Things to do this weekend in London: May 7-8, 2022

The whole weekend

Last chance to see Van Gogh: Self-Portraits. Photo: Fergus Carmichael.

LAST CHANCE EXHIBITIONS: It’s the last weekend for some great exhibitions – see them before it’s too late! They include London: Port City at the Museum of London Docklands (free, reservation required); Fabergé at the V&A (£18, sold out but check last minute availability); and Van Gogh at the Courtauld Gallery (£18, reservation required). All until May 8.

LGBTQ+ MUSEUM: London’s first LGBTQ+ museum opens in King’s Cross, with an exhibition titled ‘Welcome to Queer Britain’. Queer Britain (Granary Square), free (donations welcome), from May 5

OUR TIME ON EARTH: The Curve at Barbican opens a new immersive exhibition Our Time On Earth, which examines how humans fit into the wider ecosystem and what can be done to combat climate change. Barbican, £18, book ahead, May 5-August 29

THE ACT: Notting Hill has just opened a brand new bar, The Act. They serve delicious cocktails, Indian small plates, and best of all, there will be live entertainment throughout your visit. Get ready to get up and dance…

Saturday May 7

A merchant chats with a customer around a table, with other people browsing different stalls in the background
Crafty Fox Market is back at Elephant and Castle

MY BEAUTIFUL LADY: The Lincoln Center Theater production of My Fair Lady moves to London for a summer, inviting you to relive the story of cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle and haughty linguistics professor Henry Higgins, live on stage. London Coliseum, from £20, book ahead, May 7-August 27

SPITALFIELDS HISTORY: Join speaker and artist Steven Smith on a walking tour covering the history of the Spitalfields area. It’s a place where many New London communities have settled in the past, and the walk examines the traces they left behind. Bishopsgate Institute, £22, book ahead, 11am-1pm

FOX ARTISAN MARKET: Shop directly from independent artists and makers at the latest Crafty Fox Market. Browse stalls selling ceramics, jewelry, homewares, accessories, art prints, cards, and gifts. Plus, it takes place in a food market, so there’s plenty of food and drink to keep you going. Mercato Metropolitano (Elephant & Castle), free entry, just show up, 11am-5pm

A bartender pouring a shot of a clear spirit, with plenty of other bottles on the shelf behind him
Celebrate all things tequila and mezcal

TEQUILA AND MEZCAL FESTIVAL: The La Piñata tequila and mezcal festival is in town. It’s a celebration of spirits made from the agave plant, as well as Mexican culture – complete with cocktail masterclasses and street food stalls. Tobacco Dock, from £20, book ahead, 11am-8pm

BREW LDN: More drinks! The Brew LDN beer festival is into its second day celebrating craft beer and cider, with a side order of tasty food and live music. Sample drinks from a range of breweries – including Electric Bear, Kirkstall, Vocation and Yonder – and get insights straight from the people who make them. Printworks (Rotherhithe), £24, book ahead, 11:30am-midnight

EID ON THE SQUARE: The Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated in Trafalgar Square to mark the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting. Muslim art, music, culture, literature, history and fashion are all celebrated, alongside food stalls selling dishes from around the Islamic world. Trafalgar Square, free, just show up, 12pm-6pm

Crowds of people around Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, all looking towards a temporary stage
Celebrate Eid in Trafalgar Square

SPRING PROMISES: For the Last Night of the Spring Proms, the London Concert Orchestra and soloists perform an afternoon of lively classics, including Ravel’s Bolero, complete with a grand finale. Southbank Centre, £17.50-£49.50, book ahead, 2:30 p.m.

UNBURIED LONDON: When the Museum of London moves into its new premises in Smithfield, the existing 1970s building on the London Wall will be redeveloped. What stories can this building tell? The stories, buildings, archeology and people whose lives have been touched are just as rich and effusive as the collections they contain. Join Minimum Labyrinth for a walk that doesn’t go into the museum itself, but rather around and below. Museum of London, £9.50 to £12.50, advance booking, 3:30 p.m.

CABARET AGAINST CANCER: Comedy, drag, circus and dance feature in Cabaret Vs Cancer, an animated show that raises money for the charity of the same name. The performance is performed in BSL and the lineup includes burlesque performers Missy Malone and Snatchdragon. Udderbelly Cavendish Square, from £18, book ahead, 7:30 p.m.

