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70 sensational things to do in London this April

By Stephanie Hartman
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Oh, boy! April’s going to be a beauty. The fourth month is packed full of Easter events, parties and chocolate workshops, plus there’s a giant pillow fight to ruffle your feathers and a coffee festival to perk you right up. There’s also heaps of new theatre, art shows and foodie collaborations popping up across town. Make your month count with the list of fun that follows!

THINGS TO DO

Apr 1: International Pillow Fight Day London 2017 International Pillow Fight Day is celebrated in cities across the world with a few set rules: soft pillows only, don’t hit anyone holding a camera, don’t hit anyone without a pillow and no feathery pillows allowed.

Apr 1-17: Moomin Adventures at Kew Gardens London just can’t get enough of those portly Moomin trolls; first they had their own exhibition at the Southbank Centre and now they’re departing Moominvalley to take part in Moomin Adventures at Kew Gardens. 

Apr 2: Festival of the Mind Psychology and the mind are unpicked in a playful way during this one-day festival at JW3. 

Apr 2: The Boat Race Watch crews from Oxford and Cambridge go head-to-head in eight-oared rowing boats across the Thames. 

Apr 2: The Oxford v Cambridge Goat Race Polish your horns and belt out those bleats, because London’s favourite farmyard fracas is back for a ninth year in 2017. 

Apr 4: Lunar HQ X Collage Club Cut, stick and create beautiful images working form exciting still life set-ups at this workshop on Hackney Road.

Apr 7: Man! I feel like a... Explore the meaning of masculinity at this Wellcome Collection late-night special, where artists and experts will share a platform with drag queens and choirs to unpick the complexities of machismo.

Apr 7-9: Now Play This Play more than 50 games at this fun-filled weekend, from the lo-fi and familiar to the new and cutting edge.

Apr 13: Easter at The Jam Tree The Jam Tree Chelsea is turning six, and to celebrate they’re throwing a birthday bash with a complimentary hog roast and a DJ set from Alex Mytton (’Made In Chelsea’).

Apr 13-15: Easter Chocolate Workshop Make weird and wacky chocolate creations this Easter at My Chocolate’s special workshop for cocoa lovers.

Apr 14-17: More Easter fun in London The Easter weekend is a cracking time to be in London. Not only is there finally an excuse to gorge on chocolate with free abandon, there’s also loads of Easter parties, spring fairs and the first bank holiday of the year.

Apr 21: After-school club for grown-ups at the Natural History Museum Explore the museum at night with a full range of activities to keep you (mostly) out of trouble, including face painting, making T-shirts and masks, as well as a torch-lit trail in the dino gallery.

Apr 22-23: The Museum Depot Open Weekend Open weekends are a rare chance to explore London Transport Museum’s fascinating working store, which contains some 370,000 items.

London Coffee Festival

FOOD AND DRINK

Restaurant openings

Tamarind Kitchen An informal restaurant from the team behind Tamarind

The Clifton Ben and Ed Robson, the brothers behind the sadly now closed Boopshi’s in Fitzrovia, reopen an old local pub in St John’s Wood. Expect a Sunday brunch menu plus veggie and vegan dishes.

Llewelyn’s A fresh Herne Hill restaurant headed up by Warren Fleet (Anchor and Hope) and Alcide Gauto (Rochelle Canteen).

Blacklock A new city site from the meaty Soho restaurant. 

Mercer & Co A salt beef bar and canteen launching on Islington’s Chapel Market.

Dandy Café A permanent version of the hipster pop-up that we loved.

Monty’s Deli A snazzy new home in Hoxton to serve those dreamy Reuben specials from.

Events

Apr 1: Cocktails in the City 25 of the city’s best bars, speakeasies and clubs come together to serve you the makings of their mixology skills.

Apr 3-17: Yard Sale Pizza x Rola Wala Food legends Yard Sale Pizza and Rola Wala are combining forces to create an Indian-inspired pizza special.

Apr 5: Sobhane: Jam and Spice Get to know your Iranian kookoo from your Israeli bisbas at this Middle Eastern-style supper club.

