The best things to do in London this weekend from a floating jazz festival in Waterloo to feminist-punk-rock wrestling in Bethnal Green and the chance to go behind the scenes at Abbey Road Studios
Lead image: Doggy I Dos at The ‘Wooftop’ Film Club in Peckham
1 The Great Fête at Alexandra Palace
Alexandra Palace has renamed its annual free summer festival The Great Fête in celebration of the palace’s history of innovation and entertainment. Across the park there will be three live music areas featuring up-and-coming talent alongside the likes of DJ Yoda, as well as a silent disco in the woods and a screening of the classic film Blade Runner. There will also be a dedicated Play Zone hosting arts workshops and a crafting bazaar for children, as well as StrEATlife, Ally Pally’s free street food and craft beer festival, with some of the finest names from the street food scene. The event will also feature activities run by local groups including theatrical promenade performances from Haringey Shed, and the chance to learn how to grow your own veg at home with Edible London.
2 The Drag Ball at Clapham Grand
The Drag Ball returns to the legendary Clapham Grand for its third year on Friday 16 August. Join your favourite stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race at The Drag Ball, the official evening event of DragWorld UK, Europe’s largest drag convention, which takes over London Olympia in Hammersmith on 18-19 August with a drag market, talks, workshops and performances. Find out more about DragWorld UK here. The Drag Ball will feature Phi Phi O’Hara, Shea Couleé, Jinkx Monsoon, Adore Delano, Biblegirl and more. General admission £30, or £65 for a VIP meet and mingle ticket where you can meet the artists. For ages 14+ (under 18s must be accompanied by an adult on the balcony).
21-25 St John’s Hill SW11 1TT; claphamgrand.com
3 The London Dessert Festival at The Truman Brewery
The London Dessert Festival debuts at The Truman Brewery this month for a two day foodie extravaganza unlike any other food festival. The event will have four immersive zones to explore, including a Chocolate Zone featuring a foil covered room, Frozen Zone with ice-cream flavoured bubbles to taste, Patisserie Zone with oversized doughnut wall, and a Vegan Zone. The experiential spaces and scented themed rooms will also have a delicious range of fanciful creations to sample from London’s most trending desserts including bubblewaffles from Nosteagia, freakshakes from Miki’s Paradise and soft serve cheesecakes from Whipped London. Plus, top pastry chefs – including GBBO Dan Beasley-Harling, Head Pastry Chef at P.F. Chang’s Helen Clark and Le Cordon Bleu alumni – will also be hosting workshops and cooking demos. Tickets from £21.95.
91 Brick Lane, Spitalfields E1 6QR; londondessertfestival.com
4 Collage Club x Fentimans Secret Spritz Garden, Farringdon
Hidden behind ivy-covered walls in bustling Farringdon lies the Fentimans Secret Spritz Garden, a hideaway serving a dedicated menu of spritz cocktails. Throughout August, the garden will host a variety of workshops, creative masterclasses, and live music, kicking off with the Collage Club this Saturday. Founded in 2014, Collage Club has grown from a small gathering of friends into a renowned and regular fixture in the London pop-up craft scene. The workshop begins with a quick-fire collaging round to familiarise you with the materials, before you’re encouraged to use a variety of tactile materials to create beautiful botanical compositions inspired by the garden itself. And you can snip while you sip – for £10 you’ll gain entry into the garden, unlimited access to scissors, card, magazines, stickers and tape, plus a complimentary glass or two of Fentimans Rose Lemonade. Sessions run 12pm-1pm and 1.30pm-3pm. The bar will be open all afternoon. Tickets can be purchased here.
St John’s Gate, St John’s Lane, Clerkenwell EC1M 4DA; secretspritzgarden.com
5 Deptford Pride
Deptford Pride will take over Giffin Square to celebrate the progress made for LGBT rights in the 50 years since the Stonewall Riots. Durign the daytime, from 12pm-5pm, Giffin Square will host a range of performance acts and stalls from organisations tackling various issues in the local and wider LGBTQ+ community. Each organisation will have an opportunity to speak about their work on stage, and you can also pick up merchandise from the Pride Hub stall. In the morning, Deptford Lounge will host free Interactive Storytime presented by Son of a Tutu for all the family (10.30am-11am) while, in the evening, the OutDance After Party takes over the Albany Theatre with special guests The Cocoa Butter Club (9pm-late, tickets £8-£10).
