June in London means one thing: strawberries and cream in SW19 as Andy Murray bids to become Britain's first Wimbledon winner since Fred Perry back in 1936. Other summery activities include Open Gardens weekend, Polo in the Park and the Henley Royal Regatta, while Bon Jovi perform in Hyde Park and Take That bring their Progress Tour to the capital.
3rd June 2011 - 5th June 2011
Now in its third year, Polo in the Park in Fulham's Hurlingham Park is quicky becoming one of London's great early summer outdoors events. Aimed at bringing polo to the people, the three-day World Series event - which is now sponsored by MINT - showcases a more accessible version of the sport, mimicking the effect Twenty20 has had on cricket. Rules have been simplified, snazzy new filming techniques (including head cams and bird's eye shots) are employed, and a couple of 'appy chappy Cockney commentators prattle on hilariously during each of the games' chukkas (or periods, to you and me). Last year saw eight teams of three taking part from London, New York, Moscow, Paris, Buenos Aires, Geneva, Sydney and Durban on a special small pitch. In the past there has been a steady flow of celebrities (Jodie Kidd) and royalty (Princess Beatrice), not to mention medieval jousting and an array of bars, shops and food stalls. Detractors may deride polo as only fools and horses, but this three-day festival doesn't take itself too seriously, so while it's all a bit upper class and "rah", it's still a load of fun, especially if you get dressed up and go along with a group of friends. Polo in the Park may not yet be up there with Wimbledon, Henley and the Boat Race, but after two opening years of bad weather it may just take a bit of sun to really take off.
7th June 2011 - 15th August 2011
Anyone can submit to the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition, the world's largest open-submission contemporary art exhibition, which gives it a wonderful element of surprise. The exhibition committee has decided that there will be no theme for 2011 so aspiring entrants have free reign to impress the judges with their works. This year marks the 243rd edition of the annual event and every year around 1,200 works are hung in close proximity on the walls of the prestigious gallery, chosen from over 12,000 pieces submitted. It's as if they've squeezed in as many works of art as possible which appear to jostle for coveted space. First held in 1768, the exhibition continues an age-old annual tradition where works by relative unknowns, famous artists and members of the RA are given equal billing. The fun part for visitors is choosing a favourite and, with the majority of works on sale at varying price ranges, you can even buy one if you really fall in love with it. The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is an impressive show that gives an excellent cross-section of contemporary art every summer. In addition to the works within the gallery, a prominent sculpture greets visitors to the exhibition as they walk through the Royal Academy's great courtyard. Entry forms will be available on www.royalacademy.org.uk from 10 January until early March 2011. There is a handling charge of £25 for each work with artists allowed to enter a maximum of two pieces for consideration of the judges.
10th June 2011 - 19th June 2011
Following in the footsteps of Patti Smith, Massive Attack, Ornette Coleman and, last summer, the guitarist Richard Thompson, the Southbank Centre's iconic and idiosyncratic Meltdown Festival will be artistically directed by Ray Davies in June 2011. Best known as lead singer and rhythm guitarist for The Kinks, Davies has influenced successive generations of musicians, ranging from David Bowie and Pete Townsend in the 60s, to The Jam and The Fall in the 70s and 80s, to Oasis and Blur in the 90s through to Mumford & Sons and Paloma Faith now. With a vibrant career that spans nearly half a century, Davies is an ideal candidate for Meltdown Director as the festival celebrates its 60th anniversary. But Davies will have his work cut out: last year's Meltdown encompassed a record 36 gigs and events, with The Guardian claiming that Thompson's "rousing, 11-day festival - poignant, rich and funny - leaves next year's organisers with a slight headache". Each year the festival is curated by one of pop music's great innovators - which have included David Bowie, John Peel, Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker and Lee 'Scratch' Perry - and produces a wildly eclectic line-up of acts. For the latest news on Davies' line-up choices check www.southbankcentre.co.uk.
