Sep 262016
 

London Literature Festival

From 5 to 16 October, it’s the Southbank Centre’s 10th annual London Literature Festival. The theme is ‘Living in Future Times’ and highlights include a celebration of science fiction writers including HG Wells with a specially commissioned live reading of The Time Machine marking the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Bestselling author Margaret Atwood launches and discusses her new novel, Hag-Seed, and we can celebrate the life of David Bowie in a free panel discussion with his biographer Paul Morley.

Further highlights include an exclusive in-person Q&A screening with Louis Theroux for his first theatrical feature documentary My Scientology Movie,. And comedian Sara Pascoe hosts this year’s Man Booker Prize Readings, as the 2016 shortlisted authors come together for an evening of readings and conversation.

Living in future times

Throughout October, Literary Footprints is a month-long festival of literary walks of London. There are lots of guided walks available and there’s a season ticket option if you plan to join lots.

 

Barbican

It’s hard to know where to start as there is so much going on at the Barbican Centre this season.

New Foyer Commissions

The Barbican’s series of foyer commissions continues this autumn with new work from five innovative artists. Visitors to the Barbican can enjoy spectacular light installations, listen to two new audio works exploring the iconic interiors of the Centre, and power films by pedalling on bicycles. The new series of installations, which extends the artistic programme beyond the walls of the Barbican’s venues, is free for audiences to explore and engage with any time the Centre is open.

  • 44 by Omer Arbel is an intricate light installation descending from the main foyer ceiling
  • Numina by Zarah Hussain, is a site-specific, sculptural installation that will accompany Transcender – the Barbican’s season of ecstatic, hypnotic and psychedelic music
  • I hope this finds you well by Bedwyr Williams, is an audio commission for the foyer playfully imagining the internal dialogues of the people who use the Barbican’s public spaces as their office
  • let’s take a walk by non zero one, is an interactive audio experience around the Barbican’s public spaces that looks at the process of decision making
  • NowhereSomewhere by Rosalind Fowler, is a bicycle powered film installation inviting the public to ponder ecological themes and imagine a future London

OpenFest

Visit on Saturday 8 October and there’s a free day of art, entertainment and inspiration. OpenFest encourages us to explore the Barbican’s building and get a taste of everything it has to offer, from art installations to live music, architecture tours to pop-up theatre – all for free. Across the afternoon, the Barbican’s free stages offer a full programme of performances including dance, spoken word and music, whilst audiences of all ages can take part in creative workshops. Installations, screenings, tours and stalls throughout the Barbican’s spaces await visitors in a day bringing together international acts with the local artists of today and tomorrow.

Barbican Open Fest

New Curve Show

Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams also has a solo show in The Curve called The Gulch. On until 8 January 2007, the 90-metre long Curve is free to visit.

The gallery has been transformed into a series of theatrical installations conceived to transport and disorient the viewer. Gallery visitors descend into the space, navigating from one seemingly disparate scene to the next on a journey that summons surreal visions and imagined plots.

From a pair of singing running shoes to a depressed hypnotist and a talking goat, visitors are confronted by various protagonists and in turn find themselves invited to stage their own performances.

Bedwyr Williams. Still from Flexure, 2016

Bedwyr Williams. Still from Flexure, 2016. Courtesy the artist

The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined

In the Barbican Art Gallery The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined opens on 13 October.

Potent, provocative and sometimes shocking, the word vulgar conjures up strong images, ideas and feelings in us all. This is the first exhibition to consider this inherently challenging but utterly compelling territory of taste. It both questions notions of vulgarity in fashion while revelling in its excesses, inviting the visitor to think again about exactly what makes something vulgar and why it is such a sensitive and contested term.

Conceived by exhibition-maker Judith Clark and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, the exhibition takes fascinating literary definitions of ‘the vulgar’ as a starting point and includes a wealth of over 120 stunning exhibits from the Renaissance through to the 21st century.

Weaving together historic dress, couture and ready-to-wear fashion, textile ornamentation, manuscripts, photography and film, this carefully crafted installation illustrates how taste is a mobile concept: what was once associated with vulgarity is reconjured by designers to become the height of fashion. Encompassing a 500 year timeframe, The Vulgar showcases historic works alongside a roll call of contemporary fashion.

Walter Van Beirendonck Hat: Stephen Jones, Autumn/Winter 2010 – 2011. © Ronald Stoops`Walter Van Beirendonck Hat: Stephen Jones, Autumn/Winter 2010 – 2011.

Walter Van Beirendonck
Hat: Stephen Jones, Autumn/Winter 2010 – 2011. © Ronald Stoops`Walter Van Beirendonck
Hat: Stephen Jones, Autumn/Winter 2010 – 2011.

Dance

The Michael Clark Company performs New Work 2016 in the Barbican Theatre from 6 to 15 October.

Awarded an honour by the Queen for ‘services to dance’ in 2014, a somewhat bemused Michael Clark staggered out of Buckingham Palace into an extended period of introspection.

This autumn sees the evolution of the company and Clark’s own dance technique, as he embarks on his second decade as a Barbican Artistic Associate.

Winning rave reviews for his technical rigour, experimentation, intense and fine-tuned choreography, Clark remains an innovator and defining cultural figure. He often collaborates with artists, designers, writers and musicians, introducing dance to new audiences in unorthodox settings.

Michael Clark Company - New Work

King Lear

A quarter of a century after she gave up acting for politics, double Academy Award-winning legend Glenda Jackson returns to play King Lear in Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy.

Opening on 25 October (and on until 2 December), Glenda Jackson is joined by an outstanding company including Jane Horrocks and Rhys Ifans.

