51 Fantastic Things To Do In London This Month: February 2023

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51 Fantastic Things To Do In London This Month: February 2023
An artwork depicting a train carriage spray painted with images of Campbell's tinned soup
Beyond The Streets London opens at Saatchi Gallery this month. Image: Fab 5 Freddy

At time of writing, national train strikes are planned for 1 and 3 February, and Bakerloo line strikes are planned for 4 and 11 February — something to keep in mind when planning your month.

LGBT+ HISTORY MONTH: February is LGBT+ History Month, with a wealth of events going down all over the country to mark the occasion. From theatre shows to tours, find out what's on in London.

ICA 75TH ANNIVERSARY: The ICA throws a big party to celebrate its 75th anniversary. P-R-E-S-E-N-T brings together seven experimental artists to create a hybrid audio-visual experience across music, performance and moving image. 1 February

STRICTLY LIVE TOUR: If you were glued to the latest series of Strictly when it was on TV, catch the live show as the Strictly Come Dancing tour comes to The O2. Past contestants including Will Mellor, Ellie Simmonds and Tyler West are strutting their stuff. 3-5 February

PICCADILLY PIANO FESTIVAL: Jools Holland, John Grant and Nadine Benjamin are among artists tickling the ivories at St James's Piccadilly for Piccadilly Piano Festival. New and established musicians are on the bill, making use of the venue's Fazioli grand piano for classical, jazz, electronic and pop performances. 3-23 February

UKRAINE PHOTOS: The Imperial War Museum opens a moving new exhibition, Ukraine: Photographs From The Frontline, featuring photos documenting life in the troubled country since Russian forces annexed Crimea in 2014, taken by English/Swedish photojournalist Anastasia Taylor-Lind. FREE, 3 February-8 May

A gardener on a stepladder tends to a display of orchids overhead
Orchids is back at Kew. ©RBG Kew

KEW ORCHIDS FESTIVAL: You know spring is on its way when the Orchids festival returns to Kew Gardens. This year is Cameroon's turn in the spotlight; the country is home to some of the world’s most delicate and threatened orchids — some so rare their locations must be kept secret for their protection, so being able to see them at Kew is a real treat. They're accompanied by horticultural sculptures of Cameroonian wildlife, including giraffes, hippos and gorillas. The trippy exhibition When Flowers Dream is still on at Kew, and also included in your ticket price, so you can make a day of it. 4 February-5 March

SIX NATIONS: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy go head-to-head once again in the Six Nations rugby tournament. Whoever you're cheering on, here's where you can watch Six Nations in London. 4 February-18 March

KIDS' LIT FEST: Head to Herne Hill for a children's literature festival celebrating poetry, performance, writing and illustration. Poet Paul Lyalls, author Patrice Lawrence, and author and illustrator Frann Preston-Gannon are among those leading workshops and events for different ages. Until 5 February

CLOWN CHURCH SERVICE: Forget clowns in a Mini — this is a chance to see how many of them you can pack into a church. After two years of online services, the Annual Grimaldi Clown Service is back at All Saints Church in Haggerston. Some seats are available for the non-clowning public, but you'll need to get there early if you want one. FREE, 5 February

LONDON WINTER RUN: Up for a physical challenge? Sign up for the London Winter Run, and power through a 10K, traffic-free route around London, raising money for Cancer Research UK. Not much of a runner? Line the route and cheer the fundraisers on. 5 February

Two clowns in full costume chatting and laughing outside a church
The Clown Church Service is one of London's more unusual annual events. Image: iStock/AmandaLewis

STAND UP TO CANCER: Indie rock band Hard-Fi headline fundraising gig Stand Up To Cancer at Islington's Union Chapel, with support from The Big Pink, Monster Florence, Tom A. Smith and néomí. 6 February

DANCE ME: Dance Me — Music by Leonard Cohen makes its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells. Three choreographers have put movement to the songs of the late, great songwriter, which are brought to life by 14 performers from Ballets Jazz Montréal. 7-11 February

IMAGINE CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL: It's February half term, which means Southbank Centre's Imagine Children's Festival is back, celebrating all facets of kids' literature. The programme is packed, catering to all ages and budgets (plenty of events are FREE!), but stand-out events include appearances by authors Michael Rosen and Cressida Cowell. 8-18 February

INDOOR SKYDIVING: We're keeping our fingers cross that iFLY indoor skydiving's new venue at The O2 opens on schedule this month, having previously been due to open last December. Take a static skydiving session individually or as part of a group — or throw in a VR experience to trick yourself into thinking you're skydiving in Dubai, Hawaii, California or the Alps. Provisional opening date is 10 February

Four dancers in silhouette walking across a stage. A fifth sits at a desk.
Dance Me — Music by Leonard Cohen makes its UK premiere © Rolando Paolo Guerzon

INTERNATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL: Across one weekend, bands and solo performers from the Caribbean, South Asia, India and the UK pop up at Rich Mix in Shoreditch for the International Folk Festival. 11-12 February

