A guide to London events in 2016


London is one of the best places in the UK to visit at any time of year, be it sunshine, snow or even rain.

Why? Well, thanks to the size of the city, the amount of attractions there are and London’s full to bursting events calendar, there’s always something to do. Even if the weather decides to take a nosedive by going inclement and your outdoor plans for the day are ruined, you are bound to find just as many fun indoor activities to get up to.

There are always lots of things for the entire family to enjoy in the city too, as everyone and their interests are catered for. Not only this, but The Shaftesbury has a huge range of family hotels in London that are comfortable, functional and close to all the things that we’re sure are on your to-do list.

London Events

Out of all the great hotels we have on offer, one of the best for families is the Paddington Hotel, which is just a five-minute walk from Paddington Tube station and seven minutes from the beautiful Kensington Gardens.

Another of our hotels that is great if you’re travelling in a large group is Hyde Park International Hotel on Bayswater Road, which is a quick five-minute walk from the park itself and again, it’s close to the London Underground and other travel options.

Both of these hotels reside in converted townhouses for a real feeling of luxury and they’re situated in nice, quiet areas so you don’t have to worry about street noise waking up your kids.

But, what about all the things you can do to have fun in the city? There’s a gargantuan list of things to do, so we’ve picked out a select few that we think you and all your family will really enjoy.

Open-air theatre

When it’s summer, there’s few activities that are more pleasant than heading along to see some open-air theatre. Even if going to see plays isn’t usually your cup of tea, you should still really enjoy seeing some outdoors in a beautiful park, as picnic baskets and snacks are actively encouraged.

Two of the best places to catch some theatre outdoors are Shakespeare’s Globe and in stunning Regent’s Park. There are also lots of festivals, in which you can see little snippets of open-air theatre to decide whether or not it’s something you would enjoy. The More London Free Festival on South Bank, for example, runs from 3rd June to 24th September and encompasses a mixture of live music and fringe theatre performance – one of the top picks includes a reworked version of Pride and Prejudice.

One of the theatre highlights of this year so far, which is currently on stage at the Garrick Theatre is Romeo and Juliet, who are played by Richard Madden (Rob Stark from Game of Thrones) and Lily James – both of whom were in the latest adaptation of Cinderella.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh, who is no stranger to Shakespeare – most notably he played an excellent Macbeth in National Theatre: Live – the show is set to be a hit.

The Garrick Theatre is located on Charing Cross Road and is just a few minutes’ walk from Leicester Square Tube station, right in the heart of the Theatre District. You can catch Romeo and Juliet on stage from now right up until 13th August.

The City Garden

If your tastes run more to the horticultural and you’d like to try and spend some time around nature while you’re in London, then you’re in luck with The City Garden art installation.

Created by artist Rebecca Louise Law, these fresh flowers entwine with copper wire above your head where, over the summer, they will dry out and preserve themselves – not unlike pressed flowers in a book.

This garden of art was inspired by the real gardens that are in the City of London and you can find this homage in the new Guildhall Gallery The City Centre.

You’ll find the gallery on Basinghall Street and the nearest Tube station is St. Pauls, which means you can enjoy a stop at this iconic cathedral before enjoying a short walk to the art space itself.

The installation is part of London’s free event guide that occurs throughout the year and the exhibition will be open every day from 10 am until 25th September.

Alternative London

For those of you who are less interested in the usual sights of London, you’re sure to enjoy this Alternative London Tour, which will take you to the east of the city.

Known as a leftfield tour, you can expect to be introduced to the history and culture of the Brick Lane and Shoreditch areas. Some things you’ll be seeing and hearing about include the street art and current issues that make these areas what they are.

There’s a huge mix of things to do in this part of London that often get overlooked for the famous landmarks of the city.

For example, there are incredible markets and independent businesses that span boutique shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. Of course, Shoreditch is where London’s Tech City area is, which is full of digital and technology companies and start-ups – some of the best young minds in London are working in this region.

The tour runs three times a day at 12 pm, 3 pm and 7 pm right up until the 24th December and it’s free to all – but optional tips are included, if you feel like your tour guide has been an informative host.

Bookings have to be made online at the Alternative London website, which states that you should really get tickets at least three weeks in advance. This is particularly true if you’re going to be going along in groups of six or more, as the tours usually run in small groups and you could get turned away if you turn up unexpectedly.

Clangers, Bagpuss and co

If you grew up at a certain time – some might even call it the peak of children’s television – then you’ll certainly remember the likes of The Clangers. Little woollen creatures who lived in space and communicated with little musical-like noises.

Now, a small but beautifully put together exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood is bringing you all your old favourites for you to learn more about them.

Originally created by the production company Smallfilms, which was run by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firman – you can see the paper pieces that would eventually become Noggin the Nog and you’ll even get to find out which 1960s model was the fashion inspiration for the Clangers themselves.

Learn how Bagpuss ended up being a pink cat and you can make your own stop-frame animation using Ivor the Engine.

The museum is on Cambridge Heath Road and the nearest Tube station is Bethnal Green; admission is free and you can enjoy the exhibition from 10 am – 5.30 pm every day.

As you can see, we’ve picked just a handful of things for you to go out and enjoy with your family when you’re in London but there’s so much more to see and do. If you can’t wait to discover just what that might be, we recommend you turn your eyes to Time Out London’s 101 things to do in London list – it’s certainly extensive and very helpful.