Visit London Blog » british museum Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Video of the Week: Top 10 London Attractions Fri, 20 Jun 2014 09:44:02 +0000

From the British Museum to the EDF Energy London Eye, Tate Modern to the Natural History Museum, watch this video to discover London’s top 10 most popular tourist attractions, based on visitor numbers.

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A Quick Guide to London Beards Mon, 16 Jun 2014 09:00:20 +0000 Sham, winner of the beard contest at the 2014 Great British Tattoo Show at Alexandra Palace. Photograph by: Jonathan Daniel Pryce

Once the favoured accessory of weathered fishermen and chin-stroking academics, the beard has had a revival in fortunes of late – and no more so than in London.

New research warns we may have reached ‘peak beard’ – but you just try telling that to East London, where the ‘hipster’ beard reigns supreme. London’s finest fuzz was even captured by photographer Jonathan Daniel Pryce in his blog-turned-book 100Beards.

We look back at some of the beard’s most famous moments in London history and culture…

The UK’s most beard friendly pub

The Cock Tavern in Hackney was recently crowned the most beard-friendly UK pub 2014. It was selected in an online poll organised by The Beard Liberation Front. It’s also where the British Beard Club hold their meetings – although that might be more to do with the pub’s great range beers from different micro-breweries – including its own.

Henry VIII. Image credit: Lucas Horenbout/ Web Gallery of Art

Henry VIII’s Beard Tax

Everyone’s favourite head-chopping king, Henry VIII, is said to have introduced a ‘beard tax’ in 1535 – despite having one himself. Walk in the king’s footsteps at his stunning former home, Hampton Court Palace.

Tower Green and the Queen's House at the Tower of London

A bearded escape at the Tower of London

On the eve of his execution in 1716, Lord Nithsdale staged a daring escape from the Tower of London. His wife and two of her friends smuggled in a set of women’s clothes and managed to sneak out the prisoner disguised as one of them – even though he hadn’t had time to shave his long beard. Visit the Tower of London for a glimpse of the site where the Lieutenant’s Lodgings (where the Lord was held) once stood – next to what is now the Queen’s House.

Weird Beard Brewery

West London brewers Weird Beard Brew Co (“all beard, no sandals”) concoct fantastically named beers like American IPA Five O’Clock Shadow, K*ntish Town Beard and Black Perle. Give them a taste for yourself at the Craft Beer Co in Covent Garden or The Harp near Charing Cross, which regularly stock Weird Beard Brews – just two of many other pubs and bars across London to do so.

Margaret Thatcher with Ronald Regan outside Number 10 Downing Street. Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library.

Margaret Thatcher’s fear of beards

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had a thing against facial hair and famously declared “I wouldn’t tolerate any minister of mine wearing a beard”. See where the Iron Lady once lived by peering through the imposing gates of Downing Street.

The Beard of the Great Sphinx at the British Museum

The Great Sphinx is one of the most iconic sights of ancient Egypt – and the British Museum has a piece of this massive sculpture: specifically a fragment of its beard. It dates back to about 1500-1295 BC – possibly even further back – and was excavated at Giza in 1817. See it for yourself in Room 4 at the British Museum.

To Beard or Not To Beard window display at Selfridges London. Photograph by Gareth Davies/Snap Media Productions

To Beard or Not to Beard at Selfridges

The latest window display at Selfridges cheekily picks up on the beard/no beard debate. Titled To Beard Or Not To Beard, it features a recreated barber’s shop – with all the trimmings. Step inside and you’ll find an actual barber’s shop – a collaboration between the people behind Return of the Rudeboy (an upcoming exhibition at Somerset House), top hairdresser Johnnie Sapong and Soho salon We Are Cuts – snipping beards into shape until 12 June.

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London Video of the Week: Vikings at the British Museum Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000

Have you seen the Vikings: Life and Legend exhibition at the British Museum yet? If not, this dramatic video will prompt you to want to find about more about the dreaded warriors. On until 22 June, exhibition highlights include a 37-metre-long Viking warship, the longest ever found and previously unseen in the UK, along with a raft of new archaeological discoveries and objects.

