Chinese Opium Pipes Displayed in London for the First Time

A remarkable selection of antique Chinese opium pipes is going on display on June 5th in central London, the first time such items have ever been seen in the United Kingdom. The pipes mainly date from the 19th -century and reflect the Chinese obsession with smoking opium, which they did through richly decorated pipes made from bamboo, porcelain, ivory, horn and jade. The exhibition – called Opium – will be at Maggs Bros bookshop at 50 Berkeley Square until the end of July and entrance is free. Berkeley Square is in the centre of Mayfair and surrounded by excellent restaurants and bars – for more information see LondonTown.com. It is also within easy reach of all London mainline stations such as Euston. See LondonTown.com for a wide range of hotels near Euston that are available for booking.

Opium was grown in India and taken to China by British and American smugglers in the 1700s, where a rich material culture sprang up. The drug was at first smoked with tobacco, but eventually opium was taken on its own and huge numbers of Chinese men – and some women – began smoking the drug on a daily basis. Opium smoking was initially the preserve of the wealthy and fashionable, and many of the most attractive and decorative pipes would have belonged to rich Chinese, but it soon cascaded through society to be taken up by the very poor, who smoked cheap opium through disposable bamboo pipes.

The smoking process was very complex so was often done in pairs, with one person preparing the pipe while the other smoked. This process also required the use of numerous tools, many examples of which will be on display at Maggs Bros. The raw opium was places on a needle and heated over a special lamp, before being placed in an earthen or porcelain bowl, which was attached to the pipe by a metal saddle, often made of silver and incredibly ornate. There were also special tools for cleaning the pipes and for storing pipes and bowls, and some pipes could even be broken into three parts for travelling. Many of these pipes and tools were destroyed by Chinese authorities in the 20th century as they attempted to stamp out what was increasingly regarded as a dangerous vice that was hampering Chinese prosperity and also reflecting poorly on China’s image abroad. Thousands of pipes were burnt on huge public bonfires, making the exhibition of material at Maggs Bros a particularly rare and valuable insight into a lost tradition of Chinese society.

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Museum of Everything opens at London’s Southbank

One of the world’s quirkiest art galleries will be taking over the Hayward Gallery on Waterloo’s Southbank this summer. The Museum of Everything is a museum dedicated to unusual, underground, lost and forgotten artists that tours Britain and the world and will be in the Hayward Gallery from June 11th to August 26th. Tickets are available from the Southbank’s website and further information can be found at LondonTown.com, where you will also be able to find booking information for hotels near Waterloo.

The Museum of Everything began in 2009 in Primrose Hill and has since appeared at Selfridge’s department store, the Tate Modern and galleries in Venice, Paris and Moscow. It boasts that it is the ‘w orld’s only travelling museum for undiscovered, unintentional and untrained artists from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries ‘ and has been curated by respected artists such as the legendary 1960s Pop Artist Peter Blake. The museum was founded by James Brett, who opened the first exhibition in a former dairy and filled it with more than 200 paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations by around 95 artists, all of whom simply felt compelled to make something. It is art from outside the mainstream, made by people who would probably never willingly describe themselves as artists, and is all the more appealing for that.

The gallery/museums is constantly re-inventing itself and it remains to be seen what treats the Hayward’s version of the Museum of Everything will contain. It forms part of a season titled The Alternative Guide To The Universe, which is focused on self-taught practitioners whose work is generally produced outside of established channels and official institutions and which features a range of contributors from fringe physicists to the inventors of new languages, from artists who map cities of the future to others who design imaginary technologies.

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Lowry exhibition to open at Tate Britain in June

One of Britain’s greatest painters of urban landscapes will be the focus of a major exhibition this year at one of the world’s greatest urban galleries. LS Lowry’s extraordinary paintings of life in British cities from the mid-20 th century will be displayed at Tate Britain from June 29th. This is the first time Lowry has been exhibited on this scale on London and the exhibition is previewed at LondonTown.com. The Tate Britain gallery in Pimlico is located close to Victoria station, and visitors to LondonTown.com can book accommodation at a wide range of London hotels near Victoria to suit all budgets.

Lowry’s paintings demonstrate a debt to the realist paintings of the French 19th -century, as he was determined to depict with unsentimental accuracy the reality of working-class life. For Lowry, this meant painting football matches, mills, protest marches, schools and pits as he captured the smoky, bustling reality of post-industrial life in Britain. His richly evocative paintings can be a little grim, but they also ooze humanity, capturing an aspect of British life that few of his contemporaries ever considered.

Lowry was from Salford and mainly painted scenes from the industrial towns of the British north-west but he also painted a couple of pictures of Piccadilly Circus in 1960, capturing the red buses and neon adverts for Coca-Cola that even now define this bright, inspiring part of the capital. Piccadilly Circus remains the unofficial centre of London but one that can prove a little daunting for the tourist. There are charms to be found, however, such as the cheap and cheerful Prince Charles cinema on Leicester Square, the brilliant St John meat-heavy restaurant on nearby Leicester Street and the superb Italian Bocca di Lupo on neighbouring Archer Street. You can even catch the work of one remarkable 20th -century artist for free in the area – French surrealist Jean Cocteau’s murals adorn the interior of Leicester Square’s monumental French Catholic church, Notre Dame de France.

