With winter on the way out, March's Ideal Home Show and the Country Living Fair are great occasions for a spring clean. Elsewhere, the crews of Oxford and Cambridge take to the river, while pop sensations Katy Perry and Justin Bieber swing by. And don't forget St Patrick's Day on the 17th!
4th March 2011 - 4th June 2011
In his first production as Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Trevor Nunn directs Sienna Miller in Terence Rattigan's Flare Path, a story of love, loyalty and desire set at the height of the Second World War. In a country house hotel on the edge of R.A.F. Bomber Command airfield, the women wait for news of their husbands' return from a dangerous bombing mission behind enemy lines. Miller plays the role of actress Patricia, the wife of pilot Teddy (James Purefoy), who is plunged into emotional conflict with the arrival of Peter Kyle, a renowned Hollywood star, on the same night as the fateful bombing raid on Germany. Based on Rattigan's own experiences as a R.A.F. tail gunner in World War II, Flare Path also stars Gavin & Stacey actress Sheridan Smith as barmaid Doris.
10th March 2011 - 13th March 2011
Since setting up shop in Battersea Park for the first time in 1999, the biannual Affordable Art Fair has become a well-loved institution in London's art scene, an event that strips away the pretension of the art world and gives buyers a chance to pick up some really great work at fair prices, ranging from £50 to £3,000. Previous years have seen some works sold for hundreds of pounds by artists who nowadays would not get out of bed for that kind of change (preferring instead to sell that same bed to Charles Saatchi as an installation for a cool six-figure sum). It's a fun, family event which is accessible to connoisseurs and the merely curious. There's a free creche, printmaking workshops and a specialist exhibition showcasing work by new artists.
11th March 2011 - 28th March 2011
The Ideal Home Show is the place to find the latest in home furnishings as this famous show fills up the Earl's Court Exhibition Centre with everything you need to feather your nest - and a whole lot more besides. Celebrating its 102nd year, the Ideal Home Show is the world's largest event of its kind and never fails to surprise and inspire with home decorating ideas and the latest gagets for the kitchen. Named the Best Consumer Exhibition by the AEO Event Awards last year, the show was revamped for 2010, now featuring five show houses and eight themed sections: Ideal Home Improvements, Ideal Village, Ideal Food, Ideal Gardens, Ideal Shopping, Ideal Woman, Ideal Home Gadgets, and Ideal Interiors. Celebrity presenters including Channel 4's Home Show star George Clarke, Master Chef's Gregg Wallace, GMTV's Fiona Philips and interior designer Linda Barker are among the experts who'll be hosting workshops and handing out home improvements advice. With over 800 exhibitors there are ideas galore and products to suit all styles and tastes. March is traditionally the time for a spring clean - so why not spruce up your home while you're at it? Visit the show after 5pm on Thursday and tickets are just £5.
13th March 2011 - 3pm
The final fixture in a unique three-game Six Nations home stretch for England is the visit of Scotland on Sunday 13th March as both sides battle for the Calcutta Cup. The teams played out a dour 15-15 draw in Edinburgh last year and England will be keen to get back to winning ways against their neighbours at Twickenham. Scotland are perennial strugglers on the international rugby food chain but have the canny ability to pull off the occasional shock result, as demonstrated by their 21-17 win over the world champions South Africa during the Autumn Internationals. They last defeated England in 2008 and will fancy themselves to provide a stern test for Martin Johnson's men. If previous results have gone to plan, an England win here could put them on course for an epic, potentially title-deciding, showdown against Ireland in Dublin in their final fixture next week. For ticket information go to www.rfu.com.
13th March 2011 - 11.30am-6pm
London's Irish community have always celebrated St Patrick's Day in the traditional manner, with church services, music, dancing and plenty of Guinness and whisky. In recent years, the capital has also hosted a major weekend celebration - the UK equivalent of parades in New York and Chicago. London's parade has floats from all 32 Irish counties, with street theatre along the route which starts at Piccadilly (Park Lane side) at 12 noon, goes along Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall East via Trafalgar Square to Whitehall. The main performance stage is in Trafalgar Square with live shows, music and dance, from 11.30am to 6pm. There's also a Children's Culture Corner with storytelling, shadow animation, dance, musical instruments and poetry, and there'll be the chance to join in with the arms-by-the-sides dancing. Look out for Irish speakers roaming around the square, on hand to teach you a few phrases. Of course, the best places to celebrate are the pubs and Catholic churches throughout London, with their mix of religion, music and good cheer. Keep an eye on where the real London Irish go after the parade and you could be in for a memorable evening.
14th March 2011 - 17th March 2011
A year ago not many of us had really heard of this pint-sized teenage Canadian pop star - but now it seems the world has gone Justin Bieber crazy. Two weeks after his 17th birthday, Bieber drops into The O2 Arena for three nights in March as part of his My World Tour. Bieber's debut concert tour will support his two-part debut album My World and My World 2.0 and will see the bequiffed R&B sensation perform a huge 104 dates over two legs - at a time when most people his age are concentrating on their A-Levels. We at LondonTown just hope that Bieber's performances are a bit better than his turn on The X-Factor in early December 2010, which saw a boy high in energy levels but low on miming ability - plus he had the audacity to flirt with Cheryl Cole. Still, if you've taken the world by storm at such a young age and count Usher amongst your friends, you can afford to be just a little bit cocky. He should make the most of it while he can, though: his voice is bound to break soon.
