Things To Do This Week In London: 21-27 February 2022

Things to do this week is sponsored by London Symphony Orchestra.

All week

Beatles Photography by Tommy Hanley. © Yoko Ono Lennon © Tommy Hanley Photography

LAST CHANCE SKATING: Though Christmas is but a distant memory, the last of London’s seasonal ice rinks carries on until the end of this week. Ice Rink Canary Wharf is located at the base of east London’s skyscraper cluster, with twinkling lights, and a rinkside bar for those who just want to watch. Ice Rink Canary Wharf, £17.95 adult/£11.95 child, book ahead, until 26 February

FASHION WITH PURPOSE: Showcase With A Difference: Product & Purpose is a free exhibition on the topic of sustainable fashion. It gives an insight into how clothes are made, with the work of 10 designers on show to demonstrate how they are rejecting the fashion industry’s bad habits. On Friday, there’s a special talk about waste and recycling in fashion retail. The Lab E20 (Stratford), free entry, book ahead, until 27 February

LAST CHANCE DÜRER: It’s the final week of Dürer’s Journeys: Travels Of A Renaissance Artist, a National Gallery exhibition charting the travels of German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. Paintings, drawings, prints, and letters tracks his journey through the Alps, Italy, Venice and the Netherlands, looking at the influences he picked up from other artists along the way. The National Gallery, £20, book ahead, until 27 February

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Last chance to see Battersea lights festival. Photo: Battersea Power Station

LAST CHANCE LIGHTS: Also coming to an end this week is Battersea’s light festival, a free trail of six glowing installations dotted around the power station district. Look out for an illuminated greenhouse, and a digital origami tiger, among other works. Battersea, free, just turn up, until 27 February

STRANGE ECHOES: Poet Olivia Douglass curates a six-day programme of spoken word, short films, listening sessions and workshops themed around poet and writer M. NourbeSe Philip. Philip’s work is considered deeply influential on today’s Black experimental writing in Britain. ICA (The Mall), various prices, book ahead, 22-27 February

BEATLES PHOTOS: Snaps of The Beatles, which have never been on public display before, can be seen in Belgravia for a short time. The windows of The Hari hotel host an exhibition of 48 candid photos by pop culture photographer, the late Tommy Hanley, including pictures of John Lennon, on loan from the private collection of Yoko Ono. The Hari (Belgravia), free entry, just turn up, until 2 April

STONEHENGE: You’ll need a few hours to fully experience the British Museum’s gargantuan Stonehenge exhibition, which opened last week. The mysterious stone circle is just a tiny part of the show*, which looks at how wider European culture was changing at the time. Read what our reviewer made of it. British Museum, £20, book ahead, until 17 July (*no, they haven’t moved the actual Stonehenge here)

Monday 21 February

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Royal Opera House hosts regular Recitals at Lunch

LUNCHTIME RECITAL: The Royal Opera House’s series of Recitals at Lunch continues with a performance by baritone Chuma Sijeqa and pianist Edmund Whitehead. It lasts around 50 minutes — ideal for squeezing a slice of culture into the middle of your day. Royal Opera House, £16, book ahead, 1pm

FILM HISTORY: Head (just) out of London to join this walking tour around Elstree & Borehamwood — the town which is home to Eastenders’ Albert Square and, currently, an exhibition about an unbuilt Northern line extension. Guide Rob Smith, though, is focusing on the area’s film history, visiting the sites where Star Wars, The Dam Busters and The King’s Speech were made. Elstree & Borehamwood station, £12/£6, book ahead, 2pm-4pm

QUEERLY DEPARTED: Royal Parks hosts an online talk to share the stories of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and non heteronormative people buried in Brompton Cemetery. Queer historians and cemetery tour guides Sacha and Sheldon take a look at stories which are often forgotten, but which still resonate today. Online event, free, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm

GYPSY: For one night only, a concert of the musical Gypsy comes to Ally Pally. See seven talented actors share the role of Rose, an indomitable stage mother pushing her daughters through the vaudeville circuit. A 26-piece orchestra accompanies the performance. Alexandra Palace, £62-£73, book ahead, 6.30pm

BAD IDEAS CLUB: Be a good egg by allowing yourself to have the likes of Alison Thea-Skot, Eleanor Morton and Matthew Highton trial their new material on you. Even if there are a few dud gags along the way, there are some great comics in this lineup — kick-start the week with a grin on your mush. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5.50, book ahead, 6.30pm

Tuesday 22 February

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Find out what influenced Amy Winehouse. Photo: Charles Moriarty

MARGARITAS: It’s International Margarita Day, and Patron tequila is inviting you to explore the zesty cocktail’s history by sipping different expressions of it (tickets include up to four free drinks, though we don’t know how big these’ll be). Noho Studios (Fitzrovia), £15, book ahead, 3.30pm-5.30pm