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Why you should see Vikings: Life and Legend at the British Museum Thu, 06 Mar 2014 11:27:39 +0000

One of the first things you will learn at the British Museum’s latest blockbuster exhibition is that the word Viking means pirate in its original Norse and Olde English. However, what this exhibition aims to do is show that the Vikings built an empire between 800-1050AD by trading, as well as raiding.

The BP Exhibition: Vikings: Life and Legend is the first exhibition to be housed in the newly completed Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery at the British Museum, part of the £135 million World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre that opens later in 2014. The centrepiece is the remains of a 37m-long Viking warship, a piece that the museum would have struggled to accommodate before this gallery existed.

The remains of The Longship, named Roskilde 6, are displayed using a minimalist steel structure, which contrasts with the original timbers, of which only 20% remain, to allow for easy distinction between the ancient and modern Scandinavian design techniques.

The ship was discovered, of all places, on the site of the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark in 1996-7. After which 10,000 conservation hours went into freeze drying the timbers and reconstructing the ship.

The ship would have required unparalleled resources to build at the time: 350sq m of timber, 200kg of flax or wool for the sails, 174kg of horse hair for rope, 500kg of iron and over 500,000 man hours, and that’s not including the precious metals used for ornamentation. The ship is a symbol of power, and nothing says power like a 37m warship, coated in gold and manned by 40 hulking warriors, “gleaming like fire” as it approaches the shore.

The warship is surrounded in this grand space by weaponry and beheaded skeletons, in an attempt to recreate the terror the Vikings could once incite. In comparison, the jewellery on display at the start of the exhibition is more serene, achieving the curator Gareth Williams’ aim of presenting the Vikings as a progressive trading society, as well as ruthless warriors.

Using their nautical expertise the Vikings developed an unparalleled trading network, spreading outwards to eastern Canada, central Asia and southwards to Morocco. The most brazenly extravagant piece is a 2kg gold necklace from Denmark, a symbol of the incredible wealth present amongst the Vikings.

When a son is born, the father throws a naked sword before him and says: “I leave you no inheritance. All you possess is what you can gain with this sword.” Ihn Rusta, Arab Writer, The Book of Precious Records, AD903-913

The weaponry will naturally be a big draw here, with several swords of varying shapes and sizes on show. Some of my favourite items on show are the berserker warrior chess pieces, shown maniacally chewing their shields before battle. These terrifying icons, alongside axes, shields and a huge longbow all show the craftsmanship and mentality which helped the Vikings dominate Europe for centuries.

Make sure to grab one of the touchscreen audio guides, hosted by the broadcaster and Viking descendant Sandi Toksvig.

]]> 1 Guest Editor Boris Johnson Thu, 23 Jan 2014 12:36:01 +0000

To celebrate the release of our latest London Story video featuring Mayor of London Boris Johnson, we asked Boris to be our guest editor on’s homepage from 23 to 25 January 2014, populating it with some of his favourite London experiences.

While making his London Story video for us – which was filmed in a pod on The EDF Energy London Eye – Boris waxed lyrical about some of his top things to see and do in London.

British Museum

“As I kid, because I was a bit of a nerd, I used to love going to the British museum where I would spend hours loitering in  the Duveen galleries,  looking at the Elgin Marbles – the ‘ta Elgíneia Mármara’, as they are called in Greece.”

The British Museum in Bloomsbury is the UK’s most visited tourist attraction, welcoming millions of people each year. Entry is free and provides access to an enormous wealth of historical artefacts, paintings, sculptures and scriptures from across the world (8 million in total) that make up the museum’s stores. These include the Rosetta Stone, The Elgin Marbles, the Easter Island Statue of Hoa Hakananai’a, and The Vindolanda tablets. As well as permanent exhibits, the museum curates temporary displays, and the Great Court and Reading Room are particularly popular with visitors due to their impressive architecture.

Regent’s Canal

“I cycle a lot but I also particularly like walking down the canal. There’s a fantastic walk just near us along the Regent’s Canal where you see these ancient bits of industrial architecture with new dwellings springing up among them.
“The buildings have got all this glass and steel and it’s the combination that’s so attractive. It’s 18th and 19th century industrial architecture that’s been brilliantly renovated with 21st century technology. It’s a fantastically vibrant area and so unlike any other city.
“We walk down the canal for a purpose – not just because it’s romantic and beautiful but because there is a pub, called The Narrow Boat, that sells fantastic sausage and mash.”

