Ai Weiwei Ai Weiwei

What's on in London this September

The countdown is over as this month in London the Ai Weiwei exhibition opens, Nicole Kidman returns to the West End and Les 110 de Taillevent opens its London doors

It’s goodbye summer and hello autumn in London. And along with the new season, blows in a hefty bill of super cool cultural events across the city, from much anticipated art exhibitions and theatre productions to gastronomic restaurant and hotel openings. Pack the kids off to school and get out and about across the city...

Ai Weiwei exhibition, Royal Academy
The highly anticipated major retrospective of the work of Chinese contemporary artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei finally opens at London’s Royal Academy this month. Having been detained by the Chinese authorities since 2011, for tax evasion, Ai Weiwei is now back on the international stage, returning to London for the first time since the success of his sunflower seed installation at The Tate Modern in 2010. The self-titled exhibition includes some of his most important works from 1993 to present day as well as some specifically created large-scale installations including 90 tonnes of steel reinforcing rods from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which have been shipped over from China. 19th September – 13th December www.royalacademy.org.uk

Les 110 de Taillevent London

Les-110-de-Taillevent-London-opening-in-September strict xxlLes 110 de Taillevent London

You no longer need to hop over to Paris to enjoy the fine dining institution that is Les 110 de Taillevent, as the two-Michelin starred restaurant is opening a branch of its French brasserie on London’s Cavendish Square this month. Famed for its wine and food pairings, Les 110 de Taillevent will offer a unique wine experience, with 110 wines by the glass, as well as dinner and lunch menus inspired by the Parisian brasserie but adapted for the London palate. www.taillevent.com

Related: London's best new openings this year

Christie’s Out of the Ordinary Auction

( Lot 34) 'Cheeky Hippo' a glass-topped table held up by a bronze hippo (£2000-3000)(Lot 34) 'Cheeky Hippo' a glass-topped table held up by a bronze hippo (£2000-3000)

Have you ever wanted to get your hands on a piece of Tom Cruise’s wardrobe from Mission: Impossible or the crown worn by Kate Moss on her first magazine shoot? Well now you can thanks to Christie’s Out of the Ordinary Auction, which specialises in rare, unusual and extraordinary artifacts. Place your bids on 10th September at Christie’s showroom on Old Brompton Road, or if browsing is more your style, you can peruse the items which will be exhibited in the showroom until auction day. 10th September www.christies.com

OXBO Bankside & Distillery, Hilton London Bankside

OXBO HiltonOXBO Hilton

There is a new Hilton hotel opening this month on London’s South Bank, the Hilton London Bankside (the first Hilton opening in the city for nine years), yet it is not the rooms that excite us most, but the hotel’s restaurant OXBO Bankside and its bar, The Distillery. Executive chef Paul Bates, formerly of The Beaumont and Intercontinental Park Lane, will run OXBO Bankside and focus on British classics with ingredients sourced from the local Borough market, while The Distillery will specialise in artisan gins and locally crafted beers. www.hilton.com

David Hockney Early Drawings, Offer Waterman

David Hockney The Luxor Hotel (1978) David Hockney b.1937, The Luxor Hotel, 1978, coloured crayon on paper, 14 x 16 7/8 inches, 35.5 x 43 cm © David Hockney

In celebration of their new Mayfair gallery and in collaboration with Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York, Offer Waterman has curated a unique exhibition of over fifty drawings and sketches by British artist David Hockney. The work, which dates back to the 1960s and 1970s, is both on sale, and on loan from private collections. 25th September – 23rd October, www.waterman.co.uk

Photograph 51 starring Nicole Kidman at the Noel Coward Theatre

Show Photograph51Photograph 51 

For the first time in over 15 years, Nicole Kidman returns to the London stage to play British scientist Rosalind Franklin in the premiere of Photograph 51. Michael Grandage, whom Nicole also recently worked with in his up coming movie, Genius, directs this Anna Ziegler play, about a female scientist who had a crucial role in the discovery of DNA. 5th September – 21st November, www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/tickets/photograph51

SuperBrands at Harrods

Dolce & Gabbana at Superbrands, HarrodsDolce & Gabbana at Superbrands, Harrods

Not many London trips are complete without a wander through the gleeming floors of Harrods, and this autumn there is another reason to make a visit, as the luxury shopping mecca has just opened it’s ‘Superbrands’ department. Designed by Make Architects, this elegant and contemporary space on the first floor is home to 17 of the most revered and luxurious global brand boutiques. Each boutique has its own distinct decor, designed and custom-made to suit the look and feel of the individual brands. Peruse the likes of Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Ralph & Russo and make all your new season 'super' purchases, under one very stylish roof. www.harrods.com/superbrands

Related: Brompton Road, London: a guide

Sunday Break, The Langham

ArtesianCocktails at Artesian © Artesian/Facebook

If after a week of business or a weekend of cultural pleasure leaves you exhausted, why not check into London’s Langham hotel for their Sunday Break. Laze in luxury at one of London’s finest hotels and at the end of the day while away the evening hours in what has recently been voted by Drinks International as ‘World’s Best Bar’, Artesian, and enjoy a complimentary cocktail and sharing platter. After a good nights sleep you can also start your week with a gastronomic high – full English breakfast in Roux at The Landau, Palm Court, or for the ultimate indulgence, breakfast in bed. www.langhamhotels.com

Related: Best afternoon teas in London

FriendsFest, Brick Lane

friends---use-this-image#FriendsFest © Comedy Central 

It has been over 20 years since Friends first hit our screens, and over 10 since the cast last sat on that orange sofa or gossiped in Monica’s apartment. But for five days this September, Friends is back, well a reconstructed version of the set including Monica’s apartment, and an exhibition of props and memorabilia from the show, is coming to The Boiler House on London’s Brick Lane. Tickets to ‘Friends Fest’ sold out in just 11 minutes, but if you missed out, Comedy Central are running regular competitions to win tickets via Twitter (follow @comedycentraluk). 16th – 20th September, www.comedycentral.co.uk

Dismaland, Weston-super-Mare

Dismaland © Dismaland/FacebookDismaland © Dismaland/Facebook

Admittedly, this is not a London event, but if you can face two and a half hours on the train from London Paddington to Weston-super-Mare (via Bristol) Banksy’s Dismaland, is certainly a novel experience and worth the journey. The reclusive artist has transformed a disused lido into a ‘bemusement’ park – Cinderella’s carriage is overturned, seagulls are attacking a woman and a fairy castle is in disarray. As well as his own work, Banksy has handpicked works by 58 artists including Damien Hirst, David Shrigley and Jenny Holzer.  Until 27th September, www.dismaland.co.uk

1 Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy
2 Les 110 de Taillevent
3 Christie's
4 OXBO Bankside & Distillery
5 David Hockney Offer Waterman
6 Photograph 51 at Noël Coward Theatre
7 The Langham
8 Harrods
9 FriendsFest
10 Dismaland