A Londoner’s Guide to Spring, 2019

“It is spring fever.  That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want–oh, you don’t know quite what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” – Mark Twain

There’s something so wistfully nostalgic about the first signs of spring. The ethereal pops of pink blossoming between bare branches, suffused with their softly-sweet scent. The days gradually getting longer and evenings lighter. That wonderful breath of fresh air, accompanied by an unshakeable feeling that life is beginning a-new.  And truly, there’s a lot to look forward to this season…

London in Bloom

… Starting with the rapturous sight of spring blooms.

Spring in London is an education in the art of floriculture, with all sorts of heart-stoppingly beautiful flowers popping up across the city

Walk in fields of gold in Green Park and St James Park, where you’ll find the majority of the one million daffodil bulbs planted by the Royal Parks each year. The blossoms gently swaying above the swans of St James’ Park are just as alluring, but for a truly transfixing experience, bookmark Kew Gardens or Greenwich Park, where a canopied tunnel of cherry blossom trees takes centre-stage each year.

Pretty-in-pink sightings continue with the magnificent magnolias sweeping across the lust-worthy homes of Chelsea, Kensington and Notting Hill (not to mention your Instagram feeds). Between April and June, they’ll gracefully give way to picture-perfect pendants of wisteria, sparking London’s #WisteriaHysteria all over again. By way of a head’s up: you can up your Insta game by capturing the wisteria growing gorgeously along Kynance Mews, Abingdon Road, Cheyne Walk and the pergola on Hampstead Hill.

Embodying a bolder and brighter riot of colours, tulips are a regal hallmark of Regents Park, Kensington Gardens and Hampton Palace; while bluebells are a breathtaking draw to Osterley Park, Highgate Wood and the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park. The latter is also where you’ll find the rather rare azaleas between late April to early May!

Spring-Time for Foodies 

Of course in typically London fashion, the weather is bound to be iffy in cold and wet spells. Thank goodness then, that some of our favourite restaurants & bars have sought to recreate spring’s magic indoors… As it turns out, the only thing better than cherry blossoms, is a bottomless brunch blanketed by blossoms at Shochu – the buzz-worthy bar below Roka Charlotte Street.

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🌸 BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH BENEATH THE BLOSSOMS! 🌸 In celebration of the 2019 cherry blossom season, ROKA is delighted to launch Sakura Sunday Brunch in @shochu_ldn! Two new menus will include an array of unlimited brunch cocktails and free-flowing wine, as well as a selection of starters, 1 main course per person and a picture-perfect dessert platter to share. 🥢🍤🍹🍣 #SakuraSundays #BottomlessBrunch #ROKA15Years Book online or call our team on 02075806464 to brunch beneath the blooms now! . . . #ROKA #ROKARestaurant #ROKALondon #Sakura #SakuraSeason #CherryBlossoms #HouseOfSuntory #ShochuLounge #ROKACharlotteStreet #WhatsOnLondon #TimeOutLondon #ThisIsLondon #LondonEats #TickledPink #FlowerPower #WeekendBrunch #SundayBrunch

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Dalloway Terrace has had a seasonal makeover too – inspired by Leonard Woolf’s novel, “The Village in the Jungle;’ while you can find Blossom Highballs, Skinny Sakura cocktails and an infinity mirror adorned with blossoms at Mayfair’s Sexy Fish.

The pink aesthetics continue with Peggy Porschen‘s newly-opened  bakery on the King’s Road. In fact, this season is set to see many more sweet additions to London’s dream-like scenario of desserts. I have my eye squarely on 118 Mount Street, which is soon to host the first international outpost of Marchesi 1824 – the Prada-owned pastry shop from Milan, with Wes Anderson-inspired aesthetics (Read more, here).

Also coming soon to Covent Garden, is a specialist Portuguese bakery, Santa Nata, majoring in the indelibly-delicious custard tarts, pastéis de nata … #WatchThisSpace.

Art, Fashion & A Giant Kaleidoscope

There’s much enchantment to be experienced within London’s iconic galleries and museums this spring too.

Unmissable exhibits include a dramatic showcasing of over 200 Haute Couture garments fashioned by Christian Dior, alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, vintage perfume, original make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions.

Christian Dior Designer of Dreams | 2 Feb – 1 September 2019 | V&A Museum | https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/dior-designer-of-dreams

A Van Gogh retrospective at Tate Britain brings together over 45 works of Van Gogh paintings to weave a story of the young artist’s time as an economic migrant living and working in London between 1873-76, as a trainee art dealer. The exhibit unveils how Van Gogh drew inspiration from British art, literature and culture, in turn inspiring British artists such as Francis Bacon. The last time Tate Britain held a Van Gogh retrospective in 1947, the gallery’s floors were damaged by the unprecedented number of visitors to show (including The Queen!). Here’s predicting that the new retrospective will be just as popular, albeit standing on more solid ground.

Van Gogh and Britain | 27 March – 11 August 2019 | https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/ey-exhibition-van-gogh-and-britain

On a more contemporary note, The Saatchi Gallery is shaking things up yet again, this time with a hypnotic exhibit constellating around a 3-metre high kaleidoscope that visitors can actually step into, immersing themselves in a psychedelic projection of fractured, shape-shifting colours. Titled Fata Morgana, the installation by artist Laura Buckley is a nod to the mirage that would draw sailors to their death; it’s one of 9 artworks which bode seeing in this fascinating exhibition. 

Kaleidoscope | 15 March – 5 May 2019 | Saatchi Gallery | https://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/kaleidoscope/

Dates For Your Diary

The next couple of months are set to keep us firmly on our toes, with a string of unmissable events and pop-ups…

Coffee Festival

From latte-art workshops to meditative coffee tasting, U.K.’s largest coffee and artisan food festival is a must-visit for caffeine connoisseurs.

28-31 March 2019 |Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane | https://www.londoncoffeefestival.com/

Cocktails in the City

For two nights only, 25 of London’s leading bartenders and bars, are popping up in The Vaults, manifesting in a maze of speakeasies, party haunts, botanical bars and tasting rooms. Expect all sorts of sensory cocktail adventures.

4 – 6 April 2019 | The Vaults | https://www.cocktailsinthecity.com/events/london

Boat Race

Come 7 April, I’ll be cheering on my Alma Mater, Oxford, take on our arch-rivals Cambridge University as the teams race along the River Thames.

Dinner is Coming, The Vaults: Game of Thrones Supper Club

Winter may be here (anyone else counting down to the final season of GoT?), but dinner is still to come.

An immersive supper club series in The Vaults promises a heady mix of food, theatre and of course, murder, as the scene is set against the Day of Marriage between the heir to the Several Kingdoms, Jaffery Bearathon, and Margarine, the beautiful daughter of the noble Trywell family…

Dinner is Coming | The Vaults | https://www.thevaults.london/dinner-is-coming

I’ll be updating this section with more noteworthy dates and events, so do be sure to check back when you can!

In the meanwhile, you can explore more things to do in London, here.

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