10 reasons to visit london
10 reasons to visit london
10 Reasons To Visit London in February

10 Reasons to Visit London in February

 

London is a year round city and whatever time you choose to visit, there is always something exciting going on in one corner or other of this cultural haven. You don’t need an excuse, but here are our top 10 picks for reasons to visit our wonderful capital in February:

 

1.) Chinese New Year  

This year brings the Year of the Monkey and London is said to boast the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia! Chinese New Year is part of the lunar calendar and there are traditionally 7 days of celebrations, starting on New Year’s Eve (Sunday 7th February).  The dates vary each year but always fall between the end of January and beginning of February.

In Chinese astrology, each year is associated with one of 12 animals and an element. 2016 brings the year of the Fire Monkey.  Monkeys were born in the following years – 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004.

Every year, thousands of people descend on London’s West End to take part in the celebrations and experience Chinese cuisine in one of the many Chinese restaurants that are sure to have special menus for the day. A parade of 10 lions kick start the celebrations with a spectacular dance in Trafalgar Square then making their way through the West End and on into China Town. The sights, smells and tastes are not to be missed!

Celebrations start at 10am on Sunday 14th February – Trafalgar Square & China Town.  Fireworks at 5:20pm Trafalgar Square

 

2.) Valentine’s Day 

The annual celebratory day for lovers – with so many romantic sights and experiences in London, why not treat yourself and the one you love to a special weekend getaway?! What could be more romantic than gazing up at the stars at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, perhaps an afternoon of poetry read by the Keats House Poetry Ambassadors at Keats House in Hampstead or how about a night of Brazilian themed romance at Valentine’s Late at Kew Gardens? If none of those take your fancy, what could be more spectacular than a night spent at View from the Shard and sipping bubbles whilst looking at the mesmerising view of the glittering London skyline? If you’re staying for the weekend, cease the opportunity to catch a show and Chinese New Year coincides the same weekend so you to have the perfect excuse for a Chinese meal and stroll around China Town and the West End shops.

Sunday 14th February 

 

3.) Imagine Children’s Festival 

A special festival for children during the half term break celebrating the centenary of Road Dahl’s birth. Events run daily from 10:30am – 4pm and include children’s theatre, literature and music with workshops and free activities galore for children up to 12 years old.

Wednesday 10th – Sunday 21st February, Southbank Centre

 

4.) Pancake Day 

Also known as Shrove Tuesday, it’s the day before Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent. Traditionally, pancake day was a great way to use up any remaining indulgent ingredients like eggs, milk and butter in the kitchen before the 40 days of fasting leading up to Easter. Other international celebrations on this day include the Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the final day of Carnival in Brasil.

Instead of flipping pancakes at home, why not visit London and head to one of its many pancake restaurants for a special treat?! My Old Dutch (Holborn, Kensington and Chelsea) serves an array of sweet and savoury pancakes – there’s a flavour to tickle every fancy! Crème de la crepe also serves up a delicious assortment and wholesome smoothies on the side, located in the heart of Covent Garden in the Piazza.

If you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, why not take part in a pancake race?! Grab your pancake and frying pan together with 3 friends and enter the race at Spitalfields – all funds go to Air Ambulance. Did I mention that it’s fancy dress with prizes involved and all participants get a free pancake! If you don’t fancy taking part but would like to watch there are various locations around the city including the Better Bankside charity race, the Flipping Marvellous London Bridge City pancake race and the Rehab Parliamentary pancake race. In the latter you can see politicians, MPs and members of the media pushing each other aside in order to be crowed the Best Tossers! The long established race is in its 19th year and raises money and awareness for disabled people through the charity Rehab Group.

Tuesday 9th February

 

5.) Grimaldi Service 

In a tradition since 1946, every year on the first Sunday in February dozens of clowns gather for a service to remember Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837). The original and King of English clowns famously lived a stone’s throw away from us in Exmouth Market where an English Heritage Blue Plaque marks the sight.

As many as 60 Clowns in full costume create a sea of colour alongside members of the press and the public as they pack out the church for this most peculiar service. If you want a seat, it’s best to arrive early.  Clowns usually perform for the public after the service so bring your kids along with you!

3-5pm Sunday 7th February, All Saints Church Haggerston 

 

6.) Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age exhibition at the Science Museum

For the space lover among you, this is a must see exhibition showcasing the most significant collection of Russian spacecraft and artefacts ever to be shown in the UK.  In 1957 it was Russia who launched the world’s first artificial satellite – Sputnik – into space. This was followed 4 years later by the first ever human – Yuri Gagarin. This exhibition reveals the life changing story of how Russia made the dream of space travel into a reality.

Exhibition includes memorabilia, a collection of gadgets, capsules and a Lunar Lander. Simply not to be missed!

Until 13th March 2016

 

7.) London Fashion Weekend

Get a taste of London Fashion Week at this four-day showcase where the Saatchi Gallery is transformed into fashion’s biggest pop up! The event includes catwalk shows, expert panel talks, pop-up shops, hair and beauty products and the chance to shop designer collections.

25th – 28th February Saatchi Gallery 

 

8.) Cirque du Soleil

The Canadian born modern circus show is in its forth decade and returns this year to London with a stunning new show not yet seen in the UK – Amaluna. A wonderful display of acrobatic romance and hypnotic music directed by the Tony Award winning director Diane Paulus.

Caio and I saw it a few weeks ago and it is simply spectacular as it its setting in the Royal Albert Hall, one of London’s finest performance venues.

Until 6th March, Royal Albert Hall

 

9.) Craft Beer rising – Truman Brewery

The UKs biggest craft beer festival comes to London’s East End with a weekend of beer, cider, music and street food! 2016 will see more than 150 UK and international brewers exhibiting plus a room dedicated just to cider. With over 600 beers and ciders to taste you can drink your way through the different flavours whilst listening to great live tunes and nibbling on a plethora of food options. For the foodies among you, this is a must stop destination!

26-27th February, The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane 

 

10.) Theatreland 

You never really need an excuse to go to visit London’s West End Theatreland and with so many shows for all tastes, you will never see them all !

If visiting with children, The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre is a big hit with sights and sounds of the African pridelands and a young lion cubs journey to become its king. Or you could make a historical stop at Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap at the St Martin’s Theatre, the longest running stage show in London approaching its 60th Diamond Anniversary year!

If neither of those hit the spot there’s the quirky Woman in Black which will have you quivering in your boots (avoid sitting at the front if you jump easily!), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will bring back memories of your childhood and a classic tale or the comical Book of Mormon which will have you laughing out loud!

Don’t forget, there are a number of small independent theatres and productions on so there really is something for everyone. The National Theatre on the Southbank has excellent plays on for short stints and could perfectly be combined with a riverside dinner or flight up the London Eye!

 

Whether for a romantic weekend getaway, a night on the town with the girls or a family trip for half term, London has something to offer everyone and we look forward to seeing you here soon! Feel free to have a look around our beautiful properties. Book your February stay with us now and receive a special discount – call us on 02033977767 and quote the code FEBTIPS to receive your discounted rate and free gift!

 

Louise Carr-Merino
Co-Founder, Merino Hospitality

 

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