The joys of spring are often associated with the countryside, as trees regain their leaves, flowers come into bloom and new lambs can be seen frolicking in the fields. But this time of year is equally wonderful – albeit in a very different way – in London, as many of its most exciting seasonal events come around once again.
With the arrival of the first warm days of year comes open-air theatre performances, the roses at Kensington Palace Gardens making an appearance and live music festivals taking place across multiple parks throughout the UK capital.
There’s so much to do in London in springtime, but here’s our pick of five unmissable events for the 2017 season:
RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The annual Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show will be returning to the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea from Tuesday May 23rd until Saturday May 27th, during which time it is expected to attract thousands of visitors from all over the world.
This is one of the biggest events in the London calendar, with the show traditionally opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II on its first day, before show gardens from some of the world’s most exciting garden designers can be explored by the general public.
Highly-coveted awards are given to the best presented and most innovative gardens, before all of the flora and fauna displayed throughout the show are sold off on the event’s final day, meaning there are some real bargains to be had.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is open from 8am until 8pm each day except for Saturday, when it closes at 5.30pm.
Open-air theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe
The new season at the open-air Shakespeare’s Globe kicks off at the end of April, with performances of classics including Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing continuing until October.
Shakespeare’s Globe is open-air in order to recreate the atmosphere and experience of a typical Elizabethan theatre, as the plays would have been performed this way originally.
For the 2017 season, there are also several other non-Shakespeare plays on the bill, including one centred around the life of Nell Gwyn, who was the mistress of King Charles II.
There are also several special ‘midnight matinees’ taking place this year – what could be more magical than a moonlit performance of age-old love story Romeo and Juliet with the River Thames in the background?
The American Dream at the British Museum
The American Dream: Pop to the Present is an exciting temporary exhibition on display at the British Museum, which is located in the Bloomsbury area of London.
Running until Sunday June 18th, this exhibition showcases a wide range of art exploring the story of America over the past 60 years, as artists have responded to significant events such as the space race, the assassination of John F Kennedy, the Vietnam war, the AIDS crisis and ongoing race and gender issues.
The exhibit features work from some of the biggest names in the American art world, including Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg, with their prints on display alongside artefacts owned by the British Museum and various private collections, bringing the story of the ever-changing American Dream to life.
Dickens After Dark at the Charles Dickens Museum
Part of the annual springtime Museums at Night Festival, Dickens After Dark will be taking place on Thursday May 18th at the Charles Dickens Museum, which is located at 48 Doughty Street, the former home of the Victorian author in the St Pancras area.
The house where Dickens wrote much-loved classics including Oliver Twist is open to the public throughout the year, but visitors can experience a different side to the museum at this night time event.
As it is decorated in a traditional Georgian style, viewing the museum in candlelight adds an extra level of authenticity to a visit to Dickens’ former home, with various manuscripts and artefacts on display, alongside stories of his inspirations and influences.
The event on May 18th will also include a candlelit bar and live acoustic music, while there’s a hidden walled garden waiting to be discovered for a moonlight adventure.
Boating on the Serpentine
There are few activities that better signal the arrival of spring than a boating trip on the Serpentine in Hyde Park.
Tourists and locals alike flock to this beautiful lake every year to hire one of its many row or pedal boats for an afternoon out on the lake. The Solar Shuttle is a more recent addition to the Serpentine’s boating options, carrying up to 40 passengers and offering a different way to enjoy the lake.
A picnic on the banks of the lake followed by a stroll around this magnificent royal park would finish a spring day off nicely.