Things to do in London this Weekend

If you're stuck for things to do in London this weekend, we're here to help.

Whether you're a visitor in town for a couple of days or a local in need of some inspiration, this is where you'll find our pick of weird and wonderful London events every Friday, just in time for the weekend. We'll cover events where you can eat, drink, do something different or get a culture fix all over the city.

Last Updated: July 30, 2015

Things to do in London this weekend: July 31 – Aug 2

Best for: Racing in London

Prudential RideLondon

The race: Image by Thomas Lovelock for Prudential Ride London

The race: Image by Thomas Lovelock for Prudential Ride London

The vibe:

Celebrate cycling

Need to know:

The largest cycling festival in the world returns to London with more than 95,000 riders taking part in races in London (and also Surrey on Sunday).

On Saturday you can watch Olympic cyclists of the future compete in the juniors, then it’s the turn of the UK’s biggest women’s criterium race, featuring Olympic stars Laura Trott and Dani King.

Alongside the compeition is the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle, which gives you the chance to cycle through central London, past all the iconic landmarks, without having to keep an eye out for traffic.

All ages and abilities are welcome and you can hop on and off the route to take part in the different activities going on.

Website and Twitter

World trials record holder Andrei Burton (c) Prudential Ride London. Image by Jon Buckle

World trials record holder Andrei Burton (c) Prudential Ride London. Image by Jon Buckle

When: Saturday, August 1
Opening times: Freecycle: 9am to 4pm, Grand Prix: 5pm to 7.30pm, Handcycle classic: 8.30am
Getting there: Races will take place on closed roads in and around St James’s Park in central London. See website for exact route
Nearest Tube: Westminster, Charing Cross, St James’s Park, Greek Park
Price: Free to watch

Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race

(c) Doggett’s Coat & Badge Race

(c) Doggett’s Coat & Badge Race

The vibe:

Cheer on six rowers as they aim to become the 300th winner of the longest consecutively held event in sport

Need to know:

The Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge will see the half dozen watermen, in different colours, take part in a single skulls race down the Thames. The winner gets a crimson coat with a silver arm badge depicting Liberty, the horse of the House of Hanover.

You can follow the route from London Bridge to Cadogan Pier in Chelsea and cheer on the rowers, catch up with the race at Doggetts Coat and Badge pub (named after the race) at Blackfriars, or watch from one of the many riverside pubs in London.

“For the past 300 years, the Race for Doggett’s Coat and Badge has celebrated the River Thames and the people who work on it. We are delighted to be celebrating such a significant milestone for this traditional event and we wish all the competitors the best of luck.” Colin Boag, Clerk to the Fishmonger’s Company who have helped organise the event since 1722.

Website and Twitter

Prince Philip at the winners podium (c) Doggett’s Coat & Badge race

Prince Philip at the winners podium (c) Doggett’s Coat & Badge race

When: Saturday, August 1
Opening times: Race starts at 12.45pm
Getting there: London Bridge for the start – map of the route
Nearest Tube: London Bridge
Price: Free to watch

Best for: Eating and drinking in London

Storeys

rooftop

The vibe:

Cocktails, street food and west London views from a converted car park.

Need to know:

STOREYS is the latest rooftop terrace to open in London, with Crabbieshack, Le Bun and Aji Ceviche among the street food on offer.

Located on top of what was a BBC car park, the Television bar will serve summer favourites like Aperol Spritz and Prosecco.

There are no reservations, so if you want the best spot – get there early.

The stalls only take cash, but there are cash points at Westfield which is open until 10pm.

Website and Twitter

When: From Friday, July 31 for seven consecutive weekends
Opening times: Fri 5pm to 11pm. Sat: 11am to 11pm, Sun: 11am to 8pm
Getting there: Directly across the road from Westfield on Wood Lane at the top of a multi storey car park. Wood Lane, London, W12 7RJ
Nearest Tube: Wood Lane or White City
Price: Free entrance

Piccadilly & Petit Fours Walking Tour

Yannick Pucci leading a tour

Yannick Pucci leading a tour

The vibe:

Sample sweet treats with a little lesson in history.

Need to know:

On independent guide Yannick Pucci’s latest tour you can find out more about Mayfair and St James’s on a walk through Piccadilly, savouring the Queen’s favourite chocolates and visiting London’s oldest wine shops along the way.

This tasting tour includes five food samples and an insight into one of the capital’s most exclusive areas.

Visit our guide to find out more about the best London walking tours.