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Meet London’s Latest Cult Heroes

If you want to see something a little different next time you are in London, you need to head to one of London’s most peculiar museums, where the highlights on display include a jar full of pickled moles. The Grant Museum is located in Bloomsbury, just a short distance from King’s Cross station, and if you visit LondonTown.com you can explore the huge number of hotels near King’s Cross that are available for booking.

The Grant Museum is a museum of zoology and contains 67,000 specimens devoted to all aspects of the animal kingdom, including many creatures that are extinct such as the Tasmanian tiger, quagga and dodo. It was founded as a collection to be used for teaching in 1828 but is now open, free of charge, to the public, who can wander around its gorgeous wood-panelled interior gazing at a fascinating selection of stuffed animals and skeletons in considerably more peaceful surroundings than the similar but bigger Natural History Museum. Pride of place goes to the museum’s bizarre bottle of moles, which have developed such a cult following they even have their own Twitter account (@glassjarofmoles).

The Grant Museum is run by University College London, one of the world’s premier universities, and is close to the UCL’s other museum, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. This superb little free museum was founded in 1893 by Amelia Edwards, an eccentric traveller, who was fascinated by Ancient Egypt and collected numerous items of historic value such as pottery, beads, tools, linen, papyrus and costumes. Both museums are to be found a short walk from the British Museum, in the heart of one of London’s most interesting areas where there are many other fascinating small, specialist museums such as the Foundling Museum, Charles Dickens Museum, Cartoon Museum and London Canal Museum. Many of these museums hold regular special exhibitions and events, the details of which can be found at LondonTown.com.

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Rare Chinese Paintings Unveiled at V&A

The V&A Museum in South Kensington have announced that Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700-1900 will be their major exhibition this winter. The exhibition will show more than 70 works including some of the earliest surviving Chinese paintings, the majority of which are Buddhist banners and screens, and it will also feature many exceptionally rare works from international collections. Many of these masterpieces have never been seen in Europe before and they include what is considered to be one of the longest paintings in the world. The exhibition is open for advance bookings and tickets cost £12. For information on this and other exhibitions at the V&A see LondonTown.com, where you can also find great details for hotels near Paddington and Victoria, both of which are a short tube ride from South Kensington.

In China, painting has always been as highly valued as poetry and philosophy and some of the earliest paintings were made to be viewed for only a very short time – perhaps only a few hours. Such works are rarely displayed, making this exhibition a rare opportunity for people in London to see beautiful paintings on silk and paper that have never before been made available to Western audiences.

The exhibition will unfold chronologically, starting with early religious-themed works painted largely by anonymous artists. Later rooms will include famous works such as the meticulous Landscape With Pavilion by Yan Wengui and Chen Rong’s fine scroll Nine Dragons. The exhibition will show the growing enthusiasm for the natural world and also the way artistic monks would combine painting, calligraphy and poetry in works laden with literary and philosophical references such as Wang Mians’ Fragrant Snow At Broken Bridge or the gorgeous Two Chan Patriarchs In Contemplation by Shi Ke. Later works will include the incredible Flowers On The River by BadaShanren, which is painted on a canvas that is 14 metres long and is one of the longest paintings in the world, and Portrait of GaoYongzhi As A Calligraphy Beggar by Ren Yi, which demonstrates the influence of European art on the Chinese tradition.

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Canalival brings carnival atmosphere to Regent’s Canal

Waterway to spend a Saturday, eh? More than four thousand landlubbing revellers will take to the water of Regent’s Canal on rafts, punts, kayaks and inflatable dinghies on Saturday 1st June in a party procession from Hoxton and then eastwards towards Victoria Park. This free “calamitous cavalcade” of “raucous nonsense” invites guests to BYO (both boats and booze) for what organisers describe as London’s “first and only floating carnival”.

Inspired from last year’s impromptu ‘Jubillegal’ – in which around a thousand punters gathered on the canal behind a giant effigy of the Queen on the eve of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant – Canalival promises to be even bigger and better while setting a new landmark for boating bonanzas. More than £3,000 has been pledged to the organising committee by donators online while around 4,500 people have said they are attending Saturday’s event on the official Facebook page.

The centrepiece of Carnival will be a barge decked out with a soundsystemupon which a series of DJs will bang out tunes along the disused industrial waterway, a canal boat thoroughfare whose waterside path is popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists alike. Dancers and circus performers will provide additional entertainment while the best decorated boat will win a pair of tickets to this summer’s Secret Garden Party. Fancy dress, creative costumes and blinged-up boats are all actively encouraged.

While mixing alcohol and revelry with water may seem like a recipe for disaster, the event organisers have taken large steps to ensure everything goes swimmingly.Canalival has been co-ordinated with the Canal & River Trust – a charity dedicated to preserving and promoting England’s inland waterways; litter pickers and lifeguards will follow the procession at all times, while no motors will be allowed on any public boats.

Canalival starts at midday on the stretch of Regent’s Canal opposite the historic Gainsborough Studios in Hoxton and runs until late. Revellers can prepare for the floating extravaganza with brunch in one of the many cafés and restaurants in nearby Shoreditch and Angel, or perhaps at The Towpath café on the north side of the Canal in nearby De Beauvoir town. For a full run-down of London restaurants please visit LondonTown.com, the capital’s favourite events and entertainment website for things to do in London.

