53 Action-Packed Things To Do In London In April 2023

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 8 months ago

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53 Action-Packed Things To Do In London In April 2023
Things to do in London in April: people sitting at picnic tables in the sunshine at Roof East
Roof East reopens from 20 April. Photo: Owen B Photography

NOW PLAY THIS: Tying in with the ongoing London Games Festival, Somerset House hosts Now Play This 2023, a festival of experimental games featuring interactive exhibitions, live shows, and plenty of chances to test drive some of those games. 1-9 April

EASTER HOLIDAYS: The first two weeks of April are the Easter holidays for the majority of London schools. If you've got children or teenagers to entertain, take a look at our Easter holidays events guide — we've covered shows, exhibitions and one-off events, as well as some free things to do. 1-16 April

BANK HOLIDAY WEEKENDS: Easter takes place mid-April, and the first May bank holiday weekend follows not long after. Make the most of them with our guide to spending a bank holiday weekend in London — we've got you covered, come rain or shine, whether you want culture, the great outdoors, or fantastic day trips.

PRINT FAIR: Print dealers and publishers from around the world gather at Somerset House for the 38th London Original Print Fair. Works by new artists are for sale alongside those by more established artists, with pieces by Picasso, Matisse and Tracey Emin all on display. Until 2 April

Things to do in London in April: a squirrel monkey in a tree at London Zoo, surrounded by colourful Easter eggs
London Zoo hosts a Zoonornomous Egg Hunt, one of our picks for things to do in the Easter holidays.

LITTLE AMAL: Oversized puppet Little Amal leads an interfaith celebration for Londoners, as Easter, Passover and Ramadan coincide. Catch her at JW3 in North Finchley for Passover storytelling, a Christian celebration featuring gospel choirs and steel pans in South Hampstead, and a Ramadan lantern parade and Iftar event in King's Cross. FREE, 2 April

JUNGLE BOOK REIMAGINED: Akram Khan's new dance-theatre production Jungle Book reimagined opens at Sadler's Wells. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s classic book, it's a reinvention of Mowgli's journey through the eyes of a climate refugee, featuring an original score, 10 international dancers and state-of-the-art animation and visuals. 4-15 April

JOHN LEGEND: American singer-songwriter John Legend is at the Royal Albert Hall for two concerts, following the release of his new solo piano album. 5-6 April

Things to do in London in April: Little Amal puppet walking across the Millennium Bridge in front of St Paul's Cathedral, surrounded by colourful flags and banners
Little Amal is back in London for an interfaith celebration. © David Levene and The Walk Productions

WAGATHA THE PLAY: It's... Rebekah Vardy. Well, not the real one, but a dramatisation of the 'Wagatha Christie' trial between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney opens at Ambassadors Theatre. Find out what happened behind closed doors at the libel case about who'd been leaking information from Rooney's private Instagram account. 6 April-20 May

ALADDIN SANE: Southbank Centre marks 50 years since the release of David Bowie's album Aladdin Sane with a series of events centring around a special exhibition, which explores the creation of the album’s iconic artwork, including the legendary lightning flash portrait by photographer Brian Duffy. 6 April-28 May

NEW FOOD MARKET: Street food restaurant brand Market Place already has venues in Vauxhall, Peckham and Hounslow, and its latest site in Harrow opens on 6 April. Head to 80-84 St Ann's Road for food from Bread Ahead Bakery, Indo-Chinese brand Pepper Spice, Japanese street food brand Little Tokyo, masala bar Chaii & Spice, South American meat specialists Argentinian Grill, and authentic Turkish brand Farm House Kebabs. Opens 6 April

Things to do in London this week: dancers performing in Jungle Book reimagined at Sadler's Wells
Jungle Book reimagined opens at Sadler's Wells

DRAG RACE: The Haters Roast at Eventim Apollo Hammersmith is a a drag comedy spectacular hosted by The Vivienne, winner of RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 1. It features nine RuPaul's Drag Race stars from across the UK, the US and Canada including Trinity the Tuck, New York City queen Miz Cracker and the infamously disqualified Willam. 7 April

MESSIAH ON GOOD FRIDAY: For the 147th time, the Royal Choral Society performs Handel's Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall on Good Friday — a tradition that's only ever been interrupted by the Blitz and Covid. 150 singers are conducted by the choir's music director Richard Cooke, and accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a quartet of soloists. 7 April