HALF TERM: Need ways to keep the kids entertained while school's out? How does ice skating, pretending to be a vet, or taking a trip to the real Hundred Acre Wood sound? We've covered all that and more in our guide to things to do in London in half term. 11-19 February

IMMERSIVE MEAN GIRLS: 19 years (!) since Cady Heron first set foot in North Shore High School, an immersive Mean Girls screening and dining event comes to the City. Enjoy six dishes and drinks, served at certain times in the film to pair with the action on screen. That's so fetch! 11-19 February

DONATELLO: One of our picks of exhibitions to look forward to in 2023 is the V&A's Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance, the first UK show of the sculptor's works in bronze, marble, wood and terracotta. It's a chance to learn about his life, and how he influenced subsequent generations of artists. 11 February-11 June

A man in a black and white striped jacked playing the trumpet
Imagine Children's Festival is back at Southbank Centre. Image: Ian Marshall Photography

LONDON BRICK FESTIVAL: One for Lego fans, the London Brick Festival is a one-day extravaganza of the colourful plastic building blocks, aimed at adults and children alike. Ogle ready-built displays, take part in speed-building competitions, and buy bricks, accessories, retired Lego sets, and more. 12 February

SUPER BOWL: 12 February is Super Bowl Sunday, when two of America's finest NFL teams face off against each other (with Rihanna signed up for the half-time show, we might add). Assuming you're not jetting off to Arizona to watch in person, here's a guide to Super Bowl screenings and parties in London. It runs into the early hours, so consider booking Monday off work. 12 February

VALENTINE'S DAY: Looking for ways to woo your significant other this Valentine's Day? Try one of London's romantic days out, or visit one of these romantic restaurants. London's full of romance and love-themed events, but they're not just for couples — there's plenty to get up to on and around 14 February, whether you're with a date, mates or flying solo. 14 February

CANDLELIT PHOTOGRAPHY EVENING: Southwark Cathedral hosts one of its Candlelit Photography Evenings, inviting amateur and professional photographers alike the chance to capture the building atmospherically lit by candles. It's not a workshop or tutorial session — just a chance for you to explore the church at your own pace, and get some snaps. 15 February

A woman in blue boiler suit and hat, floating in an indoor skydiving enclosure
Be one of the first to try London's new indoor skydiving centre.

CARLY RAE JEPSEN: Call Me Maybe singer Carly Rae Jepsen has made something of a comeback recently, and at time of writing there are still tickets available to see her perfoming live at Alexandra Palace, following the release of her new album back in October. 15 February

BEER SCIENCE: Sampling beer in the name of science? Sounds too good to be true, but that's what's on offer at the Royal Institution. Hear from beer sommelier Natalya Watson about the main ingredients in beer, and how they are combined differently to create a whole range of brews. Beer samples are provided, of course. 17 February

LONDON BOOKSHOP CRAWL: London Bookshop Crawl encourages you to visit as many independent bookshops as possible over the course of one weekend — with events at different shops around the capital (as well as online) to get foster a community of book lovers. The aim, of course, is to support London's independent bookshops, while treating yourself to a few new reads. 17-19 February

LONDON MOTORCYCLE SHOW: Start your engine for the London Motorcycle Show, wheeling into town for three days at ExCel. See the latest bikes, kit and accessories, as well as a James Bond display. 17-19 February

A room covered in multicoloured neon graffiti
Beyond The Streets London opens at Saatchi Gallery. Kenny Scharf, Closet #42 Bestest Ever, Photo by Charles White of JW Pictures

BEYOND THE STREETS: Saatchi Gallery's huge new exhibitions, Beyond The Streets London, claims to be the most comprehensive graffiti and street art exhibition ever to open in the UK, featuring work by more than 100 artists, from huge-scale murals to train taggers. It takes over all five of the gallery's floors, so pace yourself. 17 February-9 May

PANCAKE DAY: Flippin' heck, it's that time of year again! 21 February is Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day, so it's time you reacquainted yourself with our guide to where to eat pancakes in London, and get yourself booked in for a feast. We've also got vegan and gluten-free pancakes covered. 21 February

DOM - THE PLAY: Political satire Dom - The Play transfers to The Other Palace, taking a deep-dive into the political career of Dominic Cummings. Chris Porter takes on the role of Cummings, covering topics including Brexit, Nigel Farage, and the truth about Barnard Castle. 21 February-5 March

OPERA AT THE PALACE: Not *the* palace, sorry — but Fulham Palace is still a jolly good setting for a spot of opera. Enjoy classic arias and more modern pieces performed by up-and-coming stars from the National Opera Studio. 22 February

Extinction Beckons opens at Hayward Gallery. Mike Nelson, MAGAZIN, Büyük Valide Han, 2003

EXTINCTION BECKONS: British artist Mike Nelson opens a new exhibition, Extinction Beckons, featuring immersive installations made from materials scavenged from salvage yards, junk shops, auctions and flea markets. They all focus on cultures and ways of living which have been lost as a result of an increasingly globalised world — see them at Hayward Gallery. 22 February-7 May