Given the gristly combination of British weather and the rumoured contents of the canal (dead dogs, cats and rats – as well as the odd shopping trolley) it remains to be seen how popular Canalival will be – although given last year’s showing and the online hype surrounding this Saturday’s floatation of fun, the omens are good.Today’s youth will stop short at little in finding new and original ways to let their hair down and be a part of a popular movement in its infancy – and there’s no denying that amid London’s ever increasing flurry of festivals, Canalival is an ingenious idea. So take your lido on Saturday and see whether it sinks or swims.

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World’s best One Day cricket sides gather in London

Forget this summer’s Ashes series between England and Australia for a moment because before that oh-so small rivalry plays out, the world’s best One Day cricketers from the eight top One Day International sides gather in England and Wales this June for the seventh and final ICC Champions Trophy. Four round-robin group games and one semi-final will be played at The Oval in south London during the competition, which runs between 6th and 23rd June 2013.

Second in importance only to the Cricket World Cup and with a $2 million prize kitty for the winners, the ICC Champions Trophy features England, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies – the eight highest-ranked ODI teams. Initially held every two years, the 2013 event marks the first Champions Trophy since 2009, which was held in Pakistan and saw Australia take the spoils for a second consecutive tournament.

Holders Australia will put their main focus for the summer – the regaining of the Ashes – aside for a fortnight as they line up in Group A alongside England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Meanwhile, hot favourites Pakistan – the only team, other than hosts England, never to lift the trophy – are pitted in Group B alongside arch-rivals India, West Indies and South Africa.

The tournament gets under way at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff on Thursday 6th June as India face South Africa. The first game at The Oval takes place on Friday 7th June and sees Pakistan’s young but highly fancied side take on West Indies. Other group games at The Oval are India v West Indies (Tuesday 11th June), England’s second Group A game against Sri Lanka (Thursday 13th June) and Australia v Sri Lanka (Monday 17th June). Travellers arriving to the city from outside London to watch any of the ICC Champions Trophy can book their accommodation on the website LondonTown.com, where there’s a wide choice of hotels in London to suit all budgets and tastes.

Following the group stage, the two top teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals where the winner of Group A plays the runner-up of Group B (in the first semi-final) and the winner of Group B plays the runner-up of Group A (in the second semi-final). The first semi-final will take part at The Oval on Wednesday 19th June and could well feature those two sides looking to get a win before the competition ceases to exist, England and Pakistan. The final will be played at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Sunday 23rd June.

The seventh and final ICC Champions Trophy – which is due to be replaced by the ICC World Test Championship in 2017 – is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cricket in the capital this summer. England have already beaten New Zealand in their opening Test Match of the summer at Lord’s and the two sides will return to the same venue for the first of three ODIs on Friday 31st May. The Oval will host two evening Twenty20 games between England and New Zealand on Tuesday 25th June and Thursday 27th June. Then the Ashes will begin in earnest, with England facing Australia in the Second Test at Lord’s from Thursday 18th July and the Fifth Test at The Oval from Wednesday 21st August.

Find out more about all of London’s major sporting fixtures this year on the website LondonTown.com where you will find a dedicated London 2013: The Sporting Year feature.

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Open Garden Squares Weekend returns to London

Leafy London is celebrated on the weekend of Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June with the opening of 215 private gardens all over the capital in the annual Open Garden Squares Weekend. Members of the public can visit a wide range of gardens located across 27 London boroughs – from historic, well-groomed, traditional squares in swish neighbourhoods to the new and experimental, including contemporary community allotments, roof gardens and ecology centres.

For a second year running, the manicured gardens at Number 10 Downing Street will be visited by those lucky enough to have won a special balloted tour. Other curious green-fingered guests can enjoy gardens as varied as the Thomas Cubitt-designed gardens of Belgravia’s regal Eaton Square and the industrial Kings Cross Skip Garden – a movable and self-sustaining vegetable, fruit and herb garden that is thought to be the first of its kind.

There are 24 new gardens on board for 2013 including the Diversity Garden community project (featuring an edible hedge) in North Lambeth and Freighliners Farm in Islington. Also standing out on the long list are numerous gardens belonging to historical buildings, institutions, restaurants, schools and shops, including barges and prisons. With so many usually inaccessible gardens opening their gates, visitors staying at one of the many cheap hotels in London featured on the website LondonTown.com will find swathes of magical green spaces a mere stone’s throw away from their accommodation.

Many of the weekend’s featured gardens lay on a range of activities including jazz bands, village fetes and cream teas. Cadogan Place Gardens (SW1) will offer live entertainment from swinging 1950s band The Milkshakers while the Cadogan Hotel will be serving light lunches, afternoon tea and Pimm’s. Located between Knightsbridge and Sloane Square, Cadogan Place Gardens is one of 12 gardens to be offering live music over the weekend – others include Earls Court Square, Kensington Square and Russell Square Gardens.

Over 30 gardens during the weekend will have activities for children and families – including the delightful Lexham Gardens near Gloucester Road, which will welcome back its popular clown and magician show. For grown-ups, Arlington Square in Angel hosts a pop-up gin bar with garnishes of produce grown in the square, while the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe will serve cocktails in their roof garden on both days of the event.

