Top Picks for the week ahead 17th – 23rd September

Actual real life events are taking place once again so if you’re up for getting out and about, here’s our pick of the best things to do in and around London; explore the Open House festival launching this weekend offering adventures, real life and online,  in London’s urban landscape,  visit an interactive exhibition that enables visitors to download blueprints to make their own bespoke dog designs, become a wandering wonderer and find out what’s happening for the Great British Week of Sports. 

Check out our previous blog on what opened and when From theme parks, cinemas, museums and attractions. 

And there’s lots of virtual fun to be had; join a drawing workshop with Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown, take the junkitecture challenge and create your own building, be guided by the Natural History Museum and learn how to become a scientist in your own home, tune into a harvest festival to catch animal shows, craft a-longs and miniature garden-making and find out how to make your own Bagpuss window  – there’s lots to do, see and have fun with. 

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Grayson Perry: The MOST Specialest Relationship, 15th September –  31st October 

From Tuesday15th September Victoria Miro invites visitors to explore new work by Grayson Perry, including ceramics, a tapestry and a large-scale print, all inspired by his forthcoming three-part documentary Grayson Perry’s Big American Roadtrip, on Channel 4 from 23 September. The series, in which the artist travels across the US on a custom-built motorbike he designed especially for the journey, explores some of the biggest cultural and political fault-lines in the country. To find out more and book your free timed ticket, click  here

With the three-part documentary Grayson Perry’s Big American Roadtrip, showing on Channel 4 from 23rd September.

Wondering Wanders in the Royal Docks, Saturday 19th September, 10am – 4pm

Pick up or download a map and embark on a family trail for adventures through the Royal Docks. Become Wandering Wonderers, completing challenges as you go and discovering brilliant stories, both real and imagined. As you adventure along the Seeking the Sleeping Giant walking trail you’ll meet some curious characters who have some strange stories and songs to share or hop on a bicycle and spot marvellous sights as you ride your way to find the heart of the Royal Docks. Decide your challenge here

Download Seeking the Sleeping Giant Map here or Ride to the heart of the docks Map here 

Bermondsey Street Festival Market, Saturday 19th September @11am – 6pm

Bermondsey Street Festival is back celebrating one of the coolest streets in London, although things will look a little different this year. A smaller yet no less vibrant event, it will bring together the usual collection of creators and artisans selling prints, self care, ceramics, jewellery and more, alongside top food and drink opposite Tanner Street park, so that you can picnic in the park while enjoying street entertainment and music.

Architecture for Dogs, opens Saturday 19th September 

The internationally acclaimed ‘Architecture for Dogs’ arrives at the Japan House this weekend.   Not just an exhibition, this open source network allows visitors to become designers and makers themselves, with blueprints available for download and opportunities to design your own architecture for dogs. The specially made architectural pieces are designed with a different dog breed in mind, including the Beagle, Bichon Frise, Shiba Inu, Boston Terrier and Poodle. A series of virtual experiences is also on offer, including a 3D Tour (available later in the autumn), online talks and ‘live’ guided tours.

To find out more and book your free ticket, click here 

Open House London 2020, Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th September 

This year’s Open House London offers a mix of virtual and in-person events combining building visits, guided and self-guided walking and cycle tours, as well as tons of online only events. With more than 800 buildings usually closed to the public opened up for public viewing, Open House London claims to be the biggest architectural festival in the world. Brixton Windmill, Freemasons’ Hall, Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse and Willesden Fire Station are open this weekend. 

The programme is subject to change due to the current situation so continue to check the website up until your visit and find out whether you need to book a ticket before you visit.

Find out more here

Great British Week of Sport, Saturday 19th – Sunday 27th September

The Great British Week of Sport’s aim is to inspire the nation to celebrate the power that sport and activity has on our mental, physical and social well-being. Showcasing the benefits of an active lifestyle,  each day has a specific theme, to ensure there’s something for everyone, regardless of age, background or fitness level.

With a mixture of virtual and physical events and activities, the Great British Week of Sport wants to promote and celebrate the power of physical activity and sport.  Get ready, get set, click here and go!

Everyday Heroes, September to November 

Everyday Heroes is an outdoor exhibition that celebrates the contributions that key workers and frontline staff have made during the pandemic. Taking place across the Southbank Centre, many of the contributing artists and writers have chosen to portray family members, friends, or people in their local communities.

Find out more here 


Hold Still at the National Portrait Gallery, launched Monday 14th September  

Explore the National Portrait Gallery’s new digital exhibition launched this week;  Hold Still –  A Portrait of our Nation. Launched in May 2020 to create a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown, people of all ages were invited to submit a photographic portrait, taken in a six-week period during May and June, focussed on three core themes – Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness.  Over 31,000 submissions were received and from these, a panel of judges selected 100 portraits. 

The final 100 present a unique and highly personal record of this extraordinary period, from virtual birthday parties, handmade rainbows and community clapping to brave NHS staff, resilient key workers and people dealing with illness, isolation and loss. 

Explore the final 100 portraits here

The World Made a Rainbow with Michelle Robinson, Thursday 17th September @ 10am 

Inspired by the rainbows that children across the world have been creating and displaying in their windows, The World Made a Rainbow is a beautiful story with a hopeful message of staying connected to the people we love. Join children’s author Michelle Robinson as she does a very special launch-day reading of the book, talks all about rainbows and what it’s like being an author.

