Halloween! Outdoor dining! Creepy cinema seshs. You might think that this weekend is shaping up to be a bucket of rainy gloom and… well, actually it is. Don’t let that get you down though – here’s my guide to the best things to do in London this weekend.
Best Things to do in London This Weekend
Dance Your A** Off at the Disco Minge Hun Brunch
Fun-ppurtunities haven’t exactly abounded during most of 2020 (unless you count the manic energy that went into convincing yourself you were completely fine with being locked in your house for months – that was a ride).
Anyway, Hunsnet have created an opportunity for actual in-person socially-distanced fun with the cheekily named Disco Minge brunch with lashings of disco and drag sensation Elektra Fence.
As creator Gareth Howells said “no-one wants to sit at home crying into their 3rd glass of Chardonnay wishing they were surrounded by friends”. Errr, I think you’ll find that was a sauvignon blanc for me, Malbec on the chillier days… but yeah.
Feast on the Tandoor Takeover at Bombay Bustle
Until 5th November
This weekend is your last change to try the Tandoor Takeover at brilliant Mayfair restaurant Bombay Bustle. The restaurant (which, incidentally has catapulted itself to the top of my list of truly amazing Indian restaurants in London after a jaw-dropping meal last night – full review coming soon) collaborated with chefs from across the city for a special menu.
The only requirement? Each chef’s signature dish had to be transformed to use the Tandoor in the cooking process.
Tuck into specials from Josh Katz of Berber & Q, Ivan Tisdall-Downes from Native and Nicolas Balfe of Native among others – and, of course executive chef Surender Mohan. Explosive flavour guaranteed.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition
Until 8 August 2021
I already made a joke last week about this year being a good time to escape the planet Earth so I guess I shouldn’t do that again (le grand sigh).
Maybe we can just settle on the jaw-dropping photography and dreamy spacescapes as reason enough to go and see the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the National Maritime Museum.
There are over 100 photographs on display charting distant galaxies, colourful aurorae and generally some of the most incredible sights in the universe.
Watch the Grimly Funny Return of This is Going to Hurt
Until 15th November
You’ve no doubt stumbled across Adam Kay’s best-selling memoir This is Going to Hurt – a grimly funny walk through the life of a junior doctor. Having hung up his scrubs in favour of full time writing and comedy, he’s bringing his sell-out show of the same name back to the stage post-lockdown for a three week stint at the Apollo Theatre.
Outdoor Drinking and Eating at London’s Winter Terraces
Until this is all over
So indoor eating and drinking outside of our household bubble is off but you know what that means? Outdoors is very much go, go, go.
I’m talking rooftop bars with gorgeous views, canalside taprooms and apres-ski themed popups with open fires. Or how about pretty restaurant gardens with those all-important heaters and canopies.
So put on your snuggliest jumper and your warmest boots and hang out at London’s best outdoor bars and the best spots to dine al fresco in London – a.k.a the very same locations where you can still catch up in groups of six.
London, it’s on.
Take A Ghost Tour at Eltham Palace
28th – 31st October
Y’all know that my trip to Eltham Palace post-lockdown was a total delight, but rather than focusing on its bucolic gardens and stunning art deco interior, the historic palace has taken a much darker turn for Halloween.
Storytellers guide you through a fantastical journey back to the 1930s – a time when the palace was having its heyday and aristocratic guest spilled through its doors each weekend. Behind the glamour, something darker lurks – mysterious occurrences in the servants’ quarters and horrible happenings. Quite what it is, well, your torchlit journey through the dark will reveal.
Fright Night Cinema at the Rivoli Ballroom
26th – 31st October
Pop up scary cinemas abound, but if you really want to get freaked out, a creaky (rumour has it ghost-ridden) historic building is surely the way to go isn’t it! The Rivoli Ballroom’s Halloween Fright Night Cinema season is in full swing – you’ve missed a couple but there’s still time to catch frightening favourites like Psycho, Scream and Halloween.
Peeping through fingers as creepy music plays mandatory.
