Things to do in London in March 2013
The days are getting longer, the temperatures are getting warmer and summer is just that bit closer! Although March temperatures don’t always feel like it, Spring is here and after a quieter period over the winter, the festival season is kicking off with a very busy March indeed, ending with Easter Weekend. Here’s a list of what’s on over the next month. (NB. I will update this list over the month if I find out new events so please check back)
- 1 – 5 March : Spring Festival at the British Library
A festival of fashion, design and film with exhibitions and talks from BBC arts editor Will Gompertz, fashion illustrator Julie Verhoeven and GQ editor Dylan Jones. Late at the Library: Fashion Flashback takes place on evening 1 March. Activities and exhibitions range from free to £15. British Library, 96 Euston Rd, NW1 2DB. Nearest rail/tube: King’s Cross, St Pancras or Euston. For more information, visit the British Library website.
- 1 March – 12 May : Lifework: Norman Parkinson’s Century of Style
Photography exhibition at the National Theatre of fashion photographer Norman Parkinson’s work. Covers all aspects of his long career, from the 1930s up until his death in 1990. Free. National Theatre, Upper Ground Southbank, London SE1 9PX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the National Theatre website.
- 2 – 3 March : Barbican Weekender
An array of events combining art and neuroscience, including dance, music and theatre for all ages. Free. Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican. For more information, visit the Barbican Weekender website.
- Now until 3 March : Random International: Rain Room @ Barbican
Experience what it’s like to control the rain… indoors! Visitors can either watch or if they’re brave enough walk through the rain and trust they won’t get wet! Due to the unique experience of this exhibition, be prepared to queue. Free admission. Open daily from 11am – 8pm, or 10pm on Thursday. Rain Room at The Curve, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican. For more information visit the Barbican website or read my blog post on my recent visit Rain Room @ The Curve, Barbican.
- 6 – 8 March : London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival
CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) North London host a beer and cider festival. As well as over 150 beers, ciders and perries to choose from, there is also food and stalls selling merchandise. Tickets: £3.50 (£2.50 for CAMRA members). Camden Centre, Bidborough Street, WC1H 9AU. Nearest tube: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information visit the CAMRA North London website.
- 6 – 10 March : WOW: Women Of The World Festival
A festival of talks, debates, music, film and comedy celebrating women. The Color Purple author Alice Walker, Julie Walters, Ruby Wax, Petula Clark, Sandi Toksvig, and Sue Perkins among the featured names. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 7 – 10 March : Affordable Art Fair @ Battersea Park
For those among us who aren’t loaded, this event is a chance for people to buy a unique piece of art or photography for their homes at an affordable price. There is over 100 galleries, with pieces for sale ranging for £40 to £4,000. Admission costs £10-£12 in advance, £12/£15 on the door. Nearest rail: Battersea Park or short bus ride from Sloane Square tube. For more information, visit the Affordable Art Fair website.
- 10 March : London Onesie 5K Dash
Cheer on those raising money for this year’s Red Nose Day appeal for Comic Relief, thousands of Londoners in their beloved Onesies will be doing 5K through the city. Starts at Minster Court in the City of London at 10.30am with the route going over Tower Bridge, along the Southbank and across Southwark Bridge.
- 14 – 24 March : 27th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
The British Film Institute hosts the 11 day festival of lesbian and gay film at BFI Southbank. Films have been separated into three sections: Hearts, Bodies and Minds. Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the BFI website.
- 15 March – 27 March : Flamenco Festival
Sadler’s Wells’ annual season of flamenco music and dance returns for the 10th year. Features eight productions and two special performances in the Lilian Baylis Studio. Also includes a Spanish food and wine festival. Sadler’s Well Theatre, Roseberry Ave, EC1R 4TN. Nearest tube: Angel. For more information, visit the Sadler’s Wells website.
- 15 March – 1 April : Ideal Home Show
A place of inspiration for homeowners including interiors, fittings and gardens. Includes plenty of opportunities to buy things both big and small for the house and food. Celebrity ambassadors in attendance include Alan Titchmarsh, Gregg Wallace, Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, George Clarke, Melinda Messenger and Suzi Perry. Tickets: Adults £12-£18 depending on weekday or weekend (cheaper prices if booked in advance online). Earl’s Court, Warwick Road, SW5 9TA. Nearest tube: Earl’s Court or West Brompton. For more information and tickets, visit the Ideal Home Show website.
- 16 – 17 March : HMS Belfast’s 75th Birthday Bash
A weekend of activities to mark the iconic ship’s 75th birthday after it launched in Belfast on St Patrick’s Day 1938. Includes the chance to meet HMS Belfast veterans, simulated gun firing of the ship’s 4-inch guns, metal making and radio demonstrations. An Irish-themed meal will be served in the café. Normal admission price: Adults: £14.50, Under 16s: free. Open 10am – 6pm. Nearest tube/train: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the HMS Belfast website.