Written during a period of great social upheaval, Shakespeare’s brutal masterpiece is arguably the greatest tragedy ever written. The fatal consequences of a foolish decision are explored in haunting poetry to create one of the most moving works in the English language.

The Old Vic - King Lear

 

Bank of England Museum

27-29 October 2016 is the annual UK-wide Museums at Night so there are opportunities to see museums after dark.

On 28 October you can see the Bank of England Museum in the evening (5.30-9pm). As well as the Museum displays, there will be presentations on banknotes, gallery talks and Bank staff will also be on hand to answer questions about gold.

Bank of England Museum

 

Turbine Hall Installation

On 4 October the new Hyundai Commission opens in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. This space has hosted some of the most memorable new works of art of the 21st century.

French artist Philippe Parreno has the honour this year with the second in the new series of annual site-specific commissions by renowned international artists.

Philippe Parreno works across film, video, sound, sculpture, performance and information technology. A key artist of his generation, Parreno explores the borders between reality and fiction and is known for investigating and redefining the gallery-going experience. Parreno sees his exhibitions as choreographed spaces that follow a score, during which a series of different events unfold. By creating kaleidoscopic environments, he treats exhibitions as one coherent whole rather than a series of objects within a space.

Exhibition view, Philippe Parreno, H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS , Park Avenue Armory, 2015 © Philippe Parreno. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, Barbara Gladstone, Esther Schipper

Exhibition view, Philippe Parreno, H {N)Y P N(Y} OSIS , Park Avenue Armory, 2015
© Philippe Parreno. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, Barbara Gladstone, Esther Schipper
Photo credit: Andrea Rossetti

 

Even More

If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the Things to Do in London in October 2016 from Kensington House Hotel, our sister hotel.

 

LOOKING AHEAD

The Tower of London Ice Rink opens on 16 November in the dry moat providing one of the country’s most atmospheric skating destinations.

Also at the Tower of London there are Twilight Tours throughout the winter. Join the Tower’s Yeoman Warders and take in the world famous sights such as Traitor’s Gate, the Bloody Tower, and be appalled and amazed by tales of prisoners and past residents.

Opening on 3 November at the National Maritime Museum, Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity explores the remarkable yet tragic life of the mistress who captured the heart of the Nation’s hero, Horatio Nelson, and in turn became one of the most famous international celebrities of her time.

And on 12 November it’s the annual Lord Mayor’s Show with a special fireworks display for the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.

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Do check out the latest offers as London Bridge Hotel has weekend rates from as low as £99. You can sign up for special offer alerts here. And when you can’t be at the hotel, you can try making the Quarter Bar’s cocktails with these recipes.

Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

Sep 192016
 

You-Say-You-Want-a-Revolution-Records-and-Rebels-1966-1970

 You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 is a new major exhibition from the V&A, that will explore the era-defining significance and impact of the late 1960s upon life today. From global civil rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, consumerism, computing, communality to neoliberalist politics, the world we live in has been vitally influenced by five revolutionary years 1966 – 70.  It investigates the upheaval, the explosive sense of freedom, and the legal changes that took place resulting in a fundamental shift in the mindset of the Western world. 

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 will open at the Victoria & Albert Museum this Saturday and will run until 26th February. Tickets are £16 with V&A members going free. Advance booking advised; visit the V&A in person; online at vam.ac.uk/revolution; or by calling 0800 912 6961 (booking fee applies).

The displays will show the creative, social and legal outputs of revolutionary new ways of living. They will include underground magazines from Oz to the International Times; a shopping list written behind barricades during the 1968 Paris student riots; a moon rock on loan from NASA alongside the space suit worn by William Anders, who took the defining ‘Earthrise’ photograph on the Apollo 8 mission; a rare Apple 1 computer; an Ossie Clark costume for Mick Jagger; original artworks by Richard Hamilton; shards from Jimi Hendrix’s guitar; the suits worn by John Lennon and George Harrison on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and handwritten lyrics for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles.

Our top tip is to visit the V&A Museum in the morning before the crowds. That way, you can treat yourself to a delicious lunch or afternoon tea after viewing your preferred exhibits!

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 70 will explore the way that youth culture catalysed an optimistic idealism, motivating people to come together and question established power structures across every area of society. More than 350 objects encompassing photography, posters, literature, music, design, film, fashion, artefacts, and performance that defined the counterculture will illustrate the way that a whole generation shook off the confines of the past and their parents, radically revolutionising the way they lived their lives.#

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Aug 212016
 

Buckingham Palace

The summer opening of the Buckingham Palace State Rooms has a special exhibition each year and for 2016 it’s Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style. Dresses worn by The Queen for two of the most significant occasions in Her Majesty’s life can be seen together until 2 October.

The wedding dress worn by Princess Elizabeth for her marriage to The Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, and The Queen’s Coronation dress worn in 1953, both designed by British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell can be seen together in the Palace Ballroom.

This year there’s a different route through the state rooms and much more seating on offer too so don’t feel rushed.

Her Majesty The Queen's Coronation dress, 1953, Norman Hartnell

Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation dress, 1953, Norman Hartnell

Wifredo Lam

Opening on 14 September at Tate Modern, The EY Exhibition: Wifredo Lam is a retrospective of the Cuban-Chinese modernist painter, Wifredo Lam (1902–1982) and the first museum exhibition of his work in London since 1952. Including over 200 paintings, drawings, photographs and prints, the exhibition traces his sixty-year career from the 1920s to the 1970s, confirming his place at the centre of a cosmopolitan modernism.

His work defined new ways of painting for a post-colonial world and was greeted with both consternation and acclaim during his lifetime. As a Latin American artist of Chinese, Spanish and African heritage, Lam lies between East and West, combining traditional practices, surrealist ideas and complete originality. In an increasingly connected world, Lam’s work brings a historical perspective to contemporary issues.

