Things to do this week is sponsored by Hampton Court Palace.
The Easter Duck Trail at London Wetland Centre is one of our Easter picks
EASTER WEEKEND: As Easter Weekend approaches, here’s our pick of Easter events in London, from bunny hunts and adventure quests to spring fairs and live music. Don’t forget to check for transport disruption before you set off, as station and line closures and engineering works take place over the Easter weekend.
EASTER HOLIDAYS: Running out of ways to keep the kids busy while they’re off school? You need our guide to spending the Easter holidays in London, featuring exhibitions, shows and other family-friendly activities for children of all ages.
BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND: If all the bunnies-and-eggs vibe isn’t doing it for you, but you’ve still got a long weekend to make the most of, take a look at our favourite things to do in London over the bank holiday weekend. It covers cultural days out, long walks, sports, family fun — and plenty more.
DAY TRIPS: Feel the urge to leave London completely? Take a gander at our map that’s packed full of day trip ideas. From days at the seaside to niche museums to nearby towns worth exploring, there’s oodles of inspo.
We’ve got plenty of ideas for day trips, including a wasteland turned beautiful garden
CHOCOLATE SHOPS: Not sure if we mentioned it, but it’s Easter this weekend. If a supermarket egg just won’t do, hunt out London’s best chocolate shops for cocoa-based goodies to delight the recipient (or yourself… we won’t tell).
MAGNIFICENT MAPS: New exhibition Magnificent Maps of London opens on Monday, showcasing maps of the capital from the 16th century until today, including the oldest complete surviving map of London. Other cartographical gems on display include 19th century etchings used to track the spread of diseases like cholera, and a tube map from 1912. London Metropolitan Archives (Clerkenwell), free, just turn up, 11 April-16 October
LAST CHANCE BACON: It’s the final week of Francis Bacon: Man and Beast at Royal Academy of Arts, a heavyweight exhibition of the artist’s paintings which had a lasting emotional impact on our art critic. Royal Academy, £22-£24.50, book ahead, until 17 April
RAPHAEL: The National Gallery has opened a show about Italian artist extraordinaire Raphael, looking not just at his paintings and drawings, but his work in architecture, poetry and design too. Loans from the Louvre, National Gallery of Art, Washington and the Vatican Museum feature, and it got a 5* rating from our art critic — read the full review. The National Gallery, £24, book ahead, until 31 July
Small is Beautiful opens in London on Friday
ONGOING EXHIBITIONS: Want to use Easter to catch up on London’s exhibition scene? Here are some of your options (check opening hours before you travel as some may have different times over the Easter weekend):
- Fabergé in London: There’s glamour and bling aplenty at this show about the company best known for its high-end decorative eggs, as well as information about Fabergé’s history, including a store on Bond Street. V&A, £18, book ahead, until 8 May
- Van Gogh: Courtauld Gallery’s own Van Gogh painting takes centre stage at this exhibition of the Dutch painters’ self portraits. All 16 0f the works on display were created in the four years leading up to his death. Courtauld Gallery, £18, book ahead, until 8 May
- Stonehenge: One of the mammoth exhibitions of the year, Stonehenge takes a wider look at what was going on in Europe at the time the mysterious stone circle was created. Be warned: you’ll need to set several hours aside to do this one in detail. British Museum, £20, book ahead, until 17 July
- Fashioning masculinities: The V&A examines how men’s fashion has shifted through the ages, from 17th century trailblazers to modern, jazzy tuxedos. V&A, £20, book ahead, until 6 November
- Beatrix Potter: A major exhibition dedicated to the children’s author and illustrator, V&A’s Beatrix Potter show is one for hardcore fans. V&A, £14, book ahead, until January 2023
- Titanic: Want to see how plush the top end cabins were on the Titanic? You can, at this exhibition that includes recreations of parts of the ship. There are also objects recovered from the sunken ship, along with the human stories of their owners. Canada Water, £27.90, book ahead, ongoing
Monday 11 April
Gresham College takes a deep dive into Covid disinformation