THE CANDLELIGHT CLUB: Prohibition-era themed party The Candlelight Club returns with all its usual trimmings; 1920s-30s style live music; cabaret host Champagne Charlie; vinyl records; and lots of flowing cocktails. Secret location in central London, from £25, book ahead, 7pm-midnight

The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs at the Soho Theater

MOVIE SOUNDTRACK : The best works of composer John Williams are performed this evening by the London Concert Orchestra. The film composer’s works include scores for Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Close Encounters, ET, Jurassic Park and Superman. Southbank Centre, £17.50 to £54.50, book ahead, 7:30 p.m.

LESBIAN AFFAIRS: The musical comedy show The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs tells the fictional story of a lesbian choir attempting to take to the main stage at Pride, in an effort to unite the disparate lesbian community. It explores themes of love, homosexuality and belonging, at a time when every main street has a rainbow flag but no lesbian bar. Soho Theatre, from £12, book ahead, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday May 8

Children seated on the floor watch three different Punch & Judy style puppet stands
Head to Covent Garden for the Puppet Festival

NORTHOLT VILLAGE: Join Footprints of London guide Jen Pedler for a walking tour of the village of Northolt. Climb the man-made mounds of Northala Fields for panoramic views of London and learn about the history of the village of Northolt, which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. Northolt station, £12 / £9, book ahead, 11am-1pm

GREEN MEETING: Fulham Palace celebrates all things green and eco-friendly with its annual Green Meet. There’s a green market, lawn picnic, family yoga, food waste workshop for kids, garden tours and a seed swap. It looks like a pretty nice day. Fulham Palace, free, £2 suggested donation, advance booking, 11am-4pm

PUPPET FESTIVAL: One of those unique London events that we love, the Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival is back. It celebrates the first recorded production of a Mr Punch show, as witnessed by Samuel Pepys in Covent Garden in 1662, and attracts puppeteers from across the country for a procession, church service, performances, stalls and workshops. Covent Garden, free, just show up, 11am-5.30pm

A rack of vintage dresses in different shades of pale pink.  On the right, two models, also dressed in vintage dresses.
Refresh your wardrobe at Frock Me! vintage fair

VINTAGE SHOW: Stock up on retro outfits at Frock Me! Vintage Fair, specializing in high-end vintage fashion, textiles and accessories. Over 60 vendors are selling merchandise, and it’s not uncommon to see designer brands at this event, so it’s well worth poking around. Chelsea Old Town Hall, £5-£10, book ahead, 11am-5.30pm

PINK JUKEBOX: A ballroom and Latin dance club for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends, Pink Jukebox is back on Bishopsgate. Start your afternoon with beginners lessons, followed by a social dancing session. Bishopsgate Institute, £10-£14, book ahead, 2pm-7pm

COMMUNAL ROOM: Thinking On Sunday is a weekly lecture series. Topic of the day: what’s wrong with the House of Commons? You’d be hard-pressed to squeeze the answer into 90 minutes, but Hannah White, author of a new book on the subject, gives it a shot, offering a critique of Parliament’s shortcomings and how it should be reformed. Conway Hall (Holborn), £8/£5, book ahead, 3-4:30 p.m.

A man in a Dende Natuion teaches a group of four people how to play the drums
Discover Samba Reggae Music

NATIONAL OIL: British samba reggae group Dendê Nation is hosting a workshop, giving the public the chance to play and sing along to popular Afro-Brazilian songs. Learn the techniques of certain instruments while learning more about the culture behind the music. 12 years and over. Poplar Union, £8/£6, book ahead, 3pm-5pm

FOLK WITHOUT FRILLIONS: Unwind at the end of the weekend with live folk music, courtesy of the No Frills Folk Club. They like to do things the traditional way, gathering around the pub table with their instruments and playing all styles of folk, from Irish to Yiddish to Scandinavian. And, if you’re halfway to an instrument, why not join in. Brixton Windmill, free, come, 7 p.m.

CURIOUS COMEDY: Robyn Perkins hosts Comedy For The Curious, a comedy chat show that features two guest comics watching three stand-up sets centered around a particular topic. This month is a deep dive into the subject of truth. Online event, £1-£5, book ahead, 8:30 p.m.

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