London Special Event Guide 2014

Famous for traditional, long-standing successes and contemporary productions, London's West End is hard to beat when it comes to musicals. Nearly every street in central London's Theatrel and boasts its own performance venue, so choice isn't an issue here. Listed below are some of our current faves. There's something to suit every kind of taste.
Forthcoming Events in London.

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships
(23 Jun to 6 Jul)

The world of tennis descends on Wimbledon in South West London every summer for two weeks of tennis, strawberries and cream, and good-natured queuing.

Wimbledon is one of four annual Grand Slam tennis tournaments held around the world. It's the world's longest-running and most prestigious tennis tournament. Games are still played on the original playing surface, grass, and there's a strict white-only dress code for players.

The tournament attracts around 500,000 spectators and millions of television viewers worldwide.

During the first week, the early rounds of the Singles and Doubles matches are played, with the top seeds playing on Centre Court and Courts 1 and 2. The Ladies' and Men's Singles Finals take place over the final weekend of the Championships.

The Wimbledon Finals Weekend, a highlight of the sporting year in London, begins with the ladies' final on Saturday, followed by the men's match on Sunday, both played out on Centre Court, now covered by a roof so there's no risk of seeing Cliff Richard entertaining the crowds when the weather refuses to play ball. 

During the tournament, 500 tickets are available on days one to nine for Centre Court and No.2 Court. Approximately 500 tickets are available on all 13 Days for No.1 Court. You should expect to queue overnight for a chance to buy one of these tickets.

Several thousand ground admission tickets are also available each day. These give you the chance to watch games from the No.2 Court standing enclosure and from unreserved seating and standing on the outside courts, and on the big screen at Henman Hill. Once ground capacity has been reached, queuers are admitted on a one-out, one-in basis.

Venue: Church Road,  Wimbledon, London,SW19 5AE
Tickets: Adult Ticket up to £148
Public transport: Tube: Wimbledon Park

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
(9 Jul to 14 Jul)

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the world's largest annual flower show. As well as the stunning floral displays, you can learn about growing your own fruit and vegetables, get tips on gardening in a changing climate, and shop for garden products.

This RHS spectacle is the largest of its kind in the world and, for six days in July, thousands of gardening fans can see, smell and touch an abundance of floral delights. You can enjoy around 50 inspiring display gardens including the tranquil water gardens (a unique category of this show), the rose marquee and the innovative conceptual gardens showcasing the next big names in garden design.

Hundreds of the UK's best nurseries fill the floral marquees, Festival of Roses and Plant Heritage Marquee. Floral art, fruit, vegetables and floristry are also a major part of the show.

See the list of Gardens

Venue: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey,  SurreyKT8 9AU
Tickets: Adult from £21
Public transport: Train: Hampton Court

Shopping in London

London is the ultimate shopping destination. Keep one step ahead of the trends with the shopping news; find out what shops have just hit the scene and which shopping events are just too good to miss – it's all here. Read more

London Wonderground
(7 May to 28 Sept)

Quirky London Wonderground returns for a third year of cabaret, music, circus and strange curiosities.

Taking place in the coach park between the Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye, the festival is centred around the Speigeltent, in which you can watch a diverse range of performances from top contemporary talent. Visitors can also enjoy bars, outdoor performances and fringe shows in the London Wonderground event space.

This year sees the return of last year’s smash hit circus showLIMBO, as well as runs from cabaret diva Meow Meow and darkly comic musical maestros The Tiger Lillies.


Venue: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road,  London,SE1 8XX
Public Transport:  Underground and Rail Stations: Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross, Waterloo East. Buses stop on Waterloo Bridge, on York Road, on Belvedere Road and on Stamford Street.

Henley Royal Regatta
(2nd to 6th Jul)

Henley Regatta is a 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 Britain's most famous summer sporting events. 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.

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. But this is just as much a social event, with thousands gathering to eat picnics and drink Pimm's aplenty by the waterside. Expect lots of Tim-Nice-But-Dims as the English upper class and middle classes descend in their hoards.

This delightful river-side market town is about 10 miles downstream from Reading and easily accessible from London. A direct train service runs to Paddington station in peak evening hours, while during the day a service runs via Twyford and takes under an hour.

Venue: Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, London, RG9 2AQ
Public transport: Tube/Rail:Tube: Amersham Station

BP Big Screens
(15 Jul)

One of three free summer screenings broadcast live from the Royal Opera House, on 15th July 21014 La boheme is beamed from Covent Garden to the big screen on Trafalgar Square.