Tickets for this quintessentially English affair cost just £10 if purchased in advance on the official website, opensquares.org . Guests can also buy tickets at certain gardens on either day for £12. Guided cycle rides are available with Blue Badge Guides – or visitors may prefer to make the most of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme. If ever there was an outdoors event that lent itself to the use of Boris Bikes, it’s Open Garden Squares Weekend.

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ZSL London Zoo invites Londoners to unleash their wild side

Every Friday throughout June and July ZSL London Zoo will open its door after-hours, inviting Londoners to unleash their wild side. Party ‘animals’ will be treated to some late-night entertainment with this adult-only event. For visitors travelling from outside of London, a number of cheap London hotelsnear to Richmond Park can be found on LondonTown.com.

Permitted to stay up late too, the animals will be the stars of the show. With more than 750 species atLondon Zoo, visitors will be able to coo at the penguins, admire the big cats, burrow with the meerkats, get up close and personal with the monkeys, and much more. The evening will also give access to the brand new Tiger Territory, the five star £3.6 million home for the Sumatran tigers. Plus, there will be a chance to learn more about the animals with a range of talks, demonstrations and feeding opportunities.

Aside from the animals there will be much more to keep guests entertained: the aquarium will play host to improvised comedy, there will be Twisted Cabaret in the amphitheatre, a Silent Disco, a carousel, an incredibly short film festival and roving performances. Visitors can also have their faces painted and are encouraged to wear their wildest animal costumes.

Food can be found at the international street food festival, which boasts around 21 food vendors, and alcoholic beverages can be bought at a number of pop up bars, including a champagne bar and a Pimm’s stall.

Read about all the best events in London for the rest of 2013 by downloading a free copy of London 2013: The Annual, LondonTown.com’s pick of events, openings, anniversaries and experiences.

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Priceless selection of gold and jewels to be exhibited at Museum of London

In 1912, workmen in London discovered buried beneath a cellar in Cheapside one of the greatest collections of Tudor gold and jewellery ever found. Known as the Cheapside Hoard, this beautiful pile of priceless jewels and gemstones will go on display in its entirety from October 11 th at the Museum of London for the first time in more than a century.

The Museum of London is located in the Barbican arts centre near Farringdon, a short train journey from the Eurostar terminus at St Pancr as International. Its home near the City of London means it is within walking distance of some of London’s most important tourist destinations, all of which are listed on LondonTown.com. Visitors to London can find a wide selection of hotels near Kings Cross and St Pancras on LondonTown.com.

The Cheapside Hoard exhibition uses new research and state-of-the-art technology to showcase the wealth of insights the Hoard offers on Elizabethan and Jacobean London as a centre of craftsmanship and conspicuous consumption at the crossroads of the Old and New Worlds. It will also explore the mysteries that remain, lost among the cataclysmic events of the mid-17th century: who owned the Hoard, when and why was it hidden, and why was it never reclaimed?

The hoard was discovered by builders who, according to one witness, ‘discovered a heavy mass of clay found a building in Cheapside. It was like an iron football, and they said there was a lot more of it. Sticking in the clay were bright gleams of gold. When they had gone, we went up to the bathroom and turned the water on to the clay. Out fell pearl earrings and pendants and all kinds of crumpled jewellery. That was how the famous hoard of Tudor jewellery, the Cheapside Hoard, was discovered.’ The workmen who uncovered the hoard were said to have been paid a hundred pounds each, after which they disappeared and weren’t seen at work for months.

As well as the Cheapside Horde, the Museum of London covers the whole story of London from prehistory to the present day with particularly strong artefacts covering Roman London, the Middle Ages, Victorian London and the Suffragettes. It is found in Barbican, just a short stroll from some of London’s historic Roman-founded City of London, which is dominated by St Paul’s Cathedral but also contains numerous other small galleries and museums as well as a wide selection of pubs and restaurants, many of which are located in some of the oldest buildings in London.

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British Museum gears up for exciting summer

The astonishing success of the British Museum’s stunning Life And Death In Pompeii And Herculaneum has ensured the London museum remains one of the most popular in the world. Visitors can still pick up tickets for the Pompeii show, but there’s also plenty of other treats to be seen in the museum if you want to get even more value out of your visit. Travellers can also use LondonTown.com to book their accommodation as there is a wide range of London hotels near Euston, just a short bus ride from the British Museum, to suit all budgets.

If travellers to London are keen on seeing Pompeii, tickets are still available via the British Museum website, and there is also a huge selection of special events looking at different aspects of the exhibition, including a free film screening (Pompeii’s Last Day on July 3rd) and a Roman fresco painting workshop (£35, June 15th). See the museum’s website for details of this and other events.

The British Museum also has a free exhibition opening on May 30 looking at Asian Propaganda, which explores political art from the Far East since 1900. Visually rich and dramatic, this exhibition covers early revolutionary messages (1900–1930), the Asia-Pacific War (1931–1945), post-war reconstruction (post-1945), new society (up to 1976), and includes key propaganda devices, such as the use or subversion of tradition and the insertion of propaganda into daily life. Later in the year, the British Museum will have a major exhibition on Colombian Gold (from September 12th), featuring hundreds of stunning examples of gold jewellery and objet d’artsborrowed from the Museum of Gold in Bogota.

