15 Things to Do this Weekend in London: 2-4 October 2020

It’s the first weekend of October! Get your autumn on with London Restaurant Festival, London Cocktail Week and the return of immersive theatre – all within Covid-secure government guidelines, of course

Lead image: The Great Gatsby immersive experience is back (photo: Helen Maybanks)

1 London Restaurant Festival, various locations
1-31 October
OpenTable has once again partnered with London Restaurant Festival to launch exclusive Festival Menus across the capital, which should just fill the big shoes that Eat Out to Help Out has left behind. The Festival Menus will showcase a number of bespoke menu offers with six themes to help you find just what you fancy. There’s London Legends, which will take you top some of London’s long-standing establishments; Outside and Cosy, for those who prefer to keep things alfresco as Covid-19 insists on hanging around (heaters and blankets aplenty); Talk of the Town, which showcases the hottest openings and rising stars; Neighbourhood Gems, for those who like to keep it local; Flights and Pairings, which will upgrade food experiences with drinks pairings; and London with a View, which, frankly, speaks for itself.
To scope out all the Festival Menus, see opentable.co.uk

2 London Cocktail Week, various locations
1-31 October 
October truly is the month of indulgence in London, with both London Restaurant Festival and London Cocktail Week in full swing. London Cocktail Week, the biggest city-wide celebration of cocktails in the world, is expanding across the entire month this year as it strives to help London’s cocktail industry get back on its feet. Taking place in London’s best bars – alongside a new at-home element – the festival offers cocktail lovers access to an unrivalled collection of top bars with the renowned self-guided Cocktail Tours, as well as a timetable of masterclasses and immersive experiences – all socially-distanced and fully compliant with the latest governmental guidelines. A £15 festival wristband is valid for the entire month of October and unlocks access to The Cocktail Tours, offering £6 Signature Serves in bars hand-picked by the organisers, including the likes of The Artesian at The Langham, Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London, Lyaness at Sea Containers London, Sketch and Blue Bar at the Berkeley.

3 The Great Gatsby, Mayfair
1 October-31 January 2021
The Great Gatsby – London’s longest running immersive theatrical production – returns this month, re-imagined and re-set to meet Covid-19 secure guidelines. Jay Gatsby invites you to his mansion for one of his infamous parties – the hottest invite in town with flowing champagne, bootleg liquor and pure Roaring Twenties hedonism. Don your masquerade, dress to the nines and immerse yourself in this heart-racing adaption of F Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal tale of jazz-age self-indulgence. Directed by Alexander Wright. Tickets from £39.95pp.
56 Davies Street, Mayfair W1K 5HR; immersivegatsby.com

4 The Murdér Express, Bethnal Green
2 Oct-31 Jan 2021

The Murdér Express, an immersive theatre and dining experience based in east London, reopens on 2 October to transport passengers back in time to the grandeur of the (pre-Covid) 19th century. Set onboard a glamorous train carriage, reminiscent of the Orient Express, The Murdér Express transports guests back in time to the grandeur of the 19th century. Travelling by train for pleasure is in its infancy, and you’ll join other excited passengers ‘travelling’ from London to the fictional town of Murdér in France. But first, we eat! Seated in the elegant dining car, passengers will dine on a menu designed by BBC One MasterChef 2017 finalist, Louisa Ellis, and as the train ‘departs’, the story unfolds around you. Of course, ‘The Murdér Express has new Covid-secure measures in place, including temperature checks, PPE for staff, sanitiser stations throughout the venue, reduced capacity and an amended seating plan for social distancing. Tickets from £65 plus a £3.90 booking fee per ticket.
Pedley Street ‘Station’, Arch 63, Pedley Street, Bethnal Green E1 5BW; funicularproductions.com

5 We Were Having a Perfectly Nice Time at Clapham Omnibus
2-24 October
We Were Having a Perfectly Nice Time at Clapham Omnibus is a dark comedy about loo roll, lost love at the bus station and knowing when to end a conversation – especially a sad one. Some people are inherently unlikeable. Some people have just read The Bell Jar and insist on telling everyone. Some people click their fingers at waiters… these two flatmates hate those people. In fact, they hate a lot of things, perhaps even each other. But they were having a perfectly nice time until she went and spoiled it all. Presented by Conflicted Theatre in association with Grace Dickson Productions. Tickets £6. Staged on Friday & Saturday evenings. Clapham Omnibus has new Covid-secure measures in place. Click here for more.
Northside, Clapham Common SW4 0QW; omnibus-clapham.org 