11th June 2011
To mark the second of the Queen's two birthdays (this is the official one, her actual birthday is on 21st April), Trooping the Colour presents a vibrant display of ceremony and military history. It's a spectacular piece of pageantry but also a timely reminder of the role of the armed forces who are - in theory at least - under the Queen's control. Hundreds of well-disciplined soldiers in full dress uniform march past at the Horse Guards Parade, and a different Battalion gives the Royal Salute each year, all accompanied by stirring military music from the massed bands. If you want to avoid the crush you can see the Horse Guards practicing for the grand parade at two smaller rehearsals in the days leading up to the grand event - namely the Major General's Review on Saturday 28th May 2011 and the Colonel's Review on Saturday 4th June 2011.
11th June 2011 - 12th June 2011
From the iron-fenced residential parks of west London to the landscaped churchyards of the City, hundreds of garden squares play a vital part in maintaining London's status as one of Europe's greenest cities. The wonderful Open Garden Squares Weekend is the one time of the year when these gardens open their gates to everyone - many of these private spaces are not accessible to the public for the rest of the year. Over 200 gardens are taking part in the open weekend this year. These include the minimalist Zen Garden at The Hempel hotel (pictured), Little Abbey near Westminster Abbey, and Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School near Whitechapel who'll be inspiring you to 'grow your own' with their roof garden. Discover 1,000 different medicinal plants at the Royal College of Physicians' medicinal garden, or just enjoy those immaculate lawns that you've walked past every day but have never been allowed onto. If you have youngsters in tow, many of the gardens stage activities for families too. Tickets allow entry to all participating gardens. Go to www.opensquares.org for full details.
14th June 2011 - 18th June 2011
Royal Ascot returns to the Berkshire racecourse where it has been a pretty much an annual fixture since 1711. With over £3.5 million in prize money at stake, this meeting attracts all the biggest names in the racing fraternity. And, of course, more than 300,000 visitors, all dressed in their finest attire. Ascot is as famous for its hats as it is for the racing, especially on 'Ladies Day'. Every year the ladies try to outdo each other with tremendous towering creations and outlandish designs. The gents usually go for a more understated look - with morning suits and top hats the norm. This particularly British penchant for very smart dress adds to the festive spirit of the occasion and Ascot is as much a giant outdoor party as a race meet. Punters at the track will drink over 150,000 bottles of champagne, 14,000 bottles of Pimms and, of course, they will place untold millions in bets. Strictly no jeans or trainers - unless of the horse variety! Go to www.ascot.co.uk for more information.
15th June 2011 - 12th September 2011
This project at the Barbican Art Gallery aims to show just how central animation is to contemporary global culture. A team of expert advisors are helping to put together the content, and the exhibition will cover every period of animation - from Snow White to Lord of the Rings - and look in-depth at the techniques used, from stop-motion to modern digital animation. As well as short films and extracts from feature films there will be selected looks at the component parts of great animation - including puppets, stage sets, background paintings, wireframe visualisations, cel and background images. This exhibition definitely promises to be a treat for real animation enthusiasts or curious beginners.
16th June 2011 - 19th June 2011
Direct your rumbling stomach to Regent's Park for four days of al fresco gluttony as over forty of London's best restaurants, including a flurry of Michelin stars, show off their culinary handiwork. 'Taste of...' has become a nationwide phenomenon with events taking place in cities all over the country. Of these the Taste of London event in Regent's Park must be one of the most enjoyable. Work your way through a range of miniature speciality dishes - bought with the event's currency, 'crowns' - hot off the plates from upmarket places like Le Gavroche, L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon and Theo Randall. While tasting fashionable fare and shopping for fine wines, spirits and gourmet foods among the 120 stalls, the civilised sounds of live jazz and opera fill the air and aid the digestion. A gourmet grazing picnic extraordinaire, no restaurant lover should miss this tasty event which has already become a firm fixture in the foodie calendar.
17th June 2011 - 19th June 2011
The Royal Ballet is usually to be found at Covent Garden's Royal Opera House, but in 2011, they are making their first appearance at The O2 Arena with four performances of Romeo & Juliet. Kenneth MacMillan's production of Shakepeare's story, set to Sergei Prokofiev's score, was first performed by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in 1965, 12 years before Nureyev created his own version. Today's Royal Ballet dancers Carlos Acosta, Tamara Rojo, Alina Cojocaru, Johan Kobborg and Edward Watson will be taking turns to adopt the roles of the star-crossed lovers and an introduction to each act will be shown on giant screens around the Arena. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is performing the score, conducted by Royal Ballet Music Director Barry Wordsworth.
