The best things to do in London this weekend from a splash about in the fountains at Somerset House to a free trip to the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition in Greenwich and the alfresco Cecil Court Summer Showcase in the West End
Lead image: The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House (photo: Kevin Meredith)
1 The South London Gallery Reopens, Camberwell
From 15 August
The South London Gallery will reopen both its main building and the Fire Station on 15 August, with new opening hours of Wednesday to Sunday, 11am-6pm. The galleries reopen with four exhibitions: Sophie Cundale: The Near Room in the Main Gallery, Abbas Zahedi: How to Make a How from a Why? and Working Progress, both in the Fire Station Galleries, and The Rita Keegan Archive (Project) in the Archive Room – all running until 13 Sept. The gallery is also maximising its outdoor areas, with the Clore Studio doors open onto the Orozco Garden throughout the summer and the Fox Reception and Fox Garden all open to the public. Crane’s Kitchen and The SLG bookshop will be open. Drop-in education programmes are currently paused, but this will be reviewed regularly. Entry is free but you’ll need to book a timed entry slot online in advance (small number of walk-up tickets will be made available daily). Face coverings required.
65-67 Peckham Road SE5 8UH & 82 Peckham Road SE15 5LQ; southlondongallery.org
2 Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Until 13 September
The National Maritime Museum is celebrating its reopening by offering free access to the 2019 Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition. In 2019 the competition attracted 4,602 entries from 90 different countries, with just over 100 awe-inspiring images making the cut to feature in the exhibition. From spellbinding skyscapes and galaxies to extraordinary photographs of aurorae, the exhibition showcases the world’s greatest space photography, including the winners and runners up of each of the eight different competition categories. On display in the National Maritime Museum’s dedicated photography gallery until 13 September 2020. Book in advance to visit. Open 10.30am-4pm. The 2020 competition shortlist has also been revealed, click here to see this year’s entries.
Park Row, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 9NF; rmg.co.uk
3 Canopy Market at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross
Weekends until 7 September
The ever-popular Canopy Market has moved to Coal Drop’s Yard for the summer to create a canal-side open-air shopping experience. The market is free to attend and will trade Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 11am-6pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm. Coal Drop’s Yard has become quite the alfresco district of late, with outdoor exhibitions, installations and FRAME’s outdoor workouts, from canalside yoga to 80s aerobics in the park. Check out Games We Play, a new exhibition from The Photographers’ Gallery capturing the joys of summer through a subversive lens; Pools by German artist Stephan Zirwes’ is a striking installation of two ‘pools’ in Granary Square that take the place of the fountains for the summer; and the Lollypop Lounge on the Canalside Steps, where 12 giant ice lollies ‘melt’ into the grass among stripey, socially distanced deckchairs.
King’s Cross N1C 4DQ; coaldropsyard.com
4 Somerset House Fountains Reopen, the Strand
From 6 August
It’s been an absolute scorcher these last few days, so you’ll undoubtedly be pleased to hear that the glorious Somerset House Fountains in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court have reopened, as has the River Terrace. The 55 fountains not only form a beautiful spectacle, but also offer a fun place for children – and big kids – to play and cool off. The fountain water has been treated and will be checked thoroughly. Also, in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, you’ll now find Spring to Go, a new pop-up food experience by Skye Gyngell’s Spring restaurant. Housed inside a pale pink shipping container, Spring to Go will offer summertime treats from ice creams to toasted sandwiches (open Thurs-Sun, 12pm-6pm). Inside, Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi continues until 13 September in the Terrace Rooms (pre-booking and face covering required). Somerset House’s online programme also continues, including a digital adaption of Film4 Summer Screen 2020.
Strand WC2R 1LA; somersethouse.org.uk
5 Play Zone at Boxpark Wembley
From 25 July
BOXPARK Wembley has pressed play on its popular games and activities, including Meetspace VR, Bad Axe and the family-friendly ‘PlayBox’ area. Meetspace VR has introduced a new game, Undead Arena, that’s perfect for zombie hunters. Other games include Free Roam, VR Escape Room and VR Arcade, and all are now conducted in private sessions of five or more players (open daily 12pm-10pm, from £20pp). The world’s biggest urban axe throwing club, Bad Axe, is back with a new WATL Live app, enabling axe throwers to play online live against anyone, anywhere in the world (open daily 4pm-10pm weekdays and 11am-10pm on weekends, from £25pp). To gain entry to BOXPARK Wembley, you need to download a BOXPARK Black Card. BOXPARK Shoreditch and Wembley are also launching a new Film Club screening cult classics and family favourites from Monday to Wednesday in August with bargain tickets.