The museum is open every day for visitors keen to see its extraordinary general collections, which include incredible artefacts from Ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, Africa, the Middle East as well as fascinating items illustrating the early years of Britain itself, from Roman London, through the Anglo-Saxons and Tudor London to the present day. For more on events that are taking place at the British Museum, see LondonTown.com.

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London’s foremost seasonal rooftop restaurant returns for the summer

Having found a new Shoreditch-based rooftop, The Forza Win team are back for another run. Launched last summer, the rooftop pizza restaurant was a sell-out success with its three-course meal, drinks and live entertainment formula. For anyone hoping to find a hotel in the Shoreditch area, a number of cheap London hotels can be found on LondonTown.com.

The pop up restaurant launched in London with a summer pizza-based event and, due to its overwhelming popularity, created a winter version too, which provided guests with a hearty cheese fondue and warming cocktails. Now, they’re back for a third time and have partnered up with Pizza Pilgrims, the street food company that has taken London by storm.

Upon arrival, to an east London location that is kept a secret until booking, guests are greeted with a welcome drink and seated on large communal tables – tickets are limited to a small number each night, making this an intimate and friendly evening. They are then treated to a tempting Italian starter, a Neapolitan pizza tasting menu, cooked on woodfired ovens by the Pizza Pilgrims, and plenty of wine. The evening concludes with an indulgent dessert and live entertainment, this year a host of new bands and performers will provide the entertainment. They’ve also launched an ‘after’ venue this time round, so guests can party post Forza until the early hours of the morning.

The restaurant will run from 30 th May to the end of September and is currently taking bookings. For the three-course meal, drink on arrival and live entertainment, guests are charged £30.

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The must-see theatre, art exhibitions, dance, opera and sporting events in London in June 2013

For sports fans, June in London means one thing: Wimbledon (24th June to 7th July 2013) which entices the world’s top players to the All England Tennis Club in SW19 and in 2013 the competitors will have an even bigger incentive to win with prize money increased by 40% over last year to a total of £22.6million, an increase of £6.5million.

But visitors coming to London in June will find much more in the city than Murray mania. There’s a world of entertainment outside Centre Court this month and now is the time to book a hotel in London where the city’s theatres, museums, galleries and sporting venues are gearing up for a busy summer season.

On the London stage, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe appears in The Cripple of Inishmaan, Sex And The City’s Kim Cattrall stars in Sweet Bird of Youth at The Old Vic, and comedian Lenny Henry returns to serious drama in Fences. Rufus Norris directs The Amen Corner at The National Theatre where Mission Drift opens at The Shed this month.

At Shakespeare’s Globe The Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth open this month, and there’s more from The Bard at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre which continues with The Winter’s Tale, reimagined for a younger audience. The theatre also stages Pride and Prejudice in the year Jane Austen’s much-loved novel reaches its 200th anniversary.

Playwrights take over in the Open Court Festival, and if you like your theatre experimental, Punchdrunk – past masters in the art – present The Drowned Man at a secret location.

Benjamin Britten’s 100th anniversary celebrations continue with the English National Opera performing Death in Venice , with several concerts within the City of London Festival – the War Requiem at St Paul ‘s Cathedral stands out among them – and with Gloriana at the Royal Opera House where Verdi’s bicentenary is marked by a powerful production of Simon Boccanegra. In other opera news, the hotly anticipated London premiere of Philip Glass’s The Perfect American opens this month, and west London ‘s wonderful Opera Holland Park opens with a double bill directed by Lindsay Posner.

At Sadler’s Wells dance highlights include RIOT Offspring, The Forsythe Company, and the popular annual Sadler’s Sampled which returns for two weeks towards the end of the month. And for the traditionalists, the English National Ballet performing Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall will not disappoint.

Tate Britain dedicates a long overdue solo show to LS Lowry and presents two British painters, Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume, in parallel. The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto this year, are highlights of the summer arts calendar, supplemented by worthwhile exhibitions on Collecting Gauguin, The Discovery of Paris, and A Crisis of Brilliance which includes some of the most well-known British artists of twentieth century.

If you’re in the market to buy, head to prestigious art fairs Masterpiece London and Olympia International Fine Arts & Antiques, or – if the budget is more modest – the Affordable Art Fair and New Designers Exhibition. For those feeling the austerity pinch there are free exhibitions on Vermeer and Music at the National Gallery and the Illustration Awards at the V&A.

June also brings a host of summer fetes, fairs and free festivals including Open Garden Squares Weekend, Taste of London, the Kew Fete, The Monocle Country Fayre, More London Free Festival and, from 21st to 29th June, the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival – nine days of outdoor theatre, dance and street acts; most of it free.

The city-wide 15-day Shubbak Festival, backed by the Mayor of London, encompasses nine exhibitions – including the ICA ‘s Points of Departure – and 40 events including free family events and a series of Shubbak Festival Concerts at the Barbican.

Artist and activist Yoko Ono curates this year’s Meltdown Festival which includes performances from Siouxie, Iggy and the Stooges, Patti Smith and Peaches. Other musical highlights include Hampton Court Palace Festival – where Sir Cliff Richard and Jools Holland play – as well as concerts by Green Day, The Stone Roses, Kings of Leon, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Robbie Williams, and Canadian singer-songwriter Michael Bublé who starts a ten-night residency at London’s O2 on Sunday 30th June.