Wifredo Lam, Horse-headed Woman 1950, oil paint on canvas, The Rudman Trust © SDO Estate of Wifredo Lam

Wifredo Lam, Horse-headed Woman 1950, oil paint on canvas, The Rudman Trust © SDO Estate of Wifredo Lam

The Emperor

On at The Young Vic from 3 to 24 September, The Emperor is a world premiere based on the astonishing book about Ethiopia’s Haile Selassie by legendary journalist Ryszard Kapuściński.

Kathryn Hunter brings to life an extraordinary fable of corruption, avarice and the collapse of absolute power. Hunter creates a mesmerising cast of characters, all servants to a despotic ruler on the brink of downfall. In a kingdom obsessed with title and tradition, the lowly and the loyal have incredible stories to tell.

The Emperor - The Young Vic

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Another theatrical option this month is The Two Gentlemen of Verona in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe. On from 20 September to 1 October, this production brings Shakespeare’s anarchic comedy into the 21st century. There’s romance and chaos throughout.

Two Gentlemen of Verona

Totally Thames

Totally Thames is a month long festival celebrating the famous river that flows through London. There are lots of things going on including art installations, exhibitions, concerts, cruises and much more.

It’s the right month to travel along The Thames as there’s a 2-for-1 river travel offer available all month too.

Mayor's Thames Festival

Mayor’s Thames Festival. Image © Barry Lewis

Jazz Age

The Fashion & Textile Museum, on Bermondsey Street, has a new exhibition opening on 23 September. 1920s JAZZ AGE Fashion & Photographs features woman’s clothing in the decade following the Great War (1919-1929).

Women’s clothing in the 1920s reflected dizzying social change on an unprecedented scale. With over 150 garments on display, this stunning selection of sportswear, printed day dresses, fringed flapper dresses and more reveals the glamour, excess, frivolity and modernity of the decade.

Colourful illustrations by Gordon Conway from the Illustrated London News Archive and photographs by Abbe, Beaton, Man Ray, and Baron de Meyer highlight the role of photographs and magazines in promoting the 1920s look.

A fashion illustration showing models wearing various party dresses. Date: 20th June 1928

350th Anniversary

This month marks the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. There are events throughout the month starting with the Great Fire Anniversary weekend from Friday 2 September to Sunday 4 September when you can free tickets to visit The Monument. You need to book in advance but it’ll be well worth it as the opening hours have been extended from 8am to 10pm.

There’s late opening at St Paul’s Cathedral too on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 September when you’re actually encouraged to take photos inside the cathedral.

Oil painting of the Great Fire of London seen from Ludgate. © Museum of London

Oil painting of the Great Fire of London seen from Ludgate. © Museum of London

Classical Yoga

From 23 September to 7 October BBC Radio 3 has an anniversary partnership with Southbank Centre to offer Classical Yoga, live music and drama, an embedded composer and retro tea dances.

You can join the free outdoor yoga, set to a live classical soundtrack hand picked by BBC Radio 3, on the Riverside Terrace on Thursday 29 September, Saturday 1 October and Thursday 6 October at 7.30am – 8.30pm. What a wonderful way to start the day!

Classical Yoga

© Sim Cannety-Clarke

Doctor Faustus

From Wednesday 7 September to Saturday 1 October, at the Barbican Theatre, you can see the Royal Shakespeare Company in Doctor Faustus. Transferring to London following its successful run at the RSC’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon, the production has Sandy Grierson and Oliver Ryan share the roles of the doctor and the demon. Who plays which character is decided at the start of the show as each actor lights a match and watches it burn. Whoever’s goes out first ‘loses’ and must play the fated doctor, while the other plays the demon Mephistophilis, in this notorious tale of vanity, greed and damnation.

Doctor Faustus

Photo by Helen Maybanks © RSC

punkplay

Gregory S. Moss’s punkplay is on at the Southwark Playhouse from 7 September to 1 October. Duck and Mickey are kids of America and want to escape surburbia into the excitement and noise of punk.

It’s a coming-of-age story about subcultures, friendship and not-fitting-in – all on rollerskates.

Punkplay

Even More

If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the Things to Do in London in September 2016 from Kensington House Hotel, our sister hotel.

LOOKING AHEAD

Rodin & Dance: The Essence of Movement is on at the Courtauld Gallery from 20 October 2016. It’s the first major exhibition to explore Rodin’s fascination with dance and bodies in extreme acrobatic poses.

It focuses on the series of small scale experimental sculptures known as the Dance Movements, which were found in the artist’s studio after his death. The Dance Movements were not exhibited during Rodin’s lifetime or known beyond his close circle.

King Lear is on at the Old Vic soon, previewing from 25 October. It’s one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies and stars two-time Academy Award-winner Glenda Jackson, alongside Jane Horrocks and Rhys Ifans.

And The Queen’s House in Greenwich is due to re-open in October after over a year of extensive refurbishment to celebrate its 400th anniversary. Designed in 1616 by Inigo Jones for James I’s wife, Anne of Denmark, the Queen’s House is Britain’s first classical building and a masterpiece of 17th-century architecture.

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Do check out the latest offers as London Bridge Hotel has weekend rates from as low as £99. You can sign up for special offer alerts here. And when you can’t be at the hotel, you can try making the Quarter Bar’s cocktails with these recipes.

Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

Aug 182016
 

Combining rich history and a cutting edge future, London Bridge is fast becoming one of the must visit districts in the capital and with so much to see and do plus weekend offers starting at just £99* a night at the centrally located London Bridge Hotel you really can stay for the weekend. Here is our suggested itinerary** for 36 hours in London Bridge.