UKRAINE ONE YEAR ON: 364 days since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, the National Army Museum hosts a panel of experts to discuss what the current situation in Ukraine is, and what might happen in the future. The panel includes former Kyiv correspondent for The Economist Anna Reid, and Anthony King, Chair of War Studies at the University of Warwick. You can attend in person or watch online. 23 February

PERMISSION TO PLAY: London Transport Museum stays open late for an adults-only playtime. Permission To Play is the theme of the evening, with board games, a scavenger hunt, and a chance to 'drive' buses and trains. Plus the usual displays and exhibitions are open for you to peruse after hours. 24 February

DAY OF CATS: Head to Southwark Cathedral for a 'day of cats', with various speakers giving short talks on feline topics. They include cat expert Dr Jo Lewis helping you to understand what your cat is thinking, and Tate editor Emilia Will giving an overview of cat highlights from the Tate Collection of Art. 25 February

Statues, glasses, paperwork and other objects on Freud's desk
See objects from Freud's study. © Freud Museum London

BAKE OFF MUSICAL: It's been a long time in the oven, but The Great British Bake Off Musical is finally ready for sampling. It opens at the Noel Coward Theatre, following the stories of six fictional contestants at they go head-to-head in the famous marquee. From 25 February

FREUD'S ANTIQUITY: Hampstead's Freud Museum opens a new exhibition which takes 25 objects from the densely packed collection in Freud’s study, and showcases what they tell us about Freud and his thoughts. Objects, ornaments, pictures and books all feature in Freud's Antiquity: Object, Idea, Desire. 25 February-16 July

JEWISH BOOK WEEK: Canine psychology, lost freedoms, and the future of Ukraine are among the topics covered in the 80+ events which make up Jewish Book Week, a celebration of Jewish authors and illustrators. It takes place at Kings Place, with 16 of the events also streamed online. 25 February-5 March

Battersea Power Station illuminated at night, with colourful lights reflecting on the River Thames
Battersea Power Station Light Festival is on all month. Image: John Sturrock

BATTERSEA LIGHT FESTIVAL: Though the nights gradually get lighter through February (hurrah!), light festival season carries on in the form of Battersea Power Station Light Festival, a free trail of eight installations, in and around the newly reopened Power Station. Until 5 March

VAULT FESTIVAL: Your reminder that VAULT Festival is in full swing at venues around Waterloo right through to March. There are 500+ shows on the programme — we like the look of BGT finalist Nabil Abdulrashid's work-in-progress comedy show, Clandestine Cabaret, and NSFW comedy show The Whoreing Twenties. Until 19 March

SNOWDROPS: January and February are when the snowdrops drop, so keep an eye out for delicate white floors of the flowers, as you wander around London. If you're really keen to get a peep, consult our guide to the best places to see snowdrops in the capital.

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

Silhouettes of two people looking up at the ceiling in a church, which is illuminated in different coloured lights and projections
Enjoy a light and sound show inside a church. © Luxmuralis
  • SPACE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING: A light and sound show inside St Martin-in-the-Fields which uses projections to explore our relationship with planet Earth and beyond. Until 4 February
  • MUSEUM OF THE MOON: Luke Jerram's roving Moon installation, suspended in the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College. Until 5 February
  • MIME FESTIVAL: If you're quick, you might still bag a ticket to a London International Mime Festival performance, which celebrates physical theatre with productions from all over the world — several have already sold out. Until 5 February
  • CLOWN COSTUMES: If the clown church service (see 5 February) isn't enough clowning around for you, get yourself to Bloomsbury's Horse Hospital, where there's an exhibtion of rare clown costumes. Until 11 February
  • MAKING MODERNISM: The Royal Academy shines a light on the pioneering women working in Germany in the early 1900s, including Paula Modersohn-Becker, Kathe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin, who are often hidden from history. Until 12 February
A model of the moon suspended from the ceiling in the Painted Hall
Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram is at Old Royal Naval College
  • IN PLAIN SIGHT: Art, science and history meet for In Plain Sight at Wellcome Collection, an exhibition about sight loss, and how we see and are seen by others. FREE, Until 12 February
  • ALEXANDER THE GREAT: Alexander the Great's life spurred countless legends that go well beyond fact, and this thorough exhibition at the British Library leans fully into such mythical stories, looking at who he really was, and why he continues to captivate today. Until 19 February
  • TURNER ON TOUR: See two paintings by JMW Turner on display side by side for the first time in a century, at the National Gallery. They depict the harbours of Dieppe and Cologne, and have been in a private collection in the US since 1914. Until 19 February
  • HIEROGLYPHS: The British Museum takes a deep dive into how the Rosetta Stone was used to translate Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, giving us a better idea of life back then. Until 19 February
  • THE HORROR SHOW: Head to Somerset House for a look back at the horror genre over the past 50 years, and how it was influenced by events happening in the world around us. Until 19 February
  • CANARY WHARF ICE RINK: The last of London's seasonal ice rinks stays open until the end of February, to make the most of the half term visitors. It's undercover, so great for rainy days. Until 25 February

Last Updated 31 January 2023