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London events in April

Plan an amazing April 2020 with our selection of the best events, exhibitions and things to do in London

By Time Out London Things To Do |
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You can guarantee that April in London has some pretty amazing things in store. Spring has officially landed in London and Easter is just around the corner. With warm, sunny weather on the way, hit up the city's rooftop bars, which are just starting to open, take a walk around London's fabulous parks, and start picking out your spot to wave on the brave souls taking part in the London Marathon. April in London is also the month of Cocktails in the City, the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race (or, the Goat Race - if you're more into goats that boats) and the London Games Festival. There’s a whole load of other London happenings, openings and pop-ups to get involved in. Here are our April 2020 highlights to get you started.

While you're here, there's no better time to start planning your diary for May too. 

RECOMMENDED: Our definitive London events calendar

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Our April 2020 highlights

Photograph: Luke MacGregor
Things to do, Exhibitions

RHS London Spring Launch and Orchid Show

Royal Horticultural Halls, Westminster

Head to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Halls for a bloomin’ good Easter weekend. See vibrant seasonal plant displays created by talented local florists and CityScapes’ immersive urban oasis that demonstrates the positive benefits of being surrounded by our plant babies. Green-fingered Londoners can also stock up on gardening goods, seeds, spring plants, gifts and other horticulturally inspired goods. 

Things to do

Easter in London

There's a lot to like about Easter in London – two whole days off, gratuitous chocolate consumption and if we're lucky, some springtime sunshine. Spend the year's first bank holiday hitting up spring fairs, wild nights out and giant Easter Egg hunts. 

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Emilia Clarke, The Seagull, 2019
Photograph: Charlie Gray
Theatre, Drama

‘The Seagull’

Playhouse Theatre, Charing Cross

The Jamie Lloyd Company kicks off a busy 2020 with Anya Reiss’s unique modernisation of Chekhov’s wistful masterpiece ‘The Seagull’. Emilia Clarke makes her West End stage debut as vain young actress Nina alongside a first-rate cast including Robert Glenister, Daniel Monks, Indira Varma, Danny Ashok and Sophie Wu.

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Roger Allen for Virgin Money London Marathon
Things to do, Sport events

London Marathon: your winning guide

The race is on and the 2020 London Marathon is nearly upon us! Join cheering crowds and fancy dress fundraisers at the world-famous London Marathon. Covering 26.2 miles and shutting down roads left, right and centre, it takes over the city for one weekend every April. Ahead of this year's race, here's everything you need to know about running the London Marathon 2020, whether you're a road-pounding-pro or a newbie dressed as a stormtrooper.  What is the London Marathon? Attracting professionals, celebrities and some truly ludicrous outfits, the London Marathon is a 26.2-mile race around the streets of London. One of the key London events in spring, it attracts just as many supporters as participants, and the atmosphere on the day is absolutely buzzing, whatever the weather. If you're out and about in the afternoon of marathon day here are the best places to catch all the action and expect to see weary runners propping up the bar at pubs across the capital. Those who'd like to run can enter by ballot or take up a fundraising place to go the distance via their favourite charity. Where is the London Marathon? The marathon route starts south of the Thames at Blackheath and passes through Greenwich before crossing the river over Tower Bridge. It then continues through central London before finishing in glory in front of Buckingham Palace. When is the 2020 London Marathon? The 2020 marathon takes place on Sunday April 26. The event will be streamed onto the big screens at

Cao Fei 'Nova' (2019) Video. Image courtesy of the artist and Vitamin Creative Space
Art

Cao Fei: ‘Blueprints’

Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park
4 out of 5 stars

Time is slipping, narratives are falling apart and reality is spinning into fantasy in this immersive show from Beijing-based multimedia artist Cao Fei, featuring VR headsets and an immersive recreation of her Beijing studio. It’s brutally relatable, time-travelling sociopolitical art about people and places being transformed by work and capitalism, surveillance and control.

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Antonio Verrio 'The Sea Triumph of Charles II' (c.1674). Image courtesy of The Royal Collection Trust
Art

British Baroque: ‘Power and Illusion’

Tate Britain, Millbank
4 out of 5 stars

A collection of saucy courtly paintings from the seventeenth century British Baroque period, featuring fat men in wigs, women with translucently white skin and pompous portraits of Charles II. Go for the drama, intrigue and sex. It’s like the best Netflix series ever, but on canvas. Well, if it ain't baroque... 

Image courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum
Museums

Kimono: ‘Kyoto to Catwalk’

V&A, South Kensington
4 out of 5 stars

A beguiling look at the history of Japan’s most iconic garment, from the Edo Period (1603-1868) through to the Dutch kimono trade, Victorian obsessions with Japan and modern reinterpretations. This is another excellent exhibition from a museum known for its fashion blockbusters.

