What does a traveller appreciate in London? Certainly,
the rich history that is what makes it unique. If you are an art lover or
history buff who’s planning a trip to London, make sure you check out the city’s top
upcoming art exhibitions. Here are some of the temporary yet extraordinary
exhibitions that you should add to your London bucket list.
One of the most influential British painters of the 20th century, Richard Hamilton enjoyed international acclaim over a career of 60 years. In 1992, this artist was commissioned by the BBC to reproduce his legendary art piece. The Tate Modern holds an eclectic collection of Hamilton’s work from across his career. This art gallery has made a formal public statement about a traditional exhibition of Hamilton’s work in Feb, 2014.
Address: Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, Bankside, 25 Sumner Street, London SE1 9TG
Dates: 13th February 2014 until 26th May 2014
Accommodation: Grange St Pauls (Just 4 minutes away from the venue)
In the Royal Academy’s Sensing Spaces exhibition, some of the most creative architectural minds from four continents build exceptional contemporary structures for visitors to explore. The goal of this exhibition is to give you a new perspective on architecture and transform the gallery with a collection of large scale installations.
Address: Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD
Dates: 25th January 2014 until 6th April 2014
Accommodation: Cavendish Hotel (Just 3 minutes away from the venue)
Jean Paul Gaultier
The first major exhibition devoted to French Pret-a-Porter fashion designer opens at the Barbican Art Gallery in April, 2014. With his forward-thinking fashion designs, Gaultier has transformed the gaze of fashion over the last 40 years. This fittingly theatrical exhibition is all about catwalk presentations, concerts, music videos, and dance performances.
Address: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, City, London EC2Y 8DS
Dates: 9th April 2014 until 17th August 2014
Accommodation: The Montcalm
(Just 2 minutes away from the venue)
Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America
Once again, Saatchi Gallery is welcoming emerging artists from Latin America and Africa. Paintings, drawings, photography, and sculptures are just a few things that you can enjoy at this art exhibition. Perfect for every art lover, this art exhibition holds a collection of detailed paintings by artists including Fredy Alzate and Antonio Malta Campos.
Address: Saatchi Gallery, Duke Of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3 4RY
Dates: 2nd April 2014 until 31st August 2014
Accommodation: Sloane Square Hotel London (Just 2 minutes away from the venue)
Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
The phenomenon works of this renowned French artist made during the last period of his life, the significant cut-outs on coloured papers – are to be displayed at Tate Modern in the month of April. The works he shaped when his illness rolled become some of his most iconic. Though he may have lost his potential to grip a paintbrush, he lost none of his sparkling creativity and integrative know-how. This large-scale paper works will be amongst the most excellent you will experience in this city this year.
Address: Tate Modern, Bankside Power Station, Bankside, 25 Sumner Street, London SE1 9TG
Dates: 16th April to 7th September 2014
Nearby Accommodation: Novotel London City South
This is just a glimpse of what London offers to its travellers. So, why not plan your trip and make the most of city’s culture and art scene.
Located right in the entertainment heart of London, Covent Garden is a district that got its name when it was a garden of the Westminster Abbey and Convent. The district is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market, but now it has become a popular shopping and tourist site. Home to Royal Opera House, it is the perfect stop to shop, dine, leisurely walk, or discover some unique heritage of London.
its three bustling markets, Covent Garden is no doubt shopper’s delight that
you can’t afford to miss. Also, there are a number of theatres and
entertainment facilities in the area, including The Donmar Warehouse and the
London Transport Museum. To keep you buzzing late into the night, the borough has
over 60 pubs and bars, with more than a few of them listed structures as well
as being on CAMRA’s National Inventory. Here’s a guide that will help you to
make the most of your itinerary.
London is an enormous city and getting around its popular cultural sites can take some time. But, if you’re in Covent Garden, then you can have a very convenient day out with the city’s big museums. London Transport Museum, The Courtauld Gallery, The Strand Gallery, and Hunterian Museum are all within easy reach, where you can discover the city’s rich heritage.
From the pampering Bateaux London cruise experience to the historic
National Portrait Gallery, Covent Garden is home to city’s most popular tourist
attractions. Some sites have free admissions, while some charge affordable fees.
