Every Friday this month you can enjoy an after-hours adventure at London Zoo. Zoo Nights is for over 18s only so you can also take in fun tours and talks with grown-up themes: mating, death and the gruesome bits!
Test your knowledge in Zooniversity Challenge or become an eco-detective in an interactive, forensic trail that shines a light on the illegal wildlife trade. And along the way you’ll meet street entertainers and stilt walkers too.
Street food vendors will have dishes from around the globe, and the pop-up watering holes will keep you refreshed.
Taste of London
Another reason to head to Regent’s Park is for Taste of London on 14-18 June. A highlight of the summer foodie calendar, it’s five days of eating, drinking and live entertainment.
Taste of London showcases the capital’s best restaurants, top chefs and leading food and drink brands. Restaurants serve taster-size signature dishes, world-class chefs offer live cooking demonstrations and there are interactive masterclasses and shopping opportunities with more than 200 food and drink purveyors in attendance.
To mark 50 years since the band released their first single Arnold Layne, and over 200 million record sales later, this is the first major international retrospective of Pink Floyd.
The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains is on at the V&A until 1 October 2017. It’s an immersive, multi-sensory and theatrical journey chronicling the music, iconic visuals and staging of the band, from the underground psychedelic scene in 1960s London to today.
Over 350 objects are featured including album sleeve artwork, posters and stage props.
Opening at the Serpentine Gallery on 8 June, Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! is a major exhibition of his latest work. Perry won the Turner Prize in 2003, was elected a Royal Academician in 2012, received a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List in 2013, and in 2015 became a Trustee of the British Museum and Chancellor of the University of Arts London.
Perry’s subject matter is drawn from his childhood and his life as a transvestite, as well as wider social issues ranging from class and politics to sex and religion. The artworks on display touch on themes including popularity and art, masculinity and the current social landscape.
This looks like a wonderful one-off event. Museum Makers: Illuminate London is a beginner-friendly neon workshop at the London Transport Museum on Thursday 22 June 2017.
The plan is to make your own neon style artwork inspired by the London skyline, architecture and landmarks. All materials and tuition plus a colourful cocktail and goody bag are included.
Do note, this workshop uses electro-luminescent wire, a safe battery-powered alternative to traditional glass and gas neon.
Open Garden Squares Weekend
Back for its twentieth year, Open Garden Squares Weekend is a well-loved annual event. Its a fabulous opportunity to visit over 200 private and little-known gardens across London. Taking place on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June, the Weekend includes a programme of tours, walks, talks and cycle rides.
Gardens taking part range from the historic and traditional to the new and experimental. They include roof gardens, wildlife gardens, community allotments, corporate places and diminutive, secret spaces, as well as gardens in schools, churches and shops.
When you select a garden on the website it offers helpful suggestions of other gardens nearby making it easy to plan a really enjoyable weekend.
For this month’s theatre recommendation, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill brings the extraordinary story of Billie Holliday’s life to Wyndham’s Theatre. Starring the six-time Tony Award winner, Broadway star Audra McDonald makes her West End debut as the legendary jazz icon.
Hear the personal stories of Holiday’s loves and losses through a turbulent but extraordinary life. And lose yourself in some of the most inspiring and moving songs ever written including God Bless the Child, What a Little Moonlight Can Do, Strange Fruit, Crazy He Calls Me and Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness.
The strictly limited season runs from 17 June to 9 September. Do be aware this production contains strong language and themes of an adult nature.
Giovanni da Rimini
The National Gallery, in Trafalgar Square, has Giovanni da Rimini: An Early 14th Century Masterpiece Reunited from 14 June to 8 October 2017. The exhibition showcases a recent purchase of an exquisite piece by this master, alongside a pairing piece loaned from Rome and works from his contemporaries.
With artwork on display from several exceptional ivory plaques to a collection of Italian Trecento paintings, this exhibition highlights the extraordinary quality of da Rimini’s painting and illuminates a key moment in the history of art, when emphasis on observation and realism was born.
BP Portrait Award
Also in Trafalgar Square, The BP Portrait Award opens at the National Portrait Gallery on 22 June (and runs until 24 September). 2017 marks the Portrait Award’s 38th year at the National Portrait Gallery. This highly successful annual event is aimed at encouraging artists over the age of eighteen to focus upon, and develop, the theme of portraiture in their work.
Selected from 2,580 entries by artists from 87 countries around the world, the BP Portrait Award 2017 represents the very best in contemporary portrait painting.
The three portraits in the running for the First Prize are Double Portrait, by French painter and illustrator, Thomas Ehretsmann, depicting his pregnant wife Caroline (see below); Breech! by Suffolk based artist, Benjamin Sullivan, which captures his wife Virginia breastfeeding their eight month old daughter; and Emma, Antony Williams’s portrait of model turned friend, Emma Bruce, completed in his studio in Chertsey. The prize winners will be announced on 20 June 2017.
And the last recommendation is walking distance from the Kensington House Hotel. Phil Collins is on at the Royal Albert Hall from 4 to 9 June with his Not Yet Dead tour.
With 100 million record sales to his name, more UK top 40 singles than any other artist of the 1980s, and Number 1 albums the world over, Phil Collins is one of the most successful artists of his generation.
The tour is named after his autobiography, published last year, and these five nights are his first live dates in 10 years.
Collins is also headlining a night at the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park on 30 June.
If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the June 2017 in London blog post from our sister hotel, London Bridge Hotel.
Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity is at Leighton House Museum from 7 July to 29 October 2017. The exhibition explores Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s fascination with the representation of domestic life in antiquity and how this interest related to his own domestic circumstances expressed through the two remarkable studio-houses that he created in St John’s Wood, north London, together with his wife Laura and daughters.
On 14 July a major new exhibition opens at the Natural History Museum. Whales: Beneath the Surface is the family exhibition that complements the blue whale skeleton taking centre stage in the Museum’s Hintze Hall this summer. More than 100 specimens from the Museum’s research collection will be brought out from behind-the-scenes for the first time to show the huge diversity of whales, dolphins and porpoises.
And The National Portrait Gallery is to stage its first exhibition of old master European portrait drawings this summer. The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt (13 July – 22 October 2017), will include works by some of the outstanding masters of the Renaissance and Baroque, many rarely seen, and some not displayed for decades.
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.