Things To Do This Week In London: 24-30 January 2022

All week

A glowing, red model tiger. Its wireframe can be seen silhouetted against the glow.
Check out the lights around Battersea Power Station

BURNS NIGHT: Tuesday is Burns Night, when Scots celebrate the birthday of poet Robert Burns. Whether you're a Scot in London, or just a Londoner curious to know what all the fuss is about, here's our pick of Burns Night events in London throughout this week.

WILD AND WONDERFUL: This exhibition celebrating the connection people rediscovered with nature during the pandemic — and spotlighting artists who use natural materials — comes to King's Road, with  painting, etching, and hand-crafted glass sculpture for sale. 508 Gallery (Chelsea), free, just turn up, until 31 January

WELLCOME COLLECTION RETURNS: After a(nother) Covid-related forced closure, The Wellcome Collection opens its doors for the first time this year, giving you an opportunity to explore its medicine and science-related displays and exhibitions. (Euston), free entry, book ahead, from 25 January

The Wellcome Collection reopens on Tuesday

BATTERSEA LIGHTS: We're a couple of weeks into Battersea Light Festival, so why not visit if you haven't already? Six glowing installations are dotted around the area surrounding Battersea Power Station, including digital origami tigers and a glowing 'greenhouse'. Cheering, free, entertainment — just what you need in January. Battersea Power Station, free, just turn up, until 27 February 2022

BEANO: There's still time to see the Somerset House exhibition dedicated to all things Beano (which our reviewer gave 5* when it opened). Relive some of your favourite Beano moments, with artworks, archive items and memorabilia featuring Dennis, Gnasher and co — or, if you're of a certain age, introduce your kids to the world of Beano. Somerset House, £16/£12.50, book ahead, until 6 March 2022

LIFE BETWEEN ISLANDS: Also ongoing is Life Between Islands, an exhibition of artworks by British-Caribbean artists from the 1950s to the present day. It features work by those who came to the UK as part of the Windrush Generation, as well as the many generations of British-Caribbean artists whose creativity makes British art so much richer. Tate Britain, £16, book ahead, until 3 April 2022

Monday 24 January

Take a virtual tour of London's Royal Docks

SAVING ART: As Hitler's approach and The Blitz threatened London's people and buildings, how were precious artworks kept safe? This online talk by Caroline Shenton for Guildhall Library looks at the people from London's museums, galleries and archives who made plans to protect their collections. Online event, free, book ahead, 2pm-3pm

LUCY ATKINSON: Ever heard of Lucy Atkinson? She was an English explorer living in the 1800s, who travelled across central Asia and Siberia on horseback with her husband and young baby. Find out more about her life and travels in this afternoon lecture. Royal Geographical Society (Kensington Gore), £5, book ahead, 2.30pm-3.30pm

ROCK 'N' ROLL POLITICS: Choose whether to attend in person or watch online, as political commentator Steve Richards hosts Rock 'n' Roll Politics, looking into the dramas kicking off in Westminster, and pondering what the year ahead is likely to have in store for British politics. We wouldn't know where to start. Kings Place (King's Cross), £16.50, book ahead, or online, £9.50, book ahead, 7pm

LONDON'S ROYAL DOCKS: Footprints of London guide Rob Smith takes us on a virtual tour of London's Royal Docks, the new home of City Hall. When they were built, they housed the largest manmade body of enclosed water in the world, and their construction was a huge engineering project — find out more at the talk. Online event, £8 per person/£16 group, book ahead, 8pm-9pm

WIP COMEDY: Comedian Chris Timoney offers a look at his work-in-progress show, Sorry I Play The Ukulele. Fellow comedians including Patrick Hearn, Chantal Feduchin Pate and Louisa Corr also appear. The Betsey Trotwood (Farringdon), £3, book ahead, 8pm-10pm

Tuesday 25 January

Browse our pick of Burns Night events, taking place all week

VICTORIAN LONDON: Find out about the work of journalists, artists, and social reformers who sought to understand, record, and publicise the lives of London’s poorest residents in the 19th century, when the city was growing at a very fast rate. Online event, £5.98, book ahead, 2pm-3pm

SCIENCE, SEX AND SCANDAL: Though he later became president of the Royal Society, the earlier life of Sir Joseph Banks was filled with scandal, thanks to his exploits on the Endeavour voyage with James Cook. Dr Ruth Scobie discusses Banks' public image, and how gossip and deception spread during that period. Online event, free, book ahead, 5.15pm-6.30pm

TREE IDENTIFICATION: Former Royal Parks Tree Officer Greg Packman offers some tips for identifying different tree species at this time of year, when the lack of leaves and fruit doesn't offer much to go on. The talk's online so no need to wrap up warm, but you'll be pointed towards certain spots in the Royal Parks which are good for trying out your new skills. Online event, free, book ahead, 6.30pm

GREEN LONDON: Speaking of trees, find out how London's specimens are being protected, and how more are being planted thanks to projects and initiatives by a range of conservation organisations. Representatives from Landscape Learn, Tree Musketeers and Lewisham Street Trees for Living all take part. The Garden Museum (Lambeth), £10, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm

