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February 21, 2022
Welcome to the year of the Tiger. Apparently this Chinese New Year animal signifies the defeat of evil which, like ‘the end of history’ and ‘world peace’ sounds pretty optimistic. But even if time’s not yet up for Bond villains and megalomaniacs, we can still welcome a positive outlook.
So back here on planet earth, what does London have in store for its visitors?
That’s Neat: Zoo Welcomes New Tiger Cub
Staying with the big cat theme of 2022, an adorable tiger cub has been born in London Zoo. This is not just any tiger cub though, it’s a critically endangered Sumatran cub. Proud mum Gaysha has already carried her rare kit outside into the Winter sun. ZSL London Zoo tiger keeper Kathryn Sanders was watching:
“We were all holding our breath with excitement as the cub tottered around… it was incredible to watch the youngster find its ‘tiger feet’ for the first time.”
London Zoo actually owes its origins to the Tower of London’s historic royal menagerie, which spanned the early 1200s to the mid 1800s, when 150 animals moved to Regent’s Park.
“Her Majesty’s A Pretty Nice Girl”
This is also a very special year for Her Majesty. We agree with The Beatles’ lyrics in the heading, but the Queen has also entered the record books this February. Seven exemplary decades on the throne, longer even than Queen Victoria managed. Her father George VI died on February 6th 1952, at which point the reign of Queen Elizabeth II began. Her accession to the throne is marked by gun salutes in Green Park (41 rounds) and the Tower of London (62 rounds) on Monday 7th February.
The month of June will mark her coronation in Westminster Abbey, and an unmissable four–day Platinum Jubilee celebration takes place from June 2nd – 5th.
But February remains the month when this remarkable journey began. So check out those London hotel offers this year and join the party. Below are some February events selected from the menu, plus more choice morsels for the rest of the year.
FEBRUARY FEELS GOOD
Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature
V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road SW7.
A very British artist, naturalist and author of those famously cute rabbits. Potter’s scientific studies of the natural world take us beyond the stereotype. Suitable for all ages. Tickets £14.
12th Feb – 25th Sept.
London Winter Run
Starts near Trafalgar Square.
Nelson’s Column to Strand (with live music); dancing dogs and a penguin party at Bank; on to London Bridge (opposite Tate Modern); past St Paul’s and back up Strand (watch out for frolicking huskies); then down Whitehall for a Big Ben finish. Run, walk or simply watch, it’s a great day out. See website to enter. In aid of Cancer Research
The ancient Greeks had more than one word for love, including: romance (eros), deep friendship (philia), playful love (ludus) and love of self (philautia). London has hotels, restaurants, entertainments, shops and culture aplenty. So spread the vibe. And why save it all up for just one day in the year?
British Museum, Great Russell St. W1.
Who built Stonehenge, and why? Plus Seahenge display, a 4,000 year old timber circle that was made at the same time. Tickets £20
Feb 17th – July 17th.
BFI Future Film Festival
For emerging film makers aged 16–25 who want to learn from those already established in film and screen. Includes 50 short films made by the young.
17th – 20th Feb.
London Fashion Week 2022
Online and in the flesh. Catwalks and Spring fashion launches from this famously edgy frontrunner of style.
18th – 22nd Feb.
Choose the World You Want Festival
Fairtrade Fortnight 2022
Online and activities to entertain, educate and inspire.
From 21st Feb.
Surrealism Beyond Borders
Tate Modern, Bankside.
“Find the uncanny in the everyday” says Tate. This unique show takes us beyond 1920s Paris to Mexico, Prague and Japan and is a definite eye-opener. Online for ticket details.
24th Feb – 29th Aug.
Guinness Six Nations, England vs Wales
Rugby clash of the titans: lions vs red dragons. You know you want to be there.