In sport, top international cricket teams gather for the ICC Champions Trophy with the opening rounds and first semi-final played out at the Oval where later in the month England play New Zealand in two T20 fixtures. Wimbledon is all well and good but earlier in the month there’s the AEGON Championships at the Queen’s Club. Also in leafy west London is Polo in the Park at the Hurlingham Club, three days of polo and Pimm’s, while Royal Ascot is more of a society than a sporting event.

At Westminster Abbey, where The Queen was crowned this month 60 years ago, there’s a special Coronation Jubilee Concert on Thursday 13th June while Trooping the Colour on Saturday 15th June marks The Queen’s official birthday – one of the few opportunities you’ll get to see the troops in full ceremonial gear.

For these and more must-see events in London beginning in June 2013, go toLondonTown.com where a host of useful information is supplied, giving those planning to visit the city all the information they need in one online location. With over 18 years of experience, the website is the place to go to for informative and unbiased reviews on everything you need to know about the UK ‘s capital city.

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The London Literature Festival celebrates the written word in all its forms at London’s Southbank Centre

The London Literature Festival begins at the Southbank Centre this month and runs from Monday 20th May to 5th June 2013 and for visitors travelling to London to see the likes of AC Grayling, William Dalrymple, Cerys Matthews and the largest ever gathering of world poets now is the time to book a London hotel to ensure you don’t miss out on these must-see events.

The festival launches with the Man Booker International Prize Readings and includes appearances from high profile speakers like actor and author Rupert Everett who, on Saturday 25th May 2013, talks about being Oscar Wilde, the nature of reputation and his best-selling memoirs, his highly-acclaimed bestseller, Red Carpet and Other Banana Skins, and his new memoir, Vanished Years.

Audrey Niffenegger, bestselling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, discusses her life as a writer and an artist and introduces her latest work, The Raven Girl, an illustrated fairy tale which receives its world premiere in London this month as a ballet for the Royal Opera House choreographed by Wayne McGregor. Raven Girl will be performed in a Mixed Programme with George Balanchine’s Symphony in C from 24th May until 8th June 2013 and tickets are still available.

Other high profile personalities appearing at the festival are presenter and writer Melvyn Bragg who launches his new novel, Grace and Mary, at London Literature Festival on Wednesday 22nd May, Tom Dixon who launches his new book, Dixonary, with an illustrated talk on Wednesday 29th May, and Tracey Thorn, one half of the band Everything but the Girl, who talks about her candid memoir Bedsit Disco Queen on Sunday 2nd June 2013.

There’s also a chance to see the six shortlisted authors for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (previously the Orange Prize), including Hilary Mantel, Barbara Kingsolver and Zadie Smith reading and discussing their work at Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 4th June 2013.

To find out more of the best events in London this summer go to LondonTown.com where a host of useful information is given including the latest listings for all types of events from opera and classical music to pop music and nightlife. With over 18 years of experience, the website is the place to go to for informative and unbiased reviews on everything you need to know about the UK ‘s capital city.

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Kenya ushers in their new president Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta on the 9th of April, 2013

The most anticipated election exercise and swearing in ceremony has been concluded in Kenya. Kenya ushers in a new President and Deputy President. In a rare appearance from other swearing in ceremonies the Excellencies and their spouses kneeled down in public to pray for guidance, direction and wisdom to govern the Republic of Kenya. This is indeed a landmark event that will go down in History being the first election under the new constitution holding 6 new elections at once.

In the words of the Deputy President Hon. William Ruto the tourism industry is supposed to be one that receives the highest number of tourism arrivals in the country comparing to the arrivals in the Malaysian country. The investors in the tourism industry endeavor to see significant growth in terms of economic and job creation opportunities.

The President of the republic of Kenya has vowed to fulfill his promises as per the manifesto of the Jubilee coalition by also creating an enabling environment for business. Also stating that those guilty of poaching and destruction of our natural resources are not welcome in the society as they are a d destructive blow to Kenya’s tourism . Those threatening the peace and security of Kenyan citizens will not be tolerated in the country as a matter of resolute. The president also stated that his government will support local enterprises by buying Kenyan and will support the regional trade and removal of all non-tariff barriers in the East African community to established total integration.

Celebrating 50 years of independent the new government will be scrutinized from every angle as work begins on the 9 th April, 2013, regardless of the political parties, urging all Kenyans to move forward together upholding the words of our national anthem build on building peace, service and brotherhood, aspire each day to the dignity from hard work spirit on anthem and constitution.

The Kenya National Anthem lyrics

Kiswahili

Ee Mungu nguvu yetu;Ilete baraka kwetu;Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi;Natukae na undugu
Amani na uhuru;Raha tupate na ustawi.

Amkeni ndugu zetu;Tufanye sote bidii;Nasi tujitoe kwa nguvu;Nchi yetu ya Kenya;Tunayoipenda;Tuwe tayari kuilinda

Natujenge taifa letu;Ee, ndio wajibu wetu;Kenya istahili heshima;Tuungane mikono
Pamoja kazini;Kila siku tuwe na shukrani

English

O God of all creation; Bless this our land and nation; Justice be our shield and defender; May we dwell in unity; Peace and liberty; Plenty be found within our borders.

Let one and all arise; With hearts both strong and true; Service be our earnest endeavour; And our homeland of Kenya; Heritage of splendor; Firm may we stand to defend.