TEA DANCE: Anyone aged 16+ is welcome at this Royal Opera House tea dance. Spend a couple of hours doing the tango, waltz and quickstep around the dance floor, with tea and biscuits included. Royal Opera House, £20, book ahead, 12.30pm-2.30pm
COVID DISINFORMATION: This free Gresham College lecture examines the problem of organised disinformation around the Covid-19 pandemic. Learn how algorithms and automation have been used to spread misleading information online, and the effect this has had on public understanding and credible health policies. Barnard’s Inn Hall (Holborn)/online, free, book ahead, 6pm-7pm
CHOCOLATE REVOLUTION: British Library’s Food Season is back, and today there’s a chance to hear about the process of producing ethical chocolate, and the effect it has on local communities. Panellists are Chantal Coady (founder of Rococo Chocolate), Nick Davis (a grower in Jamaica), and Angus Thirlwell of Hotel du Chocolat. The event’s overseen by food journalist Leyla Kazim. There are free tastings for in-person attendees. British Library/online, £13, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm
UKRAINE FRONTLINE: Freelance journalism venue The Frontline Club holds the latest in its series of events looking at the reporting work being done in Ukraine. The event focuses on media broadcasting fatigue, and how interest in news stories is being maintained now that we’re a few weeks into the conflict. Ticket revenue from the event goes straight into supporting freelance journalists working in Ukraine. The Frontline Club (Paddington) or online, £5-£15, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm
BEN AARONOVITCH: Author Ben Aaronovitch is at Foyles to discuss his new book, Amongst Our Weapons — the ninth in his Rivers of London series. The talk is followed by a Q&A and author signing session. Foyles Charing Cross Road, £8/£22 including book, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm
Tuesday 12 April
Take part in a tea dance at the Royal Albert Hall
LIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES: Join experts from the London Metropolitan Archives for a closer look at some of its objects. This time round it’s the ‘Agas’ map, an early map of London that’s full of idiosyncratic details of the Tudor city. London Metropolitan Archive or online, free, book ahead, 1pm-1.20pm
UNQUIET CITY: From advocate of the poor Fitz Osbert to Occupy London, there’s been unrest and protest in the City of London for centuries. David Charnick leads you through the streets on this two-hour walk, showing you that political activism is nothing new. Cannon Street station, £12/£9, book ahead, 2.30pm-4.30pm
TEA DANCE: Another day, another tea dance; this one takes place in the auditorium of the Royal Albert Hall. Spend the afternoon dancing to quicksteps, foxtrots, waltzes and Latin numbers performed live by Albert’s Big Band. Royal Albert Hall, £10, book ahead, 3pm
WORLD’S WEIRDEST CROCODILE: Learn about the weird and wonderful lives of gharials (crocodile-like creatures with long, thin snouts) in Nepal at this ZSL online lecture. More widely, the event covers why the conservation of their freshwater habitat is so important, not just for this endangered species but for the world as a whole. Online event, free, 5pm-6.30pm
RADIO LEGENDS: Radio double act Fi Glover and Jane Garvey celebrate the launch of their new book Did I Say That Out Loud? with a live event at the British Library (which was postponed from December). Hear them riff on topics such as pet deaths, hair dye, broadcast hierarchies and more. British Library/online, £16, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm
Hampton Court Palace’s Spectacular Tulip Festival Is Back
Delight in the sight of over 120,000 tulips, as they burst into vibrant colour in the stunning grounds of Hampton Court Palace this April.
Strolling through the courtyards and gardens of King Henry VIII’s former residence, you’ll encounter thousands upon thousands of the incandescent springtime blooms — some in spectacular floating vases, others forming great seas of colour across the flower beds.
Horticultural aficionados will be in awe of the 60 rare, historic and specialist varieties on show. But this is a flower festival for everyone — an unmissable opportunity to capture Insta-friendly snaps of you, your family and friends, with a beautiful backdrop of perfect petals.
The festival starts from 12 April, when the palace’s gardeners predict the tulips will look their prettiest. Just in time for the bank holidays, too!