PASSION OF JESUS: Every Good Friday, Trafalgar Square is packed out with thousands of people gathering to watch The Passion of Jesus, a free retelling of the Easter story, with 100 actors taking part. Everyone's welcome, but it involves — spoiler — a crucifixion scene so may not be suitable for younger kiddies. FREE, 7 April

WIDOW'S BUN CEREMONY: One of London's oddest traditions take place on Good Friday every year. Head to The Widow's Son pub in Bow, to watch the Widow's Bun Ceremony. A hot cross bun, with the year baked into to the top, is hung from the ceiling, to honour a widow who apparently used to continue baking them for her son, even years after he stopped returning home and was presumed dead. FREE, 7 April

Things to do in London in April: actresses playing Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy in The Wagatha Christie Trial. The stage is designed to look like a football pitch, with green grass with white lines on the floor
The Wagatha Christie Trial comes to the West End Stage.

AI WEIWEI: If you've been to the Design Museum in the last couple of weeks, you'll have seen the recreation of Monet's Water Lillies made entirely from Lego. That's a precursor to the new exhibition, Ai Weiwei: Making Sense, which brings together several of the Chinese artist's works as a commentary on design. 7 April-30 July

BRICK LANE JAZZ FESTIVAL: The Brick Lane Jazz Festival returns for a weekend of live music. Headline acts include Indian-raised, London-based performer Sarathy Korwar, and south London pianist and composer Ashley Henry. You can buy day or weekend passes to all shows at the Old Truman Brewery, with tickets to Village Underground shows sold separately. 14-16 April

IN THE ROUND: The seventh incarnation of In The Round Festival takes place at Camden Roundhouse, giving fans a chance to experience music performed live on the venue's circular stage. Gambian multi-instrumentalist Sona Jobarteh, singer-songwriter Cam, and American soul singer Leroy Huston are all on this year's programme. 14-25 April

WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS: One of the highlights of the London photography calendar is the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House. See the shortlisted photos — 415,000 images from over 200 countries — as well as new additions for 2023 including a space dedicated to recent works by Australian photographer Adam Ferguson, who won the 2022 Photographer of the Year for his series Migrantes, and a spotlight on the winning series of the new Sustainability Prize. 14 April-1 May

CLASSIC CAR BOOT SALE: Pre-1990 vehicles including cars, campervans, hot rods, scooters, caravans, motorbikes and custom bicycles park up in King's Cross for the Classic Car Boot Sale, for a weekend of shopping, eating and dancing. Browse and buy vintage clothing and homewares from the Charity Super.Mkt, and visit the Repair Shop for advice on caring for your vintage garments. 15-16 April

Things to do in London in April: The classic Aladdin Sane album cover - a photo of David Bowie with his eyes closed, and a lightning strike painted across his face
Southbank Centre marks 50 years of Aladdin Sane. Photo Duffy © Duffy Archive & The David Bowie ArchiveTM

PETROL HEADONISM: It's a good weekend for car fans, as in addition to the above, Petrol Headonism Underground takes place in Wembley's underground car parks. With retro, classic and modified vehicles, hypercars, supercars and bikes on display, it brings together car enthusiasts for the first in a series of new events. 15-16 April

LONDON BOOK FAIR: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is the keynote speaker at this year's London Book Fair, in conversation with Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. Elsewhere at the publishing industry event, catch author Kate Mosse in conversation with Louise Minchin, the International Booker Prize shortlist announcement, and panel discussions around ChatGPT, sustainability, TikTok, and more. 18-20 April

SALON PRIVÉ: Into cars? This month really is the gift that keeps on giving. Salon Privé pulls into the Royal Hospital Chelsea for three days, showcasing sets of wheels that you almost definitely can't afford. Still, it's a good chance to ogle the latest models from Aston Martin, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and the like, many of which get their UK debut at the show. Classic cars are on show at the Concours de Vente. 20-22 April

LONDON COFFEE FESTIVAL: Get your fill of caffeine and then some, at the London Coffee Festival, a four-day programme of tastings, demos, competitions, shopping and more at The Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. 20-23 April

Things to do in London in April:  two actors in blue robes performing in The Passion of Jesus in front of a crowd in Trafalgar Square
The Passion of Jesus plays out in Trafalgar Square on Good Friday. Photo: Wintershall

SICILY FEST: Food and drink from the Italian region of Sicily are centre stage at SicilyFest, a four-day event at the Business Design Centre. Browse and buy pasta, sauces, jams, cakes, desserts and wine, and learn how to put them to good use with live chef masterclasses. 20-23 April

