London 2014: New Openings

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The Sky Garden opens October 2014

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The Sky Garden opens October 2014
Dorfman theatre, National Theatre, end of 2014
Wellcome Collection, Autumn 2014
Aquatics Centre
Aquatics Centre
British Museum
New Hotels: Mondrian


A new indoor theatre at Shakespeare's Globe, the British Museum's £135 million extension, and Heston Blumenthal's new restaurant at the brand new £2.5 billion Heathrow Terminal 2 are just some of the exciting new launches in London in 2014. Here Francesca Young outlines what the year has in store.

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New Theatre: Shakespeare's Globe & National Theatre

Dorfman theatre, National Theatre, end of 2014

Dorfman theatre, National Theatre, end of 2014


The New Year marks new beginnings for Shakespeare's Globe which opens the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, a 350 seat indoor candlelit theatre named after its founder, on 9th January. Opening in the year of Shakespeare's 450th birthday, the £7.5 million theatre launches with The Duchess of Malfi with Gemma Arterton in the title role, and a programme of Jacobean plays, opera, candlelit concerts and anarchic comedy follows.

The Globe is not the only London theatre getting a spruce up in 2014, also in January work will be completed on Donmar Dryden Street, a new space for the Donmar Warehouse that will bring all of the Covent Garden theatre's off-stage work under one roof for the first time. It will offer a double height rehearsal room, new education room and a rooftop extension to house a flat for visiting artists.

The Bloomsbury Theatre is undergoing a summer renovation, closing from 14th July until October 2014 when new facilities including a refurbished foyer and theatre, an additional bar, improved toilets and seating will be revealed. Access from the Gordon Street side of the building will also be improved.

Hampstead Theatre, currently enjoying a highly successful period under artistic director Edward Hall, including the West End transfer of Sunny Afternoon, will be closed to the public after the final performance of Wonderland on 26th July until September 2014 to allow for the bar and box office to be relocated, creating more spacious and relaxed public areas.

On 30th September 2014 the National Theatre's renovated Cottesloe theatre will be renamed and reopen as the Dorfman theatre, named after Travelex founder Lloyd Dorfman whose £10 million donation helped to renovate the space. The improvements, including increased capacity and better sight lines, mean an extra 27,000 people each year can gain access to what are often sold-out performances, and the auditorium can be used for learning activities during the day when it would usually be empty.

Also due to be complete by the end of the year, the Lyric Hammersmith's refurbishment project will give the building its first major facelift in 30 years, adding a two storey extension, drama, dance and recording studios, a screening room, digital playspace, and a sensory space for children.


New Museums: British & Imperial War Museums

British Museum - World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre opens 6th March 2014

British Museum

World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre opens 6th March 2014


In March 2014, the British Museum begins opening one of the largest redevelopment projects in the museum's 260 year history. Located in the north-west corner of the museum site, the £135 million World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre will house the museum's first purpose built temporary exhibition space - the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour Partners - which launches on 6th March with Vikings. The rest of the centre, which houses laboratories, studios and stores for the museum's world class collection, opens later in the year.

It's a significant year for the Imperial War Museum which fully re-opens in summer 2014 unveiling its new First World War galleries to mark the 100 year anniversary of the start of the First World War. The renovations include a new atrium housing large objects, new shops and a park-side café as well as a major new First World War exhibition, Truth and Memory, the largest exhibition and first major retrospective of British First World War art which will run until March 2015.


Museums Autumn: Wellcome Collection & Science Museum

Wellcome Collection, Autumn 2014

Wellcome Collection, Autumn 2014


The Wellcome Collection is undergoing a £17.5 million development project to a design by Stirling Prize-winning architects Wilkinson Eyre and although the official opening date has been pushed back to spring 2015 parts of the building remain open and in October 2014 a new space called The Hub opens with Hubbub, a research group looking into issues of rest and busyness in modern day life. When complete, the transformation of one of London's most inspirational free museums will bring new areas and galleries into public use, a stunning spiral staircase, a new restaurant, and studio space for their live programme, all centred around the iconic reading room which becomes a new public space.

