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What's on in London this February 2017 near Kensington

While it's winter in London that doesn't mean you have to go into hibernation as there's so much to do this month. We've got daytime and evening recommendations, and reasons to be outdoors too.

FLAMING JUNE

Leighton House Museum has an exhibition about one of the most famous paintings created there. Flaming June: The Making of an Icon is on until 2 April 2017 and features this stunning artwork.

Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896), was one of the pre-eminent artists of his day. President of the Royal Academy from 1878 to 1896, he achieved great fame and influence as a figurehead for art in late Victorian society.

As the museum is the artist's home, you can stand in Leighton’s studio where the painting was created and see further works submitted by Leighton to the Academy in 1895.

Flaming June is only on a short visit from the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico and the original is so much more mesmerising in real life that any reproduction.

ROBOTS

The Science Museum's blockbuster exhibition for 2017 opens on 8 February. Robotstells the 500-year story of humanoid robots and this very human obsession to recreate ourselves.

The exhibition features a unique collection of over 100 robots, from a 16th-century mechanical monk to robots from science fiction and modern-day research labs. A highlight is Eric, the UK's first robot, that was originally built in 1928 and has been recently restored.

Set in five different periods and places, the exhibition explores how robots and society have been shaped by religious belief, the industrial revolution, 20th century popular culture and dreams about the future. Visitors can interact with some of the 12 working robots on display.

This month you can also visit the Science Museum in the evening to see Robots for Lates, the adults-only evening, on Wednesday 22 February. And there's another adult-only event on Friday 10 February for Paranoid Androids and Electric Sheep: A Robot Comedy Quiz Show.

COLLECTING EUROPE FESTIVAL

As the debate about the future of Europe continues, the Goethe-Institut London and the V&A have commissioned 12 artists from around the world to imagine what Europe might look like 2,000 years from now, and how our present might be viewed from the future. The installations are on display from 1 to 7 February as part of the free Collecting Europe Festival.

Created in a range of media from digital and interactive installations to film, sugar sculpture, tapestry, live performance, musical interventions and pocket-sized publications, the artworks transform spaces across the Museum, including the Europe 1600-1815 Galleries, the British Galleries, the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Sculpture Galleries, and the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries.

The festival includes a range of talks, discussions, live performances and workshops to encourage debate around what Europe and European identity means to people today.

It's also the last month to see You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70 at The V&A as it closes on 26 February.

And for an interesting evening event at the V&A, on Monday 6 February artist Gavin Turk discusses his work, and philosophy, which reflects on the 'myth' of the artist and the 'authorship' of work – a modernist, avant-garde debate stretching back to the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp.

AFTER-SCHOOL CLUB FOR GROWN-UPS

For an evening of retro fun for adults, the Natural History Museum has an After-School Club for Grown-Ups on Friday 10 February.

Guests are welcomed by the Museum Headmasters, before you get to take part in activities as you explore the Museum after hours learning about the natural world.

The inner-child fun includes face painting and making clay animal models but there's also a bar for drinks and snacks, and a popular silent disco too.

THE GLASS MENAGERIE

Tennessee Williams' classic 1944 drama The Glass Menagerie returns to London for a 13-week season from 26 January to 29 April. This brand new production transfers from a highly acclaimed run on Broadway bringing Tony Award-winning Broadway icon Cherry Jones as former Southern Belle Amanda Wingfield.

Directed by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child co-creator John Tiffany, the play is distinctly autobiographical and features characters based on Williams' own family including his fragile sister Rose.

Told as a memory play, The Glass Menagerie is introduced to the audience by Tom, the narrator and protagonist who tells of his mother Amanda and his sister Laura. Amanda is a faded Southern belle who shares an apartment with her son Tom and her daughter Laura in St. Louis. Laura has previously suffered from polio and walks with a limp, making her insecure of the world outside. Amanda becomes obsessed with finding a gentleman caller for her daughter who is unable to integrate into society and spends most of her time playing with her collection of glass animals.

CAMPFIRE SKILLS

While barbecues and fires are not permitted in royal parks, the Park Rangers are running a Campfire Skills session at Hyde Park Education Centre on Saturday 18 February (10am-12pm). During this adult-only morning you can learn how to select the right materials to build your fire and how to light it without matches.

This sounds like a wonderful outdoor event where you can enjoy a simple snack together and share stories around the fire.

DIRECTING DOBBY

Discover behind-the-scenes secrets of everybody’s favourite house-elf at Warner Bros Studio Tour as Directing Dobby is on from 4 February to 31 March 2017.

Introduced in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby was predominantly a CGI character, although during filming an incredibly detailed model was created so the cast would know exactly where to look. This model is taking centre stage at the Studio Tour during this time allowing visitors to see it up close.

There's an interactive motion capture experience available with three screens showing Dobby at different stages from an initial wireframe to the fully-rendered Dobby as we know and love him. Dobby will reflect visitors movements in real-time, demonstrating the process used by filmmakers when bringing CGI characters to life on screen.

Harry’s childhood Muggle home, 4 Privet Drive will also be open so visitors can peek into the Dursleys' living room where hundreds of Harry’s Hogwarts letters are suspended in the air as though they’ve flown through the fireplace as they did in the iconic scene from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

GHOST TOURS

For an even spookier idea, visit Hampton Court Palace on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month for evening adults-only Ghost Tours.

The tours take up to 2 hours and you'll visit the spot where two bodies were discovered in shallow graves in the 1870s, and hear the tale of the Tudor royal nurse whose spirit is said to stalk her former apartments.

You can decide for yourself the origin of the mysterious figure caught on CCTV in the Palace in the dead of night as you experience the unique atmosphere of Hampton Court after dark.

By choosing to stay at Fraser Suites Queens Gate, you will be in the heart of Kensington, and a short ride away from some of these great events happening in February. 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 sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of the Queen. You can find Laura on Twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

 

Image credits: Flaming June: Frederic Leighton, 1895 © Museo de Arte de Ponce. The Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc.  |  Hampton Court Palace: Richard Lea-Hair / newsteam.co.uk  |  Directing Dobby: TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. Harry Potter characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.