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What's on in London this July 2017 near Kensington

What's not to love about summer in London? This month we've got the perfect reason for strawberries and cream, outdoor music concerts, exhibitions and an unusual tour.

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Firstly, there are some big changes to see this month at the Natural History Museum. The Hintze Hall, the heart of the museum, where you arrive from the main entrance, has been transformed.

The dinosaur cast (Dippy the diplodocus) is gone and from 14 July we can see an incredible 25.2-metre blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling. The 'wonder bays' in the hall have ten other star specimens including the skeleton of an American mastodon that went extinct 13,000 years ago.

And to complement these changes, the new exhibition is Whales: Beneath the surface which also opens on 14 July. More than 100 specimens from the Museum's research collection have been brought out from behind the scenes for the first time to show the huge diversity of whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Complete skeletons reveal the secret to swimming like a whale, and skulls, flippers and jaw bones uncover how they move, breathe, feed and sense their surroundings. It's an immersive experience where you can see how some whales, dolphins and porpoises sense their prey using sound.

KEW GARDENS

For a really unusual way to see the botanical gardens, why not try a Kew Pagoda Scaffold Tour? These unusual tours are available 25 – 28 July (and 22 – 25 August).

This is a unique opportunity to climb the exterior scaffold to get up close to the fabric of William Chambers' Great Pagoda and learn how experts look after an 18th-century building.

Small groups can find out about the conservation work involved in the Pagoda project in a one-hour guided tour. Safety gear is provided for all participants.

Or come to the gardens in the evening for Kew the Music, a week-long festival of summer picnic concerts. Headline acts this year include All Saints, James and Mary J Blige. There are VIP packages for picnic hampers or a BBQ served in the Orangery.

WIMBLEDON

The Wimbledon Championships are on 3 – 16 July so we can expect two weeks of world-class tennis plus plenty of strawberries and cream. This is the longest-running tennis tournament in the world and considered the most prestigious of the four annual Grand Slam tennis events held around the globe.

It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass courts. The tournament attracts around 500,000 spectators and millions of television viewers worldwide.

While the overnight queues for tickets are well-known, there are also several thousand ground admission tickets available each day. These give you the chance to watch games from unreserved seating and standing areas on Courts 3 to 19. Once ground capacity has been reached people standing in the queue are admitted on a one-out, one in basis.

BRITISH SUMMER TIME HYDE PARK

Big name acts have shows at British Summer Time in Hyde Park between 30 June and 9 July. While Justin Bieber, Tom Petty, The Killers and more will rock the evenings, there are also four days of free entry and summer activities for British Summer Time's Open House

On 3, 4, 5 and 7 July there are outdoor movie nights, tennis screenings live from Wimbledon, street food stalls from all over the world, pop-up bars serving draft and craft beer, wine and cocktails, free live music and entertainment, flying trapeze circus, the Moretti Gran Tour, Soho Radio live broadcasting, Chickenshed Theatre and more. And the fun goes on until 10 pm each day.

ALMA-TADEMA: AT HOME IN ANTIQUITY

Opening on 7 July at Leighton House Museum, Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity explores Lawrence Alma-Tadema's fascination with the representation of domestic life in antiquity.

This Dutch artist moved to London in 1870 and was a frequent visitor to Leighton's own studio-house. The exhibition includes In My Studio presented by Alma-Tadema to Leighton as a token of his esteem and now in a private collection.

With his wife Laura and their daughters, Alma-Tameda created two remarkable studio-houses in St John's Wood (London). The exhibition includes important works by Tadema, his wife and daughter Anna with loans coming from public and private collections internationally.

MUSEUM MAKERS

On Thursday 20 July you could create Leather Travel Accessories with Rosanna Clare Accessories at the London Transport Museum. You'll learn a new skill and create something to take home at this one-off evening event.

You’ll learn how to cut, craft and monogram leather, and could make a bespoke leather luggage tag or travel card wallet with matching keyring.

All materials and a summer cocktail are included.

PLYWOOD

The eclectic history of plywood is revealed in a new V&A exhibition exploring this versatile material. Plywood: Material of the Modern World opens on 15 July and admission is free.

Coupling objects drawn from the V&A's world-class furniture, design and architecture collections with significant loans from across the globe, highlights include early experiments in plywood, such as a 1908 book printed during Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod expedition to Antarctica and bound with plywood covers; celebrated pieces by modernist designers such as Charles and Ray Eames; and striking examples of transport design such as a 1917 moulded canoe, a 1960s British racing car with plywood chassis, and some of the first ever surf and skateboards.

On display in the John Madejski Garden is a cluster of ice skating shelters designed by Patkau Architects. Originally designed to sit on a frozen river in Winnipeg, Canada, visitors are invited to take a seat in the structures which are made by bending flexible plywood sheets and attaching them to a timber frame to create sculptural forms.

If you are planning a trip in London this July, check-out Fraser Suites Queens Gate special offers and promotions! We are located in the heart of Kensington and surrounded by tourist attractions. 

 

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.

 

Required image credits:

Humpback Whale, Natural History Museum: © Kerstin Meyer/Getty Images   |  Kew the Music@ © RBG, Kew  |  Wimbledon: © Kate  |  Alma-Tadema: © Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Coign of Vantage, 1895 (detail). Collection of Ann and Gordon Getty  |  V&A, Plywood: Patkau Architects, Ice skating shelters, Winnipeg, 2012 © Patkau Architects