London Destination Guide

A vibrant hub of cutting-edge arts, culture and cuisine that consistently blazes an international trail, London pulses with a thrilling itinerary of prime entertainment. Discover the English capital’s wealth of theatre, ballet, opera and art alongside its sporting highlights with our round-up of the most unmissable activities.

Until November 23, 2019

The Antipodes

Following her recent hit ‘John’, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker returns to the National Theatre with the European premiere of ‘The Antipodes’. A play about people telling stories and those who tell them, Lila Neugebauer directs the anticipated production, which features designs by Chloe Lamford.

National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX
+44 (0)20 7452 3000
Image © National Theatre

london destination guide the antiopdes at the national theatre
london destination guide london jazz festival

EFG London Jazz Festival

One of the world’s leading celebrations of jazz, the EFG London Jazz Festival returns in November, bringing with it rising stars in addition to the biggest names in the business. Expect a diverse ensemble of concerts and club nights at myriad venues across the city throughout its ten-day run.

Various locations across London
+44 (0)20 7324 1880
Image © London Jazz Festival/Emile Holba

UNTIL January 5, 2020

Mark Leckey

Awarded the Turner Prize in 2008 for Industrial Light and Magic, Mark Leckey is known the world over. The British artist focuses on how technology impacts popular culture; one of his previous works incorporates footage from British nightclubs to trace dance subcultures. This exhibition invites visitors to explore his unique perspective.

Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
+44 (0)20 7887 8888
Image © Mark Leckey

london destination guide mark leckey
UNTIL January 12, 2020

Somerset House Ice Rink

Gliding across the courtyard of Somerset House is one of the capital’s most popular pastimes come winter. Not only does the arrival of the temporary ice rink mark the start of the festive season, it’s also an ideal opportunity to appreciate one of London’s most stunning historic venues as a beautifully illuminated backdrop. Book a session for an after-dark skate while a live DJ spins beats into the night.

Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
+44 (0)20 7845 4600

Until January 26, 2020

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Gauguin Portraits

The portraits of Paul Gauguin are the focal point of this National Gallery exhibition, which charts the French artist’s shift away from Impressionism and towards Symbolism. Visit to view works on paper, paintings and three-dimensional objects, brought together from public and private collections around the world.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN
+44 (0)20 7747 2885
Image © RMN-Grand Palais/Musée d’Orsay/René-Gabriel Ojéda


Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros. Studios

When winter arrives in London, it sweeps across Hogwarts in Warner Bros. Studios, too. Hogwarts Castle is powdered with a pretty dusting of snow, and a number of sparkling fir trees are installed throughout. Harry Potter fans are invited to celebrate Christmas in the Great Hall, which is festooned in the same festive décor that was used during the making of the films.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR
+44 (0)34 5084 0900

Until January 26, 2020

Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits

This compelling exhibition at the Royal Academy draws together Lucian Freud’s self-portraits in the form of more than 50 paintings, prints and sketches. Spanning almost seven decades, from his first self-portrait in 1939 to his last 64 years later, the artist’s fascinating works capture his unique story.

Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD
+44 (0)20 7300 8000
Image © Royal Academy of Arts

london destination guide lucia freud self portrait at royal academy of arts
Until January 29, 2020

Bridget Riley

A pioneer of Op art whose oeuvre dates back to the 1950s, Bridget Riley is one of the most influential contemporary artists in Britain. This broad retrospective pays homage to the styles and influences that have informed the development of her bold, geometric canvases, with the show’s highlight a collection of monochromes from the 1960s set against the vibrancy of her more recent works.

Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, 337-338 Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
+44 (0)20 3879 9555
Image © Bridget Riley 2018

Until February 9, 2020

Beazley Designs of the Year

Entries spanning new-wave inventions and ideas sourced from all corners of the globe arrive at the Design Museum for this prestigious international competition. Entering its 12th year, the Beazley Designs of the Year shines the spotlight on original and exciting creations that celebrate accessibility and empowerment. Discover what the future of design holds.