6 The Luna Cinema, Wimbledon Park
29 Sept-11 Oct

Following visits to the likes of Hampton Court Palace and the Old Royal Naval College, the Luna Cinema heads for Wimbledon Park from 29 September-4 October before ending its season with a run at Dulwich Park from 7-11 October. The open-air cinema experience now involves a number of pitches, pre-laid out for groups of two-to-four with chairs set up ready for you. In Wimbledon, you can enjoy Pretty Woman on 1 October, Joker on 2 October, Dirty Dancing on 3 October, and Back to the Future on 4 October. In Dulwich, its Joker on 7 October, Jojo Rabbit on 8 October, Rocketman on 9 October, The Greatest Showman on 10 October, and Pretty Woman on 11 October. A seated pitch for two is generally £35 although prices may vary according to the venue and the day.

7 Grown & Thrown at DIY Art Shop, Hackney
3-4 October
Grown & Thrown – where you can mix and match ceramics with plants – is a must for greenery lovers. Choose from a range of commissioned ceramic pots and planters by the likes of @colourbox_studio, @laura_bird_, @hannahbould and @ikukoikik, and match them with a selection of cacti, succulents and house plants to create your perfect plant and pot pairing. Exclusive pots and planters will be produced by ceramic artists that exhibit at the Independent Ceramics Markets, as well as ceramic artists from further afield. There will also be a collaborative range of one-off pots. Open 11am-5pm.
129 Shacklewell Lane, Hackney E8 2EB. See facebook.com/events

8 1,000 Tiny Fun Palaces, nationwide
3-4 October
Fun Palaces, the annual event that turns libraries and venues across the country into free celebrations of arts, science, craft, tech, heritage, sports and, most importantly, fun, is going micro this year. In response to Covid-19, the nationwide event is encouraging people to create extra-small, hyper-local Fun Palaces. A shared creation made by three neighbours along a wall, a seed swap in your street, a drumming lesson from a balcony window, a neighbourhood co-writing a story in chalk on the pavement, or six people enjoying a socially-distanced yoga class in a car park… It’s all about sharing skills and making local connections. You could even hold a Digital Fun Palace – broadcast a knitting tutorial on Facebook live, write a shared poem on Twitter, or hold a dance-off via video conference. For guidance on how to create a Tiny Fun Palace, click here.

9 Camden Oktoberfest at The Electric Ballroom
3-24 October
Camden Oktoberfest is going for a socially distanced version of events this year. Taking place across the first four Saturdays in October, Camden Oktoberfest will pair the usual merry traditions with live brass bands and DJs. The fully decked out Bavarian beer hall will set the scene for tonnes of authentic German bratwurst, grilled Black Forest sausage, Currywurst, pretzel alternatives Brotzel, plus giant sloshing steins of German beer. You’ll find only the finest Bavarian brews, supplied by Spaten, Löwenbräu & Becks, and Bratwurst from street food trader Herman Ze German. Eight piece brass band No Limit Street Band, made up of some of London’s leading street musicians, will lay down a mix of pop, rock, hip hop, R&B, funk and soul covers, with dancers, competitions and unique challenges keeping the energy levels high until the Club De Fromage DJs switch things up later on. Covid-secure measures include a 50% reduced capacity, Plexiglas shielded bars, hand sanitisers throughout, a one-way system throughout and apps for additional table service. Tickets from £20 (minimum four tickets, maximum six).
184 Camden High Street NW1 8QP; camdenoktoberfest.com

10 Brent Biennial, various locations
Until 13 December
The first ever Brent Biennale mark its year as London Borough of Culture – and what a year it has turned out to be! But it’s not over yet… more than 20 brand new artworks inspired by the cultures, places and people of Brent can be found in public spaces right across Brent, on buildings and billboards, in laundrettes and across 10 community and council libraries. From sculptures to sound art, large-scale murals to intimate installations, Brent Biennial features international and Brent-based artists including Rasheed Araeen, Imran Qureshi, Dawn Mellor, Jude Wacks, Jaykoe, Yasmin Nicholas and Ruth Beale, and every work has been specially commissioned by and created for then event. Download the map here.