LGBTQ+ History Month
‘Pride of the Royal Opera House’ pays tribute to pioneering LGBTQ+ icons; a ’Fierce Queens’ party at the Queen’s House, Greenwich (25th Feb); ‘Queer City Tours’ via Museum of London, Docklands; ‘Desire, Love, Identity’ at the British Museum; the Royal Vauxhall Tavern of course; family friendly queer maritime festival ‘Out at Sea’ at the Maritime Museum, Greenwich; ‘BFI Flare’ announces its 12 day queer film festival for March; trailblazer Heaven still going strong; newcomer The Friendly Society (Wardour St. Bar) welcomes all. And much more…
1st – 27th Feb.
Don’t miss out on a well–planned London Hotel booking beyond February: here’s a run–down of what’s on offer this Spring and Summer:
LOVE LONDON IN THE SPRING
Women of the World (WOW) Festival
The world’s biggest, most comprehensive festival celebrating women, girls and non-binary people.
11th – 13th March.
Guinness Six Nations, England vs Ireland
Unmissable. The day before St Patrick’s Day!
St Patrick’s Day Celebrations
Whatever happens at Twickenham, there will be plenty to celebrate and a festival atmosphere to enjoy.
London Gaming Market
Games and game culture. London’s only retro games fair: video games, board games and merch. Held every 4 months. Cool.
International Day of Happiness
What makes you happy? London has so much to please; parks and shops, people and culture, sights and history, business and pleasure. Or pamper yourself with a spa/beauty treatment; eat well. Relax in a luxury central London hotel.
Head of the River Race
Mortlake to Putney and towpath.
400 crews of eight pitted against each other on the Thames. What’s often overlooked is that these crews are also pitted against the Thames and the clock: huge drops in water level between tides. An awesome sight. Especially if you’ve seen oarsmen end up in the river. Excellent day out.
The Other Art Fair
The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane.
Organised by Saatchi Art. Both commercially astute and attractively contrarian.
17th – 20th March.
British Film Institute Flare London
LGBTQ+ Film Festival. Twelve days of screenings from around the world. Watch for programme announcements in mid February.
16th – 27th March.
Sculpture in the City
Free public art trail in the City of London. Sculptures by Damien Hirst and Gavin Turk, among many others. Starts near (the beautiful) Leadenhall Market.
London Games Festival 2022
Multiple locations across the capital.
Major global celebration of video games and interactive entertainment. Brand new games from across the globe, includes ‘Now Play This’ (2 April) at Somerset House; W.A.S.D. new consumer show at Tobacco Dock (7th – 9th April); BAFTA Games Awards on 7th April. And more, see website.
1st – 10th April.
The Boat Race 2022
Multiple locations along the River Thames.
Oxford and Cambridge oarsmen compete across a 4.2 mile tidal stretch of the Thames. Serious, sometimes wet. Convenient pubs near the famous towpath.
London Landmarks Half Marathon
Closed road half marathon in aid of charity. See last year’s landmark pix on Instagram #llhm. Includes Big Ben, St Paul’s and the royal parks. Festival atmosphere.
World Health Day 2022
Thanks to the boat race and the half marathon, you should already be feeling pretty healthy!
Sikh New Year festival:
Free. Expect live music, works by Sikh artists, traditional food and an army-led gatka or obstacle course. Arts, crafts and turban–tying for all.
Passion of Jesus
One hundred Wintershall players; moving portrayal of final days of Christ. 90 mins, free, supported by Mayor of London.
St George’s Day
Decorated in red and white, England’s national day celebrated around Nelson’s Column: stalls selling trad foods, Morris dancers, medieval jousting and family games. Free.
Photo London 2022
Leading international photography fair, with a main section for established galleries, a Discovery section for new talent and the Publishers section. Photo London Academy’s year-round digital initiatives too.
12th – 15th May.
A Gallop Through History
Part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Equestrian extravaganza in the grounds of Windsor Castle, Arena theatre show featuring over 1,000 performers and 500 horses. A journey from Elizabeth I to the current Queen. Presenters include Dame Helen Mirren and Stephen Fry.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022
Royal Hospital Chelsea
The return of the hanging gardens of Chelsea. Sumptuous evergreen show.