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Saturday

09.30  Arrive at London Bridge station and take the two minute walk to London Bridge Hotel. Leave you bags and head straight to Borough Market for brunch before the crowds.

11.00 Experience the best view of London, 72 floors up from The View From The Shard.

12.30 See what life at sea was like below decks aboard HMS Belfast.

14.00 Catch a quick matinee show at the Unicorn Theatre, now some adult performances as well as for young people.

19.00 Dinner at Londinium before cocktails at Quarter Bar & Lounge. Overnight at London Bridge Hotel.

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Sunday 
09.30 Breakfast at the hotel and check out (leave you bags with the concierge) before heading to the Fashion and Textile Museum  to see MISSONI ART COLOUR until 4th September.12.00 Marvel at the hand-crafted jewellery at neighbouring boutiques owned by artistAndrew Logan and British designer Alex Monroe.

13.00 Picnic lunch on Potters Fields Park, overlooking The Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

14.00 Take a stroll down Bermondsey Street to see a live glassblowing demonstration atLondon Glassblowing

16.00 Get free entrance to exhibitions at White Cube Bermondsey, one of Europe’s largest commercial galleries.

19.00 time to head home…

* Terms and conditions apply for more information visit www.londonbridgehotel.com/Offers.html.

** Times are just a suggestion for more information please visit www.discoverlondonbridge.co.uk

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Jul 212016
 

Revealed 2016

As well as the free London Bridge City Summer Festival and its sport, music, theatre and open-air films (mentioned last month) there’s a series of art installations and events happening across London Bridge and Bermondsey this summer too.

Revealed includes artworks which take inspiration from nature, bringing pockets of colour to locations in the London Bridge area and highlighting some of the top attractions nearby including HMS Belfast, The View from The Shard, Unicorn Theatre, the Fashion & Textiles Museum and Tower Bridge.

Summer Screen at Somerset House

For more open-air screenings, there’s the Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House from 4 to 17 August. This is London’s largest outdoor cinema for two weeks featuring the UK premieres of Things to Come, Julieta and Captain Fantastic. The schedule also includes cult classics such as RoboCop, Jackie Brown and Trainspotting.

SomersetHouse

Dr Johnson’s House

Also as mentioned last month, this is the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. Dr Johnson’s House, just off Fleet Street in The City, is commemorating the Two Great Fires of London: 1666 and 1940.

Samuel Johnson compiled and wrote the first English dictionary and, in London, is most well-known for saying, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”.

His former home is a Grade 1 listed small historic townhouse built in 1698 as part of local reconstruction after the Great Fire. It was saved from the Blitz some 240 years later thanks to the Auxiliary Fire Services who used the building as their meeting ground.

For this exhibition a special selection of archival material is on display in the very garret that still bears scars from the Great Fire of 1940.

Height of Summer at The Shard

Visit The View from The Shard before 18 September and you can see London’s highest summer garden.

In celebration of The Year of The English Garden, the open-air Skydeck on Level 72 (800ft above ground level) has a temporary garden featuring thousands of blooms.

Visitors can enjoy the colourful British plants with a garden-inspired cocktail from the Skydeck pop-up bar, and take in the panoramic views.

The View From The Shard Summer Garden

Groundhog Day

Director Matthew Warchus, composer and lyricist Tim Minchin, choreographer Peter Darling and designer Rob Howell – four of the creators of the international sensation Matilda The Musical – have joined forces with writer Danny Rubin to collaborate on this new musical based on his 1993 hit film starring Bill Murray.

Groundhog Day is at The Old Vic until 17 September with American actor Andy Karl taking the lead role. His Broadway credits include Rocky, Jersey Boys, Wicked and Saturday Night Fever so this looks like a real must see.

County Cricket

While international games sell out in advance it’s usually possible to get tickets on the day for a County Cricket league game at Lord’s.

Middlesex is the London team and they get to call Lord’s their home ground. Middlesex has matches on 2 August, 4-7 August and 13-16 August.

You could also book for a Tour of Lord’s, visit the MCC Museum or consider afternoon tea in the Long Room.

ENGLAND V INDIA 1ST TEST FRIDAY 22ND JULY 2011 LORD'S DAY TWO

Punk on Film at BFI Southbank

Punk on Film at BFI Southbank is on for the whole of August with a season of films curated by the film director, DJ and musician Don Letts. Through documentary, archive footage and feature films, the season draws attention to the diversity of the punk movement, how it has been depicted on film, and its huge influence on filmmakers past and present.

You can see iconic films from pioneering filmmakers such as Derek Jarman (Jubilee) and Kenneth Anger (Scorpio Rising); films that embrace Punk’s DIY ethos including Russ Meyer’s Faster Pussycat… Kill! Kill! and David Lynch’s Eraserhead; and features and documentaries which feature seminal punk bands such as Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy and Don Letts’ Grammy award-winning documentary The Clash: Westway to the World.

There are also introductions from key commentators, and special events dedicated to Women in Punk, Punk on TV and the unique intersection between Punk and the Jamaican music scene.

Punk on Film

Eltham Palace

This south London Art Deco palace has lots of fun for families this month. The Kings and Queens event on 1-3 August is likely to be popular as children can try to impress royalty, master their curtsy, bow like a pro and train to amuse without being a fool.

This is followed by the Ugly Bug Safari on 8-10 August giving kids the opportunity to grab magnifying glasses and join the big hunt for some mini beasts and discover a bug’s life.

Curtains rise for mini leading men and daring divas at Curtain up for the Theatrical 30s on 15-17 August. Young visitors can shine in the limelight as they take to the stage 1930s style and discover theatre from the great golden age.

