The start of the year is often a bit dry, both booze-wise and event-wise, but London really comes to life when spring arrives. From March through to May, the city blooms with plenty of fun things to do, including new blockbuster art exhibitions, newcomers to the West End gang and a fresh line-up of London gigs. The capital is starting to warm up - here's 25 unmissable events springing up near you very soon.
A blast is pretty much guaranteed on St. Paddy's Day as London's Irish community head to Trafalgar Square to celebrate their patron saint. Everyone's invited so expect a sizeable proportion of the population to be looking appropriately green until at least Thurs 17, which is when St Patrick’s Day actually falls. Check out more ways to celebrate in our roundup below.
Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) was immensely popular in his lifetime, but he’s also rare among renaissance artists in that his work still continues to achieve pop-cultural fame today. This massive spring blockbuster marvels at the otherworldly beauty of the master, while looking at his influence, not just on art, but on film, photography, fashion and design.
Based upon Motown founder Berry Gordy's autobiography and the beginnings of the iconic record label, the West End opening of Broadway smash 'Motown the Musical' shimmers into town this spring, featuring hits such as 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', 'For Once In My Life', 'What's Going On' and 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine'.
Martin Parr has spent his career casting a quizzical eye over Britain, so he’s the ideal person to curate a show that looks at how international photographers have captured the identity of the UK. It makes for a unique ‘outsider’s view’ of Britain and covers an epic sweep of fairly recent history – from the coronation of George VI to surveillance photos of looters taken during the 2011 London riots.
Parents can introduce their little ones to the programmes they watched and adored as wee nippers thanks to this retrospective exhibition of Smallfilms - Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin's production company whose fantastic output includes The Clangers, Bagpuss and other creations such as Pogles Wood and Ivor the Engine.
Yaël Farber directs this forgotten classic from the short-lived black American playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Not performed until 1970, 'Les Blancs' concerns a black intellectual who returns to Africa for his father's funeral and must consider whether or not to become involved in the country's revolution.
The venue may still be TBC and the opening vaguely down as 'sometime in March', but a shiny, spring restaurant we're all excited about opening is the permanent site of Som Saa (from the guys behind the Climpson Arch Thai pop-up). Dig into our roundup of restaurants opening soon in London to see what else is on the menu for London's foodie scene.
Superhero team-ups are all the rage at the moment. So it was almost inevitable that some bright spark would think of putting up the most recent caped crusader Henry Cavill from ‘Man of Steel’ against the Dark Knight. Christian Bale passed on getting back into the bat suit. Enter Ben Affleck. The basic gist is that Batman is mistrustful of Supie’s unchecked power and takes him down a notch or two.
The long Easter weekend and the first bank holiday of the year is on the horizon. Easter Sunday itself falls on March 27 and the day is surrounded with a basket-load of things to do - so whether you plan to hunt eggs, party all weekend or stuff your face with chocs, crack into our ultimate guide to the Easter break below.
Friday March 25 - Monday March 28
For three weeks this April, CircusFest returns with a programme that's bursting through the rafters with high-flying UK and international circus. The award-winning Finnish Race Horse Company will start proceedings with a gallop, with the UK premiere of 'Super Sunday' - featuring a wheel of death and a human catapult, all offset with their trademark black humour.
Following the success of ‘David Bowie Is’, the exhibition about Mick Jagger’s old mucker Dave, the Stones are proudly flaunting all the moss they’ve gathered over the last 50 years with this major expo at the Saatchi Gallery. Even the biggest lithophiles should be able to get some satisfaction here.
There are two adaptations of Kipling’s beloved novel on their way, and this is the one we’re slightly less keen on (only just. The second version directed by Andy Serkis isn’t out until 2017). ‘Iron Man’ director Jon Favreau takes the helm for a motion-capture cartoon on an epic scale, with voices provided by the likes of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.
Get ready to have shirts and skirts stripped back to focus on the skivvies that shape the body below at this exhibition charting how underwear supports and firms the figure, as well as the sexual and sensual appeal it holds. Around 200 garments and accessories will be on display, from long cotton drawers worn by Queen Victoria's mother to an Antonio Berardi dress sported by Gwyneth Paltrow.
Returning for 2016, the London Coffee Festival is the UK’s largest coffee and artisan food event, a celebration of London's vibrant coffee culture featuring gourmet coffee, speciality tea, demonstrations from world-class baristas, live music and a comprehensive ‘lab’ seminar programme that will educate even the keenest of coffee lovers.
Europe's biggest photo award returns with four new nominees for the £30,000 prize for the best exhibition of the past year by a living photographer of any nationality. This year’s diverse shortlist reflects upon political concerns, identity and migration.
The pretty waterways of Little Venice will be even more colourful than usual for the May bank holiday as the Inland Waterways Association organises their annual gathering of canal boats. Around 130 boats will be moored along the stretch of the Grand Union Canal between Blomfield Road, Warwick Avenue and Warwick Crescent for the Canalway Cavalcade, which has taken place every year since 1983.
From May 2016 - the exact date is still to be announced - guests to the Olympic Park's sculpture-cum-attraction will be able to fly down the world's longest and tallest slide (designed by Belgian artist Carsten Höller who set up a pair of spiral slides outside the Hayward Gallery as part of his 2015 exhibition).
This week-long festival celebrates craftsmen beavering away in all in all sorts of interesting nooks and crannies across London. Galleries and specialist workshops alike will host events to showcase both ancient skills and exciting new talent with last year's event covering jewellery, fashion, art and design.
After the success of last year’s Photo London, the photography-dedicated fair returns to Somerset House. Don McCullin has been named Photo London Master of Photography 2016 and will be honoured in a special exhibition, while young stars Walter & Zoniel will transform the underground Deadhouse space, below the courtyard, into a giant camera to create the largest tintype print.
Over 500 exhibitors will already be tending to their most prized plants in preparation for the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show, which has taken place annually (apart from a few gaps during the two world wars) for over 100 years now. Tickets are already available to buy via the RHS website.
Disney's lavish musical adaptation of its enormo-smash 1992 film has already been a walloping smash in New York, and this West End transfer has been on the cards for yonks. The London production will be anchored by Broadway cast member Trevor Dion Nicholas, who will follow in the late, great Robin Williams's footsteps in the pivotal role of the wisecracking Genie.