Things To Do In London This Week: 27 January-2 February 2020

Things to do this week is sponsored by London Transport Museum.

All week

A Midsummer Night's Dream opens at Wilton's

REMBRANDT'S LIGHT: It's the final week of Rembrandt's Light, an exhibition dedicated to the cinematic style of the Dutch Master's paintings. It offers an alternative look at some of his well-known paintings, and touches by Star Wars cinematographer Peter Suschitzky add a whole other element to the exhibition. Dulwich Picture Gallery, £16.50, book ahead, until 2 February

WILLIAM BLAKE: Also closing this week is William Blake at Tate Britain. The bizarre and beautiful blockbuster show portrays Blake as a complex man capable of producing outstanding art. Tate Britain, £18, book ahead, until 2 February

MIME FESTIVAL: Last chance to catch a show at this year's London International Mime Festival. Many have already sold out, but there's still a chance to see acrobatics in Galactik Ensemble, or dancing hands in miniature sets in Cold Blood, among others. Various locations and prices, book ahead, until 3 February

ALL THAT COULD HAVE BEEN: The latest exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum is an installation by architecture studio CAN and artist Harry Lawson exploring the relationship between architecture, objects and time. All That Could Have Been consists of three cabinets, entitled All That Was, All That Is and All That Could Have Been. Inside each cabinet, are a number of objects reflecting the title. Sir John Soane's Museum, free, just turn up, until 16 February

Brighten up your evenings with Lightopia

LIGHTOPIA: Brighten up these dark winter nights with a trip to London's newest light festival. Lightopia brings together Chinese lanterns, interactive illuminations and beautiful illuminated arches... and of course, the rainbow light tunnel above, which you've probably seen all over Instagram already. Chiswick House & Gardens, from £18, book ahead, until 1 March

TUBE: Small scale theatre production Tube returns to London, telling the story of two strangers who are sitting next to each other in a tube carriage when the lights go out and the train stops moving. Lion & Unicorn Theatre (Kentish Town), from £8, book ahead, 28 January-2 February

VAULT FESTIVAL: Performing arts showcase Vault Festival returns to the space underneath and around Waterloo station, for two months of shows. Highlights this week include immersive crime game Moonlight Hustle, improv comedy BattleActs, and family comedy show The Misadventures of David & Sam. Waterloo Vaults, various prices, book ahead, 28 January-22 March

Monday 27 January

Alice Russell performs live at Roundhouse.

BADASS BE THY NAME: Comedy trio Police Cops perform their new, 90s inspired comedy show Badass Be Thy Name. The vampire-slaying horror epic is set in a gritty northern town in 1999, complete with a 90s rave soundtrack. Soho Theatre, from £11, book ahead, 27 January-1 February

HALF OF A YELLOW SUN: National Theatre screens 2013 film Half Of A Yellow Sun, adapted from a book of the same name and starring Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose. It's about two sisters from a wealthy 1960s Nigerian family, and the different paths they face on returning to their homeland following their schooling in England. National Theatre, £6/£4, book ahead, 5.15pm

ALICE RUSSELL: Soul singer Alice Russell performs an intimate, in the round concert. Hear her emotional tones as she performs tracks from her new album, released later this year, live for the first time. Roundhouse (Camden), £20-£25, book ahead, 7pm

Tuesday 28 January

Tour the glasshouses at Chelsea Physic Garden

GLASSHOUSE TOUR: Jess Snowball, Glasshouse Manager at Chelsea Physic Garden, leads a tour through the exotic buildings. Get a closer look at some of the exotic plant species grown there, and how they're cared for. The event raises money for the fundraising appeal to get the Victorian glasshouses restored to their former glory. Chelsea Physic Garden, £35, book ahead, 11.30am-1pm

SURREALISM: Tying in with the current Tim Walker: Wonderful Things exhibition, designer Shona Heath talks about the enduring appeal of surrealism. Find out how the movement began, and what influence it has had on contemporary artists. V&A Curator of Photographs Susanna Brown, Sotheby’s Senior Director of Impressionist & Modern Art Tania Remoundos, and Sotheby's Head of Photographs Brandei Estes also take part. V&A Museum (South Kensington), £18/£15, book ahead, 7pm-8.45pm

POPBITCH: Regular as clockwork, the Popbitch Popquiz is back to test you on your celebrity gossip and general knowledge. Run by the team behind the weekly pop culture newsletter, the quiz consists of trivia, music rounds, art challenges and puzzles. Smiths of Smithfield, £5.50, book ahead, 7.30pm


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Unearth the capital's subterranean secrets at London Transport Museum

Discover the wonders of London's underbelly at an immersive exhibition, which shines a spotlight on the forgotten parts of the world's oldest subterranean railway network. Hidden London: the Exhibition recreates the London Underground's secret spaces in astonishing detail, to reveal how they protected Londoners during the second world war, helped secure the future of Britain, and continue to help the capital grow to this day.

Among the treasures waiting to be found at London Transport Museum is a replica of the abandoned ticket hall at Aldwych Station (complete with its original 1930s ticket booth and Leslie Green tiles), and a vast collection of rare archival photographs, secret diagrams, and other artefacts that reveal the importance of the London Underground to the war effort — from the vast swathe of the Central Line where aircrafts were built, to the stations that protected locals during the Blitz. There's even a recreation of the secret dining room within the bomb-proof HQ where Churchill himself took shelter.