The 8.6-mile (14km) Regent’s Canal links the River Thames in the Limehouse Basin with Little Venice in north-west London. Along its route the canal bisects ZSL London Zoo, curves along the edge of Regent’s Park, passes through the busy shopping district of Camden, and then on to Islington and on to East London’s developing landscape, such as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. When it was built in the early 19th century, the canal’s primary function was for carrying goods; today it mainly provides a conduit for relaxation and leisure time.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

“I love getting on my bicycle and riding all the way through Hackney. It is an area changing very, very fast with all these bars being opened and new startup businesses. I then go through Victoria Park, right the way to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which is connected up in the most extraordinary way. I recommend that for a day out and particularly when we reopen the whole park this year.”

Once London secured the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, work began on this piece of land in East London to turn what was previously wasteland into a hub for Londoners and visitors alike. The initial phase saw the creation of Europe’s largest shopping mall, Westfield Stratford City, next door, followed soon after by the Olympic Stadium and its sister sporting arenas. When the London 2012 Games finished, the park closed for refurbishment but the north section has since reopened for sporting events and festivals. Incremental new openings will occur throughout 2014 including parklands featuring new plant life, affordable homes, plus a variety of public-use sports and event venues.

Riverbus / Boat to Greenwich

“[My family and I] go to Greenwich and hang out there because it has such a beautiful park. You can have a wonderful afternoon having a picnic, feeding the ducks, hiring a boat – which you can also do at the Serpentine – and all that kind of stuff.”

London’s River Thames has a number of river bus services available. To get to Greenwich you can board one at Embankment, head east past the London Eye, Tower of London, Canary Wharf, and onto Greenwich where you disembark to enjoy The Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Greenwich Park. As well as hosting the Prime Meridian Line, this 183 acre (74 hectare) Royal Park dates back to 1427 and offers a stunning vantage point from which you can look across London at landmarks such as The O2 Arena, Canary Wharf and The Gherkin. There is also an enclosure for wildlife including deer and foxes.

24 Hours in London: Food & World-Class Attractions  

“London has a superb range of places to eat and you are spoilt for choice for Michelin starred restaurants – not that I go to Michelin Star restaurants! I love this café called Frank’s in Southwark Street, where you can get one of the best fry-ups in the world or I can recommend a Turkish joint in Islington, called Pasha.
“It is very, very important to see the British Museum and the Tower of London. The Tower was built in Norman times and is the most interesting example of how London thrives on alien imports because every stone of that initial structure came from Caen in France.  Visitors should also go and see the crown jewels.
“There are so many unbelievable hidden jewels in London, like the Wallace Collection for instance.
“Then you’ve got the Tate Modern – which is not only the biggest but has the most number of visitors of any modern art museum in the world.”

Discover more stories and enter a competition to win a fantastic stay in London at #TheLondonStory

What would you recommend to visitors to London?

]]> 0 Guest Editor: Joanna Lumley Mon, 20 Jan 2014 11:02:43 +0000


Watch actor, voice-over artist, former model, author and human rights campaigner Joanna Lumley’s London Story in the video above.

During our interview Joanna told us more about why, even after nearly half a century in the UK Capital, London still excites and energises her life and work. We’ve used some of her favourite London experiences to populate our homepage from 20 Jan-23 Jan 2014.

Here’s Joanna’s top five things to see and do in London:

Battersea Power Station and Stockwell

“I have lived in Earl’s Court, near Holland Park and in Wimbledon and now I live in Stockwell. Stockwell has a lot of extraordinary treats. It has got the most beautiful war memorial which is painted with poppies and things. Stockwell has its own personal characteristics [and] it is now linked to Nine Elms and the immense new development there. [It’s also very close to] Battersea Power Station, one of the most iconic and thrilling parts of London, with its great four chimneys sticking up, you seem to see them all around, whichever side of the river you are. The power station is being developed into restaurants and places to live and offices and cafés and shops – a theatre even. Maybe [one day] I can walk to [work at] a theatre in Battersea.”