- 16 March : Maslenitsa Russian Festival
Russian folk festival to celebrate the end of winter and coming of Spring in Trafalgar Square. Family friendly event with children’s theatre performances, music, food and a Russian bazaar. Free. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, visit the Maslenitsa website.
- 17 March : St Patrick’s Day Parade
It’s the one day a year where everyone claims they’ve got a bit of Irish in them (drinking a Guinness, doesn’t count – sorry!). Regardless, if you’re actually Irish or not, all are welcome to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. The parade starts at 12 noon in Piccadilly, before proceeding to Trafalgar Square. The Square will play host to the free St Patrick’s Day Festival until 6pm, which includes dance, music, comedy, films, and a farmers’ market. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, visit the Greater London Authority website.
- 20 – 24 March : London Ear Festival
A new international, contemporary music festival in Waterloo. Celebration of music from Britain, Austrian, Germany, Italy, Austria and Norway. Tickets for individual events range from free to £10. All day passes with entrance to all events cost £18 or £45 for the whole festival. Events take place at The Warehouse (13 Theed Street, London SE1 8ST) and Cello Factory (33-34 Cornwall Road, London SE1 8TJ). Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the London Ear Festival website.
22 – 24 March : Chocolate Festival
Outdoor festival in the square behind the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank. A celebration of all things chocolate, with tastings, lessons on how to make your own chocolate, recipes, masterclasses and plenty of opportunity to purchase chocolate. Free. Southbank Centre Square, Belvedere Road, SE1 8xx. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Chocolate Festival website.
- 23 – 24 March : London Festival of Railway Modelling
A weekend of railway modelling for enthusiasts and children alike. Includes 40 working layouts, over 100 exhibitors and demonstrations. Takes place in the Great Hall via The Palm Court at Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Tickets: £11 adults, £5 children (discounted in advance from website). Nearest tube/train: Alexandra Palace or Wood Green. For more information and tickets, visit the Model Railways Live website.
- 28 – 31 March : London International Ska Festival
Four day festival of ska music featuring Ken Boothe, Rico Rodriguez, BB Seaton, Owen Gray, Buster Shuffle and The Splitters, among others, at venues across the capital. For more information and tickets, visit the London International Ska Festival website.
- 29 March : Friday Lates at the Natural History Museum
A chance for adults to enjoy the museum without the noise of school trips and families. Includes the chance to see the Extinction: Not the End of the World? exhibition, participate in the discussion event Apocalypse Now… or Never? (booking required £10-£12), listen to live music in the Central Hall or try speed-sketching with the Crazy Artists. There will also be a pop-up restaurant and bar open from 6pm until 10pm, which will serve venison and wild boar stew, dumplings and mashed potatoes, as well as wine, beer and cider. Free to attend, but some exhibitions or discussion events cost. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, SW7 5BD. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information, visit the Natural History Museum website.
- 29 March – 6 May : Park In Progress Tour of the Olympic Park
A behind-the-scenes tour to see how the Olympic Park is being transformed into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Includes a bus trip into the park and the chance to climb The Orbit for spectacular views. Tickets start from £7 and must be booked in advance. For more information and booking, visit the NoOrdinaryPark.com website.
- 31 March : Oxbridge Boat Race
This year it’s the 159th boat race between the Cambridge and Oxford University crews. Thousands will line the banks between Putney Bridge and Mortlake to watch the action. Free. Nearest tube/rail stations: Putney Bridge, Hammersmith, Ravenscourt Park, Stamford Brook, East Putney, Barnes Bridge or Chiswick. For more information, visit the Boat Race website.
- Now until 14 April : Manet at the Royal Academy
First ever retrospective dedicated to the portraiture of French painter Édouard Manet. Includes 50 paintings. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Tickets £15 adults, £10 students, £6 12-18 yr olds. The Royal Academy, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest tube: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Royal Academy website.
- Now until 28 April : Light Show @ Southbank Centre
An exhibition of sculptures and artworks which use light in a different way at the Hayward Gallery on the Southbank. Is proving hugely popular so recommend booking in advance. Tickets: £11 (inc £1.50 booking fee for non-members), Concessions £9. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX. For more information and booking, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- Now until 27 May : Lichtenstein: A Retrospective
Lichtenstein: A Retrospective is the first full-scale retrospective of the pop art pioneer. The three-month long exhibition at the Tate Modern features 125 of his paintings and sculpture. Tickets £14. Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest tube: Southwark, Blackfriars or St Paul’s. For booking and more information, visit the Tate Modern website.