Laughing Matters: The State of a Nation
Britain’s unique sense of humour is the focus of this witty exhibition at the V&A. Laughing Matters: The State of a Nation travels two hundred years into the past to review the dynamic between what makes us laugh and the British identity.
Until 29th March 2020
Victoria and Albert Museum
Driverless: Who is in Control?
Billed as the Science Museum’s latest blockbuster show, this ground-breaking exhibition
encompasses self-driving cars, autonomous flying drones and intelligent underwater
vehicles. But the overarching questions is: how much control should we be allowing
12th June 2019–October 2020
Michael Frayn’s uproarious farce, Noises Off is a laugh-out-loud backstage comedy. Follow the hilarious misadventures of the fumbling cast of Nothing On as their production goes from rehearsal to showtime. It counts British actors Meera Syal and Daniel Rigby among its starring cast.
From September 2019
Beazley Designs of the Year
Now entering its 12th edition, this annual exhibition celebrates the world’s most innovative products, cutting-edge ideas and creative designs. Care of planet-friendly new materials and pioneering thinkers, discover how the future is fast becoming the present.
From 11th September 2019
The Design Museum
Ian McKellen on Stage
To celebrate his 80th birthday, Ian McKellen is touring his solo show across the UK. McKellen joined Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company in 1965 and, following a prolific career, rose to international fame as Gandalf from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. It goes without saying, then, that it’s this character that opens his show.
20th September 2019–5th January 2020
Harold Pinter Theatre
Putting the scale of the Royal Academy of Arts’ interiors to the test this autumn is a selection of Antony Gormley’s sculptural masterpieces. The British artist’s most ambitious display in more than a decade, the works on show are cast from a broad spectrum of materials—iron and steel, hand-beaten lead, seawater and clay. These are presented alongside a curation of Gormley’s pocket sketchbooks and drawings, offering insight into the iconic artist’s process.
21st September–3rd December 2019
Royal Academy of Arts
Tim Walker: Wonderful Things
This large-scale exhibition traces the evolution of British fashion photographer Tim Walker’s talent. Immersive films, photographic sets, arresting stills and spectacular installations invite visitors on a journey into the modern visionary’s fantastical worlds. Tim Walker: Wonderful Things also showcases a new series of photographs, inspired by the V&A’s collections.
21st September–8th March 2020
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 55
A chance to pore over this year’s best wildlife photographs, this annual competition-cum-exhibition showcases a range of beautifully captured shots from the natural world. The entries have been carefully selected for their creativity, originality and technical excellence, and the result is show-stopping.
From October 2019
Natural History Museum
BFI London Film Festival
The London Film Festival combines world premieres with arthouse screenings, engaging panels and inspired masterclasses. Rub shoulders with some of Hollywood’s biggest names while catching up on the most exciting reveals in cinema.
2nd–13th October 2019
Notoriously abstract, humorous and bold, Swiss-born German painter Albert Oehlen has exhibited his vivid canvases the world over. This engaging solo show at Serpentine Sackler follows recent successful shows in Venice, Beirut, Cuba and the USA.
2nd October 2019–12th January 2020
Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Kensington Gardens
Walker’s provocative drawings, sculptures, films and, more recently, immense installations are sharp comments on race, sexuality and violence, with the artist’s cut-paper silhouettes a signature of her work. The Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall hosts her latest ambitious project.
2nd October 2019–5th April 2020
A highlight in London’s cultural calendar, Frieze brings together cutting-edge art from heavyweight international and local galleries. Its spilt into two distinct fairs—Frieze London focuses on contemporary works while Frieze Masters exhibits historical pieces—guaranteeing something to inspire all tastes.
3rd–6th October 2019
Into the Night: Cabaret and Clubs in Modern Art
Steering audiences from London to New York, Paris to Mexico City, from the 1880s to the 1960s, Into the Night is a heady journey into the world’s most iconic clubs, cafés and cabarets to be portrayed in modern art by pioneering contemporaries.
4th October 2019–19th January 2020
London Cocktail Week
A toast to London’s leading mixologists, more than 300 of the city’s bars are participating in this year’s event. Take a tour of the capital’s finest quaffs, or work your way through the concoctions on offer in Brick Lane’s colourful Cocktail Village.
4th–13th October 2019
The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Gauguin Portraits
The colourful portraits of painter Paul Gauguin are the subject of this revelatory exhibition at The National Gallery, opening in autumn. Focusing on his works from the mid-1880s onwards, the show collates about 50 vibrant canvases, pencil drawings and sculptures for the first time to highlight an effective blend of Impressionism and symbolism.