Open on 25th October 2014, Information Age is a new £15.6 million gallery at the Science Museum that sets out to be the world's foremost celebration of information and communication technologies. At 2,500 metres squared, the gallery is the largest exhibition space in the South Kensington museum and features hundreds of unique objects from the museum's world class collections, many of which have never been seen before. Rare exhibits include the instruments which detected the first transatlantic telegraph messages in 1858, the BBC's first radio transmitter, and the only Russian supercomputer in a museum collection in the West.


New Sport: Aquatics Centre & Velodrome

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Aquatics Centre - Opens to the public in spring 2014

Aquatics Centre

Opens to the public in spring 2014

In January, on Friday 17th, Brooklyn Bowl, the trendy New York bowling alley where you can bowl, eat and drink while listening to live music - Adele, Kanye West and Elvis Costello have all played at the NY branch - and DJs, opens its first overseas location in London's O2.

Two of the most iconic 2012 London Olympic venues, the Velodrome and the Aquatics Centre, re-open in spring 2014, adding to the major sporting venues already available in the city. The Velodrome housing the Olympic cycling track where Chris Hoy and the British team won gold re-opens and becomes part of the Lee Valley VeloPark which includes a BMX track and mountain biking trails, welcoming members of the public from 23rd March.

In April 2014, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will open its South Park Hub to the public including the Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre and ArcelorMittal Orbit, Anish Kapoor's striking, spiralling red steel sculpture. Boasting two 50 metre swimming pools, a 25 metre diving pool and a seating capacity reduced to 2,500, the Olympic swimming venue will open to members of the public and aims to host events like the 2016 European Swimming Championships.

Spring also sees the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, located in the north of the park, launch. When it opens in May 2014 the centre will host community, club and elite programmes as well as high profile competitions including the European Hockey Championships in 2015 and the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in 2014, 2015 and 2016.


New Building: The Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street

The Sky Garden opens October 2014

The Sky Garden opens October 2014


One of the most hotly anticipated buildings in London and one of the most controversial is the 'Walkie-Talkie' in Fenchurch Street. Due to open in March 2014, the distinctive top heavy building designed by world-renowned architect Rafael Vinoly made headlines before it even opened when it 'melted' cars parked underneath it during the peak of the summer heat in 2013.

With measures put in place to prevent further melting mishaps, the Walkie Talkie promises to be one of the most hotly anticipated buildings to open in London in 2014 thanks to its 'garden in the sky', expected to open in October 2014.

The distinctive design not only ensures that views of St Paul's remain intact but also allows for a top floor 'sky garden' which span three floors and offers uninterrupted views across the City. Served by two express lifts, visitors arrive to a beautiful landscaped garden at level 35, a bar and viewing area at level 36 and, to top it all, a public terrace, restaurant and cafe at level 37.


New Hotels: Shangri-La, Ham Yard

New Hotels: Shangri-La

New Hotels: Shangri-La


Despite the glut of hotels which opened in time for the Olympics, there are more stylish new hotels to come in 2014. After a delayed launch the long-awaited Shangri-La opened on 6th May 2014. The five star hotel, which takes up the middle third of the Shard, situated between floors 34 and 52 of London's tallest tower, promises to bring a uniquely Asian view of service to London, as well as 202 rooms, signature dining room, London's highest bar and a gym complete with infinity pool.

Tim and Kit Kemp's Firmdale hotel group adds to its existing London hotels - Charlotte Street and The Soho Hotel among them - with its eighth London property, Ham Yard Hotel, on 1st June 2014. Known for their cool and quirky interiors, the hotel will include 90 individually designed bedrooms and suites, 24 residential apartments, a collection of 13 specialist retail stores and an airy restaurant and bar with outdoor dining, transforming a former bombsite in Soho into a luxury boutique hotel worth £90 million. Other highlights include sumptuous drawing rooms, the Soholistic Spa and Gym, and a 176 seat cinema.

