The whole weekend
CHELSEA HISTORY FESTIVAL: The National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Chelsea and Chelsea Physic Garden are teaming up again for this year’s Chelsea History Festival, which covers local, national and global history. There’s a special concert celebrating 40 years of Michael Morpurgo’s warhorse, a walking tour focusing on Chelsea spies and another on Chelsea in the blitz – and plenty more on the program for all ages. September 17-25
LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL: The 20th anniversary edition of the London Design Festival continues its aim of showcasing London as the design capital of the world. As of this writing, the program has yet to be announced, but we expect the usual mix of displays and exhibits, talks and more. September 17-25
FLOWER FESTIVAL: Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham hosts a colorful flower festival, with three days of exhibitions, as well as flower-inspired talks and workshops. See the house adorned with pretty arrangements from several florists, with a particular focus on UK flower growers this year. September 23-25
LAST CHANCE: A hands-free cargo-carrying robot and a self-balancing two-wheeled personal electric vehicle are among the exhibits at The Future of Aging, a Design Museum exhibition that confronts the fact that by 2040, more than a quarter of the population the population of the UK will be over 60 and examines what can be done to help an aging population. Until September 25
BEATGEEK WEEKEND: Witness DJ and beat battles, test out the latest audio and production kit, and enjoy incredible performances at the Beategeek Weekend, which takes place in the historic graffiti tunnels of Leake Street. This free-entry event – supported by Arts Council England – includes a professional DJ lounge and space for seminars and workshops. Perfect for budding DJs, music producers, and turntable enthusiasts looking to connect with like-minded people. FREE, until September 25 (sponsor)
CANALETTO: It’s also the last week of Canaletto’s Venice Revisited, an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. It’s a rare chance to see the full set of 24 Venetian Views painted by Canaletto in the 1730s, taking a closer look at the elements of his oeuvre that bring the Italian city to life. Until September 25
KOREAN WAVE: The V&A opens a new exhibition on the popular culture of South Korea. Hallyu! The Korean Wave covers film, drama, music, fandom, beauty and fashion, ranging from the 1988 Seoul Olympics to PSY performing the hit song Gangnam Style. From September 24
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS: Luxury jewelry brand Van Cleef & Arpels is the subject of a new exhibition at the Design Museum. 100 pieces from the collection are on display, along with archival documents that provide insight into the company’s expertise in precious materials. FREE, September 23-October 20
VAUXHALL MARKETPLACE: Since Friday, London’s newest food hall has been open in the form of Market Place Vauxhall. 12 restaurants, a stand-alone bar, a DJ booth and seating for 200 people are offered in the new venue. Dishes on the menu include wood-fired pizzas from Made in Puglia, Mexican tacos from Hermano Tacos, Sri Lankan hoppers and kottu from Karapincha Kitchen, and Jamaican jerk chicken and rum punch from Rudie’s Jerk Shack. . From September 23
Saturday September 24
PLANTED: Head to King’s Cross for two days of discussions on how we can use plants and nature in the design of buildings, food systems and outdoor spaces to improve sustainability and protect the environment for future generations. . FREE, September 23-24
BUS OPEN DAY: One for transport fans – the Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust join forces with TfL to celebrate 90 years of Victoria Coach Station with a static display of vintage coaches inside the building for a day only. FREE, September 24
OLD OPERATING ROOM: Learn about Victorian-era surgical procedures at the Old Operating Theater Museum & Herb Garret. Learn about the history of St Thomas’ Hospital and the medical profession as a whole, and learn how surgeries would have been performed in the days before anesthesia and antiseptics. 10am-11am
ELIZABETH I: Five of the country’s foremost Tudor historians gather at Southwark Cathedral for a day dedicated to the life of Queen Elizabeth I. Talks take place throughout the day on a range of topics including the monarch’s infatuation for Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, and the “Cult of Gloriana” Movement, in which artists and authors conspired to portray her as a revered goddess. 10am-5pm
BOOK FESTIVAL: The British Library is hosting a Book Festival-themed Family Day, delivered in British Sign Language and spoken English, so it is fully accessible to families with D/deaf children, parents and carers. Just drop by for crafts and other events and activities inspired by books and the joy of storytelling. FREE, 12 p.m.-4 p.m.
HISTORIC SERIES: The Vagina Museum is partnering with the House of Jane Austen for an online event on Georgian era periods. Find out what Georgian underwear looked like and how Georgian women managed their periods. 7-8:15 p.m.
FLOTTILLA OF REFLECTIONS: You’ll want to descend on the banks of the Thames tonight to see the Reflections flotilla – part of the Totally Thames festival – in motion. Sailing from Chelsea to Tower Bridge, the flotilla consists of a procession of ships decorated with soft white lights, including Gloriana, Queen Elizabeth II’s rowing barge. FREE, 7:15-9pm
TRANS LIVES: As part of the BBC’s Centenary LGBTQ+ screenings at the Cinema Museum, watch Archive footage from the BBC has not been seen for nearly half a century. This shows Julia Grant and Jan Morris, two pioneering trans women who bravely exposed their private lives to public view in 1970s Britain, 7:30 p.m.
WITHOUT KATE BUSH: Enjoy the music and mythology of one of Britain’s most iconic singers on an evening that has everything… except the lady herself. An Evening Without Kate Bush is a traveling tribute evening that premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe and Soho Theatre. It’s for those who’ve been fans for decades and those who only found Kate Bush in the recent resurgence. 7:30 p.m.
Sunday September 25
SHEEP DRIVING: One of London’s wackiest annual events is the London Bridge Sheep Drive and Livery Fair. Each year a chosen celebrity has the honor of driving sheep across London Bridge – this time it’s Kate Humble. There is no public access to the bridge, but everyone is welcome at the livery fair next to the monument afterwards. FREE, 10am-4pm
DIY ART MARKET: 80 artists take part in the DIY Art Market at the sprawling Truman’s Social Club in Walthamstow. It’s a chance to buy directly from makers and browse works in a range of mediums, including prints, ceramics, sculptures, jewelry and more. 11am-5pm
BABY GROOVE: Take the kids to Groove Baby: Grooving With Pirates, a theater/music show designed to be somewhere between children’s shows and “regular” adult concerts. Follow three pirate friends on a dangerous mission to find treasure, with elements of interactive theater and live music. Aimed at ages 3-7. 11am/2pm
PRE-LOVED CLOTHES: Looking for a new fall wardrobe? Shop smart at Fox and Firkin’s pre-loved clothing sale. The DJs play all day and it would be rude not to have a drink too. FREE, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.
PINK JUKEBOX: Aimed at members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends, Pink Jukebox is a ballroom and Latin dance club. It is open to dancers of all levels and begins with step familiarization lessons, followed by an evening of social dancing. 2pm-7pm
JUST COP DISCHARGED: BBC Radio 4 cop-turned-comedian Alfie Moore presents his latest show, Fair Cop Unleashed. It’s based on a dramatic, real-life incident from Moore’s time on the force, when a mysterious clown came to town…consider us intrigued. 7:30 p.m.
THE COMEDY: Head to the railway at Streatham for an evening of laughs courtesy of Peter Rethinasamy, Fatiha El-Ghorri, Tadiwa Mahlunge, Kyrah Gray and MacLarry. Directing the show is stalwart MC Sion James. 8pm-10.45pm