Let all with one accord; In common bond united; Build this our nation together; And the glory of Kenya; The fruit of our labour; Fill every heart with thanksgiving.

The President Uhuru Muigai Kenya has told Kenyans to go back to work and the Kenyan people agree to the fact that it’s time to go back to work with a bang.

Tours and Safari Companies such as cruzeiro-safaris.com who have experience a setback in visitors flow due to the prolonged election period have to embark on the back to work scenario. They have brought with them vast experience in the tourism industry as positively reviewed by guest on trip advisor link.

Their safaris and tours packages range from city day trips/tours to long safaris and also accommodation to the self catering private and luxury lovers.

So anytime one can book and reserve for the high season without having to wait for the last minute due to disappointments. We reckon that there will be business booming during the months of June, July , August, September and October 2013 in Kenya. Tourist are also anticipated by the Kenya Tourist board and Ministry of Tourism to flow in large and massive numbers to Kenya and cruzeiro-safaris.com is ready and capable to serve the tourist and increase the number of reviews from the current to over 200,000 within a short span of time. How is this possible? Cruzeiro-safaris.com is embarking on making international contracts with travel agents to re-sell their product on a commission basis or affiliate and is believed that also the home-based travel agents will join in the program. One thing that one should know is that cruzeiro- safaris.com is a member of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) and is also bonded with membership no. 377, thus one is assured that there are in safe and capable hands.

The year is definitely starting well and hopes it ends well as well with the Kenyan residents also travelling during the December holidays of 2013. Unlike other years the year 2013 promises a bumper harvest in the coast beach of Kenya in terms of hotel accommodation. Some hotels are fully booked during the days of 22 nd Dec to 3 rd January, 2014. This is so encouraging and as usual the hotel rates almost double up but still people are able to pay to the cost of Kshs.35000 (USD435-Roe80.0) per double per night on half board, as compared to the normal rates of Kshs.15000(USD187-Roe80.0) per double per night on half board on normal days. The coast has other attractions as well such as the dolphin tracking tour, dinner at the floating restaurant, tamarind dhow dinner and other safaris going to Tsavo west and east and Amboseli.

Luxury link: http://www.cruzeiro-safaris.com/index.php/safari-twiga

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The National Trust is given a radical reworking

Often regarded as a rural-based charity for the older generation, The National Trust is being given a radical reworking to engage the capital and a younger audience with London’s built heritage, history and outdoor spaces. The 117-year-old charity actually launched in London and will be reminding visitors of this with the London Project, an eclectic programme of one-off events that will span arts, culture and the urban green environment. Visitors travelling from outside of the capital can find some great London hotel deals on LondonTown.com.

The London Project will commence on the 18th May with a partnership with Chelsea Fringe, the annual alternative garden festival. The programme includes the planting of 35 mature fruit trees in Chamberlain galvanised bin, creating Octavia’s Orchard at the Southbank Centre as part of the Festival of Neighbourhood;a night time Fox Watch walk in central London, a chance to track the capital’s nocturnal neighbours; an open performance on twitter,inviting writers to collaboratively create a chorus of tweets in the early hours of the morning; and Wild about London, a 24 hour event at Osterley Park welcomes specialists to share their knowledge on ancient trees, birds, bats and insects.

This will be followed by two nights of immersive film parties with Amy Grimehouse at Sutton House in Hackney and The Art of Dining’s latest pop up, which will take place across three London National Trust venues and combine art, theatre and fine dining. Further highlights include a festival of London beers and micro-breweries at Morden Hall Park, a croquet boules and garden games weekend with 200-year old games maker Jaques, and party masters The Last Tuesday Society hosting two events at Carlyle’s House.

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Musical heavyweights Muse play two nights at the Emirates Stadium

As part of their 2013 tour, Muse are set to take the stage at London’s Emirates Stadium for two nights this May. The musical heavyweights are renowned for their ambitious hybrids of rock, opera, classical and electronica, and now they’re set to bring this to the stage with what’s likely to be another epic tour. For anyone travelling from outside of London, a number of cheap hotels in London all in close proximity to the Emirates Stadium can be booked on LondonTown.com.

Released in 2012, the band’s single ‘Survival’, the first to be released from their sixth studio album ‘The 2nd Law’, became the official song for the London 2012 Olympic Games, and its dramatic and cinematic lyrics blasted out of speakers across London to gee on the athletes. However, with its humour and over-the-top madness, the single received mixed reviews. The album followed and offered a madcap fusion of progressive rock, strings, pop melodies and dubstep. Performing tracks from this album as well as their earlier hits, these live shows are likely to deliver the band’s trademark extravagant displays.

The Muse gigs, which take place on 25th and 26th May 2013, will be followed a week later by Green Day, who are also performing at the stadium and will be supported by All Time Low and the Kaiser Chiefs.

Stay informed on all the best music events happening in London through 2013 by downloading a free copy of London 2013: The Annual, a guide to all the top events, anniversaries, openings and experiences in the capital throughout this year.

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Rock and roll back the year’s with London’s golden oldies

They say that life begins at 40 – although some of the musical legends heading to London this summer obviously got the memo 20 years too late. With the likes of Chris de Burgh, Donnie and Marie and The Stranglers having all graced the London stage so far this year, several more blasts from the past are set to treat audiences to a trip down memory lane – starting with guitar guru Eric Clapton, who starts a five-night residency at the Royal Albert Hall this Friday (17th May 2013).