Find out how these 'lost' parts of the tube network are used in more modern times for everything from film sets to salad-growing facilities. It's a properly thrilling plunge into the bits of our city beneath our feet (our art critic gave it five stars when he visited), and it's open every day of the week. Click here to book.


Wednesday 29 January

Candlelit photography at Sothwark Cathederal

AI SECURITY: As AI (artificial intelligence) becomes more prevalent in our lives, should we be worried about our personal security? Hear from Computer Science professor Michal Pěchouček about how we can increase our security online, and how AI is likely to be used in the future. Royal Institution (Mayfair), £16/£10/£7, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

CANDLELIT PHOTOGRAPHY: Experience and capture Southwark Cathedral after dark at a special late night opening for photographers. Explore the building at your own pace, photographing the elements that are often overlooked. Photographers of all abilities welcome, as are tripods. Southwark Cathedral, £10, book ahead, 7pm-9pm

Thursday 30 January

Learn about the three curses of Tutankhamun

CULTURE LATE: Stay late at UCL'S Grant Museum of Zoology, tying in with new exhibition, Displays of Power. Join in with a giant, immersive game of snakes and ladders around the museum, hosted by Escape Room Designer and Queer Folklorist, Sacha Coward, with a guest appearance by poet Yomi Sode. Grant Museum of Zoology, £8/£5, book ahead, 6.30pm

TUTANKHAMUN CURSES: Get the lowdown on the three curses of Tutankhamun at a talk and document display. Overwhelming popularity, damaging political blunders, and lingering ancient dark magic are said to be linked to the Egyptian Pharoah, whose tomb was discovered in the 1920s. (Psst... seen the Tutankhamun exhibition yet?) National Archives (Kew), £12, book ahead, 7.30pm-9pm

OUT-SPOKEN: Regular poetry and live music evening Out-Spoken takes place at Southbank Centre for the first time, with poet Robin Robertson as the headline act. Comic poet Rob Auton and Next Generation poet Jane Ye are also on the bill, with music provided by reggae and soul DJ Sam 'Junior' Bromfield. Southbank Centre, £10, book ahead, 7.45pm

Friday 31 January

Lord of the Game of the Ring of Thrones is an entirely improvised show.

ST JAMES'S PARK: Learn something new about St James's Park and the surrounding area on this walking tour led by a Royal Parks expert guide. Find out how St James's Park helped court a King's mistress, and watch the daily pelican feed. St James's Park, £10, book ahead, 1.15pm-2.45pm

COMEDY: Lord of the Game of the Ring of Thrones is the mouthful of a name of tonight's comedy show. It involves a group of improv comedians on stage, with no script, and nothing to guide them except suggestions from the audience, improvising an epic adventure tale. Leicester Square Theatre, £9/£7, book ahead, 7pm

NEW MEDICINES: Hear from an actual Nobel Prize winner about their work. Sir Gregory Winter — who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2018 — discusses his research, which led to the development of new drugs to treat breast cancer and arthritis, as well as what it could mean for new medicines in the future. Royal Institution (Mayfair), £20/£15, book ahead, 7.20pm-8.45pm

Saturday 1 February

See Beverley Knight live at Roundhouse

PLANT-POWERED EXPO: Thinking of making Veganuary a permanent thing? Head to The Plant Powered Expo, where you'll find products and inspiration to help with all aspects of plant-based living. 200+ stalls and 80 classes and presentations are on the programme. Olympia London, from £10, book ahead, 1-2 February

CHINESE NEW YEAR: The Chinese New Year celebrations continue in Greenwich, where there are family-friendly art workshops. Create your own patterned fan, inspired by Cutty Sark's past voyages to China. Cutty Sark (Greenwich), included in admission, just turn up, 1-2 February

BEVERLEY KNIGHT: Soul singer Beverley Knight performs an intimate concert as part of the In The Round event series. See her belt out some of her best-known hits, with support from up-and-coming British singer Amahla. Roundhouse (Camden), £35-£45, book ahead, 7pm

Sunday 2 February

You'll see some sights at this Brexhibition

UNBELIEVABLE SCIENCE: Take the whole family along to see Morgan & West performing some Unbelievable Science live on stage. The kids' entertainer duo (who double up as magicians and time travellers...) perform chemistry, physics and biology experiments to a live audience. Age 6+. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), from £9, book ahead, 2pm

BREXHIBITION: Just when we thought we'd had enough of Brexit, along comes an artist to change our minds. This Brexhibition has all the key Brexit 'players' (think Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and co) recreated from porn magazines. On top of viewing the portraits, hear from panelists including editorial cartoonist Martin Rowson. A drink is included in the ticket price. Hoxton 253 Art Project Space, £10, book ahead, 5pm-8pm

SUPER BOWL: The 54th Super Bowl takes place in Florida late Sunday evening and into Monday morning. No ticket to the States? No problem — watch it at one of these Super Bowl parties in London, with food, drink, cheerleading and entertainment. Chances of you making it into work on Monday are slim. Various locations and prices, from 9pm