The winter is almost over, and there are plenty of amazing things to do in London this February.
1. See the new Christian Dior exhibition at the V&A (from Feb 2)
‘Designer of Dreams’ is a major new exhibition, spanning 1947 to the present, tracing the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers. Tickets from £20. Find out more.
2. Step inside a virtual reality with Omescape (ongoing)
Fancy a mind-bending challenge? Head to one of the two Omescape venues (in Kings Cross and Aldgate) for a proper immersive experience. Not only do they offer six different escape rooms to challenge the intellect, there are two award-winning, pulse-racing multiplayer VR adventures for you and your friends to take on together. Can your crew save humanity in 44 nervewracking minutes? There’s only one way to find out – see it in action here! ?Sponsored. ?
3. Pick out too many things at a massive new IKEA
A huge new IKEA opens in Greenwich on February 7, and somehow this was one of our most-read stories on the site last month, so we know you’re all secretly GAGGING to go. Here’s all you need to know.
4–6. Try a brunch that’s just a little bit beyond… (Feb 9, 10, 24)
Yet more bonkers bottomless brunches land in London this February! Try a West African-inspired ‘Rhythm & Rice’ brunch in Brixton on Feb 9, a gyoza-filled Japanese brunch at Mick’s Garage in Hackney on Feb 10, or an all-day Prince-inspired ‘Purple Rain Brunch’ at Bethnal Green’s Oval Space on Feb 24.
7. Embrace the pain at Heartbreak Hotel (Feb 8 – 14)
The eight-day ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ event in east London promises to be ‘an immersive seven-day multimedia festival exploring heartbreak in all its forms’, with workshops, panels and parties dedicated to getting punched right in the feelings. More here.
8. Check out the kitsch at Little Nan’s new place (from Feb 8)
The quirky bar experts from Little Nan’s (of Deptford, Fitzrovia, and previously Catford) are opening a new knick-knack-filled drinking den at The Cavendish in Stockwell. Expect cocktails in teapots and doilies galore – here’s what we know so far.
9. Walk amidst the blooms at Kew Gardens Orchid Festival (from Feb 9)
Kew Gardens will once again unveils its annual orchid display, this year celebrating the biodiversity of Colombia and its 2,700+ species of orchids. The eye-catching plants will fill every corner of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, but don’t miss the rest of Kew Gardens and the cute pub at the nearby station either!
10. Celebrate Chinese New Year in Trafalgar Square (February 10)
The Lunar New Year comes in on February 5 (it’s the Year of the Pig, people!) but the big celebrations from the Chinatown community come the following Sunday, on February 10. Expect dragons, dancers, drumming and other festivities across several stages.
11. Feel the love on Valentine’s Day (February 14)
We happen to think London is quivering with romantic opportunity all year round, but if you decide to step things up a notch on V-Day, check out our fun list of 68 London Date Ideas From A-Z, or perhaps book a table at one of the city’s most romantic restaurants.
12. Boogie on a boat (February 12, 14, 26)
Head to the Tamesis Dock for some raucous riverside events this month. Catch their special Valentine’s Day party for swing, rock and Motown from a live band below decks; or their cosy jazzy nights on Feb 12 and 26.
13. Find something funny down in the Vaults (all month long)
VAULT Festival runs from January through March, so there are hundreds of shows to catch in the tunnels beneath Waterloo Station. It’s quite Edinburgh Fringe-y, with lots of stand-up, experimental theatre, and works-in-progress, so it’s your chance to catch the next big thing in comedy… or, quite possibly, someone that should be banned from ever getting behind a microphone again. See the full listings on their website.
14. Nerd out at the London Anime & Gaming Convention (Feb 15-17)
Back for another year and bigger than ever, this convention is Quite A Big Deal, celebrating the best of anime and gaming culture. A huge guest lineup is the star attraction, with tournaments, tabletop games, cosplay everywhere, manga workshops, concert nights and late-night karaoke, all running from morning to midnight every day. Tickets are on-sale now.
15. Race for the prize at the Mushroom Rally (Feb 16-17)
At last! Go-karting with ridiculous costumes, inspired by your favourite console games, will be powersliding into London for one glorious weekend. The weekend’s fastest racer could even find themselves repping our city at a World Championship! Think you’ve got what it takes? Get your tickets here.
16. Get catwalk-side seats at London Fashion Week: Insiders (Feb 16-17)
This February, for the first time, you’ll have the chance to hit up catwalk shows at the main Fashion Week space at 180 The Strand, Aldwych. There are talks, tote bags and champagne to enjoy too – get tickets here.
17. Try a Mary Poppins afternoon tea… on a fancy steam train! (Feb 16)
Set off from London Victoria aboard the luxury Belmond British Pullman, and dine on a Mary Poppins ‘inspired’ afternoon tea in a lovingly furnished 1920’s style carriage, as you choo-choo through the countryside. Spoiler: it ain’t cheap. Read all about it here.
18. Be one of the first to try Vivi (Feb 16 onwards)
A sleek, Sixties-style restaurant is taking up residence at the brutalist Centre Point late in the month. Split into four different spaces, each with its own offering, the core Dining menu promises such throwback dishes as cheese soufflé, chicken kiev, raspberry and lemon arctic roll, and jelly and custard. There’ll be 50% off food Feb 16-18 and 25% off Feb 19-24 as they limber up with a soft launch. Here’s our full preview.