The Tulip Festival is included with entry to the palace. Find out more and book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
Wednesday 13 April
Sex Talks focuses on polyamory
WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS: Ogle portraiture, landscape, architecture, wildlife and street photography by talent from more than 200 countries at the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition, which launches today. Somerset House, £15, book ahead, 13 April-2 May
I AM GAVRILO PRINCIP: In 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand, triggering the first world war. Was it worth it? This one-hour show finds the young assassin in purgatory, forced to watch the consequences of his actions over and over. Bush Hall (Shepherd’s Bush), from £15, book ahead, 2.30pm and 6.30pm
POLYAMORY: Sex Talks is a monthly event series featuring conversations about sex, desire and the female pleasure taboo. This month, a panel of experts discuss what we can learn from polyamory, and the damage done by expecting everyone to follow the same linear life path. The talk is followed by an anonymous Q&A session. The London Edition (Soho), £18-£20, book ahead, 6.30pm-8.30pm
FOOTLIGHTS COMEDY: Cambridge Footlights Louisa Keight and Niamh Curran each perform a half hour show at 2Northdown. Keight pairs the whimsical with the mundane, while Curran, who grew up in a post-troubles Northern Ireland, likes her comedy dry and dark. 2Northdown (King’s Cross), £7, book ahead, 7pm-8pm
SOMERSET HOUSE LATES: This year, Somerset House launches three new special late-night events, the first of which takes place tonight. Visit the complex after-hours for special artist and curator activities, bars, street food and live DJs. Sculpting demos and events linked to the current Van Gogh exhibition all feature in tonight’s event. Somerset House, free, book ahead, 7pm-10pm
Thursday 14 April
London City Voices perform at Troxy
RADICAL KENSINGTON: The area north of Kensington High Street has a rich bohemian history, and many great writers and artists were drawn to the area. Richard Watkins’s tour includes historic writers such as Kenneth Grahame, James Joyce and GK Chesterton — and you don’t need to have read their works to enjoy this illuminating walk. Meet High Street Kensington tube, book ahead, 2.30-4.30pm, repeats 21 April
BIG SCREEN BOND: If you weren’t around to enjoy Roger Moore’s Bond on the big screen back in the day, here’s a chance to watch The Spy Who Loved Me in all its widescreen glory. Prince Charles Cinema (Leicester Square), £10.50, book ahead, 2.30pm
EATING TO EXTINCTION: Dan Saladino, author of Eating To Extinction, talks to Jessica B. Harris, leading expert on African and African American food; cheese-maker Joe Schneider; and perry and cider maker Tom Oliver, about foods which are on the brink of extinction around the world, along with the farmers and communities which rely on them. British Library or online, £13, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm
MAUV: It’s a triple bill at Brixton Windmill tonight; the headline act is Mauv, with his swaggering, lyrical electro. Support comes from Crook Decker (“Baggy swamp music from the South”) and indie rocker Last Living Cannibal. Brixton Windmill, £6, book ahead, 7.45pm
LONDON CITY VOICES: For their spring concert, London City Voices transport the audience back to the ’90s, performing hits by the likes of Take That, The Corrs and Natalie Imbruglia. Retro outfits encouraged, and there’s an after-show party until the early hours. Troxy (Limehouse), from £25.20, book ahead, 8pm
Good Friday 15 April
See The Passion of Christ performed in Trafalgar Square. Image: Wintershall
SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL: An exhibition dedicated to miniature art opens in South Kensington, with 130 tiny artworks on show, as well as photographs. Artists play with objects such as sweets, toys and pencils to create scenes in miniature. 79-85 Old Brompton Road, £16, book ahead, from 15 April
THE PASSION OF CHRIST: As a gift to the people of London, the Wintershall Players perform a rendition of the Easter story for free every Good Friday. The event takes place in Trafalgar Square, and thousands of people turn up to watch the 100-strong cast every year, so turn up early to get a good view. Trafalgar Square, free, just turn up, 12pm/3.15pm
WIDOW’S BUN CEREMONY: One of London’s oddest traditions take place on Good Friday every year. Head to The Widow’s Son pub in Bow to watch the Widow’s Bun Ceremony. A hot cross bun, with the year baked into to the top, is hung from the ceiling, to honour a widow who apparently used to continue baking them for her son, even years after he stopped returning home and was presumed dead. It’s usually followed by a free buffet. Widow’s Son, free, just turn up, ceremony at 3pm