In west London the Grade II listed Dorsett Shepherds Bush, which opened in 1923 as a cinema, becomes the Dorsett Regency, a 322 room, 11 storey luxury hotel retaining the original façade while undergoing a £25 million conversion.

East London has already benefitted from the 2013 opening of the Ace Hotel and there are three new hotels to boost the area in the next three years. A new citizenM hotel is planned within Shoreditch Village, the 200-room M by Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City within Will Alsop's 23-storey 'Doodle' tower will open in early 2015, but we'll have to patiently wait until 2016 before we may well finally see the 156-room Nobu Hotel open in Shoreditch.


New Hotels: Mondrian & The Beaumont

New Hotels: Mondrian

New Hotels: Mondrian


The first five star hotel to open on Grosvenor's Mayfair estate in the last decade, the boutique Beaumont hotel overlooking the beautiful Brown Hart Gardens comprises 73 bedrooms and suites as well as public areas including a restaurant and lobby bar, residents' lounge, meeting room and spa. The first hotel from The Wollseley restaurateurs Corbin and King which opens on 29th September 2014 also features the first inhabitable work of art by leading British artist Antony Gormley, a sculpture which doubles as a unique guestroom for the hotel.

Throwing open its doors just one day later, on 30th September 2014, Mondrian London has been designed by Tom Dixon who has the iconic Sea Containers building into the first Mondrian hotel in Europe. Expect the vibe of the original Hollywood Mondrian to be replicated in this historic waterfront building on London's South Bank.

Not one but two citizenM hotels - citizenM St Paul's and citizenM Tower of London - due to launch in 2014 have been pushed back to 2015, bringing the popular brand of budget boutique hotels to the City. The Royal Horseguards Hotel, a grand, vast Victorian hotel by Embankment on the north bank of the Thames will be comprehensively renovated before re-opening as the luxury Clermont Hotel in 2014.

In the final quarter of 2014 the Lanesborough's year-long closure, which began on 20th December 2013, is due to come to an end. The hotel on Hyde Park Corner, first opened 22 years ago, is given a complete refurbishment by interior designer Alberto Pinto, his last project before his death in 2012. The refurb is expected to re-establish the Lanesborough as one of the most luxurious hotels in the world.


New Restaurants: House of Ho, Q Grill, London House


In January the start of the new year brings a clutch of new restaurants openings in London including Bobby Chin's House of Ho which brings modern Vietnamese food to Soho's Old Compton Street and officially launches on Monday 6th January. Nearby and in the same month Paul Merrony and Trace Peterson, proprietors of Flat White and Milk Bar, launch of La Giaconda Restaurant, Cafe and Bar on Denmark Street.

Also in January come two new burger joints: Q Grill, on Chalk Farm Road in Camden, is by Des McDonald, the man behind Islington's The Fish & Chip Shop (who, incidentally, is also behind the Rosewood's Holborn Dining Room); and Tommi's Burger Joint expands to include a restaurant on the King's Road in Chelsea.

Rosewood London on High Holborn which launched late in 2013 welcomes its first diners at in-house restaurant, the Martin Brudnizki-designed Holborn Dining Room, and Scarfes Bar - named after satirical cartoonist, Gerald Scarfe - from February 2014. Diners can enjoy a menu overseen by Bjorn van der Horst while admiring Scarfe's distinctive drawings commissioned for the brand new bar.

February is also the month that Gordon Ramsay's London House restaurant opens in a former coal warehouse in Battersea. The new-look Polpetto at 11 Berwick Street in Soho expands to seat 70 (greatly increased from its previous 23 seats) and will feature an aperitivo bar and an open kitchen.

Early in 2014 Zucca, the hugely popular Italian in Bermondsey is expanding to open Farina, a new pizza and ice cream restaurant at no. 186 next door. And in February Borough Market stalwart Brindisa celebrates 25 years of importing Spanish food to London when it opens Brindisa Food Rooms, a new shop and bar in Brixton.