Design Museum, Kensington High Street, London W8 6AG
+44 (0)20 3862 5937
© Design Museum/Luke Hayes

london destination guide mars
Until March 1, 2020


Mars has enthralled astronomers for centuries, but this exhibition at the Design Museum explores a slightly different theme: why the Red Planet presents one of the biggest challenges of our time. Centred on what the evolution of a Mars colony could look like, the show displays commissions and collaborations from new-wave designers.

Design Museum, 224 – 238 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6AG
+44 (0)20 3862 5900
Image © NASA/JPL

Until March 8, 2020

Tim Walker: Wonderful Things

Explore the evolution of British fashion photographer Tim Walker. Tim Walker: Wonderful Things comprises immersive films, photographic sets, compelling stills and remarkable installations, steering visitors into the modern visionary’s fantastical worlds. A new series of photography, inspired by the V&A’s collections, is also unveiled.

Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL 
+44 (0)20 7942 2000
© Tim Walker Studio

london destination guide dora maar
UNTIL March 15, 2020

Dora Maar

She had an eye for the unusual and her stirring photomontages were hailed as icons of surrealism during the 1930s. From November, the largest survey of Dora Maar’s complete portfolio displays at the Tate Modern, showcasing not only Maar’s captivating documentary projects, prints and portraiture, but also compelling works by her contemporaries.

Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG
+44 (0)20 7887 8888
Image © Centre Pompidou/MNAM-CCI-Dist

November 23, 2019 – April 19, 2020

Cars: Accelerating the Modern World

The car is one of the most revolutionary inventions of the last two centuries, and the V&A is celebrating its evolution with Cars: Accelerating the Modern World. Vehicles on display include the first car ever produced, as well as an autonomous flying mobile. Many of the vehicles in this one-off show have never before been displayed in the UK.

Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL 
+44 (0)20 7942 2000
© Victoria and Albert Museum

london destination guide eco visionaries at the royal academy
November 24, 2019 – February 23, 2020


Climate change and diminishing natural resources are the pressing issues addressed by the Royal Academy of Arts’ latest show. Via photography and film, miniature models and digital media, Eco-Visionaries examines the current state of our planet and introduces the artists and architects of today who are proposing innovative steps forward.

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD
+44 (0)20 7300 8000
Image © Architectural Association/courtesy of the artist

November 26, 2019

The World Of Hans Zimmer – A Symphonic Celebration

A show to celebrate the man behind the musical scores of blockbusters such as The Lion King and Gladiator, The World Of Hans Zimmer – A Symphonic Celebration evokes more than a few all-time favourites. The concert’s tour started last year in Germany, with the London performance added in response to phenomenal demand for Zimmer’s electric renditions.

The O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0DX
+44 (0)20 8463 3359
Image © Semmel Concerts

london destination guide the world of hans zimmer concert
December 11 – 24, 2019

Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall

A prestigious hub of festive entertainment in London since 1871, the Royal Albert Hall puts on an extraordinary run of seasonal shows to celebrate Christmas this year. Its colourful programme of music, theatre and performance has something for everyone, whether traditionalist with a fondness for classic carols or jazz enthusiast seeking an evening of frothy improvisation.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP
+44 (0)20 7589 8212
Image © Royal Albert Hall

December 26, 2019 – January 5, 2020

100 Years of Magic: Disney on Ice

Bringing Disney’s most-loved characters to life, 100 Years of Magic: Disney on Ice arrives this winter in a glittering performance that celebrates 100 years in the life of the iconic animation studio. From Pinocchio to Toy Story, The Lion King to Finding Nemo, the costumed choreography and spectacular stunts are sure to delight audiences of all ages.