ST MATTHEW PASSION: Barbican hosts a special Good Friday performance of Bach’s St John Passion, performed by the Academy of Ancient Music. Barbican, £20-£50, book ahead, 3pm
SUSIE DENT: Hear from lexicographer and Queen of Countdown’s Dictionary Corner, Susie Dent, in this special show about the unusual origins of everyday words. She also shares some of the funniest moments from her 25 years on Countdown and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Bloomsbury Theatre, £25, book ahead, 7.30pm-9.30pm
Easter Saturday 16 April
Celebrate Vaisakhi in Trafalgar Square
PEDAL POWER DISCO: Take the whole family along to a disco with a difference — you’re the ones powering the music. Static bicycles are installed at Southbank Centre, and using them generates the power to keep the music playing — ideal if you’re looking for a way to tire your children out (though be warned, grown-ups are invited to pedal too). Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 11.30am/2.30pm
VAISAKHI TRAFALGAR SQUARE: Vaisakhi — the Sikh and Punjabi cultural festival — takes place on 14 April this year, but London’s main celebration returns to Trafalgar Square today. The free festival features live entertainment and performances, martial arts demonstrations, a showcase of Sikh art, plus food and drink stalls. Trafalgar Square, free, just turn up, 1pm-6pm
ENCHANTED SEAS: Enjoy an evening of spellbinding stories, songs and shanties by the water, led by professional storytellers, London Dreamtime. It’s an outdoor event, so take a candle or a lantern and something to sit on. Dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy. Secret Rotherhithe location, £10, book ahead, 7.30pm
SISTER SESSIONS: A platform for women and non-binary musicians, Sister Sessions is an evening of live music. Performers this time round include Sheffield-born, London-based Mauritian vocalist and percussionist Vanessa Rani, and fiancé and fellow musician, Wonky Logic, plus bassist, vocalist and composer Isobella Burnham, and Jana Saleh, a DJ, musician, performer and producer from Beirut. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), from £8, book ahead, 8pm
HOW DOES IT FEEL: Club night How Does It Feel To Be Loved celebrates its 20th birthday, with lashings of indie pop, northern soul and 60s girl group music. Here’s to another 20 years of this indie institution. The Phoenix (Oxford Circus), £6.60/£4 if you email ahead: [email protected], book ahead, 9pm
Easter Sunday 17 April
Sunday Assembly London presents The Uneggspected
THE UNEGGSPECTED: Long before the chocolate Easter eggs we know today, artists hid secret images in their work, hoping that others would see and appreciate them. The Sunday Assembly hosts Rina Atienza, a lecturer at Kingston School of Art, to reveal some of these hidden ‘easter eggs’. Conway Hall (Holborn), free, book ahead, 11am-1pm
HEATH QUARTET: The Heath Quartet — whose members met at the Royal Northern College of Music — marks its 20th anniversary with a special concert of works by Janáček, Purcell and Schulhoff. Wigmore Hall, £16, book ahead, 11.30am
LA TRAVIATA: ROH Live offers an Encore screening of La Traviata, transporting audiences to 19th century Paris with Pretty Yende as Violetta, Stephen Costello as Alfredo Germont, and Dimitri Platanias as Giorgio Germont. The production was filmed on stage at the Royal Opera House, and this is a recording rather than a live stream. Barbican Cinema 321, book ahead, 2pm
BILL MURRAY: No not that Bill Murray. We’re talking about the legendary comedy pub in Angel. You can spend an entire Easter Sunday afternoon/evening laughing your head off at the shows here, from the likes of Joseph Parsons, Alison Spittle and an as-yet-unnamed lineup for the 8pm set. Bill Murray (Angel), various prices, book ahead, from 3.30pm
TRACKS ON TAP: Hear some new live music at showcase event Tracks on Tap, as it makes its east London debut. Expect a mixture of booked sets, and open mic slots to be filled on the night. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), from £4.50, book ahead, 6.30pm
Urban oddity of the week
All that talk of miniature art (see ‘Good Friday’) reminds us of ‘chewing gum artist’ Ben Wilson, who etches tiny masterpieces out of discarded gum and paints it all sorts of vibrant colours. Look out for his work on Millennium Bridge (we’ve also spotted one or two pieces in Old Street station).
Good cause of the week
A painting by Frehiwot Healer (Free Healer), which features in Arlington and Beyond
Camden’s Arlington homeless hostel has hosted the likes of George Orwell and Patrick Kavanagh in its time, as well an inspiring music by Madness and the Pogues. A new book — Arlington and Beyond — celebrates the hostel’s past and present, and is crammed with artworks by, and interviews with, residents. It’s on sale now at Arlington, plus other local establishments. Revenue goes to charities that support Arlington residents and those in similar schemes.