Pancake Day Races
Shrove Tuesday is better known as Pancake Day in London and we have ‘running with frying pans’ pancake races to see! Tuesday 28 February is the day to remember and there’s the Better Bankside Pancake Day Race on Stoney Street, by Borough Market, at 12.30-2pm. Lots of local businesses compete and it’s great fun to watch.
My favourite though is the Inter-Livery Pancake Race in Guildhall Yard (outside the City of London Guildhall) that starts at midday. Competitors run in their regalia and/or fancy dress.
Traditionally the Gunmakers start each heat with a bang, the Clerk to the Clockmakers is responsible for the accuracy of the timing, the Fruiterers provide lemons, the Cutlers plastic forks, the Glovers white gloves worn by each runner, and the Poulters the eggs essential in the making of the pancakes. A recent welcome additional attraction has been a specially commissioned piece sung by the Musicians Company.
There are lots of good reasons to visit the Barbican Centre this month.
From 15 February (to 23 April), Richard Mosse has Incoming in the Curve gallery. Mosse is a conceptual documentary photographer and this is an immersive multi-channel video installation about the migration crisis unfolding across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
In collaboration with composer Ben Frost and cinematographer Trevor Tweeten, Mosse has been working with an advanced new thermographic weapons and border imaging technology that can see beyond 50km, registering a heat signature of relative temperature difference. Classed as part of advanced weapons systems under International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Mosse has been using this export controlled camera against its intended purpose, to create an artwork about the refugee crisis unfolding in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Libya, in Syria, the Sahara, the Persian Gulf, and other locations.
From 4 to 13 February, one of the world’s most sought-after singers, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann has a ten-day residency at the Barbican, which includes his first major Wagner performance in London.
And from 22 to 25 February, the Blanca Li Dance Company is performing Robot. Humans and robots playfully mingle and merge, all dancing to the percussive beat of a ten-piece mechanical orchestra.
Blanca Li is well known for her choreographic work with Daft Punk, Beyoncé and Pedro Almodóvar, and she crosses genres and styles. Robot sees eight agile dancers share the stage with seven personality-infused robot humanoids who talk, see and feel. As they mimic each other’s characteristics, they become almost interchangeable, their movements driven by the sound of imaginatively designed self-playing instruments.
Opening on 15 February at Tate Modern is a major exhibition of the work by German contemporary artist Wolfgang Tillmans. This exhibition brings his ‘extended practice’ to the fore, offering a new focus on his photographs, video, digital slide projections, publications, curatorial projects and recorded music.
In 2000, Tillmans was the first photographer and first non-British artist to receive the Turner Prize. Exhibitions of his work have been shown around the world and his work is held in major international museum collections including Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Tate, London.
This exhibition highlights the artist’s deeper engagement with abstraction, beginning with the important work Sendeschluss / End of Broadcast I 2014. Based on images the artist took of an analogue TV losing signal, this work combines two opposing technologies – the digital and the analogue. Other works include portraiture, landscape and still lives.
The exhibition is on until 11 June. In March, Tillmans will also take over Tate’s South Tank for ten days with a specially-commissioned installation featuring live music events.
London Fashion Week Festival
London Fashion Week is on 17-21 February but the dates you really want to know about are 23-26 February as that’s the London Fashion Week Festival. At The Store Studios on The Strand you can attend catwalk shows, hear expert talks and, of course, do some exclusive shopping.
There are different levels of tickets available including the chance to sit in the front row at a fashion show and to have a dedicated VIP till at the shopping events to avoid the queues.
Tower of London
On Monday 13 February you could visit for The Tower of Love: Romance is Dead – an anti-Valentines evening sketching special, dedicated to those who died at the Tower in the name of love.
And during the school half-term holiday (11-19 February) you can see Conquest (daily at 12pm, 1.30pm and 3.30pm). It’s a costumed live activity and the crowds will be called upon to help defend the Tower against enemies on all sides. In the half hour fun you must help the heroic guards defend the mighty castle against its most dangerous enemies from 200 years of Medieval conflict. Will any army be strong enough to conquer the Tower?
On Monday 6 February you could see (and hear!) a gun salute in Green Park to mark Accession Day, celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. The basic salute is 21 rounds and another 20 rounds are added because this is a Royal Park.
If that wasn’t enough there’s also a gun salute at the Tower of London (for the same occasion) and that will have 62 guns!
Both will take place at midday.
Open from 28 January (to 7 May 2017), the Fashion & Textile Museum has a Josef Frank exhibition. Josef Frank Patterns – Paintings – Furniture explores the work of designer and artist Josef Frank (1885-1967) in the first-ever UK exhibition of his textiles.
The Austrian-born architect moved to Sweden in 1933, where he developed his colourful brand of modernism, working with Estrid Ericson on furniture, glassware, lighting and interior design ideas. Together they redefined what is regarded as Swedish Modern. This exhibition in association with Millesgården, Stockholm highlights Frank’s vibrant fabric designs for Svenskt Tenn alongside a number of his previously unknown watercolours.
Directed by Simon Godwin, a new production of Twelfth Night opens at the Olivier Theatre (National Theatre) on 22 February (with previews from 15 February). Tamsin Greig is a transformed Malvolia, alongside a cast including: Oliver Chris, Daniel Ezra, Phoebe Fox, Tamara Lawrance, Doon Mackichan and Daniel Rigby.
A ship is wrecked on the rocks. Viola is washed ashore but her twin brother Sebastian is lost. Determined to survive on her own, she steps out to explore a new land. So begins a whirlwind of mistaken identity and unrequited love. The nearby households of Olivia and Orsino are overrun with passion. Even Olivia’s uptight housekeeper Malvolia is swept up in the madness. Where music is the food of love and nobody is quite what they seem, anything proves possible.
Twelfth Night will be broadcast to cinemas worldwide by NT Live on 6 April.
If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the Things to Do in London in February 2017 from Kensington House Hotel, our sister hotel.
On 23-25 March, the Barbican Theatre has the UK premiere of Room 29, a multi-media musical entertainment devised and performed by Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales. Based on the goings-on in Room 29 of the Château Marmont hotel in Hollywood, for the evening the audience will be the room’s occupants so expect clips from classic Hollywood movies, live dance and audience participation plus the music of Chilly Gonzales and the words of Jarvis Cocker.
We’re still looking forward to the opening of The Postal Museum, and more specifically the underground ‘Mail Rail’ that will be open to the public for the first time. This new heritage attraction will reveal the surprising and curious history of Britain’s earliest social network.
And at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, there’s Michelangelo – Sebastiano; A Meeting of Minds from 15 March. This major exhibition will focus on the extraordinary artistic relationship between Sebastiano del Piombo (about 1485–1547) and Michelangelo (1475–1564) from the 1510s through to the 1540s.
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.