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What's on in London in June 2016 near Kensington

This is the month when the Queen celebrates a special birthday so be prepared for royal gun salutes and the best birthday parade.

TROOPING THE COLOUR

Trooping the Colour on Saturday 11 June is the Queen's Birthday Parade and as she is 90 this year it's bound to be better than ever. While tickets have all been allocated for the seated area at Horse Guards Parade the public can watch from The Mall and St James's Park. If you want to be opposite Horse Guards Parade it's best to get a position by 9am and by 10am along The Mall.

The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace at 11am and leads her procession to Horse Guards Parade. She then inspects her troops before returning to the palace. At 1pm there is an RAF flypast and the Queen, and other members of the Royal Family, will be on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch.

For more pomp and pageantry, Beating Retreat is on 8 and 9 June at Horse Guards Parade and is a military concert with horses, marching, cannons and fireworks.

On Sunday 12 June there is The Patron's Lunch along The Mall, and while tickets are not available there are Live Sites in Green Park and St James's Park. Expect a festival atmosphere and large screens so you can see the fun.

WORLD NAKED BIKE DAY

Simply for the wonderful contrast, on the same day as Trooping the Colour it's World Naked Bike Day. Yes, on Saturday 11 June hundreds of cyclists will remove their clothes and cycle through London naked to raise awareness of bike safety. The London ride has six starting points and ends at Wellington Arch (Hyde Park Corner).

The naked cyclists usually attract crowds to watch and cheer them along so if you're looking for something slightly different after seeing the Queen this could fill your day.

PARLIAMENT

Due to the EU referendum on 23 June there are weekday dates available to visit Parliament on 16/17 June and 23/24 June. These dates are in addition to the Saturday tours throughout the year and Monday to Friday summer tours between 26 July and 2 September.

Parliament tours offer visitors several contrasts of styles; from the huge medieval Westminster Hall, to the Victorian splendour of the Lords Chamber with Augustus Pugin's magnificent gilded throne canopy, to the post war Commons Chamber with its famous green benches and despatch boxes.

A popular option is to follow a tour with afternoon tea in one of the riverside rooms in the House of Commons.

ALADDIN

The latest Disney musical to hit London's West End is Aladdin which opened at the Prince Edward Theatre on 27 May (and is booking until 1 October 2016).

Based on the Academy Award-winning 1992 Disney animated movie, Aladdin the Musical has British stars in the lead roles of Aladdin and Jasmine with Broadway cast member Trevor Dion Nicholas making his London stage debut as the Genie.

The stage show features all the songs from the Academy Award-winning score including Friend Like Me, Prince Ali and the Oscar and Grammy award-winning A Whole New World, together with new music written for this production.

Sets are by multi-award-winning designer Bob Crowley (Mary Poppins) and there are over 350 beautiful costumes designed by Gregg Barnes (Kinky Boots).

SUMMER EXHIBITION

The annual Royal Academy of Art's Summer Exhibition is the largest open contemporary art exhibition in the world. The first show was in 1769 and it has been back every year since displaying works by emerging and established contemporary artists. The show opens on 13 June and runs until 21 August 2016.

Richard Wilson RA is co-ordinating this year's exhibition and has chosen the theme of artistic duos. He has invited a diverse group of more than 15 international duos including Heather & Ivan Morison, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Jane & Louise Wilson, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Boyd & Evans, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, among others.

The exhibition includes a site-specific installation called Spyre in the courtyard by architect and sculptor Ron Arad RA. It's a 16-metre high corten steel oval cone, hiding motors, cogs and slew-rings. Each segment of the work moves at different speeds and there's a camera on the tip relaying footage to a screen inside the Royal Academy of Arts.

ENGINEERING THE WORLD

Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design opens at the V&A on 18 June (and runs until 6 November 2016).

Ove Arup (1895-1988) was the most influential engineer of the 20th century and the pioneer of a multidisciplinary approach to design that has defined the way engineering is understood and practiced today. This exhibition focuses on his design philosophy revealing his ideas of collaborative working, total architecture and design as a humanistic and technological tool for social responsibility.

On display are designs for some of Arup's first projects such as Sydney Opera House and the Penguin Pool at London Zoo, including previously unseen archival materials, shown alongside recent projects by Arup, the global engineering consultancy. There are large-scale prototypes and building components as well as digital animations and models.

The exhibition is part of the V&A's 2016 Engineering Season which also comprises of a site-specific installation in the John Madejski Garden by engineer and architect Achim Menges and an associated programme of talks, workshops and events.

HAMPTON COURT PALACE

There are some great reasons to visit Hampton Court Palace in the evening this month. The Hampton Court Palace Festival takes place in Henry VIII's Tudor courtyard featuring artists from the world of rock, pop, jazz and classical music. The courtyard setting means an intimate atmosphere for an audience of 3,000.

The festival is on from 8 to 18 June and the big name acts include Tom Jones, Van Morrison, George Benson and Katherine Jenkins.

Come early and visit the palace or enjoy a picnic on the East Front Gardens before the concerts from 5.30pm where open-air bars and gourmet street food stalls are available.

Summer Garden Nights is on 28, 29, 30 June (6.30pm-9.15pm) at Hampton Court Palace in the new Magic Garden. Bring a picnic and hear acclaimed historians, gardeners and writers explore why our imaginations are compelled by the idyllic vision of the garden.

DAWN OF THE PHOTOGRAPH

The Science Museum has an exhibition exploring the life and career of the father of photography. Fox Talbot - Dawn of the Photograph is an opportunity to see some of the rarest objects of British photography pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot's work in photography for the first time.

The exhibition looks at the birth of photography in Britain within its industrial and social context, and his invention of the negative-positive process which formed the basis of photography around the world for over 150 years, and immortalised him as the father of the medium.

On until 11 September 2016, the exhibition also explores the relationships between a network of photographers who gravitated towards Talbot's process but who each took photography into different territory. Assessing their artistic contribution and social legacy, it reflects on how enthusiasm for photography was initially limited to a small close-knit, elite group of people.

WILDLIFE GARDEN

The Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden is open from April to October and is free to visit. It's one of those hidden gems in the city and worth visiting when the museum galleries are crowded.

The garden was created for the museum's scientists to study British flora and fauna and is also a haven for insects and animals. Looks for tadpoles in the pond and see if the moorhens are nesting. It's a very green space that many don't notice on the west side of the museum, accessed through the main entrance.

By choosing to stay at Fraser Suites Queens Gate you will be in the heart of Kensington, and a short walk away from some of these great events happening in April. Check out our Special Offers and we hope to welcome you soon!

 

Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on Twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

 

Image credits: Trooping the Colour: © Carfax2  |  World Naked Bike Day: © Chris Sampson  |  Aladdin: Photo by Deen Van Meer  |  Summer Exhibition: Eva & Adele - Transformer-Performer Double-Act VIII, Photo courtesy of Nicole Gnesa Gallery  |  Engineering the World: Penguin Pool, London Zoo, © ZSL  |  Wildlife Garden: © Natural History Museum