Things To Do This Weekend In London: 23-24 March 2019

All weekend

Celebrate the reopening of the Painted Hall

KINDERTRANSPORT: It's the final weekend of Jewish Museum's Kindertransport exhibition, which tells the stories of six of the child refugees who were rescued and brought to Britain on the Kindertransport trains in 1938-9, escaping Nazi persecution. Jewish Museum (Camden), included in admission, just turn up, until 24 March

PIRATES OF PENZANCE: Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance is rather aptly performed on a ship, as part of Cutty Sark's 150th birthday celebrations. See the comedic opera performed in all its glory, featuring swashbuckling pirates, blundering policemen, and absurd adventures. Cutty Sark (Greenwich), £28, book ahead, 21-24 March

ISLINGTON COMEDY FESTIVAL: Three comedy events take place over three days to raise money for Angel Comedy Trust. Comedians go head to head in a battle of wit in Roast Battle (£5.92, 22 March), comedy meets science in Science Showoff (£10, 23 March), and Queer as Jokes is a comedy night where everyone performing has some connection with the kink and/or LGBT+ community (£5.92, 24 March). Book ahead, 22-24 March

ANXIOUS OCEAN: Ahead of Earth Hour next weekend, Somerset House unveils an interactive installation, allowing visitors to imagine what Somerset House may be like in a post-human future, submerged underwater. Engage with futuristic sea creatures as you ponder the effects of climate change on the planet. Somerset House, free, just turn up, 22 March-5 May

MODEL RAILWAYS: The London Festival of Railway Modelling brings together enthusiasts from all over the world. Over 120 exhibitors, 40 layouts and expert demonstrations provide plenty of inspiration, and you can pick up the kit you need to replicate what you've seen back at home. Alexandra Palace, from £10, book ahead, 23-24 March

PAINTED HALL: After a lengthy restoration, the Old Royal Naval College's Painted Hall reopens with some well-deserved celebrations. Be one of the first to see the results — including a new cafe and shop — and interact with historical characters throughout the weekend. Live music, food stalls, kids' activities and a photography exhibition are also part of the event. Old Royal Naval College (Greenwich), £12, book ahead, 23-24 March

LEARN TO PLAY: It's Learn To Play weekend, which means music shops around the country — including Yamaha in Soho — offer free instrument taster lessons for beginners. If you've always wanted to have a go at the piano/drums/violin/guitar/trumpet, here's your chance. Yamaha Store (Soho), free, book on the day, 23-24 March

Saturday 23 March

Take part in a family chemistry festival

INDEPENDENT WOMEN: Take a free theatrical walking tour of Brompton Cemetery, celebrating the lives of some of the inspirational women who are buried there — including Emmeline Pankhurst. Brompton Cemetery, free, just turn up, 10am-11.30am

STORIES OF WOMEN: Head to Southwark Cathedral for a day of talks, telling fascinating stories of women. Subjects include Englishwomen who were traded for tobacco in early Virginia, and a Regency era servant who was charged with attempted murder when her employers became ill after eating a meal she cooked. Southwark Cathedral, £12.50/£10, book ahead, 10am-4.50pm

MYTHICAL TREES: You may already know about the Elfin Oak, but take this tour to learn more about the mythology of the trees in Kensington Gardens. Arboriculturalist Greg Packman talks about why oaks were seen as symbols of the gods, and why rowan trees were believed to protect against witchcraft. Kensington Gardens, £10, book ahead, 10.30am-12pm

THE JUNGLE BOOK: If good films and family times are the Bare Necessities of your Saturday morning, treat your family to a screening of The Jungle Book. It's the 1967 animated version, so there's plenty of chance to sing along to the famous songs. Kids must be accompanied by adults, and adults must be accompanied by kids. Barbican Cinema, £3.50, book ahead, 11am

DRAWING WORKSHOP: Artist Tom Newman leads an art workshop, bringing sketching, drawing and painting together to recreate iconic Vans’ skate images from the past. Watch him work, or have a go yourself — all materials are provided. House of Vans (Waterloo), free just turn up, 11am-1pm