Apr 6-9: London Coffee Festival A celebration of London’s vibrant coffee culture featuring gourmet coffee, speciality tea, artisan food and demonstrations from world-class baristas.

Apr 7: Margaritas pop-up For one night only, the Manze Pie & Mash Shop on Chapel Market will become ’Margaritas’ and swap the jellied eels for servings of Neapolitan-style pizza and tequila-based cocktails. 

Apr 13-16: Homerton International Festival of Beer and Bar Snacks That’s right, that often-overlooked culinary delight – the bar snack – has its own 4-day festival.

Apr: Pitt Cue x Som Saa Collaboration For the whole of April, neighbours Som Saa and Pitt Cue will be joining forces to create a limited edition dish inspired for one another’s menus, with a donation from each dish going to their chosen charities.

Guards at the Taj

THEATRE

Apr 7-May 13: Carousel Alfie Boe, Katherine Jenkins and Nicholas Lyndhurst star in this musical.

Apr 7-May 20: Guards at the Taj The season opener for the revamped Bush Theatre.

Apr 19-May 6: Nuclear War An intriguing dance theatre piece at the Royal Court from ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ playwright Simon Stephens.

Apr 19-May 20: Obsession Jude Law stars as a murderous drifter in this adaptation of the classic Italian film.

Apr 20-May 13: City of Glass A visually ravishing adaptation of Paul Auster’s book.

Apr 22-July 9: Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare’s Globe season opener directed by Daniel Kramer.

Apr 24-Jun 10: The Treatment Hollywood satire from London’s coolest theatre.

Until May 17: Consent A big new National Theatre drama.

Until Jun 24: The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? Damian Lewis stars as a man in love with a goat in Edward Albee’s unlikely classic

Until Jul 22: 42nd Street A massive West End revival of the classic musical.

Raw

FILM

Apr 2: ‘The Red Shoes’ The realisation that we’re in the presence of genius comes just a few minutes into ballet-led masterpiece ‘The Red Shoes’.

Apr 3: Cigarette Burns presents ‘Brainstorm’ Famed for screening the very best in exploitation and offbeat cinema on classic original celluloid, Cigarette Burns has outdone himself by tracking down an extremely rare 70mm film print of this 1983 sci-fi oddity starring Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood (who died during filming).

Apr 6-22: Backyard Cinema: ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Backyard Cinema returns in 2017 for another pop-up screening of Baz Luhrmann’s iconic ’Romeo + Juliet’.

Apr 9-14: Secret Cinema X Secret Cinema will start a new run in London in April – and this time it’s keeping hush-hush about ALL the details.

Apr 15: KinoVino Present: ‘1900’ As part of its series of film screenings marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, Kino Klassika has teamed up with foodie-film specialists KinoVino to present Bernardo Bertolucci’s historical Italian epic ’1900’.

Apr 20-21: Crofton Park Pictures The beautiful Rivoli Ballroom is the location for these two film screenings from Crofton Park Pictures. Catch ‘Pretty Woman’ on Thu 21 and ‘Goodfellas’ on Fri 22.

New releases

Out April 7: ’Raw’ Do you have what it takes to sit through this arthouse cannibal movie? A screening of the French movie turned into a medical emergency last year when ambulances had to be called for audience members who’d passed out.

Out April 14: ‘The Fate of the Furious’ It’s the franchise that keeps on giving. (We’ll all be watching ’Fast 50‘ in our retirement homes – and Vin Diesel will still look exactly the same). This time the gang are headed to New York, Iceland and Havana, with ’Straight Outta Compton‘ director F Gary Gray calling the shots. Start ’er up!

© Michael Jones

MUSIC AND NIGHTLIFE

Apr 1: Daylight Music Shake off that Friday night hangover with this feelgood Saturday daytime event: live music plus tea and bacon butties.

Apr 1: Earthlings? The krautrock-influenced rock ‘n’ roll trio from California perform songs from their latest album Mudda Fudda.

Apr 4: Hot 8 Brass Band This hard-blowing New Orleans brass octet mix it up with pop and hip hop, covering anything from Snoop Dogg’s ‘What’s My Name’ to Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing‘ in their set.