If you are on a budget, then you can consider National Gallery, Sir John
Soane’s Museum, and Trafalgar Square for your visit as they allow free
Want to watch a musical or play, but don’t know where? Not to worry, as the district is chock full of theatres and entertainment options. There are around 26 theatres, 5 comedy clubs, and 3 cinemas in Covent Garden. Royal Opera House is perfect to see a classic ballet rooted in a much-loved fairytale, while Prince Charles Cinema is a great option to watch classic films or recent Hollywood releases. So, why not spend some time absorbing the unique atmosphere.
A destination for fashion brands, Covent Garden is popular for its retail districts and shopping streets. Whether you want to buy gifts, rare sweets, clothes, or hand-made jewellery, the area has something for everyone. East Piazza, Apple Market, and Jubilee Market Hall Ltd. are some of the popular markets where you can shop till you drop. Fashion-conscious travellers who are looking for fashion department stores can add Unconditional+, Pop Boutique, and Stephen Jones stores to their bucket list.
Whether you are in London for business purposes or having a family
gateway, the best place to accommodate yourself is Covent Garden. Perhaps,
the main reason is the choice of accommodations from luxury hotels to budget
options. Grange Holborn and Intercontinental
London Park Lane are perfect for extravagant stays, while Grange Langham Court
Hotel and Mermaid Suite Hotel are great options for those who want to enjoy
luxury for less.
No doubt, this lively district never sleeps due to the presence of amazing nightclubs and bars. Travellers all over the London come here to enjoy the trendy hang outs. If you want to pull an all-nighter from you, then you can head to some famous nightclubs like Heaven, LSE Student Union, and The Island. But, if you are looking for a tranquil venue where you can taste red, white, or sparkling wines, then you should opt for wine bars like Gordon’s Wine Bar and Cork & Bottle. Besides, casual boozers who are looking for a beer pint can visit All Bar One and Lowlander Beer Café.
Get pampered while enjoying a luxury cruise on the Silver Fleet, having a leisurely walk through Phoenix Garden or getting a relaxing spa at Thai Square Spa. There are plenty of leisure things to do in the capital that will surely make your holiday experience a memorable one. If you are a little health-conscious, you can also do workout in a state-of-the-art fitness centres. Gymbox, Cannons Health Club and Spa, and Curzon’s are perfect choices to remain fit while getting around in London.
There’s no doubt, London is one of the best gastronomic destinations in the world. Thanks to city’s authentic food delights and diverse cuisines. Even the Covent Garden is also blessed with great restaurants and eateries to have a savoury meal. While there are number of chain restaurants convenient for having a quick bite, there are also many sit-down restaurants perfect for having a three-course meal or a decent dinner. L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon is the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Covent Garden that offers you a creative menu packed with star dishes. Though it is on the expensive side, the food and service you will receive is worth the money. Travellers who are looking for casual and smart dining, they can consider The Ivy, Gauthier Soho, and Mon Plaisir.
There are so many attractions to visit and things to do in Covent Garden that sometimes it becomes really touch to make a choice. But, this guide will surely help you to make the most of this district while visiting the London city.
Swim like a Champion at Aquatics Centre
The Aquatic Centre is set to open on March 1st, it will be open to public to indulge in all sorts of aquatic activities for all ages including swimming, water polo, and diving to triathlon. Whether you are a novice or a professional, there is something in store for you. The Aquatic Centre is much-acclaimed for its wave-like ceiling perfectly complementing its usage. Equipped with a 50m x 8-lane training swimming pool and a 50m x 10-lane Olympic competition pool, the venue promises to offer an exciting experience. It is designed by the famous architect Zaha Hadid which makes it even more intriguing to at least pay a visit.
Enjoy Eye-Pleasing Views of London from Arcelor Mittal Orbit
Have you ever noticed that giant vomit-inducing roller coaster in London’s skyline?Sorry, I won’t offer you the adrenaline rush you’re after since it’s the tallest sculpture in UK, a giant piece of art created for the Olympics. But it’s worth a visit to enjoy eye-popping views of London’s incredible skyline which is reason enough we think. Engineer Cecil Blamond, artist Sir Anish Kapoor, and the steel firm Arcelor Mittal joined hands to create this outstanding sculpture, 114.5m-tall with two viewing platforms. The tower is set to open on 5th April this year.
