There are so many new restaurant and bar launches, theatrical premieres and exhibition openings taking place in London that working out what to do with your time can be something of a challenge in itself. Luckily, Forbes Travel Guide is here to help, whittling that list down to the five hottest happenings around town this coming season.
Get a taste of British theater
Imelda Staunton, one of the UK’s best-loved stage actors (she may be familiar to moviegoers for her roles in Vera Drake and the Harry Potter franchise, in which she played baddie Dolores Umbridge), is starring in the classic American production “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” this spring (through May 27) at the Harold Pinter Theatre.
Staunton plays Martha in Edward Albee’s dark comedy about a couple playing out the frustrations of its failing marriage at a dinner with a new colleague and his wife. Starring opposite Staunton is Conleth Hill, known for his role as Lord Varys in Game of Thrones.
Indulge in high-end accommodations
The first partnership between between Soho House and New York-based Sydell Group, The Ned is a huge new hotel in the capital city that will also boast nine — yes, you read that right — restaurants and bars, a private members’ club, a spa, a gym, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
The Ned, all 320,000 square feet of it, can be found behind the stunning façade of 27 Poultry, a Grade I-listed building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and formerly occupied by the headquarters of the now-defunct Midland Bank.
The exclusive Ned’s Club will occupy the bank’s former vault in the basement, while the restaurant list includes a New York–style Jewish deli, a Parisian café and a 24-hour British brasserie. Most of the eateries are contained within a grand lobby measuring over 32,000 square feet.
The hotel itself will have 252 rooms and suites, decorated in early 20th-century style, from teeny-tiny “Crash Pad” rooms to the Lutyens Suite, a palace in of itself with two en-suite bedrooms and private access to the hotel’s panoramic rooftop.
Channel your inner sports fan
There are very few events that bring Londoners together quite like the Virgin Money London Marathon (April 23). Around 40,000 runners — we’re talking professional and amateur, young and old, clad in Lycra and wearing elaborate animal costumes — complete a 26.2-mile circuit of the capital, while 750,000 spectators line the streets to cheer them on.
The marathon route can get jammed in places, so don’t assume you’ll be able to get around quickly in the immediate area. Instead, take advantage of seeing some of the city’s most impressive landmarks, traffic free, in between all the cheers.
Head along to Greenwich to catch the start of the race, find a spot on The Mall for a view of the finish line or choose a London landmark en route as a backdrop (the course loops past Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and St. James Park, among others). The massive race begins at 10 a.m., so you’ll have a bit of time to make your way around.
Treat your senses with an audio-visual exhibit
It’s been four years since the Victoria and Albert Museum wowed the crowds with its retrospective of the life and work of David Bowie, and the Kensington institution is hoping to create a similar stir with its next musician-focused exhibit. “The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains” (May 13 to October 1) marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the iconic band’s first single, “Arnold Layne,” and is the first major retrospective of their work.
The exhibit celebrates the band’s pioneering use of visuals, experimenting with sound and special effects, and creating a multi-sensory, theatrical journey that carries you from Pink Floyd’s formation in the underground psychedelic scene of 1960s London through the release of legendary records like 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon and into the present day.
The show, curated in collaboration with surviving members of the group and the band’s creative director, includes over 350 objects.
Fans of the band will undoubtedly get the most out of the show but, as with 2013’s Bowie exhibit, this immersive experience will be sure to entertain and educate visitors less familiar with the music, too.
Explore London’s great outdoors
London is one of the greenest cities in the world, so make the most of this glorious time of year with a tour of the capital’s Royal Parks. The Regent’s Park is best for delicate floral displays, while the rolling lawns of Green Park, with sprinklings of bright yellow daffodils, offer simpler pleasures.
Richmond Park is home to herds of deer and is a wonderful spot for a wild walk (you can also rent bicycles).
Greenwich Park offers fantastic views over the River Thames and the city. There are lots more to choose from, whatever your preferences, so make sure you leave time during your trip to take in the fresh air.