It’s Your London has been away for a few months volunteering in Swaziland (see my last blog post) but I’m back and catching up with all things London. Newsletters come with each new season full of great info but not too often clutter in your inbox!
Here’s your Spring 2015 newsletter giving you a taster of the exciting events coming up in the next 3 months in our capital. If you want to hear more about anything listed (or other things you’ve heard about) send me an email ([email protected]) and I’ll get right back to you.
Have a look at Sue’s blog on the website (itsyourlondon.co.uk) to read about what I’ve been up to lately – a peek into life in London. I’m also on Twitter at @itsyourlondon so do join my 3600 followers for the latest news!
April The massive London Marathon takes over the streets and the nation’s hearts as thousands struggle past the sights of London to raise incredible amounts for charity long after the elite runners have reached the end on the Mall. The crowds are huge and it’s great fun to join in.
- May The magnificent Chelsea Flower Show is the greatest flower show in the world and it gets us in the mood for gardening with all that fabulous colour and design. Let’s hope we get some London sunshine too.
- June We have a royal event called Trooping the Colour which marks the Queen’s official birthday, she has 2 birthdays (of course) but this is the public one. You can see the royals if you get there early and don’t forget to take your flag. The end of June sees the start of Wimbledon when we all go tennis mad for 2 weeks and SW19 is the place to be.
- April If you are looking for big names on the stage, look no further than American Buffalo at the Wyndham theatre starring Damien Lewis, John Goodman and Tom Sturridge. Bang up to date is The Vote at the Donmar Warehouse tracking the political events of the moment and will be playing in real time on May 7th when the election takes place, with a great cast including Timothy West. Golem at the Trafalgar Studios faces the issues of man and machine and who controls who in an innovative production.
- May One of May’s big openings is The Elephant Man at the Theatre Royal Haymarket starring Bradley Cooper in the lead role. I’m not sure if this comes under the ‘theatre’ heading but Al Pacino is on stage at the Apollo Hammersmith, in an ‘Audience with…’. A lesser-known Shakespeare play – King John – has its first outing at The Globe. Noel Coward’s ever-popular Hay Fever opens at the Duke of York starring Felicity Kendal. At the London Palladium, Beyond Bollywood looks great fun, promising to be a dance extravaganza around a theatrical storyline!
- June. Another play or film turned into a musical hits the Phoenix. Theatre with Bend it Like Beckham the Musical, keep your fingers crossed that Beckham himself might turn up! In a strange football co-incidence, the National Theatre is showing The Red Lion, about the passion that football inspires and stars Daniel Mays. In the hope of fine evenings, the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park brings us Chekhov’s The Seagull.
- April A Sonia Delaunay exhibition arrives at the Tate Modern, her first UK retrospective of 60 years of work. The Royal Academy hosts the London Original Print Fair where work is for sale as well as viewing. The Deutsche Borse Prize shows its entrants at the Photographers Gallery
- May Photo London at Somerset House is London’s first international photography fair, looks like being a major event. Not many new openings this month but shows to catch which close in May are Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden at the Tate Modern: John Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends at the National Portrait Gallery; and, Inventing Impressionism at the National Gallery.
- June A key art event happening in June is the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show, is open for anyone to submit their work, few, however, are chosen to hang alongside some top names. The Tate Britain’s Fighting History explores conflict in history painting from the 18th century to the present day. Somerset House has an exhibition of The Jam: About the Young Idea examining their influence on music, style, politics and culture. This year’s Serpentine Pavilion will open for inspection from Spanish due SelgasCano, I hear it’s plastic! Last but absolutely not least is a new Barbara Hepworth show at the Tate Britain.
- April Borough Market, the ultimate foodie destination is holding a special St George’s day event which sounds English but we share our patron saint with many places including Catalonia so look out for a great mix of stalls and events from Spain and Britain. Just opened in March but worth a mention is the world’s first Google shop on Tottenham Court Road!
- May. Carnaby Street will host a Shopping Party with 20% off in many shops alongside music and generally good fun. This area is now buzzing again so worth a visit at any time.
- June The Spirit of Summer Fair at Olympia exhibition centre has everything you never knew you needed for your home and garden and yourself London Jewellery Week sounds dangerous, showcasing big names and bright new talent at exhibitions, shows, and launches. Graduate Fashion Week at The Truman Brewery could offer insight into the next big thing in fashion.
- April The British Museum’s spring blockbuster exhibition is Defining Beauty: the body in Ancient Greek Art, but opening in April is Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation. This is the first major exhibition in the UK to present the history of this 60,000-year-old civilisation, one of the world’s oldest continuing cultures. Apsley House, the former home of the Duke of Wellington, reopens this month so you can enjoy these fine historic surroundings again as the anniversary of Waterloo is marked.
- May Museums by Night is a special event countrywide but London museums are joining in with fun events such as a nighttime safari at the Natural History Museum, an event called Put that Light Out at the Royal Artillery Museum, simulating the blitz experience, a sleepover at the William Morris, Late Mad Men at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising and the rather scary The Night of the Bodysnatcher at the Old Operating Theatre! The Design Museum opens a new exhibition about shoewear – Life on Foot: Camper at the Design Museum, looking at the impact of creative design and new technologies on shoemaking.