Have a Relaxing Day at Lee Valley Velopark
If your idea of a perfect weekend is to lay that picnic rug in a local garden, here is your chance. Don’t worry you won’t have to read forward about Hyde Park or Regents Park or any other crowded Royal Park. Award-winning Velodrome has been amazingly transformed into the Lee Valley VeloPark. The parkland in the south which is set to open on 5th April is home to hedgerowswoods, and wildlife habitats, in short, a relaxing retreat. The park features 25 public artworks one of which is the Monica Bonvicini’s mirror sculpture.
Cycle in an Olympic Venue
If you like cycling, there are 8km of mountain bike trails, a 1 mile well-lit road cycle route, and the illuminated Olympic BMX track. What else do you want then? The cycling routes will be open to public from 1st March onwards.
A Sporting Day at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis
The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre is a perfect escape to burn off those extra calories and have a sporting weekend. With four tennis court, 6 outdoor courts, and two hockey pitches, the venue promises to become a favourite weekend jaunt of the locals. The £30 million clubhouse is equipped with a bar and changing rooms as well. Coaching facilities will be available throughout the year for national and local players’ alike.The sports centre is set to open in May so you’ll have to wait a little longer.
What’s Open Already?
- You can access the gym at the Copper Box Arena and also see live sport.
- The northern parklands are open to public along with the waterside lawns and wetlands.
- The Timber Lodge Café, creatively designed to blend seamlessly with the natural backdrop is open.
- Next to the café, the Tumbling Bay playground is also open to public. It features a sandpit and pathways among the treetops as well.
Each year, thousands of Sikhs and Punjabis descend on the Trafalgar Square to wish each other ‘Vaisakhi Diyan Lakh Lakh Vadhaiyan’ and celebrate the Sikh New Year. The Vaisakhi Festival of 2014 is imminent and, as usual, London’s Sikh community is all set to celebrate it in style. The event is really a vista to consider with traditional and modern Asian music, dancing and a variety of exotic gastronomic delights on offer. Prayers, Shabad Kirtin, Bhangra, and Raising of the Nishan Sahib flag are just a few things that will make this religious celebration a huge event.
The event holds a great importance for the Sikh community because of the collective fact that on this day, Guru Gobind Singh initiated the foundation of the Panth Khalsa. In the last years, crowds of over 30,000 devotees have attended the celebrations, which usually end with a prayer for the well-being of the entire humanity. Everyone is welcome to take part in this traditional Sikh occasion, supporting friendship, community, and mutual respect. Besides, the Mayor of London also attends this procession on the Trafalgar Square. Here is some of the quick information about the festival.
Event: Vaisakhi Festival 2014
Venue:Trafalgar Square, Central London, Westminster, London WC2N 5DS
Dates: 4th May 2014
Nearest Tube Station: Charing Cross Station
Nearby Car Parks: Q-Park Trafalgar and St Martins Lane NCP
Best Accommodations near the Trafalgar Square
Whether you are coming
from the northern Indian subcontinent or any other corner of the world, London
welcomes you with its surprising hospitable aura. To attend the Vaisakhi
festival, it is suggested to book your lodgings close to the Trafalgar Square. This way, you would keep yourself in touch with a vibrant and
exciting afternoon of Asian music, dancing and a range of exotic culinary
Highlights of the Vaisakhi Festival
- An opportunity to watch modern and traditional Asian music, dance, and DJ sets
- Pioneers of British Bhangra like Juggy D, The Phat Kat Koalition, and Heera will take part in the procession
- An array of fun activities for kids such as arts and crafts, henna artists, and face painting
- Chance to taste an authentic range of vegetarian food that is arranged by the community
To get more details on Vaisakhi Festival 2014 in London, you can call upon 020 7983 4750 or visit the London’s official website www.london.gov.uk/vaisakhi.
When it comes to explore London for free, the only thing you’ll be short of is free time. You can have a lifetime travel experience without ever handing over a penny, and not just by wandering on unknown streets, bike paths, or shopping markets. The England’s capital is blessed with hundred of free-admissions places, live entertainment spots, and outdoor activities. Here is a travel guide to London for those who want to explore the best of London for free.
Free-Admission Places to Visit
Explore the Witty Art Collection at Tate Modern
Exhibiting the international contemporary art, Tate Modern is the world’s most-visited modern art gallery and it is not hard to believe why. Located in the former Bankside Power Station, this modern art gallery holds a collection of contemporary artworks dating from 1900 until today. The art collection exhibitions consist of 4 wings, including History, Action, Environment, and Real Life. Blackfriars is the closest station for Tube commuters.
