Guide to what’s on in London in April 2014
Spring is in full swing and festival season is really kicking off. As the sun returns to our skies, the parks and open spaces of London are hosting open-air festivals, fairs and performances. With Easter falling in April this year, there is a host of activities to keep families entertained during the holidays. (N.B. Please check back as I will update this post throughout the month with new events).
For a special Easter guide for family activities over the school holidays, click here. Or for an adults-only Easter Egg hunt, read Baileys Feaster Egg Hunt: Time for adults to have some Easter fun!
- 3 – 6 April : London Coffee Festival
A celebration of coffee for the capital’s caffeine lovers at the Old Truman Brewery, featuring food, music and – of course – coffee. Visitors will even have the chance to make perfect coffee at home from some top baristas. The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL. Nearest tube: Shoreditch High Street (overland) or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the London Coffee Festival website.
- 5 April : World Pillow Fight Day
Celebrate World Pillow Fight Day by taking a (soft!) pillow you don’t mind being destroyed to Trafalgar Square. From 3pm until 5pm and free. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information and the rules, visit World Pillow Fight Day website.
- 5 April onwards : ArcelorMittal Orbit re-opens
The Orbit structure in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park re-opens to the public permanently. Visitors will be able to access two viewing platforms at the top of the Orbit, giving 360 degree views of the Park and London. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog on the Orbit.
- 5 – 21 April : Charlie’s Chocolate Adventure @ Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is hosting Charlie And The Chocolate Factory-inspired events for their Easter Festival, including create your own chocolate bar, sing along in the inventing room, go nuts in the nut room and not forgetting the Easter egg hunt on 20 April. Must buy general entrance tickets: Adults £14.50, Children 16 and under (accompanied by an adult) Free. Activities vary in cost from free to £5. Brentford Gate, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest tube: Kew Gardens. For more information and tickets, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- 6 April : 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. Starts at 5.55pm. 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 6 April : Sensing Spaces : Architecture Re-Imagined
Exhibition at the Royal Academy featuring creations from architects across the world imploring you to gain a new perspective on architecture. Tickets: £14-£15.50. Opening times: Saturday-Thursday 10am-6pm, Fridays 10am-10pm. Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Green Park. For more information, visit the Royal Academy website.
- Now until 6 April : Chorus Festival
Festival celebrating singing as a group, featuring concerts, warm-ups and workshops. Tickets range from free to £15. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 7 April – 14 June : Both Sides Now @ National Theatre
Photographic exhibition of 1960s singer-songwriters living in Laurel Canyon and the new wave bands in downtown 1970s New York. Entrance: Free. Open Monday – Saturday 9.30am-11pm, Sundays 12-6pm. Lyttelton Exhibition Space, National Theatre, Upper Ground, Southbank, SE1 9PX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the National Theatre website.
- 8 – 10 April : Let’s All Be Free Film Festival
A festival of films from around the world demonstrating what it’s like to be really free. Screenings include Mamis, Good Wife and Not Anymore. Brixton Ritzy, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, SW2 1JG. Nearest tube: Brixton. For more information, visit the LABFFF website.
- 9 April – 17 August : The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier
Exhibition of work by the acclaimed designer, including his iconic conical brasserie worn by Madonna, costumes for Kylie Minogue’s tour and from Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. Tickets: £14.50, highly recommended to book in advance. Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Barbican website.
- 10 – 13 April : The New Chelsea Art Fair
This year’s fair is having a relaunch with visitors having the chance to buy art starting from £500 upwards. Free entry if you sign up via the website in advance, or £6 on the door. Takes place at Chelsea Town Hall, Kings Road, SW3 5EE. Nearest tube: Sloane Square or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Chelsea Art Fair website.
- 10 April – 13 July : Udderbelly Festival
Udderbelly returns to the Southbank for a sixth year, featuring three months of comedy, circus, cabaret and family shows at affordable prices in an inflatable upside down cow venue. Jubilee Gardens, off Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Udderbelly website.
- 13 April : Virgin London Marathon
Cheer on an estimated 36,00 runners raising money for charity in the world’s biggest marathon. The 26 mile marathon starts in Greenwich/Blackheath and ends in The Mall. Free for spectators. For more information and spectator maps, visit the Virgin London Marathon website. For Metro Girl’s blog on last year’s Marathon, click here.
