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Things to do this weekend in London: 7.-8. May 2022

The whole weekend

A woman looks at one of Van Gogh's self-portraits, mounted on a gallery wall
Last chance to see Van Gogh: Self-Portraits. Photo: Fergus Carmichael.

LAST CHANCE EXHIBITIONS: It’s the last weekend for a couple of big exhibitions – see them before it’s too late! They include London: Port City at the Museum of London Docklands (free, reservation required); Fabergé at V&A (£ 18, sold out, but check for availability at the last minute); and Van Gogh at the Courtauld Gallery (£ 18, reservation required). All until May 8th.

LGBTQ + MUSEUM: London’s first LGBTQ + museum opens its doors in King’s Cross and launches with an exhibition called ‘Welcome to Queer Britain’. Queer Britain (Granary Square), free (donations welcome), from 5 May

OUR TIME ON EARTH: The Curve at Barbican opens a new immersive exhibition Our Time On Earth that looks at how humans fit into the broader ecosystem and what can be done to tackle climate change. Barbican, £ 18, book in advance, May 5-29. August

ACT: Notting Hill has just got a brand new bar, The Act. They serve tasty cocktails, small Indian plates and – best of all – there will be live performances throughout your visit. Prepare to get up and start dancing …

Saturday, May 7th

A stallholder chats with a customer across a table while other people browse at various stalls in the background
Crafty Fox Market is back at Elephant and Castle

MY FAIR LADY: The Lincoln Center Theatre’s production of My Fair Lady takes place in London for a summer tour, inviting you to relive the story of cockney florist Eliza Doolittle and arrogant linguistics professor Henry Higgins, live on stage. London Coliseum, from £ 20, book in advance, May 7-27. August

HISTORY OF HOSPITAL FIELDS: Take lecturer and artist Steven Smith on a hike that covers the history of the Spitalfields area. It’s a place where many communities new to London have settled in the past, and the walk looks at the tracks they left behind. Bishopsgate Institute, £ 22, book in advance, 11.00-13.00

CRAFTY FOX MARKET: Shop directly from independent artists and producers at the latest Crafty Fox Market. Browse stalls selling pottery, jewelry, home furnishings, accessories, art prints, cards and gifts – plus it takes place at a food market, so there is plenty of food and drink to keep you going. Mercato Metropolitano (Elephant & Castle), free admission, just show up, 11-17

A bartender pouring a shot of a clear liquor, with lots of other bottles on the shelf behind him
Celebrate all that is tequila and mezcal

TEQUILA AND MEZCAL FESTIVAL: La Piñata tequila and mezcal festival are in town. It’s a celebration of spirits made from the agave plant as well as Mexican culture – with cocktail master classes and street food stands. Tobacco Dock, from £ 20, book in advance, 11-20

BREW LDN: More drinks! The Brew LDN beer festival is on its second day celebrating craft beer and cider with a side order of tasty food and live music. Try drinks from a variety of breweries – including Electric Bear, Kirkstall, Vocation and Yonder – and get the dip directly from the people who make it. Printworks (Rotherhithe), £ 24, book in advance, 11.30-midnight

EID ON SITE: The Muslim festival Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated in Trafalgar Square to mark the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting. Muslim art, music, culture, literature, history and fashion are all celebrated along with food stalls selling dishes from all over the Islamic world. Trafalgar Square, free, just show up, 12.00-18.00

Lots of people around Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square, all looking towards a temporary stage
Celebrate Eid in Trafalgar Square

SPRING PROS: For the Last Night of the Spring Proms, the London Concert Orchestra and soloists will perform one afternoon with exciting classics, including Ravel’s Boléro, rounded off with a grand finale. Southbank Center, £ 17.50- £ 49.50, book in advance, 14.30

UNBURGED LONDON: When the Museum of London moves to its new home in Smithfield, the existing 1970s building on the London Wall will be remodeled. What stories can that building tell? The stories, the buildings, the archeology and the people whose lives it has touched are as rich and exuberant as the collections inside. Take the Minimum Labyrinth on a tour that does not go into the Museum itself, but instead around and under it. Museum of London, £ 9.50- £ 12.50, book in advance, 15.30

CABARET VS CANCER: Comedy, drag, circus and dance are part of Cabaret Vs Cancer, a lively show that raises money for the charity of the same name. The performance is BSL-interpreted, and the line-up includes burlesque artists Missy Malone and Snatchdragon. Udderbelly Cavendish Square, from £ 18, book in advance, 19.30