Also in February, the people behind the famous subterranean Gordon's Wine Bar open Villiers Coffee Company and Dining Room just down the street; the first of two new Roka restaurants for 2014 opens on North Audley Street in Mayfair (followed by Roka Aldwych in the summer); and The Fable, a new bar from Drake & Morgan inspired by Aesop's Fables opens in the newly developed Sixty London in Farringdon.

Further February 2014 restaurant openings include D&D's Avenue restaurant in St James's which will re-launch with a new Manhattan loft interior designed by Russell Sage and an American-inspired menu including dishes like clam chowder, Brooklyn rooster and donut holes served with Hershey melt. A new branch of sourdough pizza specialists Franco Manca opens in Broadway Market in Hackney in late February ahead of an eighth site on Lordship Lane in East Dulwich in late summer.


New Restaurants: Claridge's, City Social, Heston Blumenthal

Simon Rogan, Claridge's, 6th May 2014

Simon Rogan, Claridge's, 6th May 2014


March brings a taste of Portuguese influenced food with an Indian/Goan twist as Assado opens at 157 Waterloo Road. It's the latest restaurant from chef Cyrus Todiwala, one half of the duo featured in BBC TV series The Incredible Spice Men, who already owns celebrated landmark Indian restaurant, Cafe Spice Namaste, a short hop from the Tower of London.

In the same month, Indian restaurant group the Tamarind Collection is to relaunch the former Zaika restaurant at One Kensington, serving international cuisine and named after its door number on Kensington High Street.

The entire area around Berwick Street is being revamped and in early 2014 (no fixed date as yet), Hakkasan and Wagamama founder Alan Yau opens 'Chinese gastropub' Duck & Rice on the Soho street famous for its fruit and veg market, silk shops and Flat White.

Opening on 22nd April, the British seaside to London with the second branch of  Bonnie Gull, Bonnie Gull Seafood Cafe, in Exmouth Market, EC1. In spring 2014, quality coffee shop chain Benugo - which already runs leafy cafes in Hyde Park and Lincoln's Inn Fields - takes over the Regent's Park restaurants.

But the really big restaurant news around this time of year is Simon Rogan's takeover of Claridge's restaurant, launching on 6th May 2014. In the same month, Jason Atherton goes high rise with City Social taking over the area vacated by Gary Rhodes' Rhodes 24 in Tower 42.

Heston Blumenthal follows Gordon Ramsay's lead and sets up airport restaurant The Perfectionists' Cafe at the brand new £2.5 billion Heathrow Terminal 2 which opens as The Queen's Terminal in June 2014. Expect easy to enjoy, familiar dishes from fish and chips to pizza, fast service and good quality ingredients.

Lanes of London will be the new restaurant for the five-star Marriott Park Lane which is set to revamp all its 151 bedrooms as part of a major refurbishment scheduled to start in March with a completion date of September 2014 expected.


New Shops: Christopher Kane, Karl Lagerfeld


London is a magnet for designers and a capital of shopping which is why high end fashion designers Christopher Kane, Roksanda Ilincic, and Karl Lagerfeld have all chosen to open flagship shops in the city in 2014. Christopher Kane's first flagship store opens in Mayfair on London's Mount Street where Roksanda Ilincic, whose designs have been worn by Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama and Gwyneth Paltrow, also launches her debut flagship store. Both are due to open in early 2014 alongside shops like Lanvin, Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood.

Karl Lagerfeld's first London store is set to open in March 2014. The high tech Regent Street store will be his largest European one to date, spanning 2,700 square feet, selling men's and women's ready-to-wear and accessories. Not just any fashion retail outlet, the store will include dressing rooms with photo booths - perfect for shoppers who like to take selfies when choosing a new outfit - there'll be iPad minis, and a digital guest book so customers can leave messages for the Chanel designer. Looks like London 2014 is shaping up to be a very fashionable year.

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