PS: Looking for more inspiration and ideas? Check out the Unusual London Book.
Last Chance: London Cocktail Week
We’re nearing the end of London Cocktail Week (which actually has been taking place for the whole month of October in a bid to help the hospitality industry).
Still, there’s plenty of time to sink down £6 cocktails and attend (socially-distanced) events and mixology workshops… all in aid of saving the city’s late night spots naturally. Check out the full lineup and buy your wristband here.
Cocktail highlight? Filipino rum brand Don Papa’s The Scaredy Papa cocktail at Spitalfields bar The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, which you can nab for a cool £6 until the end of the month.
Not able to swing by the bar in person? Creator Alex Frattini of The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town has shared info on how to make it at home:
50 ml Don Papa Rum
50 ml Pineapple Juice
20 ml Lime Juice
20 ml Homemade Wine Reduction
5 ml Pimiento Dram
Take the ingredients, shake in an ice-filled shaker, strain into a highball or tall tiki glass. Charge with 75ml Fever Tree Spiced Orange Ginger Ale and garnish with a sprig of mint and a piece of sliced ginger. Imbibe.
Visit the Pop Up Pumpkin Market at Covent Garden
30th and 31st October
Covent Garden’s first ever Pumpkin Market hits the piazza on the 30th and 31st.
Filling Covent Garden with over 200 pumpkins might sound like Instagram-thirsty behaviour and maybe it is but who cares!
You get the chance to buy your last-minute gourd for the prerequisite carving session that will dominate 99% of our weekends, sip pumpkin spice lattes and warm up on pumpkin soups.
Or you could just sink a few of their blood orange margaritas and call it quits, I wouldn’t judge you.
Check Out Lois O’Hara’s New Mural in Chelsea
Scope out the bold colours and fluid shapes of multi-disciplinary artist Lois O’Hara’s brand spanking new mural at Chelsea Fire Station. The mural – an abstract representation of the King’s Road features QR codes along its length that viewers can use to interact with the piece and learn more about the colour theory behind it.
Turner’s Modern World at the Tate Britain
28th October to 7th March 2021
The Tate Britain’s landmark exhibition dedicated to JMW Turner puts a new spin on one of Britain’s most famous painters. Fuddy duddy as we may see Turner today, he was actually one of the most socially-engaged painters of his time – simultaneously pushing the boundaries of modern art and social discourse in the 18th century.
Through the course of over 150 key works from the painter’s canon, the exhibition shows his engagement with contemporary events of the day, such as The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons and The Battle of Trafalgar.
Get Spooked at the Natural History Museum’s Halloween Special
30th and 31st October
Halloween at the Natural History Museum isn’t the same this year (what is?!) but there’s still an opportunity to relive your very own night(mare) at the museum with their spooky self-led trail in Museum After Dark.
You get to stalk through the creepy skellington filled corridors of the museum after all the normal punters go home for the night – wait, was that dinosaur fossil always that close behind you?
See The British Museum’s New Exhibition on Climate Change
22nd October 2020 – 21st February 2021
Climate change is real and happening now. Rather than framing the conversation as something we need to prevent happening in the future, the British Museum’s new exhibition Arctic: Culture and Climate focuses on the debilitating effects climate change is already causing in the Arctic – at the fastest rate in human history.
Objects from the British Museum’s Arctic collection, accounts from indigenous peoples, tools, clothing and other exhibits are brought together to tell how Arctic peoples have adapted to changing temperatures in the past and the mounting difficulties of confronting the extreme weather caused by change.
It’s a compelling look at what it actually means to deal with the ever-closer future of an ice-free Arctic through the eyes of the people who live there.
Death of England: Delroy
21st October – 28th November
London didn’t feel like London without The National Theatre – it felt like the city breathed a collective sigh of relief when the city’s flagship theatre reopened last week for socially-distanced live performance.
They’re not pulling their punches either: the season kicks off the hard-hitting interrogation of Black Britishness Death of England: Delroy a timely follow up to last year’s Death of England. Michael Balogun takes on the role of a working class black man who is arrested on his way to hospital, bringing playwrights Roy Williams’ and Clint Dyer’s words to life with disquieting force.