CRIME FICTION: If you love a good detective novel, head to Waterstones for an evening of crime fiction, celebrating new releases in the genre. Crime fiction authors including Amen Alonge, Dominic Nolan, James Oswald and Trevor Wood take part in a discussion about their work. Waterstones Piccadilly, £8, book ahead, 6.30pm

AMY WINEHOUSE: Tying in with the current Amy Winehouse exhibition, Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse joins music writer Lucy O’Brien and producer, writer and musician Luke Smith to discuss the musical influences which shaped the singer’s iconic sound. Design Museum, £15, book ahead, 6.30pm

QUEER EYE: Artists, academics and activists offer an alternative interpretation of objects in the Royal Museums Greenwich collection. Though the objects aren’t necessarily connected to LGTBQ+ histories, the online event demonstrates how they can have an alternative LGBTQ+ subtext which isn’t always immediately obvious. Online event, free, book ahead, 6.30pm

ROMAN ARCHAEOLOGY: Take a virtual trip to Italy with Rome tour guide Olga Cuckovic, who holds an online talk about the archaeology, myths and customs of Rome. Find out how the people of ancient Rome lived, and about some of the most interesting artefacts which have been discovered there. Online event, free, book ahead, 6.30pm

OSCAR WILDE: Actor and writer Simon Callow gives a live reading of The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and other poems by Irish writer Oscar Wilde. The event is introduced by actor Sophie Ward, and Oscar Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland, who will give a foreword to the event via video link. British Library, £13, book ahead, 7pm-8.15pm

This is a sponsored inclusion on behalf of London Symphony Orchestra.

Get your Half Six Fix with the London Symphony Orchestra


Want to kickstart your Wednesday evening in truly spectacular style? Get yourself down to the Barbican for a concert that’s all about sharing the brilliance of orchestral music in a casual, fuss-free environment.

This is the latest in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Half Six Fix event series. Each concert begins with an appetite-whetting introduction to the piece (so no sweat if you don’t know a thing about orchestral music), followed by a world-class LSO performance. The whole thing lasts just an hour — perfect as pre-dinner entertainment, or as an alternative to a post-work pint. Oh, and speaking of drinks, feel free to grab one at the Barbican bar to bring in with you.

For this edition of Half Six Fix, the LSO is joined by multi-talented conductor Barbara Hannigan, who also takes on the role of performer for a powerful rendition of Francis Poulenc’s one-woman opera, La voix humaine (The Human Voice). Tickets start at £18 — that’s already a pretty sweet deal for a night at the opera, but you can go even better if you go for the LSO’s Wildcard offer. That gets you guaranteed entry but surprise seats, starting at just a tenner — could be on the balcony, could be the best in the house! Why not try your luck?

Half Six Fix: La voix humaine. Barbican Hall, from £18 general admission/£10 Wildcard, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm on Wednesday 23 February.

Wednesday 23 February

Have a browse at Wembley Park Antiques Market

ANTIQUES MARKET: Up to 700 vendors descend on west London each month for Wembley Park Antiques Market, a free-entry fair which attracts members of the antiques trade from all over the country, and is open to the public too. Browse antiques, collectables, salvage, vintage homeware, jewellery, furniture and much more. Canada Gardens (Wembley), free entry, just turn up, 8am-4pm

STEEL AND SAILS: As part of the current London: Port City exhibition, Museum of London Docklands hosts an evening looking at how the area changed due to industrialisation. The museum’s Curator of Painting, Prints and Drawings, Thomas Ardill, chairs a panel of speakers to discuss the physical and socio-political changes of the landscape of the Docks. Museum of London Docklands or online, £12, book ahead, 6.30pm

MEDIEVAL PETS: Dogs, cats, squirrels, monkeys, parrots and caged birds, badgers and marmots were among the animals kept as pets in medieval times. Hear from historian Dr Kathleen Walker-Meikle about how these pets were kept, what they were fed, and what they were named. Online event, £1, book ahead, 6.30pm

SOUTH AMERICA: Another one for anyone with pent-up wanderlust. Hear from conservationist Michael Webster about his new book The Condor’s Feather, which chronicles his travels through South America in search of the continent’s bird life, from penguins to flamingos. Stanfords (Covent Garden), £5, book ahead, 6.30pm-8pm

CRYPT LATES: It’s jazz and soul night in The Crypt, which stays open late for an evening of food, drink and live music. Singers Beverley Skeete, Kevin Leo and Gemma Dorsett pay tribute to the likes of Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Nat King Cole, Bobby Womack, Norah Jones, and Joss Stone. St Martin-in-the-Fields (Trafalgar Square), £8-£18, book ahead, from 7pm