- June. Continuing the late theme from May, Sir John Soane’s museum can be visited for one night a month on a candlelit tour – it really is fabulous. And continuing the shoe theme, the Victoria and Albert Museum brings us Pleasure and Pain – an exhibition about shoes! The Museum of London at the Docklands hosts Soldiers and Suffragettes, early press photography by Christina Bloom.
- April The foodie world is excited by the arrival of Le Chabanais from the people behind the famous Parisien restaurant Chateaubriand. More from Gordon Ramsay as Maze Grill opens in Chelsea where Aubergine was located and where he made his name. Tonic and Remedy claims apothecary-inspired food with a strong pedigree from the Great British menu chef Paul Welburn from Rhodes W1. Talking of strong pedigrees, Berber and Q is brought to us by Josh Katz and Mattia Bianchi whose priors include Ottolenghi and Galvin Bistro de Luxe.
- May Wahleeah in Fulham will have a strong emphasis on cooking with beer. 2015 sees the 100th year of the Ivy so they closed in January to have a facelift and will reopen with a new menu mixing classics with a nod to southern European and Asian cuisines. They have also refreshed their artwork so expect a whole new look focussing on British art, especially emerging talent.
- June The Taste London festival comes to Regents Park with an enormous annual gathering in Regent’s Park where ordinary food lovers get to sample small dishes from great restaurants at manageable prices. Jason Atherton’s new tapas wine bar opens in Marylebone called Social Wine – I do like the sound of this one. The famous Chutney Mary Indian restaurant which has been on the Kings Road is upping sticks and moving to St James. Focussing on sustainable seafood in the City, Bouillabaisse is brought to us by Kurt Dzesar from Chotto Matte.
PARKS & GARDENS, ROYAL PALACES
- April Chelsea Physic Garden opens a brand new area, the World Woodland Garden, and you can enjoy displays of medicinal plants from all around the world and be amazed that it was founded way back in 1673! Hampton Court Palace is celebrating its 500 years so they are putting on events to mark this milestone.
- May. Regents Park Open Air Theatre season starts, running throughout the spring and the summer including Peter Pan in the repertoire this year. The ultimate in gardening is the Chelsea Flower Show where you will be inspired for the rest of the year! St James’s Park is having Victory in Europe Day (VE) celebrations with a big party where performers will include Katherine Jenkins, Pixie Lott, Alfie Boe, Ian Lavender, Status Quo and Strictly Come Dancing – quite a lineup.
- June Taste Festival comes to Regent’s Park with the chance to taste small dishes from many of London’s top restaurants in the lovely surroundings of this famous park. The Hampton Court Festival hosts favourites such as Jules Holland, Burt Bacharach and Paloma Faith in the grounds of the Palace along with comedy shows and fireworks.
- April The big deal is the London Marathon which is a huge event for elite and ‘fun’ runners alike. It takes over London and the television and we admire and weep with them. We also have County cricket at the Oval and the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.
- May The BBL (British Basketball League) playoff finals come to the 02. 20/20 cricket gets a new set of fans at the Oval followed by a more conventional test series against New Zealand with a game at Lords. It’s a big month for football with the FA Cup Final at Wembley and the Championship playoffs which are always exciting.
- June It’s tennis time with the warm-up men’s’ events at Queens and then headlong into the start of Wimbledon when everything stops for 2 weeks especially when Murray is playing. Wimbledon is a wonderful event and although it’s almost impossible to get a seated ticket, you can join the famous queue for general entry and soak up the atmosphere.
- April Somehow, and wonderfully, still alive, Wilko Johnson plays at the 02 Shepherds Bush. Popular classical pianist Lang Lang plays at the Royal Albert Hall and in a complete contrast the same venue hosts Status Quo as part of their current tour! Catch Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Apollo Hammersmith. The Blow Monkeys are Under the Bridge, Chelsea and Ben Howard is playing in Alexandra Palace.
- May Boyz 11 Men bring soul to the 02 and Olly Murs also plays there but in the larger Arena, as are S Club 7 on their revival tour – their first for 10 years – and the great Mark Knopfler and Band. However, the big name at the 02 is Paul McCartney. Cult folk singer Rodriguez is on at the Royal Albert Hall and then Eric Clapton takes up his annual residence there and then the summer starts properly with the Beach Boys! Also in the world of contrasts, The Forum hosts Fabio and Grooverider in the same month as Billy Ocean.
- June It’s a busy time at the 02 following May’s list with Fleetwood Mac, Take That, John Legend and Goldie Looking Chain. Head to the 02 Shepherds Bush for wonderful Hozier and to catch Holly Johnson too. Brian Ferry celebrates his new album at the Royal Albert Hall, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga team up for a charity event at the same venue. British Summer Time Festival returns to Hyde Park with The Strokes, Blur, Kylie, The Who and Taylor Swift over 2 weekends, with great support acts like Paul Weller, Kaiser Chiefs, Ellie Goulding and Grace Jones.