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Are you looking for the coolest culture in London? Here are a few of the best and most popular museums, art galleries, music venues, festivals and more.2019 June 12
Are you looking for the coolest culture in London? Here are a few of the best and most popular museums, art galleries, music venues, festivals, opera performances, theatre performances, historic places and more, all not to be missed. Take your pick and enjoy some of the best music in London, concerts, food and lots more.
A whopper of avenue seating more than five thousand people, the Royal Albert Hall was built in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth's beloved Albert. A beautiful and highly unusual building in its own right, it hosts excellent classical concerts and live music in London including The Proms, gigs, and all sorts of events, everything from storytelling for little kids to bands like Supertramp and massive stars like Mariah Carey. There’s matinees, classic album Sundays, late-night jazz and more to enjoy - such a broad variety!
Head for East Molesley to discover the wonders of lovely Hampton Court Palace, a royal palace in the borough of Richmond upon Thames, just 12 miles south west of central London. It dates back to the year 1515, built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey by King Henry 8th. The Hampton Court Palace Maze is the UK's oldest surviving hedge maze. This is a great place for concerts and music festivals, food festivals, various garden events, the Luna Cinema, Tudor cookery, interactive story adventures for the kids and loads more.
You don't have to 'understand' modern art to enjoy it. Just float along to Tate Modern and soak it all up – this is home to some of the finest recent artworks in the world, everything from a glorious collection of mid-20th century paintings to state-of-the-art modern sculpture. In fact, the Tate Modern is home to the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day plus brilliant international contemporary art. And that makes it one of the biggest and best museums of modern art in the world. The Saatchi gallery of modern art is also totally amazing, a rip-roaring ride through some of the oddest, most eccentric and unusual contemporary art in the world.
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, often called Kew Gardens, is an internationally respected botanical research and education institution. But it's mostly known for its extraordinary plant life, the most remarkable collection of living green stuff you can imagine. You're free to roam, and they also put on all manner of fascinating talks and events for people of every age.
The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden has something for everyone, even if you're not into opera music itself. As well as a series of fabulous shows by dazzling composers they're open from 10am daily with a menu of amazing performances, food and drink, and interactive fun. It also happens to be a really lovely place to just chill for a while, right in the bustling heart of Covent Garden.
Take to the streets every August for the world-renowned two-day Notting Hill Carnival, a popular tourist attraction since 1966 and loved by locals too. Two million people visit every year, looked after by 40,000 volunteers and 9,000 police. It’s huge! You'll enjoy the best live reggae in town, drummers, dancers, floats, fantastic food stalls, friendly pubs and bars, pop-up fun and of course top class people-watching. It's exotic, it's vibrant, it's unmissable.
Alexandra Palace is a beautiful entertainment and sports venue. You'll find it between Muswell Hill and Wood Green in the Borough of Haringey, and there's a host of cool things to do and see there. First opened as The People's Palace in 1873, Alexandra Palace was the Victorians’ favourite environment and recreation centre. There's a theatre, ice rink, park, bar and kitchen, skate park, boating lake and farmer's market plus the Little Dinosaurs attraction for kids and the Go Ape high rope adventure for thrill-seekers of every age.
Love to paint? The National Portrait Gallery will delight you - will you ever be able to paint that well? If you can’t paint at all, it’s still remarkable. The gallery contains some of the world's best-loved portraits of the famous, infamous and unknown, by great artists as diverse as David Hockney, Thomas Gainsborough and Leonardo Da Vinci. You can easily spend all day there, or just pop in and out to see your favourites. They also hold a series of exciting events and exhibitions, including the annual BP Portrait Award.
The British Museum is in Bloomsbury. It's dedicated to revealing the best of human history, art and culture, with a vast permanent collection including more than eight million items. And that makes it among the biggest collections in existence anywhere on the planet. They hold a number of special free exhibitions and displays every year, for example, shows featuring the work of a particularly good artist or a particular style of art. They've even held a show about Japanese Manga art, about as contemporary as it gets.
There's much more to admire at the Barbican than brilliant Brutalist architecture. The Centre puts on classical and contemporary live music, theatre, movies, talks, workshops and art exhibitions as well as offering a library, three restaurants, and a conservatory. They also do tours of the centre, which are seriously interesting!
If you want to test-drive some of the capital's most expensive food, you might like to have a go at a 'tasting menu' at a top eatery. Push the boat out in the most luxurious way at the Michelin starred The Araki, for example, at a cost of £600 for two people and 11 courses. There's more – eat expensively at Ukmu, Alain Duchesse at The Dorchester, or Marcus at The Berkeley.
For those of you on a budget, there's some truly great cheap food in town at places like Butchies in Shoreditch, whose fried chicken is a legend in its own lifetime, or Soho Joe in (you guessed it!) Soho, home of epic pizza. You can enjoy East and South Asian treats at Yamagoya in Southwark, Daebak in Vauxhall and Murger Han in Euston, all highly recommended by Time Out.
Visit the capital's fourth most-visited museum, dedicated to the natural world's past, present and future.
The Imperial War Museum London is part of a collection of five Imperial War Museums and historic sites in the UK exhibiting on war and conflict.