Aimed at ages 3 – 6. Join via zoom, tickets are £3 per household. Book here

London Fashion Week Digital Schedule 17th – 22nd September 

For all those young followers of fashion, London Fashion Week offers a unique chance to experience what it’s like to have a front row seat. This season has been split into three sections and includes brands showing digitally, physically or both. Check out the digital schedule here 

iHeartRadio Music Festival 2020, Friday 18th & Saturday 19th September, from 1pm GMT

The US iHeartRadio Music Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this autumn featuring performances by BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown with Special Guest Khalid, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett, Usher and more. Listeners will still be able to experience one-of-a-kind collaborations and surprise performances. Tune in here 

Junkitecture goes Inside-Out’ with Celebrating Architecture, Open House Families, Saturday 19th September 

Part of Open House Families, take the Junkitecture challenge inspired by the Lloyds and ‘Cheesegrater’ buildings to create your own building, structure, or even robot using recycled and junk material with a splash of colour.

The challenge will be announced on Saturday by Learning Open City. Find out more here

To explore the many other online Open House Families events, there are over 140 happening this weekend, click  here 

London Harvest Festival Online – Saturday 19th September 

The London Harvest Festival celebrates London’s city farm and garden community and this year is online. You’ll get the opportunity to join in with a variety of live harvest festival activities including animal shows, competitive fruit-and-veg displays, craft-a-longs, cook-a-longs, miniature garden-making, photography, and an online fireside evening celebration. 

Book your free ticket here

Recycled River Thames – Saturday 19th September @ 12pm – 3pm

Part of the Totally Thames Festival that runs throughout September. Create your own Thames to raise awareness of plastic litter that is polluting the river. Join this online workshop using recycled plastic collected at home, school and from along the tidal Thames down to the Estuary to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the River Thames  by creating an awareness message on plastic. Book your free ticket here 

Totally Thames Festival runs until 30th September, to find out what’s on and when click here

Drawing Horrible Histories with Martin Brown, Saturday 19th September @3pm

Part of the Chelsea History Festival (17th – 27th September) offering a mixture of online and in-person events, prepare for guts and gore with illustrator Martin Brown of Horrible Histories fame as he takes you on a journey from the bloody Battle of Waterloo to the frightful First World War. 

You can join the event for free online here and to find out more about the festival, click here 

Restoration Remake! Crafty Discoveries, Saturday 19th September @3pm 

Part of the Heritage Open Days (ends Sunday 20th September), discover what life was like during the ‘plague years’, through crafts inspired by the colourful culture of the mid-1600s in this virtual workshop. Tickets are free but require booking, click here

Find out more about Heritage Open Days and what’s going on in the final weekend  here and explore their Digital Stages here – there are three to explore; Discovery Stage, Hidden Nature Stage and Family Fun Stage and don’t miss finding out how to make your own Bagpuss Window here  

LEAF Online Farm Sunday – Sunday 20th September

With ‘live’ virtual farm tours taking place throughout the day, from Jersey to Aberdeenshire, Powys to Ghana, Online Farm Sunday is whisking you off to a couple of international farms to see how they produce some of Britain’s favourite tropical foods.

There’s footage of wildlife and biodiversity found in the British countryside plus live cookery demonstrations, lots of recipes, a chat on nutrition and activity sheets too, there’s something for every member of the family! Join in here


Investigate at home with Natural History Museum 

Be a scientist at home and find specimens where you live. Use your scientific skills, make observations, ask questions and look for evidence. Find out all your need to know to get started here and download your own Investigate recording sheet here

Roald Dahl’s Dirty Beasts and Revolting Rhymes

If you enjoyed celebrating Roald Dahl Story Day last Sunday, check out Roald Dahl’s Dirty Beasts and Revolting Rhymes Presented by Norwich Puppet Theatre. 

They’re free to watch with each rhyme and poem individually filmed, lasting between 5 – 10 minutes. Each mini-show is being created and performed by a different artist or company working in lockdown, using Roald Dahl’s original words and lots of different styles of puppetry.

Find out more here and watch on YouTube here

The Dinosaurs Are Coming 

Earlier this year the Southbank Centre  welcomed the weird and wonderful dinosaurs of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo. Inspired by the show, the Southbank Centre have pulled together some of the most roarsome dinosaur themed creative activities and art, for children and families, that you can enjoy at home.

For dino fun, click here 

21 dreams illustrated by Nick Sharratt, imagined by the children of 2020

During the Puffin Festival of Big Dreams in June earlier this year Puffin Books asked children to submit their own big dream and received hundreds upon hundreds. Puffin Books illustrator-in-residence Nick Sharratt has drawn 21 of the dreams submitted by children. Check them out here


RBC Race for the Kids 2020 is going virtual!

Join Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity’s (GOSH Charity) virtual Family Fun Run. Sign up for free to RBC Race for the Kids’ global, virtual event. Race your own way – choose from between a 2.5k, 5k, 10k or a distance of your own choice and run, walk, wheel, skip or scoot across that virtual finish line. Link your fundraising page to Strava, Fitbit or mapmyrun to record any training you do prior to the event and access Race for the Kids Festival Hub with a host of exciting resources and exclusive content. 

To find out more and join in, click here

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