Climb up the Big Ben
This may sound a little strange but you can climb up all 334 steps of Big Ben to hear the Great Bell ring the hour up close. Due to its historic design, the attraction has no lifts. An inside tour of Big Ben is only open to UK residents. The timing of the tours are 9.15am, 11.15am, and 2.15pm. Residents need to organize a visit by writing to their local MP’s or a Member of the House of Lords.
Go back in Time with St Paul’s Church
Don’t get confused with St Paul’s Cathedral (a church of England cathedral that accepts a hefty admission fee), this church at Covert Garden had a long alliance with the theatre community. Due to which, it gained its nickname the ’actor’s church’. This attraction takes you back in time through the great memorials of Charlie Chaplin and Vivien Leigh. So, get ready to discover some well-known characters of the British theatrical history. Make sure you visit a professional chamber Orchestra of St Paul’s while paying a visit to this place.
Uncover the World’s Famous Treasures at British Museum
British Museum proves the statement that the best things in London are free. It is one of the world’s best museums, which is purely dedicated to human history and culture. The museum boasts a permanent collection, figuring some 8 million artworks. It is no surprise that you may find yourself short of time when exploring the amazing collection of this museum. This free-admission museum is open daily for except for 1 Jan and 24, 25, and 26 Dec.
See the Farm Animals at Hackney
This city farm invites you to meet the farm animals and experience farming right in the hub of London. It gives an opportunity to spot, smell, and plant vegetables. Beloved of Londoners and nature lovers, the farm is home to farmyard animals like goats, sheep, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, and a donkey. The place is open to public from 10am to 4.30pm every day, except Monday.
Detail: Don’t forget to try homemade ice cream, coffees, cakes, and roasts at farm’s cafe, Frizzante.
Navigate your Way through the British History
If you are looking for a different way to explore the British history, head to National Portrait Gallery. It is one of the most popular art galleries housing a collection of personalities and faces, from the late Middle Ages to the current day. From British Royal Family to famous musicians and performers, this art gallery holds an extensive collection of memories. The art gallery also boasts a fantastic rooftop restaurant that offers magnificent views across the city skyline.
Live Entertainment Spots That You Can’t Miss
Enjoy the City Life with Free Outdoor Events
Events and outdoor activities are held in the capital all year round. So, you don’t need to wait while planning your London trip. From trade fair and movie premieres to festivals and comedy gigs, London has something for everyone. Though the best time to join the city life is Christmas and New Year, some travellers prefer to travel in summertime to attend beer garden and rooftop events. Music, dance, and street theatre make your visiting experience as enjoyable as possible. If you are planning to visit the capital, then make sure to check the London events calendar to plan your trip accordingly. Check out the London events calendar at Timeout London.
Salute The Queen’s Guard
Yes, it is a display of British pomp and a wee bit touristy, but every tourist must watch the Changing the Guard at least once in their life. As the name suggests, this ceremony includes changing the guard’s duty. Starts at 11.30am, it happens every day from May to July, and on odd days (1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and so on) throughout the rest of the year. To set the tone of British culture, all guards are clothed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats. If you desire doesn’t come to an end after seeing this, you can also watch Guard Mounting ceremony at Horse Guards Arch and Windsor Castle.
Live Comedy Gigs at Comedy Cafe
‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’ and this is something that should be done without splurging pounds. Fortunately, this comedy cafe allows you to catch some hilarious comedians without paying a single penny on every Wednesday night. This cafe bar is perfect for those who can’t afford to miss British live gigs whilst sticking to the beer taps. If you have already visited this place, then you can try The Queen’s Head pub that offers free comedy night for the price of a pint.
Talks, Discussions, and Speech at Speakers Corner
Some ultra-modern people don’t think it is entertaining, but this place exhibits one of the most absorbingly theatrical activities. This is one of the few places in London where open-air public speaking is allowed. Situated in the city’s famous royal garden, Hyde Park, it is the religious home of the British democratic convention of soapbox oratory. Talks are held about the current political, cultural, and social topics. The perfect time to listen the talks is Sunday morning. But, you will find speakers at this place throughout the week.
Celebrity Spotting At Leicester Square
London might not have the same reputation as Los Angeles, but the city is crowded with superstars just waiting to be spotted. The city is also home to Odeon Leicester Square, which has hosted several European and world film premieres. Happening on a frequent basis, these premieres catch the fancy of cinema lovers and Londoners alike. However, go ahead of time in order to get a good spot in the square well before the red carpet is rolled out.
