10 Things To Look Forward To In London In 2020

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 47 months ago

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10 Things To Look Forward To In London In 2020
The Geffrye Museum is due to reopen under a different name in August. Photo: Jane Lloyd

From buildings and infrastructure to cultural events and celebrations, here's what London's looking forward to in 2020.

Brent: London Borough of Culture (throughout 2020)

After Waltham Forest's tenure as the inaugural London Borough of Culture, the baton passes from east to west for Brent's turn in the spotlight.

Visit the Brent2020 website for full details of events taking place throughout the year — but we've picked some of the highlights, including an opening ceremony on 18 January.

The London Eye turns pink (February 2020)

Image: Shutterstock

You may have heard that the London Eye is rebranding... to PinkEye.

Alright, that's not its official new name (that'll most likely be the Lastminute.com London Eye, a name which absolutely nobody will use). But when the holiday booking site takes over and illuminates the attraction in its own shade of pink, it's what we'll all be thinking. We're getting itchy peepers already.

New Fourth Plinth installation (March 2020)

It's not every year that a new installation is unveiled on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth — though it sometimes feels like it.

The current resident, Michael Rakowitz's Iraq-inspired sculpture, is moving on in 2020 to be replaced by Heather Phillipson's The End. The sculpture is of a giant swirl of whipped cream topped with a cherry, itself topped with parasites, is designed to make the plinth look top-heavy, representing impending collapse.

Grace Jones curates Meltdown Festival (June 2020)

Following one heck of a programme overseen by Nile Rodgers this year, Southbank Centre announced that Grace Jones will curate Meltdown Festival 2020.

The programme is yet to be announced, but the singer-songwriter and musical icon will no doubt be putting her contacts book to good use to curate unique performances and one-off collaborations.

European Championship games at Wembley (June-July 2020)

All eyes are on Wembley over the summer as seven UEFA EURO 2020 matches are held at the stadium. including the semi finals and all-important final. A fluke of the draw means that England will play all three of their group stage games at home. The tournament decides the best of the best in Europe, and this year there's no one single host nation, with matches also held in Rome, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Bilbao. The full fixture list is available, and ticketing details can be seen here.

New Brentford FC stadium opens (August 2020)

Image: Brentford FC

After the delayed opening of London's last new football stadium, we're waiting with baited breath to see it Brentford FC's new home opens in a timely manner in August.

Brentford Community Stadium is less than a mile from the Championship club's current home, Griffin Park, and will be home to professional rugby team London Irish too. Griffin Park will be replaced by 75 new homes once the club moves out. It's yet to be seen what'll happen to the famous quartet of boozers at the stadium's corners.

Here's a look at how Brentford Community Stadium was shaping up in November 2019.

The Geffrye Museum reopens (summer 2020)

The Geffrye Museum will regenerate into the Museum of the Home. Image: Wright & Wright Architects LLP

...except it's not called the Geffrye Museum anymore. London's new Museum of the Home opens its doors in summer 2020, after the Geffrye closed for a three-year closure and £18m facelift.

It's still located in Grade I listed almshouse buildings, and the 'rooms through time' exhibition is still present. New additions include a learning pavilion and studio; a collections library, which allows the public to browse the archives; and a new entrance directly opposite Hoxton Overground station

The Embassy Gardens Sky Pool in Nine Elms (summer 2020)

Image: Embassy Gardens

Considering we'll never be allowed in it, we're rather excited to see the much-feted Sky Pool finally come to fruition. The architecturally-ambitious glass swimming pool — 25m long and completely transparent — is suspended between two residential buildings, 10 storeys above the ground.

It's in the new Embassy Gardens development in Nine Elms, and the pool is only open to residents of the development. We'll stick to the local leisure centre then, although will definitely drop by to ogle it from below once it's in situ — hopefully sometime in summer 2020.

New London food markets

The Market is due to open inside 22 Bishopsgate

London's new-found appetite for food markets isn't yet satiated it seems, as we're expecting more new arrivals in 2020:

The Market at 22 Bishopsgate (early 2020)

New skyscraper 22 Bishopsgate (we'll leave you to work out the location of that one) is due to open in 2020, and will include a foodie hub known simply as The Market. If you're imagining tucking into lunch with views over London, you can stop that right away, as The Market will be located on the second floor of the 278m-high tower. It'll also be reserved for people working in the building during the day, opening to the public at evenings and weekends. The 450-cover space will consist of a restaurant and terrace, wine bar, and regularly-changing street food style kiosks and pop-ups. Keep an eye on the 22 Bishopsgate website for further updates.

Eataly at 135 Bishopsgate (date TBC)

Looks like Bishopsgate is set to become a new foodie hub, as Eataly is due to open at 134 Bishopsgate some time in 2020. The 42,000 sq ft market, apparently the 'largest Italian marketplace in the world', will be spread across the ground and first floors with restaurants, bars, and even a cooking school. Buon appetito!

New Mercato Metropolitano sites

After the success of its Elephant & Castle site, Mercato Metropolitano recently opened a new Mayfair branch, inside a listed church. It's not stopping its expansion there, with Mercato Ilford scheduled to open in summer 2020, and a second south London site in Elephant Park sometime early in the year. Keep an eye on the Mercato Metropolitano website for further updates.

New London theatre shows in 2020

Praise be! Sister Act comes to the London stage

Here are a few of the new theatre shows we're looking forward to seeing:

  • David Mitchell makes his stage debut in Upstart Crow in February, taking on the role of William Shakespeare in a show based on the TV comedy of the same name.
  • Beloved Hollywood romance Pretty Woman has been turned into a musical, opening at the Piccadilly Theatre in March.
  • Heartthrob for the woke generation, Timothée Chalamet, makes his London stage debut at the Old Vic in the Pulitzer Prize winning 4000 Miles. Opens 6 April.
  • May 2020 sees the London opening of To Kill A Mockingbird, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of Harper Lee's novel. The play had a turbulent start, with the stage adaptation initially under threat of litigation from Lee's estate due to its portrayal of Atticus Finch, but it's since been rewritten, and is winging its way to the Gielgud Theatre.
  • Sister Act runs for a month in summer 2020, with Whoopi Goldberg reprising her role as Deloris Van Cartier. Jennifer Saunders also stars. Praise be!
  • Let it go! Hit Disney animation Frozen comes to the London stage in the form of a musical in autumn 2020, following a successful Broadway run.

Other big London anniversaries in 2020 — you may see events going on to commemorate these events, although nothing's been announced yet:

  • 27 March will be 75 years since the last V-2 rocket attack in England. It landed in Orpington, with one fatality.
  • 10 July is the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Alexandra Palace fire, burning parts of the building to the ground and closing it for eight years.
  • August 2020 marks 400 years since The Mayflower ship left Rotherhithe, stopping briefly along the South Coast before setting sail for America. Celebratory events are planned, but none announced for London yet.
  • 1 August is 150 years since the Tower Subway opened to the public. A tunnel was built to allow people to cross the river before Tower Bridge was opened. At first a narrow gauge railway conveyed passengers, and it later operated as a foot tunnel. It's now used for water mains.
  • 3 August marks 100 years since the Wood Lane-Ealing Broadway section of the Central line opened.
  • 2020 is also 80 years since the capital and much of the country was under attack from air raids, so there may be special events commemorating the lives lost and damage done.

Last Updated 17 December 2019