Things To Do In London This Week: 11-17 October 2021

All week

The Great Exhibition Road Festival has loads of free events

EXHIBITION ROAD FESTIVAL: The cultural institutions around South Kensington join forces for the Great Exhibition Road Festival, a week-long programme of free events celebrating art and science. Some of the events are in person, while others are online, and our picks include a talk about seven species vulnerable to extinction, a family festival quiz, and the pop-up South Ken Green Trail. 9-15 October 2021

BANFF FILM FESTIVAL: Itching for a high-adrenaline adventure? Live vicariously through the big screen as the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour comes to London. Mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, mountaineering and Arctic ascents are just some of the stories told in the range of films on the programme. Union Chapel (Islington), £17.88, book ahead, 11-19 October 2021

Harry Potter wands arrive in Leicester Square on Wednesday

HARRY POTTER WANDS: From Wednesday this week, huge Harry Potter wands appear in Leicester Square. Nine of the 4.5m tall sculptures line the Square's paths to mark 20 years since the release of the Philosopher's Stone, and they're illuminated each evening (6pm-8.35pm), to a soundtrack of the Harry Potter score. 13-25 October

MONTH OF THE DEAD: London's Month of the Dead festival continues, exploring topics of death and the after life through an impressively varied programme of events. This week, tickets are still available if you wish to learn about the history of mummification, or some of the strangest human wills. Until 31 October 2021

Monday 11 October

Julian Clary talks about his new book

PRIM BLACK LAUNCH PARTY: Prim is a digital storytelling platform designed for Black and queer people to get their voices heard. Its official launch party, a strictly inclusive event with zero tolerance for abuse or bad behaviour, takes place tonight, with live performances and DJs. Boxpark Shoreditch, free, book ahead, 6pm-11pm

JULIAN CLARY: Hear from comedian and writer Julian Clary as he launches his new book, The Lick of Love. It's the story of his life, with a focus on the dogs that have been by his side at each stage — including Albert, who helped him seduce his now-husband. Barbican Hall, £30-£44, book ahead, 8pm

Tuesday 12 October

Find out how individuals can help in the fight against climate change

GPS: We've all come to rely on GPS in our day to day lives, but how does it actually work? Professor Richard Harvey gives a Gresham College lecture about the technology, from its beginnings in 1977 to its presence in millions of devices worldwide. Museum of London, free, book ahead for in person or online, 6pm-7pm

CLIMATE CHANGE: The issue of climate change is becoming increasingly pressing, but who can do something about it? The Royal Institution brings together a panel of experts to discuss whether individuals can make enough of a change to lower our carbon output, or whether we need to rely on government and other leaders to mandate the necessary changes. Online event, suggested £10 donation, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

SIMON REEVE: Explorer and travel writer Simon Reeve celebrates the publication of his new memoir, Journeys to Impossible Places. The book covers his most interesting experiences, including being arrested by the KGB and chased by cheetahs — hear him live in conversation as he discusses some of these memories. Barbican Hall, £29-£34, book ahead, 8pm

Wednesday 13 October

Amazônia opens at Science Museum today. © Sebastião Salgado/nbpictures

AMAZÔNIA: The indigenous people and landscapes of Brazil are the subject of new photography exhibition, Amazônia, which opens at Science Museum today. Artist Sebastião Salgado spent six years working with indigenous communities, resulting in this display of over 200 black and white photos showing the Amazon at tipping point. Science Museum (South Kensington), £10, book ahead, 13 October 2021-March 2022

VAUXHALL AND NINE ELMS: Join London Metropolitan Archives for a walking tour exploring the history of Vauxhall and Nine Elms. 20,000 new homes are due to be built in the riverside area, which has undergone change from pleasure gardens to railways and industrial wharves in its time. Vauxhall, £16.50, book ahead, 11am-1pm

NORTHERN LIGHTS: Author and astronomer Tom Kerss drops into Stanfords to talk about his new book, The Northern Lights. Suitable for both aspiring astronomers and those with more knowledge, the book covers the formation and different types of auroras, and the history and mythology of the Northern Lights. Stanfords (Covent Garden), £5, book ahead, 6.30pm-8pm

GREENHAM COMMON: 40 years on from the protests at Greenham Common military base, author and historian Charlotte Dew is at the National Archives to talk about the designs and craftsmanship of the banners used by women protesting against nuclear missiles, and the lasting legacy of those protests. Online event, £10 suggested donation, book ahead, 7.30pm

Thursday 14 October

National Army Museum stays open late

UNEXPLAINED DEATHS: Ever heard of Frances Glessner Lee? She influenced forensic science as we know it today, by using miniature crime scene dioramas to teach and train crime investigators. Bruce Goldfarb, who's just written a book about her life and revolutionary work, gives a talk on the subject, and on subsequent advances in forensic science. Online event, £5, book ahead, 6pm-7pm

