Here are the best things to do this weekend in London
By Philippa Thomas
With lockdown restrictions starting to ease, we can look forward to a livelier and more vibrant weekend as venues across the capital open their doors. Whether it’s cocktails at a rooftop bar or relaxing by a virtual pool, here’s some of the best things to do this weekend in London.
Things to do this weekend in London
Visit a free photography exhibition
Games We Play is a new outdoor exhibition from The Photographers’ Gallery. The playful display captures the joys of a traditional British summer with works featuring dripping ice cream cones, retro past-times and bathers having a splashing time. Photographers Julie Cockburn and Luke Stephenson are amongst those chosen for the exhibition curated by The Outside Art Project. The free display is on view at Kings Cross until November.
Stream an online festival
The Coronet Theatre is giving the British public a rare glimpse into Japan’s burgeoning new arts scene with a free online festival featuring works from emerging Japanese artists across a variety of mediums. Curated by Artistic Director Anda Winters, Electric Japan explores the country’s latest in dance, theatre, fashion, film, and photography. Notable displays include London-based photographer Mayumi Hirata’s Jump series and an excerpt from dance collective FujiyamaAnnette’s Invisible Things. For a lighter tone, stream cult comedian Kentaro Kobayashi reprising his role in Mr Potsunen’s Peculiar Slice of Life.
Grab a cocktail passport
Forget the pub crawl, this summer it is all about the cocktail crawl. London Bridge’s outdoor dining and beer garden Vinegar Yard has teamed up with Bacardi to launch an exclusive new ‘Cocktail Passport’. This scheme offers punters the chance to follow a trail around the open-air site and pick up five signature drinks for just £20. The cocktails include a Martini Fiero Spritz at the mezzanine bar and a gin-based Bombay Bramble at the picture-perfect Bramble Bar – a great way to spend a sunny day with friends.
Nibble some cheese
As part of a drive to get the public to eat more British Cheese, cheese magnate Mathew Carver is hosting a series all-you-can-eat cheese events across London. Starting from this Saturday, diners at Seven Dials Market Pick & Cheese stall will have the opportunity to eat all the cheese and charcuterie they like from a special conveyer belt at just £20pp. In Camden, meanwhile, guests at The Cheese Bar are welcome to join in their Bottomless Ogleshield Raclette Nights every Wednesday. Carver has also teamed up with the illustrator Yeye Weller to release a limited-edition ‘Eat More British Cheese’ print with £5 from each sale going to the Got Milk fund.
Eat Out to Help Out
Restaurants across the country are now offering discounts to diners in partnership with the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. It forms part of a plan to encourage the public to return to eateries as lockdown eases. Guests can receive a 50% discount – up to £10 per head – on their food and drink orders on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays throughout August. For a list of our favourite restaurants participating in the scheme, check out this article.
Have a taste of Italy
Hidden just off Oxford Street in the picturesque Brown Hart Gardens is Mercato Metropolitano’s new al-fresco eatery. The café, called MMayfair Garden, serves up traditional Italian dishes with paninis, focaccia, and charcuterie sharing platters. One bite will instantaneously transport you to the sun-beaten streets of Rome. Staying true to the brand’s core values, all the ingredients are fresh, artisanal, and sustainably sourced as far as possible.
Relax by a virtual pool
Fountains across the capital must remain closed. However, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on some summer fun. King’s Cross has released a brand-new, playful instillation from the award-winning German artist Stephan Zirwes. The virtual ‘Pools’ at Granary Square gives visitors the impression of standing beside two deep blue lidos, allowing you to enjoy the summer vibes in safety. Next to the artwork is some more family fun with a 2D maze, giant word search and a series of hopscotch paths.
Share a Mexican brunch
The all-woman private members club AllBright are getting in the summer spirit with an English-garden inspired terrace on the 4th floor of their Mayfair residence. AllBloom, launched in partnership with Veuve Clicquot, is a green oasis where members can hangout and dine on chef Sabrina Gidda’s Mexican-inspired brunch menu. Signature dishes include charred corn salad, pickled jalapeno, and grilled fish tacos. To complement the food guests can also choose from a delicious selection of cocktails such as Bloody Maria, a tequila based Bloody Mary.
Visit a secret garden
If you come across an old wardrobe on the streets of Balham, slip into it and you might just find yourself transported into a hidden paradise. The Secret Garden is an enchanting new pop-up created by The Regent in South West London. A creaky old closet acts as the entrance way into the pub’s specially decked-out garden adorned with festoon lighting, cosy lounge chairs, and bright décor. It is the perfect sunny spot for daytime drinks and weekend gatherings.
