15 of the best things to do in London this weekend including an Afro-Caribbean comedy show for Black History Month, and LGBTQ+ Oktoberfest and a very Instagrammable plant market…
Lead image: Chihuly Nights at Kew Garden (The Ethereal White Persian Pond © Scott Mitchell Lean for Chihuly Studio)
1 Black History Month, across London
Black History Month returns to celebrate black British achievers with a series of special events across London and the UK. This weekend’s highlights include the Africa vs Caribbean Comedy Show, featuring some of the biggest names in Afro-Caribbean comedy, taking place on Saturday 12 October at Dingwalls in Camden Lock, Black Girl Fest, with curated talks, workshops, masterclasses, a marketplace, exhibitions, live performances, screenings and more at the Business Design Centre in Islington on Saturday 12 October and Dutchman, Amiri Baraka’s award-winning one-act play, revolving around two characters – Lula, a white woman, and Clay, a black man – exploring white privilege, masculinity, power and sexuality, running from 8-26 October at The Actors Theatre in the West End.
See blackhistorymonth.org.uk for further information and full listings
The UK’s largest Pink Oktoberfest, fast becoming an unmissable date on the LGBTQ+ calendar, is back for the third year running with the campest, most colourful Oktoberfest ever. Taking over Dock X in Surrey Quays, which will be set up as a traditional Bavarian beer hall, you can expect drag queens, rave karaoke, lip sync battles, game shows, DJs, dress up and, of course, Oktoberfest Bands from Munich. There will be rows and rows of long tables and a huge dance floor, so don your best Bavarian get-up and dance the night away. And if beer’s not your thing, there will also be a champagne and cocktail bar. 4pm-11pm. Tickets £15.
Dock X, Surrey Quays SE16 2XU; pinkoktoberfest.com
3 Green Rooms Market at Mercato Metropolitano, Elephant & Castle
Green Rooms Market, the lush, leafy shopping and workshop event, is headed for Mercato Metropolitano food hall in Elephant & Castle this month. In celebration of the venue’s inspirational green ethos – Mercato Metropolitano is big on community inclusion and sustainability – Green Rooms Market will feature a hand-picked selection of eco-conscious botanical traders. Discover a plethora of ‘grown not flown’ house plants, cacti and succulents alongside pots and plant accessories made from waste materials. Learn how to reduce consumption by propagating house plants or get crafty and create your own macrame plant hanger using recycled cord. Pair all that with Mercato’s many food and drinks options and its bound to be a corker! Free entry. 11am-5pm. The venue is family friendly and accessible.
42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle SE1 6DR; greenroomsmarket.com
4 Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet, Greenwich
Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet – the 70s & 80s soul, funk and disco night for those who remember the hits from first time round – returns to the legendary Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich to get everyone into the groove. HSDY is much more than just a disco with choreographer-led dance routines (Carwash, Love Train etc), vinyl DJs on the decks playing classic floor-fillers, plus prizes for the best retro outfits, free sweets and ice pops, and eco-friendly glitter face-painting. 7.30pm-midnight. Tickets £15 in advance only from the website and local stockists.
Park Row, Greenwich SE10; haventstoppeddancingyet.co.uk
5 Wimbledon Piano Classics at Trinity United Reformed Church
Blüthner Pianos and the Royal College of Music have assembled a world-class line up of leading artists to celebrate classical piano music of the highest order at Wimbledon Piano Classics. The event features world-class artists including Martin James Bartlett, George Harliono, Anna Huntley, Simon Lepper, and Sofya Gulyak. Professor Vanessa Latarche, RCM’s Head of Keyboard, will also host a free piano masterclass, where she will provide artistic guidance and an insight into life at the school, along with practical advice on auditions, funding and career opportunities. Martin James Bartlett, the 23-year-old winner of the BBC Young Musician Award 2014 who has performed at Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday thanksgiving service, will be joined by pianist George Harliono in a sparkling, spellbinding evening of world-famous classical works on 12 October at 7.30pm. Tickets £10.
Mansel Road, Wimbledon SW19 4AA; bluthner.co.uk
6 Fentimans’s 360 Virtual Reality Bar, Brick Lane
Fentimans is virtually whisking visitors away to a vibrant tropical paradise with a 360-degree bamboo beach bar this weekend. To launch its new Tropical Soda, the botanically brewed drinks maker is serving up refreshing cocktails in partnership with award-winning Islington tiki bar, Laki Kane, complete with a VR trip to tropical climes. Launched during London Cocktail Week and running from 9-13 October, the 360 Virtual Reality Bar, located within the LCW Cocktail Village on Brick Lane, invites you to slip on a virtual reality headset and be whisked away to a tranquil desert island with sunlight heaters, real sand under your feet and the virtual sights and sounds of crashing waves. Three cocktails will be up for grabs, all priced £6 those and mixed with Fentimans Tropical Soda, Ginger Beer and Curiosity Cola. Try the Skinny Spiced Colada, a revitalising blend of Laki Kane’s Spiced Dry Rum, coconut water, coconut buttered shrub and Fentimans Tropical Soda. A London Cocktail Week wristband, priced £10, is required for entry.
