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 27, 2017

Things to do in London this weekend: July 27th-30th

Best for: Theatre in London

National Theatre River Stage Festival

Still House, National Theatre River Stage Mayfest 2016 (C) James Bellorini

The vibe:

Fantastic theatre for free

Need to know:

Offering fantastic free entertainment from some very big names, the National Theatre’s open-air River Stage is back for another summer.

Each weekend over the next month, the stage, which is found beside the Thames, outside the South Bank-based theatre, will be hosting live performances, ranging from music to comedy, as well as dance classes and drama.

Every weekend of the River Stage Festival has been curated by a different arts organisation – including some of the most exciting venues and companies in the country.

Among those taking part are Manchester’s Home arts centre, the WOMAD festival and internationally renowned dance company Rambert, with the National Theatre itself programming the final weekend.

The opening weekend is set to be a wild and anarchic show, with the line-up being put together by famous East London drag venue The Glory. Among the highlights are the fiercely competitive (and just all round fierce) drag queen contest Lipsync1000 Allstars and the theatrical rave of Apocalypstick Party!  on Friday night, an 80s party and appearance from cabaret and theatre star Le Gateau Chocolat on Saturday and Drag life drawing on Sunday.

Website and Twitter

National Theatre River Stage – The Glory 31st July 2016 – (C) James Bellorini

When: Friday 28th July-28th August
Opening times: Friday: 6.30pm-10.45pm, Saturday: 1pm-10.45pm, Sunday: 1pm-5pm
Getting there:  Outside the National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PX
Nearest Tube: Waterloo/Embankment
Price: Free

 

Best for: Cycling in London

Prudential RideLondon

Courtesy of Prudential RideLondon

The vibe:

The world’s largest festival of cycling

Need to know:

Created to mark the legacy of the 2012 Games, the Prudential RideLondon festival of cycling is back for its 5th edition this weekend.

With both professionals and amateurs getting on their bikes, it’s officially the biggest cycling festival in the world.

The weekend kicks off with a Grand Prix at the Lee Valley VeloPark in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – with races for injured servicemen and women, top international handcyclists and youths and children. Alongside this there’ll be a festival zone, with cycling-based entertainment (including pedal powered music).

On Saturday, the streets of central London will close to traffic for a Freecycle. So you can join thousands of other cyclists, on a pedal-powered sightseeing trip around some of the city’s most iconic neighbourhoods. There’ll also be festival cycling zones in seven spots around the city, from Leadenhall Market in the heart of The City, to the Southbank and Green Park.

Sunday sees cycling enthusiasts compete on the city streets in some challenging races, including the Prudential RideLondon – Surrey – a 100 mile race through London and Surrey.

Website and Twitter 

Courtesy of Prudential RideLondon

When: Friday 28th-Sunday 30th July
Opening times: Friday: 11am-6pm, Saturday: 9am-6.45pm, Sunday: -10.30pm Monday-Saturday, 12pm-9.30pm Sunday
Getting there: Friday: Lee Valley VeloPark, Queen Elizabeth Park, Saturday & Sunday: Central London (races finish at The Mall)
Nearest Tube: Friday: Stratford, Saturday & Sunday: Charing Cross/Various Z1 stations
Price: Free entry

 

Best for: Festivals in London

Percolate Open Air

The vibe:

“A party, in a park, in East London”

Need to know:

With five years’ worth of experience of hosting some of London’s best club nights, Percolate are throwing their first ever festival this weekend.

Taking over the Three Mills Island in East London – and taking place in the shadow of the world’s largest tidal mill – Percolate Open Air will offer 11 hours of music from world class DJs.

A festival for those who take their music seriously, Percolate are keeping it simple and intimate. Although there’ll only be two stages, each will feature a carefully curated line-up. And Percolate are taking the food selection just as seriously, inviting their favourite London street food vendors to cook up some tasty dishes to help you keep dancing through the day.

Website and Twitter

When: Saturday 29th July
Opening times: 12pm-11pm
Getting there: Three Mills Island, Three Mill Lane, E3 3DU
Nearest Tube: Bromley-by-Bow/West Ham
Price: From £44.60 via the official website

Best for: Cocktails in London

Cocktails at the Geffrye Museum Garden Variety Bar

Geffrye period garden. Photographed by Mandy Williams

The vibe:

The return of a (not-so) Secret Garden bar

Need to know:

Hoxton’s Geffrye Museum is home to both fascinating exhibits of furniture and interior design throughout the ages, and some very charming, historically-inspired gardens.

And, to celebrate the summer, a pop-up cocktail bar is coming back to the garden.

A big hit in previous years, the cocktail bar features drinks from some of the city’s best bartenders, some of which feature ingredients gathered from the garden itself. There’ll also be delicious street food on offer.

Pull up a deckchair, sit back and relax in one of the city’s most peaceful spots.

