February in London – What’s on in the Capital this Month?

So you banished the January blues by joining a gym, giving up alcohol for the month or even adopting a plant diet?  Well, January’s now gone and whilst winter isn’t quite over yet, the days are slowly lengthening. Still, February can be both a chilly and gloomy month, so why not take advantage of all that London has to offer and check out one of the activities below…

  1. British Baroque: Power and Illusion at the Tate Britain – 5th February to 19th April 2020

Described as breathtaking and blingy, it’s safe to say that baroque art (the period between the restoration of Charles II in 1660 and Queen Anne’s death in 1774) was pretty much overblown on a grand scale.  And now you can see it for yourself, at the Tate Britain. Grand, sophisticated and sometimes even bombastic, masterpieces such as Kneller’s ‘John Churchill, Duke of Malborough” and Verrio’s “Sea Triumph of Charles II will be on display.

Photo courtesy of Tate.org

This is an exhibition celebration portraiture on a grand scale and even if you’re not a fan of baroque mural painting, some of these pieces are guaranteed to take your breath away.  Many of the pieces will be showcased for the first time (borrowed from stately homes across England) and the show, as the title suggests, looks at the way in which art conveyed power at this time, particularly in trying to promote England’s newly-restored monarchy.

https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/british-baroque

  1. Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens  – 8th February to 8th March

The magnificent Kew Gardens (London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site) is a fine place to visit at any time of the year.  Whether you want to wander in the iconic Palm House, stroll along the 19 metre high Treetop Walkway (with a tree canopy that affords breathtaking views of the gardens) or explore the Waterlily House (full of giant lily pads), a day out at Kew never disappoints.

And even better, this month Kew is hosting an Orchid Festival in their grounds, held in the Prince of Wales Conservatory. 

Photo courtesy of Ines Stuart Davidson

Wandering through different areas of the glasshouse, you’ll stumble across a fabulous variety of colourful Indonesian orchids.  The displays will reflect Indonesia’s diverse tropical landscapes – the central pond will be filled with life-sized animals, orangutans and an erupting volcano!)   You’ll see flowers so rare that even they can only be found on certain islands in the country’s archipelago (made up of over 17.500 islands)

In addition, Kew will be hosting a number of events that showcase Indonesian culture – including dance, music and cookery performances and lectures by experts on rare orchids.

Your ticket to the Orchid Festival includes general admission to the entire grounds, so what are you waiting for?  

https://www.kew.org/kew-gardens/whats-on/kew-orchid-festival?gclid=Cj0KCQiAvc_xBRCYARIsAC5QT9l8DExx4e_7FXvoAnEjN9sduH7AFjTJ18Vkc-7tLAKLJCMBp5qhAkwaAqPiEALw_wcB

  1. London Bookshop Crawl – 21st and 23rd  February 

You’ve heard of a pub crawl but a bookshop crawl?  Yep, for all lovers of printed matter, this event is in its 4th year now and a fine way to find out more about London’s small, independent bookstores….

Photo courtesy of leafandgroove.com

This free event has plenty of maps available (designed to whet your appetite and provide you with inspiration) as well as a Challenge ID that you can download and get stamped at every store you visit.  The only question is…how many can you see in a 24, 48 or 72 hours?  

Whether you want a guided walk or a rendezvous with other rare book aficionados, this Crawl can help.  Some of the participating stores are even offering free books for the first devotees to arrive, so get up early!  And for those that still hanker for pub crawls, there’s a ‘Bookstore Lock-in” in West Hampstead…

For more information, go to https://www.ninjabookbox.com/plan-your-crawl

  1. London Classic Car Show – 20th to 23rd February

Whether you’re an owner, collector, expert or simple enthusiast, if you like fancy motors then the sixth annual London Classic Car Show will be right up your street.  This year’s event is being held at Kensington’s Olympia, and provides the perfect excuse for car lovers to mooch over 700 or so classic models.

 

Photo courtesy of Olympia LondonThere will be an auction taking place on the Saturday – and amongst some of the unusual, and rare, cars will be an amphibious Porsche, dating back to World War II.  After you’ve viewed (or purchased) these babies, you can chat to a number of service providers, who can advise you on all of your classic car needs!

So whether you’re a Formula 1 racing car lover or a Cadillac fanatic, grab yourself a ticket for this event.  For car lovers, it just doesn’t get much better than this.

https://www.thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAmsrxBRDaARIsANyiD1pEC4Hjn2GcBW1NzgKyzWTmx3GvJ71HM6XnKiclimjQboKP5ESM2PcaAnNtEALw_wcB

  1. ‘My Brilliant Friend’ – The National Theatre  17th to 20th February

Elena Ferrante (the pen name of the anonymous author) took the world by storm with her quartet – four novels about female friendship – more specifically the friendship of Lenu and Lila in 1950’s, working-class Naples.

This five-hour adaption by April de Angelis charts the girls’ paths, from childhood and adolescence to marriage and beyond…with each of the four halves representing a book and a time period. 

Photo courtesy of Marc Brenner

And whilst adapting novels to the stage can be a tricky business, de Angelis manages it well – combining the canvas of womens’ lives with wider social change and political turmoil in Italy over four decades.

After its successful run at the Rose Theatre in Kingston, this National Theatre production is bound to be popular, and tickets will probably sell out fast.  However, there will always be returns on the day…so get yourself down to the South Bank!

https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/my-brilliant-friend/dates-listing