I’ve been looking through all kinds of listings to pick out some good stuff for you for the next 3 months in London. Scroll through for Special Events, Theatre, Art Galleries, Shopping, Fashion and Markets, Museums and Exhibitions, Foodie Things, Parks, Gardens and Royal Palaces, Sport and Music.
April Over 40,000 runners in the 38th London Marathon will take over the streets and the nation’s hearts as they struggle past the sights of London to raise incredible amounts for charity, keeping going long after the elite runners have reached the end of the gruelling race on the Mall. The crowds are huge and it’s great fun to join in to cheer them on to the finish. April also sees St George’s Day, our patron saint in England, who we share with a surprising number of other countries, so head to Trafalgar Square for the celebrations.
May The eagerly awaited wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle takes place in Windsor Palace and London will be celebrating too so expect big screens to pop up across the capital so we can all watch together. 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. Don’t miss the very British Canal Cavalcade when scores of brightly decorated canal boats gather in Little Venice for two days of fun.
June Our Queen has 2 birthdays, her real one in April and her official one in June when the royal event called Trooping the Colour marks this day. You can see the royals ride past if you get to The Mall well ahead of the start and don’t forget to take your flag to wave at them. The annual Pride event takes over the centre of London with parades, exuberance and lots of fun.
April At Shakespeare’s London home, the Globe, turns 21 with a new artistic director and launches its summer season with Hamlet. Pressure at the Park Theatre tells the story of the unimaginable pressure on the head of the meteorologist whose forecast would determine the launch (or not) of the D Day invasion. Tina Turner, the musical, has its world premiere at the Aldwych theatre so expect great songs and moves. The wonderful film maker Baz Lurhmann presents a new stage musical, Strictly Ballroom, inspired by his 1992 film which was itself based on his own earlier play. Quiz at the Noel Coward theatre is written by James Graham, writer of Ink and Labour of Love, looking at the true story of a major who cheats by coughing to win Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
May Lots of press for Orlando Bloom’s return to the West End after 11 years in Killer Joe at the Trafalgar Studios. This year’s season at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park opens with Peter Pan in a reimagining based in the First World War, apt given this is the centenary of the end of this war. At the Theatre Royal Haymarket you can catch Tartuffe, a modern world setting of Moliere’s comedy which will be the west end’s first dual language production, alternating between French and English but with surtitles throughout to help us follow the action. Catch new British talent in the National Youth Theatre’s production of DNA at the Southwark Playhouse.
June The Geilgud Theatre is staging Imperium, Robert Harris’s best-selling Cicero Trilogy, bringing us tales of ancient Rome’s bloody and brutal world. One for Sorrow at the Royal Court is an intriguing tale of London during an attack when a family member offers refuge to victims, and then someone turns up….. Monogamy, a comedy, at the Park Theatre examines the life of a TV cook in the public glare and what happens when the cameras are turned off. Movie star Laura Linney stars in My Name is Lucy Barton making her London debut at the Bridge Theatre, another chance to see a big star close up.
April Opening at the National Gallery is Monet & Architecture, the first ever exhibition examining his work through 75 plus of his paintings of buildings. I’m a big Monet fan so really looking forward to this one. Just opened at Tate Modern is Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy brings us the extraordinary range and volume of works this master produced in just one year of his life. Picasso is another of my favourites and I loved this exhibition, especially the precise dating of the paintings so you can see the work, sometime enormous canvases, which he produced on successive days.
May At the Royal Academy you will find the 3rd part of Tacita Dean’s ambitious and ground breaking trilogy of shows across the RA, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. The other 2 opened in March, looking at Portrait and Still Life and this last part looks at Landscape in the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries. Artists at Work at the Courtauld Gallery brings us drawings from the 16th to the 20th centuries showing artists depicting themselves and others at work in their studios.
June The National Portrait Gallery brings us Michael Jackson: On the Wall, exploring his influence on a wide range of artists across several decades. Since Warhol’s first portrait of him in 1982, he was the focus of the over 40 artists featured in this exhibition. Also at the National Portrait Gallery, the BP Portrait Award brings us the best entries in portrait painting, this 39th competition promises to fulfil its usual high standards and now offers one of the highest value prize for any global arts competition. Ed Ruscha: Course of an Empire at the National Gallery looks the cyclical nature of civilisation through the industrial landscape of LA unlike the more grandiose vision of the Thomas Cole’s painting cycle of the same name from the 1830s which is on display in Room 1 of the gallery.