New for 2016, children need to choose their side and start their training at Heroes and Villains on 22-24 August. Summer is rounded off with Train the Troops on 29-31 August. Little ones can train to become a home-front hero and get hands on discovering Eltham Palace’s secret wartime past.

Even More

If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the Things to Do in London in August 2016 from Kensington House Hotel, our sister hotel.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Landlubbers’ Maritime Folk Festival is at the National Maritime Museum and Cutty Sark in Greenwich on 24 September. Stomp your feet to sea shanties, hear the salty yarns of the figureheads or try your hand at some traditional maritime crafts.

This is just one of the events for the Totally Thames Festival in September. Totally Thames brings the river to life with a month-long season of river-related events: art, music, open days, family fun, talks, walks and boats galore.

And another event for the 40th anniversary of punk is Punkplay at Southwark Playhouse on 7 September to 1 October. The play is told at breakneck pace with a killer soundtrack. It’s a coming-of-age story about subcultures, friendship and not-fitting-in – all on rollerskates.

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Do check out the latest offers as London Bridge Hotel has weekend rates from as low as £99. You can sign up for special offer alerts here. And when you can’t be at the hotel, you can try making the Quarter Bar’s cocktails with these recipes.

Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

Jul 112016
 

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Oliver Cromwell & King Charles I

It was a knowledgeable London friend of mine who told me about this little historic gem in Parliament.  The English Civil War was a time of turmoil that saw the regicide of Charles I and the installation of Parliamentary rule under Oliver Cromwell.  Charles’ son reclaimed the throne after Cromwell died but there are two relics that talk to this divisive event in English history near the Palace of Westminster.

By the Houses of Parliament, stands a pensive Oliver Cromwell, looking down. Across the road, in a niche at St Margaret’s Church, is a statue of the King himself, calmly staring back at him, the head only, accusing his enemy of his treachery – a perpetual memory to this hiccough in royal rule.  It’s almost as if Cromwell is unable to meet Charles’ accusatory gaze.

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Cromwell ruled as Lord Protector from 1653 to 1658 and this statue was erected in 1899 to celebrate the tercentenary of Cromwell’s birth. When he died, he was buried at Westminster Abbey but on the accession & Restoration of Charles II, he was exhumed, hanged at Tyburn and his head was stuck on a spike on the roof of Westminster Hall. It stayed there some 20 years before being retrieved and buried in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

Charles I was beheaded at the behest of Parliament on 30th June 1649 at the Banqueting House, Whitehall. He is buried in a vault in the Chapel of St George, Windsor. This bust of Charles I was found by Hedley Hope-Nicholson and given to St Margaret’s Church in 1956.

 

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Jun 252016
 

Houses of Parliament Contemporary Art

Westminster Hall has two new artworks to see this month. New Dawn is a six metre high light sculpture by Suffragette Artist-in-Residence Mary Branson. It is the first piece of abstract art commissioned for permanent display in the Palace of Westminster.

The Ethics of Dust is on display from 29 June to 1 September and was created by artist, architect and conservationist Jorge Otero-Pailos. The artwork is a 50 metre long translucent latex cast of Westminster Hall’s east wall, now suspended from the roof, and contains hundreds of years of surface pollution and dust.

Both can be seen when attending a tour or you can visit for free but must book tickets in advance.

© UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

© UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Ragnar Kjartansson

Ragnar Kjartansson is an Icelandic performance artist and this is the first ever survey of his work in the UK. The exhibition is at the Barbican and opens on 14 July (and runs until 4 September). It includes film and performance as well as his less well known work as a painter and draughtsman.

His artwork explores the boundary between fact and fiction, as well as constructs of myth and identity. Donning various guises from a foot soldier, to a Hollywood crooner, to the incarnation of death, Kjartansson both celebrates and derides the romanticised figure of the artist as cultural hero.

Kjartansson has created a site-specific performance and there will be women in a rowing boat on the lake kissing each weekend.

Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors, 2012. Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York and i8 Gallery, Reykjavík ©. Elisabet Davids

Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors, 2012. Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York and i8 Gallery, Reykjavík ©. Elisabet Davids

Frog Morris

On Saturdays throughout the month Frog Morris, a local artist, is performing with the traders of Bermondsey Market in (and around) Bermondsey Market Square and Bermondsey Street.

It all sounds very family-friendly and looks like a good reason to visit the Bermondsey Square Farmers’ Market.

Waterloo Food Festival

On throughout the whole of July, Waterloo Food Festival is an annual celebration of local food businesses. This is the eighth year and there are tastings, masterclasses and demonstrations on offer, and even two days for kids on 20 and 21 July.

Download your Gastro Passport and enjoy gin masterclasses and beer tastings to brunches, lunches, supper clubs and banquets.

Waterloo Food Festival

Titus Andronicus

This violent tragedy by William Shakespeare has shocked and fascinated audiences since its first performance in 1594 at The Rose Playhouse. Back at the venue from 5 to 30 July, Titus Andronicus is about a fictional Roman General in the latter days of the Roman Empire.

This highly physical take on Shakespeare’s tragedy is directed by New York City-based director Jung Han Kim whose unique style shapes his interpretation of Shakespeare’s bloodiest play.

Titus Andronicus

Georgia O’Keeffe

Opening on 6 July, and on until 30 October 2016, Tate Modern has the UK’s first retrospective of American artist Georgia O’Keefe in over 20 years.

Considered to be a founding figure of American modernism, this ambitious and wide-ranging overview will reassess O’Keeffe’s place in the canon of modern art, charting her progression from early abstract experiments to late work.