The Opera House's ever-popular La boheme, performed close to 400 times since John Copley first introduced it in 1974, will be retired in 2015, to be replaced in 2017 by a new version directed by Richard Jones. So this screening is a final chance to see this production, considered one of Covent Garden's all-time greats, as Rodolfo the poet (played by Giuseppe Filianoti) and Mimi the seamstress (Ermonela Jaho) fall for each other by moonlight.

Venue: Trafalgar Square, Central, London, WC2N 5DS
Tickets: FREE
Public transport: Tube: Charing Cross Station, Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station

The British 10K London Run
(13 July)

Now in its 14th year, this huge annual fundraiser - which is expected to attract 30,000 runners - has made the second Sunday in July all its own. The runners attempting the 10K are joined by a bunch of celebrities and athletics champions and in 2014, the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, The British 10K race has chosen Help For Heroes as the official charity of the race. The aim is to recruit between 1914 and 1918 runners - the period of WWI to raise funds for todays wounded heroes.

Starting on Piccadilly outside the Calvary & Guards Club at Hyde Park Corner the course heads down Piccadilly and Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square, along the Embankment to the City, taking in St Paul's and Tower Bridge, and finally back to Whitehall, taking in the Cenotaph - the nations national memorial to those who lost their lives in WWI and other conflicts - on the way.

Venue: Hyde Park Corner Tube, Knightsbridge, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7TA
Tickets: FREE
Public transport: Tube: Hyde Park Corner

Tour de France
(7th July 2014)

The Tour de France, the world's largest annual sporting event, comes to London on Monday 7th July 2014. The event which sees the world's top road cyclists compete for the famous yellow jersey will see huge numbers of people lining the streets of the capital to see the action.

The best places to see the cyclists, who leave from Cambridge City Centre at 12noon and pass through Chelmsford at around 1.50pm, are the Olympic Park where the cyclists are expected at approximately 2.55pm and The Mall where the race finishes at around 3.30pm. 'The Caravan', of over 170 vehicles which follows the race arrives two hours in advance of the cyclists so will be expected at the Olympic Park at 12.55pm and at The Mall at 1.30pm.

Venue: The Mall, Westminster, St James's, London, SW1Y 5AH
Tickets: Admission fee applies
Public Transport: Tube: St. James PArk.

Tour de France Fan Park in Canary Wharf
(24 Jul to 27 Jul)

Coverage from the final few days of the epic bike ride will be screened at this free festival of all things cycling. Once you've caught up on highlights and have lost sight of Wiggo, do your own tour of the pop-up shops, street food and French treats, try your luck in the prize giveaways and peruse the photography exhibitions.

The fun will finish later on Sunday July 27 so as not to miss the race's big finish on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. Fan Parks in Trafalgar Square and Green Park will catch the action from July 5-7.

Venue: Wood Wharf, Canary Wharf, London, E14 9SB
Tickets: FREE
Public Transport: Tube: Canary Wharf

Open East Festival
(27 July  to 28 Jul)

Celebrate the anniversary of the London 2012 Games and the reopening of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at the Open East arts festival.

Organised in partnership with the Barbican and east London arts venture Create, the festival will feature:

  • Performances and workshops from Theatre Royal Stratford East, Boy Blue Entertainment and Ida Barr
  • Real Food Festival
  • A mini travelling art circus from the House of Fairy Tales, featuring theatre, magic, music and games
  • An Art Car Boot Fair where East London artists will be signing their work
  • Caught By The River, who will be sharing their passion for literature, angling, music and beer as they host celebrated authors and musicians
  • An Eco Design Fair showcasing the best up-cycled, vintage and contemporary design in London
  • Family storytelling, art and craft workshops from the Discover Children's Story Centre
  • Picnics along the riverbank

Venue: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford,  London, E20 2ST
Public Transport: Tube: Stratford

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening
(26 Jul to 28 Sept)

Visit Buckingham Palace, one of the world's few remaining working royal palaces, in London this summer. 

Visitors for the Summer Opening tour are permitted access to the nineteen State Rooms which are still used by the Royal Family to receive and entertain guests on state and ceremonial occasions. Decorated in lavish fashion, they include paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, Sevres porcelain and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. There are also some exquisite royal gifts, including Faberge Eggs, on display.

Inside Buckingham Palace

You can explore lavishly furnished rooms containing some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. Highlights include:

  • Paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude
  • Sculpture by Canova and Chantrey
  • Exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain
  • Some of the finest English and French furniture in the world

As you tour the palace, you'll see many more items related to the coronation. For example the State Dining Room will be dressed to evoke the Coronation Banquets held on the evenings of 3 and 4 June 1953, with magnificent settings of porcelain, silver-gilt and flowers.