Holland Park

Holland Park is one of the best kept secrets in London. It is staggering, I took a Canadian friend there the other day and she was bewitched by it. It’s got parterres, winding paths, statues, its own little opera house. It has got a beautiful restaurant, an orangery. It has got formal duck ponds with ducks who have babies…little puffballs. It’s got peacocks which roost in the trees. It’s got tulips in springtime and magnolias. It’s got camellias coming out before the snow has even come off them, it’s a fantastic place. It sits between Holland Park Avenue and Kensington High Street. You can wander your way around – it’s got a football pitch, it’s got everything you could possibly want and wherever you go in it, you’ll find a new path and a new way. And you can wear smart shoes if you want to be a smart Londoner and not be muddy, or you can wear football boots.”

London in 24 hours: Open Top Bus Tour and Fish & Chips

“If you really have only got 24 hours, I think you should take one of those nice topless buses, they are terribly, terribly good, or go onto the river, where you get quite a different thing – the whole city sounds different. Take your camera and actually look at all these extraordinary places. If you can go to a museum, come to the British Library or the British Museum or the V&A or the Science Museum or the Natural History Museum. The Sir John Soane’s  Museum is packed with treats. Try to focus on something properly for an hour, then skitter about like a gadfly. Eat something, I know it’s England, but you have to eat some fish and chips.”

Knightsbridge, Piccadilly, Cromwell Road

“Whenever I come back to London after a long time away, the first thing I do is ask the driver to bring me straight down the Cromwell Road, towards Knightsbridge, veer off, round Hyde Park Corner, the great Quadriga of War – that fabulous chariot with four of them on top of the archway in the middle; a boy driving the horses furiously, and behind, aloft, holding the great wreath of peace, is the angel standing. Go round there, down past Buckingham Palace … and the great golden statue of Queen Victoria. Down Parliament Square, Big Ben, there it all is: still there, still gleaming. 

The British Library

“I think that I would die if I didn’t read books every day. Books are the most important part of my life and reading is the most important skill you can learn as a person on the planet. It doesn’t matter what else you have got. If you are able to read, you can learn everything that there has ever been known. You can read about everything, anywhere in any language, about every single thing that has ever been thought, or ever been invented, or discovered or dreamed of. So without reading, your life is dull, that’s what I say.

Discover more stories and enter a competition to win a fantastic stay in London at #TheLondonStory

What are your recommendations for visitors to London?

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Top 10 Free London Attractions Tue, 14 Jan 2014 12:28:54 +0000 Old Royal Naval College

Every visit to London should include these top London attractions. Not only are they fascinating and unique, but they’re also all free!

And we’re not the only ones to think they’re pretty good. These world-class venues were the top 10 free attractions in 2012 across London – and England too (source: VisitEngland Annual Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions).

British Museum

British Museum

Home of the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures and mummies of Ancient Egypt, the British Museum is a treasure trove of world history and culture. The collection is free to explore, though some special exhibitions are ticketed. Free temporary displays currently include Perfect Timing: The Mostyn Tompion Clock and Wise Men From The East: Zoroastrian Traditions In Persia And Beyond.

Tate Modern. Image visitlondonimages/ britainonview/ Pawel Libera

Tate Modern

Located along the River Thames in Bankside, Tate Modern is the bright, spacious and throbbing hub of modern and contemporary art in London. There are free guided tours of this former power station every day, or you can explore the collections yourself – from Russian Revolutionary Posters to Cubist works by Picasso, Duchamp and Diego Rivera.

National Gallery

National Gallery

Where the Tate Modern showcases the new, the National Gallery celebrates the old – specifically Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. Look out for Vermeer’s A Young Woman standing at a Virginal, Seurat’s Bathers at Asnières, van Gogh’s Sunflowers, da Vinci’s The Virgin of the Rocks and many other unmissable classics from the masters.

Spend time with the kids at the Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

There’s plenty to discover and delight at the Natural History Museum, from the renowned Dinosaurs gallery to Treasures in the Cadogan Gallery, a permanent exhibition of historic gems such as the rare first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, a dodo skeleton and the first adult skull of a Neanderthal ever discovered. Entrance is also free to the Attenborough Studio, where you can see films, join talks and meet the experts.

