Things To Do This Weekend In London: 3-4 August 2019

All weekend

Meltdown Festival begins this weekend, including Meltdown Mardi Gras

ASTRONOMY PHOTOGRAPHER: It’s your final chance to see this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition, showcasing photos of our solar system taken from all over the world. Stellar stuff. National Maritime Museum (Greenwich), £10/£9, book ahead, until 4 August

PISSARRO IN DULWICH: Also closing this weekend is Pissarro in Dulwich, an exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of Dulwich College. For the occasion, Camille Pissarro’s view of the school’s main building, painted in 1871, returns to Dulwich for the first time since its creation, on loan from Toulouse. Dulwich Picture Gallery, included in gallery admission (£16.50), just turn up, until 4 August

CUBITT SESSIONS: Final chance to catch this year’s Cubitt Sessions, a programme of free, open-air music gigs in the newly-opened Coal Drops Yard. This weekend, see artists from the English National Opera on Saturday, and a series of performances aimed at families on Sunday. Coal Drops Yard (King’s Cross), free, just turn up, until 4 August

It’s the final weekend of this year’s Cubitt Sessions

FESTIVAL OF FLIGHT: RAF Museum opens its doors for a free, family-friendly Festival of Flight. Take part in paper plane challenges, watch hot air balloon demonstrations and science shows, dress up as an RAF pilot, and get stuck into art and craft activities. RAF Museum (Hendon), free, just turn up, 3-4 August

RIDE LONDON: It’s Prudential RideLondon weekend, with bike rides and races taking place all over London and beyond. The family-friendly RideLondon-Surrey 19 joins the final 19 miles of the London-Surrey 100 route between Sandown Park and Green Park, and the FreeCycle is a traffic-free 7-mile route through the streets of central London. If you’re not much of a cyclist yourself, take to the streets to cheer others on. Either way, be aware of road closures all weekend. 3-4 August

SAMPLE SALE: Pick up some bargains at the Crafty Fox Market samples and seconds sale. The usual eclectic range of traders sell one-off and end of line items at reduced prices, including jewellery, homewares, prints, paintings, ceramics and more. Demos and workshops take place throughout the weekend too (extra charge for some). Mercato Metropolitano (Elephant & Castle), free entry, just turn up, 3-4 August

MELTDOWN FESTIVAL: Southbank Centre’s epic Meltdown Festival — curated by Nile Rodgers — begins this weekend. The week-long event consists of gigs and musical events, and while some of the headline happenings have sold out, tickets remain for plenty of others — and some are free. This weekend, highlights include Disco Wonderland on Saturday and Meltdown Mardi Gras on Sunday. Southbank Centre, various prices, book ahead, 3-11 August

Pick up a bargain at the Crafty Fox Sample Sale

CAMDEN FRINGE: It’s the first weekend of Camden Fringe festival, a month-long programme of performing arts shows. Browse the programme for comedy, spoken word, circus, cabaret and magic shows, mostly at fairly reasonable prices. Various locations and prices, book ahead, until 25 August

LADYBIRD BOOKS: The Garden Museum launches a nostalgic exhibition dedicated to the Ladybird Books. Particular focus is on books from the series which teach children about the natural world, with original artworks on display that may well take you right back to your childhood. Garden Museum (Lambeth), included in admission (£10), just turn up, 31 July-27 October

SUMMER HOLIDAYS: Lego models, zip wiring, and a flea voiced by Brian Blessed — just some of the options in our guide to summer holiday events in London. Have a browse for ideas to keep your children happy for the duration of their time off school.

Saturday 3 August

Slime Festival comes to London

HERITAGE BUS TOUR: Board Daisy, a vintage Routemaster, for a day-long tour looking at historic building in the local area. Along the way, the tour stops at locations inclucind Eastbury Manor (where there’s a buffet lunch), Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, and Ilford Hospital Chapel. Valence House Museum (Dagenham), £15/£10, book ahead, 10am-4pm

MODEL VILLAGE: Located just to the north-west of London, Bekonscot Model Village celebrates its 90th anniversary with a traditional 1930s village fete. Expect traditional fairground rides, vintage toys and games, afternoon teas, and a plaque unveiling. Bekonscot Model Village (Beaconsfield), included in admission, just turn up, 10am-4pm

SLIME FESTIVAL: A whole day of all things slime comes to east London. Slime Festival is a family-friendly day of goo, with workshops, live demonstrations and face painting. There’s also as ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) area where you can find out more about why these videos have become so popular on YouTube, and what it’s all about. York Hall (Bethnal Green), £9-£30, book ahead, 10am-6pm