7th October 2019–26th January 2020
The National Gallery
Bright Nights: Empire!
Step inside Kensington Palace on select evenings in autumn for discussions, performances and demonstrations that question the legacy of the British Empire. As 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth at Kensington, Bright Nights invites guests to revive the palace’s tradition of courtly debate in analysing the queen’s global impact.
Select dates, 9th October–13th November 2019
London Literature Festival
This highly regarded two-week festival is a magnet for literary types. Starring the world’s leading wordsmiths, with guests including everyone from Hillary Clinton to Philip Pullman, the programme includes talks, poetry readings and creative workshops.
17th–27th October 2019
Moving to Mars
The Design Museum’s latest launch transports earthlings to the Red Planet and back again. This ground-shifting exhibition explores why conquering Mars presents one of the greatest challenges of our time, while questioning whether or not we should be shooting for the scarlet orb at all. Centred on what a Mars colony could look like, explore innovative commissions and collaborations from new-wave designers. A full-scale Martian home and Christopher Raeburn's new fashion collection, inspired by the planet, are key highlights.
18th October 2019–23rd February 2020
The Design Museum
It’s a play about people telling stories about people telling stories and those who tell them. Confused? All will become clear, as Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker’s eagerly anticipated production charms and enthrals from start to finish.
21st October–23rd November 2019
With an all-star line-up of legendary blues artists, expect performances from renowned musicians such as John Legend, Raphael Saadiq and Rickie Lee Jones at BluesFest this year. Commandeering The O2 for the last weekend in October, it’s set to be an unforgettable musical extravaganza.
25th–27th October 2019
As You Like It
The Royal Shakespeare Company presents an imaginative production of the playwright’s riotous comedy, bristling with romance and misadventure. All the world really is a stage, as Rosalind departs on her journey into exile with the company of best friend Celia.
26th October 2019–18th January 2020
Elizabeth Peyton: Aire and Angels
American painter Elizabeth Peyton makes National Portrait Gallery history this autumn, as she becomes the first artist to be given run of the entire gallery. As well as a vivid curation of 40 of Peyton’s striking canvases on show, the permanent collection is dispersed with a selection of her most evocative portraits. The result? A dazzling contrast of old and new, with Peyton’s show-stopping contemporary takes on the likes of Kurt Cobain and Frida Kahlo nudging up against historic British classics.
26th October 2019–5th January 2020
National Portrait Gallery
Dear Evan Hansen
With six Tony Awards including Best Musical, and a Grammy Award, Dear Evan Hansen is one of London’s most anticipated performances. Expect breath-taking arrangements from start to the final curtain as shy teen Evan battles out the highs and lows of adolescence.
29th October 2019–4th April 2020
Noël Coward Theatre
Natural History Museum Ice Rink
One of the capital’s most festive activities, the Natural History Museum Ice Rink is a popular seasonal destination. All ages are welcome to glide their way around the twinkling rink, with hot drinks and refreshments available off the ice.
October 2019¬–January 2020
Natural History Museum
Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh
The most sizable collection of Tutankhamun treasures to leave Egypt arrives at London’s Saatchi Gallery for a limited time. Pore over more than 150 of the legendary pharaoh’s possessions and ancient artefacts, 60 of which have crossed international sands for the first time ever.
2nd November 2019–3rd May 2020
The Sleeping Beauty
A classic ballet that’s infused with magic, Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty enchants all ages. Meet pirouetting princesses, a fairy godmother and an evil witch, all spectacularly choreographed to Tchaikovsky's transcending score.
7th November 2019–16th January 2020
Royal Opera House
The Lord Mayor’s Show
A sparkling celebration of London’s heritage, the Lord Mayor’s Show comprises a parade through the city and live music culminating in a spectacular firework display. The custom started in 1215 and was traditionally the route taken by the newly elected major, from the City of London to Westminster, in order to pledge allegiance to the Crown.
9th November 2019
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The magic of Narnia comes to central London, as C.S. Lewis’ legendary novel is beautifully adapted for the stage. The critically acclaimed production smashed box office records at Leeds Playhouse, and it’s predicted to be a hit in the British capital, too.
9th November 2019–2nd February 2020
The Bridge Theatre
Nitto ATP World Tour Finals
Watch the biggest names in tennis compete at this prestigious championship, which marks the end of the ATP World Tour. The tournament has a round-robin format, with the world’s eight best singles and doubles players promising unmissable sporting action.