CHEMISTRY FAMILY FESTIVAL: As part of ChemFest 2019, Science Museum hosts a Chemistry Family Festival for budding scientists aged 5+ and their families. The event celebrates 150 years of the periodic table, with talks and demos from real scientists, musical performances and more. Science Museum (South Kensington), free, booking required for some activities, 12pm-4pm

PILOTS OF THE CARIBBEAN: One man show Pilots of the Caribbean: Flying Colours celebrates the achievements of black members of the RAF. The show spans 100 years, from the beginning of the RAF to the present day. Age 13+. RAF Museum (Hendon), free, book ahead, 1pm-2pm

BSL TOUR: British Sign Language users are invited on a free guided tour of the galleries at the National Army Museum. Learn about the role of the Army, both past and present, and see artefacts relating to soldiers, battle and more. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 2pm-3pm

SCULPTURE IN THE CITY: Join tour guide Philp Nelkon for a wander around the Square Mile, visiting 15 pieces of art that form the Sculpture in the City trail. See artworks by the likes of Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas and find out a bit more about the pieces. Liverpool Street station, £10, book ahead, 2.30pm-4.30pm

HELLBOY DAY: Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mike Mignola's comic, Hellboy. See comic artists collaborate to create a giant Hellboy-inspired artwork right in front of you, with drinks and pancakes available throughout. Orbital Comics (near Leicester Square), free, just turn up, 3pm-8pm

ABBA: Dance the night away to the music of ABBA and their contemporaries at a special night of 70s and 80 classics. The Book Club (Shoreditch), £5, book ahead, 8pm-2am

Sunday 24 March

Take your dog on a spring walk

DOG WALK: Canine charity All Dogs Matter hosts a fundraising spring dog walk. Meet at the Edinboro Castle pub in Camden, before taking Fido and Rover for a communal amble around Regent's Park. Finish up back at the pub and tuck into a special brunch menu (extra charge) with your new friends. Edinboro Castle (Camden), £5, book ahead, 9.30am

CRAFT MARKET: Stock up on gifts (it's Mother's Day next weekend...) or treat yourself at the Made in Enfield craft market. Local makers sell cards, jewellery, cakes, spices and knitted items, with food stalls nearby, and special craft demonstrations throughout the day. Dugdale Centre (Enfield), free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

LIVE AT LUNCH: Who says nothing in life is free? Royal Opera House's series of free Live At Lunch events continues today, with a music or dance performance by either a Royal Opera House artist or a guest artist — turn up and be surprised. Royal Opera House, free, just turn up, 1pm

POETRY PERFORMANCE: Poet and spoken word artist Simon Moles is the guest performer at Keats House today. He hosts a relaxed afternoon of performances — and there's an open mic, if you've got something you want to showcase. Keats House (Hampstead), free, book ahead, 2pm-4pm

CINEMA ITALIA: Italian film club Cinema Italia screens Il Vizio Della Speranza (The Vice Of Hope), a 2018 drama about Maria, the lieutenant of a merciless Camorra boss. Her main task is to take care of their enslaved, pregnant African prostitutes. Genesis Cinema (Mile End), £10/£6.50, book ahead, 3pm

DAVID SUCHET: Spend an evening with Poirot himself. Actor David Suchet discusses his experiences in bringing Agatha Christie's detective to life, a role he played for 25 years. The events acts as the launch of The Beautiful Word Campaign, a fundraising drive to improve the venue's acoustics and auditorium seating. Wilton's (Limehouse), £20-£100, book ahead, 5pm

LIFE DRAWING: Yoga and acrobatics feature in the models' repertoires at this life drawing class, set in the bar of the impressive Union Chapel. Artist Joanna McCormick leads the relaxed class, with music played and drinks available at the bar throughout. Union Chapel (Islington), £21/£15, book ahead, 6pm