TOWER BRIDGE: David Laird, Learning Officer at Tower Bridge, gives a free talk about the world-famous river crossing. Find out about its construction and history and hear a few fun stories, followed by a Q&A session. Online event, £1 suggested donation, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm

BLACK HISTORY LATE: National Army Museum stays open late for an evening of events shining the spotlight on African and Caribbean soldiers. Serving and veteran soldiers talk about their lives in the armed forces, and there's a chance to delve into the archives and see photos and documents relating to former service personnel. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 6.30pm-9pm

CRICK CRACK CLUB: Women Who Gave No F*cks is the theme of Crick Crack Club's latest spoken word night. Storytellers Alys Torrance, Lucy Lill, Nell Phoenix, Wendy Shearer, Laura Sampson and Sarah Rundle each take a turn at spinning yarns about superwomen and imperfect goddesses. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £12.50, book ahead, 7.30pm

Friday 15 October

Wildlife Photographer of the Year returns

BLOOMSBURY FESTIVAL: Shining Light is the theme of this year's Bloomsbury Festival, which celebrates the area's people, places and creativity. It kicks off tonight with a celebration on Cromer Street featuring neon sculptures, light projections and kinetic dancing tigers — it's free and everyone's welcome. Events later in the festival include a celebration of 50 years of Bangladesh independence and a free photography exhibition. See full programme. 15-24 October 2021

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY: One of our favourite annual exhibitions, Wildlife Photographer of the Year returns to the Natural History Museum for its 57th incarnation. See photos of animals and the natural world, taken by photographers all over the globe, including the overall winners (announced on 12 October). Natural History Museum (South Kensington), from £15.50, book ahead, 15 October 2021-June 2022

CITY POLICE: Police historian Rebecca Walker offers an insight into some of the buildings the City of London Police has occupied since 1839, from pubs to police stations. Find out about the history and architecture of these buildings, and the people associated with them. Online event, free, book ahead, 1pm-2pm

Learn how to build a satellite with the Royal Institution

BUILD A SATELLITE: Log on to the Royal Institution's family-friendly event to get the lowdown on how to build a satellite. Space scientist Stuart Eves covers the technology required to build them, and how much of our modern lives on Earth depend on them. Recommended age 13+. Online event, suggested donation £15, book ahead, 6pm-6.50pm

RIPPER VICTIMS: Social historian Haille Rubenhold discusses her bestselling book The Five with author Lara Maiklem. It takes a deeper look at the lives of the five women who became victims of serial killer Jack the Ripper, beyond the basic (and often incorrect) facts which are most often covered. Southwark Cathedral, £6, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

BOOGIE IN A BREWERY: Brockley Brewery's Hither Green taproom hosts an open-air boogie to the sounds of 70s & 80s soul, funk and disco. Expect deckchairs, gazebos, street food from the Taco Collective and, of course, good beer. Brockley Brewery: Hither Green Taproom, £16.50, book ahead, 7pm-11pm

Saturday 16 October

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair returns to Somerset House

AFRICAN ART FAIR: Browse and buy contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora at the ninth edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair. 48 galleries from 19 countries are present this year, and a programme of talks, film screenings and panel discussions runs alongside the fair. Somerset House, £25, book ahead, 16-17 October

LITERARY SOHO: Join Footprints of London guide Alan Fortune for a walking tour around literary Soho. Visit former houses and haunts of the likes of William Blake, George Orwell and Dylan Thomas, as well as the tomb of William Hazlitt and the birthplace of the horror movie genre. Piccadilly Circus, £12/£9, book ahead, 11am-1pm

IMMIGRATION VARIETY SHOW: Karaoke, moral philosophy and immigration controls are just some of the things to expect at this immigration variety show. Actor Sergio Maggiolo and playwright Amy Ng are among the creatives whose work is used in an exploration of why the British public feel the way they do about the topic of immigration. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £10-£15, book ahead, 7.30pm

Sunday 17 October

See a V&A exhibition without setting foot in the V&A

HORNIMAN MARKET: Did you know that Horniman Museum hosts a market in its gardens every Sunday? Pick up fresh fruit and veg, cheese, bread and cakes directly from the producers, plus clothing, jewellery, crafts and other products — all with an excellent view of the London skyline. Horniman Museum (Forest Hill), free entry, just turn up, 10am-3pm

GARDEN TOUR: Join a member of the garden team for a guided tour of Fulham Palace gardens. Find out how the bishops who lived at the palace each helped shape the gardens, and get an insight into projects the gardeners are currently working on. Fulham Palace, £8/£6, book ahead, 12.30pm-1.45pm

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: Not been to the V&A's excellent Alice in Wonderland exhibition yet? Today you can get a glimpse of it from the comfort of your (cinema) chair, at the screening of a private view walkthrough. Filmed with remote audiences in mind, the guided tour is led by V&A Curator Kate Bailey and presenter Andi Oliver. Barbican Cinema, £20, book ahead, 2pm