Top five things to do in Hampstead and Highgate this week

SJ Watson. Picture: Ian West

SJ Watson. Picture: Ian West - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A book launch by author SJ Watson in West Hampstead, the return of a Broadway musical to London and a Valentine’s Day tea dance for seniors are just some of the things featured in our top five this week.

1. Thursday - S J Watson book launch

Best-selling author S J Watson launches his latest novel in West Hampstead this evening. Watson will be signing copies of, and doing readings from, his psychological thriller Second Life at West End Lane Books. His first novel, Before I Go To Sleep, became an international bestseller. It won the Crime Writers’ Association Award for Best Debut Novel and the Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year. The film of the book, starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong was released in September 2014.

2. Monday - The Goodbye Girl musical

Broadway hit The Goodbye Girl returns to London for the first time in 18 years courtesy of Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate. A wry, comic musical about learning to love the unexpected, this lively musical is filled with toe-tapping melodies from composer Hamlisch.

Doors open at 7:30pm Tuesdays-Saturdays throughout February. Tickets cost £18-£22 (concessions £16-£20). For more information go to

3. Wednesday - Philosophy talk

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Join Conservative MP Jesse Norman and Irish writer J P O’Malley for a Q&A session about Irish philosopher and thinker Edmund Burke at the Boogaloo Pub in Highgate.

Norman, who has written a critically acclaimed biography of Whig politician Burke, will discuss his influence on 18th century ideas as part of the 2015 series of events celebrating Irish culture and history.

The live Q&A takes place from 7:30pm-9:30pm at the pub in Archway Road. Tickets cost £7.50. For more information or to book contact J P O’Malley via

4. Friday - Recital

Musicians Tim Osborne and Ruth Holland present a flute and piano recital to include pieces by Vaughan Williams, Manuel de Falla, Philippe Gaubert and Benjamin Godard. Mr Osborne studied flute at Goldsmiths’ College in South London and now performs and teaches in London. Ms Holland studied at Trinity College of Music and now teaches and composes. As a duo, they explore a wide repertoire of music in all styles. Held at Burgh House in New End Square, Hampstead. Starts 7pm. Tickets costing £10 will be available on the door or in advance by calling 07710 808189 (includes a glass of wine). Children under 10 are free.

5. Saturday - Valentine’s Day tea dance

The annual Valentine’s tea dance for seniors gets underway again with a lavish spread of tea and cakes. Held at Haverstock School in Haverstock Hill, Hampstead, baking will be done by younger students with older students hosting the event and serving refreshments. The staff band will also be playing old and not-so-old favourites. There will also be a free raffle with prizes. Runs from 3pm to 5pm. Admission is £3, payable on the door. Contact Nikki on 020 7424 8366 or 07967583548 to book a place.