Screen a live theatre performance
Become immersed in the world of Wonderland with a new digitally advanced production of Lewis Caroll’s much-loved children’s book. Creation Theatre has teamed up with Big Telly Theatre Company and Charisma.ai to present an innovative interactive show that blends live acting with AI technology. Audiences are invited to dive down the rabbit hole to experience a magical theatrical experience from their own home. The productions will be streamed live over four weeks with tickets costing just £20.
Follow an art trail
To welcome back visitors, The Yards Covent Garden has released a series of striking art installations in and around its open square. The Bees is a collection that celebrate the destination’s rooftop colony of up to 240,000 urban pollinators and is the first in a series of activities designed to support the charity Bee Friendly Trust. From a 50ft floral mural to an immersive ‘honey factory’, visitors can follow the art trail and learn about the inspiration behind each piece along the way.
Cook up a feast at home
Newly launched company Restaurant Kits offers food lovers the chance to prepare delicious meals from their favourite restaurants at home. The e-commerce site delivers signature dish and drink kits from some the UK’s most loved independent eateries nationwide. With foundering members including Pizza Pilgrims and Mac & Wild, each mouth-watering plate will have you cooking up a storm in no time.
Tel Aviv-inspired market stall Shuk has launched a new outdoor dining experience in the heart of Borough Market called Erev, meaning ‘evening’ in Hebrew. Serving a selection of hummus dishes alongside vegetables, salads and hand-selected fish and meat, Erev brings bold and authentic flavours to the Capitals most famous foodie district. To celebrate the launch, there will also be a series of one-off set menus in collaboration with renowned chefs including Helen Graham of Bubala, Eyal Jagermann ex The Barbary, and Nitai Shevach of Coal Office. Tables must be booked in advance.
Celebrate art in Carnaby
Instagram artist Sophie Tea is coming to the capital with her first ever shop in Carnaby. The painter, famed for her brightly coloured abstract art, has amassed over 111k followers online and her work sells out in a matter of seconds. The shop will stock art and merchandise from Sophie’s current collections and will play host to her infamous art show parties, interactive seminars, and life drawing classes. Its bright pink walls, large-scale artworks, and installation walls will also make it the ultimate Instagrammable destination this summer.
Visit a summer hang-out
Islington Square is one of London’s best-kept secrets. The hideout in the heart of Upper Street’s old Sorting Office has recently undergone a redevelopment and is now home to a cluster of cool shops and eateries. Just in time for summer, the square’s central open-air boulevard has been transformed into an outdoor urban retreat with deck chairs, plants, and lounge tables. Over the coming weeks, the Summer Terrace will also be complemented with a food and craft market, outdoor Summer Solstice Yoga, and a puppet festival produced by Islington’s Little Angel Theatre, making it a great day out for everyone.
Yoga at a London landmark
Find your inner zen and join one of Digme’s exclusive outdoor workouts. The fitness studio has teamed up with Covent Garden in order to bring a selection of weekly HIIT & Yoga classes on the iconic East Piazza. From Tuesday 21 July, every Tuesday and Wednesday will see workouts hosted at 7.30am, 8.30am and 9.30am. Attendees are rewarded for their hard work with a VIP goody bag with treats from Tenzing, Kind Snacks, and Plenish amongst others. Places are limited to five per session, so sign up soon.
Get tropical in Tottenham
Many Londoners have lost out on their usual summer holidays but luckily, Costa Del Tottenham has returned to bring the vacation vibes back to the capital. The annual al-fresco hang out is bigger than ever before after taking over a neighbouring site. Punters can walk around an all-weather tropical paradise featuring palm trees, private booths, street food, pint-sized cocktails, DJ’s and more. With it being just moments away from Tottenham Hale Station, the Spanish coast has never felt so close.
Explore Buck Street Market
Buck Street Market is opening its doors to the largest rooftop in Camden. The skyline garden is a green oasis nestled above the UK’s first outdoor market for concious-consumers. It features two bars, a millennial pink terrace, and a Big Screen showcasing films, festivals, and talks. Back on ground-level, visitors can wander through over eighty environmentally friendly food and retail businesses including Adrian Martin’s zero-waste restaurant Wildflower and Miguel Barclay’s new pizzeria Miguel’s Pizza.
