London is one of the world’s most vibrant cities and every day there is something new to discover. With world-class museums and galleries, a thriving arts scene and food offerings from elegant afternoon tea to mouthwatering street food, England’s capital really does have it all. We’ll be keeping you up to date with what’s happening each month using our insider knowledge to surprise and delight those travelling to, and living in, this great city.

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The Houses of Parliament at sunset. Photo credit: iStock

 

The Boat Race

England is home to two of the world’s most prestigious universities. Not content to simply outdo each other academically, Oxford and Cambridge battle it out every year on the water at the Boat Race which takes place along the River Thames. The contest came about after two friends from Harrow School in north London challenged each other to a race, and in 1829 Cambridge threw down the gauntlet before promptly beating their rivals. The women’s race was introduced in 1927 and the contest is no less fierce. The Boat Race has become one of London’s most iconic sporting events with over  250,000 spectators lining the banks of the river to watch the eight-person boats make their way along the four mile-course between Putney and Mortlake. The event has not been without drama with  one dead heat, six sinkings and only three titles separating the two men’s crews.

2nd April, 2017

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Oxford and Cambridge racing near Hammersmith Bridge. Photo credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

London Coffee Festival

Caffeine lovers should follow their nose to the Truman Brewery in London’s east end, where the London Coffee Festival returns for another year. Whether you drink it short or long, with or without milk, you’re sure to find your perfect blend here. There will be over 250 coffee and gourmet food stalls, brewing masterclasses and daily latte art throwdowns from the best in the business. Try your hand at pulling the perfect espresso or simply stock up on some of the world’s finest beans. If you’re more of a tea drinker, there’s no need to keep that on the down low – Pure Leaf will be there to show off their finest long leaf teas.

6-9 April, 2017

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Brewing at the London Coffee Festival. Photo credit: London Coffee Festival

Virgin London Marathon

Every year more than 38,000 runners take to the streets of the capital for the Virgin London Marathon. Among those pounding the pavements are elite athletes, amateur runners, and many, many people in fancy dress raising money for their chosen charity. One of the more memorable costumes was less an outfit and more an accessory, in the form of a 42kg refrigerator strapped to the runner’s back. The 26.2-mile course snakes its way through London, past iconic landmarks such as the Cutty Sark, Tower of London and London Eye before the home stretch which runs along The Mall. The London Mararthon was born after two members of the Ranelagh Harriers Running Club went and ran the New York Marathon to see what all the fuss was about and came back declaring it ‘the world’s most human race’. In 1981 London hosted its first marathon and the title was shared by American Dick Beardlsey and Norweigan Inge Simonsen who crossed the finish line hand in hand.

April 23, 2017

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Runners at the London Marathon. Photo credit: Virgin

Tall Ships Regatta

An international fleet of tall ships will arrive in London this April for the start of the Rendez-Vous Tall Ships Regatta. Before they set sail for Quebec, via Portugal, Bermuda and Boston, the 30 tall ships will gather for four days on the River Thames at Greenwich and Woolwich with some open for visitors to climb aboard to have a nosey around and chat to the crew. While you’re here, make sure you visit the Cutty Sark, the world’s only surviving tea clipper, and fastest ship of her time.

13-16 April, 2017

Tall Ships Regatta. Photo credit: Visit Greenwich

David Hockney at the Tate Britain

This exhibition celebrates one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century, in one of the capital’s most iconic galleries – the Tate Britain. The exhibition showcases a selection of his most famous works from portraits and images of Los Angeles swimming pools to photography and paintings of the Yorkshire landscape.

Until 29 May, 2017

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David Hockney’s ‘Garden’. Photo credit: Tate Britain

Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair

April welcomes the spring edition of this family-run fair that unites the antique and interior design worlds. Visitors can browse and buy a whole range of items from exquisite 20th-century antiques to quirky, contemporary pieces. The fair takes place at Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park, one of London’s prettiest parks on the banks of the River Thames.

4-9 April, 2017

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Display at Decorative Antiques and Textile Fair. Photo credit: The Decorative Antiques and Textile Fair

Our top dining pick for April – Ham Yard Hotel

One of London’s finest hotel, the Ham Yard Hotel is quirky, fun and distinctively British. Their afternoon tea is one of the best in the capital with a mouthwatering selection of savoury bites, scones with clotted cream and jam, and cakes and pastries. The Ham Yard Hotel was awarded ‘Best Afternoon Tea’ at the prestigious Harden’s London Restaurant Awards 2016 and it never disappoints. Afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the restaurant, the Orangery or in the drawing room for guests of the hotel.

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Afternoon tea in the Orangery. Photo credit: Ham Yard Hotel

Our top theatre pick for April – Jewels

Celebrating its 50th year, Jewels is a ballet of three movements, each inspired by a different gemstone and exploring different musical and dance styles. George Balanchine – ballet master and principal choreographer of the New York Ballet for 35 years – was inspired by the beauty of the stones he saw in the window of Van Cleef & Arpels in New York, and the ballet was first performed in 1967. Each movement promises something different, but just as sparkling. The beauty of emeralds is complemented by the French romantic music of Fauré; Stravinsky and the jazz-age energy of New York allow rubies to shine; and the final movement, diamonds, is set to Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony.

1-21 April, 2017 at The Royal Opera House

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The ‘ruby’ movement of the Jewels ballet. Photo credit: The Royal Opera House