Things To Do This Weekend In London: 25-26 January 2020

Things to do this weekend is sponsored by Dulwich Picture Gallery.

All weekend

Find ways to celebrate Australia Day in London. Photo: Crosstown Doughnuts

BURNS NIGHT: 25 January is Burns Nights, which means Scots in London will be holding all sorts of celebrations this weekend. Take a look at our guide to Burns Night events in London to find your nearest ceilidh or haggis.

AUSTRALIA DAY: 25 January is also Australia Day, with plenty of Aussie-themed events and parties happening here in the capital. Due to the recent events in Oz, there are plenty of bushfire relief fundraising events too — so whether you're from Down Under or Deptford, head along and show your support.

CHINESE NEW YEAR: Saturday's a busy day, as it's also the official start of he Year of the Rat. Take a look at our guide to Chinese New Year celebrations, which includes special menus, film screenings and family events.

It's the first weekend of Lightopia in Chiswick

LIGHTOPIA: Lightopia — the new incarnation of the Magical Lantern Festival — is in its first full weekend in London. Acrobats, musicians and three-storey high lanterns all feature, and the festival has an interactive element too, with button on the floor that can be stepped on to control music, and a tree surrounded by drums which can be used to change its colour. Chiswick House and Gardens, £20/£13, book ahead, 22 January-1 March

SLOW MARATHON: The Museum of Walking plans to undertake four seasonal slow marathons around the Borough of Greenwich in 2020, the first of which takes place over two days this weekend. Join in for one day, or both, and help to define the final route while walking past World Heritage Sites and crossing the Meridian Line. Greenwich, £5, book ahead, 25-26 January

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. Free, 25-27 January

PING PONG: The World Championship of Ping Pong plays out al Ally Pally for the eighth consecutive year. See the best international players go head to head in the fast and furious sport, with the final taking place on Sunday evening. Alexandra Palace, various prices, book ahead, 25-26 January

Bridget Riley is among the exhibitions closing this week. © Bridget Riley 2019 Photo: Stephen White & Co

CLOSING SOON: Several big exhibitions are in their final week. Pick your priorities, or see if you can get round them all this week:


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A Dutch Master dazzles in Dulwich Picture Gallery's spectacular and cinematic Rembrandt exhibition

A Woman In Bed by Rembrandt van Rijn 1645-1646, National Galleries of Scotland. Presented by William McEwan 1892. Photography by Antonia Reeve

Embark on an illuminating journey through Rembrandt van Rijn's pivotal years this month at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Rembrandt's Light features over 30 stunning works by the Dutch Master from 1639-1658, including Woman Bathing in a Stream, The Denial of St Peter, and A Woman in Bed (pictured). But it's not just the masterpieces that make this exhibition so special...

Innovative lighting and design plunge viewers into Rembrandt's world, immersing them in his storytelling and mastery of light. In-house curators worked with award-winning cinematographer Peter Suschitzky (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back) to create a critical triumph of an exhibition, which Evening Standard deemed "unmissable", and got a glowing four star review from our very own art critic.

Rembrandt's Light closes on Sunday 2 February, which means you've only got two weeks left to see it. The good news is that this includes two special late evening openings. On Thursday 30 and Friday 31 January, Dulwich Picture Gallery stays open until 9pm — so why not swap post-work drinks for something a bit more cultural? Click here to book online and save £1.50 off your ticket. Hurry — they're disappearing fast.

Rembrandt's Light, until Sunday 2 February at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Standard admission £16.50*, £8* for concessions, and £5 for Under 30s (sign up required). Includes audioguide.

*Includes voluntary gift aid donation


Saturday 25 January

Last chance to see Canary Wharf Winter Lights this year

PICASSO AND PAPER: The Royal Academy brings together more than 300 works by Pablo Picasso for a new exhibition opening today, all connected by the material they use: paper. They range from early studies for his oil painting Guernica to a 4.8m-wide collage, and span his entire 80-year career. The Royal Academy, £18-£22, book ahead, 25 January-13 April

WOOL SPINNING: Here's something you've probably never tried before: wool spinning. Try your hand at the traditional craft, and learn how to create your own skein of yarn from sheep's wool. No previous experience is necessary, and it's also a chance to learn about the history of sheep in the Royal Parks. Hyde Park, £25, book ahead, 10am-1pm

THE LION KING: The 2019 remake of The Lion King is the focus of this Family Film Club. Get there early to take part in a musical and creative workshop before the film, where you can have a go at playing African instruments, and make your own African-inspired artwork. Harris Academy South Norwood, £5, book ahead, 10am-1pm

POMP & CIRCUMSTANCE: Join The London Ambler for an insight into the architecture of St James's Park. Surrounded by monuments, parliamentary buildings and royal palaces, the park has a history of pomp and circumstance, some of which is revealed on this walk. St James's Park station, £12/£10, book ahead, 10.30am-12.30pm

