Get your February diaries out and get planning with my guide to some of the best cultural things to do in London this month including art exhibitions, theatre, events, opera, dance and music.
Cultural things to do in London this February 2023
Free things to do in London this February
Grayson Perry’s Posh Cloths featuring textile works from the past eight years, including new tapestries, comes to Victoria Miro. 3 February to 25 March (note: visits on Mondays are by appointment).
The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea opens at The Queen’s House, marking 350 years since the arrival of Willem van de Velde the Elder and Willem van de Velde the Younger, the father and son team who established the English school of marine painting and inspired artists including J.M.W. Turner. 2 March to 14 January 2024. Book here.
Somerset House: Whorled (Here After Here After Here) is a new courtyard commission by Mumbai-based artist Jitish Kallat. 16 February to 23 April.
Artist Nalini Malani presents a series of immersive animations at the National Gallery, taking inspiration from paintings in the Gallery as well as Bath’s Holburne Museum. 2 March to 11 June in the Sunley Room.
A new exhibition Strange Dance opens at Gallery 11, Cromwell Place, the culmination of a longstanding collaboration between Radiohead’s drummer Philip Selway and painter Stewart Geddes. 29 February to 5 March.
Currently in its sixth year, the Architecture Drawing Prize continues to celebrate the art of drawing in three categories: hand-drawn, hybrid and digital. Sir John Soane’s Museum will be exhibiting the prize winners and shortlisted entries for the 2022 Prize.
One of the most celebrated and discussed paintings by one of Britain’s finest Victorian artists is to return to the psychiatric hospital where it was painted, for the first time in 170 years, as part of a new exhibition opening in the new year. Portrait of a Young Man by Richard Dadd will be part of the new exhibition The faces we present at Bethlem Museum of the Mind. 22 February to 17 June.
Get ready for the Imagine Children’s Festival for children aged 0 – 11 and their grown-ups and 11 days jam-packed with more than 100 events, 50% of which are completely free. 8 to 18 February. More information here.
The Francis Crick Institute will open the UK’s first exhibition dedicated to exploring public attitudes towards genome editing. Cut + Paste will explore the ethical issues surrounding genome editing and its potential applications. Visitors to one of Europe’s largest biomedical research institutes will be given a glimpse of future science and society.
London Art and Exhibition this February
The objects, ornaments, pictures and books which surrounded Sigmund Freud will be at the centre of an investigative new exhibition in his Hampstead home. Freud’s Antiquity will examine the densely packed displays in Freud’s study. 25 February to 16 July. Book here.
Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance will be the first major UK exhibition to explore the exceptional talents of the Renaissance master, Donatello. On at the V & A 11 February to 11 June. Book here.
Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons is the first major survey exhibition of large-scale immersive installations and sculptural works by the internationally acclaimed British artist. At the Hayward Gallery. 22 February to 7 May. Book here.
Alice Neel: Hot Off The Griddle is the largest exhibition to date in the UK of the work of American artist Alice Neel, whose vibrant portraits captured characters of New York’s underground cultures across the turbulence of the 20th century. Barbican Art Gallery. 16 February to 21 May. Book here.
Step back in time with Brick Dinos! At the Hormiman Museum. In this family-friendly exhibition, some of the largest beasts to ever walk the earth have been recreated in miniature form by artist Warren Elsmore and his team. 10 February to 29 October. Book here.
Beyond the Streets London will be the most comprehensive graffiti & street art exhibition to open in the UK. It features 100 international artists and is set to take over all three floors of the Saatchi Gallery. 17 February to 9 May. Book here.
A new exhibition exploring the works of contemporary artist Peter Doig opens at the Courtauld Gallery. 10 February to 29 May. Book here.
London Opera and Classical Music this February
Explore baroque music in all its forms with the Kaleidoscope program at St John Smith’s Square. 12 to 20 May. Book here.
The London Handel Festival has an exciting line up of world-class artists presenting a mix of traditional and innovative programming. The performances will be held across a range of London venues from St George’s Hanover Square to Shoreditch Treehouse. 23 February to 18 March. Book here.
As part of LGBT month, Robert Hugill presents Out of the Shadows, a recital featuring pianist Nigel Foster (director of the London Song Festival), tenor Ben Vonberg-Clark and baritone James Atkinson. 3 February. Book here.
Join The Tallis Scholars on the 9 February and The Sixteen Choir for an evening of Mozart and Haydn on 16 February. Both at Cadogan Hall. Book here.
Enjoy some classic favourites and a selection of modern pieces in the beautiful setting of Fulham Palace’s historic Bishop Sherlock’s room. 22 February. Book here.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra conjures the city of light with César Franck’s towering Symphony in D minor and with Danielle de Niese singing in From Paris with Love. 25 February. Book here.
London Theatre and Stage this February
A modern take on Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers is coming to the National Theatre. Romeo and Julie stars Callum Scott Howells (and if you saw him in Cabaret you will agree it was one of the best stage performances ever). 14 February to 1 April. Book here.
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! Has been re-orchestrated and reimagined for the 21st century. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, Daniel Fish’s bold interpretation recently enjoyed a sold-out run at the Young Vic. 16 February to 2 September. Book here.
Sheridan Smith returns to the West End in Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine. 17 February to 3 June. Book here.
For the first time ever, experience The Winter’s Tale across both stages at Shakespeare’s Globe. Start the evening in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and then continue watching in the Globe Theatre. 9 February to 16 April. Book here.
Cirque Berserk! celebrates its tenth anniversary with a five-week season at the Riverside Studios. Expect contemporary cirque-style artistry with adrenaline-fuelled stunt action. Use discount code CB06 and save up to 30% off tickets. 9 February to 11 March. Book here.
Floating Shed’s Passion is coming to the Lion & the Unicorn Theatre, an intimate, violent story about faith, sexuality and a boys struggle with his heteronormative upbringing and beliefs explored through the prism of conversion therapy. February 7 to 11. Book here.
The Philharmonia Orchestra will perform live to Roald Dahl’s classic Revolting Rhymes at the Royal Festival Hall in this family-friendly concert on Sunday 12 February at 3pm. Book here.
If you loved Janet McTeer in Ozark, you’re going to want to see Phaedra at the National Theatre. I will be reporting back on my Instagram with a review later this week. . On until 8 April. Book here.
London Dance this February
Cowpuncher My Ass, the genre-defying performance returns to the Southbank Centre on 15 February, this time in the Royal Festival Hall. An extraordinary collaboration with choreography by Holly Blakey, sound score by Mica Levi and costume design by Andreas Kronthaler for Vivenne Westwood. The London Contemporary Orchestra will be joining for the first time, bringing Mica’s original score to life. 15 February. Book here.
London Events this February
Kew Gardens’ much-loved Orchid festival returns to the Princess of Wales Conservatory. 4 February to 5 March. Included with entry to the gardens.
The 2023 Piccadilly Piano Festival showcases a range of established and emerging artists, including Jools Holland, John Grant, Nadine Benjamin, Melvyn Tan and Victoria Canal. Centred around St James’s famous Fazioli Grand Piano. Book here.
Out of Towners
Grange Park Opera booking is now open. It’s a wonderful day out, and there is a fantastic line-up this summer, including an evening with Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel.
For the first time in 500 years, two prayer books belonging to two of Henry VIII’s wives will be reunited and displayed together in a new exhibition: Catherine and Anne: Queens, Rivals, Mothers at Hever Castle in Kent. 8 February to June 2023. Included with entry to the castle.