We all get an extra bank holiday this year thanks to the much-hyped Royal Wedding on Friday 29th April. Other big dates to remember include Easter Sunday (24th), St George's Day (23rd) and - of course - Mothering Sunday (3rd). The festival season gets under way with the Camden Crawl, runners take to the streets in the London Marathon and Kylie's in town in what's shaping up to be a busy month.
2nd April 2011
The Head of the River Race is one of the classic races on the rowing calendar, a warm up for the Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race that follows the exact same course backwards, from Mortlake to Putney Bridge along the River Thames. There are a massive 420 crews in all, rowing down the 4.25 mile course, testing their willpower and teamwork in this uniquely macho sport. It is also a particularly nice stretch of the river, so even if you are not that excited by rowing this is a really nice spot to enjoy a walk or a pint, and watch the boats glide past - tides have dictated that this year's race can be preceded with a nice Saturday pub lunch, but you'll have to book early if you want a seat that faces the river.
4th April 2011 - 16th April 2011
Head to the Roundhouse this spring for a show that will change your perception of circus acts for the rest of your life. Circolombia couldn't be further away from a fat ringmaster, a few wild animals and myriad juggling clowns: gritty, modern, full of attitude - this is a circus act for the 21st century. A product of the Circo Para Todos circus school for Colombia's vulnerable street children, Circolombia return to the Camden venue with a reworking of Urban, a raw contemporary aesthetic with a pounding soundtrack set against the backdrop of the city of Cali. "Raw, aggressive and very, very sweaty, Circolumbia is the antidote to all those circus acts of clean-cut, juggling and tumbling young men [...] a thrilling, skilled evening so awash with testosterone that it feels as though one careless match might blow the whole place sky-high" (The Guardian). For awe-inspiring acrobatic prowess alongside high voltage energy and a penchant for panache, this is a show that should blow your mind - and some.
7th April 2011 - 12th April 2011
Kylie's appeal is as enduring as strawberries and cream, and it's just as summery, sweet and irresistible. Here she is back for another tour for 2011. Minogue promises that Aphrodite - Les Folies, a concept show based around 2010's album Aphrodite, will take her fans on a "journey of joy, excitement and glamour". The album itself, produced by current tune king Stuart Price (who also produced Madonna's Confessions on a Dance Floor) is classic Kylie - pop with a glossy surface that never gets too introspective. Most of the tracks are devilishly catchy, and Kylie - never one to let substance get in the way of style - will be making the most of costume changes, daring backdrops and expert lighting at The O2 Arena to foreground her love of a good show.
17th April 2011
Every April, 30,000 runners flood the streets of the capital to do battle with themselves and each other for the London Marathon. Serious competitors mingle with charity fun-runners in the spring sunshine as the 26.2 mile route comes alive to the sounds of bands, cheering crowds and pounding feet. The race is the biggest of all city marathons and attracts many of the world's top athletes. It kicks off at Greenwich Park and Blackheath, continues through Surrey Quays, Brunel Road, Tooley Street, Canary Wharf, the Tower Of London, Embankment , Parliament Square and Birdcage Walk, with a royal finish on The Mall by Buckingham Palace. Last year, Ethiopian athlete Tsegaye Kebede won the men's race, while Russia's Liliya Shobukhova deposed Germany's Irina Mikitenko as the winner of the women's race. For information about how you can run and raise money for charity go to www.virginlondonmarathon.com.
19th April 2011
The only opera that Claude Dubussy ever wrote, Pelleas et Melisande comes to the Barbican for one night at Easter in association with Theatre des Champs-Elysees Paris. The five-act opera plays out a classic love triangle story: Prince Golaud finds the mysterious Melisande lost in a forest and marries her, only to find her becoming attached to his younger half-brother Pelleas. In this production famed soprano Natalie Dessay stars as Melisande and Simon Keenlyside is Pelleas, with music provided by the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Louis Langree. Expect a beautiful, rich and haunting production.
21st April 2011
Being the British monarch involves many privileges, not least of which is getting to celebrate your birthday twice every year. The Queen's Birthday Gun Salutes have the advantage of taking place on her actual birthday - 21st April. It's a smaller occasion than Trooping the Colour which marks her official birthday on 12th June. Still, this is a loud, spectacular and smoky display with a total of 41 rounds of cannon and gun shots fired by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park at 12 noon. The King's Troop ride into Hyde Park from the north by Marble Arch along North Carriage Drive, line up abreast and gallop down the parade ground to roughly opposite the Dorchester Hotel. The Troop itself arrives at around 11.45am ready to fire the first round at midday. The guns are then unhooked and the salute is fired off. Duty performed, the horses gallop back up towards North Carriage Drive. The band arrives separately and can usually be seen from about 11.30am. It is a spectacular show of pomp and ceremony and it's also the only time when you will see horses legally at a full gallop in Hyde Park - with a ton and a half of cannon in tow! Happy Birthday Lizzy!
