What's on and things to do in and around London

Our pick of the best events, family activities and fun days out in the capital and beyond in the days that lie ahead.


A busy couple of days in central London's Trafalgar Square kicks off on Friday, 23 September, with Malaysia Night, featuring more than 20 restaurants cooking street-food inspired dishes, dancing, arts and crafts.

Image caption The square will be transformed into a night market to celebrate Malaysian culture

The event runs into the night, to 22:00 BST, and also includes a Formula One car show and Masterchef winner Tim Anderson with his own take on Malaysian food.

It is followed by Saturday's (24 September) Eid in the Square, the capital's celebrations for Eid-ul-Fitr, the Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

Another free event, it brings together musicians and performers reflecting the diversity of London's varied Muslim communities, from the reggae-fusion of Rakin Niass to Akeem and MC Quest-Rah and the Islamia School Choir.

Performances begin from 14:00 BST with a children's play area catering for younger family members, souvenir stalls, traditional Eid festive food - and also a chance to sing to camera.

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* The inaugural Merge Festival, celebrating all things Bankside, to 20 November, with the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company and artists Fiona Banner and Jamie Reid - of Sex Pistols fame - among the participants.

There's also a recreation of a classic walk-in record store near Borough Market, a mobile theatre housed in a vintage caravan on the river walkway near Tate Modern and a series of 'surprise' musical events in local cafes, parks and offices at unexpected times.

* Last chance to catch the London Design Festival, to 25 September, with specially commissioned installations at the V&A museum, including a 30-metre long 'sensual environment' on which visitors can comfortably lounge, and at St Paul's Cathedral where architect John Pawson has created a metal and crystal hemisphere below a reflective curved mirror at the top of the South West Tower.

Elsewhere, the festival has exhibitors and design products from classic to contemporary, industrial to craft, ranged across destinations such as The Royal Hospital Chelsea, the Old Truman Brewery in the East End and Victoria House, Bloomsbury.

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BBC - Things to Do/London

London Online/Events

Visit London/Events

Kids and families

In a venture that London's Natural History Museum calls Science Uncovered, visitors will be able to access some of the venue's hidden nooks and crannies where science goes on.

Touring a molecular laboratory for instance, where dead wasps, mosquitoes and scorpions are sitting in test tubes waiting to be liquidised, or discovering the secrets hidden in the DNA of a North Atlantic right whale skeleton.

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Media captionThree NHM researchers describe the work they do "behind the scenes"

The event, on Friday, 23 September, is a one-off, marrying show-and-tell with a hands-on approach and a chance to talk to some of the museum's 300-plus researchers about what they do and why.

Be sure not to miss the zoology department - here, names are being invited for five new species of worms, discovered around Antarctica, ensuring the winning suggestions an entry in formal scientific literature and a place in perpetuity.

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* With activists campaigning for car-free areas and speed restrictions across central London earlier this week, Camden Council's first ever Green travel festival is a timely affair.

Taking place on Saturday, 24 September, it transforms Charlotte Street and Fitzroy Square, off Tottenham Court Road, into a walker's haven free of traffic and vehicle pollution, bringing with it food promotions, live music, a showcase of the latest electric cars and bikes - and a chance for young teens to learn a few tricks from competitive BMX riders.

The event also ties in with the Wellcome Collection's 'white sound' installation nearby in the Euston Road - see below.

See also:

Visit London: family - what's on for kids - London with kids


Sound artist Bill Fontana, creator of an installation in the basement wells of Somerset House last year, returns to the capital with a new project - the sound of waves from Dorset's Chesil Beach, mixed and "sculptured" and broadcast live from speakers at the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road.

The idea behind his White Noise: An Urban Seascape, to 16 October, is to block out, as far as possible, the sound of the traffic rumbling past - hence the title of the work's allusion to white noise.

Fontana, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, calls it "an experiment in perception".

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Media captionFootage of Chesil Beach, courtesy of Bill Fontana

The artist's passion has taken him around the globe, mounting sound sculptures in cities including New York, Vienna and Berlin.

"My sculptures train the body in the act of listening, it's a way of experiencing the wholeness of the moment," he says.

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* At the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury is a remarkable tribute to the many destitute and abandoned children schooled in central London and Berkhamsted, in Hertfordshire, during the first half of the 20th Century.

The show, Foundling Voices, to 30 October, collects childhood memories from more than 70 pupils in a mix of audio interviews, photographs and film; together they weave tales, by turns tragic and heart-warming, that deal with family separation, a spartan education and the search to make sense of the outside world in the inter-war period.

See also:

Time Out: museums and attractions

Culture24 - museum links and listings


Dulwich Picture Gallery's 200th anniversary celebrations continue apace with an exhibition that draws on works in its permanent collection.

Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters, to 25 September, explores the affinities across three centuries between the late American painter Cy Twombly and French classicist Nicolas Poussin.

Image caption The gallery has a world-class permanent collection of works by French painter Nicolas Poussin

Both moved to Rome aged around 30, taking inspiration from the heritage of the Eternal City; both spent their lives in study and in creating ideas to do with antiquity, history and mythology relevant to their own eras.

The show consists of some 30 paintings, drawings and sculptures devoted to the themes they shared. For gallery director Ian Dejardin, it fits in with an ongoing philosophy.

In recent times, he recalls, Howard Hodgkin, Lucian Freud and Paula Rego have all hung their paintings within the collection. "Poussin and Twombly seemed like a natural extension of those experiments," he says.

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In the unusual but sympathetic surroundings of the Gallery in the Crypt, St Martin-in-the-Fields, adjoining Trafalgar Square, artist Venetia Norris turns her focus mainly to flowers and plants.

Consisting of more than 20 mixed-media drawings inspired by natural forms, Pen to Paper, to 2 October, takes the feminine tradition of flower depictions a stage beyond chocolate-box cosiness; Norris's use of bold, dripped lines of paint creates a series of studies that intriguingly combine detail with abstraction.

See also:

BBC - Your Paintings

ArtInfo: London gallery guide galleries

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