18 Olympic Way, Wembley Park HA9 0JT; boxpark.co.uk
August is usually the quietest month of the year for the London art and antiques trade, but this year things are a little different. With so many July fairs either cancelled or postponed, Cecil Court, an arts and antiques mini-district in the West End, has decided to host the Cecil Court Summer Showcase. Taking place on Saturday 15 August in the Cecil Court arcade, the window-shopping event will afford those not too comfortable with enclosed spaces to browse the displays in the large, Victorian shopfronts. LAPADA Members Serhat Ahmet, Daniel Bexfield Antiques and Panter & Hall are amongst the participants, and Sworders’, whose London Gallery is nestled in the picturesque thoroughfare, will be previewing its upcoming auction highlights. 10am-5pm.
Cecil Court WC2N 4EZ; lapada.org
7 Dinosaur World Live at Troubadour Meridian Water, Enfield
Until 30 August
Dinosaur World Live, the interactive children’s theatre show that brings dinosaurs to life on stage, launches at The Drive In at Troubadour Meridian Water this weekend. Using stunning puppetry to bring life-like dinosaurs to the stage, Dinosaur World Live presents a host of impressive pre-historic creatures including the Microraptor, Segnosaurus, Triceratops and, every child’s favourite, the giant, flesh-eating Tyrannosaurus Rex. Performances will take place in a raised central location, giving everyone a great view wherever they park up, and the majestic roars of Dinosaur World Live will be played direct to your vehicle’s FM radio. Snacks and drinks are available to order via your mobile and delivered to your car. Suitable for all ages 3+. Tickets from £40 per car.
Harbet Road, Enfield N18 3QQ; dinosaurworldlive.com
Every Sunday in August
London Concertante has launched Secret Garden Concerts, a new socially distanced alfresco summer concert series. With London Concertante’s spring-summer season wiped out, this new exciting series allows the chamber ensemble to reach audiences in a new way before concerts are allowed to resume. Taking place in a newly-formed outdoor garden venue at London Concertante’s HQ in Streatham Hill every Sunday in August, the series of five outdoor performances will be accompanied by a sparkling wine reception and delicious menu. Musicians include The David Gordon Trio, The Camarilla Ensemble, London Concertante’s Guest Director Jonathan Stone, harpsichordist David Wright and, of course, London Concertante itself. Tickets from £35 (£75 with food).
9 Bottomless Booze Comedy with Vauxhall Comedy Club
From 7 August
Vauxhall Comedy Club is bringing back its Bottomless Booze Comedy Fridays, but things have taken an alfresco twist… Taking place at Vauxhall Food & Beer Garden, a spacious outdoor venue tucked away in a courtyard by Vauxhall station, the event features 90 minutes of bottomless booze before a line-up of the finest TV and circuit comics take to the stage. The bottomless bar opens from 6.30pm with comedy from 8pm-9.45pm, but try to take it easy on the booze because, to help try and keep things Covid-secure, heckling is forbidden. There’s also street food by Wagyu Burgers, Get the Greek, Cafe Pacifico Mexican, Win & Lilly Asian Cuisine and French Tacos. Every Friday in August and September. Tickets from £15pp for comedy only, with comedy and bottomless booze starting from £35pp.
6 South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall SW8 1SP; vauxhallcomedyclub.com
15 & 16 August
Alfresco ballet returns to Greenwich parks and open spaces this summer, thanks to Kidbrooke-based dance company Let’s All Dance. Follow Alice as she enters the curiouser and curiouser world of the White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter in this magical treat for the whole family. One of the first ballet companies to start touring following the easing of lockdown, Let’s All Dance’s beautiful rendition of Alice in Wonderland has already visited East Greenwich Pleasaunce and Abbey Wood Park, and will visit Charlton Park on 15 August, Avery Hill Park on 16 August and Plumstead Gardens on 17 August (performances at 1pm & 3pm). Recommended for 2-14-year olds. Tickets £5-£7.