The Great Bed of Ware, 1590-1760. Courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum, LondonVictoria and Albert Museum

Billed as the world’s greatest museum of art and design, the V&A (as it’s commonly known) is known for its world-class exhibitions on fashion, culture, art and style. As well as the huge central collection and (ticketed) special exhibitions, there are free temporary displays. Current highlights include Making it up: Photographic Fictions, Masterpieces of Chinese Painting: Digital Dragons and The Jameel Prize 3, featuring works inspired by Islamic traditions of art, craft and design.

Science Museum

Science Museum

Founded in 1857, the Science Museum explores the past, present and future of scientific discoveries through its amazing galleries, interactive displays and historic collections. Go hands on in the Launchpad interactive gallery, learn about yourself in Who Am I? and see iconic inventions such as Stephenson’s original Rocket locomotive, Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 1 and Crick and Watson’s DNA model.

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

Princess Diana, Ian McKellen, Emmeline Pankhurst, the Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens… beautiful captured moments of the great and good from throughout British history line the walls of the National Portrait Gallery. See how man familiar faces you can spot – and don’t miss the current star-studded special displays, such as Michael Peto Photographs: Mandela to McCartney, Starring Vivien Leigh: A Centenary Celebration and Bob Dylan: Face Value.

Old Royal Naval College

Old Royal Naval College

Built on the site of Greenwich Palace, along the River Thames, the Old Royal Naval College encompasses a series of fascinating historic and royal edifices. Must-sees include the magnificent Painted Hall and Chapel, located in the twin domes designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and the exhibitions and relics on display in the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre.

British Library

British Library

Beyond its famous and hushed reading rooms, the British Library is a top visitors attraction – full of fascinating exhibitions relating to literature, culture, music and more. Check out the Picture This: Children’s Illustrated Classics display (open until 26 Jan) or explore the permanent galleries’ gems, including no less than the Magna Carta, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks and Shakespeare’s First Folio.

National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum

Tales of adventure, discovery and daring deeds bring fresh life to the fascinating history of life on the high seas. The world’s largest maritime museum, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich has something for everyone: a Children’s Gallery and Ship Simulator for the little ones, free exhibitions such as Maritime London: 1700 To Now and Nelson, Navy, Nation (featuring Nelson’s iconic uniform) and art from the likes of George Stubbs.

More free London attractions

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London Bar and Restaurant News: Recently Opened Bars and Restaurants, and New Venues in 2014 Mon, 30 Dec 2013 10:46:42 +0000 London during the festive season: it’s a bubbling cauldron of parties and indulgent champagne catch-ups. It’s therefore probably not the most prolific of seasons for new bar and restaurant openings in London, you’d assume. But London has other ideas, and shows no intention of slowing down at this time of the year.

December has been as busy as any other month this year for new drinking and dining venues in London. The Rum Kitchen (pictured above) opened in Kingly Court just off Carnaby Street in Soho, bringing the all-day Caribbean food and drink of its sister restaurant in Notting Hill to the shoppers and visitors of Soho; the New York-esque restaurant, Jackson+Rye, launched its breakfast, brunch and hard shakes menu in the area; whilst finishing off a trio of foreign-inspired Soho eateries, Blanchette, is now proffering a quintessentially Parisian experience in central London’s most exciting neighbourhood.

Further afield, although not much further than Soho just across the road in Fitzrovia, Gangsters Tequila Paradise (pictured above) is a new graffiti-covered, downtown LA noir cocktail bar near Oxford Circus, created by the same team behind the popular London Cocktail Club bars; whilst in Hackney, Oslo, is now open for food, drinks and live music, all in Nordic fashion. Family friendly restaurant, Wildflower Cafe (pictured below), is now serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and tea made with responsibly sourced seasonal ingredients in Notting Hill; and Honest Burger has just opened its fifth restaurant in Kings Cross, following successes in Camden, Brixton, Soho and Notting Hill.

London did lose one old favourite this month in the form of Michelin-starred restaurant, Apsleys, when The Lanesborough hotel in Belgravia closed for extensive renovation, not to reopen until the autumn of 2014.