Miracle @ 34 Mayfair
It’s the most magical time of the year and we really (really) need some Christmas cheer… At least that’s what the peeps at 34 Mayfair have reckoned on in opening their OTT Christmas pop-up Miracle @ 34 Mayfair early.
Christmas! In October! What sauce!
That’s not where the madness ends either – the restaurant’s Christmassy transformation used a whopping 14,000 baubles and decorations. Word on the street is that even Santa is pretty impressed.
Barbican Conservatory Lates
Question: how do you make something brilliant even better?
Answer: Make it boozy
Like every basic b*tch in London, I’ve done my fair share of posing amongst the foliage at the Barbican Conservatory.
Great, great – but here’s something I bet you didn’t know… the canny folk at the Barbican have kicked off a new pop up bar where you can pose at the Conservatory but with drinks. It’s called Barbican Conservatory Lates, it’s free (well, apart from the cost of your booze), there are still tickets for this weekend’s slots and it should go straight to the top of your list of things to do in London this weekend.
Hop onto the New Public Sculpture in Canary Wharf
Jump on board -there’s a new art installation in town! Created by New York’s most prolific creators of public art Gillie and Marc Schattner, Tandem Lovers invites you to hop on board a tandem bike and travel using your imagination.
The sculpture features the Schattner’s favourite characters Rabbitwoman and Dogman – who frequently appear in the duo’s work – along with a spare seat at the back for people to hop on and use.
The aim? To encourage Londoners to fall in love with their surroundings and use their imagination to explore more. It’s a part of the Travel Everywhere with Love global art project – which seeks to ensure we all stay connected during a time when borders are closed and there are more barriers to travel than ever before in recent history.
Inside Out at The Southbank Centre
Until 30th December
The Southbank Centre has gone digital with its newest season of music, literature and comedy Inside Out. Get over your digital fatigue because the line-up is brilliant – ranging from Kae Tempest talking about creativity and identity, Bernadine Evaristo chatting to Dawn French about her new book and Arundhati Roy interrogating the meaning of freedom in today’s world.
Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition
Until 3rd January 2021
No, I haven’t made a mistake and yes, I know it’s October. The Royal Academy’s annual exhibition is a bit late this year but they decided to still call it the Summer Exhibition (because they thought that would be less confusing for us?).
Anyway, questionable naming aside, like most things in life, it’s better late than never. Head to the Royal Academy of Arts for the 252nd Summer Edition featuring the usual lineup of household names alongside emerging artists.
Forbidden Forest Cinema
23rd October – 8th November
There’s only one question that really matters… Are you brave enough to enter The Forbidden Forest.
Spooky Halloween cinema pop up Forbidden Forest Cinema are showing ALL of the Halloween classics from their tricked-out creepy base in Peckham’s Bussey Building. That means The Craft, Halloween, Scream, It, The Blair Witch Project and other things that will make you go boo in the night. Bonus points for dressing up.
Michael Clark’s Cosmic Dancer
Until 3rd January 2021
The impressive scope of choreographer Michael Clark is showcased in a comprehensive exhibition at The Barbican. The exhibition, which started earlier this year, displays the beauty of Clark’s work through a display of film, photography and other materials from Clark’s practice.
Practical Tips to Make the Most of What’s on in London This Weekend
- Now we’re in Tier 2 in London, don’t forget that there’s no mixing with other households indoor save for in Covid-secure locations (like theatres and galleries). Even in those locations, you can only go with people from your own household bubble – unless you’re having a business meeting, because the virus is too scared to bother buisnatch people (*sarcasm*).
- You can meet in groups of six outdoors with distancing.
- Restrict use of public transport during peak hours and walk / cycle as much as possible instead.
- Hospitality really is on its knees – even if you don’t feel comfortable going to your fave bar or restaurant right now, buying a voucher for later will really help.
Looking for More Things to do in London This Weekend?
Check these out…
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Discover London’s Hidden Gems