24th to 28th May.
Multiple locations London and Essex.
Festival of cycling on traffic free roads, London to Essex. Watch or take part. Enjoy the ride.
LOVE LONDON IN THE SUMMER
Superbloom at the Tower of London
Imagine the vast moat that circles The Tower turned into ‘fields of flowers.’ And we are invited to wander through them! An image so potent it could almost come from Piers Plowman’s medieval dream-poem and its “fair field full of folk” (Langland’s poem is almost as old as The Tower itself). Arcadian blooms to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, plus sculptures and sound installations (bookable sessions). Every bit as impressive as the 2014 installation when The Tower moat held 800,000 ceramic poppies, commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of WWI. Blue Orchid Hotel’s Tower Suites is a short walk away, too.
1st June – 18th Sept.
Celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
Once more, Blue Orchid Hotels are very close to the action, thanks to its Buckingham Palace Hotels (the Wellington and the Rochester) and Tower Suites, close to St Pauls Cathedral.
Platinum Jubilee June Bank Holiday Celebrations
2nd June: (Thursday) First Trooping of the Colour since the Pandemic. The Mall, Buckingham Palace. Marks the Queen’s official birthday. 1400 parading soldiers, 400 musicians, 200 horses and a flypast by the RAF. Also Platinum Jubilee beacons lit across the UK and Overseas Territories.
3rd June: (Friday) Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s reign at St Paul’s Cathedral.
4th June: (Saturday) Platinum Party at the Palace (BBC) live concert, Buckingham Palace. Big entertainment stars take part.
5th June: (Sunday) Big Jubilee Lunch; street parties across the UK. Platinum Jubilee Pageant with performers around the Buckingham Palace area; street arts, theatre, music, circus carnival and costume.
Also The Queen’s Green Canopy (plant a tree) and the Platinum Pudding (baking competition). See website.
The Bard’s 2022 Summer Season is back. Watch for Julius Caesar (‘et tu, Brute?’).
June to October.
Taste of London, Food Festival
Food fuelled garden party from London’s hottest restaurants. Future food heroes and daily specials. See website for details.
15th to 19th June.
London Indian Film Festival
(schedule to be confirmed)
The best new Indian and South Asian independent cinema. How a billion South Asian lives are lived.
17th June to 3rd July.
BST Hyde Park
British Summer Time music festival. Names so far: Elton John, Eagles (with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss), Adele (!), Pearl Jam & Pixies, Duran Duran & Nile Rogers.
24th June - 10th July.
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships 2022.
Will Novak be back?
27th June – 10th July.
The Queen’s Accession, Buckingham Palace
details to follow
22nd July – 2nd October.
Book now into one of the top hotels in London. Not only do they afford you the best possible view, you also get the quickest travel times to all the action.
Meantime, here is a snapshot of Autumn and Winter activity (excluding Halloween parties, Bonfire Night and Christmas lights). More to come.
West End LIVE
Get a taste of all the hits from West End musicals. Sing along to old favourites, discover new shows, free performances at this annual event in front of thousands of spectators.
September (date tbc).
London Bridge Sheep Drive
The Lord Mayor of London and other Worshipfuls, plus shepherd/shepherdess and sheep. In the streets of London, close by cafes and Shakespeare’s Globe. Sheep Drive & Livery Fair.
BFI London Film Festival
Diwali on Trafalgar Square
Let there be light. Hindu, Sikh and Jain festival. Joy, love, reflection, resolution, forgiveness… and the victory of good over evil. Music, dance, colour.
Lord Mayors Show
Which, we understand, began back in 1215, as a kind of protest against King John. Pageantry in the City of London.
12th November (tbc).
The South London Film Festival
Various London venues.
Showcase for global filmmakers within London’s multicultural community. Featuring a category around climate change.
December (date tbc).
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