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10 Reasons Why You Should Visit London This Spring

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The start of the New Year is often a dull affair. After the festivities and parties have died down most of us our left waiting in the rain and longing for sunshine. Luckily, London really comes alive during the springtime, making it a wonderfully picturesque city.

If you’re planning a visit to the capital, the spring could be the perfect time; accommodation is cheaper, you’ll miss the tourist rush, and the weather usually takes a turn for the better. Here are a few other reasons why.

St Patrick’s Day

The Irish really know how to party. St Patrick’s Day is one of their biggest and best celebrations, and if you can’t make it to Ireland, London is the next best place. On March 15th Trafalgar Square will be filled with people singing, dancing and enjoying authentic Irish cuisine.

London Marathon

On April 26th the London Marathon will take place. Starting in Greenwich Park, over 30,000 athletes will run 26.4 miles through London. The atmosphere on the streets is simply electric, so if you’re around make sure you show your support.

london skyline

The Royal Parks

The Royal Parks of London are simply breathtaking around the springtime. When the flowers start to emerge and the grass begins to grow there’s nothing like taking in the sun and enjoying a nice picnic.

Inventing Impressionism

Inventing Impressionism is one of the most hyped art shows of the year and will open in London’s National Gallery during the spring. Here you can view crucial paintings from the golden years of 1865-1905 and discover with your own eyes how this magnificent art style evolved.

Futurefest

On March 15th and 16th the Futurefest will take place on Vinopolis Bankside. This is a one-off event that has some very prestigious guest speakers, such as whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

During the winter months the Globe Theatre shuts down for business. In March, however, regular shows once again start to take place. This historic theatre is situated on Embankment and is just moments away from the London Eye and Tate Modern – two of London’s most prized attractions.

Oxford and Cambridge Goat Race

The Oxford and Cambridge goat race is perhaps one of the strangest events on this list. Here two of the UK’s most coveted universities will compete against each other in the most unusual way. Expect lots of booze and goat-related madness.

London Craft Week

London Craft Week will begin on May 6th and will occur in various venues. For seven days art galleries and museums around the city will be holding craft making workshops and trying to encourage participants to take up new hands-on hobbies.

London Pet Show

This is without a doubt the biggest pet show in the UK and will be held at the ExCel Arena. The weekend will be filled with pet performances and plenty of showmanship from some of the best trained animals in the world. There will also be breeders and trainers on call and ready to give advice to those looking to get involved.

The London Helicopter

If you’re truly looking for a unique activity for the spring, then the London Helicopter could be just what you need. London may look great from the streets, but nothing beats the view from up above.

Don’t wait until the summer to visit London. As you can see from these 10 events, the spring has just as much to offer.

Image Credit: Gary Knight

The Best Upcoming West End Shows this March

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No visit to London would be complete without watching a West End show. From intimate fringe performances to big budget musicals this world renowned hotspot for quality theatre has a little something for everyone.

The Book of Mormon

From Matt Stone and Trey Parker – best known as the makers of South Park – The Book of Mormon will be continuing its Christmas run at the Prince of Whales Theatre throughout the whole of March. Since it was first performed on Broadway in 2011 this offensive comedy has won Tony Awards, a Grammy Award and even a Laurence Olivier Award.

Assassins

Assassins will be playing for the first time in a theatre with a large capacity. This Sondheim black comedy is about the men and women who have attempted to assassinate presidents and will guarantee a night of tension and laughs. The performance at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Borough is fronted by Catherine Tate and has received a great deal of critical acclaim.

west end show

Cats

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats originally ran for 21 years in the New London Theatre. This 2014 reboot at the Soho Palladium is somewhat of a departure from its pretentious, quintessentially aristocratic British past, and has been revamped with a more “urban” feel – it even features rap music. If you’re looking for something a little outrageous, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Happy Ending

The Arcola Theatre is one of the most charming little venues in the city. Happy Ending has been causing quite a bit of hype on the theatre circuit and will be playing until March 7th. The story revolves around a young girl who has cancer and attempts to make the most out of her situation. The story is witty, engaging and will really make you contemplate life.

