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The guide - things to do in London this weekend

Our tips to help you plan ahead and get the best out of your weekend in the city: Friday 12 - Sunday 14 March.

Subterranean London

As the London Eye clocks up ten years, let's be reminded of another great engineering achievement that gripped the popular imagination, the Thames Tunnel.

This marvel of the Victorian age, built by the Brunel brothers in 1852, was more than a walkway connecting Rotherhithe with Wapping

The Thames Tunnel (photo courtesy the Brunel Museum)
The Thames Tunnel has been closed to the public for the last 145 years

Within a week of its opening, it is said, the tunnel had been visited by over half of London's population, drawn by its grand entrance hall, shopping arcade, theatre and the avenue of illuminations that ran along its 1,300 foot length.

See it in its original splendour when it reopens for two days only as the finale of London's East Festival.

There are day and evening tours through the tunnel and an Underwater Fancy Fair to add to the sense of occasion; fans of Victoriana will warm to the aerialists, jugglers and strongmen while a panoply of stalls promises all manner of food, drink and paraphernalia.

Thames Tunnel & Underwater Fancy Fair, Friday 12 & Saturday 13 March, Railway Avenue, Rotherhithe SE16, tours 11am - 5pm & 6pm - 10pm, fair 6pm - 10pm. Tunnel walk £5, fair £5, joint ticket £7.50, available through London Transport Museum: 020 7565 7298 to book.


One sure way to track the coming of spring is the return to Battersea Park of the Affordable Art Fair.

With prices pegged at £3,000 and under, down to £50 in some cases, this is where the curious can mingle with the more committed in a hunt for that elusive bargain or promising young talent en plein air.

The Affordable Art Fair
Some 120 galleries from the UK and abroad are taking part in the fair

London's big guns, noticeably, tend to stay away; the fair pulls in small to medium-sized galleries, with Rebecca Hossack and Sarah Myerscough leading the capital's roll-call alongside some 120 others from the UK and elsewhere.

Visitors can learn how to start a collection and pick the brains of various experts.

It's also a day out for young families: kids up to the age of 11 can pick up free activity packs and leave their mark, literally, on a giant collaborative wall art project.

The Affordable Art Fair, ongoing to Sunday 14 March, Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park SW11, daily 11am - 6pm. Tickets on door £12 (weekday) £15 (weekend), concs available, children under-16 free.

Also on view from this week is a stunning selection of images that traverse almost a century of photography.

Royal Diptych (c) AG Carrick / Crisis / Getty
The show will give a first-view of this diptych with patron Prince William

Somerset House's A Positive View includes still-life, fashion, portraiture and reportage and places key figures such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliot Erwitt and Corinne Day - famed for the first-ever seen photograph of supermodel Kate Moss - alongside contemporary artists and work by unknown photographers.

Some of those taking part are clients of the homelessness charity Crisis: Jeff Hubbard is one such and he features in a diptych, unveiled here in public for the first time, with Royal Patron Prince William.

A gala reception and auction of one hundred of the most collectible works in the show follows in mid-April with proceeds going to Crisis.

A Positive View, ongoing to 5 April, Terrace Rooms & Embankment Galleries, Somerset House, The Strand WC2, daily 10am - 6pm. Free admission.


Bach's Mass in B minor is said to be one of the mightiest choral works ever written; indeed it's first publisher went a step further and hailed it as "the greatest musical work of art of all times and nations".

Anna Devin
Anna Devin will join a Royal Opera House youth scheme later this year

Judge for yourself when the piece is performed by Highgate Choral Society and prize winning Irish soprano Anna Devin with the New London Orchestra and conductor Ronald Corp.

HCS, interestingly, is Britain's ninth oldest choir and consists of over 200 members; it's hardly an elitist organisation - rehearsals are held on a weekly basis if you fancy singing with them.

Mass in B minor by Bach, Saturday 13 March, All Hallows' Church, Gospel Oak NW3, 7.30pm. Tickets £13 - £23, concs £10. Box office: 07952 508234


It's not only the fleet of foot who'll be high-stepping along to Move It 2010, a dancefest-cum-expo showing off styles ranging from samba and street dance to ballet, ballroom and burlesque.

Erin Boag and Austin Healey
Erin Boag with her former Strictly partner Austin Healey

Fans of all things Strictly will enjoy pros like Matthew and Nicole Cutler taking to the stage, while elsewhere there are opportunities to learn a few steps with Erin Boag, Celtic tap specialist James Devine and the English National Ballet's Antony Dowson among others.

If you've got the moves, a freestyle stage will showcase your skills and let you win prizes; those with that extra twinkle in their toes can audition for Cirque du Soleil and stage show Thriller Live!

Sunday, meanwhile, brings a fashion show, a West End showcase and performances by ZooNation and Momentum Dance.

Move It 2010, Friday 12 - Sunday 14 March, Olympia, Hammersmith Road W14, Friday & Saturday 10am - 7pm, Sunday 10am - 5pm. Tickets £12 (adults), £9 (5-15-year-olds), under-fives free.

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