What’s On in London in May

What’s On In London in May

Top three attractions, performances, events and exhibitions in London taken from the London and Partners Press Briefing by yours truly. Sorry if we missed your favourites – BMX biking and the big shoe retrospective for example – but that’s just the way it happens. I hope there is something to attract you to London in May – there is a lot going on to fill up your London Theatre Break.

Top 3 London Attractions

Dickens on the Thames: a literary boat trip

Boat tour with the Museum of London, 5 May 2012
Spend an afternoon boating down the Thames, discovering Dickens’ London and the river at its heart. From Festival Pier to Greenwich and back, experts Alex Werner and Tony Williams (co-authors of Dickens’s Victorian London) will uncover the key sights of the author’s life and works – from the blacking factory he worked in as a boy to the Limehouse pub in Our Mutual Friend.

The Garden of Edible and Useful Plants

Chelsea Physic Garden, opening 23 May 2012
London’s oldest botanical garden is creating an inspiring new half-acre garden. The Garden of Edible and Useful Plants will display an extraordinary range of plant species on which humanity depends; from forest fruits and land restoration plants to super foods and plants used for hygiene, science and the arts. Also check out our Chelsea Flower Show packages

Universe of Sound

23 May – 8 July 2012
A virtual Philharmonia Orchestra will take up residence at the Science Museum. An immersive digital installation will employ the latest digital and interactive technologies to reveal the inner workings of each orchestral section and invite the public to interact, create and explore. The project will include a live performance of The Planets.


Top 3 London Exhibitions

Bauhaus: Art as Life

Barbican, 3 May – 12 August 2012
Exploring the world’s most famous modern art and design school, Bauhaus: Art as Life is the biggest Bauhaus exhibition in the UK in over 40 years and presents the pioneering and diverse artistic production that made up the school’s turbulent fourteen-year history from 1919 to 1933 delving into typical Bauhaus themes of art, design, people, society and culture.

Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist

The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 4 May – 7 October 2012
The largest ever exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of the human body will be shown at The Queen’s Gallery. He intended to publish his ground-breaking work in a treatise on anatomy, but on Leonardo’s death in 1519 the drawings remained a mass of undigested material among his private papers. Today they are among the Royal Collection’s greatest treasures. A good second prize for those who missed the Da Vinci exhibition earlier in the year

The Queen: Art and Image

National Portrait Gallery, 17 May – 21 October 2012
To mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the National Portrait Gallery will stage an innovative exhibition bringing together 60 of the most remarkable and resonant images of Elizabeth II spanning the 60 years of her reign – some on public display for the first time – and will feature images from artists as diverse as Beaton,  Leibovitz, Annigoni and Warhol.

Top 3 London Events

Grand Designs Live

ExCeL, 5 – 13 May 2012
The UK has gone mad for home improvement so Grand Designs Live returns to London’s ExCeL Centre for its 8th consecutive year to offer inspiration and expert advice for everything from home redecoration to renovations or even full scale self-build projects.

 Hippodrome Casino

Leicester Square, opens May 2012
The Hippodrome Casino will be Britain’s first truly international style casino collaborating with an internationally renowned food and beverage operator and offering a unique West End theatre experience alongside the widest variety of gaming.

Mind Body Spirit Festival 2012

Earl Court, 30 May – 4 June 2012
Revive your passion for life and soak up the infectious positive mood of the six day Mind Body Spirit Festival as it relocates from the Royal Horticultural Halls to London’s Earl Court. The is an essential show for anyone seeking a boost in energy, get the latest in self-help techniques, sample new and traditional therapies, find natural products, or choose from an extensive menu of interesting, entertaining and informative workshops.


Top 3  London Performances

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

May – September 2012
Celebrating its 80th Anniversary in 2012, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has become a London landmark and a firm fixture of summer in the city. At 1,240 seats, it is one of London’s largest playhouses. With stage and auditorium completely uncovered, the weather adds a thrilling contribution to every performance, making each visit a truly unique experience.

BMW LSO Open Air Classics

Trafalgar Square, 12 May 2012
The first in a ground-breaking series of annual, open air, free concerts will be conducted in Trafalgar Square by Principal Conductor of the LSO, Valery Gergiev. Large screens will be mounted on either side of the stage to allow the audience to witness the concert close up and the programme will feature Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and The Rite of Spring.

Swan Lake on Ice

Royal Albert Hall, 18 – 20 May 2012
The Imperial Ice Stars, the international ice dance sensation, make a triumphant return to the Hall with a dynamic new staging of their award-winning masterpiece Swan Lake on Ice, following their acclaimed performance of Cinderella on Ice in 2010.This never-seen-before performance, specially adapted for the magnificent setting of the Royal Albert Hall, will feature sumptuous costumes, stunning projection, and magical special effects.


Top 3 London Shopping Opportunities

New Beauty Hall at John Lewis

Oxford Street, May 2012
The new Beauty Hall at John Lewis Oxford Street will be unveiled following a multi-million pound facelift. BOOM BOOM! The Beauty Hall will feature major international brands, including Chanel, Dior and Crème de la Mer, alongside niche brands including Jo Malone, Liz Earle and Bumble and Bumble with new and exclusive products launching throughout 2012.

The Big British Shop

Selfridges, from 4 May 2012
The Concept Store (in Selfridges’ Wonder Room), will be the ultimate destination for products ranging from fashion to food, irresistibly loaded with British character especially created for Selfridges by some of the most iconic British brands.  Fred Perry, Gieves & Hawkes and Vivienne Westwood will line up with Marmite, Branston and Hellmans.

Carnaby 20% Shopping Party

31 May 2012
We covered this last year too Carnaby will be hosting an exclusive shopping event on Thursday 31 May from 5pm to 9pm. Shoppers will receive a 20% discount at over 100 shops, restaurants and bars in Carnaby. PLUS Two hundred exclusive goodie bags will be given away to shoppers in the Carnaby area. Register at Carnaby.co.uk for a free ticket.

About Simon Harding

Simon Harding has grown up in and around London's Theatreland and has been working here ever since he left school: promoting its shows to anyone who will listen!

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