The Londoness


Born in Paris.

Made in London.

Teller of London Tales.

Londoness Loves April 2022

Last updated on April 1st, 2022

As I type this post, the Thames is swelling with rowers preparing for the Festival of Rowing and the annual Oxford and Cambridge Race taking place this April 3. It’s been three years since we’ve had the pleasure, and so it is with much excitement in the Londoness household that we spring into this new month, free of lockdowns, social distancing and all that. Here’s a roundup of some of the best cultural things to do in London this April 2022 – including some free events too.

Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race 2022

The Boat Race 2022

So, let’s kick off with that most important of events: the Oxford and Cambridge Race on Sunday 3 April. This day marks 185 years of watery rivalry between the world’s two most famous universities. The Boat Race, which is attended by around 250,000 spectators, is preceded at 11.30am by a flotilla of historical boats, led by the Queen’s Royal Barge Gloriana. The women’s race is at 14.23 whilst the men’s is at 15.23.

Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race map

You’ll need to grab that viewing pew early. The pubs will be swelling to maximum capacity on Sunday, and it will be first come first serve in most places. Alternatively watch from Furnivall Gardens or Bishops Park, or line up along the River Thames. Note that Hammersmith Bridge will be closed during the day (from 10am to 50m) due to fear of overcrowding.

The Boat Race 2022 | 3 April | Free | More information.

Art and Exhibition in London this April

Things to do in London this April

Canaletto, A Regatta on the Grand Canal (Woburn Abbey Collection)

Canaletto’s Venice Revisited comes to the National Maritime Museum, exploring some of the most iconic view paintings of Venice and how the tourism that helped establish Canaletto’s career, today threatens his city’s future. At the heart of the exhibition is the complete set of twenty-four Venetian views from Woburn Abbey, painted by Canaletto for Lord John Russell, the 4th Duke of Bedford, in the 1730s. This is the first time the paintings, thought to be Canaletto’s largest single commission, will be on display in their entirety outside of their ancestral home at Woburn Abbey.

Canaletto’s Venice Revisited | National Maritime Museum | 1 April to 25 September | Adult £10 | Book tickets.

Marking the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death in 2020 and delayed because of Covid restrictions, the National Gallery presents one of the first-ever exhibitions to explore the complete career of this giant of the Italian Renaissance. This exhibition examines not just his celebrated paintings and drawings – but also his not so widely known work in architecture, archaeology and poetry, as well as his designs for sculpture, tapestry, prints, and the applied arts.

Raphael | National Gallery | 9 April to 31 July | £24 Standard | Book tickets.

Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts will display American twentieth-century hand-drawn animation alongside French 18th-century art to reveal the surprising and enchanting connections between these two artistic movements. Drawing on the outstanding artworks of the Wallace Collection and spectacular international loans, the exhibition will highlight the exceptional talent and innovation of both Walt Disney Animation Studios artists and the creative pioneers of the French 18th century

Inspiring Walt Disney | Wallace Collection | 6 April – 16 October | Adult: £14 | Book tickets.

A new exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum will explore the Royal School of Needlework’s contribution to the world of embroidery, with collaborations from the great names of the Arts and Crafts movement, together with commissions produced for the British royal family, contemporary works created for top, international designers and pieces by the RSN’s archive and talented students.

150 Years of the Royal School of Needlework | Fashion and Textile Museum | 1 April – 4 September| Adult: £12.65 |  Book tickets.

Cultural things to do in London this April

Embroidered folding screen, c.1880–1900. Presented to King Edward VII on the occasion of his coronation in 1902 by Prince Komatsu Akihito, on behalf of the Meiji Emperor. (Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)

The Royal Collection holds some of the most significant examples of Japanese art and design in the western world.  For the first time, highlights from this outstanding collection will be brought together in a major new exhibition to tell the story of more than 350 years of diplomatic, artistic and cultural exchange between the British and Japanese royal and imperial families.

Japan: Courts and Culture | Queen’s Gallery | 8 April – 12 March 2023 | Adult: £17 |  Book tickets.