Wednesday 26 January

Learn about Cantonese Opera from the comfort of your own home

ROSE MACAULAY: Novelist and feminist writer Rose Macaulay set much of her work in London; London suburbs, London government offices, London shops, Fleet Street and more. Find out about her life, her work and her fascination with London at this online talk by Kate Macdonald for Guildhall Library. Online event, free, book ahead, 2pm-3pm

COCKTAIL MASTERCLASS: Join a member of the Lyaness bar team and learn how to whip up top-notch cocktails, using alcohol-free brand Three Spirit. They ditch the booze for ingredients designed to stimulate the palate, mind and body — ideal if you're doing Dry January.  Ticket includes three non-alcoholic cocktails. Lyaness at Sea Containers (South Bank), from £23.50, book ahead, 6pm-9pm

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY: Though tickets have sold out to attend The Wiener Holocaust Library's Holocaust Memorial Day event, you can still join in online. The service includes remarks by Dr Toby Simpson, Director of The Wiener Holocaust Library, readings by a Camden Youth MP and a talk by Dr Christoph Kreutzmüller about the significance of the contemporary photographs taken of deportations of Jews during the Holocaust. Online event, free, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm

CANTONESE OPERA: As part of the Lunar New Year celebrations, Royal Museums Greenwich offers an insight into Cantonese opera from Rosa Cheng, Principle Performer & Artistic Director of Vancouver Cantonese Opera. In the online event, she reveals the philosophy behind the art form, and what it takes to put on a performance. Online event, pay what you can, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm

1920s HISTORY: Historian Professor Kate Williams brings to life the world of the 1920s, a time of strikes, suffrage, art, and advances in science. While some partied through the decade, others were still reeling from the effects of the first world war, as Williams discusses in this online talk by the National Archives. Online event, suggested donation £5, book ahead, 7.30pm

Thursday 27 January

Hear from Daisy May Cooper at Southbank Centre

RHAPSODY: For three nights only, UCL's Live Music Society performs its biggest show of the year. Rhapsody has a setlist of 20 songs, including (but not limited to) jazz rearrangements of pop tracks to rock with added brass, pop medleys, soft vocal numbers, pure funk and a rock original with strings. Bloomsbury Theatre, £8.50, book ahead, 27-29 January

BROADWAY THEATRES: Author Anthony Robins transports Londoners across the pond on a virtual tour of Broadway theatres. Find out why 40 of the city's oldest theatres are as impressive and as deserving of attention as the shows they host. Online event, make a donation, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm

AFTER HOURS VIEW: Head to Dulwich Picture Gallery after hours for an exclusive viewing of the venue's Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty exhibition, and a discussion between art historian, broadcaster, and curator Katy Hessel and exhibition curator Jane Findlay. It's followed by a Q&A session, and a drink is included in your ticket. Dulwich Picture Gallery, £35, book ahead, 6.30pm-9.30pm

ICECUBE: OK, science brains on. The Royal Institution hosts astroparticle physics researcher Jenni Adams to talk about the IceCube collaboration, a huge telescope buried in the ice of Antarctica. In particular, she discusses its mission to spot neutrinos, almost undetectable particles that are greatly improving our understanding of the Universe. Online event, suggested donation £10, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

DAISY MAY COOPER: Comedy writer and actor Daisy May Cooper is at Southbank Centre to talk about her life and career, and launch her memoir, Don't Laugh, It Will Only Encourage Her. The This Country star chats to a special guest about growing up in rural poverty in Gloucestershire, nearly being expelled from drama school, and creating her BAFTA-winning show. Southbank Centre, £23-£40, book ahead, 7.30pm

Friday 28 January

Lewisham celebrates becoming London Borough of Culture

BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH: Help the RSPB keep an eye on the numbers of wild birds in London by taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch. If you're lucky enough to have a garden or outside space, spend an hour counting and recording the numbers and types of birds that visit it, then report back to the RPSB. The charity then uses the data to spot any patterns, anomalies, or any species that may be in danger. 28-30 January

BOROUGH OF CULTURE: It's Lewisham's turn to take up the London Borough of Culture mantle in 2022, and it begins today with opening celebration Day One, which sees live performances popping up right across the borough. Look out for dance and music sets at transport hubs and other locations. Lewisham, free, just turn up, all day

BRITISH POWS: Historian Russell Wallis recounts the stories of British prisoners of war and their experiences of the Holocaust. The people whose experiences he shares were held at places such as Buchenwald, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, which have now become synonymous with the Holocaust. National Army Museum (Chelsea) or online, free, book ahead, 12pm

GIANT FISHING DINOSAURS: If you went "whoa, cool!" at those last three words, then... yeah, us too. Over to palaeontologist Dr David Hone, who provides an intro to the huge African carnivorous dinosaur Spinosaurus (who you might remember from such films as Jurassic Park III), and its recently discovered British cousin, Baryonyx. Aimed at age 13+. Royal Institution (Mayfair), £16/£10, book ahead, 6pm-7.15pm