LIGHT LIST CLUB: Prohibition-themed party The Candlelight Club returns with all its usual accessories; live music 1920s-30s style; cabaret host Champagne Charlie; vinyl records; and lots of cocktails flowing. Secret location in central London, from £ 25, book in advance, 19.00-midnight

Things to do this weekend in London: 7.-8.  May 2022
Ministry of Lesbian Affairs at the Soho Theater

FILM MUSIC: The best works by composer John Williams will be performed by the London Concert Orchestra tonight. The film composer’s works include scores for Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Close Encounters, ET, Jurassic Park, and Superman. Southbank Center, £ 17.50- £ 54.50, book in advance, 19.30

LESBIAN AFFAIRS: Musical comedy show The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs tells the fictional story of a lesbian choir trying to get on the main stage of Pride, in an attempt to unite the disparate lesbian community. It explores themes of love, queerness and belonging at a time when every main street has a rainbow flag but no lesbian bar. Soho Theater, from £ 12, book in advance, 19.30

Sunday, May 8th

Kids sitting on the ground looking up at three different Punch & Judy-style puppet shows
Head to Covent Garden for the Puppet Festival

NORTHOLT VILLAGE: Join Footprints of London guide Jen Pedler on a hike around the village of Northolt. Climb the artificial hills of the Northala Fields for panoramic views of London, and learn about the history of the village of Northolt, which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. Northolt station, £ 12 / £ 9, book in advance, 11.00-13.00

GREEN MEETING: Fulham Palace celebrates everything green and eco-friendly with its annual Green Meet. There is a green market, a picnic on the lawn, family yoga, children’s food waste workshop, garden tours and seed exchange. It sounds like a nice day out. Fulham Palace, free, suggested donation of 2 GBP, book in advance, 11-16

DOLL FESTIVAL: One of the unique London events we love, the Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival is back. It celebrates the first recorded production of a Mr Punch show, as witnessed by Samuel Pepys in Covent Garden in 1662, and attracts puppet masters from across the country to a procession, worship service, shows, stalls and workshops. Covent Garden, free, just show up, 11.00-17.30

A stand with vintage dresses in different shades of pink.  To the right are two mannequins, also dressed in vintage dresses.
Refresh your wardrobe at Frock Me! Vintage Fair

VINTAGE FAIR: Grab retro pants at Frock Me! Vintage Fair, which specializes in high-end vintage fashion, textiles and accessories. Over 60 retailers sell goods, and it’s not uncommon to see designer brands at this event, so it’s worth having a good root. Chelsea Old Town Hall, £ 5- £ 10, book in advance, 11.00-17.30

PINK JUKEBOX: Pink Jukebox is a ballroom and Latin dance club for members of the LGBTQ + community and their friends, and is back on Bishopsgate. Start your afternoon with classes for beginners, followed by a social dance session. Bishopsgate Institute, £ 10- £ 14, book in advance, 14.00-19.00

UNDERHOUSE: Thinking On Sunday is a weekly series of lectures. Today’s topic: what’s wrong with the House of Commons? You would struggle to squeeze in the answer in 90 minutes, but Hannah White, author of a new book on the subject, gives it a try and comes up with a critique of Parliament’s shortcomings and how it should be reformed. Conway Hall (Holborn), £ 8 / £ 5, book in advance, 15.00-16.30

A man in a Dende Natuion teaches a group of four people to play drums
Get notified about Samba Reggae music

NATION OIL: British Samba Reggae band Dendê Nation is hosting a workshop that allows the public to play and sing along to popular Afro-Brazilian songs. Learn techniques for specific instruments along with discovering more about the culture behind the music. Age 12+. Poplar Union, £ 8 / £ 6, book in advance, 15.00-17.00

NO FRILLS PEOPLE: Relax at the end of the weekend with some live folk music, courtesy of No Frills Folk Club. They like to do things traditionally, gather around the pub table with their instruments and play all styles of people, from Irish to Yiddish to Scandinavian. And if you’re half decent on an instrument, why not join in. Brixton Windmill, free, just show up, 19.00

CURIOUS COMEDY: Robyn Perkins hosts Comedy For The Curious, a comedy chat show featuring two guest comics that feature three stand-up sets, all centered around a specific topic. This month, it’s a deep dive into the subject of truth. Online event, £ 1- £ 5, book in advance, 20.30

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