19. Salsa your way into a date at this hip dating night (Feb 20)
If you’re in the mood for love – and just a little bit brave! – check out this fun dating event near Leicester Square. It’s an hour long salsa-dance-class meets speed-dating extravaganza, followed by (plenty of?) drinks at the subsequent MetroLatina club night. After all, hips don’t lie – take part here!
20-22. Catch a hot new musical
Three much-anticipated musicals land in the West End in February. Waitress, a hit adaptation of the 2007 film, arrives at the Adelphi Theatre on February 6; Only Fools And Horses, featuring Paul Whitehouse, opens at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on February 9; and award-winning Sondheim revival Follies is at the National Theatre from February 12.
23. Get into deep truffle at this chocolate-making workshop (Feb 21)
Chocolate flakes, honeycomb or strawberry curls? All of the above, please! Head to Hoxton for this night of chocolate tasting, cocoa wisdom and hands-on trufflemaking – and yes, you do get to take them home with you! Tickets on sale here.
24. Sip something special at Craft Beer Rising (Feb 21–24)
Three days of marvellous beers and ciders, accompanied by plenty of street food and music, come to the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. More info on their website.
25. Get dabbing at Drag Bingo (Feb 22)
Legs eleven! Two fat ladies! And… other stuff?! This is hectic, heavenly bingo as brought to you some of the sassiest drag queens in the whole of London. Will fortune favour your numbers? Join in the fun here.
26. Get a jump on festival season (Feb 22)
Notting Hill Carnival may be more than half a year away, but they’re finding ways to keep the party going year-round. Like lending their soundsystem to Electric Brixton, and inviting the likes of Ms Dynamite and Rampage Sound to the party. Get yourself on the guest list here.
27-30. Catch the newest art exhibitions (Feb 25 onwards)
London’s art exhibition calendar gets back up and running in February. American photographer Diane Arbus is featured in a solo show at the Hayward Gallery and Don McCullin’s war photography is exhibited at Tate Britain; Norweigan artist Harald Sohlberg will be celebrated at Dulwich Picture Gallery while the abstract sculptures of Franz West will appear at the Tate Modern (and you can even touch some of them!).
31-37. See some fresh new theatre, you mug
?‘The Dumb Waiter’, Harold Pinter Theatre (Jan 31 – Feb 23)
Martin Freeman and Danny Dyer are hitmen trapped in a cellar in this one-act Pinter play. Read more.
? ‘All About Eve’, Noël Coward Theatre (Feb 2 – Feb 23)
Gillian Anderson and Lily James star in an adaptation of a Hollywood classic, the story of a famous actress and the young upstart determined to replace her. Read more.
⏱ ‘The American Clock’, The Old Vic (Feb 5 – Mar 30)
Rachel Chavkin directs Arthur Miller’s ground-breaking play about the Baum family, as they navigate the aftermath of an unprecedented financial crisis. Read more.
? ‘The Price’, Wyndham’s Theatre (Feb 5 – Apr 37)
This Arthur Miller play transfers from the Theatre Royal Bath. Two estranged brothers reunite to sell off their family furniture and settle old scores. Read more.
⚓️ ‘Shipwreck’, The Almeida (Feb 12 – Mar 30)
‘A sinister and sensational new play’ sees you formally invited to dinner with the 45th President Of The United States. Think I’m washing my hair that night I’m afraid! Read more.
? ‘Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train’, Young Vic (Feb 14 – Mar 30)
‘The Motherfucker With The Hat’ writer Stephen Adly Guirgis returns with a tale of serial killers, cult leaders, and sadistic guards inside the criminal justice system. Read more.
?Alys, Always, The Bridge Theatre (Feb 25 – March 30)
A searching interrogation of wealth and privilege in a psychological thriller starring Joanne Froggatt and Robert Glenister. More information here.
38-45. Enjoy a marvellous new movie
A cavalcade of cinematic delight arrives in British cinemas this month, and we’re loving the look of ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’, starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant as a couple of asocial bottle-hitters on a quest to con the literary world with some dodgy documents. This month’s releases by Metacritic score:
87 Can You Ever Forgive Me?
87 If Beale Street Could Talk
82 How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
76 A Private War
73 The Kid Who Would Be King
71 Boy Erased
70 Green Book
60 On The Basis Of Sex
57 Instant Family
51 All Is True
49 Escape Room
46-61. Discover more top London spots.
Oh blimey, we expanded our fab places to visit list pretty heavily in January – here’s the pick of the bunch!
? Kalifornia Kitchen: hot pink new vegan restaurant
? Ladies & Gentlemen: once a Victorian bog, now a top cocktail bar
?? Dishoom: the dishy Indian restaurant London loves
? Crossness Pumping Station: the gorgeous sewage plant (just go with it)
? Brunswick House: antique-filled restaurant where everything is for sale
⛪️ Union Chapel: stunning church and music hall
? Glass Room: panoramic floating dinner cruises await
☕️ Mariage Frères: a temple of tea, with a restaurant attached
?♀️ Clip ‘n Climb: Chelsea’s hip new climbing centre
? Cecil Court: charming cobbled alley of booksellers
? Sarastro: flamboyant Theatreland restaurant with NSFW artwork
? The Knot: sugar rush-inducing temple to Instagram fodder
? Neal’s Yard: Covent Garden’s riotously colourful courtyard
?♂️ Town House: the most London-themed afternoon tea in town
?♀️ Buzz Bingo Tooting: Sadiq Khan’s favourite building in London, dontcha know
? Iris & Helix: restaurant and bar sitting atop the Gherkin
And there’s always more things to do inspiration…
Also published on Medium.