Featuring more than 100 works, which have rarely left America since her death in 1986, the display includes her 1932 Jimson Weed painting (seen here), which in 2014 became the most expensive painting sold at auction by a female artist when it was bought for $44.4m.

 Georgia O'Keeffe Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, 1932 Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas, USA Photography by Edward C. Robison III© 2016 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/DACS, London

Georgia O’Keeffe
Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, 1932
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas, USA Photography by Edward C. Robison III © 2016 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/DACS, London

Fire! Fire!

This year is the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London and the Museum of London has a new major exhibition, Fire! Fire!, opening on 23 July.

The exhibition focuses on life on the eve of the fire, the dramatic events that took place as the blaze burned through a quarter of the city in 1666, and how London recovered from the devastation.

This is one of the Museum of London’s most immersive and interactive exhibitions to date. Visitors walk down a recreated Pudding Lane and into the bakery to see the fire start. They then walk into an ‘oven’ to watch the fire spread.

Against a 10 metre long backdrop in the room showing London on fire, there are a variety of incredibly fragile flame-scarred archaeological artefacts that reveal the destructive power of the inferno.

Oil painting of the Great Fire of London, seen from Ludgate (c) Museum of London

Oil painting of the Great Fire of London, seen from Ludgate (c) Museum of London

London Bridge City Summer Festival

London Bridge City Summer Festival is London’s largest free outdoor festival. There’s live entertainment, food and drink all summer long from Tower Bridge to London Bridge.

There’s sport and films to watch, plus street performances and live theatre. Enjoy all with a cocktail from the tropical pop up food and drink experience, London Riviera.

Even More

If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the Things to Do in London in July 2016 from Kensington House Hotel, our sister hotel.

LOOKING AHEAD

Over at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, Above and Beyond is a ground-breaking exhibition about the wonders of flight and mankind’s remarkable journey to space. Created in collaboration with NASA, this exhibition hopes to inspire the next wave of engineers, pilots and astronauts. You’ve got until 29 August to see it.

Throughout August, BFI Southbank is hosting a season of films curated by the film director, DJ and musician Don Letts. Through documentary, archive footage and feature films, the Punk on Film season draws attention to the diversity of the punk movement, how it has been depicted on film, and its huge influence on filmmakers past and present.

Children will love the summer adventures at Eltham Palace including the Kings and Queens event on 1-3 August, and the Ugly Bug Safari on 8-10 August. This event gives kids the opportunity to grab magnifying glasses and join the big hunt for some mini beasts and discover a bug’s life. There’s more fun happening in August but we’ll share that in our next monthly round-up.

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Do check out the latest offers as London Bridge Hotel has weekend rates from as low as £99. You can sign up for special offer alerts here. And when you can’t be at the hotel, you can try making the Quarter Bar’s cocktails with these recipes.

Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

May 252016
 

The Queen at 90

The second weekend in June is going to be an exciting time in London because we’ll be celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Special events are taking place all weekend starting with a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 10 June. The public are not allowed to enter the cathedral for the service but we should be able to see the Queen enter from the street.

The rest of the weekend is taken up with the annual Trooping the Colour parade on Saturday 11 June which is free to watch along The Mall. And on Sunday 12 June there’s The Patron’s Lunch, London’s largest ever street party also happening along The Mall. While tickets are not available there are Live Sites in Green Park and St James’s Park which are free so we can all watch on large screens and enjoy a festival atmosphere.

Changing of the Guard

© visitlondonimages/ britainonview/ Pawel Libera

 

New Tate Modern

On 17 June 2016 the new Tate Modern opens with a complete re-hang, bringing together much-loved works from the collection with 75% new acquisitions made for the nation since Tate Modern first opened in 2000. The most recent work to join the collection will take centre stage in the Turbine Hall: a huge sculpture of a tree almost seven metres tall, created by acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei.

The world’s most popular gallery of modern art will be even more international, diverse and engaging, with works by over 300 artists from around the world displayed across the existing Boiler House and the new Switch House – the most important new cultural building in Britain for almost 20 years, adding 60% more display space.

For the opening weekend the gallery is staying open until 10pm as there are lots of special events planned including music and free screenings. And for the first three weeks there is a free programme of performance-based works (17 June-3 July) including Tino Sehgal’s gallery attendants bursting into song.

New Tate Modern

The new Tate Modern © Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron

 

Bhupen Khakhar

Another reason to visit Tate Modern is to see the first international retrospective of Indian artist Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003) since his death. Opening on 1 June (and on until 6 November 2016) the exhibition looks at his vibrant palette, unique style and bold examination of class and sexuality across five decades.

Khakhar combined popular and painterly aesthetics, international influences and provocative subjects. He played a central role in modern Indian art but was also a key international figure in 20th century painting.

 

Shakespeare’s Southwark

In this 400th year since Shakespeare’s death we are celebrating the Bard all year.

Shakespeare knew this part of London well and this month you can join guides from Southwark Cathedral on revealing walking tours of Bankside and the Southwark church that he and his actor friends knew.

The Cathedral itself has many Shakespeare links and was known to the Bard as St Saviour’s parish church. You’ll visit the site of the original Globe Theatre and see the replica Globe too while walking along riverside streets trod by Shakespeare and see the ruins of a grand medieval palace he would have known very well.

event_Shakespeare_Walk

 

Barbican Theatre

Another Shakespeare 400 event, The Shadow King is at the Barbican Theatre from 22 June to 2 July 2016.

Shakespeare’s King Lear is reimagined by Malthouse Theatre, Australia’s foremost Indigenous actors, transporting the story to the resource-laden terrain of northern Australia. The Shadow King is a blood-soaked tale of two Indigenous families divided by land, identity and legitimacy.