Made in Dagenham

Critics’ choice award winner Made in Dagenham has been described as the best musical since Matilda. Performances will occur on a near daily basis at the Adelphi Theatre in Covent Garden. Leading the show is actress Gemma Arterton, who has received rave reviews across the board. If you’re looking for theatre with some catchy pop numbers and some easy, yet downright silly humour, this is certainly a show for you.

Sunny Afternoon

The Harold Pinter theatre will be hosting a number of performances of Sunny Afternoon during 2015. This musical is based on The Kinks and feels more like a big rock show than a West End stage performance – probably due to the small cast and full band musical performances – which makes it extra unique.

Miss Saigon

It’s not often a monster musical truly impresses, let alone works on the stage at all. Miss Saigon, however, has it all; three dimensional characters, fantastic light displays, and some of the best stage design in the history of the West End. Miss Saigon will have a run throughout 2015 in the Prince Edward Theatre in Leicester Square.

The West End is the most recognisable area of London and houses some of the most famous and respected theatres in the world. If you’re looking for quality theatre there’s no better place. However, if you’d rather skip the performances and see this historic part of London from above, consider taking a ride on the London Helicopter. While you may not get to see celebrities singing and dancing on stage, you’ll no doubt appreciate the view.

Image Credit (Creative Commons): Louise McLaren

Exciting Movie Premieres in London This March

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Oscar season has just concluded, and as always, there was plenty of British talent on the red carpet. Throughout 2014 Leicester Square hosted premieres for some of the most talked about films of the year, such as The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything – both of which won numerous awards. But moving into 2015, beyond Birdman and Boyhood, there are plenty more movies to get excited about.

On The Edge – March 5th

It may not be a star studded affair, but the premiere for the French/German production On the Edge is set to be equally as exciting. This acclaimed film was first shown at the Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews and will now have a limited viewing at the BFI Southbank. BFI Members are able to buy tickets to the premiere on March 5th for discounted prices before they become available to the public.

Insurgent – March 11th

The world premiere of Insurgent will occur on March 11th; however, the venue is still yet to be announced. Theo James and Shailene Woodley are already confirmed guests, but a number of other stars are also expected to attend, including Kate Winslet and Ashley Judd.

Cinderella – March 19th

Cinderella is one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year. The premiere will take place on March 19th at the Odeon in Leicester Square. Confirmed guests include Helena Bonham Carter, Lily James and Hayley Atwell. Large crowds are expected so make sure you get there nice and early to secure a decent spot.

papparazzi

Meeting the Stars

One of the best things about visiting London is that there is guaranteed to be a premiere at some point as Leicester Square hosts several each week. If you want to meet the stars make sure you get there at least two hours in advance (the earlier the better). Getting a spot by the barrier isn’t easy, but it’s the only sure-fire way to get an autograph or handshake.

Starting Times

Premieres usually start at around 4.30pm; however, the talent doesn’t usually arrive until 5.30pm. The actors and crew will usually stick around for interviews and ‘meet and greets’ for roughly an hour before moving inside. Film viewings usually begin at about 7.30pm.

Helpful Tips

First and foremost, before you walk out of your hotel door remember that you’re in London! The weather can take a turn for the worse at any moment, and the last thing you’ll need is to be stuck outside in the pouring rain waiting. Take a coat and a few snacks with you just in case.

Getting Tickets

Getting tickets to the actual showings can be tricky. Most are given away for free to competition winners; however, it never hurts asking the cinema itself. If there’s a premiere you want to see just give them a call and ask for details. There’s no harm in trying! Keep a lookout on Mark Meets for up-to-date information. They usually have a number of freebees available for each premiere that they give away on a first come, first served basis.

Film premieres often spring up out of the blue, so always stay on the lookout. Keep checking the Internet and don’t be afraid to ask box office staff at the Leicester Square cinemas. Sometimes they will have inside knowledge. If there’s a movie coming out, expect the premiere to occur during the week leading up to the official release date. If you’d prefer to skip the queues altogether book a trip on the London Helicopter and watch the event from above.

Image Credit: S Pakhrin

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