What’s on in London this Spring

By Amy Rosoman

Title photography by sborisov / Getty Images

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February 2018

Embrace the fresh feeling of Spring in the air and let London liven you up. Amy Rosoman soaks up the sights of the city, from exhibits, shows, festivals and unique pop-ups – it’s time to discover the hottest events in London this season.

Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy

Explore the creative masterpieces of Pablo Picasso, in his first ever solo exhibition at the Tate Modern. Discover a rare insight into his life, from photographs and memorabilia which reveal the intricacy of this famous artist’s life. Let your eyes wander from painting to painting and fixate on sculptures and drawings. See three mesmerising paintings of Picasso’s lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter – displayed for the first time together, since their creation in 1932. Immerse yourself in a Picasso exhibit, as never seen before.

When? From 8 March

Where? Tate Modern

Nearest tubes: Blackfriars or Southwark

Where to stay: Radisson Blu Mercer St – for its stylish boutique feel in the heart of the big smoke. Explore the quirks of Covent Garden which is close by, hop on the underground with ease to visit more sights and savour a seamless stay at this chic hotel. Why not treat yourself to their massage services, after adventurous days about town.

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Enjoy a tiny spice of Morocco in the heart of London, with twinkling lanterns, shimmering firepits, cosy cushions and decorative rugs

The Moroccan Medina

Head to the Queen of Hoxton for an exotic rooftop evening, to break-up the spring chill between now and summer. Enjoy a tiny spice of Morocco in the heart of London, with twinkling lanterns, shimmering firepits, cosy cushions and decorative rugs. Soak up the feeling of a riad and welcome Babouche slippers onto your feet. Choose a tantalising cocktail, from a caffeine fix Kasbah coffee martini, to a fruity smooth Berber’s Bellini – then try your best to pick from a delicious menu of colourful cuisine.

When? Until 30 March

Where? Queen of Hoxton

Nearest tubes: Liverpool Street

Where to stay: every hotel Piccadilly – relax in a central location, close to an array of eateries, shopping and theatres. Catch a red bus, hop on the underground or walk around this thriving city. After a busy day exploring, kick back in the comfort of your room, then sip on a night cap in the cocktail lounge.

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  • Pablo Picasso, Le Rêve (The Dream) 1932. Private collection. ©Succession Picasso/DACS London, 2017.

    Artistic flair

    Discover Picasso pleasures at the Tate.

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  • The Moroccan Medina at The Queen of Hoxton. ©Graham Turner.

    An urban sanctuary

    Spice and all things nice, on rooftop heights.

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  • Cherry blossom at Kew. ©A big day out with Peter Rabbit™ 2018 / Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    A funny bunny day out

    Feel the spring in your step, as you surround yourself with the beauty of Kew Gardens.

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A Big Day Out with Peter Rabbit™

Take a family-friendly trip to the beautiful Kew Gardens, for an Easter adventure with Peter Rabbit. Enjoy this botanical day out, celebrating the tales of the brilliant Beatrix Potter and her wonderful characters. Play outdoor games, follow trails through the flowers and shrubbery, or learn how to grow your own vegetables. Choose from an abundance of activities in this picturesque place and find out more about this famous author’s connection to Kew Gardens.

When? 30 March to 15 April

Where? Kew Gardens

Nearest tubes: Kew Gardens

Where to stay: Park Plaza Westminster Bridge – enjoy a stay in the centre of the city, with the buzz of South Bank nearby, as well as the iconic Big Ben – this hotel highlights the best of locations. Book in for a babysitter for the kids, whilst you chill out in the glorious spa for a pamper, or head to the terrace for views across the London skyline.

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With the recent release of the moving film ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’, make a timely trip to the charismatic Winnie-the-Pooh exhibition at the V&A Museum. Experience the magic of one of the most adored fictional characters of all time. See sketches, letters and photographs, as well as a collaboration of cartoons and other collections, which bring the life of this famous bear and his friends to life. Choose a day to visit when you can create arts and crafts, or play in a pop-up Winnie-the-Pooh performance.

When? Until 8 April

Where? Victoria & Albert Museum

Nearest tubes: South Kensington

Where to stay: The Kensington Hotel – take in the sleek design and inviting appeal of this hotel, with its mansion like feel. With plenty of places to visit nearby, enjoy your central stay. On return from days out, book a massage to soothe your soul, enjoy a private members club feel of the K Bar, or discover the hidden whisky bar in the spectacular Town House restaurant.

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  • Zoe Wanamaker and Toby Jones in The Birthday Party. ©Johan Persson.

    A Pinter play

    Catch big names on the west end, in a classic Harold Pinter play.

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  • Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic. “Bump bump bump” Winnie the Pooh chapter 1 pencil drawing by E. H. Shepard 1926 ©The Shepard Trust.

    A childhood hero

    Take a look at the loveable exhibit of Pooh bear and explore more of the V&A museum.

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  • The London Coffee Festival. ©James Bryant.

    A day for coffee fiends

    See the quirks of Brick Lane – with its hipster scene, boutiques and of course, coffee galore.