10th–17th November 2019
The O2 Arena
Honouring those who have given their lives for their country, Remembrance Sunday is a powerful and poignant event. The focal point is the Cenotaph Service, which takes place on Whitehall and includes a moving March Past of around 10,000 veterans.
10th November 2019
The Cenotaph, Whitehall
One of London’s most loved Christmas attractions, Winter Wonderland is a celebration of all things festive. Hop on a classic fairground ride, visit Santa in his grotto or browse the Christmas markets for gifts. There’s plenty of hot mulled wine and seasonal treats for those in need of a reviver.
November 2019–January 2020
Skate at Somerset House
Within the neoclassical courtyard of Somerset House, skaters—seasoned and novice alike—are invited to glide out across the ice. There’s plenty to entertain beyond the rink, too, with seasonal shopping and gourmet snacks on offer at Fortnum’s Lodge.
13th November 2019–12th January 2020
EFG London Jazz Festival
A jubilant salute to the much-loved genre, this 10-day showcase brings world-class musicians to selected spaces throughout the capital. Choose from a variety of venues, from grand performances at the Royal Festival Hall to intimate concerts in hidden jazz bars.
15th–24th November 2019
George IV: Art and Spectacle
This magnificent exhibition is a glimpse into the life of historic British monarch George IV through the objets d’art that enriched his world. George IV: Art and Spectacle features a diverse curation of treasures, from delicate French porcelain and intricately wrought gold pieces to portraits by Thomas Lawrence and Joshua Reynolds as well as Dutch and Flemish painters. Ruling as king from 1820, George collected a handsome selection of paintings, textiles, furniture, watercolours, books and ceramics, and many of his treasures remain in the royal collection today.
15th November 2019–4th May 2020
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
From her eye for the abnormal to her relationship with Pablo Picasso, the Tate Modern hosts the UK’s largest survey of Dora Maar’s surrealist portfolio. During the 1930s, Maar’s experimental photography and documentary projects were deeply topical, and this show offers a glimpse into the social currents of the time.
20th November 2019–15th March 2020
Taste of London: The Festive Edition
A second chance to catch the popular Taste of London, which stages its first event in June, this festive edition is a must for gastronomes. Sample irresistible menus from London’s top kitchens and shop edible gifts for delicious stocking fillers.
21st–24th November 2019
Troy: Myth and Reality
Treading the line between ancient myth and reality, the legend of the Trojan War—a story of a powerful city plunged into a 10-year conflict over the abduction of the most beautiful woman in the world—has captured the global imagination for more than three millennia. From November, The British Museum looks to enduring relics to discover more about Troy’s most captivating characters. Sculptures, vase paintings and archaeological evidence demonstrate that there really was a Troy.
21st November 2019–8th March 2020
The British Museum
Back for its 22nd year, The Snowman recreates the magic of Raymond Briggs’ timeless children’s classic on stage. Howard Blake’s original music and lyrics include everyone’s favourite, Walking in the Air, while captivating choreography makes this a show that delights all ages.
21st November 2019–5th January 2020
Combining world titleholders and national favourites, the Champions Tennis is a celebration of some of the sport’s greatest athletes. With British legend Tim Henman and newly retired David Ferrer in the running, the finale is not to be missed.
28th November–1st December 2019
Royal Albert Hall
Greenwich Wintertime Festival
Set within Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College, a World Heritage Site, this seasonal festival counts a covered ice rink, live music and guest appearances by Father Christmas as its highlights. Add in the Winter Market and artisan food stalls, and it has all the makings of a very memorable festive day out.
1st–31st December 2019
Old Royal Naval College
Cyrano de Bergerac
A fresh interpretation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac comes to London’s Playhouse, with award-winning British actor James McAvoy starring as the titular character. It’s a roaring romp of a production that follows Cyrano, played with spectacular ‘panache’ by McAvoy, as he seeks the admiration of the beautiful Roxanne.
6th December 2019–29th February 2020
Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet The Nutcracker returns to the London Coliseum for another glittering run. The beautifully choreographed production is a Christmas classic, with its stunning costumes and ingeniously crafted sets guaranteed to delight all ages.
11th December 2019–5th January 2020
Peter Pan Cup
Plunging into London’s ice-cold Serpentine on Christmas morning might not be everyone’s idea of a festive tradition, but for members of the Serpentine Swimming Club, it’s an annual highlight. Head down to Hyde Park to cheer the 100-yard race that has been on the club’s agenda every year at 9am since 1864.
