Greenwich encompasses one of London's most popular entertainment venues, the capital's only planetarium and the last surviving tea clipper. With such varied venues, the area is never short on things to do. Read on to discover Greenwich's highlights for summer 2013.
From golden oldies to contemporary pop and soulful swing to gritty rock, the O2 Arena's summer programme is unquestionably varied. Kicking off the summer season is veteran rocker Rod Stewart. Part of his Live the Life Tour and on the back of his latest studio album Time, Stewart will perform two nights at the O2. In contrast, former burlesque performer Paloma Faith will take to the stage the following night to perform tracks from her 2012 album Fall to Grace, which has just reached Platinum status in the UK. Following a tour earlier in the year, this will be Faith's biggest headline show to date.
Renowned for his soulful voice that makes women swoon and his charm that makes men weep, Grammy Award-winning and chart-topping Michael Bublé will perform at the arena for a mega six nights in June, which will be the third longest run of dates ever performed at the venue by a male solo artist - surpassed only by Prince and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters.
The month will also see rock of two different ages from Kings of Leon and The Who. For US Southern rockers Kings of Leon, it will be their first London gig in two years. Having cut their 2011 tour short due to lead singer Caleb Followill drunkenly leaving the stage mid-performance, the Tennessee four-piece are now back with their sixth studio album and a two-night gig at the O2. Later that month legendary rock band The Who will perform their iconic 1973 double album Quadrophenia in its entirety. Completely redesigned with powerful imagery that's intended to set the music in context with the history of the band, the concert will also include a number of additional classic tracks.
In September iconic band Fleetwood Mac come to the O2 for a much anticipated tour. Marking 35 years since the release of their classic album Rumours, the nights will see original members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie joined by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who both joined in 1975. The band's first tour since the sell-out Unleashed in 2009, this will be a rare chance for fans to witness the quartet live in action, with performances of well-known favourites along with new work.
Away from the music, The O2's summer season invites Eddie Izzard to take off his trainers and embark on a marathon of another sort. His two nights at the O2 form part of his Force Majeure (force of nature) tour, the most extensive comedy tour ever with 25 countries throughout Europe, Africa, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, India, Nepal and The Far East on the schedule. However, the mammoth tour may be one of his last. Having conquered the comedy circuit and mastered the marathons, Izzard now has his sights on politics and in six years' time he plans to swap his stilettos for brogues when he runs for London Mayor.
Returning to London for their second spellbinding show of 2013 - the first being Kooza in January - Cirque Du Soleil present Alegria in July. A classic Cirque Du Soleil production, Alegria is one of the company's most popular performances and has received international acclaim since its 1994 premiere in Montreal. With a cast of 55 performers and musicians from 17 different countries, the show is a spine tingling fusion of contortion, synchronised trapeze, fire-knife dancing and hand balancing.
Later in the summer it will be the public's turn to test their strength and stamina with Run to the Beat, London's official music half marathon. Starting at the arena and looping around Greenwich and Woolwich, the charity race spurs on runners with twelve different musical stages dotted around the course. Or, if running around the O2 doesn't quite cut it, why not see it at an entirely different angle? Opened last year, Up at the O2 is a guided walk over the 53-metre high dome and gives visitors a physical challenge with the reward of remarkable views across London.
London's leading festival of free outdoor performing arts, the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is back for 2013 with nine days of theatre, dance and street arts. This year's festival opens on midsummer's day (21st June) and is attempting to recapture the spirit of Olympic London. Presented by the co-Artistic Director of 2012's Paralympic Opening Ceremony, Bradley Hemmings, the GDIF 2013 is aiming to be just as imagination and remarkable. The festival will be opened by Wired Aerial Theatre with As The World Tipped, an epic outdoor storytelling on a 12m screen in the sky. Reflecting the drastic effects of climate change, it will be a real life disaster movie in the sky. Further programme highlights include One Million, an imaginative combination of aerial acts and live music that tells the story of young people climbing to reach an elusive new job; Dancing City, the UK's largest annual programme of outdoor dance; and Greenwich Fair, a packed weekend of outdoor theatre, circus, dance, installations and sideshow.
Part of the Royal Greenwich Festivals, Greenwich Dances brings a vibrant celebration of dance to the area with a six week programme. Popping up in streets, parks, libraries and museums, the festival will take dance out of the studio and bring it to unusual places for an unexpected moment of entertainment. The programme will include free salsa workshops, a pop up cinema, dancing streets and an ambitious 100 hour dance marathon.
Are we alone in the universe? If not, would all aliens be as friendly as ET? The Royal Observatory Greenwich is attempting to answer these questions throughout 2013 with their Alien Season. Exploring the topic that notoriously splits opinions across the world, this display takes an intimate look at the history of our relationship with alien life and how it has played a part in both science and culture. As part of the season, the Royal Observatory will also host a number of SciFi Movie Nights. Screening classic science fiction movies that feature aliens, the screenings will be accompanied by short talks which outline the inspiration behind the movies and the science behind the fiction.
For a hands-on space related activity, families can drop into the Observatory on Saturdays for Saturday Space Explorers. Aimed at younger visitors, these workshops invite participants to build simple instruments from cardboard kits, including planet finders and moon dials, which they can take with them and use at home. August introduces a new Summer Science series to the programme, which invites guest scientists to explain their work as part of unique planetarium shows developed by the Royal Observatory Astronomers.
Having reopened in 2012 after a £50 million five-year restoration, Cutty Sark is ready for a full summer of fun. Hosting activities for all the family, the famous tea clipper ship's 'Summer at Sea' will be an interactive, enjoyable and educational experience.
July invites youngsters to discover what is Beneath the Waves with a creative workshop that asks visitors to make a watery seascape. Further summer events on the ship include My Mini Sailor, the chance to learn all about the jobs available on a ship; Fly the Flag, explaining how to write a coded message using signal flags; and Flying Fish, discover what sailors on board Cutty Sark would have eaten for dinner. Throughout the summer holidays visitors will also be given the chance to meet Captain Woodget, Cutty Sark's longest serving master, when he comes aboard to tell tales of his voyages across the high seas.
After the success of a public fundraising appeal, Yinka Shonibare's Ship in a Bottle is now on permanent display at the National Maritime Museum. A scaled-down replica of Nelson's ship Victory, the work was first displayed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Now in its new home, the museum is hosting a summer of activities based around the premise of a message in a bottle. Visitors will have the chance to make their own ship in a bottle as well as go on a walking trail through London to see places that connect with Nelson's Ship in a Bottle.
Plus, there will be the opportunity to learn what it was like to be a black sailor in Nelson's navy with John Simmons: A Sailor's Trafalgar Story. This interactive performance tells the moving tale of when Simmons was press ganged and taken away from his home in Jamaica, and the surprising freedom that he found through life at sea with Admiral Nelson.