Thursday 24 February

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Surrealism Beyond Borders opens at Tate Modern. © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2021

SURREALISM BEYOND BORDERS: In its latest exhibition, Tate shows us that Surrealism is a truly global phenomenon. The show spans 80 years and 50 countries, ranging from Prague to Cairo, Buenos Aires to Tokyo, highlighting the stories of artists inspiring one another across borders. Tate Modern, £18, book ahead, 24 February-29 August

STONEHENGE: Hear from the curators of the current Stonehenge exhibition. Dr Neil Wilkin and Dr Jennifer Wexler offer an introduction to the story, scope and themes of The World of Stonehenge, highlighting some of the key objects on display. Online event, free (donations encouraged), book ahead, 5.30pm

CATHEDRALS OF STEAM: Writer and broadcaster Christian Wolmar gives a talk on how London’s great train stations were built, from the grand and palatial, such as King’s Cross and Paddington, to the more modest Fenchurch Street and Cannon Street. Find out how the construction of these terminuses caused tremendous upheaval and had a widespread impact on their local surroundings. Southwark Cathedral, £7, book ahead, 6.30pm

SLAVERY TO CIVIL RIGHTS: Hear from a panel of experts, chaired by Yassmin Abdel-Magied, about key sites in Black history and how heritage can teach us about underrepresented narratives from the past. Learn about buildings connected to slavery across Africa and the Caribbean, including ports which were the starting points of the transatlantic slave trade, lesser known sites where newly freed slaves took refuge, and locations in the U.S. which were central to the civil rights movement. Church House (Westminster) or online, suggested donation £5, book ahead, 7pm

JEAN SIMMONS: From roots in Cricklewood to the high life in Hollywood, learn about the life of actor Jean Simmons, who starred in British and American films in the 1940s-50s, and carried on working up until her death in 2010, and her burial at Highgate Cemetery. Online event, £5, book ahead, 7pm

RAINBOW RIVER: Discover queer history on the banks of the Thames at the Brunel Museum’s Rainbow River Virtual Pub Crawl. Tour guides and LGBQT+ historians Sacha Coward and Sheldon K. Goodman (who also led ‘Queerly Departed’ on Monday) delve into London’s LGBTQ+ history beyond Soho. Online event, £13, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

HOW SPIES THINK: What does it take to be a spy? Hear from former director of GCHQ, Professor Sir David Omand about his new book How Spies Think: Ten Lessons in Intelligence. He uses real examples from his career to reveal how the British intelligence agencies use information to make decisions and take action. The Royal Over-Seas League (Green Park), £12.50, book ahead, 7.30pm

Friday 25 February

Have a go at mastering the Lindy Hop

SUPPER, DELIVERED: Order ahead if you want in on La Fromagerie’s Supper Club Delivered. Each Friday the artisanal cheese shop offers a menu kit, with ingredients and instructions provided so you can have your supper at home. This week it’s a classic French bistro menu — think onglet with duck fat chips, followed by a cheese board and crepe suzette. £30 (for two people) + delivery charge, order in advance (delivery to central London only).

LINDY HOP: You don’t need any dance experience, nor a partner, to take part in Grounded Movement’s free Lindy Hop dance workshop. The inclusive event is open to everyone who wants to enjoy an afternoon of Lindy Hop and live jazz. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 1pm

PHIL WANG: This month’s Live at the Clapham Grand comedy night line-up includes Phil Wang, Suzi Ruffell, Ivo Graham, Olga Koch and Toussaint Douglass. Clapham Grand, £22, book ahead, 6.30pm

FIERCE QUEENS: Queen’s House Greenwich stays open late for a queer takeover to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month. Hosts Adam All and Apple Derrieres take visitors on an underwater-themed journey featuring gender diverse performances, queer history treasure hunts and more. Queen’s House (Greenwich), £16, book ahead, 7pm

JAZZ: Slink into one of the coolest jazz joints in town, Vortex, to catch the Larry Bartley Trio, featuring Riley Stone-Lonergan on tenor sax. The outfit perform numbers you may recognise, as well as their own grooves. There are two sittings of this evening’s show. Vortex Jazz Club (Dalston), £15, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm and 9pm-10.30pm

Saturday 26 February

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The Thinking Drinkers Pub Quiz is back

COMIC CON: It’s been a while, but it’s time to dust that costume off as London Comic Con returns. Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker, Game of Thrones’ Leigh Gill and Bob Elmore from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are among the famous faces scheduled to appear. Olympia, from £16 adult/£10 child, book ahead, 26-27 February

