Ah, spring! Much as we love all the seasons in our delightful capital city, there is something about this time of year. Spring brings the light and warmth everyone has been longing for and a wonderful urge to banish the last bits of winter gloom by getting out and about and smelling the daffodils. London’s parks, garden squares and avenues are bursting with buds and blooms and all her attractions, sights and cultural delights are waiting to be visited and explored in the sunshine and balmy air. Visit London now and put a spring in your step.
OPEN AIR THEATRE
It’s a new and exciting season for the open air theatres in the capital. These marvellous outdoor venues are as popular as ever with visitors and locals alike and are a good choice if you visit London this time of year. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the Southbank starts it’s Summer of Love season on April 22, in tribute to San Francisco’s famous summer of love of ’67. Fittingly, those ever tragic, star crossed lovers, Romeo & Juliet, will be declaring their undying love on this historic stage for all to see. Not to be outdone, Regent’s Park open air theatre will be delighting the crowds with their production of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. It’s hard to think of a nicer spot to sit and take in the cultured air than this very fine central London park.
DAFFODILS IN THE PARK
What announces spring’s presence in a nicer way than the carpets of gorgeous, golden daffodils that adorn many of London’s parks round about now? They are a beautiful sight to see and bring tangible evidence that summer is on the way. Green Park and St James’s Park are two of the most lovely parks to admire them in. We recommend all of the capital’s green open spaces when you visit London now, be they big or small, prettily perfect or wild and rambling. It’s a joy to stroll through any of them in the warm breeze, listening to the birds, watching the squirrels and joining local Londoners, out to take the air. See The London Agent’s guide to London’s Parks for more information.
THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW
The annual Chelsea Flower Show is unique, charming and very English. This garden show and exhibition is held each May in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. It is the most famous of it’s kind in the UK and probably the world, attracting visitors from all over the planet who visit London in May for this show alone. The exhibitors win medals for their garden and floral designs and each and every year they manage to come up with new and innovative displays. This is inspirational, fun and worth a visit, even for non-horticulture fans. Chelsea itself is always delightful to walk around in and there are plenty of cafes, pubs and bistros here with outdoor seating.
PUPPET SHOWS AND MORE IN COVENT GARDEN
Talking of excellent neighbourhoods to be outside in when you visit London, Covent Garden is a must, with it’s markets, boutiques and shops and pubs, cafes and restaurants. The Piazza’s street performers and musicians are out in force, enjoying being al fresco as much as everyone else. On 14 May, the annual May Fayre and Puppet Festival takes place around the local St Paul’s Church here (the famous actor’s church). Enjoy these traditional Punch & Judy puppet shows which kids of all ages adore, and not only the younger visitors, it seems. The great diarist Samuel Pepys enjoyed watching one of these little theatricals so much in Covent Garden in 1662, that he wrote with much enthusiasm about it later.
THOSE FAMOUS APRIL SHOWERS
English nursery rhymes warn us of April showers (rainfall) – and it’s worth paying attention. Spring time here can be blustery with some bouts of rain, so if you’re smart you’ll take your umbrella and a light coat when you visit London now. There may be good stretches of calm and steadily warmer days but, as everyone knows, the English weather is unpredictable. Perhaps that’s why we all talk about it so much! Duck into one of the many free museums or galleries of the capital to wait out a shower of rain, or into a cafe for a nice cuppa and a few biscuits. Remember that “April showers bring May flowers,” so its worth being rained on, just a little bit.
See The London Agent’s guide to the free museums and galleries of London – there are quite a few.