Told through modern English, Kriol languages and a score, including Aboriginal ‘dreamtime’ songs, performed live by an onstage band, The Shadow King fuses music, new text and video to create provocative and epic theatre.

 

Phaedra(s)

Also at the Barbican Theatre this month ( 9–18 June) is Phaedra(s). Embodying one of Greek mythology’s most enigmatic characters, French screen and stage actress Isabelle Huppert makes a rare London appearance to play Phaedra, her story relocated to a modern world.

This new production is directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, Artistic Director of Warsaw’s Nowy Teatr, and is based on the provocative text of Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love and incorporates extracts from J M Coetzee’s novel Elizabeth Costello.

 

The Alchemist

More interesting theatre this month, The Rose Playhouse has The Alchemist by Ben Jonson on from 7 to 30 June 2016.

Ben Jonson published a Folio edition of his works in 1616 making this the 400th anniversary year of this witty farce.

When the wealthy Lovewit leaves disease-ridden London he expects his butler, Jeremy, to look after his home. But Jeremy links up with two fellow swindlers and they try everything to get rich quick yet constantly looking over their shoulder in case Lovewit returns.

The Alchemist

 

My Family: Not the Sitcom

Comedian David Baddiel is at the Menier Chocolate Factory with My Family: Not the Sitcom – on until 25 June. It’s a totally disrespectful celebration of the lives of his mum and dad, and tackles the taboo subjects of ageing, infidelity and gay cats.

It’s a reminder that just because a family member has died we can talk about the reality of their lives and it’s not always positive. In fact remembering the weird times and their flaws can be a good thing too.

Screenshot 2016-05-24 at 19.06.46

 

Spirit Drawings

Georgiana Houghton: Spirit Drawings is at the Courtauld Gallery from 16 June to 11 September 2016 showcasing a series of automatic ‘spirit drawings’ where the fluid forms and dense rich patterns of the work anticipate the abstraction of early 20th century art.

In the 1860s and 70s, Georgiana Houghton produced a series of largely abstract watercolours. Detailed explanations on the back of the paintings declare that various spirits guided her hand. In 1871 Houghton rented a gallery in Bond Street and presented 155 of these works to a London audience. While the majority of Houghton’s work survives in the Victorian Spiritualists’ Union in Melbourne, up until now her work has been largely unknown beyond a circle of specialists.

Georgiana Houghton - The Eye of God, c. 1862. © Victorian Spiritualists' Union Melbourne, Australia

Georgiana Houghton – The Eye of God, c. 1862. © Victorian Spiritualists’ Union Melbourne, Australia

 

London Bridge City Summer Festival

Starting on 1 June, and running until 31 October 2016, the London Bridge City Summer Festival is happening riverside between Tower Bridge and London Bridge. There’s free interactive arts and entertainment inspired by fringe festivals around the world.

The London Riviera pop-up food and drink experience is back and there’s a big screen showing all the summer’s sporting events plus cult and classic movies.

 

Weekend Punk

For the closing weekend of the Design Museum, as it leaves Shad Thames to move to Kensington, there’s a Weekend Punk Festival. On 25 and 26 June there’s two days of creative disruption celebrating of one of London’s most distinctive design movements, with fanzine-making workshops, music, spoken word and other events shaping a fitting last weekend for the museum.

Design Museum Punk Museum

 

Even More

If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the Things to Do in London in June 2016 from Kensington House Hotel, our sister hotel.

LOOKING AHEAD

Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love is on from 9 July to 29 August 2016. This is the third summer-long Festival of Love features a wide-ranging programme of performances, music, differently-themed weekends, exhibitions and installations across the site.

Waterloo Food Festival is on from 30 June and throughout July and has unique tastings, masterclasses and demonstrations as part of its 2016 Festival.

You can enjoy a Pre-Edinburgh Comedy Festival at the Cutty Sark Studio Theatre from 22 July to 4 August.

And Tate Modern has a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition on from 6 July to 30 October 2016. This will be the UK’s first large-scale, monographic show of her work for more than twenty years.

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Do check out the latest offers as London Bridge Hotel has weekend rates from as low as £99. You can sign up for special offer alerts here. And when you can’t be at the hotel, you can try making the Quarter Bar’s cocktails with these recipes.

Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

Apr 252016
 

Hello longer days, more sunshine and happy times in London this month.

Photo London

London is celebrating photography across the capital throughout May, with Photo London at Somerset House as a focal point for city-wide exhibitions, and events.

From 19 to 22 May 2016, Photo London is a unique festival of photography, centred around a major international photography fair featuring over 80 exhibitors. The fair showcases the broad range of photographic practice, from vintage to contemporary. There are also talks and lectures, performances and installations.

The list of exhibitors includes galleries from Berlin, Cologne, Helsinki, Lisbon, Zurich, Tehran, Minneapolis, New York, Palm Beach, Santa Monica, Singapore, Tokyo, alongside the pick of London’s top photography galleries, with an extended ‘Discovery’ section for new and emerging galleries.

Some of London’s public museums and galleries featuring photography in May include:
Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed at the Barbican Art Gallery, Vogue 100: A Century of Style at the National Portrait Gallery and Performing for the Camera at Tate Modern.

The London Photo Festival is also on 19-21 May with the festival theme of ‘4 elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire’. It’s held in Borough in The Crypt of St George the Martyr Church.

Somerset House from River

Somerset House from River © Hayes Davidson

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

For Shakespeare400, the Royal Shakespeare Company and amateur companies across the UK are performing the nation’s favourite Shakespeare play in a unique production.

The Dream2016 collaboration can be seen at the Barbican Theatre from 17 to 21 May when the RSC is performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in association with Tower Theatre Company and east London schoolchildren.