22nd April 2011 - 26th April 2011
Fans of the Dancing on Ice TV show will definitely want to check out this live version, touring the country during 2011 and in London's Wembley Arena in April. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean - the king and queen of British ice skating and former world champions - lead the line-up of performers. They will be joined by a roster of professional skaters who will be familiar to regular viewers of the show, such as Susie and Andre Lipanov, Melanie Lambert and Fred Palascak and Alexandra Schauman and Lukasz Rozycki. There will also be a host of celebrities braving the ice - they haven't yet been announced, but expect high-profile TV personalities, sportsmen and women, musicians and singers and actors and actresses.
23rd April 2011
Patriotic celebrations take over the capital for St George's Day on 23rd April in recognition of England's dragon-slaying patron saint. The official London event takes place in Trafalgar Square, where festivities include free entertainment with live bands on the main stage, food stalls and street actors all putting on a very English display. William Shakespeare's birthday falls on the same date, and Shakespeare's Globe hosts its own set of celebratory activities at the theatre to tie in with St George's Day. Workshops and interactive fun and games bring the Bard to life for all-comers, young and old.
30th April & 1st May
Head up to North London for the perfect antidote to the Royal Wedding as the trailblazing Camden Crawl returns once again this spring. The first proper musical festival of the year, the Camden Crawl may be hit-and-miss with the weather - but always delivers with a cutting-edge list of up-and-coming local bands and established stars, performing in just about every important venue in Camden over two nights of music-fuelled abandon. What makes the Crawl so special is that exactly where and when the bands are playing often isn't announced until the last minute, creating a great buzz as you sprint from gig to gig (though around the 3am mark, sprinting starts to become a bit of a challenge). As this is an event for bands on the way up, it's never an obviously star-studded line-up, but the promoters have a consistent ability to spot the artists who are just on the point of going stratospheric and this is a great way to see them up close and personal before they start playing stadiums. This year's festival takes place on a weekend sandwiched between Friday and Saturday bank holidays so there's an even bigger reason to get involved. For full line-up details and ticket information check www.thecamdencrawl.com.
29th April 2011
After a lengthy romance leading back to undergraduate days, Prince William and Catherine 'just call me Kate' Middleton are finally getting married. A celebratory Bank Holiday has been arranged so that all the Queen's subjects can join in the fun of The Royal Wedding. When Charles and Diana married in 1981, two million people lined the route from St Paul's Cathedral to Buckingham Palace, but the subsequent details of their grisly marriage might have dented the nation's appetite for a fairytale royal wedding. None-the-less, millions of people will be watching the William and Catherine say 'I do' live on television, and many thousands will venture into the centre of London just for the spectacle of the procession. If you're not one of the lucky few to get inside Westminster Abbey (100 golden tickets are being issued in the post in a Willy Wonka-style wheeze), the best places to ensure a good view are along The Mall by Admiralty Arch and anywhere along Whitehall. Be sure to take a sturdy box to stand on for a better view.
London Calendar 2011
Highlights include Cirque du Soleil's new show, Rebecca Hall's National Theatre debut in Twelfth Night and the return of Dutch mus...January 2011
Don't forget it's Valentine's Day on the 14th - but there's plenty more going on this month besides, from the muddy pitch of Six N...February 2011
With winter on the way out, March's Ideal Home Show and the Country Living Fair are great occasions for a spring clean. Elsew...March 2011
The Chelsea Flower Show and the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park get London's summer season in full swing in a month book-ended b...May 2011
June in London means one thing: strawberries and cream in SW19 as Andy Murray bids to become Britain's first Wimbledon winner sinc...June 2011
August is the time when London's parks fill up with sunbathers, lidos come into their own, the banks of the Thames lend themselves...August 2011
Late summer fireworks light up the river at the Mayor's Thames Festival, while Hyde Park and the Royal Albert Hall sing in unison ...September 2011
Ghosts and ghouls come out to play for Halloween at the end of the month but before that in October there are some of&nb...October 2011
Remember, remember the 5th November, when fireworks are set off across the city to celebrate Guy Fawkes' night. The pinnacle ...November 2011