What’s on in London this Autumn

By Amy Rosoman

Photography by Joe Daniel Price / Getty Images

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April 2017

London is warming up. Spring in the city means a new theatre season, great gigs and world-class exhibitions. Enjoy being outdoors in the parks and squares, with fine weather bringing the daffodils and St Patrick’s Day bringing its lively parade.

House of Minalima

Fans of the Harry Potter™ films should make their way to House of Minalima to view an unmissable collection of graphic art and stationery, all for sale, and all featuring Harry Potter typography. Spanning four floors, this exhibition is bursting with visual surprises that any Harry Potter enthusiast will love – including authentic props on loan from Warner Bros. Pick up posters, stationary, homeware and books, or take home a limited edition art print.

Where? House of Minalima, 26 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 5DE

Nearest tubes: Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly lines) Tottenham Court Road (Central line)

Where to stay: Radisson Blu Mercer St

The adventure starts when you open a giant book that turns out to be a door. Perfect for kids who love stories, and adults who love retelling them.

Museums at Night

Museums are different places after dark. Natural history comes alive in the shadows and paintings flicker under candlelight. Thanks to this four-day festival, you can visit dozens of London’s museums, which open their doors to slightly more unorthodox activities than audio guided tours and caption-reading. Go life drawing in the remarkable Painted Hall of the Royal Naval College. In North London, head to Keats House in leafy Hampstead, for a pop up apothecary with its own bar of herby home-brews.

When? 17 – 20 May

Where? Museums across London

Nearest tubes: Museum-dependent

Where to stay: every hotel Piccadilly

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? 25-27 May 2017

Where? Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4SR

Nearest tubes: Sloane Square

Where to stay: Rembrandt

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  • Museums at Night. The Painted Hall, Greenwich © Old Royal Naval College

    Did you know?

    Finished in 1726, the Painted Hall is a stunning Baroque interior, but it’s one of London’s lesser-known marvels. It was in this room that Lord Nelson lay in state for three days after his death at the Battle of Trafalgar. Crowds queued for hours to see him here and the floor still bears a plaque commemorating the event.

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  • The Chelsea Barracks Garden. Designed by Jo Thompson. Sponsored by: Qatari Diar. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016. © RHS CREDIT: RHS / Neil Hepworth

    Gardener’s world

    Book ahead for Chelsea Flower Show. Anyone can visit between Thursday and Saturday and it’s cheaper to buy your tickets well in advance.

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year

From a curious fox cub in Bristol to a critically endangered Bornean orangutan, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition tells the story of Earth’s wildlife in 100 award-winning images. Selected from almost 50,000 entries, the images featured in the exhibition are taken by the world’s best wildlife photographers. Chosen for their creativity and originality, the images highlight the beauty, drama and diversity of life on our planet and our crucial role in protecting it.

When? Until 10 September 2017

Where? Natural History Museum: Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD

Nearest tubes: South Kensington (District, Piccadilly and Circle lines)

Where to stay: The Ampersand Hotel

Diana: Her Fashion Story

Go to Kensington Palace to see the brand new exhibit of Princess Diana’s glamourous wardrobe. Diana: Her Fashion Story is a capsule collection of clothes such as the iconic blue velvet dress the Princess wore to the White House in 1985. The former home of the princess is the perfect place to display her style. What’s more, the palace is opening a new garden alongside the exhibition. With the spring flowers coming out, March is a perfect time to visit.

When? From 24 February

Where? Kensington Palace State Apartments, Kensington Gardens, London, W8 4PX

Nearest tubes: District or Circle lines to High Street Kensington (District and Circle lines), Queensway (Central line)

Where to stay: The Kensington Hotel

  • Tove Jansson, Moominland Midwinter Image Credit© Moomin Characters™

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  • Diana: Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace

    Kensington Palace

    Visit London in spring for the Royal exhibition and the gardens in full bloom.

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  • Carousel at the London Coliseum. Photo credit Matt Crockett

    Musical theatre

    Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe star in Carousel as daughter and father.

    Things to do in London

An American in Paris

From 4 March to 31 August, An American in Paris dances onto the stage at the Dominion Theatre after finally transferring from Broadway. Tap your toes along to ‘I Got Rhythm’ as you follow the love story of American ex-GI Jerry, now a painter in Paris, who tries to win the favour of beautiful, cultured Lise. The highlight is the beautiful ballet in the closing scenes, set to Gershwin’s titular score.

When? 4 March to 31 August

Where? Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Rd, Fitzrovia, London W1T 7AQ

Nearest tubes: Tottenham Court Road (Northern and Central lines)

Where to stay: The Savoy

St Patrick’s Day

From 17 to 19 March celebrations for St Patrick’s Day happen across the capital. The 17 March is traditionally considered the anniversary of the Patron Saint of Ireland’s death. The place to be is the parade on the 19 March that ends up in Trafalgar Square, where people are out in force – with a gathering over 150,000 strong. Sample the food stands, traditional music and dancing. Guinness and steak pie are on the menus. Celebrate your Irish heritage or just be an enthusiastic spectator.

When? 17 to 19 March

Where? Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

Nearest tubes: Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo lines), Embankment (District and Circle lines)

Where to stay: Amba Hotel Charing Cross

  • Afternoon tea at The Savoy.

    Afternoon tea at The Savoy.

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  • Go marching in March: London St Patrick's Day Festival

    St Patrick’s Day

    London boasts an impressive parade for the Irish saint.

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  • Have you got rhythm? Enjoy An American In Paris on the West End

    An American In Paris

    The Dominion Theatre hosts the hotly anticipated Broadway show.

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Adventures in Moominland

Don’t miss a trip to Moominland with the kids. Hosted by the Southbank Centre, this immersive experience, based on Tove Jansson’s books, and accompanied by her illustrations, takes you on a journey through the Moomin’s snowbound homeland. On the fifty-minute tour with voiceover, you’ll wander through forests, across seas and shelter in giant tents with tree trunks for seats. The adventure starts when you open a giant book that turns out to be a door. Perfect for kids who love stories, and adults who love retelling them.

When? Until 23 April

Where? The Southbank Centre: Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX

Nearest tubes: Waterloo (Jubilee, Northern, Bakerloo and Waterloo & City lines), Embankment (District and Circle lines)

Where to stay: Park Plaza Westminster Bridge


Mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins sings all the classics from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, in a semi-staged production at the London Coliseum. The writers of The Sound of Music’s much-loved 1945 hit follows Billy Bigelow, a carousel barker who dies trying to provide for his young family. He’s given a chance to return to earth and make amends with his daughter. Songs ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘If I Loved You’ and ‘June is Bustin’ Out All Over’ will have the memories flooding back.

When? 7 April to 13 May

Where? London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4ES

Nearest tubes: Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo lines), Embankment (District and Circle lines)

Where to stay: One Aldwych

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars’ 24k Magic tour sold 1 million tickets in 24 hours when it was announced last year. Baby faced and oh-so-smooth of voice, Hawaiian-born Mars is one of the world’s biggest selling artists. A modern sensation, he’s known for his charmingly retro showmanship that makes for a seriously slick stage performance. With four Grammy awards and counting, he’s got plenty to dance about. Join the screaming fans and sing along to ‘Uptown Funk’, ‘Locked Outta Heaven’ and ‘The Lazy Song’.

When? 18 to 21 April

Where? O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX

Nearest tubes: North Greenwich (Jubilee line)

Where to stay: InterContinental at the O2