Well, time is marching on. Two years ago, we were all sitting at home, and Passover/Easter/Ramadan were cancelled. Last year, we could be more flexible in our movements but within reason. Now, two years after Covid 19 struck the world down, things are slowly - slowly - picking up.
London’s buzzing again, with restaurants open, theatres performing, live music gigs on offer not to mention all the other things - workshops, pop-up shows, nature hikes - that our city is famous for, all there for the taking. Personally, at La Gaffe, we feel we’re turning a corner - the restaurant is open again, and we’re receiving guests in our comfortable accommodation both from inside the UK and around the globe.
So, whilst the weather might still be a bit chilly, there’s cause to feel optimistic and in that spirit, here are a few attractions we think you want to explore, this spring, and especially over the four-day Easter Bank Holiday, if you’re in the capital. Go on - enjoy yourself.
1. Titanic Exhibition at the Docklands
The Titanic - the ship that was ‘unsinkable’ - is a name that no-one ever forgot. Smashing an iceberg, in the middle of the Atlantic, the great liner went down in a matter of hours, in icy cold waters. The majority of the ship’s passengers, not to mention the crew, went down and the world went into mourning.
This interactive exhibition at the London Docklands is fabulous both for kids and adults. You’ll walk round whilst listening to a narrator explain the events of that terrible evening in 1912, whilst you look at personal belongings, old photos and other effects found in the aftermath. There’s an audio guide in many languages too, and through it you can hear testimonies of the survivors. Furthermore, you’ll have a chance to see what the ship’s interior looked like - from third class-cabins to palatial suites.
This really is a slice of history you don’t want to miss out on. Final tickets available now - until April 17thTitanic - The Exhibition, Doc X London, Unit 1, Canada Water Park, Surrey Quays, London SE16
2. Liv Ullman ‘ Face to Face’ Film Festival at the BFI2
This is one festival no film-buff will want to miss, especially anyone who loves melancholic, Scandinavian style drama. Liv Ullman is one of the great European actresses who, in her famous collaborations with film giant Ingmar Bergman, made a real name for herself on the screen. This April, the BFI is filming many of her best performances, including ‘Cries and Whispers’, ‘Persona’, the extraordinary ‘Scenes from a Marriage’ and ‘Faithless.’
“Face to Face - the British Film Institute, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 https://whatson.bfi.org.uk
3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Trail - Kew Gardens
We think it fair to say that Kew Gardens, in west London (incidentally, the largest botanical gardens in the world) is a hard place not to like. Whether you’re young or old, its beauty and charm are quite captivating. And, after all, who doesn’t like walking in palm houses and staring at huge tropical lily pads and exotic orchids?
This April, included with ticket admission, is a special exhibition which is perfect for kids. Based on the life of a butterfly, the young ones will be taken on a journey based on the wonderful (and famous) book by Eric Carle called ‘ The Very Hungry Caterpillar’.
All along the trail, you’ll find sculptures of fruits, a cute chrysalis, and lots of stories about plants, insects and stories about nature. Once you’ve finished the trail, you can explore everything else that Kew has to offer. Since it’s so big, you can make a day of it and take a picnic - or have lunch in their lovely cafe. A great day out.‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’, Royal Botanic Kew Gardens, Richmond Road, TW9 https://www.kew.org
4. The Passion of Jesus performance
Good Friday is the most solemn day in the calendar for Christians across the globe and to mark the day, there’s going to be an extraordinary performance telling the story of Jesus’ last days.
Held in the centre of the city, in Trafalgar Square (a fantastic location) and free to the public, you can watch the Wintershall Players act out the day Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, tried by Pontius Pilate and then crucified at Clagary.There will be a cast of more than 100 actors and volunteers too, all dressed up in period costumes, not to mention donkeys, horses and doves. James Burke-Dunsmore will be playing Jesus for the 11th time. There will be two performances - one at midday, and a second at 3.15 pm, both projected onto big screens so, wherever you are in the square, you’ll be able to follow.
Afterwards, you can pop into the National Gallery, wander around Covent Garden or even stroll by the River Thames, all of which are just a few minutes away from Trafalgar Square on foot.The Passion of Jesus live performance on April 15th 2022, Trafalgar Square, London WC2 https://www.wintershall.org.uk/passion-jesus-london
5. Easter Egg Hunt at Fenton House in Hampstead
Come on, it wouldn’t be Easter without an easter egg hunt? And whilst this isn’t the first year we’ve featured this particular event, we’re happy to keep promoting it. Round the corner from La Gaffe you’ll find the beautiful National Trust property Fenton House and, as in the past, they’re holding their annual Easter Egg hunt over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Between 19th and 22nd April, not only can you explore their spectacular walled garden, but you’ll have a chance to win some delicious Cadburys chocolate too. Themed around Hampstead’s amazing wildlife and the gorgeous Heath, you’ll wander through an ancient orchard, kitchen garden, hidden paths and even past a sunken garden.
It’s a self-guided hunt where you’ll seek our creatures of all shapes and sizes and hopefully learn about what makes them so special. At the end, once you’ve completed the trail, you’ll receive a special Rainbow Alliance Cadburys Easter Egg. Now that’s something. And if you’re in the mood for something a bit less sweet, then keep the egg for later and come and join us for dinner at La Gaffe - we’re just five minutes walk and our dinner menus are designed to suit all palates - carnivores, veggies and even vegans.
Fenton House Bank Holiday Easter Egg Hunt, Hampstead Grove, London NW3 www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fenton-house-and-garden