Daily: 2nd August 2014 to 28 September 2014 
The following five time slots are available: 10:45am, 11:45am, 12:45pm, 2:45pm, 3:45pm
A typical visit lasts between 2 and 2½ hours

Venue: Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA
Tickets: Starting at £18
Public Transport: UTube/Rail: Victoria; Tube: Victoria, Green Park, St James’s Park or Hyde Park Corner. Bus Routes:  11, 211, C1, C10

BBC Proms
(12 Jul  to 13 Sept)

"Proms" is short for Promenade concert: informal and inexpensive concerts where Promenaders ("Prommers") pay just £5 for a ticket. Up to 900 Prommers can stand in the central Arena at London's Royal Albert Hall, and a further 500 can stand, sit or recline in the Gallery.

Each year the BBC Proms host two months of concerts, including the famous Last Nightperformances, world premieres of contemporary works and shows by a diverse range of artists.

This year commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War with a focus and reflection on the works of wartime composers, as well as songs and the musical legacy of the conflict. Among the highlights are a special War Horse prom featuring life-size puppets from the hit show, a performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem based on the poetry of Wilfred Owen, and Sally Beamish’s violin concerto inspired by Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front.

Another landmark in 2014 is the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss' birth, which is marked by the performance of three of his complete operas and a number of choral concerts. 

In a continuing effort to promote artists from across the musical spectrum, the Proms welcomes singer Paloma Faith and versatile performer Rufus Wainwright for the first time; while the Pet Shop Boys take to the stage with their new piece, A Man from the Future, based on the life and work of wartime code-breaker Alan Turing.

Firm classical favourites make a return for the season, including the Berlin Philharmoniker,Cleveland Orchestra and Budapest Festival Orchestra. There are also first-time appearances from orchestras based in China, Greece, Iceland, Lapland, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea and Turkey.

Venue: Royal Albert Hall Kensington Gore,  London,SW7 2AP
Tickets: Full details
Public Transport: Tube: South Kensington / High Street Kensington / Knightsbridge Train: Victoria

British Summer Time at Hyde Park
(28 June to 13 July)

This summer Hyde Park is hosting an exciting programme of music and cultural events at Barclaycard British Summer Time.

This summer, Hyde Park is hosting an exciting programme of music and entertainment at Barclaycard British Summer Time.

Arcade Fire, Black Sabbath, The Libertines, McBustedNeil Young & Crazy Horse, Tim Minchin and Tom Jones are set to play headline sets. The line-up so far includes:

Thursday 3 July

Arcade Fire
Jake Bugg
Future Islands

Friday 4 July

Black Sabbath
Faith No More

Saturday 5 July

The Libertines
The Pogues
Maximo Park
The Enemy

Sunday 6 July

Backstreet Boys
Scouting For Girls

Thursday 10 July

Tim Minchin and his band
Alan Davies
Nina Conti
Milton Jones
Gina Yashere

Saturday 12 July

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
The National
Tom Odell
Caitlin Rose

Sunday 13 July

Tom Jones
Little Mix
Bootleg Beatles

As well as live music on the main stage during the weekends, there will be a programme of midweek entertainment available for everyone to enjoy. From Monday to Thursday, visitors will be able to get involved with intimate events across the whole of the the entire Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park site (barring the main stage). These activities will bring together the worlds of film, music, literature, and sport.

Venue: Hyde Park,  London, W2 2UH
Public Transport: Tube: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch

The Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square

See the latest commission for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, Hahn/Cock by artist Katharina Fritsch.

Commissioned by the Mayor of London as part of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Programme, the 4.7m (15 foot) high sculpture will occupy the empty plinth for 18 months.

Born in Germany, Fritsch is one of today's leading internationally recognised contemporary artists, she has exhibited widely particularly across Europe and the USA.

The Fourth Plinth is the most high-profile and provocative contemporary art prize in the UK. It commissions world-class artists to make challenging new works for the historic heart of the capital, aiming to trigger public debate about contemporary art in London's public spaces.

It has been announced that Fritsch's giant blue cockerel will be replaced in 2015 by a black, skeletal, riderless horse with an electronic stock market ticker tape tied to its leg, sculpted by the German artist Hans Haacke.

Then in 2016 a ten-metre-high thumbs up titled Really Good by Turner Prize nominee David Shrigley will take up the fourth plinth.

Venue: Trafalgar Square,  London,WC2N 5DN
Public Transport: Tube Charing Cross

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