Website and Twitter

When: Thursdays & Fridays from 27th July to 1st September
Opening times: 5pm-10.30pm
Getting there: Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, E2 8EA

Nearest Tube: Hoxton (Overground)
Price: From £3 via designmynight

Best for: Art, beer and food in London

Tate Tap Takeover with Alphabet Brewing Company/Carousel at Tate/Uniqlo Tate Late

Alphabet Brewing Company

The vibe:

Drinking, dining and dancing at the gallery

Need to know:

A trip to the Tate Modern is always a London highlight, and the gallery’s current blockbuster exhibitions – Giacometti and Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power are absolute must-sees.

However, there’s a particularly packed schedule at the gallery this weekend, with several very special events taking place.

Get the weekend off to an early start on Thursday evening at the Tate Tap Takeover with Alphabet Brewing Company. The Manchester-based craft brewery will be offering five of their best beers to taste – including an oatmeal pale ale and pineapple sour. The brewery’s resident artist, Hammo, will be live drawing and hosting a workshop where you can design and name your own beer label (with the winner receiving a prize of dinner for 2 in the Tate restaurant).

Throughout the weekend, the gallery’s restaurant will be offering gourmet dining, in collaboration with pop-up restaurant specialists Carousel. Talented and award-winning Mexican-born, Scandinavian-based chef, Santiago Lastra, has prepared a special menu of delectable dishes, drawing on his Mexican-heritage, as well as the foraging ethos of some of his past kitchens – including the Nordic Food Lab, Bror and NOMA Mexico.

On Friday night, the gallery’s monthly late party – Uniqlo Tate Late – is also taking place. Inspired by Tate Britain’s current exhibition on Queer Art, the event celebrates contemporary LGBTQ culture. Among the activities on offer are live music in the Turbine Hall, featuring Kim Ann Foxman, Larry B and Mo Probs, DJ sets in the terrace bar, performance art and talks with Scottee and Jessie Mclaughlin and creative workshops with the Polyester Zine team.

Website and Twitter

Santiago Lastra Carousel at Tate

When: Tap Takeover: Thursday 27th July, Carousel at Tate: Friday 28th-Sunday 30th July, Uniqlo Tate Late: Friday 28th July
Opening times: Tap Takeover: 6.30pm-10pm, Carousel at Tate: 12pm-2pm/6.30-9.30pm Uniqlo Tate Late: 6pm-10pm
Getting there: Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG

Nearest Tube: Southwark/Blackfriars
Price: Tap Takeover: From £12.50 (book tickets on the Tate website), Carousel at Tate: From £39.50 (book a table on the Tate website), Uniqlo at Tate Late: Free

Best for: European clubbing culture in London

Festival Iminente

Photo by Jose Pando Lucas

The vibe:

Lisbon’s coolest festival comes to London

Need to know:

One of Europe’s coolest cities, Lisbon has an incredible clubbing, street art and food scene. All of which are celebrated at the Iminente Festival of Urban Art and Music.

After a successful first year on home turf, Festival Iminente is set to host its first London edition this weekend, in Shoreditch’s Brick Lane.

An immersive two-day experience, the festival (which includes both daytime and evening sessions) will include street art performances from some of Europe’s best artists, urban music with a Portuguese twist at 93 Feet East, and authentic (and delicious) Lisbon street food.

Website and Twitter

Photo by Jose Pando Lucas

When: Friday 28th-Saturday 29th July
Opening times: 2pm-3am
Getting there:  Old Truman Brewery/Brick Lane Yard/93 Feet East, Brick Lane, E1
Nearest Tube: Shoreditch High Street (Overground)/Liverpool Street
Price: From £8 via tickettailor.com

Best for: Rooftop bars in London

Bar Elba Opening Party

The vibe:

Be the first to try London’s newest rooftop bar

Need to know:

After his defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba. But, as the island is found in the sunny heart of the Mediterranean, and he got to take 600 of his closest friends (and his favourite horse) with him. Sounds less like an exile and more like a party to us.

And the city’s newest rooftop bar (the sister venue to similarly Napoleonic-themed cocktail spot Tonight Josephine), Bar Elba, are bringing the Mediterranean vibes to the area around Waterloo station.

Sunny and colourful, the bar has a menu of more than 20 summer cocktails – as well as this year’s latest drinks trend Frose (frozen Rose). Check out their launch party this saturday night for an exclusive first look at what’s sure to be one of the city’s newest favourite drinking spots.

Website and Facebook

When: Saturday 29th July
Opening times: 4pm-12am
Getting there:  Mercury House, 109-117 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UL
Nearest Tube: Waterloo
Price: £10 (includes two free drinks) from designmynight.com

 

Essential weekend information

Find more inspiration for things to do in London here.

We’ve also pulled together a guide of 50 brilliant things to do in London in the summer, and a list of the city’s best riverside pubs and bars, if you want to make the most of the pleasant weather. (And a list of 28 things to do in London when it rains, just in case)

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 London hotels.

And finally, remember to check out the weather forecast.