Top five things to do in Hampstead and Highgate this week

09:12 02 June 2014

Alain de Botton will be talking about the impact the news has on our minds

Alain de Botton will be talking about the impact the news has on our minds


A week-long festival at Keats House in Hampstead, a lecture by Alain de Botton in Primrose Hill and a “guide to wine” given by Ab Fab actress Helen Lederer are just some of the things featured in our top five this week.

1. Saturday - Keats Festival

Keats House in Hampstead comes alive with a week-long festival of events and activities to mark 200 years since John Keats wrote his first poem. Running from Saturday until the following Sunday, there will be readings of Keats’ poetry, writing workshops, film screenings, music, dance, and literary talks. A number of high profile guests will also be attending - including Simon Russell Beale, widely regarded as one of the greatest stage actors of his generation, and children’s novelist Michael Rosen. The festival also marks the handover of Keats House’s poet-in-residence from Jo Shapcott to Daljit Nagra, both of whom will be running activities during the festival.

For a full programme of events and to book, visit

2. Wednesday - Alain de Botton

Writer and broadcaster Alain de Botton discusses his latest book examining the place the news occupies in our lives.

The News: A User’s Manual probes our “21st century obsession with rolling headlines” with de Botton arguing that current affairs has occupied “the same dominant position in our society that religion once did”.

He asks the question: “When we can’t stop checking the news on our screens, what is it doing to our minds?”

De Botton has been published in thirty countries and gained an international following as a “philosopher of everyday life”.

His bestselling books include Religion for Atheists, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Art of Travel, and The Architecture of Happiness.

The talk is held at St Mary’s Primrose Hill in Elsworthy Road and is part of their summer lecture series.

Starts 7.30pm. Tickets £12 (£10 concs, £6 for under 18s).

Book at Primrose Hill Books, by visiting the church or at

3. Tuesday - Ab fab wine

Join Absolutely Fabulous actress Helen Lederer as she presents her “show off’s guide to wine”.

A fundraiser for Lauderdale House, Waterlow Park, Highgate, the event sees Ms Lederer help visitors tell their chardonnay from their pinot.

Assisted by her actress daughter, Hannah Lederer, it promises to be a “fun and intimate evening”.

Runs from 7.30-9pm. Tickets £70. Call 020 8348 8716 to book.

4. Saturday - Kentish Festival

A free festival celebrating creativity in Kentish Town takes place over Saturday and Sunday. The Kentish Fleet Festival, which began life last year, features a range of music, arts and family activities. This includes acting classes, band workshops, and lessons in documentary filmmaking. Late night music from local DJs and musicians will also take place at The Assembly House in Kentish Town Road and The Grafton in Prince of Wales Road.

For a full programme of events, visit

5. Sunday - Cancer Walk

A sponsored walk in aid of women with breast cancer will take place around Hampstead Heath. Charity Cancerkin’s annual walk will see participants take part in a 5km or 10km stroll around the Heath. Anyone can take part by downloading an entry form from the Cancerkin website or by calling 020 7830 2323.

Walkers can also register on the day by visiting the registration desk at the Parliament Hill bandstand before 10.15am.


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