It’s official, my darlings: spring is finally here!
Spring in London is always highly anticipated, but never more than in 2021. This season, we will slowly watch as the days get warmer and longer while the restrictions are eased, ushering in what will hopefully be a summer to remember.
So, exactly when is spring in London? Most people in the UK go by the astronomical seasons, which change slightly every year. This surprised me when I first moved to London, as I was used to the very structured meteorological seasons, which sets spring in the Northern Hemisphere from 1st March till 31st May every year.
However, having lived in the UK for over a decade now, I can see how the astronomical seasons make more sense. This year, spring in London will run from Saturday 20 March – Monday 21 June (wrapping up on exactly the day that all Covid restrictions are meant to end).
So, here’s my guide to all the fabulous things that London has to offer over the coming months. I promise you, amazing things are happening right across the city this season. As the restrictions are relaxed, please get out there and enjoy what London has to offer once again.
📷: above image: ‘Al-Sitt and her Sunglasses’ by Huda Lutfi from the Reflections: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa exhibition at the British Museum
9 must-see experiences this spring in London
Fall down the rabbit hole
After a very disorientating year, it would be no surprise if you’ve felt like you were living on the other side of the looking glass. So the V&A is here with what looks set to be an iconic exhibition for our time, exploring the influence of one trippy little lady. Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser celebrates 157 years of her adventures in wonderland, featuring works by Salvador Dali, Ralph Steadman and Vivienne Westwood. If you love dressing up, psychedelics and literary delights, this looks like the perfect exhibition for you.
📅 from late May
📍The Sainsbury Gallery, V&A, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL
Yes, the Megan Mullally is coming to London this spring to star in the Broadway classic, Anything Goes. Will & Grace‘s legendary diva is bringing her tap shoes to the Barbican for what promises to be a camp old time aboard the SS American. Joining her in the line-up is Robert Lindsay (the dad from My Family), the eternally wholesome Felicity Kendal (The Good Life) and panto legend Gary Wilmot. I love that everyone in the line-up is over 60 – and so do all the musical-lovers who have snapped up advance tickets for this gem.
Dalston’s favourite queer venue is throwing open its colourful doors again on 17th May with a whopper of a spring line-up. Yes, once again you can sing along with Xtravaganza, brunch with Just May and spread yourself around with Fèmmme Fraîche. Most excitingly, Superstore will be celebrating its 12th (YES, 12TH) birthday at the end of May with one suitably sensational soirée. For those of us who remember partying at Dalston Superstore when it first landed oh so many moons ago, there’ll be a free botox bar in the downstairs toilet (jokes).
📅 30 May 2021
📍Dalston Superstore, 117 Kingsland High St, Dalston, London E8 2PB
The last time we were treated to a Matthew Barney exhibition in London was in late 2007. Now, Bjork’s baby daddy is back with Redoubt – another haunting feature length-film that, according to the trailer, isn’t going to give you any sparkling spring vibes. Icy, eerie and featuring what you assume is a grey-haired Barney, there is a pervading sense from this preview that there definitely will be blood. The perfect exhibition to treat yourself to on a wet and windy spring weekend.
📅 19 May till 25 July 2021
📍Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, South Bank, London SE1 8XX
Any plant parent who has gone into acquisition overdrive during lockdown will be itching for a day out at the Royal Botanic Gardens this spring. My top tip: book for when this new vibrant exhibition has started. Naturally Brilliant Colour explores the origins of colour and vision with a showcase of botanical artists. This is the first time the public will be able to see works created by Pure Structural Colour technology, which ethically and sustainably replicates the most intense hues that nature has to offer. I’ve just booked my tickets for this fascinating display, which are included in your standard entry to Kew.
Thank the universe for Horse Meat Disco. They’re grabbing the reigns and riding out the easing of lockdown restrictions with more energy than pretty much anyone else around. Not only do they have a host of dates locked in for this spring (including the Prince of Wales in April and Night Tales in April and June) but they’re getting their classic Sunday sessions started again from 18th April. Obviously, for the first few months, it will be a sitdown disco (so leave your dancing shoes at home) but this is a true sign of spring in London. Can’t wait to back in that beer garden once again.
📅 Sundays from 18 April 2021 onwards
📍Eagle London, 349 Kennington Ln, Vauxhall, London SE11 5QY
You’ll be familiar with Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room from the many selfies that adorn Instagram – so now’s the time to go get your own (I’m kidding but also, you probably will). The queen of polka dots has created two rooms of endless reflection for you to admire your multi-dimensional form in at the Tate Modern this spring. I’m particularly keen to experience the Chandelier of Grief, which even as a photo gives the impression of an oppressive and creepy majesty (but in an altogether different way toan episode of The Crown).
If you’ve missed dancing during this long winter, then I’m excited to say that Ecstatic Dance is back. I never thought I would get excited about what essential is a hippy silent disco in a park, but the pandemic has put a lot of things into perspective for me. Dancing to good music, surrounded by good people, is something I now know to be a very essential form of fun and release for me. Until the clubs reopen, I’ll be getting my fix on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons with these folks. Good music and good vibes are guaranteed.
📅 from 1 April 2021
📍Mabley Green, Lee Conservancy Road, London E9 5HW
Yes, that’s right. Very soon you can go outdoors and meet people. Of course, only just a friend or two for now but by the end of spring, you’ll be able to hang with anyone and everyone you like. Can you even imagine it? So, this season is all about being outside.
Let’s pray for good weather because we’re going to need it with all the open-air events happening over the next couple of months. From rooftop cinemas to outdoor brunch sessions, everything will be al fresco this spring. Beer gardens will be a hot commodity and while I’m yet to discover a queer venue with decent outdoor seating, I am liking the idea of ones with a view. Check out The Terrace at Alexandra Palace, which can seat 400 people with distancing. With street food and live music, you might finally get a taste of what real life is like again.
📅 from 12 April 2021
📍Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY
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