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© 2019 Kehinde Wiley. Image courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery. Photograph by Nicola Tree.
Art

Kehinde Wiley: ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’

William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow
4 out of 5 stars

A collection of paintings of real women that Barack Obama’s portraitist Kehinde Wiley met on the streets of Dalston, this show is a joyous celebration of black identity.

Comedy, Stand-up

Romesh Ranganathan: ‘The Cynic's Mixtape’

Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Hammersmith

Romesh Ranganathan - who is seemingly never off TV these days, with his own sitcom 'The Reluctant Landlord', Dave's 'Judge Romesh' and a team captain on 'A League of Their Own' – is back on tour. His material's smartly written, told with a permanently pissed-off persona.

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Aubrey Beardsley 'The Kiss of Judas' (1893) Image courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum
Art

‘Aubrey Beardsley’

Tate Britain, Millbank
4 out of 5 stars

The Victorians have a reputation for being buttoned-up, but Aubrey Beardsley’s black-and-white drawings are full of sex and death. This gorgeous retrospective covers pretty much everything Beardsley did, from early medievalist and mythological subjects through to illustrations for ‘The Yellow Book’ and explicit pictures of Ancient Greeks getting frisky. It’s audacious, bold, sexy and knowingly funny.

Sunil Gupta
Sunil Gupta 'Untitled 22' from the series 'Christopher Street' (1976) Image courtesy of the artist and Hales Gallery. © Sunil Gupta. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019
Art

Masculinities: ‘Liberation Through Photography’

Barbican Centre, Barbican
4 out of 5 stars

Guns and cowboys, beer and beards, this show might be packed with typical images of masculinity, but with it's intimate, erotic shots of soldiers and films of men crying, it’s also full of subversion. In a society where gender is ceaselessly melting into an ever more fluid substance, this exhibition makes you walk away asking infinite questions.

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Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen '7th Nov. 2001' Video still © Steve McQueen. Image courtesy of the artist, Thomas Dane Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery
Art

‘Steve McQueen’

Tate Modern, Bankside
5 out of 5 stars

A heavy-hitting art exhibition from Turner Prize- and Oscar-winning Steve McQueen. Go for a painful, moving and totally amazing show about racism, violence, greed, oppression, manipulation and sadness. It’s truly eye-opening stuff.

Things to do, Festivals

St George's Day in London

Sharpen your jousting lance for St George’s Day (Monday April 23 2020). The capital is putting its dragon-slaying skills to the test again and we've rounded up London's best St George’s Day themed festivals, events and activities below. The best part is, many of them are free. How very English. 

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Uncle Vanya, West End 2020
Photograph Johan Persson
Theatre, Drama

‘Uncle Vanya’

Harold Pinter Theatre, Leicester Square
4 out of 5 stars

Chekhov's great play about a group of melancholy middle-aged pals. Toby Jones is superb as an irritating bu lovable Vanya.

Mayflower Primary, Tower Hamlets. Photo credit: Tate
Art

Steve McQueen: ‘Year 3’

Tate Britain, Millbank
4 out of 5 stars

The Oscar - and Turner Prize-winner’s project photographing our city’s schoolkids is a thing of absolute joy. 

 

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Seana Gavin 'Mindful Mushroom'. Image courtesy of the artist
Museums

Mushrooms: ‘The Art, Design and Future of Fungi’

Somerset House, Aldwych
3 out of 5 stars

An exhibition about the mycelial meanderings in art, design and science. Mushrooms are now recognised for the important role they play in maintaining the planet’s biodiversity, for their nutritional value and for their mind-altering powers.

Maureen Scott 'Mother and Child at Breaking Point' (1970) .Image courtesy of Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Art

‘The Four Ages of Woman’

Bethlem Gallery and Museum of the Mind, Borough of Bromley
4 out of 5 stars

Art by women about women. And so much more. It’s topical, political, emotional – and well worth the length of the train journey to get there.

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Henry Fuseli 'The Weird Sisters, Macbeth' (c.1783) RSC Theatre Collection
Art

‘British Surrealism’

Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich
3 out of 5 stars

A uniquely British look at the twentieth-century art movement, this exhibition provides a fascinating context for legends such as Paul Nash, Henry Moore and Francis Bacon.

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Photograph: Isa Genzken / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and Galerie Buchholz Cologne / Berlin / New York
Art

Isa Genzken: ‘Window’

Hauser & Wirth, Mayfair
4 out of 5 stars

Come fly with German punk minimalism supremo Isa Genzken with his brand-new art installation about planes and spaces. Genzken’s work creates in-between spaces, nowheres and adds a bit of nuance in a black and white world.

See what’s on in May

Find great things to do all year round

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