By Anastasia Mills Healy
Ignore Brexit and hop across the pond to be amazed by the world’s largest flower show, see the Sox and the Yanks play, catch Babs or Celine in Hyde Park, sleep in the former Scotland Yard (soon to be a hot new ultra-luxury hotel), or check out the new roof on Wimbledon’s No. 1 Court. Read on for some noteworthy upcoming events, exhibitions, and hotel openings.
Festivals & Events
RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival
The largest annual garden and flower show in the world is July 2-7 at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, a half hour train ride from London Waterloo. There are 33 acres of gorgeous flowers and plants plus shopping and dining options, and a full schedule of workshops, music performances, and cooking demonstrations.
Hyde Park is the place to be from July 5 to 14 for events including free outdoor movies and circus performances, and concerts by Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, and Florence and the Machine.
Fantastic Feats: The Building of London
A six-month celebration of the city’s architecture and engineering accomplishments, this festival includes the Architecture of London exhibition, which traces artists’ impressions of London from the 17th century to today; the Illuminated River lighting design art project that brings 15 central London bridges to life every night; guided tours of London’s subterranean Roman baths; and the Beasts of London digital installation in which lions, elephants, rats, and pigeons tell their experiences of city life. Dates vary, but most events continue through December 1.River Stage Festival
At the National Theatre every weekend from July 5 to August 4, this free outdoor arts and entertainment festival includes everything from family workshops to club nights.
The world’s largest classical music festival takes place throughout London from July 19 to September 14.
Hundreds of large-scale installations, exhibitions, and events pop up across the city September 14-22.
Special free access to more than 800 architecturally significant public and private buildings, plus tours and activities September 21-22 make Open House a much-anticipated event.
One of the world’s most famous ships, Cutty Sark, the only surviving tea clipper, turns 150 this year. In Greenwich, London, the ship is holding a birthday party the weekend of November 23-24, and offers daily storytelling, monthly comedy nights, and even daily afternoon tea service. How apropos!
A first for London, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees play two games June 29 and 30 at London Stadium.
Played the first two weeks of July, Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and the only one played on grass. This year, the grounds now have a second covered court, as a roof for No.1 Court was installed in May and the stadium’s seats were replaced and increased.
Catch four NFL games in London this fall: Oakland Raiders v. Chicago Bears (October 6), Carolina Panthers v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (October 13), Los Angeles Rams v. Cincinnati Bengals (October 27), and Houston Texans v. Jacksonville Jaguars (November 3). For the first time this year, two of the four games will be held at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Exhibitions & Attractions
If you happen to be in London on July 20, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, there’s no better place commemorate the day than at the Natural History Museum in Kensington. UK artist Luke Jerram has created a 23-foot model called Museum of the Moon, which features meticulously detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface and ambient moonlight. See it through September 8.
The palace’s State Rooms are open to visitors for 10 weeks each summer. This summer the dates are July 20-September 29.The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain
At Tate Britain through August 11, this exhibition explores the relationship between van Gogh—who lived in London for a few years—and Britain, and demonstrates how his work inspired British artists such as Francis Bacon.
Take a deep dive into artificial intelligence with an exhibition that focuses on the evolution of the relationship between humans and technology. At the Barbican Centre through August 26, AI: More than Human traces AI from its ancient Shinto roots to the 19th century work of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and then through major developments from the 1940s to today.
Emirates Air Line
Did you know that there is a cable car in London? It crosses the Thames near the Millennium Dome and is a fun way to get to Greenwich (England that is!). On a recent trip, we took the DLR train line next to the Tower of London to the Royal Victoria station and walked a block to the Emirates Air Line terminal where we boarded a cable car to North Greenwich. From there we walked a few minutes to the waterfront and jumped on a boat for a quick ride to Greenwich. Yes, there are easier ways to get to Greenwich, but this was an adventure.
Mary Poppins returns to the West End this October in a Disney-Cameron Macintosh production. The revival will be staged at the same Prince Edward Theatre where it originally ran before moving to Broadway (where it closed in 2013).
See Clive Owen in Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana July-September; Idris Elba in the South Africa-focused Tree in July and August; Matthew Broderick in The Starry Messenger through August. Evita fans will want to fly across the pond to see this production in Regent Park’s Open Air Theatre in August and September.
Centrally located in South Kensington, 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel London, Curio Collection by Hilton opened in May after a multimillion-pound refurbishment of the 1870s former home of Victorian aristocrat William Henry Alexander.
In the financial district—the City of London—on a narrow street, you’ll find this new luxury boutique hotel with 92 rooms.
A 145-room design hotel called The Stratford is part of a new skyscraper called Manhattan Loft Gardens. The Scandinavian-inspired interiors are by Space Copenhagen, and there’s a sky garden, mezzanine lounge, all-day brasserie, 24-hour gym, yoga classes, and gin tastings. It’s in East London, steps from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Forget about boring room service–at the 900-room new Hard Rock Hotel London you can order a Fender® guitar to be delivered to your room if you feel inspired by the rock memorabilia around you. In-room video lessons are available (we won’t tell). At the corner of Oxford Street and Park Lane, across from Marble Arch tube station, this is surprisingly the first Hard Rock Hotel in the U.K.One Aldwych
After an extensive refurbishment, One Aldwych has reopened in its elegant 1907 Covent Garden building. All 105 rooms and suites are refreshed. Perks like an in-house florist, extensive art collection, celebrated lobby bar, and sweets-forward afternoon tea service remain in place.
The first of its brand outside the U.S., The Standard, London exudes a colorful 1970s retro-hip vibe, inspired by its 1974 Brutalist building. In the King’s Cross neighborhood across from the stunning Victorian Gothic St. Pancras International rail station, it opens in August, just in time to enjoy its outdoor public spaces.
Opening in September, The Biltmore, Mayfair in Grosvenor Square is the former Millennium Hotel London Mayfair. Now undergoing a £50 million refurbishment and rebranding, it is one of the first under the new Hilton brand LXR Hotels & Resorts. This luxury hotel will have 308 rooms (some with views of Hyde Park or Green Park) and several restaurant and bar options including The Terrace, which will offer al fresco dining.
The highly anticipated opening of an “upper-upscale” hotel in what was police headquarters from 1829 to 1980, is at press time unannounced but expected by this fall. An Abu Dhabi-based development company is behind this transformation and they have spared no expense. In the St. James section of Westminster, it is part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection.
Visit London https://www.visitlondon.com/
Itinerary for a Family Trip to London https://stashastravels.blog/2019/06/09/what-to-do-with-kids-in-london/