And 2014 is already shaping up to be yet another exciting year for new bars and restaurants in London. Aside from the tantalising news about the former Metropolitan police headquarters at Great Scotland Yard becoming a £100m super luxury hotel (no doubt providing space for a delicious restaurant or three), 2014 will begin with a number of ‘must try’ eating and drinking destinations.

In January, the Great Court Restaurant will open on the mezzanine floor of the Reading Room at the British Museum under the glass roof of, as the name suggests, the Great Court (pictured above). Polpetto will return to Soho after almost two years away; and also in Soho, Vietnamese restaurant, House of Ho, will open on Old Compton Street. Lanes of London will launch on the prestigious Park Lane, combining old-fashioned British heritage with the diverse cultural identity of modern day London (so expect Indian, Vietnamese and Lebanese alongside British cuisine on the menu). My personal favourite, Boom Burger will find its first permanent residence following a string of excellent pop-up occasions and street food performances (note: I have previously claimed this (pictured below) to be “the best burger I’ve ever tasted in London.”)

In February, the Gordon family of Gordon’s Wine Bar will open a coffee company and dining room called Villiers on the street of the same name; Rainer Becker will open a Mayfair branch of his contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant, Roka; the Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack will bring a little American flavour to the West End; and Gordon Ramsay will finally open his London House restaurant and lounge in Battersea Square.

Incidentally, congratulations should also go out to Gordon Ramsay following the 2013 annual Diner’s Choice award recently. Three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, was proclaimed number one in the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the UK, according to user reviews.

There are plenty more new launch bars and restaurants planned for London in 2014, almost too many to share with you right now. Look out for more bar and restaurant news soon.

In the meantime, discover more London bars and restaurants on the Visit London website.

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Top Art Exhibitions to See in London in 2014 Fri, 27 Dec 2013 10:00:35 +0000 2014 is set to be an exciting year with plenty of blockbuster exhibitions planned across the capital. From art to architecture, collage to contemporary, don’t miss these fantastic exhibitions.

Henri Matisse Cut-Outs

Tate Modern, 17 Apr-7 Sep 2014

While Matisse became famous for his use of bright colours and simplified use of line, towards the end of his illustrious career he gradually became blind which left him unable to continue with these types of paintings. To remedy this he chose instead to work with cut-out shapes. These wonderful mature works live on in collage and will be available to view this summer at the Tate Modern.

Sensing Spaces: Architecture Re-imagined

Royal Academy of Arts, 25 Jan–6 Apr 2014

The unmissable opening 2014 exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts will be entirely experiential. Involving unique commissions from seven internationally-renowned architecture firms, Sensing Spaces explores how visitors respond to environments, buildings and spaces. There will be six installations, each re-imagining the boundaries between art and architecture and how visitors might interpret what they see, feel, hear and smell.

Late Turner: Painting Set Free

Tate Britain, 10 Sep 2014 – 25 Jan 2015

This exhibition at the Tate Britain will pay tribute to the revolutionary work of Turner whose late landscapes depicted studies of light and atmosphere where the air becomes misty, the light ethereal, and where the land evaporates into the sky. This exhibition is dedicated to Turner’s later works – all produced after the artist turned 60 and covering

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the period 1835-50. A star of the show will be Turner’s masterpiece Rain, Steam, and Speed – The Great Western Railway from 1844 which depicts a hare seemingly in a race with a steam train as it puffs through a rain storm.

Martin Creed

Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, 29 Jan– 27 Apr 2014

Famous for his Turner Prize-winning piece (Work No. 227, the lights going on and off, 2001), Martin Creed is an artist that people tend to either love or hate. This new exhibition at the Hayward Gallery is your chance to make your mind up about his highly conceptual art. Throughout the duration of the show there will be a spattering of events at which that Creed plays live, which may even include a song counting from 1 to 100.

The Great War in Portraits

National Portrait Gallery, 27 Feb-15 Jun 2014

One of the first events in London commemorating the World War I centenary is the National Portrait Gallery’s The Great War in Portraits show. Rather than focus on war-torn landscape pictures, this exhibition will tell the story of the Great War in images of people. With artists including Ludwig Kirchner and William Orpen’s self-portraits from their time in the army, and more Expressionist works providing a window into the political and psychological turmoil experienced, this will be a revealing show.

