January is finally over and we’re moving into the month of love – so what are we loving in February?
Well, February will start with a bang – a really loud bang, as Her Majesty The Queen’s accession to the throne 68 years ago is celebrated with gun salutes in Green Park and at the Tower of London (6th).
There’s also half-term to contend with and weary parents looking for ways to entertain their offspring may want to consider the many family-friendly activities put on in London’s museums and art galleries. Alternatively, head to the Southbank Centre for the Imagine Children’s Festival (12th-23rd), for children aged up to 12 with face painting, family singalongs, a pirate themed party and a puppet version of The Hungry Caterpillar, plus you can meet a dinosaur, go on an adventure with Pippi Longstocking and sit in a giant garden to watch slug and caterpillar fight over the last leaf!
In the art world, Tate Modern opens a major exhibition of Turner prize winning artist Steve McQueen’s sculpture, film and photography and The Queens House in Greenwich puts the private art collection of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford on display in Woburn Treasures (both open on the 13th). It’s also worth a trip to the wonderful Dulwich Picture Gallery to blow your mind with its exhibition of British Surrealism, which celebrates 100 years of the birth of surrealism with over 70 works by artists such as Henry Moore, Conroy Maddox and Francis Bacon (opens 26th).
And if you’re gearing up for the Tokyo Olympics later this year, the Victoria and Albert Museum is discovering the design and beauty of the kimono their Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk exhibition (opens 29th) which features traditional robes, designer robes from the likes of John Galliano and Yves Saint Laurent and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi robe from the original 1977 film, Star Wars IV: A New Hope.
However, the biggie for February is the opening of Meet Vincent van Gogh, the amazing multisensory experience that takes you on a journey through his life, at the South Bank (opens 7th).
With Valentine’s Day looming, how about a bit of romance at the theatre? Pretty Woman: The Musical opens at the Piccadilly Theatre (13th) and the French farce La Cage aux Folles (The Play) translated by Simon Callow opens at the Park Theatre (12th).
Of course, if you fancy a little indulgence before Lent kicks in and we all abstain, well there’s a huge pizza party at Slice World (21st and 22nd) with every slice just £2 and BrewLDN offers you the chance to sample beers from 150 brewers at the Old Truman Brewery (27th-29th).
Which brings me onto Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday (25th), to give it its proper name which heralds the start of a 40-day period of fasting in the lead up to Easter in the Christian calendar. Traditionally, a day to use up foods that were given up for Lent, it has morphed into a day to stuff our faces with sweet or savoury (or both) pancakes. Before you do so though, you may want to take part in one of London’s pancake races to work up an appetite, or just cheer one on. Races can be found down on Bankside and at Greenwich and Leadenhall Markets.
Historical anniversaries this month include the opening of the first gentlemen’s public toilet in Fleet Street (2nd in 1852), the marriage between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (10th in 1840), Lady Jane Grey’s execution in the Tower of London (12th in 1554) and Catherine Howard’s execution, also at the Tower of London (13th in 1542), diarist Samuel Pepys was born (23rd in 1633) and Sir Christopher Wren died (23rd in 1723).
Finally, it’s your last chance to see the Mary Quant exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (closes 16th) and Cyrano de Bergerac at the Playhouse Theatre (closes 29th).
Oh, and this is a leap year, so we all get an extra day on Saturday 29th – what are you going to do with it?
#lifeofaguide #PancakeDay #HalfTerm #VincentvanGogh #Kimonos #BeerFestival #ValentinesDay #MaryQuant
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