Website and Twitter

When: Sunday, August 2
Opening times: Tour starts at 2pm and runs until 4.30pm
Getting there: Meeting point – The Diana Fountain, just outside Green Park station
Nearest Tube: Green Park
Price: £15, including five tastings: Book here

Alcoholic Architecture

Smoky cocktails (credit Beth Evans taken from Cocktails with Bompas &Parr published by Anova Books)

Smoky cocktails (credit Beth Evans taken from Cocktails with Bompas &Parr published by Anova Books)

The vibe:

Ever wanted to inhale alcohol? Now you can.

Need to know:

Experience the world’s first alcoholic weather system as you breathe in a cloud of cocktails at this latest London experience.

The boffins at Bompas & Parr have transformed a Victorian basement in Borough Market where you can take in the fine spirits and mixer (ratio 1:3) through your lungs and even eyeballs while wearing a special protective suit.

With visibility low and colourful lights, this is part art project, part round of drinks – you can also order complimentary cocktails to accompany the one you’re breathing in.

Website and Twitter

Fruit cloud (credit Garage CCC)

Fruit cloud (credit Garage CCC)

When: From Friday, July 31
Opening times: Mon-Thur: 6pm to 10pm, Fri: 2pm to 11pm Sat: 12pm to 10pm You get one hour per entry
Getting there: One Cathedral Street, Borough Market, SE1 9DE
Nearest Tube: London Bridge
Price: £10 off peak, £12.50 peak – book here

Best for: Comedy in London

Milton Jones (c) Phoenix Fringe

Milton Jones (c) Phoenix Fringe

The vibe:

See some top comedy in London

Need to know:

This alternative comedy event sees the Edinburgh Fringe concept brought to London for its third year, showcasing a blend of established acts and up-and-coming comedians.

One-liner specialist Milton Jones and Ardal O’Hanlon are among the “Work in Progress” acts appearing this year, along with Andrew Maxwell and Shappi Khorsandi.

Visit one of the sessions to see several comedians appearing on the same bill.

Website and Twitter

Russell Howard (c) Phoenix Fringe

Russell Howard (c) Phoenix Fringe

When: Thursday, July 30 to August 8
Opening times: Times vary per performance – see programme for details
Getting there: The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square, London, W1G 0PP
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
Price: £10 or £8 in advance – book here

Best for: New exhibitions and openings in London

Soundscapes

Hans Holbein the Younger. Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve ('The Ambassadors')  1533 © The National Gallery, London

Hans Holbein the Younger. Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve (‘The Ambassadors’)
1533 © The National Gallery, London

The vibe:

Sights and sounds combine for a new art experience

Need to know:

The National Gallery asked musicians and sound artists to select a painting from their extensive collection and compose a new piece of music to accompany it.

You can wander through each room to hear a different accompaniment to the paintings, which is hoped to make you see each piece in a new light.

Website and Twitter

Théo van Rysselberghe.  Coastal Scene about 1892 © The National Gallery, London

Théo van Rysselberghe.
Coastal Scene about 1892 © The National Gallery, London

When: Now until September 6 2015
Opening times: Mon-Sun: 10am to 6pm (Friday lates until 9pm)
Getting there: The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN
Nearest Tube: Leicester Square or Charing Cross
Price: £10 for adults: Book tickets here

Novelty Automation

Autofrisk (c) Elizabeth Blanchet

Autofrisk (c) Elizabeth Blanchet

The vibe:

Play unusual seaside arcade machines in central London

Need to know:

This new games area aims to reinvent traditional arcade machines and bring them right into the 21st Century with new technology and a big dollop of humour.

Choose from playing Pet or Meat, The Small Hadron Collider,  or get a foot rub from The Chiropodist.

You just buy a token (£1 each) and slot it in the machine, although certain machines will be free to play on an alternating basis.

Website

Automaton

Shop front (c) Tim Hunkin

When: Open now
Opening times: Wed: 11am to 6pm, Thur: 12pm to 8pm, Fri-Sat: 11am to 6pm
Getting there: 1a Princeton St, Holborn, London, WC1R 4AX
Nearest Tube: Holborn
Price: Tokens cost £1, with discounts for buying more (e.g. a bucket of 50 tokens for £30)

Essential weekend links

Find more inspiration for things to do in London here.

For all the latest news and travel information, visit the Transport for London website.

If you’re planning on spending more than a day in London, then we have plenty of places to stay.

And finally, remember to check out the weather forecast.