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What's on in London this April 2017 near Kensington

We're well into spring now so this month we've got many reasons to get out and explore west London. Easter brings a four-day holiday weekend so that means lots of special events but also the shops are closed on Sunday 16 April. But who needs shopping when there's so much happening?

V&A

Starting nearby, there's a lot going on at the V&A this month. And all of these suggestions are free.

Rachel Kneebone at the V&A opens on 1 April in gallery 50a, amongst the 14th and 15th century masterpieces. 399 Days is Kneebone's monumental sculpture constructed from porcelain tiles. Look closely and you'll see intensely worked and detailed figurative scenarios. In addition, three porcelain works on show in gallery 21 are presented in dialogue with Rodin's bronzes.

Ending on 16 April, Ephemeral Architecture is a display of original drawings, prints, models and photographs from the collections of the V&A and the RIBA. The exhibits explore ephemeral architecture from arches for Renaissance emperors to shelters for today's refugees.

Also ending this month, but on 30 April, is Garnitures: Vase Sets from National Trust Houses. The popularity of the garniture in 17th century Europe influenced interior design, global trade and pottery manufacture. This display showcases rare surviving examples from 13 different National Trust houses.

I mentioned back in November the David Garrick: Book Collector display, and it's closing on 1 May. Marking the 300th anniversary of Garrick's birth, this showcases a selection of his books alongside manuscript and graphic materials to illuminate his complementary roles of performer and bibliophile.

And there's another new display opening on 28 April in the T.T. Tsui China gallery. Purple Clay: Chinese Teapots for Scholarly Tastes. 'Purple clay' (zisha) is used to make unglazed teapots that can retain the flavour of tea. Zisha teapots became popular in China from the 16th century onwards and are still made today.

SENSATIONAL BUTTERFLIES

On from 31 March to 17 September, the wonderful Sensational Butterflies returns to the Natural History Museum East Lawn for the ninth year.

Inside the tropical butterfly house you can see butterflies hatch from delicate chrysalises and watch them feed from nectar and fruit.

The exhibition is inspired by the Museum's world-leading butterfly and moth collection of more than 10 million specimens assembled over 200 years. The collection is used by scientists around the world studying the diversity of the species and how they are affected by environmental changes.

FORBIDDEN FOREST

While it may be strictly off-limits to Hogwarts students, from 31 March visitors to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter are invited to defy Professor Dumbledore's orders and head into the Forbidden Forest.

The Forbidden Forest is full of mysterious, fascinating and sometimes threatening forces. It represents the great unknown compared to the comfort and safety of Hogwarts. It's a permanent addition to the attraction to celebrate their fifth anniversary.

Visitors are welcomed by beloved half-giant Hagrid at Hogwarts Gates before walking between the entwined roots of 19 trees, each with a diameter of over 12 feet. You can control the weather using the same techniques created by filmmakers, and can bow before a full-size model of Hippogriff Buckbeak seen in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Just watch out for Aragog, the enormous spider, seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

KEW GARDENS

With the arrival of spring, the Moomins have come out of hibernation for a botanical adventure at Kew this Easter. From 1 to 17 April, you can get to know the celebrated Finnish children's characters with an interactive trail culminating at the magical Moomin camp in the wild woodland of the Conservation Area.

Another good reason to visit this month is to see Kew Palace, the oldest building within the Gardens, as it reopens on 1 April. King George III and Queen Caroline spent happy summers at Kew Palace with their 15 children and it was an important refuge during his infamous episodes of ‘madness’. Do also see The Royal Kitchens next to the Palace, preserved from the time of Queen Charlotte's death in 1818.

Do note, there won't be the usual Easter Sunday Easter Egg Hunt this year but all Kew Gardens visitors will be given Lindt chocolate treats at the gates.

ALBERT MEMORIAL

On the first Sunday of the month (2 April) you can take a guided tour of the Albert Memorial, opposite the Royal Albert Hall. The tours are at 2pm and 3pm and last approximately 45 minutes.

This ornate memorial, designed by George Gilbert Scott, commemorates the death of Queen Victoria's husband. Prince Albert died in 1861 of typhoid at the age of 42.

The memorial shows Prince Albert holding the catalogue of the Great Exhibition, held in Hyde Park in 1851, which he inspired and helped to organise.

The guided tour takes you beyond the railings to get a closer look at the Frieze of Parnassus and other fine details of the greatest monument of the Victorian era. The 21st century £11.2 million restoration has brought it all back to gleaming gold.

CHRIS DE BURGH

Chris de Burgh is live in concert at the London Palladium on 26 April presenting his 26th studio album, A Better World.

Many of the songs are concerned with key issues of the day with themes and topics covering: love, war and adventure, travel, discovery and home-coming, the past, the present and the future.

Musically, A Better World is a familiar de Burgh melting pot of diverse styles, tempos and instrumentation. Ballads sit alongside anthems, and solo performances with band or orchestral ensemble pieces. Rock and pop songs are infused with regional flavour, from Caribbean to Celtic.

JIMMY CARR

Jimmy Carr is at the Hammersmith Apollo on 28 and 29 April with a 'best of Jimmy Carr' comedy show.

He has been on the stand-up scene for a decade and a half. In that time he's performed 9 sell-out tours, playing nearly 2,000 shows to over 2 million people across 4 continents.

For these dates he's bringing together new material and his favourite gags from the last ten years. You're warned, if you're easily offended to stay away so expect plenty of adult humour.

HAMPTON COURT PALACE

Hampton Court Palace Magic Garden reopens on 1 April. It's an interactive play garden, for 2 to 13 year olds, inspired by the palace’s history.

Take the family to become Tudor Knights, besiege the battlements, storm the Tiltyard Towers and explore a mysterious secret grotto. Oh, and look out for the mythical beasts, including a 25m dragon.

While you're there join in the Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt from 1 to 17 April. The palace is telling the story of royal chocolate with a chocolate bunny trail to find all the Lindt Gold Bunny's hiding places.

When staying at Fraser Suites Queens Gate, you will be in the heart of Kensington, and only a short ride away from what's happening in London April in London. Check out our Special Offers and we hope to welcome you soon! 

You can also explore what is happening near Canary Wharf by clicking here

 

Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on Twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

Image credits: Set of Chinese porcelain vases, 17th century: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London  |  Sensational Butterflies: © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London