The best things to do in London this weekend from cocktails in an old carwash to celebrating Isle of Wight Festival’s 50th and the return of Dinosaur World Live
Lead image: Free at Isle of Wight, 1970, by Charles Everest © CameronLife Photo Library
1 The Old Car Wash Cocktail Pop Up, Homerton
From 6 August
Cocktails and car washes might not make for the most natural pairing, but in the age of enhanced hygiene measures, it does kinda make sense… The Old Car Wash in Homerton is a new pop-up cocktail bar in an abandoned car wash, serving top-notch cocktails from classics to bespoke creations, as well as beer from Camden Brewery. Ivan Cardoso, who has managed east London hotspots like Night Tales and Number 90 in Hackney, is behind the pop-up, a huge covered alfresco area with ample space for socially distanced seating. To celebrate the opening, The Old Car Wash in Homerton is offering a free cocktail to everyone who books a table for Thursday 6th and Friday 7th of August. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout August and September.
24 Ponsford Street, Homerton E9 6JU; oldcarwashinhomerton.co.uk
2 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. This week it’s Carl Donnelly, Kae Kurd, Esther Manito, Aurie Styla and Jon Long. 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
3 Dinosaur World Live at Troubadour Meridian Water, Enfield
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. The first show takes place at 12noon on Friday 7 August. Suitable for all ages 3+. Tickets from £40 per car.
Harbet Road, Enfield N18 3QQ; dinosaurworldlive.com
4 Bar W12 & Film Club at Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush
6 August-13 September
Westfield London is launching a new outdoor entertainment space this week. Bar W12 will open for summer drinks and pizza on the lawns, with socially distanced picnic tables and deckchairs around the site, as well as free screenings of family classics every Thursday to Sunday. Designed with social distancing in mind, the alfresco venue will be operated by Westwood Sports Pub & Kitchen. The bar will serve summer drinks and pizza, while the brand new outdoor cinema will screen movies including Rogue One: Star Wars Story, Finding Dory and Moana, with free showings at 3pm and 6pm. For a more comfortable experience, you can buy cushions to relax on from the centre’s Guest Services Hub, with all proceeds going to Westfield London’s national charity partner, Save the Children. Open daily with Eat Out to Help Out available Mon-Weds from 4pm-11pm.
Ariel Way, Shepherds Bush W12 7GF; westfield.com/london
5 The Luna Cinema at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Following a stint of drive-in screenings in Hendon and Rotherhithe, The Luna Cinema is back in its original, cinema-under-the-stars format. Or as close as is possible while physically distancing… The open-air cinema experience will now involve a number of pitches, pre-laid out for groups of two-to-four with chairs set up ready for you. That’s a one-up on the usual experience in that you don’t have to take your own chairs! After kicking off at Hampton Court Palace last weekend, The Luna Cinema heads for the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich this week (4-9 August), with screenings of Judy (4 Aug), Rocketman (5 Aug), Dirty Dancing (6 Aug) Joker (7 Aug), Grease (8 Aug) and Back to the Future (9 Aug). The Luna Cinema is also headed for Chiswick House (18-22 August), Royal Hospital Chelsea (25 August-8 September), Dulwich Park (16-20 September) and Wimbledon Park (29 September-4 October).
6 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 ha unparalleled access to the performances on stage; and a feature-length documentary.
Masterpiece Art, 3 Norland Place, Holland Park W11 4QG; masterpieceart.co.uk
7 West End Musical Drive-In, Enfield
8 August (& other dates)
Alongside London’s many drive-in cinemas, you can now enjoy the West End Musical Drive-In, a socially distanced musical theatre party from the producers of West End Musical Brunch. Taking place at The Drive In at Troubadour Meridian Water, the entirely contact-free concert experience delivers you live performances from the biggest West End superstars. This Saturday, Kerry Ellis (Wicked; We Will Rock You) will be joined by Alice Fearn (Wicked; Come From Away) and Jon Robyns (Les Miserables, Hamilton, Avenue Q) to perform songs from a host of different musicals live. The live performances will be projected from the stage onto a massive screen with sound provided straight to your car radio. Tickets from £65 (based on one car with two attendees). Arrival time 12.15pm, show time 1.15pm. Further dates include Saturday 8 August, 29 August and 12 September.
9 August (& other dates)
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 StreetEat by Underbelly, Wimbledon Park
31 July-23 August
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 launched on the South Bank on 24 July and will run until 10 October, and kicked off in Wimbledon Park shortly afterwards on 31 July, running until 23 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, & Sat-Sun, 11am-8pm. Further sites and dates will be announced soon.
10 House of the Rising Light at Dorothy Circus Gallery, Connaught Street
30 July-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
11 Alice in Wonderland at East Greenwich Pleasance & Abbey Wood Park
7 & 9 August
Alfresco ballet returns to Greenwich parks this summer as Kidbrooke-based dance company launches a new outdoor ballet programme. One of the first ballet companies to start touring following the easing of lockdown, Let’s All Dance brings a beautiful rendition of Alice in Wonderland to East Greenwich Pleasaunce (Friday 7 Aug) and Abbey Wood Park (Sunday 9 Aug) this weekend (1pm & 3pm at both locations). 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. Performances continue through August with shows at Charlton Park on 15 August, Avery Hill Park on 16 August and Plumstead Gardens on 17 August. Recommended for 2-14-year olds. Tickets are £7.
12 Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers at Design Museum, Kensington
From 31 July
The Design Museum marks its reopening on 31 July 2020 with the launch of the hugely anticipated Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers. Originally due to open on 1 April, 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 31 July-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
13 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).
14 The V&A and The Natural History Museum Reopen
From 5/6 August
The V&A and the Natural History Museum both reopen this week. At the Natural History Museum, reopening on 5 August (Weds-Sun, initially), the vast majority of the museum’s galleries will be open alongside its five-acre gardens and food and drink will be available to buy onsite. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is planned to open in October. The V&A will reopen on 6 August (Thurs-Sun, initially), offering access to all of the ground floor collection galleries including the Medieval & Renaissance Gallery, the Cast Courts, The Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art and the Fashion Gallery, as well as the Europe 1600–1815 galleries on lower ground floor. The first and second floor collection galleries will reopen on 27 August, as will the critically acclaimed exhibition Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk. Both museums will require visitors to book a free timed ticket in advance online.
nhm.ac.uk / vam.ac.uk
15 Electric Playbox, Southwark
Electric Playbox, the futuristic group entertainment platform, has reopened the doors to its Southwark venue. The newest addition to London’s quirky experience scene, Electric Playbox is a first-of-its-kind immersive experience, offering a choice of four virtual adventures, from throwing players back to 1984 to outwit an alien race taking over the globe, to a trip to the future to rescue a royal family in need. The state-of-the-art ‘Playbox’ uses a series of projection mapping, touch screens and motion tracking technology to deliver an hour-long team adventure that requires six players to work together to complete a series of mini-adventures and challenges. The brainchild of Tough Mudder founder Will Dean, the experience swap mud for motion-sensors to bring people together through shared screenplay. From £19 per adult (£9 per child).
Arch 3, 83 Scoresby Street, Southwark SE1 0XN; electricplaybox.com
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- London’s Drive-In Cinemas: A Complete List for Summer 2020