Take a tour on a vintage Routemaster

SECRET GARDENS: Join a guided walk through some of London’s secret gardens, from a bombed out churchyard near the Tower of London, to a community garden with a mini-library tucked away inside it. Bring a packed lunch, as there’s a chance to have a picnic with your fellow walkers at the end. Monument, £15, book ahead, 11am-1.30pm

MODERN ART PIONEERS: Footprints of London tour guide Marilyn Greene leads a tour themed of Hampstead’s pioneering modern artists. Walk in the footsteps of the Slade School artists such as Mark Gertler, Stanley Spencer and R.W. Nevinson, and learn about Modernists such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth who lived and worked in Belsize Park. Hampstead station, £12/£9, book ahead, 11am-1.30pm

FIRE STATION OPEN DAY: Meet firefighters, pick up fire safety tips and maybe even get inside a fire engine at Bethnal Green Fire Station’s open day. The free, family-friendly event is a chance for the local community to learn a bit more about what firefighters do. Bethnal Green Fire Station, free, just turn up, 11am-3pm

51st State Festival takes place in Cockfosters

51ST STATE: Expect plenty of sniggering ravers as they ride the Piccadilly line to Cockfosters for 51st State. Held in the leafy Green Belt, this year marks the fest’s fifth birthday, and it’s celebrating the only way it knows how. Masses of house music with a dash of garage, a hint of soul and a dollop of disco across seven stages. Trent Park (Cockfosters), £55, book ahead, from 11am

SOUTHWARK BURIAL GROUNDS: Southwark was once home to many burial grounds — long since disappeared — including plague pits and rural churchyards. Take a guided walk to learn more, including the history behind Cross Bones and Dead Man’s Place, and the people who had a graveyard in their front garden. Southwark Cathedral, £10, book ahead, 1pm-2.30pm

VISIONS FESTIVAL: This London Fields music festival brings artists from a range of genres and countries to the stage. The line-up includes Canadia alt-country sensation Orville Peck, experimental Polish artist Zamilska, Bristol techno-punks Scalping and Glaswegian synth-pop duo Free Love, along with plenty of London bands. Elsewhere at the event, there’s a dog show, yoga, palm and tarot readers and food and drink stalls. London Fields, £33, book ahead, from 1pm

DOCKLANDS REGENERATION: Join a Museum of London Docklands tour guide to explore Canary Wharf and hear how the derelict West India Docks were transformed into the thriving business hub we know today. Museum of London Docklands, £12.50, book ahead, 2pm

CARNIVAL WARM-UP: Kick off Carnival month with an evening of Afrobeats and summer anthems, accompanied by a special carnival-themed menu. Local rapper Miss Trendee headlines, with a live performance. Poplar Union (Poplar), £7/£5, book ahead, 7.30pm-11pm

Sunday 4 August

Waltham Forest Mela celebrates South Asian culture

VINTAGE SALE: Hunt out a bargain new wardrobe at the Vintage Kilo Sale. Once you’ve paid your entrance fee, you pay for whatever takes your fancy by weight — meaning you can spend as little as 50p if you stumble across a bangin’ belt. There are 6 tonnes of stock laid out though, so maybe bring a little more money than that. York Hall (Bethnal Green), £3 earlybird access (booking required)/£1.50 general entry (just turn up), 10am-4pm

SWASHBUCKLING PARROTS: Captain Mick Swagger is the main character in this family-friendly puppet show, performed on board a boat. Join in with his antics — aided along by a trio of swashbuckling parrots — to find out what makes a great pirate. The Golden Hinde (Borough), £7/£5, book ahead, 11am/1pm/3pm (until 9 August)

WALTHAM FOREST MELA: Join in with a free celebration of South Asian culture at the Waltham Forest Mela. It features international and national music, street theatre, dance, food, and traditional arts and crafts, plus a giant funfair and child-friendly activities. Leyton Jubilee Park, free, just turn up, 2pm-9pm

Have a rummage at the East London Vintage Kilo Sale

MEXICAN STORYTELLING: Head up to Queen of Hoxton’s Mexican-themed rooftop bar for an evening of adults-only storytelling. Join Luzmira Zerpa and her guitar in a journey of love, hate and being a woman in Mexico. Queen of Hoxton, free entry, book ahead, 5pm-7pm

BLUES BROTHERS: Enjoy an evening of Motown music as the Chicago Blues Brothers perform in London for one night only. The tribute band’s lively show features tracks by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Sam and Dave, James Brown, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Jackson 5 and The Supremes. Savoy Theatre, from £17.50, book ahead, 7pm

THE TEMPEST: See Shakespeare’s The Tempest performed in a walled garden next to the Thames. It’s the work of theatre company Ilyria, who specialise in Shakespearean comedy and make it into a family-friendly show. No seating is provided, so bring your own chair or blanket. Fulham Palace, £14/£8.50, book ahead, 7pm-9.15pm

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