Listen to some live music
It’s good news for music lovers as Wembley Park has launched a neighbourhood-wide busking programme to coincide with the reopening of bars and restaurants. Every weekend, diners will be able to listen to live entertainment as they sit and enjoy their meals near the capital’s most famous concert stadium. The scheme was coordinated in partnership with Busk in London as is designed to allow audiences to partake in cultural events whilst observing social distancing measures.
Relax with an espresso martini
Throughout the summer, revellers can enjoy Espresso Martinis on tap at Black Cow’s pop-up bar in Coal Drop’s Yard. The producers of the world’s smoothest vodka have teamed up with Tom Dixon’s Coal Office restaurant to launch one of the most unique hangouts this summer. It’s the ideal canal-side spot to enjoy an al fresco cocktail with friends, and the best thing about it? The bar is operated from a 1956 Hydra-Glide Harley Davidson sidecar.
Party in the sky
London’s rooftop oasis, Sky Garden, is re-opening this summer with its new bar Sky Pod. Enjoy lush greenery, exquisitely landscaped indoor gardens and an open-air terrace while admiring the spectacular view with a drink in hand. Sky Pod will be hosting an unmissable line-up of music nights with DJs hitting the decks every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Tickets for the Summer Sound Sessions start from £11 and include a cocktail of the day.
Go on a designer shopping spree
In order to comply with social distancing measures, Harrods have opened a concept store at Westfield London to sell remaining stock from the existing season in a specially designed space. Harrods Outlet is an edit of designer fashion, beauty, and homeware selected by a dedicated team of experts from the Harrods sale. Customers can feel safe whilst browsing a host of premium and exclusive products from a selection of the world’s leading brands. Who said July is too early to go Christmas shopping?
Devour a bottomless brunch
Who doesn’t love a bottomless brunch? The capital has plenty on offer, but an exciting new addition is Pergola Olympia and Pergola Paddington’s Sunday Bottomless Brunch sessions. Launching this Sunday, brunch goers will be able to enjoy two hours of bottomless bubbles and Aperol Spritz with £5 brunch specials from each of the traders for just £30 per person – which includes a £5 voucher to spend at any of the restaurants.
Book a staycation
As life slowly returns to normal, hotels around the country are starting to open their doors once again. Taj 51 Buckingham Gate is now welcoming guests to relax and unwind in their magnificent suites just a short stroll away from St. James Park, making it the perfect getaway for those seeking a break from their everyday routine. The hotel’s restaurant, Kona, is also returning with its Queen of Hearts Afternoon Tea with a tributary 50% off to NHS staff. For more UK staycation ideas, check out our round-up.
Drink at a tea bar
If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, the newly opened TEASE tea bar in South Kensington is serving up a delicious range of revitalising blends and health boosting flavour combinations. Their menu puts a fresh spin on the classic British staple with a selection of iced teas, milk teas, adaptogenic milks and health shots. These drinks can be enjoyed guilt-free as they are made using natural ingredients and are free of any refined sugars.
Visit a free art exhibition
Since lockdown, many Londoners have missed the cultural activities the city usually has to offer. Luckily, there are plenty of new and exciting art exhibitions to get stuck into, like this one which explores works by Zimbabwean painters from the mid-century. The Stars are Bright: Zimbabwe through the eyes of its young painters from Cyrene (1940-1947) is a free exhibition at The Theatre Courtyard Green Rooms in Shoreditch which sheds much-deserved light on young black artists and a vital chapter of Zimbabwe’s art history.
Visit a beer garden
Pubs have officially reopened and in line with social distancing regulations, Londoners can visit beer gardens with their own household or bubble. One to visit this summer is Truman Social Club from the team behind Truman’s Brewery. The 35,000 square foot space encompasses an on-site brewery, tap room, street food market and event space with plenty of room so you don’t have to worry about rubbing shoulders with strangers.
Booking required, trumansbeer.co.uk
Wander around an open-air market
This weekend sees the launch of Selfridge’s new outdoor marketplace on Edward Mews, just behind Oxford Street. The ‘Market on the Mews’ will be a curated collection of stands selling food, drink, plants, bikes and furniture. Brands involved include The Conran Shop, Selfridge’s Bakery, and florists Moyses Stevens. A one-way system will be put in place to make it really easy for visitors to browse around the yellow stalls without worry. Live entertainment will be performed throughout and there will be plenty of child-friendly activities for families to get stuck into.
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