See the suburban architecture of the Hanger Hill area

HANGER HILL: Join Footprints of London guide Jen Pedler for a wander around west London's Hanger Hill area, with focus on suburbs, stations and subways. See some excellent examples of suburban architecture from the 1930s, a time when the suburbs were expanding rapidly, and learn about the history of the 'malfunction junction' at Hanger Lane tube station. West Acton Underground station, £12/£9, book ahead, 11am-1pm

BATTLE OF ISANDLWANA: Hear the story of the Battle of Isandlwana, a battle in the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879, in which the British were defeated. Professor Ian Beckett discusses the event, and the subsequent defence of Rorke’s Drift, looking at the impact of the two events from both British and Zulu perspectives. National Army Museum (Chelsea), £5, book ahead, 2.30pm-3.30pm

PAINT VAN GOGH: Try your hand at creating your own version of Van Gogh's Peach Tree painting. Pop-Up Painting provides all the materials for the class, which is open to painters of all levels, and an expert artist is on hand to provide guidance if needed. Happenstance (St Paul's), £29.99, book ahead, 4pm-6pm

Martin and Shirlie Kemp host Big Band Broadway

WINTER LIGHTS: It's the last night to see Canary Wharf's Winter Light installations. Follow the map to tick them all off, or just wander around the area and see what you can spot — a word waterfall, illuminated benches and psychedelic trees are among the highlights. Here's our guide to eating and drinking in the area to help you make a night of it. Canary Wharf, free, just turn up, 6pm-10pm

BIG BAND BROADWAY: Former Spandau Ballet member and Eastenders actor Martin Kemp and with his wife Shirlie are among the performers at this evening of Broadway tunes. Hear songs from Sweet Charity, Cabaret and other hit shows performed with accompaniment from the London Concert Orchestra. Southbank Centre, £17.50-£52.50, book ahead, 7.30pm

LADY VENGEANCE: Ahead of upcoming play The Fix, Pleasance Theatre screens a series of East Asian horror films, and tonight it’s the turn of Lady Vengeance. The 2005 violent revenge drama is about a young woman working for an underground crime boss, who takes the blame for the murder of a child, and is sent to prison. Pleasance Theatre (Islington), £4.50/£3, book ahead, 9.30pm

Sunday 26 January

Visit Whitewebbs Museum in Enfield

WHITEWEBBS MUSEUM: It's the monthly opening of London's other transport museum, Whitewebbs in Enfield. Toy vehicles, model aeroplanes, vintage gas masks, motorbikes, and vintage fire engines are just some of the many, many objects on display. Whitewebbs Museum (Enfield), £7, just turn up, 10am-4pm

MISBEHAVING BODIES: As the Misbehaving Bodies exhibition comes to a close, Wellcome Collection hosts a day of related activities. Settle in for film screenings, workshops, performances and discussions, on on the themes of illness, care, death and mourning. Watch short film Dying Under Your Eyes, see a performance of responses to the question 'do you consider yourself healthy?', and see a spoken word performance by St Christopher's Hospice. Wellcome Collection (Euston), free, book for some activities/just turn up for others, 10am-6pm

FURNITURE FLEA: Browse all manner of vintage furniture at the Camden Furniture Flea. Sure, chairs and tables are for sale, but you could also walk away with a far more manageable print, radio, record player, figurine, lampshade or mirror. Cecil Sharp House (Camden), £4/£2, book ahead, 10.30am-4.30pm

Have a rummage at the Camden Vintage Furniture Flea

DOLLSHOUSE FESTIVAL: City of London Dollshouse Festival is now in its seventh year, bringing all things miniature to the capital. Browse houses, furniture, small print fabrics, dolls, clothing and more, in a range of scales — interesting whether you're looking to complete a model you're working on, or just curious about the world of miniatures. The Tower Hotel, £8, book ahead, 11am-5pm

CHARLES I: Every year on the Sunday closest to the anniversary, the English Civil War Society marks the anniversary of the death of King Charles I. There's a parade from St James's Palace to The Mall, and then onto Banqueting House in Whitehall, followed by a short service. It's free to watch, and has been taking place for over 40 years. Whitehall, free, just turn up, 11.25am

Take a history tour of Fulham Palace

PALACE TOUR: Join a guide for a history tour of Fulham Palace, a building that's been home to the Bishops of London for several hundred years. See how the building grew and developed as each bishop put their mark on the palace, and learn about the different architectural styles on display today. Fulham Palace, £6, just turn up, 12.30pm-1.30pm

CARBON EMISSIONS: Chris Goodall, author of What We Need To Do Now: Towards a New Green Deal, talks about what we need to do to create a carbon neutral society. He believes that a society that emits no carbon dioxide would be fairer, healthier and more content, as well as doing the planet a lot of good. Conway Hall (Holborn), £8/£5, book ahead, 3pm-5pm

SINGING OUR LIVES: Hundreds of performers come together onstage to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. Singing Our Lives participants include the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians , the Sing for Freedom Choir, the Mixed up Chorus, the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus, the Mind & Soul Choir, the Citizens of the World Choir, I Speak Music Community Orchestra, and special guests, with all money raised going to the Singing Our Lives project.  Union Chapel (Islington), £15, book ahead, 5.30pm