There’s always something happening in London, but 2017 appears to have a particularly rich harvest of offerings. From mythical characters to monstrous creatures, great artists and iconic musicians, there’s something for everyone.
Sherlock Holmes home
October 2017 marks the 125th anniversary of the introduction of Sherlock Holmes to the world by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. While it’s a bit hard to follow the footsteps of an imaginary character, London was an integral part of the Holmes stories. The Sherlock Holmes Museum features a re-creation of his sitting room and a gift shop. The Sherlock Homes Pub in Westminster is stuffed with memorabilia, including what’s purported to be Dr Watson's old service revolver and it serves his favourite food: Cumberland sausages.
The exterior of their flat at 221B Baker Street, as seen in the television series, can be found at 187 North Gower Street about 25 minutes’ walk from Baker Street.
Inside the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker St
Big is better
While science debates whether the blue whale or a dinosaur is/was the biggest creature, over at the Natural History Museum the switch is on. The skeleton of the Diplodocus, one of the longest dinosaurs, that graced the Hintze Hall for 25 years is being replaced this summer with a blue whale skeleton.
Wish you were here
To mark 50 years since the band released their first single, Arnold Layn, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum will stage the first major international retrospective of Pink Floyd, one of the world’s most influential bands. The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains will be an immersive, multi-sensory and theatrical journey through Pink Floyd’s extraordinary world. The exhibition will chronicle the music, iconic visuals and staging of the band, from the underground psychedelic scene in 1960s London to the present day, illustrating their ground-breaking use of special effects, sonic experimentation, powerful imagery and social commentary. It’s on from May 13 to October 1, 2017.
View of Victoria and Albert Museum building and John Madejski Garden in the courtyard area
The Chelsea Flower Show takes place between May 23-27, but the Royal Horticultural Society has other shows over the summer. Between July 4 and 9 there’s the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and from July 19-23, there’s the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.
Between June 7 and 11, the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show will be a new show with a style and content unlike any of its existing events. Hosted in the expansive 1000 acre grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, the new show will seek to provide an immersive horticultural event experience based on ‘Design Revolutionaries’ – celebrating creative genius and conceptual thinking of gardeners and garden designers from the past and present, including Capability Brown.
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This year is also the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter book series. J. K. Rowling’s first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released on 30 June 1997. All eight movies were filmed in Britain, with locations spanning England, Scotland and Wales. An exciting new exhibition at the British Library will be dedicated to the magic of Harry Potter (20 October 2017 – 28 February 2018). It’s the first of its kind to celebrate a single series of books by a living author.
There’s also the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter, that provides a fascinating insight for anyone – young or old – who watched and loved the movies and the books. While in London, young Potter fans shouldn’t miss a priceless photo opportunity at the enchanted Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station. Would-be sorcerers can try their hand at pushing a trolley through the brick wall between platforms nine and ten, otherwise known as the portal to the wizarding world.
Seeing a live Premier League match is a must for sport fans
The world-famous Premier League turns 25 in 2017 as the inaugural season kicked off on August 15, 1992. Attending a match lets you witness the players’ skills, the fans’ passion and the stadiums’ electric atmosphere.
Tea for two
On Sundays visitors exploring the wonders of the V&A Museum can take a break with a Victorian-style afternoon tea in the elegant Morris Room. Devised by food historian Natasha Marks, the tea recreates authentic 19th-century dishes that would have been served in Queen Victoria's time.
Meanwhile, the newly re-opened modernist Design Museum in Kensington has its new restaurant, Parabola, that’s owned by Peter Prescott and British design legend Sir Terence Conran and wife Lady Conran.
Over on Regent's Canal London Shell Co offers lunch or a cruising dinner on a new floating restaurant that opened in December, housed inside the refurbished Prince Regent canal boat. Specialising in seafood, unsurprisingly, the menu includes seasonal dishes such as Morecambe Bay oysters, home-cured Scottish salmon and game for autumn.
Sleepless: The New Musical, based on the 1993 film with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan will have its UK premiere from March 25 to April 17 2017 at the Theatre Royal Plymouth’s Lyric Theatre before moving to the West End.
An American in Paris is on at the Dominion Theatre, London between March 4 and September 30, 2017. 42nd Street debuts at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London between March 20, 2017 and July 22, 2017.
Finally, if there’s nothing in that lot to enthuse you there are always Brit Movie Tours including the James Bond Helicopter Tour of London.
Have you been to London? What's your favourite spot?
Photography: (feature) Elenaburn / Shutterstock; (in-text) S-F, Kiev Victor, CosminIftode / Shutterstock