20th June 2011 - 3rd July 2011
Will this be the year that Britain finally has its first Wimbledon winner since Fred Perry way back in 1936? Last year, Andy Murray made it gamely to the semi-finals but was obliterated by a rampant Rafael Nadal, who went on perform a similar demolition job upon Tomas Berdych in the final. Still, it was a second successive semi-final for the Scot at Wimbledon and if he continues his progression, then surely it is only a matter of time before Murray gets a shot at the title. Wimbledon is the most watched tennis event in the Grand Slam calendar, with a TV audience of untold millions and over half a million spectators attending the All England Club to catch the action live. Many tennis pros covet the Wimbledon crown above all others and the grass surface makes for fast, breathless duels. You're too late for the advance tickets ballot. It is, however, easy to get in to the grounds if you queue up in the morning. There are only 500 tickets for the centre courts available, so you have to turn up seriously early - or queue overnight - to be certain of getting to see the biggest matches, but in the first week the outer courts still have some of the world's greatest players and you can grab tickets for them if you arrive by about 9am.
22nd June 2011 - 28th January 2012
This classic 1990 movie starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore has been given the musical treatment and arrives on the London stage in June 2011 at the Piccadilly Theatre. Fans of the original film will already know the story: Sally and Sam are mugged while walking back to their apartment one night, leaving Sam trapped as a ghost between this world and the next, desperately trying to protect Sally with the help of a phony psychic called Oda Mae Brown. Olivier Award-nominated director Matthew Warchus takes the helm of Ghost The Musical, with brand new music and songs provided by Grammy award-winners Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Glen Ballard (producer of Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill).
22nd & 23rd June 2011
Last year, Kings Of Leon really hit the big time, headlining festivals, rocking daytime playlists on every radio station, and soundtracking cafes, cars and shops all over the country. In the summer, the Nashville rockers played in front of 65,000 fans in Hyde Park - their biggest UK gig to date - and wowed London with their soaring, 70s-style riffs (despite a rather dodgy soundsystem). Now the Kings are back with two more open-air afternoon gigs in London's most central park. Come Around Sundown, last autumn's follow up to the critically acclaimed Only By The Night, may have not had the same kind of impact as its (admittedly overplayed) predecessor, but the Tennessee quartet remain one of the world's most popular live acts and these midweek back-to-back gigs will no doubt be sold-out very early on. For more ticket information go to Ticketmaster.
24th June 2011 - 26th June 2011
The Clothes Show London comes to Earls Court once again following its successful return to the capital two year ago - the first time it had been held in London since since 1989. The largest fashion and beauty event in the world has everything the dedicated fashionista could wish for under one roof, from catwalk shows to top tips from fashion experts and the latest trend reports. There's hair and beauty advice and demos, a nail and champagne bar, clothes shopping, nutrition advice, everything a trend conscious girl could want. Last year saw star turns from a variety of showbiz names such as Paloma Faith, Esmee Denters, Dave Berry and The Wanted. The show is a notorious hunting ground for model scouts so put your best dress on, strike a pose and who knows, in no time you could be on the cover of Vogue.
24th June 2011 - 26th June 2011
Now in its sixth consecutive year, Hard Rock Calling returns to Hyde Park in June with all-American rock band Bon Jovi named as the headline act. Back in 1995, Jon Bon Jovi and his New Jersey rockers sang that 'Someday I'll Be Saturday Night' - and that wish will come sooner rather than later with the rock veterans taking the all-important Saturday night slot. The band has sold 120 million albums worldwide and performed more than 2,600 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 34 million fans. Now one of the biggest bands in the world are back in London to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Hard Rock magazine in what should be an unmissable occasion under the stars in London's back garden. Taking place over the same weekend as Glastonbury, the three-day festival is the city's equivalent to the country's favourite mud-fest, bringing tens of thousands of music lovers into one of the capital's best loved parks for three days of superb entertainment. No acts have yet been named alongside Bon Jovi but recent performers include Pearl Jam, The Killers, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. Keep checking www.hardrockcalling.co.uk for the latest line-up additions.