- 17 – 20 April : 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.
- Now until 18 April : London Handel Festival
Six weeks of concerts, talks and walks in venues, including Frederick Handel’s own parish church in Mayfair. Includes performances by tenor Rupert Charlesworth and harpsichordist Laurence Cummings at the Foundling Museum. St George’s Church, St George Street, Hanover Square, W1S 1FX. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the London Handel Festival website.
- 19 April : Berwick Street Record Store Day
A free mini music festival on Berwick Street in the heart of Soho, featuring 7 artists performing on stage and various retailers hosting in-store activities, including sales of limited edition records. Free. Shops open from 8am, performances on main stage from 12-7pm. Berwick Street, Soho, W1F. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Berwick Street website.
- 19 – 20 April : Yard Life Festival
Music festival to raise money and awareness for MS research, featuring new musicians and DJs, including Bambi, Daniel Glover, John Hill, Katie Coleman, Courtly Love, Electric Child House and much more. Tickets: £20 Saturday, £25 Sunday or £35 for the whole weekend. Islington Metal Works, 7 Torrens Street, EC1V 1NQ. Nearest tube: Angel. For more information, visit the Yard Life Festival.
- 21 April : Feast Of St George
Celebrate the patron saint of England’s feast day with a day of fun and fare in Trafalgar Square. Includes free tastings, food, banqueting area, like cookery demonstrations, food workshops and live music and dance. 12-6pm. Free. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Greater London Authority website.
- 24 – 27 April : The Other Art Fair
Chance to buy art from 100 unrepresented artists, regardless of how experienced you are in purchasing artwork. Also features installations, live performances, taxidermy workshops, street food market, a cocktail bar, arty singles night, and children’s area. Tickets: £6 in advance. Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, NW1 5LS. Nearest tube: Baker Street. For more information, visit the Other Art Fair website.
- 24 April – 5 May : Pick Me Up
Graphic arts festival at Somerset House’s Embankment Galleries, showcasing and selling original graphic art, design and illustration. Daily 10am-6pm, late nights on Thursdays until 10pm. Tickets: £8, concessions £6. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple. For more information, visit the Pick Me Up website.
- 24 April – 5 May : Sci-Fi-London Film Festival
Independent film festival showcasing the latest sci-fi films. BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XT. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Sci-Fi London website.
- 25 – 27 April : Sundance London Festival
The Sundance Film Festival comes to London to showcase the best of American independent movies. O2 Arena, North Greenwich, SE10 0DX. Nearest tube: North Greenwich. For more information and tickets, visit the Sundance London website.
- 25 April – 4 May : New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival
A film festival run and staffed by volunteers offering free screenings in venues around New Cross and Deptford. Classics will be screened alongside independent films by new and local talent. For more information, visit the Free Film Festival website. For more information, check out Metro Girl’s blog post on this year’s festival.
- Now until 27 April : The Sunflowers
Two of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers paintings have been reunited – shown together for the first time in 65 years. The masterpieces will be displayed side-by-side so visitors can compare and contrast. Free, but expect to queue at busy times. Room 45, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the National Gallery website.
- Now until 1 June : Bailey’s Stardust @ National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition of 250 portraits by the acclaimed photographer Sir David Bailey of celebrities, politicians, designers, artists and people he has encountered on his travels. Tickets: £14.50 adults, £12 concessions. Advanced booking is highly recommended. National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE. Nearest tube: Leicester Square or Charing Cross. For more information and booking, visit the NPG website.
- Now until 1 June : United Visual Artists: Momentum
New art installation coming to The Curve at the Barbican. Unique Visual Artists have created ‘a carefully choreographed sequence of light, sound and movement, which responds to the unique space of the Curve’, featuring 12 pendulums which activate light and sound. Free admission. Be prepared for possible queues at peak times. Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Barbican website. For Metro Girl’s blog post on her visit to Momentum, click here.
- Now until December : Bond In Motion
An exhibition of James Bond vehicles. Tickets – Adults: £14.50, Children: £9.50. Booking in advance highly recommend. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington St, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit the London Film Museum website.