You can meet dinosaurs in Osterley Park this month! Jurassic Kingdom is the first outdoor dinosaur experience of its kind in the UK with animatronic dinosaurs blending into the paths, ponds, gardens and greenery.
Diplodocus heads poke 16 metres above the ground amongst the tree canopy as Triceratops escort their young through the bushes beneath. The ear-piercing screeches of the Pterosaurus will alert visitors to the danger in the skies above and guests must be wary of the spitting defence of the Pachycephalousaurus, in case he lurks around the next corner.
From 1 to 17 April you can see 30 dinosaur models and installations including the ‘King of the Tyrant Lizards’ – the Tyrannosaurus Rex, standing 18 metres from head to tail.
Secrets of the Underground Open Weekend
On 22 and 23 April, the London Transport Museum’s Depot in Acton has a special Secrets of the Underground Open Weekend exploring the secrets and hidden spaces of the London Underground.
It’s a wonderful place that is only open for these special weekends so do make the most of it. There’s a programme of talks and interactive displays to hear from the experts. Then take a ride on a miniature railway, have a closer look at tunnelling ephemera and join a tour of the art and poster collection.
Enjoy some time travel inside old tube carriages, and don’t miss the scenic ride on a heritage bus around west London.
National Army Museum
The National Army Museum in Chelsea has been closed for a three-year £23.75 million re-development project but reopens on 30 March 2017. Aiming to be a bridge between the British Army and society the Museum will encourage greater public engagement with ideas of defence and security, both past and present.
It’s been a radical transformation to maximise access to, and engagement with, the Collection. There are now five new galleries, with over 2,500 objects, laid out over four floors – Soldier, Army, Battle, Society and Insight. There is also a 500m2 temporary exhibition space.
The cafe looks even better than before, and there are free 20-minute welcome tours at 11am and 2pm every day.
Queer British Art
As it’s the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in Britain so we can expect LGBT issues to feature more this year. Queer British Art is at Tate Britain from 5 April (to 1 October 2017) and is the first major exhibition in Britain on this subject. Some of the works in the show are intensely personal while others spoke to a wider public, helping to forge a sense of community.
The exhibition includes major figures, such as Oscar Wilde, and features works by Simeon Solomon, John Singer Sargent, Gluck, Ethel Sands, Dora Carrington, Keith Vaughan, David Hockney and Francis Bacon, alongside ephemera and personal photographs. Themes explored in the exhibition include coded desires amongst the Pre-Raphaelites, representations of and by women who defied convention (including Virginia Woolf), and love and lust in sixties Soho.
A highlight is a section focusing on the Bloomsbury set and their contemporaries – an artistic group famous for their bohemian attitude towards sexuality. The room includes intimate paintings of lovers, scenes of the homes artists shared with their partners and large commissions by artists such as Duncan Grant and Ethel Walker.
The Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square
Easter brings a four-day holiday weekend for 14-17 April. On Good Friday you can see the annual performance of The Passion of Jesus in Trafalgar Square by the Wintershall Players.
Returning for the eighth year, the performance includes a cast of more than 100 actors and volunteers in costume, as well as horses, donkeys and doves.
There are two 90-minute live performances of the biblical story at 12pm and 3.15pm. These free events are very popular so there are big screens to ensure all can follow the action. Do note, The Passion of Jesus includes a realistic interpretation of the crucifixion.
Pop icon and multi-million selling artist Rick Astley is performing at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 13 April.
While he made his name in the 1980s with ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, this tour features new work from his eighth studio album, 50.
It’s Astley’s first studio album in more than 10 years and there’s still a strong desire from the public to see him perform live.
Does this happen for your birthday? On 21 April there’s a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park to mark the Queen’s 91st birthday (her real one, not the official one as that’s in June).
The salute is fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and is usually at midday. It happens in the north-eastern corner of the park, close to Speaker’s Corner.
There’s also another gun salute one hour later at the Tower of London. Do be aware, these gun salutes are incredibly loud.
If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the April 2017 in London blog post from our sister hotel, London Bridge Hotel.
Opening on 24 May, California – designing freedom is at the Design Museum exploring how “designed in California” expresses a distinctive approach to design and life, from skateboards to iPhones.
The British Museum has Hokusai – beyond the Great Wave from 25 May looking at the work of one of Japan’s greatest artists. The exhibition will be an artistic journey through the last 30 years of Hokusai’s life, when he produced some of his most famous masterpieces.
And The Queen’s Gallery has Canaletto & the Art of Venice from 19 May. The Royal Collection contains the world’s finest group of paintings, drawings and prints by Venice’s most famous view-painter, Canaletto (1697-1768), so this will be a ‘must see’.
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.