A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

 

London Wine Week

From 23 to 29 May, London Wine Week is on and attendees can purchase a £10 wristband to enjoy self-guided wine tours, events and tasting sessions across London.

The capital’s many knowledgeable sommeliers have put together a trail that leads intrepid drinkers on a journey to discover new grapes, varieties and vintages. The trips cover many enticing venues, including leading restaurants and small, lesser-known eateries to dusty wine vaults and renowned hotel bars.

London Wine Week

 

Charles Dickens Museum

Opening on 3 May (and on until 20 November 2016), The Other Dickens: Discovering Catherine brings Catherine Dickens away from the shadow of her husband with many personal items and letters displayed here in the couple’s first family home.

Catherine Hogarth married Charles Dickens in 1836. They lived together for the next 22 years, Catherine having ten children (two of whom were born at Doughty Street) in the first sixteen of those years, as well as travelling to America and living abroad. When they separated, Charles Dickens painted a harshly negative portrait of his wife but the exhibition helps to build a more rounded picture of a Victorian woman devoted to her children and part of a lively social group, who enjoyed frequent visits to the theatre, concerts and late-night parties. Catherine was also a published writer; her popular cookbook, What Shall We Have For Dinner, ran into several editions.

The Museum has commissioned sound artist Felicity Ford to make Hearing Catherine, a collection of six new works which bring Catherine’s voice back to Doughty Street. Introduced throughout the exhibition, a subtle combination of spoken word, music and field recordings use Catherine’s own words to give her a presence and build something of the atmosphere that she would have known in the family home.

Dickens After Dark is a special evening opening of the museum on 12 May for twilight browsing.

Charles Dickens Museum

 

Museums at Night

Museums at Night is on from Wednesday 11 through to Saturday 14 May 2016 and you can enjoy museums, galleries and heritage sites after hours.

On Friday 13 May, the Bank of England Museum is offering a rare opportunity for an evening visit. As well as the Museum displays, there will be presentations on banknotes, gallery talks and Bank staff will also be on hand to answer questions about gold.

Benjamin Franklin House and Dr Johnson’s House are also involved as well as Keat’s House and Banqueting House so there really is lots of choice in London.

 

Rose Playhouse

For more evening entertainment, The Rose Playhouse has Shakespeare’s dramatic comedy Measure for Measure on from 10 to 29 May 2016.

Vincentio, the Duke of Vienna, announces he is going on a diplomatic mission and sets in his place the upright Angelo to govern by the letter of the law. The Duke disguises himself as a priest to observe him. Isabella rejects a tainted world and devotes her life to the church, only to be dragged out of a nunnery to save her brother accused of sexual misconduct. Angelo has the power to save or slaughter but could be persuaded by Isabella, posing her a moral conundrum.

Over four hundred years after its first performance Measure For Measure’s heady mix of hypocrisy, money, power, sex, religion, justice and mercy continues to resonate in a world still battling with issues of compassion and fear.

Measure for Measure

 

Missoni Art Colour

Opening on 6 May (and on until 4 September 2016), Missoni Art Colour is at the Fashion and Textile Museum. The exhibition showcases over 60 years of fashion alongside paintings by leading 20th century European artists, and previously unseen textile studies, paintings and Arazzi by Ottavio Missoni, founders of this distinctive international fashion brand.

Missoni Art Colour

 

Even More

If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the Things to Do in London in May 2016 from Kensington House Hotel, our sister hotel.

LOOKING AHEAD

The new building at Tate Modern opens on 17 June with entirely new collection displays, 75% of which will have been acquired since 2000, when the main building opened.

There are more dates available to visit Parliament on most weekdays between 27 May and 3 June as well as 16/17 June and 23/24 June. These dates are in addition to the Saturday tours throughout the year and Monday to Friday summer tours between 26 July and 2 September.

The Serpentine Architecture Programme expands for 2016, with four Summer Houses joining the Serpentine Pavilion, open from 10 June.

And The Queen’s House reopens on 4 July 2016, to celebrate its 400th anniversary with refurbished galleries, including the King’s Presence Chamber and the Tulip Stairs. This beautiful royal villa was designed by Inigo Jones in 1616 for James I’s queen, Anne of Denmark, and completed around 1638 for Charles I’s queen, Henrietta Maria.

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Do check out the latest offers as London Bridge Hotel has weekend rates from as low as £99. You can sign up for special offer alerts here. And when you can’t be at the hotel, you can try making the Quarter Bar’s cocktails with these recipes.

Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

Apr 192016
 

BeFunky-Collage-1

Dutch flowers is a new major exhibition, which opened 6th April at The National Gallery, which through twenty-two works, examines the origins of the genre, to the height of its popularity in the Dutch Golden Age and its final flowering in the late eighteenth century. Coinciding with the flower shows at Chelsea and Hampton Court, the exhibition explores Dutch flower painting from its beginnings in the early seventeenth century to its peak in the late eighteenth century and is the first display of its kind in 20 years. At the turn of the seventeenth century, Netherlandish painters such as Jan Brueghel the Elder, Ambrosius Bosschaert and Roelandt Savery were among the first artists to produce paintings that exclusively depicted flowers. The sudden emergence of this genre is undoubtedly linked to the development of scientific interest in botany and horticulture at the close of the sixteenth century.

Dutch Flowers will be held at The National Gallery until 29th August 2016 and even better its free.

Do check out the latest offers as London Bridge Hotel has weekend rates from as low as £99. You cansign up for special offer alerts here. And when you can’t be at the hotel, you can try making the Quarter Bar’s cocktails with these recipes.

Via Magellan PR, a boutique travel PR company.

Contributor: Alexandra Pinhorn – Photographs: The National Gallery, London