IAIN STIRLING: Comedian and voice of Love Island Iain Stirling headlines Live at the Clapham Grand, joined by fellow comedians Ed Gamble, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Michelle De Swarte and Tadiwa Mahlunge. Clapham Grand, from £22, book ahead, 6.30pm

Saturday 29 January

Shop for snowdrops

FRANCIS BACON: Irish-born artist Francis Bacon is the subject of a new Royal Academy of Arts exhibition. Get a closer look at his visceral paintings in Francis Bacon: Man and Beast, which focuses on his fascination with animals and how it shaped and distorted his approach to the human body. Royal Academy (Mayfair), £22-£24.50, book ahead, 29 January-17 April

SNOWDROP SALE: It's snowdrop season, and if you're thinking about cultivating your own garden of the white flowers, head to this snowdrop sale. Stock up on some new varieties, and make time to explore the fascinating gardens while you're there. Myddelton House Gardens (Enfield), £4.50, just turn up, 10.30am-12pm

PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERCLASS: Want to improve your portrait photography skills? Montcalm East's resident photographer Harry Adams runs a series of masterclasses — today's focuses on basic photo editing and post-production skills. Montcalm East (Shoreditch), £15, book ahead, 11am-1pm

YOUNG POLAND: Tying in with the current Young Poland exhibition, the William Morris Gallery has put together a day of talks by experts in the Polish arts and crafts movement. Find out how the movement has influenced present day artists, and take a virtual tour of the exhibition. Online event, suggested donation £10, book ahead, 11am-4.15pm

ANATOMY PARK: Choreographer Joel O'Donoghue presents a trio of new dance theatre works about the body, focusing specifically on the gut, the heart and the brain. Tea, cake, knitting and bad cabaret are also involved, apparently, which has certainly piqued our interest. Poplar Union, £10/£8, book ahead, 7.30pm-9.15pm

Sunday 30 January

Head down to The Mall today to see this spectacle

CHARLES I: Every year, the anniversary of the execution of Charles I is commemorated. The event begins at 11am in the Mall, when the King’s Army, the Royalist part of the English Civil War Society, gather on The Mall in full costume, with mounted troops and weapons, and march up to Horseguards Parade for a commemorative service. Well worth watching if you're in the area. 30 January

FAMILY FESTIVAL: Take the kids along to Dulwich Picture Gallery for the No Rules! Family Festival. Tying in with the current Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty exhibition, the festival consists of creative workshops using marbling, paper pulping, fabric art, light projections and more. Dulwich Picture Gallery, £15 per adult, book ahead, 10am-5pm

REFLECTING GREENWICH: On the final day of the Reflecting Greenwich exhibition, join guide Ian Porter for a walk through the historic sights of maritime Greenwich, many of which feature in the exhibition. See how some views are remarkably unchanged from the time they were painted, while others are now radically different. Old Royal Naval College (Greenwich), £10, book ahead, 11.30am-12.30pm

COMEDY CLUB 4 KIDS: It's never too early to introduce school kids to the art of a good joke. Comedy Club 4 Kids does just that, bringing respected comedians to the stage to do what they do best, just with the jokes toned down for a younger audience. Age 6+. artsdepot (North Finchley), from £9, book ahead, 12pm/2.30pm

CITY GARDENS: Following the destruction of the Blitz, the sites of many damaged buildings became small City gardens. Footprints of London guide Marilyn Greene leads a tour of some of these sites, including where Sir Christopher Wren churches once stood. Meet outside Museum of London, £12/£9, book ahead, 2pm

WEAPONS OF MASS HILARITY: Darius Davies (host and co-creator of the hit sell-out Edinburgh show, Hate 'n' Live), the fabulously twisted Shirley & Shirley, and no-nonsense Moroccan Laila Alj star in this brilliant monthly comedy showcase. 2Northdown (King's Cross), £11, book ahead, 7pm-9.45pm

Urban oddity of the week

A partial map of Lewisham in a kind of orange-cream colour we thought had disappeared in the 1980s. Famous faces from the borough are superimposed

As Lewisham becomes London Borough of Culture (see Friday), a good way to brush up on the area's history can be found in Lewisham Shopping Centre. Take the west exit out towards Molesworth Street and you'll find a series of exceptionally produced history panels. The largest depicts "Lewisham: the first 2,000 years" in a series of colourful vignettes. Another shows the rivers, railways and canals (yes really) of the borough. And then there's the panel shown above, which sets out some of the landmarks and local heroes of this blessed borough. Well worth seeking out. The murals were created by Bruce Williams, who also painted Bromley's Charles Darwin mural.

Good cause of the week

A blue background with stylised clouds. A roundel featuring the smiling face of a young girl is bordered with the words Ella Roberta Family Foundation

Staying in Lewisham, a local fundraising effort is under way to build a memorial to Ella Roberta. Ella died in 2013, aged nine, from respiratory problems linked to traffic fumes. She became the first person in the world to have "air pollution" on her death certificate, after a campaign by her family. A permanent memorial at St Andrew's church, Lewisham would not only commemorate Ella's short life, but would also serve as a reminder about the dangers of pollution. You can help the Ella Roberta Family Foundation make this happen by contributing to their crowdfunding campaign.