    Things to do in London

The London Coffee Festival

If you’re a lover of all the coffee elements, get yourself to Brick Lane for the best roasts around. Enjoy the finest coffee, music, art and cocktails – all with the glorious scent of your favourite brew. Soak up the bustling atmosphere at the Old Truman Brewery, with over 250 artisan coffee and scrumptious food stalls, the choice is yours. Head to the milk bar, take a coffee-orientated workshop, sip on espresso martinis and venture around Milk & Sugar – a hub of innovative design, lifestyle and wellbeing brands. 

When? 12 to 15 April

Where? Brick Lane

Nearest tubes: Aldgate East

Where to stay: One Aldwych – enjoy a rejuvenating time away, located towards the west end of London. Savour a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory inspired afternoon tea, indulge in a spa treatment or take a dip in the serene indoor swimming pool. Try an evening cocktail in the Lobby Bar, whizzed up by the award-winning mixologists.

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The Birthday Party

Harold Pinter’s dark comedy, The Birthday Party, takes to the stage of London with an all-star cast. Become lost with the characters, as a simple birthday party, escalates into an event of menace, confusion and taunting. With the arrival of two strangers, into the arms of a steady boarding house of regularity, things begin to take a turn for the worst with mind-boggling behaviour. Watch as Toby Jones, as Stanley Webber, Zoë Wanamaker as Meg Boles and Peter Wight as Petey Boles, are disturbed from the mundane of their small seaside town lives. 

When? Until 14 April

Where? The Harold Pinter Theatre

Nearest tubes: Piccadilly Circus

Where to stay: The Ampersand Hotel – relish a stay at this beautiful Mr & Mrs Smith hotel. Enjoy the delicate floral theme to light up your spring, as well as delicious cakes in the charming tea salon. With its idyllic location, find yourself in the heights of Chelsea in no time. When you’re weary after long days, rest easy in the knowledge of 24-hour room service.

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  • Performer at the Breakin’ Convention. ©Owen Ling.

    Check out the hip and happening

    Watch performances and masterful moves, that will have you in awe at Breakin’ Convention.

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  • RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, press day in London. ©The Royal Horticultural Society 2018.

    A flourishing royal botanical favourite

    Did you know? The first RHS Chelsea Flower Show was held in 1862, an event full of tradition and beauty.

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  • LCD Soundsystem on stage, one of the headlines at All Points East. ©Christian Bertrand / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Festival season

    Book your tickets for a new London festival, to roundup your spring the right way.

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Breakin’ Convention

Make a move to this international hip-hop and dance festival, for its 15th year anniversary. Watch a mesmerising selection of the world’s best poppers and lockers perform, see their bodies move to the beats and the bass. Be a part of this incredible art form, as you try out dance workshops, take a turn at creating graffiti pieces and listen to rappers and beatboxers. Or simply kick back and watch performances that will blow you away, in a variety of dance forms filled with passion and talent. 

When? 5 to 7 May

Where? Sadler’s Wells Theatre

Nearest tubes: Angel

Where to stay: InterContinental at the O2 – book a stay where you can replenish after attending events and exploring the city. Take tea in the Meridian Lounge, or revel in a full spa experience. Relax in the divine indoor pool, take in the sensational views of the Thames and across to Canary Wharf, from the Eighteen Sky Bar and try a tantalising cocktail.

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show

A time-honoured tradition, the hundred-year-old Chelsea Flower Show attracts a surprisingly celebrity crowd to leafy West London at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, making it much more than just a five-day show of garden design. Spot the Queen and British celebrities among the botany enthusiasts. Browse the Great Pavilion, full of flowers, and see all manner of show gardens, from one resembling the slopes of an active volcano to a garden inspired by the Silk Road.

When? 22 May to 26 May

Where? Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4SR

Nearest tubes: Sloane Square

Where to stay: The Savoy – make the most of an opulent stay here. Enjoy the grandeur of this hotel, boasting a bounty of luxury. With it’s wonderful location, you’ll be able to see plenty of London. Choose from a selection of fine-dining options, or experience the Savoy’s renowned afternoon tea. Replenish in the beauty and fitness area, after venturing around London’s sights.

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All Points East

Coachella comes to London late this spring, for a music extravaganza. Be part of the debut event, All Points East, offering 10 days of entertainment. Featuring three days of big music names in a festival style and presenting three huge headline shows – grab the face paints and festival apparel for the occasion. With acts such as LCD Soundsystem, The XX, Lorde and Björk, the line-up is bursting with must-see names. Buy your tickets now, to get that spring 2018 feeling when the days start to heat up.

When? From 25 May

Where? Victoria Park

Nearest tubes: Bethnall Green and Mile End

Where to stay: Amba Hotel Charing Cross – a stay just moments away from some of London’s most iconic neighbourhoods and hot spots. Savour a flavourful afternoon tea with views of The Strand, then listen to the soothing sounds of live jazz at the terrace bar. Book a twin, double, or suite to suit your needs.

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