The Picturing Pickwick exhibition at the Dickens Museum will reveal the stories behind the novel which began Charles Dickens’s literary career and set him on the path to fame. Exploring the artworks which contributed to the novel’s instant and everlasting success, the exhibition will present a wealth of original sketches and illustrations, including work by the artist who instigated the novel, but who died before it was fully published.

Picturing Pickwick | Dickens Museum | 6 April – 11 September | Book tickets.

photography exhibition London

Visual Noise 2022 (Image: Colette Slater Barrass)

The next generation of graduate photographers whose final shows were disrupted due to Covid-19, will showcase their work in Visual Noise, the first art fair dedicated solely to the nation’s emerging photography talent. It will showcase 40 of the globe’s top photography graduates alongside celebrity photographer Rankin. The work is a mix of mixed media, fashion and textiles – tackling topical themes of diversity, sexuality and identity, as well as straddling the news agenda and contemporary culture.

Visual Noise | Maryland Studio | 9-10 April | Book tickets.

The 2022 RHS Botanical Art and Photography Show is back this April, showcasing new work from leading botanical artists and photographers across three rooms in the Saatchi Gallery.

RHS Botanical art & Photography | Saatchi Gallery | £8 | Book tickets

Things to do in London this April

1st Duke of Wellington, Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1818 © Wellington Collection, Apsley House

Through letters, portraits and much more, on loan from public and private collections, Wellington, Women and Friendship will present an intimate picture of the very public life of the Duke of Wellington; revealing his social circle, his marriage and how his friendships with women could sometimes provoke rumour and gossip.

Wellington, Women & Friendship | Apsley House | 21 April – 30 October. | Book tickets.

Opposite Apsley House is the Wellington Arch, a  historic site which is in the care of English Heritage. Inside, you’ll find a museum, an art gallery (Quadriga Gallery) with a programme of exhibitions curated by Vigo Gallery, and at the top of the arch, some of the best views in London.

Wellington Arch | Book tickets

Explore five centuries of UK news through broadsheets, blogs and objects from The British Library’s own collection and examine era-defining stories close-up.

Breaking the News | British Library | 22 April – 21 August | £16 | Book tickets.

what's on in London this April 2022

New York World’s Fair Comics, Vol. 1 #2, Jack Burnley ©️ & ™️ DC. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission

This spring, the Foundling Museum presents the first major exhibition to explore the representation of foundlings, orphans, adoptees, and foster children in comic books. The exhibition will showcase a selection of comics, graphic novels and art from around the world, ranging from Superman and Batman to Japanese manga.

Superheroes, Orphans & Origins: 125 years in comics | Foundling Museum | 1 April – 28 August. | Book entry.

Opera and Classical Music in London this April

Italian symphonic and operatic conductor Renato Balsadonna is recognised as the most highly regarded chorus director of his generation. On April 5, he talks about conducting La Traviata which he is conducting this month at the Royal Opera House. With music from the opera sung by Opera Prelude’s young artists Galina Averina, soprano, Alex Aldren, tenor and Jolyon Loy, bass baritone, this will be an absolutely delightful two hours.

Conducting La Traviata | Garrison Chapel | 5 April | £35 | Book here.

A host of international opera singers come together to present a special performance of much-loved arias and choruses from the opera repertory in support of the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal at the Royal Opera House. Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv joins Music Director of The Royal Opera Antonio Pappano to conduct singers including Ukrainian tenor Dmytro Popov, Ukrainian baritone Yuriy Yurchuk, South African soprano Pretty Yende, and British-Italian tenor Freddie De Tommaso.

Concert for Ukraine | Royal Opera House | 15 April | £4-£100 | Book tickets.

David Alden’s acclaimed staging of Lohengrin, first seen in 2018, places the opera in the timeless setting of a bombed-out city – a dystopian world threatened from outside, where the people are looking for both a sense of direction and a new leader. American heldentenor Brandon Jovanovich leads the cast as the mysterious ‘swan knight’ Lohengrin, sent to defend the accused Elsa von Brabant, under the condition that she must never ask his true identity.

