Things to do
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: Just when you think Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been rehashed every possible way, someone stages a production of it in the basement of Ally Pally. It’s the first time the subterranean spaces have been opened to the public, and the play too has been updated, set in the 1930s in this interpretation. Alexandra Palace, £28.50, book ahead, 3-28 September
STEAM TRAINS: It’s the final day of this summer’s steam trains rides between Waterloo and Windsor/Surrey. Live out your Hogwarts Express dreams as you board vintage Pullman coaches pulled by the Mayfair engine, with champagne options available if you’re willing to splash out. Waterloo station, from £35 for daytime service/£49 for evening service, book ahead, 8am/11.15am/2.05pm/7.20pm
LUNCHTIME CONCERT: Spend your lunchtime in the luxurious settings of Lauderdale House, listening to live classical music as you look out over Waterlow Park. Makes a change from a soggy sarnie al desko. Lauderdale House (Highgate), free, just turn up, 1.15pm
CROMWELL DAY: On 3 September every year — the anniversary of Oliver Cromwell’s death — members of the Cromwell Association gather for a commemoration service by his statue in Westminster, including the laying of a wreath. The service itself isn’t open to the public, but you’re welcome to watch it taking place from the pavement nearby. Plenty else going on in the area too, no doubt. Westminster, free, just turn up, 3pm
NEW TOWNS: New documentary New Towns, Our Town takes a look back at the legacy and impact of New Towns including Stevenage, Milton Keynes and Peterborough. Rare archive footage features, and a discussion follows the screening, asking what we can learn from the construction of New Towns to help with the current housing crisis. Barbican Cinema, £12, book ahead, 6.30pm
DESSERT TOUR: If you’ve got a sweet tooth, book a spot on this dessert tour around Soho. Prepare for a sugar rush (and subsequent crash) as you sample the area’s most glorious desserts, in well-known spots and hidden gems. Learn about the area on your route too. Charing Cross Road, £25, book ahead, 6.30pm (sponsor)
NEON LIGHTS: Graphic design publication Eye Magazine hosts its quarterly event focusing on typefaces, and this time it’s neon signs which are in the spotlight. Kerry Ryan discusses his career as a neon expert, from being a teenage apprentice in the 1980s to commissions by Tracey Emin. Plus, Ilona Karwińska and David Hill show images from Poland’s ‘era of neon propaganda’ and tell the story of Europe’s first neon museum. Sounds like an illuminating night. St Bride Foundation (Fleet Street), £12.50/£10/£8, book ahead, 7pm-9.30pm
POPBITCH QUIZ: Swot up on your pop culture and general knowledge and head to the Popbitch Popquiz. Teams of up to six people compete across seven rounds covering everything from music to puzzles to plasticine, with prizes including bar tabs and theatre tickets to be won. Smiths of Smithfield, £5.50, book ahead, 7.30pm
NHS COMEDY: Head east for Dissecting The Joke, a night of comedy about all things health and medicine. Comedians and doctors both take to the stage, including comedian Thanyia Moore , psychiatrist Benji Waterstones, and former stand-up Manraj Bahra, who tells the story of when he almost died from a chest tumour. Backyard Comedy Club (Bethnal Green), £6.50/£5, book ahead, 7.30pm-10.30pm
ALIEN: The nights are getting dark sooner, but there’s still time to squeeze in a few more outdoor film screenings — especially when they’re free. Tonight, watch Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic Alien, beneath London’s 21st century skyscrapers. Take your own picnic blanket to sit on. Canada Square Park (Canary Wharf), free, just turn up, 9pm
Tube ponderings with Barry Heck
Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.
Do you know about the Northern City Line? It runs underground, north out of Moorgate and Old Street and feels like a very, very old tube line — yet you won’t find it on the tube map. The route was indeed once part of the Northern line, but has operated as national rail since the 1970s. The central stations appear unchanged since the 1980s, while the trains are among the oldest anywhere on the mainland. The 40-year-old Class 313s are gradually being replaced by more modern trains, so take a ride on the line while it still feels ancient. Follow Barry on Twitter @HeckTube.
Good cause of the day
Just a couple of days left to register for a spot on Swim Serpentine, a charity open water swim in Hyde Park’s lake. Choose between a half-mile or one-mile distance on 21 September — entries close this Thursday. Find out more and book a place.