Apr 5: Bear’s Den Anyone allergic to banjos or beards, be warned: this trio of hirsute Londoners have supported Mumford & Sons live and one of them co-runs Communion Records with the Mumfords’ Ben Lovett.

Apr 7: Tingsek Soul tracks and disco grooves with vocals from the Swedish singer-songwriter’s latest album Amygdala.

Apr 7: The Black Madonna: The Residency Opening Party The Black Madonna will take clubbers on a tour of her vinyl collection, featuring dance, electro, EBM, industrial and techno hits.

Apr 7: Isaiah Rashad The American hip hop singer-songwriter performs songs from his album The Sun’s Tirade.

Apr 7: En Vogue They’ve fallen out more times than they’ve sung the words ‘whatta man’, but a three-piece version of the ace R&B group will be back on stage in London tonight. 

Apr 8: Camille O’Sullivan Irish-French chanteuse O’Sullivan has translated the work of Jacques Brel, Nick Cave, David Bowie and more, inhabiting the songs in her own theatrical, uniquely emotional style.

Apr 13: Ezra Collective The award-winning ensemble born out of Tomorrow’s Warriors, a UK organisation for jazz music, play a mix of reggae, hip hop, jazz and afrobeat.

Apr 13-16: The Lock Tavern Festival Four days of music and street food at Camden’s best boozer.

Apr 14: Fabriclive: Hospitality In The Dock Afterparty Room one sees London Elektricity, Metrik, S.P.Y, Nu:Logic, Maduk, Makoto and Urbandawn plus MCs Dynamite, Wrec and Fava spin D&B.

Apr 14: Metalheadz Get ready to rumble in the jungle once more as the almighty Goldie draws back some of the original headz and mixes them up with newer talent.

Apr 14, 21: When Doves Cry: A Night Celebrating The Music Of Prince A night entirely dedicated to the music of the late, great genre-bending funk innovator.

Apr 15: Coconut Beats: Haai & Moscoman The DJs supply a night of house, disco and other genres to the dancefloor.

Apr 16: Anderson .Paak The American singer, songwriter, rapper, drummer and record producer from California performs hip hop, funk and contemporary R&B with The Free Nationals.

Apr 19: Ata Kak Ghanaian singer Yaw Atta-Owusu, aka Ata Kak, fuses dancehall and reggae, and is enjoying a renaissance after his rediscovery by Awesome Tapes From Africa.

Apr 25: Valerie June A soulful blues singer from Memphis, June plays what she calls ‘organic moonshine roots music’.

Secundino Hernández, ‘Untitled’, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London © Secundino Hernández.

ART

Apr 1-May 6: Secundino Hernández: Paso The Spanish artist must have been working hard of late – he’s filling both of Victoria Miro’s spaces with his large-scale, hard-to-categorise abstract paintings.

Apr 1-Jan 2018: Rachel Kneebone at the V&A Kneebone’s sculpture ‘399 Days’ – originally shown at White Cube in 2014 – is a towering colossus made of porcelain tiles and writhing limbs, and is going to look pretty damn spectacular amongst the objects of Gallery 50a at the V&A.

Apr 5-Aug 28: Queer British Art 2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England. This show charts the preceding century: a hundred years of queer artists either making deeply personal work (about lives led in necessary secrecy) or avowedly political statements. 

Apr 7-May 27: Mat Collishaw A show of new work from the Brit artist famed for his grisly scenes of violence and tragedy, displayed across lightboxes, photography and sculpture.

Apr 7-Jun 11: Erik van Lieshout: Three Social Works Three of the Dutch artist’s films will be screened in this exhibition, each in a specially created environment.

Apr 7-Jun 18: Paul Johnson: Teardrop Centre Former CAC artist-in-residence Johnson creates small-scale sculptures and collages, and larger installations – weird mish-mashes of objects and images he describes as ’fictions‘.

Apr 26-Aug 28: Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic For this National Gallery commission, Ofili’s created a hand-woven tapestry that features a mixture of classical mythology and the magic and folklore of his adopted home Trinidad.

ENJOY!

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