The Cocktail Village, 146 Brick Lane E1 6RU; drinkup.london/fentimans
7 Premier Inn’s Pillow Fight Club, Soho
If the thought of a pillow fight brings on all the nostalgic feels, then Premier Inn’s Pillow Fight Club is for you. The UK’s first Pillow Fight Club pop-up, aimed at families, takes place on Sunday 13 October to celebrate the arrival of the hotel group’s new pillow collection. But before recycling its old pillows and replacing them with new soft and firm pillows across its 800 hotels, Premier Inn has decided to host a somewhat softer version of the Fight Club made famous by Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in the 1999 film. With up to 400,000 leftover pillows, the hotel chain is inviting families to an event space in Soho to take part in the fun. You’ll be schooled on the rules, learn the technique, then square up against a family member and battle it out to make it to the top of the leader board. Post pillow fight, families can recuperate at a rest station and snap some post fight selfies by a giant pillow wall. Attendees will also be gifted Premier Inn’s ‘best ever pillow’, made from blown hollow fibre to keep them lightweight and breathable (while stocks last). 1pm-6pm. Additional events will take place in Edinburgh, Bristol and Cardiff. It’s the first time Premier Inn is selling its pillows alongside its famous Hypnos bed (click here to buy premierinn.com).
15 Bateman Street W1D 3AQ. For tickets and timings see eventbrite.co.uk
*Please note this event has been cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis*
8 England v France Rugby World Cup Screening at Twickenham Stadium
Twickenham is, of course, getting in on the action. Head to the stadium to watch the big one – England v France – beamed live from Yokohama on Saturday 12 October. After a welcome breakfast cocktail or mocktail on arrival at 8.30am in the Clubhouse Bar in the newly opened East Stand, you’ll be able to order a selection of hot breakfast items throughout the morning, with unlimited tea and coffee and a match-day atmosphere. Kick off is at 9.15am, and you can watch the crucial pool stage match on multiple screens. Tickets are £20. After the final whistle, you can also enjoy a trip to the World Rugby Museum for an extra fiver.
200 Whitton Road, Twickenham TW2 7BA; twickenhamstadium.com
9 Midcentury East at Haggerston School
Midcentury East, in association with Balfron Tower, brings 55 top vintage dealers to the stunning Ernö Goldfinger-designed Haggerston School this month. You’ll find an eclectic mix of rare collectable pieces and functional C20 furniture all under one brutalist roof, as well as striking posters, quirky lighting, Berber rugs, ceramics, stunning jewellery and glass from world famous C20 icons. Londonewcastle, the superstar developers behind Balfron Tower, will also be on hand to talk all things beton brut (you can also get a quick taster deal giving free entry to this exclusive Hackney vintage interiors showroom from 3pm). Refreshments and delivery available onsite. £9 tickets for entry from 10am available in advance online only. Afternoon ticket deal – 2 for £10, entry from 1pm – available in advance online only. £10 on the door on the day.
Weymouth Terrace, Haggerston E2 8LS; modernshows.com
10 Wimbledon BookFest, Wimbledon Common
Until 13 October
Wimbledon BookFest continues into a second weekend of talks, debates and workshops showcasing literary names, politics, current affairs, sport, film, music, children’s events, comedy and much more in the Big Tent on Wimbledon Common. Headliners include Harry Hill, James O’Brien, Emilie Maitlis, Levison Wood, Mariella Frostrup, Konnie Huq, Nadiya Hussain, Patricia Cornwell and Sir Trevor MacDonald. This weekend you can enjoy comedy with Rachel Parris, Steve Bugeja, Dane Baptiste and Sarah Keyworth on Saturday night, a talk on Fast Fashion and tackling the environment’s next biggest challenge with fashion journalist Dana Thomas and environmental journalist Lucy Siegle on Sunday afternoon, and Nadiya Hussain in conversation wit Hannah Macinnes on Sunday afternoon. Tickets from £7. Plus, The Ivy Café in Wimbledon is celebrating this year’s festival with a collection of limited-edition cocktails inspired by some of the most iconic literary works ever written.
