London’s best summer events

From the Proms to grime, Kubrick to da Vinci; London’s summer events offer something for everyone.   

MARY QUANT

Where? Victoria and Albert Museum

When? 6 April-16 February 2020

She was the visionary that changed the world of fashion forever – and this summer’s Mary Quant retrospective at the V&A is a colourful caper indeed. From makeup to miniskirts, over 200 garments and accessories are now on display, including many pieces from the designer’s personal archive. vam.ac.uk

beasts of London museum of London
Beasts of London

BEASTS OF LONDON

Where? Museum of London

When? 5 April-5 January 2020

Designed especially for inquisitive kids, this immersive digital installation will tell the story of London through the eyes of its animal residents: from lions and elephants, to horses, rats and – of course – pigeons. See if you can spot the famous voices, including Brian Blessed, Nish Kumar and Stephen Mangan. museumoflondon.org.uk

LEONARDO DA VINCI: A MIND IN MOTION

Where? The British Library

When? 7 June-8 September

Showcasing the highlights of Leonardo da Vinci’s extraordinary notebooks, this unique exhibition will mark the 500th anniversary of his death. From waves to winds, da Vinci considered motion to be ‘the cause of all life’ – and the exhibition will explore his theories further, shining a light on one of the greatest thinkers and scientists of all time. bl.uk

ANTONY GORMLEY

Where? Royal Academy of Arts

When? 21 September-3 December

He’s best-known for his epic Angel of the North, but Sir Antony Gormley’s oeuvre spans decades, materials, and disciplines galore – and this summer he’ll be taking over the RA, too. This significant solo exhibition will display his early works alongside large-scale installations made especially for this Mayfair gallery. royalacademy.org.uk

All Points East
All Points East

ALL POINTS EAST

Where? Victoria Park

When? 24 May-2 June

With headliners including The Chemical Brothers, Primal Scream, and Christine and the Queens, it’s hard to believe that this East London festival is only in its second year. Set over two weekends, it’s a great place to catch up-and-coming London acts performing alongside the big global names. allpointseastfestival.com

HAMPTON COURT PALACE FESTIVAL

Where? Hampton Court Palace

When? Various dates

Explore one of London’s greatest royal residences in star-studded company – including Kylie, Nile Rodgers, and Tears For Fears. After a day exploring the stately splendour of Hampton Court Palace – and feasting on afternoon tea – the evening brings incredible al fresco performances, complete with a full orchestra playing under the stars. hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com

WIRELESS

Where? Finsbury Park

When? 5-7 July

One of the biggest weekends for rap and grime obsessives, Wireless will see the likes of Cardi B, A$AP Rocky and Travis Scott descend on Finsbury Park. Like the sound of that? Don’t miss Lovebox (Gunnersbury Park, 12-13 July) – featuring Solange, Loyle Carner, Chance the Rapper and more. wirelessfestival.co.uk & loveboxfestival.com

BBC PROMS 2019

Where? Royal Albert Hall

When? Various dates

Taking over this incredible venue every summer since 1941, The Proms is London’s biggest and best celebration of classical music. It has moved deftly with the times: 2018 saw Beethoven’s Fifth restyled as a punk triumph, the festival’s first virtual reality recital, and the BBC Concert Orchestra collaborating with some of the biggest names in folk music. royalalberthall.com

Lee Krasner Palingenesis
Lee Krasner: Living Colour

LEE KRASNER; LIVING COLOUR

Where? Barbican Centre

When? 30 May-1 September

For too long, the work of Lee Krasner has been overshadowed by that of her husband, Jackson Pollack – but not for much longer. The Barbican’s summer exhibition will bring Krasner’s bold, bright canvases to the fore, revealing her as a true pioneer of Abstract Expressionism. With nearly 100 works on display, this will be one of the most far-reaching Krasner retrospectives to date. barbican.org.uk

STANLEY KUBRICK: THE EXHIBITION

Where? The Design Museum

When? 26 April-15 September

From The Shining to A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick’s classics are countless – and this immersive exhibition details the inspirations and talent that brought them to life. With insight from rare artefacts, interviews and unseen footage, this is a fascinating deep-dive into the director’s obsessive genius – a must-see for any film fan.
designmuseum.org

Or revisit a classic… 

One of the longest running shows in West End history (seen by almost 10 million alone in London), WICKED, the big hit musical about the Witches of Oz, released a further 470,000 new tickets last month. Go get some.

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