Mar 242016
 

Spring has arrived and we have a fine selection of reasons to get out and enjoy London this month.

Sensational Butterflies

The Natural History Museum has this wonderful treat on the East Lawn each year. Sensational Butterflies is a fabulous tropical butterfly house where you can watch the caterpillars, chrysalises and, of course, many butterflies.

Not just for kids, it’s fascinating to get close-up views and to have the butterflies flying about freely. They sometimes land on visitors and it just reminds you to slow down and take in what’s around you.

Sensational Butterflies

Exhibitionism

Opening on 2 April (and on until 4 September 2016) at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, Exhibitionism is the first ever major international exhibition on the Rolling Stones.

There are nine thematic galleries taking up the entire two floors of the gallery with over 500 original Stones’ artefacts from the band’s personal archives. It covers all aspects of art & design, film, video, fashion, performance, rare sound archives, and of course, at the heart of it, the Stones’ musical heritage.

Exhibitionism

Sicily: Culture and Conquest

The British Museum has Sicily: Culture and Conquest on from 21 April to 14 August 2016. This is the first exhibition in the UK to explore 4000 years of history of the island of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean. The exhibition provides insight into the vibrant past of the Italian island and sheds light on the remarkable artistic and architectural achievements of the island. Over 200 objects have been brought together from the British Museum’s own collection, along with loans from Sicily and around the world.

Gorgon Antefix

© British Museum

The A to Z of London

The London Transport Museum has a depot in Acton, west London, where their larger display items are stored and there’s an open weekend for visitors on 23 and 24 April. The A to Z of London weekend is all about celebrating the centenary of the Johnston font created by Edward Johnston for London public transport signs.

As well as seeing the trains and buses stored here, the weekend’s events include calligraphy demonstrations, font making activities, talks about Edward Johnston, and the opportunity to see the Big Steam Print in action, printing on a giant scale using a vintage steam roller called Murphy.

There’s also rides on the miniature railway, family fun workshops, curator led tours behind the scenes and transport displays brought along by model makers from across the south east of England.

Acton

Feast of St George

London celebrates St George’s Day with the Feast of St George – a day inspired by St George’s Day’s 13th-century origins as a national day of feasting.

Head to Trafalgar Square on Saturday 23 April, from midday to 6pm, for free activities, food stalls, children’s games and more with the focus on cooking and eating excellent English food.

Feast of St George

Funny Girl

After a sold out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Funny Girl, starring multi-award-winning stage and screen star Sheridan Smith, has transferred to the Savoy Theatre.

Back in the West End during the show’s fiftieth anniversary, the 12 week run is from 9 April to 10 September. This modern classic is based on the bitter-sweet story of Fanny Brice and her rise to Broadway fame amidst a stormy relationship with gambler Nicky Arnstein. Prepare to sing your heart out as the iconic score returns with songs including Don’t Rain on My Parade, People, and You Are Woman, I Am Man.

Funny Girl

Tate Britain

There are some good reasons to go to Tate Britain this month.

On display until this summer, you can see Tracey Emin’s My Bed – yes that famous unmade bed – alongside two of Francis Bacon’s work chosen by Emin.

my bed

My Bed, 1998. Tate. © Tracey Emin

From 12 April (until 29 August 2016) Conceptual Art in Britain 1964-79 shows how artists working in Britain transformed the nature of art. This exhibition traces the course of this pivotal movement from its origins in the mid-1960s through to the late 1970s, bringing together 70 works by 21 artists.

And from 26 April (to 9 October 2016), The Tate Britain Commission 2016 is on display. Pablo Bronstein: Historical Dances in an Antique Setting is the latest site-specific work in response to the imposing Duveen galleries which sit at the heart of Tate Britain.

Even More

If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the April 2016 in London blog post from London Bridge Hotel, our sister hotel.

LOOKING AHEAD

The V&A Engineering Season is on from May to November and includes the first major retrospective of the most influential engineer of the 20th century (Ove Arup). There will also be a site specific installation inspired by nature and fabricated by robots on display in the John Madejski Garden.

Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds is at the British Museum from May to November looking at two lost cities of ancient Egypt that have been submerged under the sea for a thousand years.

Tate Britain has Painting with Light from May to September exploring the relationship between pioneering early photographers and Pre-Raphaelite, Aesthetic and Impressionist artists, including works by John Everett Millais, John William Waterhouse, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Julia Margaret Cameron and Henry Fox Talbot.

And the latest Serpentine pavilion will be free to explore in Hyde Park from June to October.

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Do check out the latest offers as Kensington House Hotel has some great weekend deals. You can sign up for special offer alerts here.

Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and 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.

Mar 222016
 
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© Alan Barbier

With the last few months proving to be a washout, why not plan a visit to the Capital this spring and with rates starting at just £99 per room at Kensington House Hotel* now has never been a better time to explore London floral displays and take a walk amidst the flowers. This great value package includes; overnight accommodation, continental buffet breakfast and a bottle of house wine.

Here is our top park pick:

Kensington Park:

Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Kensington Gardens, one of the capital’s eight Royal Parks. Kensington Palace, the Italian Gardens, Albert Memorial, Peter Pan Statue and the Serpentine Galleries are all located within its 265 acres. Planted with formal avenues of magnificent trees and ornamental flower beds with 1000’s of bulbs planted every year. New for 2016 is the allotment which is open daily from 9:30 am – 4:00 pm. Visitors are welcome to wander in anytime to enjoy and relax at the allotment, as well as pick up some useful tips for growing their own fruit and vegetables.

Hyde Park:

Hyde Park covers 350 acres and is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. The park also offers various recreational activities including open water swimming, boating, cycling, tennis and horse riding.  A timeless classic and a must see is theRose Garden. The rose planting is mixed with herbaceous planting, creating rich seasonal flower beds and strong scents. The spectacular seasonal bedding is a hugely popular feature; the gardens attract high numbers of tourists particularly in the summer months and are still popular throughout the year with local residents and office workers as a quiet contemplative place.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show – 24th – 28th May:

Over 500 exhibitors will already be making plans and tending to their most prized plants in preparation for the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show, which has taken place annually (apart from a few gaps during the two world wars) for over 100 years now.

Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park2nd, 8th and 9th July

Now fully established, Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park, is a totally unique and world class event which entertained over 350,000 fans in London.

In 2016, each live music-packed weekend will be linked by a midweek programme of diverse entertainment, accessible for all to enjoy. From Monday to Thursday, the entire site, saved for the main stage, will give visitors the chance to get involved with smaller, more intimate events offering film, music, literature, sport and a specific family day that will expand the experience to genuinely appeal to the whole family. The headlining acts for 2016 are Florence + The Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford & Sons and Take That.

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – 5th – 10th  July:

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2016 will once again bring you all the fun and excitement of a spectacular summer festival, in a historical setting. After a hugely successful 2015, look out for the famous Rose Marquee, brilliant show gardens and great family attractions in 2016.