Vikings: Life and Legend

British Museum, 6 March – 22 June 2014

How did the Vikings change the history of Britain? The British Museum sets out to explore exactly that with its major 2014 exhibition Vikings: Life and Legend. With important and delicate artefacts on loan from Denmark and Scandinavia, this show is set to redefine how we perceive the Vikings. Often portrayed as violent thugs, The Vikings were actually an enterprising, often-nomadic civilisation who commanded more communities via their trade routes than any other established people of the same era in the British Isles or Europe. Quite apart from an educational experience, there will be gold and jewels on display, as well as impressive fragments of an original Viking longboat, transported for the first time from Denmark.

Constable: The Making of a Master

Victoria & Albert Museum, 20 Sep 2014 – 11 Jan 2015

John Constable’s The Hay Wain, is one of the most famous paintings in London’s National Gallery and one that tourists flock to see. And though it won’t move far in 2014, it will form part of a revealing display at the V&A. This and a select group of masterpieces form the centrepiece of this show, while Constable’s early oil sketches tell us how he evolved to become such a reputable painter. Unequalled in his portrayal of the natural landscape, this is a rare chance to get behind Constable’s famous works and learn more about the man.


National Gallery, 18 Jun-7 Sep 2014

The perfect introduction to how painting evolved throughout the centuries. Using its vast collection to tell the story of colour, this ambitious show at the National Gallery spans 700 years; each room devoted to one colour. So, whether you’re interested in colour theory, the chemistry of pigments and their production, or how brush-strokes form a picture on the canvas, this exhibition will cover it all.

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What’s On This Weekend. 18-20 October 2013 Mon, 14 Oct 2013 09:00:13 +0000 Chocolate, gold and art – these are a few of our favourite things that you can expect to see in London this weekend.

Chocolate Week 2013 

Prepare your tastebuds for serious indulgence at London’s Chocolate Week, which celebrates the best cocoa-based products and the people that make them. All of London’s top chocolatiers are taking part, and you can enjoy exclusive tastings, lectures, workshops and special restaurant menus as part of the festivities. One of the festival highlights is the Salon du Chocolat this weekend: an enormous exhibition of chocolate-related goodness in Olympia, which features demonstrations, tastings and an extraordinary Chocolate Fashion Show alongside exclusive shopping opportunities. For more information on all Chocolate Week events, visit the website. 14-20 Oct

Frieze Art Fair at Regent’s Park

The Frieze Art Fair is one of the world’s most famous art festivals. Located in the beautiful Regent’s Park, the fair gives art fans the chance to view 150 of the globe’s leading galleries in one place. As well as seeing an astonishing range of contemporary art, you can attend film screenings and listen to talks and music. Adult  tickets are £34.40. 17-20 Oct   

Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Colombia

Track down the truth about South America’s lost city of gold at this fascinating new British Museum exhibition, which explores what Colombia was like in the three millennia before the Spanish arrived. You’ll see an array of rare objects including textiles, stone necklaces and spectacular gold masks, and learn about how gold was used as both a symbol of power and a way to get in touch with animal spirits. Adult tickets are £10. 17 Oct-23 Mar

The Family Arts Festival

Following on from last year’s hugely inspiring London 2012 Festival, this event takes place across the UK and features dance, music, arts, theatre and much more. In London, highlights include jazz at the artsdepot, a family performance of ‘Muse of Fire’ at Shakespeare’s Globe, and Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. For full details of what’s on near you, visit the festival website. 18 Oct-3 Nov

Russell Square Weekend

Both children and adults can expand their minds at this fun festival in the heart of Bloomsbury. Running from 10am until 7pm on Saturday and from 10am until 5pm on Sunday, the festival offers a mix of projects, installations, performances and events guaranteed to entertain and intrigue. Highlights of the diverse programme include the SOAS World Music Stage, a lecture on the history of poo and the performance of a dance inspired by insect bites. Entry is free. 19-20 Oct

More London events

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