BLUE: Opening at the London Coliseum is Blue, an opera about an African-American family where the father’s job as a policeman clashes with his activist son’s notions of equality and justice. It's performed by the English National Opera. 20 April-4 May

ROOF EAST: Stratford's 'adult playground' Roof East reopens its doors for the summer season, offering bars and street food vendors, games including Birdies Crazy Golf and Sluggers batting cages, and a rooftop open-air cinema, all offering views over east London and beyond. From 20 April

MIDNIGHT APOTHECARY: London's botanical cocktail bar in a roof garden, The Midnight Apothecary, also reopens for the summer season. It's the work of Lottie Muir, who grows some of the ingredients for the cocktails in the garden, and is located at the Brunel Museum — your ticket includes an underground tour of Brunel's Grand Entrance Hall to the Thames Tunnel. From 21 April

OLD OPERATING THEATRE: Following a closure to allow for its skylight to be replaced, the Old Operating Theatre Museum in London Bridge reopens to the public — and to celebrate, there's free entry on opening day. The museum also launches a new exhibition, Every Body Has A Medical History, featuring 20 original artworks from local artists, displayed among the Museum's historical collection. Reopens 21 April

Things to do in London in April: Ai Weiwei gesturing in front of the Design Museum, where he has a new exhibition
Activist and artist Ai Weiwei opens a new exhibition. Image: Ai Weiwei at the Design Museum, September 2022. © Rick Pushinsky for the Design Museum

THE BIG ONE: A reminder that environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion has a huge ongoing 'action' planned, taking place outside the Houses of Parliament from 21 April. It will be a "nonviolent, direct action" with people sitting peacefully outside Parliament, hoping to apply pressure to those working inside who have the power to implement change. From 21 April

THE CYCLE SHOW: Head to Alexandra Palace for The Cycle Show, a three-day extravaganza of all things cycling. Bike and cycling equipment brands will be showcasing their latest products, with demo tracks and skill sessions to take part in, and talks by big names from the two-wheeling industry. 21-23 April

ANIMALS: The British Library opens a new exhibition, Animals: Art, Science and Sound, which looks at how the animal world has been documented through the ages. Sound recordings, manuscripts and artworks all feature to tell stories, including the first scientific description of a duck-billed platypus, which was so bizarre it was thought it must be a hoax. 21 April-28 August

VAISKHI FESTIVAL: Vaisakhi — the Sikh and Punjabi cultural festival — takes place on 14 April this year, but London's main celebration returns to Trafalgar Square the following week. The free festival features live entertainment and performances, martial arts demonstrations, a showcase of Sikh art, plus food and drink stalls. FREE, 22 April

GARDEN OPEN DAY: Chelsea Physic Garden hosts a Spring Open Day, with stalls selling plants and homewares, and gardening demonstrations throughout the day. Normally there's an admission charge for the gardens, but for one day only, it's free. FREE, 22 April

Things to do in London in April: classic cars parked up in a row on a field in front of white marquees at Salon Prive
Salon Privé roars into Chelsea

MARYLEBONE FOOD FESTIVAL: Good news for London's foodies: Marylebone Food Festival is back, featuring masterclasses, tasting menus, supper clubs and tours — all celebrating the area's food and drink businesses. Taste your way through coffee, chocolate, gin, tequila and mezcal, tour a farmers market, or learn how to decorate cakes or whip up a Sunday lunch. 25-30 April

ST GEORGE'S DAY: 23 April is St George's Day, a celebration of the patron saint of England (plus Catalonia, Ethiopia, and various other regions). London's free St George's Day Festival takes place in Trafalgar Square with live music and performers, family activities, and food and drink. FREE, 23 April

AUGUST IN ENGLAND: Lenny Henry makes his playwriting debut — and also performs — in August in England, which focuses on lives affected by the Windrush Scandal. It's the story of August Henderson, who faces the prospect of deportation back to a country he has no memory of living in. See it at Bush Theatre. 28 April-10 June

EID IN THE SQUARE: Trafalgar Square's earning its keep this month. In addition to Vaisakhi, St George's Day celebrations, and The Passion of Jesus (all above), it's the settong for Eid in the Square, London's official Eid celebration to mark the end of Ramadan for the Muslim community. FREE, 29 April

Things to do in London in April: Roof East rooftop bar illuminated with colourful lights at dusk, with other Stratford skyscrapers visible in the background
Roof East opens for another season. Image: Owen B Photography