11 Wight Spirit 1968-70 at Masterpiece Art, Holland Park
Until 5 September
Wight Spirit 1968-70 is a landmark exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the seminal Isle of Wight Festival. When Isle of Wight began in 1968, 10,000 people attended the event, but by 1970, with a line-up including Jimi Hendrix and The Who, the crowds had swelled to 600,000. A landmark in Britain’s cultural history, the festival formed the blueprint for now legendary open-air festivals like Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds. The exhibition features new sculptures by Guy Portelli, including a large-scale glass mosaic panel featuring the hand prints of more than 80 festival performers; a selection of photographs taken by the late Charles Everest, who had unparalleled access to the performances on stage; and a feature-length documentary.
Masterpiece Art, 3 Norland Place, Holland Park W11 4QG; masterpieceart.co.uk
12 West End Silent Disco Walking Tours
From 1 August
Silent Disco Walking Tours of the West End, voted Trip Advisor’s number one walking tour for London, is back to lead musical theatre lovers through the streets of London once again. Since musical theatre is still a no-go, Silent Disco Walking Tours offer a musical theatre fix via an all-singing, all-dancing tour of the West End. You’ll be given facts, anecdotes and music as you visit 20 theatres across the West End, all pumped into your Silent Disco headset as you walk, sing and dance your way through the streets of London. Guests are asked to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Tours run Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2.30pm for 2-2.5 hours. Tickets £24 (£5 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Theatre Artist’s fund).
13 Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers at Design Museum, Kensington
Until 14 February 2021
Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers, originally due to open on 1 April, finally opened on 31 July. The exhibition features the museum premiere of The Chemical Brothers’ sensory spectacle by creative studio Smith & Lyall, featuring mesmerising visuals for the Grammy Award-winning track Got to Keep On. While there, catch the Fountain of Hygiene, winner of a global competition launched in March by creative studio Bompas & Parr to rethink our approach to hand sanitising (open until 30 August in the Weston Mezzanine). New COVID-secure measures at the museum include reduced capacity, mandatory face masks, social distancing, enhanced cleaning and extended opening hours. Entry to the exhibition is by advance ticket only (from £16).
224-238 Kensington High Street W8 6AG; designmuseum.org
14 StreetEat by Underbelly, Wimbledon Park, Victoria Park & South Bank
Underbelly, which usually hosts a huge cultural festival on the South Bank each summer, has launched StreetEat, a new series of socially distanced food and drink pop-ups. The summer series is running on the South Bank until 10 October, Wimbledon Park until 23 August and Victoria Park until 31 August. Free to enter and completely outdoors, each StreetEat site will offer socially distanced seating pods from which visitors can watch free live performances by musicians, DJs, cabaret performers and singers, while enjoying street food and drinks from open-air bars. StreetEat South Bank is open 12pm-9pm daily. StreetEat Wimbledon Park is open Tues-Fri, 12pm-8pm, and Sat-Sun, 11am-8pm. StreetEat Victoria Park is open Tues-Fri 12pm-7.30pm and Sat-Sun 11am-7.30pm.
15 House of the Rising Light at Dorothy Circus Gallery, Connaught Street
Until 18 September
House of the Rising Light, featuring 42 artists from across Asia, explores the shift in contemporary art being led by a new generation or artists. Following in the footsteps of contemporary Japanese icons like Yayoi Kusama, as well as international pioneers such as Gilbert & George, the exhibition showcases some of the most avantgarde talents of the vast continent of Asia, from Japan, through South Korea, China, Vietnam, India and all the way to Iran. The realms of dreams and adolescence feature prominently in the exhibition, conveyed through a variety of genres from Pop Surrealism and Street Art to the New Figurative and New Contemporary. The exhibition is part of the gallery’s 2020 exhibition programme titled Mirrored Souls: The Year of Love.
35 Connaught Street, St George’s Fields W2 2AZ; dorothycircusgallery.uk
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