11 Bush Theatre Pub Quiz
3 October
The Bush Theatre Pub Quiz is back this weekend, with drag queens Shey Envy & Mamory Layne testing your knowledge on everything from Theatre to Neuroscience. Jack Albert Cook, resident Quiz Master of the Bush, debuts his alter-ego Mamory Layne. When he’s not quizzing or being Duty Manager at the theatre, Cook finds time to write plays and produce new work with his company Bloom Theatre. Co-host, Shey Envy (aka Ryan Cottee), the ‘queen of mediocrity’, is thrilled to be making her debut at the Bush, alongside Mamory Layne. From 5.30pm. Limit of four people per team (ages 16+). Tickets £5.
7 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush W12 8LJ; bushtheatre.co.uk

12 Mayfair Sculpture Trail, various locations
1-31 October 2020
The inaugural Mayfair Sculpture Trail takes place this month as part of the seventh edition of Mayfair Art Weekend (2-4 Oct, kicking off with the popular Gallery HOP! a special evening viewing of all the partner galleries on 2 Oct from 5pm-8pm). Renowned galleries in Mayfair will present outstanding artworks in iconic locations, from Bond Street, Cork Street and Burlington Arcade and to the tree-lined grandeur of Grosvenor Square. Sculptures in the public realm, both permanent and temporary, are always free to explore in one of the world’s most prestigious and vibrant art neighbourhoods. Year-round, you’ll find Bruce Mclean’s Handbag Heads at One Hanover Street and the Allies by Lawrence Holofcener on New Bond Street, Antony Gormley’s Cinch perched on the north façade of Burlington Arcade, or Henry Moore’s Time-Life Screen above Hermès (what was the Time Life Building) on New Bond Street. But this October you can explore new outdoor installations as part of a series of self-guided trails (grab a programme from participating galleries or download the SMARTIFY app for an audio guide).

13 Kensington + Chelsea Art Week, various locations
1-11 October
This year’s Kensington + Chelsea Art Week will bring the Royal Borough to life with incredible public art and more than 200 events both online and offline. Highlights include the façade of the Coronet Theatre wrapped in embroidered poetry, empty retail spaces transformed with installations and colourful murals from local artists inspired by Black Lives Matter, Covid-19 and the hard work of the NHS. This year’s expanded Public Art Trail features work by artists Liz West, Lois O’Hara, Barnaby Barford, Toy Studio, Alex Chinneck, Chris Ruffoni, Found Fiction and Amy Jackson, all responding to the Curatorial Call: Transformation. Highlights of the Public Art Trail include ToyStudio’s geometric sculpture and light installation In Bloom on Sloane Square; British Sculptor Alex Chinneck’s Alaphabetti Spaghetti on Bramley Road / Lockton Street; Through III, a six-metre long triangular prism corridor of light and colour by Liz West on the Duke of York Square; and award-winning multidisciplinary artist Yinka Llori’s design interventions for the St Stephen’s Centre at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Plus, from 2–11 October, The Chelsea Theatre’s facade at World’s End Square will be illuminated by coloured lights in the evenings.

14 Do Robots Dream of Electric Bees? Annka Kultys Gallery, Hackney
Until 10 October
Annka Kultys Gallery is making history as the first commercial art gallery to represent a humanoid robot artist, Ai-Da Robot, in Do Robots Dream of Electric Bees? Ai-Da is the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist, who made the headlines last year for making over £1m in sales before her inaugural exhibition at Oxford University opened. The upcoming exhibition, a play on the novel by Philip K. Dick, presents new works by Ai-Da including oil paintings, drawings and sculptures, as well as one video work. The exhibition deals with themes from global warming, the extinction of species to the uses and abuses of future technologies. Aided by computer vision, Ai-Da can draw, and is a performance artist. Since her creation last year, Ai-Da has shown at the Barbican, Tate Modern, Ars Electronica and Abu Dhabi Art. Open Thurs-Sat, 12pm-6pm.
Unit 3, 1st Floor, 472 Hackney Road E2 9EQ; annkakultys.com

15 Architecture for Dogs at Japan House London, High Street Kensington
Until 10 October
Japan House London will be the first destination in Europe to host the internationally acclaimed Architecture for Dogs exhibition. Featuring a collection of 16 architectural designs for different dog breeds including the Beagle, Bichon Frise and Poodle, the exhibition offers a fun and insightful exploration into how it is possible for dogs and their human companions to be at their happiest through interaction with specially designed architectural pieces. The exhibition offers smaller dogs the opportunity to interact with a number of the designs, such as Architecture For Long-Bodied Short-Legged Dogs, designed by world-renowned architectural practice Atelier Bow-Wow. Other exhibits include A new home for Snoopy and a candy floss cocoon inspired by the distinct fur of the Bichon Frise.
101-111 Kensington High Street W8 5SA; japanhouselondon.uk