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.

Things to do in London this weekend: January 30-1

Best for: New openings in London

Waterloo: Life and Times – The Fan Museum

Fan Museum

Printed fan leaf commemorating the accession to the Spanish throne of King Ferdinand VII. English (for the Spanish market), c. 1808 (c) The Fan Museum 2015

The vibe:

A decorative celebration of one of Britain’s biggest battle victories

Need to know:

This year marks the bicentenary of the Duke of Wellington’s win over Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.

While it was all blood and glory on the battlefield, the social scene of the day was more about glittering balls, assemblies and being seen in the right fashion with an elegant fan.

This exhibition at the recently refurbished Fan Museum marries both together. Showcasing “propaganda” fans (in England featuring Nelson, and Wellington) and those shipped abroad like the one above, commemorating King Ferdinand’s crowning in Spain, this is a different perspective on a dramatic moment in European history.

Website and Twitter
When: Now until May, 10 2015
Opening times: Tues-Sat: 11am to 5pm, Sun: 12pm to 5pm
Getting there: 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London SE10 8ER
Nearest Tube: Cutty Sark DLR or Greenwich DLR & mainline station
Price: £4

Best for: Drinking in London

The Winter Ale Festival at The Gun

Winter Beer Festival

The vibe:

A range of British “blues-beating” brews

Need to know:

This free real ale festival at The Gun pub aims to help end the traditionally dour January with a bang.

Local London brewers will be represented, and the festival will also see debut drinks from Dorset brewery Gyle59. There’ll also be a cheese and ale “Homage to Fromage” if you’re feeling adventurous.

The Grade II Listed building is worth a visit anyway; it was Lord Nelson’s local for a while. He used to enjoy trysts with his mistress, Lady Emma Hamilton, in an upstairs room.

Website and Twitter
When: Thursday, January 20 to Saturday, February 1
Opening times: 11am to midnight
Getting there: The Gun, 27 Coldharbour, Docklands, Greater London E14 9NS
Nearest Tube: South Quay or Canary Wharf DLR station
Price: Free entry and beers in the festival start from £3.40 a pint

Best for: Lates in London

Crowdfunding: Produced by the People

V&A Friday Late

V&A Friday Late (c) Victoria and Albert Museum

The vibe:

Get the lowdown on the latest start-up projects

Need to know:

The first “Late” of 2015 sees technology, games and crowd funding take centre stage in a serious of talks, games experiences and demonstrations.

It’s free to go along and entry is on a first-come, first served basis – so make sure you head down early to bag a spot.

Take part in an attempt to survive a zombie apocalypse or try and put together a 3D puzzle. Equally sit back and find out how a felt cornershop in East London, funded by 361 donations via Kickstarter, sparked a media frenzy.

Website and Twitter – #FridayLate
When: Friday, January 30
Opening times: 6.30pm to 10pm – it gets busy, so there may be a one in / one out policy later on
Getting there: Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL
Nearest Tube: South Kensington
Price: Free

Best for: Alternative in London

The Annual Clowns’ Service

Clowns' Service

Clowns’ Service by Barney Moss – courtesy of Flicker Creative Commons

The vibe:

A madcap memorial

Need to know:

This affectionate church tribute to trailblazing clown Joseph Grimaldi (d1837) has become a yearly fixture since it was first held in 1946.

Always held on the first Sunday in February, clowns don their costumes to pay their respects to the man who founded modern clowning as we know it.

Following the bespoke service, which has a few added extras, the clowns put on a performance for the children (and big kids). It’s become so popular you’ll have to get their early to grab a pew.

This event is usually held at the Holy Trinity Church, Dalston (known as the Clowns’ Church), but has moved this year to its sister All Saints Church in Haggerston.

Website and Facebook
When: Sunday, February 1
Start time: 3pm
Getting there: All Saints Church Haggerston, Livermere Road, Haggerston, E8 4EZ
Nearest Tube: Haggerston mainline station

Best for: Blooms in London

Snowdrop Days

The vibe:

Discover what’s springing up behind the walls of this city centre garden

Need to know:

Winter flora and fauna (like crocuses) and spring flower favourites, snowdrops, are the topic of these special open days hosted by garden experts. They will be giving talks, leading walks and also holding workshops for you to get more involved.

The flowers will be displayed at eye level, so even if you are not remotely green-fingered, you can appreciate the subtleties and differences of the plants.

Unusually this garden focuses on plants with medicinal properties having been founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries.

Website and Twitter
When: Saturday, January 31 to Sunday, February 8
Opening times: 10am to 4pm
Getting there: 66 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HS
Nearest Tube: Sloane Square
Price: £9.90

Essential weekend links

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.