For those of us looking forward to a northern summer in the UK, we’ve complied a guide to some of the highlights in the cosmopolitan capital city.
We asked Visit Britain for a list of London events and openings for 2018. These are our top picks of the bunch, but you may have to be quick — some events are only on for a limited time or are already drawing to a close.
One joy of London is the remarkably well-curated exhibitions across the city.
At the Victoria and Albert Museum, the venerable V&A, there are a couple of great shows on this summer. On now until June 17, Ocean Liners: Speed & Style reimagines the golden age of ocean travel — from Brunel’s 1859 steamship, the Great Eastern, to the launch of the QE2 in 1969.
It’s the first ever exhibition to explore the international design and cultural impact of the ocean liner, revealing hidden design stories behind some of the world’s most luxurious ships. It also examines all aspects of ship design from groundbreaking engineering, architecture, and interiors to the fashion and lifestyle aboard.
The Future Starts Here, running May 12 – November 4, looks at the power of design in shaping the world of tomorrow. From smart appliances to satellites, artificial intelligence to internet culture, more than 100 objects will be brought together as a landscape for the near future. These objects are the seeds of possible futures, currently in development, being worked on by scientists and designers in studios and laboratories around the world.
The Victoria and Albert Museum offers a stunning selection of classical pieces
For something different, there’s Teeth at the Wellcome Collection. Open May 17 – September 16, it will trace the evolution of our relationship with our teeth and with the profession that has shaped the way we live with them — or without them.
It’s the first exhibition to look at how dentistry evolved from fairground entertainment to a highly skilled profession. It follows modern history's tireless pursuit of the pain-free mouth and the perfect smile, plus the many associated educational campaigns and spin-off industries.
At the Tate Modern, Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy runs from March 8 – September 9. It’s one of the most significant shows the gallery has ever staged, taking visitors on a month-by-month journey through 1932, a time so pivotal in Picasso’s life and work that it has been called his “year of wonders”. More than 100 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper will demonstrate his prolific and restlessly inventive character.
Until 15 April 2018, the Royal Academy of the Arts hosts Charles I: King and Collector, reuniting around 150 of the most important works for the first time since the seventeenth century. It provides an unprecedented opportunity to experience the collection that changed the appreciation of art in England.
During his reign, Charles I acquired and commissioned exceptional masterpieces from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century including works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Holbein, Titian, and Mantegna.
The Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race takes place on the River Thames on March 24. First raced in 1829, the Boat Race is one of the oldest sporting events in the world, watched by thousands along the banks of The Tideway, located between Putney and Mortlake in south London.
The London Marathon will be run on April 22. Since 1981, the marathon has been an extraordinary annual event for charity, with amateurs and professionals taking to the streets of the city to raise money.
Gorgeous installations such as this can be found at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships 2018 will be held from July 2-15. This is the longest-running tennis tournament in the world, and one of four annual Grand Slam tennis events. Of course, it’s still played on grass and there's a strict white-only dress code for players. Meanwhile, around 500,000 spectators tuck into strawberries and cream while millions more watch worldwide.
Very British culture
The Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show runs for just five days, from May 22-26. World-renowned garden designers, plant specialists, florists, and nurseries come together every year to one of London's most charming neighbourhoods to show off cutting-edge garden designs and inspirational floral exhibits.
Stroll through show-stopping and award-winning gardens, discover rare flowers and plants, and creative floral artworks, spot emerging gardening trends, and browse the horticultural products on sale, from gardening gadgets to sculptures and plants.
Trooping the Colour: The Queen’s Birthday Parade takes place across London on June 9. Marking the Queen's official birthday, this annual event features hundreds of officers, horses, and musicians from the Household Division in ceremonial uniform.
Barclaycard presents British Summer Time in Hyde Park from July 6-15. World-famous artists and rising stars take to the stage in the iconic Royal Park for two weekends of live music, while Open House takes over during the week between the concerts with free summer activities, music, and food. In 2017, headline acts included Green Day, Phil Collins, The Killers, Kings of Leon, and Justin Bieber. This year, there’s Paul Simon, Roger Waters, Eric Clapton, Bruno Mars, and The Cure.
The Trooping the Colours parade is a fantastic spectacle to witness
The BBC Proms are held in the Royal Albert Hall from July 13-September 8. Each year, the BBC Proms host two months of concerts over the summer, aiming to bring the finest classical music to as many people as possible — at affordable prices and in an informal atmosphere.
From classical favourites to contemporary world premieres and family concerts, the BBC Proms offer a stage for leading musicians, singers, orchestras, and soloists from across the world with a broad program of music.
Notting Hill Carnival is on the weekend of August 25-27. It is the largest street party and Caribbean festival in Europe, with great music, outrageous floats, and fabulous costumes. Hear everything from traditional steel bands, Soca, and Calypso, to the latest drum ‘n’ bass while selecting dishes from hundreds of Caribbean food stalls.
The Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival on September 30 celebrates the bounty of the autumn harvest with traditional entertainment in front of Guildhall, before parading through the streets to St Mary-le-Bow church for a service of thanksgiving. You can expect Morris dancing, maypole dancing, marching bands, and lots of colourful characters at this traditional event.
The Hard Rock Hotel will open at Marble Arch in the summer of 2018 in the old Cumberland Hotel, once a haunt of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix.
Are you planning a trip to London this year?
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