Top five things to do in Hampstead and Highgate this week

The Sunday Papers at Cecil Sharp House. Picture: Sebastian Barros

The Sunday Papers at Cecil Sharp House. Picture: Sebastian Barros - Credit: Archant

The Hampstead and Highgate annual literary festival, a charity concert with the 40-piece Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra, and the unique Sunday Papers event are just some of the things featured in our top five this week.

1. Sunday - Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival

This weekend sees the arrival of the Hampstead & Highgate Literary Festival 2014 – a three day celebration with over 90 writers, workshops, speed pitching, literary walks and a kidsfest.

Authors, journalists and commentators will gather at the London Jewish Cultural Centre’s Ivy House in Golders Green at the fest, held once again in partnership with the Ham&High.

Running Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the festival sees a wealth of topics explored and brought to life from the writers who know them best.

From discussing the “increasingly-loathed” Putin using insight from the oligarchs who know him best, to a live interview with Charles Spencer, the historian and brother of the late Lady Diana, who is fresh from writing an expose on the killing of King Charles I.

Histories of the First World War, eminent economic journalists grilling bankers, leading poetry, confessions of professional agony aunts, and tips from cookery writers – all will feature in a packed programme featuring literary figures like Lynne Reid Banks, Tanya Byron, Antonia Fraser, Sandra Howard and Penny Vincenzi.

Most Read

Writing workshops will also give tips on how to improve your own prose, while this year’s Kidsfest ensures people of all ages are introduced to their favourite authors.

The Ivy House Café will be open throughout the festival for snacks and beverages, while book sales and signings will be held in the onsite Waterstones book shop.

For tickets and a full programme of events, visit Concessions are available, including for schools and community groups.

2. Today - Sir Denys Lasdun Exhibition

Monday sees the start of a free exhibition marking the centenary of visionary architect Sir Denys Lasdun in his modernist masterpiece the Royal College of Physicians, which turns 50 this year.

In 1964, Sir Denys Lasdun (1914-2001), the controversial pioneer of modern British architecture, created a radical new headquarters for the 500 year old organisation.

On the edge of Regent’s Park, it holds an ancient library, a 17th-century oak paneled room and a marble portrait gallery in cutting-edge concrete and glass.

The exhibition will explore this Grade I listed building which has inspired generations of architects and designers.

On display will be rarely-seen original models of Lasdun’s best-known buildings, including the National Theatre and Keeling House alongside contemporary drawings, letters and photographs from private collections.

Held at the Royal College of Physicians, Monday to Friday (9am to 5pm).

Call 020 3075 1543 for more information.

3. Sunday - The Sunday Papers

A new way to make sense of the Sunday newspapers, Cecil Sharp House in Regent’s Park Road, Primrose Hill, hosts a day of talks, walks, performances and food that aim to bring the broadsheets to life. With the hall transformed to resemble an oversized living room, a star-studded line-up of top political, business, culture and sport experts will take you through all the news and features.

The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn discusses jihadi group Islamic State, Guardian journalist Nick Davies gives the inside scoop on how he broke the story of the phone hacking scandal and MoneyWeek columnist Dominic Frisby explains digital currency Bitcoin. Fashion, travel, food, TV and gardening also feature.

Food will be available all day with a reservation only long-table Sunday roast cooked by “eco chef” Tom Hunt.

With it running from 12noon to 11pm, visitors are invited to bring their slippers, come and go as they please or join in the organised walks in the open spaces of Primrose Hill.

Tickets £30. Visit to book.

4. Friday - Book Signing

Author Lauren Child will be signing copies of her new book The New Small Person at the Primrose Hill Community Library in Sharpleshall Street.

Ms Child has written many popular children’s books including Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redford.

Starts 3.45pm. To book a free ticket, visit

5. Saturday - Chamber Orchestra

The 40-piece Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra will be performing a fundraising concert at Christ Church in Hampstead Square, Hampstead in benefit of family support charity Home-Start Camden. The concert programme includes Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Bartok’s Romanian Dances and Kodaly’s Dances of Marosszek. Also Bruch’s Double Concerto Brahms: Variations on a theme by Haydn.

Tickets £15. To book, call 020 7424 1603 or email