. BFI Southbank, prices vary by event, book ahead, 20-22 May

GOLD!: Sit back down, Spandau Ballet fans — this one's about the precious metal. The British Library's new exhibition displays 50 manuscripts from around the world in which gold has been used, delving into the effects this had on the stories contained in the manuscripts. The British Library, £8, book ahead, 20 May-2 October

LIFE AND DEATH: Science hats on. There's no difference in the information content between a living cell and one that died a moment ago. Hear from biochemist Nick Lane about the processes which animate cells and set them apart from lifeless matter. Royal Institution (Mayfair), £16/£10/£7, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

A NIGHT AT THE 43: The National Archives and The Candlelight Club pair up for A Night At The 43, a one-night only recreation of The 43 Club which used to be on Gerrard Street in Soho. Enjoy an evening of 1920s themed live cabaret and jazz music, tying in with the current We Are 20s People season, which celebrates the release of the 1921 Census data. The National Archives (Kew), £12, book ahead, 7.30pm

UP THE CREEK: Ria Lina (who's so good she gets heckled with "I love you!"), the razor-sharp Kate Martin, and retired scientist Ashish Suri are on the bill at tonight's show. In short: it's going to be good. Up The Creek (Greenwich), £16.50, book ahead, 8.45pm

Saturday 21 May

Catch a new exhibition at the Heath Robinson Museum. Photo: Lucinda MacPerson

JUBILEE NIGHT TUBE: A quick reminder that as of today, the night tube is back in action on the Jubilee line, for the first time since it was suspended in March 2020. Plan your late-night japes accordingly.

HACKNEY FLEA MARKET: Rummage out a bargain at Hackney Flea Market, which brings together 30 vintage traders selling furniture, lighting, homewares, records and more. Abney Public Hall (Stoke Newington), just turn up, 21-22 May

HEATH ROBINSON: A new exhibition opens at the beloved inventor/illustrator’s house in Pinner. The Humour of Heath Robinson explores the cartoonist’s ability to make us laugh: “seriously silly endeavours are the butt of his humour, as well as organisations and institutions, the laws of physics and the workings of fate”. Heath Robinson Museum (Pinner), free with general entry (£6), book ahead21 May-4 September

WHEN FLOWERS DREAM: Artist Tanya Schultz (a.k.a. Pip & Pop) has a new exhibition of colourful works at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art in Kew Gardens. Focus is on food, with artworks made from candy and sugar, including a bespoke installation made for Kew. Included in Kew Gardens admission, 21 May-March 2023

MARBLE HILL REOPENING: Twickenham's Marble Hill House reopens after a lengthy revival and restoration project. The English Heritage property is a Palladian villa offering an insight into Georgian life, set in 66 acres of grounds with an 18th century grotto. Even better, the house and grounds are free to visit. Marble Hill (Twickenham), free entry, book ahead, from 21 May

CHELSEA FRINGE: Tying in with the Chelsea Flower Show which begins on Tuesday 24 May, the Chelsea Fringe is a gardening festival run by local people, for local people. It begins today with a school open garden, a free art exhibition, guided walks and much more — and it takes place all over London, not just in Chelsea. Various locations and prices, 21-29 May

HISTORIC BARGE RACE: To mark the Queen's upcoming Platinum Jubilee, the Thames Barge Driving Trust holds a special Historic Barge Race, taking place on the Thames between Greenwich and Westminster, with 12 vessels taking part. If you want to see the action close up, shell out for a ticket for the official following vessel, otherwise, head down to the riverside and keep your eyes peeled. Greenwich-Westminster, free to watch, just turn up, 12pm-4.30pm

SPRING IN THE CITY:Take a spring walk through the Square Mile in the company of guide Jonathan from London On The Ground. Discover Roman walls, ruined churches, sculpture, glimpses of Shakespeare and beautiful trees and plants hidden among the City of London's office blocks and skyscrapers. Moorgate tube station, £10, book ahead, 2.30pm

Sunday 22 May

Inside of the pumping station with ornate balconies and screens painted blue, green, gold and red
Crossness Pumping Station reopens to the public. Image: Peter Scrimshaw in Creative Commons

HOT AIR BALLOONS: Keep your fingers crossed for the right weather conditions for a flotilla of hot air balloons to take to the skies early on Sunday morning. It's the Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta, with dozens of balloons expected to take part. If the weather lets us down today, there are a few reserve dates throughout the summer. Free to watch, from 5.30am

CROSSNESS: The stunning Crossness Pumping Station reopens to the public today. To use a well-worn phrase it's a proper 'hidden gem', and proof that when the Victorians built something, they did it 20 times better than it needed to be. There's a cafe and shop — although note, the engine Prince Consort will not be in steam. Crossness Pumping Station (nr Abbey Wood), £10/£3, book ahead, 10.30am-4pm

SPRING CRAFT FAYRE: Forty Hall hosts a spring craft fayre, with a selection of stalls selling gifts and handmade products. It's also a chance to go inside Forty Hall's period rooms and historic courtyard. Forty Hall (Enfield), £3 entry, book ahead, 11am-4pm

BENGAL TO BETHNAL GREEN: A regular music night showcasing Bengali musicians from east London, Bengal to Bethnal Green is back. Performers this time include singer Lucy Rahman showcasing songs by her father, composer Sheikh Luthfur Rahman. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), suggested donation £12, book ahead, 6.30pm

SOPHIE AUSTER: Singer-songwriter Sophie Auster brings her brand of electro-infused, dreamscapey pop to Hackney, for tonight's gig — with support from raw-sounding folk musician Henry Grace. Oslo (Hackney Central), £16.88, book ahead, 7pm-10pm

Urban oddity of the week

The multicolour bark of a plane tree. Someone has pinned the name Neil Armstrong to it

It's the Urban Tree Festival (see above) this week, and London's street trees offer plenty of oddities for the eagle eyed. Perhaps our favourite can be seen along Kennington Road, where the names of 15 Apollo astronauts have been appended to a row of plane trees. No one is quite sure why they are there — rumour has it that the nearby British Interplanetary Society had something to do with it, though they denied all knowledge on our visit.

Good cause of the week

7 chefs in a row

How can you eat gourmet street food while also helping a good cause? Book tickets to the Great Street Feast 2022 at BAFTA, Picadilly. In celebration of Refugee Week, Freedom From Torture is bringing together a first class menu of gourmet street food from some of London's finest chefs. Besides the food itself, hear from special guests Juliet Stevenson and Natasha Kaplinsky, who will share food memories and stories from their careers on stage and screen.

The event takes place on 22 June, and ticket booking information can be found here. Alternatively, you could simply donate to Freedom From Torture, to fund their work helping victims of torture rebuild their lives.