Blending numbers from his Yailbirds and Cream back catalogue with some of his recent blues and honky-tonk solo offerings, Clapton celebrates his 50th year as a professional musician with five nights at the prestigious venue, which he once described as “my front room”. There’s certainly no reason to cry about this journeyman dropping into the Royal Albert Hall this summer – and he’s not the only one.

Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler – alongside Clapton hailed as one of the greatest guitarists of all time – plays six special nights to promote his latest albumPrivateering from 27th May to 1st June; while the renowned genre-bending musician Elvis Costello picks up the baton with two nights with his band The Imposters for the continuation of their 13 Revolvers tour (4th & 5th June). Fans travelling into London to attend any of these classic concerts can book their accommodation through LondonTown.com, where there’s a wide range of Hotels in London for all kinds of budget.

The O2 Arena welcomes a number of timeless acts this summer too with New Wave synth-poppers Depeche Mode playing two nights on 28th and 29th May before the multi award-winning American singer Barbra Streisand, one of the most successful entertainers in modern entertainment history, plays back-to-back concerts on 1st and 3rd June. Later in the year at the former Millennium Dome, fans will be given the chance to see Fleetwood Mac on tour for the first time since 2009 with four consecutive nights (24th-27th September).

Marking 35 years since the release of their classic album Rumours , this much anticipated tour from the alternative blues pop-rockers will see original members Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass) joined by guitarist and singer Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks for what could be the musical event of the late summer. Before Fleetwood Mac, outdoor festival fans will hope there’s no need for a rain mac when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band headline alongside The Black Crows at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for Hard Rock Calling on 30th July. The Boss will also bring his heartland stadium rock to Wembley on 15th June, where he’ll no doubt don double denim while playing material from his latest hit album, Wrecking Ball.

Other acts from yesteryear to keep an eye out for this summer include the evergreen Sir Cliff Richard at Hampton Court (22nd June) and the Simply Red flame-haired soul singer Mick Hucknall at the Hammersmith Apollo on 28th June. All these gigs are featured on a special London’s Golden Oldies feature on LondonTown.com, the capital’s leading events website.

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Fresh 1800 Restaurant & Bar at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg, Chicago offers live music every Wednesday night

Fresh 1800 Restaurant & Bar at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg, Chicago announces the introduction of live music every Wednesday night by the Chicago-based vocal duo Frank & Dave. For the first time, guests can listen to live music as they sip their drinks in the bar area of Fresh 1800. This free music event is ongoing and takes place every Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm.

Frank & Dave have been performing their vocally driven, harmony rich music around the Chicago area since 2002. The duo performs a mix of their own guitar powered songs with classic rock favorites and current pop hits. Since forming over a decade ago, Frank & Dave have released three albums: Two for the Show (2002), One for the Money (2006), and their latest release of all original songs, Different Roads. Over the years, Frank & Dave have gained a faithful fan base, gigging as openers for bands such as the Australian rock band, Little River Band, and performing their well-crafted songs and covers at intimate clubs and venues across Chicago.

The Fresh casual lounge offers burgers and beer for guests to watch the latest game and small plates for those craving a late evening snack to pair with their cocktail. Fresh Bar’s live music sessions with Frank & Dave make Hyatt Regency Schaumburg, Chicago a destination every Wednesday night.

Fresh 1800 Restaurant & Bar creates French-inspired, seasonal cuisine using the freshest ingredients available in the Chicago area. The hotel’s signature restaurant offers a gourmet menu that includes seasonally inspired, hand crafted dishes that are enhanced by fresh herbs and vegetables from the property’s backyard garden. Guests can also visit Fresh Bar, a casual lounge located adjacent to the restaurant and relax with a signature cocktail or choose a bottle from the extensive wine list. Fresh Bar offers burgers, small plates, a selection of beers and large flat screen Tvs ideal for viewing sporting and major television events.

For more information about Fresh 1800 Restaurant & Bar and live music performances, call 847.517.6930 or visit http://schaumburg.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/Fresh1800.html.

 

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Lana Del Rey Returns to London this May for Two Live Shows

Following the popularity of her single Video Games on YouTube, Lana Del Rey became an overnight success and was one of the most talked about acts of 2012. Now, the American singer-songwriter is returning to London to perform two nights at the Hammersmith Apollo. For anyone who’s travelling to the concert from outside of the capital, a number of London Hotels are bookable through LondonTown.com.

After her launch into the spotlight, Lana went on to perform some spellbinding performances at last year’s summer festivals and won a number of awards: the Q Award for Best New Thing, GQ Award for Woman of the Year, an EMA for Best Alternative Act and a Brit Awards for International Breakthrough Act and International Pop Female Solo. While her studio album Born to Die sold more than 3.6 million copies worldwide, placing it at the fifth best-selling album of 2012.

Since then, Lana has begun working on her third studio album and has recently released thesingle Young and Beautiful, which is being used as the kick off single for BazLuhrmann’s 2013 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

Keep up to date with all the top events happening in London throughout 2013 with London 2013: The Annual, the best events, openings, anniversaries and experiences in the capital this year.

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