25th June 2011 - 26th June 2011
The cast of hit TV show Glee are crossing the Atlantic to bring their suitably over-the-top live show to the UK. The show played to sold out crowds and critical acclaim in four US cities last year and features exactly what you'd expect - hilarious high-school storylines, self-absorbed characters and thumping musical interpretations of the likes of 'Empire State of Mind', 'Toxic', 'It's My Life' and the show's own anthem 'Don't Stop Believing'. All the stars of the show will be at the O2 Arena, including Lea Michele (Rachel), Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Chris Colfer (Kurt) and the rest. An unmissable night for UK-based Gleeks - the affectionate title given to members of the global Glee fan club.
27th June 2011 - 16th July 2011
Founded in 1962, the City of London Festival is a summer programme of music, visual arts, film, walks and talks. It takes place across several venues (including St Paul's Cathedral) and outdoor spaces, and events and activities are frequently free (particularly if outdoor). In 2010 the theme was "trading places", and among other things the festival highlighted music from the Portuguese-speaking world, and saw eight behives placed around the Square Mile. And a favourite feature with Londoners and visitors alike, brought back in 2010 by public demand, is the Street Pianos - left out in random spots in the capital for anyone to play. Look out for more eye-opening and thought-provoking happenings at the 2011 Festival. The full programme of events is yet to be finalised but keep checking www.colf.org for the latest information.
28th June 2011
Canadian indie-rockers Arcade Fire will pack out Hyde Park this summer with a one-off open-air gig at the end of June. The Thursday concert will be the Montreal-based band's biggest ever UK date and comes a week after Kings of Leon play two dates in Hyde Park. Following the success of their landmark debut album Funeral and its follow-up Neon Bible, Arcade Fire released the critically acclaimed The Suburbs last summer. This "enthralling piece [which] doesn't disappoint" (The Observer) "deserves to be their 'Automatic For The People'; an album that combines mass accessibility with much greater ambition. Pretty much perfect, in other words," says NME. English folk outfit Mumford & Sons will support alongside New Mexico indie folk band Beirut and the London-based alternative rockets The Vaccines. Tickets go on sale on Friday 28th January and are available via Ticketmaster.
29th June 2011 - 3rd July 2011
Henley Royal Regatta is an historic occasion, set in a riverside village that has hardly changed in the last two centuries and bringing some serious competition to the water in one of the world's most physically challenging sports. It has been running since 1839, and has grown from a local event into one of the biggest meetings in rowing, attracting crews of international quality to an array of Challenge Trophies at Henley-on-Thames. The draw is still conducted on a knock-out basis with only two boats racing in each heat. Nineteen events take place over the five days including six classes of races for Eights and aces for Coxless Pairs and Double Sculls. Come and admire one of the country's loveliest areas and some of the toughest sports stars in the world.
29th June 2011 - 14th July 2011
Words, stories and author events are all part of the London Literature Festival, as you'd expect. Comedy, music and documentaries are some of the less obvious offerings that are crammed into the busy schedule of the capital's largest book event, held annually at the Southbank Centre. Expect a wide and eclectic range of writers and speakers taking part - last year's festival included appearances from 'the Elvis of cultural theory' Slavoj Zizek, Bret Easton Ellis, John Cooper Clarke, Orange Prize winner Barbara Kingsolver and Andrea Levy, whilst Jeanette Winterson gave the annual Southbank Centre lecture. There's a huge diversity of topics and formats from performances to screenings, spoken word to short stories, in short, the festival focuses on words in every format. For more information go to www.londonlitfest.com.
30th June 2011 - 9th July 2011
Not only is this Take That's biggest tour ever, it's also - with the return of Robbie Williams - the first time they're touring as a five-piece since 1995. No wonder, then, that the gigs are sold out (1.34 million tickets went in 24 hours upon release), but those lucky enough to have grabbed theirs will be in for a treat. The band's latest album, 'Progress', has received massive critical acclaim across the board - with even the likes of music mag NME giving it a thumbs up - and fans can expect them to play the likes of 'The Flood' and 'SOS', plus a few belters from their cluster of all-time greatest hits. Expect one of the all-time classic Wembley Stadium gigs.
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
We all get an extra bank holiday this year thanks to the much-hyped Royal Wedding on Friday 29th April. Other big d...April 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
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
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