HISTORY FEST: Rupert Everett and Lucy Worsley are two of the guest speakers at HistFest 2023, a weekend of history talks at the British Library. Topics range from Oscar Wilde to Indigenous Americans to Agatha Christie. 29-30 April

CANALWAY CAVALCADE: If you go down to the canal over the May Day bank holiday, you're in for a big surprise. Dozens of canal boats moor up in Little Venice for the Canalway Cavalcade, a vibrant festival with live music, children's activities and boat-based fun. FREE, 29 April-1 May

HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS: American exhibition basketball team the Harlem Globetrotters bounce their way into The O2 for a lively showcase of basketball skills, including plenty of jump shots, slam dunks and half-court hook shots. 30 April

WEST END DOES HOLLYWOOD: End your month on a lively note with West End Does: Hollywood at Cadogan Hall. Pretty much does what it says on the tin: performers from the West End stage (Come From Away, Six, Jesus Christ Superstar) tackling tunes from Hollywood films. 30 April

Things to do in London in April: an Extinction Rebellion banner hanging from Westminster Bridge reading '21 April Unite To Survive' with the Houses of Parliament in the background
The Big One is coming. Image: Extinction Rebellion

CHERRY BLOSSOM: The capital's cherry blossoms are just about still in flower as we enter April. Check out our guide to where to see these candy floss-esque trees in London, and flood your Instagram feed with pink.

BLUEBELLS: Out with the pink and in with the blue. The lilac hues usually crank up a notch towards the end of April and into May, as bluebell season takes hold. Here are the best places to find bluebells in and around London.

Last chance to see

Things to do in London in April: a recreation of the Tyburn Tree at Museum of London Docklands' Executions exhibition
Last chance to see Executions at Museum of London Docklands

A few things are closing this month too. It's your last chance to see:

TREASON: The National Archives' current exhibition is Treason: People, Power & Plot. The free display is a history of treason from 1352 to the present day, covering well-known (Guy Fawkes) and more obscure cases, the people involved, and the punishments dished out. FREE, until 6 April

MACBETH: Final chance to see the current production of Macbeth at Southwark Playhouse in Borough. Physical theatre company Flabbergast use live music to bring Shakespeare's bloodthirsty tale to life. Until 8 April

HISPANIC ART: Time's running out to see the Royal Academy's current headline exhibition, Spain and the Hispanic World, which explores the art and culture of the Hispanic world from ancient times to the early 20th century. Sculptures, paintings, silk textiles, ceramics, silverwork, precious jewellery, maps, drawings and more all feature, including masterpieces by Goya and Velázquez. Until 10 April

ASMR: Another exhibition closing this month is Weird Sensation Feels Good: The World Of ASMR at Design Museum. It explores ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), a physical sensation of euphoria or deep calm, sometimes a tingling in the body, triggered through sound, touch, and movement. Until 10 April

AFRICA FASHION: The V&A's Africa Fashion exhibition displays more than 250 objects by 45 designers from more than 20 countries, celebrating the talent and diversity of Africa's fashion industry from the mid-20th century to today. Sketches, photographs, film and catwalk footage all feature, alongside plenty of outfits. Until 16 April

Things to do in London in April: a maze created from blue UK road signs in a spiral, in the courtyard at Somerset House
Whorled by Jitish Kallat on display at Somerset House, London © David Parry, PA

EXECUTIONS: The thought-provoking Executions at Museum of London Docklands ends this month too. It offers a sensitive but fascinating look back at the history of capital punishment in London, including an affecting replica of the Tyburn Tree. Until 16 April

CHINESE AND BRITISH: British Library hosts a free exhibition about the culture of British Chinese communities. Chinese and British uses photos, interviews and manuscripts to explore what it means to be both Chinese and British. FREE, until 23 April

WHORLED: The courtyard at Somerset House has been taken over be a giant maze of road signs. It's an art installation, Whorled (Here After Here After Here) by Jitish Kallat, and consists of 336m of UK road signs, some pointing to legitimate destinations, and others to locations beyond our planet in the distant universe. FREE, until 23 April

POLISH FILM FESTIVAL: Now in its 21st year, the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival is back at venues across London, showcasing the best new and classic Polish films. The programme spans comedies, documentaries, and dramas, as well as classics. Until 27 April

BERLUSCONI: Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is the unexpected subject of a musical at Southwark Playhouse. Berlusconi tells the outlandish story of the morally dubious politician through the eyes of three women who want to share their side of the story. Until 29 April

Last Updated 28 April 2023

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