SHOPPING, FASHION, MARKETS
April Look out for vintage fashion fairs this month as well as checking out Portobello market on a Saturday. Still hugely popular is the Kensington Palace is the chance to enjoy Princess Diana’s dresses tracing her role in fashion from 80’s newbie to 90’s style icon. Keep an eye out for the 2 royal princes as well as Kate and Meghan while you are there in case they are all at home!
May The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane hosts the annual Graduate Fashion Week so check out what the latest trends will be and spot some up and coming names at the world’s largest showcase of graduate talent. Expect all kinds of fashion events around the royal wedding with dresses being the key focus. The Fashion and Textile Museum hosts a show about Orla Kiely called A Life in Pattern looking at her innovative, influential and instantly recognisable stylized graphic patterns.
June The Spirit of Summer Fair at Olympia exhibition centre has everything you never knew you needed for your home and garden and yourself. The summer London Fashion Week for Men is held at 180 The Strand with the usual catwalk shows and parties. Carnaby Street will be celebrating Pride London with in store promotions, special events and special products.
MUSEUMS AND EXHIBITIONS
April. The British Museum has Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece looks at how the ancient works influenced Rodin. In 1881 Rodin visited London for the first time and he saw the Parthenon Sculptures on a trip to the British Museum and he was instantly captivated by the beauty of these ancient Greek masterpieces. The British Museum is also hosting a 2 week musical festival called Europe and the World: A Symphony of Cultures, bringing together diverse musical traditions in the extraordinary setting of the Museum’s galleries, surrounded by objects in the collection. The Frankenstein Festival at the Science Museum celebrates the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus with associated showing of Frankenstein at the IMAX.
May Museums at Night is a great event held twice a year when a wide range of places have late openings and put on special events from Swinging 60s at the Transport Museum to a Suffragettes night at the National Archives and chocolate tasting games at the Chocolate Museum (perhaps the winner?) The Design Museum hosts the LOWE Craft Prize showcasing modern international craftsmanship and they also have Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier celebrating 35 years of haute couture from this master.
June Opening with a great deal of advance publicity and discussion is Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It will be bringing us fresh perspectives on her life through her personal belongings. I’m looking forward to Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land marking 70 years since the Windrush brought immigrants from the Caribbean and here you can revisit 1948 and see how the Windrush story has played out in our society since.
April On the site of the former BBC Television Centre foodie offerings are gearing up with the arrival of Bluebird, a favourite on King’s Road for 20 years which is finally branching out. Joining them is Soho House’s new White City House with a restaurant, the Allis, for non-members alongside the club. The Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden venture is finally opening this month – in fact 2 restaurants, one called La Goccia, the other The Petersham, alongside the deli and wine cellar. Top chef Ollie Dabbous opens a new venture called Hide with 3 floors on Piccadilly where they say the lift is big enough to take you and your car to the first floor private room – extraordinary idea! A new hotel, The Principal, on Russell Square is in fact the old Hotel Russell having had a massive refurb and facelift. It will be home to several new eateries including Neptune which aims to be a neighbourhood restaurant although it has big names behind it so expect something pretty good. They will also have a Palm Court for grand afternoon teas
May Gazelle opens in Mayfair, a large all day top end restaurant and cocktail bar, notable for the power pairing of cocktail master Tony Conigliaro with former El Bulli and 41 Degrees chef Rob Roy Cameron. Bancone will bring us fresh pasta in Covent Garden, featuring Louis Korovilas who trained at Locanda Locatelli and looks to have reasonably priced dishes – hurrah! The Bloomberg development in the City has been attracting some good eateries and Brigadiers is due to join them, an Indian barbeque from the people behind Hoppers which is a good recommendation. The team behind the very popular Kitty Fishers is opening Cora Pearl in Covent Garden on the same street at Frenchie and Henrietta, serving British fare.
June Flesh and Buns is opening north of Oxford Street and this new site will be huge, have new ceviche and tiradito offering and I gather they will have a ‘press for piscos’ button! Barcelona beach restaurant Mamarosa comes to Shoreditch with a mix of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, the view will be rather different so let’s hope the food is great! Continuing the Spanish theme In Paella opens in central London offering guess what, from well feted Spanish chef Quique Dacosta who has 2 restaurants with 3 Michelin stars in Spain so I’m expected great things.