Wimbledon Common SW19 5AZ; wimbledonbookfest.org
11 Herne Hill Music Festival, various locations
Until 13 October
Herne Hill Music Festival returns with a programme offering locals their usual range of music from jazz, folk and blues, to family and children’s concerts and classical music, with 22 events planned this year. The festival kicks off on Friday 4 October with The Junction Club at the Half Moon featuring jazz singer Becky Handley, and nonclassical, challenging Western classical traditions, at Off the Cuff. There is music every night of the week, including two performances celebrating Herne Hill’s own John Ruskin in his bicentenary year. Other highlights include a Junior Open Mic Concert at Off the Cuff on 6 October, Big Band Jazz in the Park at the performance space in Brockwell Park on 13 October, and a classic silent film, Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last, with live piano accompaniment at St Faith’s Church, also on 13 October. Ticket prices vary.
12 Clapham Fringe at The Bread & Roses Theatre
Until 13 October
Performing arts festival Clapham Fringe returns for its fifth year with theatre, comedy, family shows and more. Look out for Just Eat, which serves up five different personal struggles served on a bed of autobiography with songs on the side and a promise to get you to that target weight on Friday 11 October; Smashing It! by Helen Sulis Bowie, an interactive comedy gameshow about life under a capitalist patriarchy, on Saturday 12 October; and Charles Dickens’s final completed work, The Signalman, written after he had survived a train crash and adapted here by Martin Malcolm (Warped, VAULT Festival 2019) on 12 & 13 October.
Bread & Roses Theatre, 68 Clapham Manor Street SW4 6DZ; claphamfringe.com
13 Wandsworth Artists’ Open House, various locations
Each year, around 12,000 people are welcomed behind normally closed doors to browse incredible paintings, mosaics, textiles and glasswork as part of Wandsworth Artists’ Open House. Some 130 artists will be taking part this year, with four distinct trail areas: Battersea & Nine Elms, Southfields & Wandsworth Town, Putney & Roehampton, and Tooting & Furzedown. Highlights include 91-year-old Nairobi-born Sheikh Nur Ali, a philosopher and ‘international artist of peace’, in Roehampton; partially sighted artist Karen Levan, who is inspired by a lifelong interest in history and the natural world, on Lower Richmond Road; and the ever-popular sample sale of Anna Jacobs, whose work the Evening Standard described as ‘exquisite’, in Earlsfield.
14 Chihuly Nights at Kew Gardens
Until 26 October
Experience Dale Chihuly’s breathtaking glass artworks illuminated under the evening sky as the sun sets across Kew Gardens. Enjoy beautiful music commissioned by Guest Artists and based on a composition by acclaimed composer Nico Muhly, featuring instruments and vocals to reflect Chihuly’s use of glass and breath. The soundscape will change each evening and will include a rotating line up of musicians, including the UK’s only glass harmonica player Alasdair Malloy. Food and drink will be available from the Pavilion Bar and Grill. Running every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7.30pm-10.30pm (last entry to Gardens at 9pm). Tickets £18 (members £12).
Victoria Gate entrance, Kew Gardens, Richmond TW9 3AE; kew.org
15 Perception Festival at Omnibus Theatre, Clapham
Until 28 October
Clapham Omnibus’ 5th annual Perception Festival takes on the theme of Nasty Women, featuring a rich and riotous all-female mix of uncompromising theatre-makers investigating our perceived notions of femininity and womanhood. Highlights include Femme Fatale (8-27 October), where Nico, singer with The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol’s Superstar, waits to shoot his latest movie when her Chelsea Hotel room is invaded by radical feminist Valerie Solanas who wants the celebrity’s help to spread her message of female revolution, but Nico only craves drugs to insulate her from her pain, and a darkly comic battle begins; The Frog Princess Punked (12 October), a crazed punk fairytale warning of the danger of annexing the wild and the wisdom of liberating the female; and The Cocoa Butter Club (18 October), a fierce line up of performers of colour with burlesque, spoken word, live music, Voguing and more.
1 Northside, Clapham Common SW4 0QW; omnibus-clapham.org
- 36 Great Things to Do in London: October 2020
- Ad Feature Get 20% off Your First Lesson Package at Karen Hardy Dance Studios
- London’s Best Luxury Christmas Afternoon Teas
- London’s Best New Restaurants & Bars: October 2019
- Waldorf Hilton Launches a Nutcracker Themed Christmas Afternoon Tea
- Ad Feature Everything You Need to Know about the Chelsea Rare Book Fair 2019