25th December 2019
Victoria: Woman and Crown
Two centuries have passed since the birth of Queen Victoria at Kensington Palace. To mark the monumental occasion, Victoria: Woman and Crown surveys the ruler’s role as a mother and a wife, as well as queen of an extraordinary empire. The display features rare garments from Victoria’s private wardrobe—a cotton petticoat and a pair of smart silver boots are a stark contrast to the black gowns she was routinely pictured wearing in her later years.
Until 5th January 2020
London Short Film Festival
The London Short Film Festival returns in January with bold cinematography and engaging scripts produced by British talent and international visionaries. The festival has no singular home—its screenings, talks and workshops are held in several iconic arts venues across the city.
10th–19th January 2020
Cirque du Soleil: Luzia
Kick-start the year with Cirque du Soleil’s outstanding, gravity-defying choreographies, spectacular acrobatics and vivid costumes and sets. Luzia is a ‘waking dream of Mexico’ that transports audiences to an imaginary dreamscape that’s beautifully colour-saturated and inhabited by strange and wonderful creatures.
12th January–16th February 2020
Royal Albert Hall
London Art Fair
Art and design enthusiasts should seek out the broad smorgasbord of paintings, photography, ceramics and sculpture curated by 100 international galleries at the London Art Fair. Contemporary works by leading names rub shoulders with promising selections from rising stars.
22nd – 26th January 2020
London Business Design Centre
Applauding the life and works of Scottish poet Robert Burns, Burns Night typically involves a spirited evening of food, poetry and whisky. The haggis is the focal point of the evening, traditionally served with neeps and tatties, AKA turnips and mashed potatoes.
25th January 2020
Picasso and Paper
Picasso drew on everything from tablecloths to newspaper cuttings. He fashioned sculptures with burnt strips of paper, assembled collages and spent decades exploring new printmaking techniques. Picasso and Paper charts the artist’s inventive use of the medium.
25th January–13th April 2020
Royal Academy of Arts
Writer of iconic play Angels in America and musical Caroline, Or Change, Tony Kushner relocates Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit to a 1959 New York State. Award-winning British actress Lesley Manville features on the star-studded cast list, while Jeremy Herrin directs this dark comic masterpiece, launching in January 2020.
From January 2020
Hidden Fabric: Women; Textiles; Collectors
This exhibition celebrates exquisite textiles and storied fabrics by bringing together exceptional examples from England’s top regional museums. From England to India via the Balkans, each piece was collected by pioneering women in the 20th century.
25th January–19th April 2020
Two Temple Place
Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi
The fascinating past and potential future of the mushroom is explored in this inspiring new exhibition. Mushrooms showcases brand new, conceptual pieces from the fields of architecture, furniture design, fashion and technology that incorporate fungi in ingenious ways.
31st January–26th April 2020
Message In A Bottle
Set to the popular hits of 17-time Grammy Award-winning artist Sting, Message in a Bottle is an electric new dance-theatre display. The show ripples with stunningly choreographed contemporary dance set to all-time favourites such as Roxanne, Walking on the Moon and Fields of Gold, spun through with themes of hope and adventure.
6th February–21st March 2020
The London Classic Car Show
Whether a collector or an enthusiast, The London Classic Car Show is a must for appreciators of vintage cars. Alongside the usual legendary motorsports arena and
indoor runway, where classic cars are fired up and taken for a spin, the event entices historic car clubs, dealers and manufacturers from all over.
13th–16th February 2020
London Fashion Week Festival
London’s biannual Women’s Fashion Week is a celebration of cutting-edge design from established fashion houses and emerging talent. Glimpse the glamour of it all at London Fashion Week Festival, which includes catwalk shows, expert talks and myriad shopping opportunities.
14th–18th February 2020
The Store Studios
Kew Gardens Orchid Festival
Part of London’s events calendar for more than 20 years, Kew Gardens’ Orchid Festival is not just a highlight for the green fingered. Every February, the event puts on arresting displays of extraordinary florals that have been brought in from across the world.
Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age
Skilled at capturing intimate scenes from daily life, Nicolaes Maes is the painterly version of an eavesdropper. He was one of Rembrandt’s most important pupils and, for the first time ever, a singular exhibition is devoted to his extraordinary talent.
22nd February–31st May 2020
The National Gallery
Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk
A sensuous yet modest garment, the kimono is the subject of the V&A’s next compelling review. This exhibition unwraps the ever-changing sartorial, aesthetic and social significance of the kimono from the 1660s to the present day, both in Japan and the rest of the world.
From 29th February 2020