PARKS AND GARDENS, ROYAL PALACES
April The London Marathon starts and ends in royal parks – Greenwich and St James’s – so join the fun and cheers on the runners. The Painted Hall in Greenwich is undergoing a major renovation and you can see their famous ceiling painting close up on a Ceiling Tour – I’ve done this and it’s wonderful. Another famous ceiling is back on display in April when the extraordinary Rubens ceiling at the Banqueting House re opens after a couple of months of conservation work. The full Victoria Revealed exhibition has returned to Kensington Palace which will offer the chance to see some of dazzling jewels.
May May will be a busy time in all the royal palaces due to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor. Look out for screenings in all the royal parks and we are hoping for an appearance at Buckingham Palace so fingers crossed. Richmond Park is a wonderful park and is home to a large herd of deer, in May you can take a guided walk to learn more about it.
June Regent’s Park is home to the annual foodie extravangza that is Taste London. St James’s Park is where you will find at spot to see the Trooping of the Colour, which celebrate the Queen’s official birthday, and a week before the main event they hold the rehearsal which offers a great chance to catch the pomp and circumstance with a closer view – no royals tho’. Hampton Court hosts its Palace Music Festival hosting acts such as Lionel Richie, Paloma Faith, Gary Barlow, Tom Jones and the Beach Boys.
April The biggest event in April is the London marathon with over 40,000 runners and thousands more lining the streets throughout the course to cheer on the brave souls who battle on to raise millions for charities. The FA Cup semi-finals take place at Wembley and County Cricket is starting its season so we are hoping it’s warm enough!
May The final matches of the Premiership will see which London club makes the Champions League places (hopefully Spurs not Chelsea) and we have 2 FA Cup finals at Wembley this month – women’s and men’s – which round off the English season as well as the Football League play-offs to determine who will enter the Premier League next season. There is plenty of cricket to be seen including a visit from the Pakistan team. Rugby Union’s Premiership final takes place at Wembley.
June. June is when we all get mad about tennis as the season starts in London. Queens Club hosts the major warm up event on grass for men ahead of the main event, Wimbledon, which will be starting next month. Horse racing at Ascot is a great social event as well as a sporting moment for the crowds who hop on the train from London. Cricket brings us international 20:20 versus Indian and Australia. The really big event is not in London (although we did bid for it and should have won that!) but there will be screens everywhere to follow the England team’s progress, hopefully, in the World Cup in Russia.
April The 02 hosts a good range in its Arena and Indigo rooms including: Sam Smith, Harry Styles, The Vamps and 90s Fest featuring Ace of Base. At the Forum, another 02 venue, is Eden (The Eden Projects) and The Coasts on their 38 date UK tour. Jocelyn Brown, a R’n’B legend, plays at the Jazz Café. Catch Dua Lipa’s debut album at Alexandra Palace where you can also find The Vaccines.
May. The 02 brings us Tears for Fears with Alison Moyet, Nickleback and Bryan Adams. Rita Ora is at the 02’s Brixton site as is Plan B. YolanDa Brown is the UK’s top female saxophonists so grab the chance to hear her play at the Jazz Café and it’s a good month for top female artists there with Gabrielle playing as well. Long standing favourite Bryan Ferry is at the Apollo Hammersmith for one night only and Ray Lamontagne plays there too. Sing along with Foreigner’s ‘I want to know what love it’ at the Royal Albert Hall! Last but of course not least, The Stones play the Olympic Stadium.
June. The 02 again has a good selection of acts: Shakira, Katy Perry, Pearl Jam and the Simon and Garfunkel Story. Jack White brings his new album Boarding House Reach to the Hammersmith Apollo where David Byrne is also playing this month. Billy Idol is at the 02 Brixton. The festival season is starting with All Points East in Victoria Park bringing alternative music to east London. Outdoors at the Olympic Stadium you can see the Foo Fighters as well as Jay Z and Beyonce. The Hampton Court Festival has an all-star line-up with Tom Jones, Gary Barlow, Lionel Richie, Joe Bonamassa, Jools Holland and the Beach Boys as well as Paloma Faith
Sue @itsyourlondon itsyourlondon.co.uk
*all details correct at the time of compiling…