Usually, the premieres start at 7’o’clock, but it suggested reaching at least a couple of hours early.
Outdoor Activities to Do
Stroll along the Iconic Stretch of the Southbank
If you love walking in a leisurely way, then Southbank is one of the best places to explore in London on foot. Cross over the Waterloo Bridge from Covent Garden to start your stroll. While walking along the Southbank, you will discover some of the paid-for and free attractions like the London Eye, Southbank Centre, National Theatre, IMAX cinema and much more. Don’t forget to watch out the OXO Tower, which is home to a number of creative and crafty shops.There is a wide selection of bars, restaurants, and hotels for all budgets. Therefore, you don’t need to leave the comfort of the South Bank, London.
Try Skateboard at Skateboard Park
South Bank has always been the whipping heart of the capital for its highbrow culture. It is also home to Skateboard Park, which is a popular skate park under the arches of Queen Elizabeth Hall. The park comprises of numerous ramps, ledges, raised surfaces, and a set of stairs to keep a couple of skateboarders happy. Considering the safety of travellers, the park also has a railing to restrict people from strolling a bit too close. A quick walk from the park, there is a Hungerford footbridge, which is commonly known as skateboard graveyard. You can visit to see the plenty of broken decks pitched there. Waterloo is the nearest station for tube commuters, while tourists travelling via railways can exist at Waterloo East Railway Station.
Check out Fine Arts at Wallace Collection
Just 2-minutes away from the wearing crowds of Oxford Street, Wallace Collection is an ultimate museum with a world-famous collection of fine and decorative arts. It also houses the fine paintings, splendid furniture, exhibitions of weapons and armours, and stately rooms. The permanent exhibitions at this museum include two paintings by Titian, 5 Rembrandts, and masterpieces by de Hooch, to name a few. To enjoy a traditional-style lunch, you can visit the in-house restaurant, which is city’s most fine gallery dining space. You can do exit at Bond Street Tube Station, which is just 6 minutes away from this museum. For railway commuters, Marylebone is the closest station to the venue.
Unwind at City’s Royal Gardens
Despite a bustling capital of the world, London also offers some stunning, tranquil gardens and open areas. These open spaces are located in the very heart of the city and are hard to overlook. They also offer stunning scenery, which is a perfect way to explore the capital in between all the hectic sightseeing activities. Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, St James’s Park, and Kensington Gardens are some of the famous parks that you can’t afford to miss. The main draw of Hyde Park is Diana Fountain, which is obviously a memorial to Diana (Princess of Whales). Whereas, Regents Park scores high for its boating lake, tennis centre, and open air theatre.
Enjoy Rain at the Barbican
If cultural attractions is not your thing and you’re looking for something unusual to pamper your kids and loved ones, then head to the Barbican. This place is perfect for kids and adults alike. A piece of digital creation, Rain Room uses 2,500 litres of water, and falls at 1,000 litres every minute. The sound of rain and wetness in the air presents the impression of being in the centre of an impulsive downpour, without getting wet. Therefore, you can let your kids go crazy in a rain room without worrying about the clothes change. It’s free admission is the main reason to attract thousands of travellers, so you should better go early. Admission is done on first come, first served basis.
Chance to Explore the Prime Meridian
If weather permits, you can take a trip to Maritime Greenwich (a world heritage site in London). The place includes some of the well-known attractions like Park, the Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum, and the Cutty Sark. Perfect for history buffs and nature lovers, this attraction is definitely worth visiting. Widely known as the location of the prime meridian, The Royal Observatory played a vital role in the history of astronomy and navigation. Located on a hill in Greenwich Park, this place is also home of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The park also boasts two restaurants – one is Park Café perfect for coffee lovers and the other is Cow and Bean Café that has a massive area for active kids to run around. The nearest tube station to Greenwich Park is New Cross and the closest railway station is Maze Hill. Commuters are advised to opt for railways, as the station is in walking distance to this spot.
Is that all you got? Not at all, London has plenty of other attractions, shopping markets, and activities too where you can continue your itinerary. However, the above free-admissions places and activities are sure to make your visiting experience as memorable as possible. So, get ready to discover the famous as well as hidden gems without worrying about the budget.