September is a wonderful time to be in London. It’s less crowded than in August and the weather is often just as good.
Don’t forget you can still visit the state rooms of Buckingham Palace for the whole of this month (as featured in the August recommendations). And why not try the Summer Terrace Pop-up at Tate Modern as it’s open for September too?
TUSK RHINO TRAIL
Twenty-one Tusk Rhino Trail sculptures can be seen across London from 20 August to World Rhino Day on 22 September. This London wide art installation aims to raise public awareness of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
Each sculpture has been specially decorated and embellished by internationally respected artists and designers including Ronnie Wood, Marc Quinn, Gavin Turk and Axel Scheffler. The sculptures are displayed at iconic London sites including Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and Carnaby Street. There are online maps available.
LONDON DESIGN BIENNALE
Over 35 countries and cities gather to celebrate the universal power of design for the London Design Biennale at Somerset House from 4 to 23 September.
The theme is Emotional States and the show is taking over the entirety of Somerset House including The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court and River Terrace. It explores big questions and ideas about sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities and social equality.
You can get the most out of your visit to London Design Biennale with a guided tour. Tours are taken by expert guides who are passionate about design.
While the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House is closed for a two-year renovation project, this exhibition traces the development of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings through a selection of over forty masterpieces including famous works by Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Manet, and Seurat alongside a selection of much-loved Impressionist paintings from the National Gallery’s own collection. Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet To Cézanne opens on 17 September and is on until 20 January 2019.
Tracing the development of modern French painting from the 1860s to the turn of the twentieth century, the exhibition is arranged chronologically in 12 sections – each devoted to a different artist. The exhibition also focuses on the vision, taste and motivation of Courtauld as he shaped two collections: one for his and his wife’s own enjoyment and the other for the nation with equal tenacity and dedication.
Courtauld’s taste had been shaped by childhood trips to the National Gallery and travels to museums, galleries and collections on the continent. On seeing a painting by Cézanne in London in 1922, Courtauld recalled, ‘At that moment I felt the magic and I have felt it in Cézanne’s work ever since.’ He believed that ‘unfettered imagination, human emotion and spiritual aspiration go into the creation of all great works, and a share of the same qualities is needed for the reading of them.’
SCIENCE GALLERY LONDON
A new science and art venue is opening in London Bridge this month. Science Gallery London is next to Guys Hospital, on Great Maze Pond, SE1 9GU, with the inaugural season Hooked opening on 21 September.
The provocative new season invites visitors to explore the cyclical processes of addiction and recovery, questioning how society feeds and sustains both. It examines addiction as a fundamental risk of being a modern human amidst the backdrop of the criminalisation of drugs, and the addictive nature of new technology and social media. With humans vulnerable to addiction across all walks of life – drugs, gambling, sex and even smartphones – the season questions whether we need to reshape our society to address it.
The venue is targetting 15 to 25 years olds but it is for everyone.
Wicked Women is a live performance at the Tower of London from 1 September to 19 October. Travel back to 1533 when King Henry VIII has decided to divorce his Queen, Katherine of Aragon, and marry Anne Boleyn. The King has imprisoned Elizabeth Barton and Alice Wolfe at the Tower of London.
Barton claims visions from God, threatening divine punishment, but to threaten the King and his new wife is treason. Is everything as it seems? Is she being used by powerful enemies of the King?
Wolfe and her husband John have been imprisoned for luring rich merchants onto their boat on the Thames, murdering them and stealing their money. Maybe the King will be lenient if Alice can uncover any incriminating evidence on Elizabeth. Alice has other ideas and a plan for a daring escape is hatched.
They both face execution if convicted. Listen to their stories and decide whether and how you could help them escape.
From 7 to 9 September, the Tower of London Food Festival is happening in the historic dry moat. There are live cooking demos from top chefs such as Michel Roux Jr, Nadiya Hussain, Melissa Hemsley and Dr Rupy Aujla. Also on the menu are a host of tempting street food stalls and artisan food producers, promising everything from gin and tonic to sweet treats and an array of ales. All tickets include free entry to the Tower of London.
On 20 September, four new permanent galleries open at the National Maritime Museum. With over 1,100 objects going on display, the galleries bring the theme of exploration alive.
The four new galleries – Tudor and Stuart Seafarers, Pacific Encounters, Polar Worlds and Sea Things – cover British and European exploration from the late-fifteenth century through to the present day. Through recurring themes of encounter, legacy, science, trade, exploitation and power, visitors can delve into the complex story of Britain’s exploration of the world, examining how men and women ventured beyond the nation’s shores to explore the ends of the Earth in a quest for knowledge, riches and adventure. Furthermore, the galleries highlight how Britain’s relationship with the sea and its growing maritime power and ambitions shaped the country and impacted the world we live in today.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
At the National Theatre from 18 September, Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra has Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo as the iconic lovers.
Caesar and his assassins are dead. General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But at the fringes of a war-torn empire, the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love.
In a tragic fight between devotion and duty, obsession becomes a catalyst for war. Politics and passion are violently intertwined in Shakespeare’s gripping tale of power.
On Sunday 30 September The Worshipful Company of Woolmen has their annual Sheep Drive and Wool Fair. The Wool Fair at Monument is open to the public from 10am to 5pm with a number of wool-related clothing and homeware stalls plus food outlets and a bar on a bus.
During the day the Freemen of the City of London exercise their right to the tradition of driving sheep across London Bridge along with this year’s special guest, Alan Titchmarsh MBE. You can expect to see around 20 sheep and around 600 Freemen to herd them back and forth.
If you would like even more ideas for this month, do have a look at last month’s recommendations as many are still valid for September too.
Opening on 25 October at the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House, Good Grief, Charlie Brown! celebrates Peanuts and its cultural legacy. The exhibition brings together Charles M. Schulz original Peanuts cartoons with work from a wide range of acclaimed contemporary artists and designers who have been inspired by this highly influential and much-loved cartoon.
The next Hyundai Commission is unveiled at Tate Modern on 2 October. The annual Hyundai Commission is a series of site-specific installations by contemporary artists in Tate Modern’s iconic Turbine Hall.
29 October 2018 marks the 400th anniversary of Sir Walter Raleigh’s death, one of the Tower of London’s most famous prisoners. From 20 to 28 October you can retrace the Elizabethan explorer’s life with ‘Walter Raleigh Beat the Block’. Join Sir Walter as he regales the audience with stories of his adventures and navigate the choices he made which led to his three periods of imprisonment at the Tower and eventual execution.
Britain’s biggest comedian Michael McIntyre is going global with his Big World Tour which stops at The O2 on 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14 October. In the UK, Michael has performed three arena tours selling over 1.5 million tickets, including a record 28 times at The O2 and has been awarded the keys to the venue along with Prince, Take That and One Direction.
And Skate at Somerset House is back from 14 November in The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court. Tickets are on sale from this month.
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.
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