Lohengrin | Royal Opera House | 19 April to 4 May | Book tickets.

Join Charterhouse for a sublime performance of voice and harpsichord in the splendid surrounds of the Jacobean chapel. Mezzo-soprano Bethany Horak-Hallett is joined Stephen Devine on harpsichord and will be performing a selection of Handel songs, alongside pieces by Hasse, Monteverdi, Rameau and Carissimi.

London Handel Festival – Bethany Horak-Hallett | The Charterhouse | 5 April | Book tickets.

Theatre and Stage in London this April

Things to do in London this AprilJodie Comer (Killing Eve) makes her West End debut in the UK premiere of Suzie Miller’s award-winning play, Prima Facie. It’s a one-woman show about a young barrister who has worked her way up from working class origins to be at the top of her game; prosecuting; cross examining and winning. An unexpected event forces her to confront the lines where the patriarchal power of the law, burden of proof and morals diverge.

Prima Facie | Harold Pinter Theatre | 15 April – 18 June | Book tickets.

what's on in London this April 2022

Image: Laura Pannack

Emlyn Williams’ semi-autobiographical The Corn is Green, is given a bold new staging by director Dominic Cooke (The Normal Heart, Follies) in its first London revival for 35 years. Nicola Walker plays the visionary Miss Moffat.

The Corn is Green | National Theatre| 7 April – 11 June | Book tickets.

Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ 1964 musical, Anyone can Whistle is a political satire about conformity and the ostracisation of those considered ‘other’ in society. Set in a fictional town where the government controls everything, even the miracles, this fast paced and off-the-wall musical is as hilarious as it is subversive.

Anyone can Whistle | Southwark Playhouse | 1  April to 7 May | Book tickets.

The team behind the multi award-winning King Charles III reunite as Rupert Goold directs the world premiere of Mike Bartlett’s viciously funny The 47th, a chaotic glimpse into the underbelly of the greatest political show on earth – the next presidential race. With Bertie Carvel as Donald Trump, Tamara Tunie as Kamala Harris and Lydia Wilson as Ivanka Trump.

The 47th | The Old Vic | to 28 May | Book tickets.

Things to do in London this AprilJez Butterworth’s legendary classic, starring Mark Rylance, will explode once again into the West End with its original creative team, led by director Ian Rickson, a decade after its last record-breaking, sell-out run. These tickets are the hottest ones of the year and scarce to come by. If you can get a hold of some, bag them as quickly as you can.

Jerusalem | Harold Pinter Theatre | 15 April – 18 June | Book tickets.

Musical Events in London this April

what's on in London this April 2022She’s been at it for ten years at the Crazy Coqs, and to celebrate she’s put together a fab new cabaret repertoire. Miss Hope Springs is back at Crazy Coqs this April with showbiz gossip, favourite musical numbers, the big hair, the big voice and even bigger laughs.

Miss Hope Springs | Crazy Coqs | 26 – 30 April | £35 | Book tickets.

My favourite jazzy duo are back at Pizza Express Live in this intimate and close-up show of classic duets from the jazz, pop,  soul and show canon. Expect Motown, Great American Songbook and singer-songwriter gems from these two old friends.

Claire Martin and Ian Shaw Reunited | The Pheasantry (Chelsea) | £25 | Book tickets.

Out of Towners

Colin Firth shirt Pride and Prejudice

Left: Shirt worn by Colin Firth in Price and Prejudice (Image: Jane Austen House)

Jane Austen’s House in Hampshire—Austen’s home for the last eight years of her life and where she lived, wrote and published her novels—will display the iconic white shirt worn by Colin Firth in the beloved 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as part of a new display on Regency underwear.  Opening on 26 March, Jane Austen Undressed will display rare examples of Regency undergarments, such as petticoats and stockings, alongside iconic pieces from TV and film adaptations.

Jane Austen Undressed | Jane Austen House | on until 2 October | | included with admission to the house | Book tickets.

