London is blossoming into April quite nicely don’t you think? All our beautiful parks and gardens are starting to hop into Easter mode, and this is the month where we cheer on the other B word – the Boat Races. For some of the best things to do in London this April, here’s my springtime dose of Londoness loving. See you in magical May!
Oh, and keep your eyes on Twitter and Instagram at 6pm on April 12 when I announce the Arts and Culture winner for the UK Blog Awards.
Pick of the Month
Oxford and Cambridge Race
Well, it had to be the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, didn’t it, seeing as this is in my home turf of Hammersmith. This year, the boat race takes place on Sunday, 7 April. The women row off at 2.13pm and the men follow at 3.10pm. You can read one of my first ever posts if you want to find out about my love for Hugh Grant, Julian Sands and the team Londoness supports year after year. And, I’ve written a post about some fun things to do in Hammersmith.
V and A That Muse
Who needs an Easter Egg hunt when you can have a ThatMuse hunt? Founded in 2012, THATMuse organises fun treasure hunts around major museums including the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Your team is tasked with finding and photographing (sometimes, in compromising positions!) as many pieces of treasures as you can find. The V and A trail might involve globe-trotting across the galleries for travel treasures such as the Chinese Silk Road camels from the Tang Dynasty; or the Natural History Museum trail takes you through millions of years of history where you meet extinct creatures.
On April 6, join me and my team as we spring across the V and A looking for Easter Eggs of the artistic variety. You can buy tickets here. Hop to see you there!
Van Gogh and Britain at Tate Britain
Van Gogh and Britain is the first exhibition to examine the artist’s relationship with Britain. This fascinating display includes 50 works, with Starry Night, Self Portrait and his only painting of London, The Prison Courtyard, taking centre stage. The last Van Gogh exhibition at the Tate was in 1947, dubbed by the press as the “miracle on Milbank.” 150,000 visitors came to see it, including the Queen. The 2019 exhibition is set to be one of the biggest art blockbusters this year. On until August 11.
Portrait of Charles Dickens
A ‘lost portrait’ of Charles Dickens, recently re-discovered after 174 years, will go on display for one week this April in the Charles Dickens Museum, at the author’s London home. The portrait was last seen in the 1844 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the year following the publication of A Christmas Carol. The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning once said that the Dickens portrait “has the dust and mud of humanity about him, notwithstanding those eagle eyes”.
The portrait was assumed lost until it re-appeared in a house clearance sale in South Africa. It was covered in a local mould, but thankfully, the face was relatively well-preserved.
The exquisite miniature by Margaret Gillies will be displayed from 2-7 April in the Study at 48 Doughty Street, the room in which Dickens wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. The Dickens Museum is campaigning to raise the necessary funds bring the miniature home to Doughty Street on a permanent basis.
Roy’s People Art Fair
Roy’s People Art Fair is back for its fourth year. 85 artists will be selling affordable art directly to the public in the Oxo Tower Wharf Bargehouse. This year’s fair includes a live installation from which selected artists will be painting live every day. A GreatArt room will encourage the public to pick up a pen and draw on the walls. All ages and abilities welcome. 4 to 7 April. Free entry.
Beasts of London at the London Museum
Beasts of London explores the fascinating role animals have played in shaping the capital through a fully immersive digital installation using video projection mapping. You will be guided through time, from the Roman era through Medieval London and right up to present day, and discover how animals – from lions and elephants, to horses, rats and pigeons – have shaped the city and its beastly history. Some of these creatures might sound a bit familiar, too: Kate Moss, Brian Blessed, Pam Ferris, Nish Kumar, Stephen Mangan, Angellica Bell and Joe Pasquale will be voicing some of the animals featured in the show. 5 April to 5 January 2020.
Lindt Bunny Hunt at Hampton Court Palace
The golden bunny is back for a hopping trail around the palace and gardens. Discover some of Hampton Court’s famous characters along the way as you earn a chocolate trophy. 6 to 22 April.
V and A Jewellery
Pack your tiaras: the V and A Jewellery rooms re-open on the 11 April. With over 3000 priceless pieces of European loot from the last 800 years, make sure you catch Catherine the Great’s diamonds and the Beauharnais Emeralds, gifted by Napoleon to his daughter. I’ll be heading straight over to drool over the Lalique displays.
Edvard Munch: love and angst at the British Museum
We’re all familiar with Edvard Munch’s The Scream. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it in its haunting, macabre black and white flesh, you’ll be able to gawk at it from the 11 April at the British Museum. This will be the largest exhibition of the Norwegian artist’s prints in the UK for 45 years. It includes 83 works which centre on the painter’s depiction of human emotion. On until 21 July.
A Triumphant Procession at Queen’s House, Greenwich
On Friday 12 April, actor Christopher Green takes on the role of Elizabeth I in a grand procession from the Queen’s House to the National Portrait Gallery. Following in the footsteps of 16th century entertainments, the Queen will be joined and accompanied by members of the Amies Freedom Choir. The ‘Queen’ will depart at 11am from the Queen’s Presence Chamber where she will go out at the balcony to greet the crowd. The procession will walk through the Old Royal Naval College and then take the Thames Clipper to the London Eye. Arriving at Trafalgar Square at 15:00, the procession will end at the National Portrait Gallery.
Dale Chihuly in Kew Gardens
This April, the world’s most celebrated contemporary glass artist will be showcasing his work against the stunning backdrop of Kew Gardens. 32 of Chihuly’s glassy forms will be transforming the gardens and glasshouses into a contemporary outdoor gallery space, and the Temperate House will be home to a brand new, specially designed sculpture inspired by the cathedral space it will inhabit. From 13 April to 27 October.
Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Southwark Playhouse
Celebrating the legendary jazz musician Fats Waller and his energetic, exuberant and effervescent music, Ain’t Misbehavin’ steps back into the 1920’s and the raunchy nightclubs of Manhattan. Join a group of performers on a journey through a defining period of American musical history, the Harlem Renaissance – where musicians were free to experiment with new styles, and joints were jumpin’ with talented dancers, singers and instrumentalists jamming to a new beat known as swing. Ain’t Misbehavin’ will be directed by the fabulous Tyrone Huntley, making his directorial debut. 19 April to 1 June.
Stanley Kubrick at the Design Museum
Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition tells the story of the obsessive genius, exploring his unique command of the creative design process of film making, from storyteller to director to editor. You’ll see step by step how Kubrick created genre defining worlds for his films and relive iconic scenes from The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Get an exclusive insight into his mind through rare objects, projections and interviews exploring Kubrick’s special relationship with England and particularly London, as his primary film location and source of inspiration. From 26 April to 15 September.
Pisarro in Dulwich
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Dulwich College, Dulwich Picture Gallery will host a special display focusing on Camille Pissarro’s view of the school’s main building, painted in 1871. A special loan from the Fondation Bemberg, Toulouse, the work returns to Dulwich for the first time since it was painted. 30 April to 4 August
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