Giffin Square, Deptford SE8 4RJ; deptfordpride.uk
6 Sugoi JPN’s NoriTaco, Bethnal Green
What happens when Japanese food meets Latin American food? Well, all sorts of great things, just look a ceviche… But things have taken a very sassy street food-style turn with the invention of the #NoriTaco, which you might just have seen firing up your Insta feed. Invented by husband and wife team Felipe Preece and Veronica Silva, the crispy seaweed tempura shell is shaped like a taco and packed with sushi rice and toppings such as tempura fried soft shell crab, chicken teriyaki or tuna, salmon, pico e gallo and kimchee. Find the Sugoi JPN food truck in the courtyard of Mother Kelly’s in Bethnal Green. The duo also recently launched Just Yuca at Old Street Brewery in Bethnal Green, transforming the humble root veg into four irresistible flavours of Yuca Fries as well as a Calpis beer to pair them with. We feel an east London food crawl coming on…
Mother Kelly’s Courtyard, 251 Paradise Row, Bethnal Green E2 9LE; sugoijpn.com
7 Pop Up Screens, Hither Green
Pop Up Screens is screening more than 40 of your favourite films this summer, bringing top movies to picturesque locations across London from Ravenscourt Park in Hammersmith to Guildhall Yard in the City. This weekend, Pop Up Screens is setting up in the lovely Manor House Gardens in Hither Green to screen a trio of cracking films that should provide ample opportunity to flex your vocal chords. On Friday 16 August you can sing along to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, on Saturday 17 August The Greatest Showman rolls into town (and who doesn’t love a bit of Hugh Jackman), and on Sunday 18 August, Bohemian Rhapsody will take over the screen with some epic storytelling and huge anthems. Each screening is catered by a local food vendor and you can take your own blankets, beanbags and cushions, or even hire a director’s chair. Tickets start from £12.50 for adults and £8 for children.
Guilford Street, Holborn WC1N 1DN; popupscreens.co.uk
8 Greenwich Peninsula Jazz Weekender
This free festival of jazz returns to Greenwich Peninsula but shifts its centre over to the beautiful new elevated linear park, The Tide. Pull up a deckchair and simply enjoy the jazz, or take a samba drumming workshop, try your hand at circus performance or watch the Upswing Circus professionals in action, and grab a plate of something tasty from street food stalls including Eat Chay and En Root – all while surrounded by new public artworks from Damien Hirst, Allen Jones and Morag Myerscough. Playing on Saturday is the Simon Read Trio (1pm-3pm), the Inês Loubet Trio (3pm-5pm) and AUB (5pm-7pm). On Sunday it’s Moonfish (1pm-3pm), Gecko (3pm-5pm) and Teotima (5pm-7pm).
Greenwich Peninsula SE10; greenwichpeninsula.co.uk
9 If You Know the Beginning, the End is No Trouble at South London Gallery, Camberwell
Until 1 September
Liz Johnson Artur presents new sculptural works incorporating photographs from her substantial archive documenting the lives of people from the African diaspora. If You Know the Beginning, the End is No Trouble is the first UK solo show for the Russian-Ghanaian artist, who has taken photographs across Europe, America, Africa and the Caribbean for more than 30 years. This exhibition focuses on London, where Artur has lived since 1991, capturing the richness and complexity of Black British life. In the Main Gallery, four hanging and floor-based bamboo cane structures host a body of images taken across the city, including in Peckham Rye, at black-majority churches and at non-binary club nights. On Saturday 17 August at 11.30pm, you can also catch a performance by smallboydanger, one of the shifting monikers of the artist Curtly Thomas, who will animate an image by Artur through sound play, gesture and movement alluding to both carnival traditions of ‘playing mas’ and Midnight Mass (entry £5.50). Main exhibition free.
65-67 Peckham Road SE5 8UH; southlondongallery.org
10 Win A Doggy Wedding at Wooftop Film Club, Peckham
Yes, you did read that right, Peckham’s Rooftop Film Club – one of London’s most romantic date spots – is spreading the puppy love and inviting barking brides and growling grooms to say their doggy I-dos at altitude. Every screening is dog-friendly, but the team is cranking up their love for our four legged friends this Sunday by offering one of our pedigree chums the chance to officially marry their life paw-tner at the ultimate wooftop wedding complete with a minister, a celebration cake, an unrivalled view of London and a glass of pawsecco to say cheers to the happy couple. The winner will also be given four complimentary seats to a screening of The Queen’s Corgi at 8.15pm. For the chance to win a wooftop wedding on 18 August, send a picture of your puppy couple to firstname.lastname@example.org with a reason why you pooch should get picked.
Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4ST; rooftopfilmclub.com
11 Unwined x Alter Collaboration, Tooting
Unwined in Tooting Market has teamed up with Alter for their first ever 100% vegan chef residency. Founded by Tooting-based chef Andy Hogben (formerly of Som Saa, A Wong and Dabbous), Alter takes a fresh approach to vegan food by never using substitutes for meat or dairy, and instead looking at cultures, techniques and cuisines that are naturally vegan for inspiration. The menu features small sharing plates inspired by street food across the globe, such as Thai Miang Bites, Xian-style Chinese Noodles and Taiwanese Bao Buns. On the wine front, this month’s theme is Islands, showcasing a Cabernet Franc from Long Island, a Kostifali from Crete, a Tintilla blend from Tenerife and a Pet Nat from London Town. The Unwined x Alter kitchen is open every Thursday to Saturday from 12pm-10pm until 8 September. Bookings not required.
Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High Street SW17 0SN; unwinedbars.co.uk
12 The Studios That Became A Legend at Abbey Road Studios, St John’s Wood
Abbey Road Studios, the world’s most famous recording studios, is openings its revered doors for a series of exclusive talks in Studio Two on the past, present and future of the iconic recording studio. The Studios That Became A Legend series will take place over two weekends (8-11 & 16-18 August), offering a rare opportunity to step inside the historic building and hearing extraordinary stories about the world’s first purpose-built recording studio. The lecture series aptly kicks off on Thursday 8 August – exactly 50 years to the day since The Beatles lined up for the iconic Abbey Road album cover photograph – diving deep into the studios’ legacy of innovation, from the patenting of stereo to the invention of recording techniques used across the globe today. Tours of the legendary Studio Two Echo Chamber and the famous Control Room will be offered. Tickets £125.
3 Abbey Road, St John’s Wood NW8 9AY; abbeyroad.com
13 The Floating Market, Paddington Central
The Floating Market returns to Paddington Basin for another canalside event where barges along The Grand Union Canal will open their doors to local vendors selling goods such as handmade Italian bags from Rosamund, Turkish towels from Pur and handmade terrariums, planters and home-wares from Deterra London. You can enjoy delightful food and drink from Paddington Central restaurants like London Shell Co., Vagabond and Darcie May, and there’ll be street food stalls and a variety of live music performances from Mandolin Mondays, Wandering Hands, Camili Music and Jazz Mino along the towpath. GoBoats’ electric hire boats will be commandeered by Good Hemp to showcase their wonderful range of healthy hemp milk products, and a lucky few will be invited to on board for a boat trip. Wed-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-4pm.
Sheldon Square, Paddington W2 6PY; paddingtoncentral.com
14 The Lost Love Speakeasy, London Bridge
Until 24 August
Following a seven-week sold-out run attended by over 7,000 people, The Lost Love Speakeasy, London’s secret hot jazz experience, has released an additional 4,000 tickets. Available from 26 July until 24 August, the experience combines hot jazz, dancing, a compelling story, fantastic food courtesy of Temper Restaurants Head Chef Neil Rankin, and great cocktails. Taking place in a hidden speakeasy near London Bridge, the experience stars Stella and her house band, The Lost Love Rhythm Kings, who will take you back to the Roaring Twenties to rub shoulders with the damned of New York. Chef Neil Rankin will put his legendary open-fire spin on some American classics, such as baked oyster with habanero mornay, Four Roses Bourbon and pickles, and Love Lost Steak with sirloin, rib-eye, blue cheese mash and eggplant gumbo, as well as New York Beignet, a deep-fried cheesecake with salted bourbon caramel. Tickets from £15.99 to £149.99.
15 Backyard Cinema’s L.A. Nights at Roundhouse, Camden
Until 25 August
London’s themed cinema experts, Backyard Cinema, have opened the doors at Camden’s Roundhouse for an ‘all singing, all dancing’ retro, West Coast show: L.A. Nights. Featuring sing-along beach parties with towering palm trees, a retro beach bar serving Slush Puppie cocktails, musical mash-ups from DJ Jaguar Skills and dazzling light shows for each screening. This weekend, you can sing-along to screenings of Greece (Friday at 8.30pm and Saturday at 12.30pm) and The Greatest Showman (Friday and Saturday at 4.30pm) from the sea of giant bean bags. The cinema is also screening sing-along versions of Dirty Dancing (Saturday at 8.30pm), Spice Girls: The Movie (Sunday at 4.30pm) and Bohemian Rhapsody (Sunday at 8.30pm) this weekend. And don’t worry about the weather – this pop-up cinema has a roof! Tickets from £18.99.
Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town NW1 8EH; backyardcinema.co.uk
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