Blenheim Palace is marking the 300th anniversary of the death of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, with a series of interactive displays and events to appeal to visitors of all ages.  Step back in time to the Palace of the 1700’s and marvel at the exquisite clothing, food, games and music that the Duke and his Duchess would have loved.  Also on show will be costumes from the movie The Favourite by Oscar-winning designer Sandy Powell.

Battlefields and Baroque | Blenheim Palace | 15 April – 19 June | | included with admission to the palace | Book tickets.

Book Ahead

Waterperry Opera Festival 2022

Mansfield Park at Waterperry Opera Festival Image: Robert Workman

Waterperry Opera Festival – one of my favourite summer experiences – is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a programme which includes eight productions, as well as a variety of talks, workshops, and more. Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park will bring Jane Austen’s world to life once again with witty charm and lively music, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is back by popular demand and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro is already beckoning. Take advantage of Waterperry’s extensive historic grounds and pack a pre-performance picnic for a magical (and affordable) day out.

Waterperry Opera Festival | Public Booking opens on 11 April. Book here.

Garsington Opera is celebrating its 10th year anniversary with the sensuous beauty and intensity of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, a revival of one of the most memorable productions of the last few years – Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, a captivating Handel rarity, Amadigi, and Rossini’s effervescent, hilarious comedy Le comte Ory?

Garsington Opera | Public Booking opens on 5 April. Book here.

Re-openings this April

House museums coming out of hibernation this month include Ranger’s House in Greenwich (the backdrop for the wisteria-clad house in Bridgerton) as well as Kew Palace and Chiswick House. Staying in Kew, you can also visit The Great Pagoda. Climb up the stairs for some of the best views in London.

Free things to this April in London

Visit the Fitzrovia Chapel, a Grade II-listed chapel and one of London’s secret gems. I dare say your jaw will drop when you enter. Entry is free every Wednesday between 11 and 4pm (check the website before you go). The chapel is also hosting a concert on the 8 April: Candles for Ukraine. Tickets are £16.76 and include a glass of Prosecco. All money raised goes towards Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine.

Late April is the time to visit the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park, with its stunning display of rhododendrons and azaleas.

Head over to Hyde Park for the Queen’s Birthday Salute on 21 April. I’ve been told the best location to watch is from Park Lane between Brook and Grosvenor Gates.

Enjoy free classical music lunchtime on Monday lunchtimes in St Michael’s Church, Cornhill. (Thanks to my friend Angela Kennedy for the brilliant tip.)

Buy some affordable art – or simply browse – at Roy’s Art Fair in the Truman Brewery. Entry is free but book on the website.

Head over to Somerset House and see Philippine artist-designer Leeroy New’s large-scale installation, The Arks of Gimokudan, a major new commission to mark Earth Day 2022, a worldwide event which takes place on 22 April.

Guildhall Art Gallery is situated on the site of London’s Roman Amphitheatre – and houses a nationally important art collection. Established in 1886, visitors can view works of art dating from 1670 to the present day, including 17th century portraits, Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces and an extensive range of paintings documenting London’s history. Entry to the gallery is free but if you want to visit a new exhibition opening this month – Inspired Art – the entry free is £8. The exhibition will examine the ways in which visual artists have taken inspiration from the literary arts and the relationship between poetry, plays, novels and music with the visual arts.

From April, Imperial War Museum London will mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict with a new exhibition: The Falklands Conflict.

The historical map collections at London Metropolitan Archives show the development of the city in incredible detail, from the late sixteenth century to the present day. Beginning with the first attempts to chart the streets of the City of London, they provide a unique view of London’s story and many of the events that shaped the city we know today. Magnificent Maps of London, a new exhibition which opens on 11 April 2022, will bring together some of the best-known records of the capital. Following an extensive program of conservation treatment, Civitas Londinium, the first surviving map of the city, will go on display. This very rare opportunity to see one of only three known copies of the map will transport visitors to the streets (and fields) of Tudor London.

A London arts and culture blog featuring articles about art, theatre, opera, dance, music and design.

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