The O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0DX
+44 (0)20 8463 2000
Image © The O2

January 10 – May 27, 2020

La Bohème

Puccini’s much-loved classic La Bohème delivers a heady dose of tragedy and drama to the Royal Opera House stage in Richard Jones’ vivid production. Telling of the thwarted love affair between romantic poet Rodolfo and the beautiful but ill-fated Mimì, the show breathes life and colour into the faded glamour of bohemian Paris in the 1930s.

Royal Opera House, Bow St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD
+44 (0)20 7304 4000
Image © ROH_Bill Cooper

January 22 – 26, 2020

London Art Fair

January’s cultural highlight returns with the London Art Fair’s spectrum of paintings, sculptures and prints presenting ample opportunity to browse, buy and meet the artists. Alongside the displays is an inspired programme of talks and screenings. Thursday Late is a highlight among the ‘who’s who’ of the contemporary art world, when the show stays open after hours and the entertainment continues well into the night.

Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1 0QH
+44 (0)20 7150 5956
Image © London Art Fair

January 25 – April 13, 2020

Picasso and Paper

When it comes to paper, Pablo Picasso tore up the rulebook. The artist drew on everything from tablecloths to newspapers. He fashioned sculptures and collages using torn, burnt and assorted strips of paper, while reinventing the medium of printmaking. This RA exhibition surveys Picasso’s paper works, showcasing 300 masterpieces from across his career

Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD
+44 (0)20 7300 8000
Image © RMN Grand Palais/Adrien Didierjean/Succession Picasoo DACS 2019

January 27 – March 28, 2020


Samuel Beckett’s dark comedy stars Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming in a double bill with the playwright’s rarely seen short play, Rough for Theatre II. Tucked away on a stark set, elderly blind tyrant Hamm is locked in a stalemate with his servant, Clov. Watch the bleakly funny fallout as the duo cling to their routine of witty savagery and co-dependence.

The Old Vic, The Cut, Lambeth, London SE1 8NB
+44 (0)20 7928 2651
Image © The Old Vic

January 31 – April 4, 2020

The Visit

Post-war America sets the scene for Tony Kushner’s new take on Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s blackly comic masterpiece, The Visit or The Old Lady Who Comes to Call. Back at the National Theatre after appearing in Mike Leigh’s Grief, Lesley Manville plays the famed and fateful billionaire, Claire Zachanassian.

National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX
+44 (0)20 7452 3000
Image © National Theatre/Philip Vile

February 13 – May 11, 2020

Steve McQueen

In recent years, Steve McQueen has been best known for his forays into cinema – Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave and Widows have all opened to critical acclaim. He is also a Turner Prize-winning artist specialising in moving image installation. This exhibition brings together immersive and film installations from across his career.

Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG
+44 (0)20 7887 8888
Image © Steve McQueen. Courtesy the artist, Thomas Dane Gallery and Marian Goodman Gallery

February 14 – 18, 2020

London Fashion Week

The chicest event in the February style calendar, London Fashion Week brings global designers, top fashion houses and glittery runway shows to the capital. Those with a seat on the FROW can witness all of the latest trends alongside A-listers and influencers. The London Fashion Week Festival runs parallel to the main event, offering exclusive shopping, workshops and panels.

Various locations across London
+44 (0)20 7759 1999
Image © Zoe Lower/British Fashion Council

February 26 – April 17, 2020

Madame Butterfly

Anthony Minghella’s much-celebrated production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly returns to the Coliseum. This tale of unrequited love is skilfully told using cinematic images as well as evocative touches from traditional Japanese theatre.

London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, Charing Cross, London WC2N 4ES
+44 (0)20 7845 9300

Image © Tom Bowles

March 16 – June 14, 2020

Titian: Love, Desire, Death

The National Gallery re-unites a series of mythical paintings from Renaissance painter Titian. The show displays five of the six original paintings on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, commissioned by Spain’s King Philip II. Love, temptation and punishment are all touched upon in this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition.

The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
+44 (0)20 7747 2885