JEWISH BOOK WEEK: More than 70 events are on the impressive Jewish Book Week programme, covering topics as diverse as ghosts, music, vaccines and Margaret Thatcher. The festival celebrates the work of Jewish authors, many of whom appear at events, and addresses issues which affect Jewish people. Kings Place (King’s Cross) with some virtual events, various prices, book ahead, 26 February-6 March

GIN TOURS: After a long break, these immersive gin tours of London are back. Led by author and historian Dr Matthew Green, accompanied by musicians and actors, learn about the history of gin in the capital, from the setting of Hogarth’s Gin Lane to the sites of some of London’s most splendid gin palaces. Your ticket includes as much 18th century gin as you can drink. Church of St Giles in the Fields (Tottenham Court Road), £36, book ahead, 2.30pm

LEYTON ORIENT: Catch some EFL League Two action at Leyton Orient, as “the O’s” face Carlisle, who are battling to stay out of the relegation zone. We highly recommend a visit to the club bar beforehand. Leyton Orient (Leyton), from £18 adult, £8 under-18, book ahead, KO 3pm

EARL’S COURT PRIDE: Celebrate the golden Earl’s Court gay hey days at Earl’s Court Pride. Taking place at The Bolton pub, one of the area’s original gay pubs, it’s an evening of film, fun, friendship, music, memories, drag queens, and celebrities. The Bolton, free, book ahead, 6pm

THINKING DRINKERS: Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, together known as the Thinking Drinkers, are experts at combining booze and comedy, and do so with aplomb at their regular Thinking Drinkers Pub Quiz nights. Expect an onslaught of amusing facts and trivia, and five free drinks for every audience member. Leicester Square Theatre, £18.50, book ahead, 7pm

SURVIVING SUICIDE: An event designed to offer ways to combat the ever growing problem of people wanting to take their own lives, SOS-Surviving Suicide features six poets sharing their work and back stories, with experts from leading suicide charities on hand to share their experience and advice. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), free, book ahead, 8pm

Sunday 27 February

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Take the kids along to Big Fish Little Fish

ANTIQUES FAIR: If you didn’t get your fill of antiques on Wednesday, head along to the Adams Antiques Fair, London’s long-running Sunday antiques fair, with over 100 dealers selling jewellery, collectables and more. Royal Horticultural Halls (Westminster), £4.90, book ahead, 10am-4.30pm

FAMILY RAVE: Who says parents can’t party? Big Fish Little Fish family raves are just that — raves that the whole family can attend. DJ Jerome Hill plays club classics, with bubbles, foam balloons and confetti to entice younger family members onto the dance floor, plus craft tables, face painting and a chill space. Fancy dress theme is space and aliens. West Five Bar (South Ealing), adult £11/child £8, book ahead, 2pm-4pm

SIMPLY SINATRA: Celebrate Ol’ Blue Eyes as the London Concert Orchestra and singers Matt Ford and Katie Birtill perform some of Frank Sinatra’s best-loved songs, including Come Fly With Me, My Way, and Fly Me To The Moon. Southbank Centre, £16.50-£48.50, book ahead, 3pm

QUEER HORROR: The Castle Cinema launches a new film club devoted to queer, cult and classic horror cinema — and they’re starting with the 1931 version of Frankenstein, directed by the openly-gay James Whale. There’s a pre-screening intro and post-movie social in the bar. The Castle Cinema (Hackney), £11, book ahead, 5pm

COLLYWOBBLERS COMEDY: Fiona Allen of Smack the Pony fame, and Welsh Zimbabwean comedian Tadiwa Mahlunge are among those on the bill tonight at what is one of Streatham’s best pubs. A great way to laugh off those Sunday eve blues. The Railway (Streatham Common), £7, book ahead (or £9 on the door), 8pm-10.45pm

Urban oddity of the week

A man in a black top walks towards a set of standing stones

With the opening of the British Museum’s Stonehenge exhibition (see Thursday), you might consider visiting London’s very own henge. This set of standing stones can be found in the Middlesex Filter Beds nature reserve along the River Lea. The huge granite blocks were once the foundations of an engine house, but were rearranged by artist Paula Haughney in 1990. Ever since, they’ve been known as Hackney Henge. The stones are carved with images of the natural world, appropriate for this little-known nature reserve.

Good cause of the week

An old-style tube roundel on a grey brick wall

Want to watch a talk about London’s transport while supporting a good cause? Head along to Station Hall in Herne Hill on 26 February (or watch on Zoom), as heritage expert Edmund Bird takes a deep dive into how London’s transport shaped the growth of the capital. The event is in memory of 18 year old Ruby Fuller, a huge fan of the London Underground who sadly died of blood cancer in May 2020. All proceeds from the event will go toward Ruby’s Live Kindly Live Loudly Fund with the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, to help support research into these diseases. Book here.

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