Spring is here with the hope of warmer weather and more daylight hours. This is when London really comes to life and starts to bloom not just with beautiful flowers in the parks but with an abundance of visitors, fun and creativity! I love living here amidst all the hustle and bustle and there are so many exciting things to immerse yourself in for both relaxation and inspiration. Check out my personal few ‘things to do’ for the next couple of months:
London Coffee Festival – 8 to 10 April 2016
Image courtesy of James Bryant
I’ve written often about my love of tea; I drink it a lot more than I drink coffee which is a very rare indulgence, but the speciality of gourmet coffee does fascinate me and the London Coffee Festival is definitely worth a visit! And it’s not JUST about tasting cups of coffee, they have speciality teas and artisan food demonstrations, live music, DJs, art exhibitions, fashion, design and coffee-based cocktails…what’s not to love! It was a great day last year and I’ll be visiting again this year… I already have my ticket!
It’s UK Coffee Week from 11th to 16th April and this London festival is the flagship event, there’s live music and you can learn about the various ways to make and brew coffee at home, plenty of taste testing and ‘The School of Chocolate’ hosted by Hotel Chocolat will be teaching all about the art of chocolate making and pairing. The Speciality Coffee Association of Europe will be running its UK Barista Championships and Rachel's Organic Milk Bar will be running live latte art masterclasses. No excuse for a boring cup of coffee!
The festival kicks off on the evening of April 8 and runs over the weekend of Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th.
Old Truman Brewery
Transport: Tube/BR: Liverpool Street
The London Marathon – 24 April 2016
The city will be taken over on Sunday 24th April for this world-famous event with the echo of cheers all around! If you don’t quite have the stamina for the 26 miles but would love to be on the side lines with the supporting crowds, then head to Tower Bridge or Embankment to join the biggest crowd of spectators and watch the famous athletes and weird and wonderful fancy dress from there. There will be bands and other entertainment all along the course with the finish line on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
38,000 runners are expected and it’s getting more popular every year, apparently it was projected that entries would be filled within 8 hours for this 2016 event!
If you’re tempted to try for 2017 then ballots for entry usually begin in around May – visit the London Marathon website for details.
Get all your spectator info here: https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/event-info/spectator-info/
London Craft Week – 3 to 7 May 2016
This is absolutely my kind of must-see event. This week-long London festival showcases craftsmen (unknown makers alongside celebrated masters) from all around the world creating and showcasing their wares in over 130 events across the city. There will be hidden specialist workshops, open studios, galleries, shops and luxury brands. Covering jewellery, fragrances, silver, pottery, fashion, art, design and much more…
Department stores such as Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Fenwick are all joining in, as are Mulberry and Asprey, the V&A (with its What is Luxury? display) and the Saatchi Gallery is hosting the annual Collect International art fair this same week too. It’s not just about luxury there will be smaller happenings of artisan crafts such as tailoring, shoemaking, millinery and weaving.
This will be pure and magical inspiration for me, and a chance to see the capital at its creative best. Unmissable!
Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers – to June 2016
Iconic British photographer Martin Parr (possibly my favourite photographer and whom I wrote my dissertation about at university) has curated what is said to be one of the most moving exhibitions of the year, sometimes cliché, sometimes grim.
Queuing for a bus, picnicking in the rain, meandering down a high street, staring longingly into a cake shop window, city gents pacing smoggy streets, minis and miniskirts, Ireland troubles, this is a social portrait of life in Britain showing at the Barbican Gallery.
23 international photographers from the 1930s onwards have come to UK shores and captured the social, cultural and political identity of Great Britain including leading photography legends Henri Cartier-Bresson, Rineke Dijkstra, Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand. With previously unseen bodies of work this is a window spanning decades and different cities into how Britain is interpreted by an outsider’s view.
It may be a far cry from my fun and playful view of all that is British but it’s definitely a show worth seeing as I take my inspiration from just about everything whether it's language, food, people or city life and I’m intrigued to see what an outside perspective reveals about British life.