17th March 2011 - 19th March 2011
She kissed a girl and she liked it - but she kissed Russell Brand, and that was even better. 2010 was a busy year for Katy Perry, who released her second mainstream album, Teenage Dream, recorded with Snoop Dogg, appeared on Sesame Street, The Simpsons and The X Factor, fronted her own fragrance, Purr, partied with her best friend Rihanna, and found the time to get hitched to Brand in India. Now the gospel-singer-cum-popstress is hitting the road with a massive California Dreams Tour in 2011, which calls into London at the Hammersmith Apollo for three back-to-back shows in March and Wembley Arena for one night in April, before returning later in the year at The O2 Arena in October. Expect massive production and loads of visuals - Perry promises it will be "10 times better" than her last tour - as the energetic singer ploughs through her classics, as well as recent singles California Gurls, Teenage Dream and Firework.
19th March 2011
This spring, Claire and Roland Muldoon's original comedy industry showcase, the New Act of the Year 2011 Final, is held at the Barbican for the first time. Set up back in 1987 and held yearly since 1990 at the Hackney Empire, the New Act of the Year counts amongst its former finalists the likes of Simon Amstell, Rhod Gilbert, Russell Brand, Tim Vine, Stewart Lee, Harry Hill, Catherine Tate and Andi Osho. Last year's event was dominated by musical acts with two-man improvisational comedy rap outfit Abandoman (pictured) taking the laurels and twisted pop cabaret duo Frisky and Mannish picking up third. Hosted as usual by the inimitable Arthur Smith, this year's final at the Barbican will be preceded by a series of heats which will be held at Bethnal Green's Rich Mix Art Centre every Thursday evening from 1st February to 8th March. This is a not to be missed opportunity to witness some of tomorrow's stars of comedy shine on a major stage - and with tickets as low as £10 for two-and-a-half hours worth of entertainment, it's great value for money too.
23rd March 2011 - 28th March 2011
As daffodils and snowdrops push through the ground, Spring takes charge and urges us to shake off the shackles of winter and have a change. The Country Living Magazine Spring Fair at Islington's Business Design Centre is full of ideas for sprucing up your home and wardrobe, and also encourages visitors to try their hand at something new. Workshops are free with the price of entry and include hat making, wire jewellery making, applique and biscuit decorating. Do arrive early though, as places are limited. The Country Living Theatre is another source of hands-on ideas as experts give talks on flower arranging, jam making and other home crafts. But leave time to browse the many stalls packed with cushions, fabrics, clothes, bags, jewellery, homeware and more.
23rd March 2011 - 28th March 2011
The Chelsea Antiques Fair has been a popular annual fixture on the Kings Road since 1950. The antiques are presented against the gilded opulence of Chelsea Town Hall, with its marble columns, chandeliers and original oil paintings; a fitting backdrop for such a wealth of prized items. The fair has 38 specialist dealers this year, and a quick browse will reveal 19th and early 20th century porcelain and pottery, fine gem set jewellery, oak furniture, silverware, Chinese antiquities, Art Deco furniture, fine maps and prints, Persian carpets and rare glassware and much, much more. Prices range from £20 to the tens of thousands, so there is something to suit all budgets.
24th March 2011 - 11th April 2011
The eccentric Ether Festival celebrates its 10th birthday in 2011 following a vintage year in 2010 with landmark performances of the complete works of Edgard Varese and appearances by Lou Reed and Gil Scott-Heron. Initially a festival of electronic music, Ether is now all about innovation in music, art and cross-arts experimentation. The festival has evolved over the years, blending mainstream acts such as Brian Eno, David Byrne, Peaches and Royksopp, alongside little-known acts, oddball movements and even some classical artists. Technological pioneers and musical innovators past and present come together for a series of concerts, talks and strange collaborations that often baffle as much as they astound. This year's schedule sees digital artist Klaus Obermaier return to the Southbank Centre with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conductor Ivan Volkov to perform his 21st-century realisation of Stravinsky's early modernist masterpiece The Rite of Spring. Described in The Times as "Stravinsky for the Matrix generation", Obermaier uses computers to generate live stereoscopic images where the real and the virtual intermingle. Keep on eye on www.southbankcentre.co.uk for full programme.
26th March 2011
England's most famous universities square off in this four-mile rowing race which inaugurates the summer season in London. This is the 157th annual Boat Race and following their win last year, Cambridge have extended their aggregate lead to 80-75 (there was a controversial dead heat in 1877). The Dark Blues of Oxford have been the dominant force since the Millennium, winning seven of the 11 outings. But last year's win by a length-and-a-third by the Light Blues denied their rivals three successive victories. While the result means little to most Londoners, it's a spectacular display of strength and teamwork, and around a quarter of a million fans line the banks of the river to roar their encouragement (add to that 120m who follow the race on TV across the world). There's a great view - and some great pubs - around Furnival Gardens on the north side of the Thames near Hammersmith Bridge. Alternatively, you might like to watch from near the start at Putney Bridge, where the big screens on both banks allow spectators to monitor the race as it heads its way around the first bend. Nearby, at Bishops Park behind the South Stand of Fulham football ground Craven Cottage, you'll find food stalls, family attractions and a large beer tent.
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
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
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