What's on in London this July 2016 near Kensington
What a wonderful time to be in London. We've got recommendations for palaces and outdoor ideas to make the most of the summer.
As this is the Queen's 90th birthday year you need to visit the Buckingham Palace State Rooms when they open to the public on 23 July. As well as the sumptuous rooms there's a special exhibition to see: Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe.
Constituting the largest display of The Queen's dress ever mounted, Fashioning a Reign charts important events in The Queen's life and the nation's history through Her Majesty's wardrobe, encompassing themes such as State occasions, international tours and family celebrations.
The exhibition includes dresses worn by The Queen for two of the most significant occasions in Her Majesty's life. The wedding dress worn by Princess Elizabeth for her marriage to The Duke of Edinburgh on 20 November 1947, and The Queen's Coronation dress, both designed by the British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell. Look closely at the Coronation dress as, unknown to The Queen, Hartnell added an extra four-leaf shamrock on the left side of the skirt for good luck, so that Her Majesty's hand could rest upon it during the ceremony.
BRITISH SUMMERTIME HYDE PARK
The month starts with big name acts headlining British Summertime Hyde Park. You can see Massive Attack and Patti Smith, Florence and the Machine, Take That and the amazing Carole King with guest vocals from Don Henley. Carole King is on Sunday 3 July and is performing her album Tapestry in its entirety. It's her first concert in the UK for nearly three decades so will be an amazing night.
There's also free summer activities on 4-7 July, during the week between the big concerts. The Open House days are open from 8am and into the evening with free open-air movie nights and tennis screenings from Wimbledon. There's also free badminton sessions, ping pong and trapeze on offer. Plus the Barclaycard Betterview platform offering amazing views of Hyde Park and London's skyline from 100ft above the ground – again, for free.
RHS HAMPTON COURT PALACE FLOWER SHOW
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the world's largest flower show boasting an eclectic mix of gardens, displays and shopping opportunities spanning over 34 acres either side of the dramatic long water with the stunning façade of the historical palace in the background. It's on from 5 to 10 July with amazing show gardens to admire and get your inspired.
This year there's also an enormous (283m2) tropical Butterfly Dome giving visitors the rare opportunity to walk among thousands of exotic Indonesian and South American butterflies, displaying their fascinating colours and patterns as they take flight or settle amid the vegetation.
KEW THE MUSIC
From 12 to 17 July you can enjoy a toe tapping evening at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Kew the Music is a series of outdoor picnic concerts held annually at Kew Gardens. The 2016 line-up includes Simply Red, Will Young with Billy Ocean, Bjorn Again, Jools Holland, The Corrs and Gipsy Kings. You can take a picnic or there are plenty of food and drink stalls available.
To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter this year, the V&A presents Beatrix Potter's London, from 28 July (to 28 April 2017); a display exploring how the children's author and illustrator was influenced by the cultural life of her birthplace.
Although Potter is often associated with the sweeping landscapes of Scotland and the Lake District depicted in her illustrations, she spent most of her life at her family home at 2 Bolton Gardens in South Kensington and was a frequent visitor to the museums nearby, including the V&A where she sketched items from the collection.
The V&A claims to house the largest collection of Potter's letters, illustrations and photos anywhere in the world, which are on display on rotation. The collection includes the original illustrations for The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and dummy manuscripts.
This display brings together artworks, original sketches and Potter’s earliest published works to look at the inspirational role London played throughout her career.
Experience the tranquillity of the V&A's John Madejski Garden with a morning yoga class on Saturday 16 July or Thursday 28 July. Led by qualified Iyengar instructor, Dina Karim the classes are suitable for all levels.
The Saturday class includes breakfast in the V&A Café and a gallery tour looking at the history of yoga using the V&A's collections.
There are two new exhibitions at the Science Museum this month. Beyond the Lab opens on 7 July (and runs until 14 August). It explores how members of the public are playing a greater role in scientific research than ever before.
Beyond the Lab tells the stories of nine different innovators who are using crowd-sourced data, community lab projects and DIY apparatus to revolutionise front-line scientific research.
And on 15 July, Our Lives in Data opens to explore the invisible revolution of big data. From our daily commute to our genes, more and more information about our lives is being recorded as huge amounts of data, whether we are aware of it or not.
Our Lives in Data explores some of the diverse ways that our data is being collected, analysed and used, from a toy that learns the personality of a child to become a better playmate to new virtual reality tools created by game designers to help researchers understand vast collections of data. Visitors can test facial recognition software through an intelligent mirror, designed to guess your age, gender and emotions.
COLOUR AND VISION
Warning, disguise, attraction or distraction – colour can be the difference between life and death. Discover the earliest life on Earth, and trace the intertwined evolutionary history of colour and vision.
Colour and Vision is at the Natural History Museum from 15 July (and runs until 6 November). It takes you on a 565 million year journey through the eyes of nature to see more than 350 rarely seen specimens plus immersive art and digital imaging to highlight how colour and vision influence life on Earth. The exhibition gives insight into how animals and humans perceive the world differently and how colour-shifters, stealth experts and mimics deploy colour to survive.
Regent Street has 'Summer Streets' traffic-free shopping on 3, 10, 17 and 24 July. To start the season there's the Transported by Design Festival on Sunday 3 July to celebrate the rich design heritage of TFL (Transport for London).
Regent Street will be divided into three zones – Past, Present and Future – to showcase the best in transport inspired design with a host of free activities. The Past zone has a horse drawn bus, a 1927 tube train carriage and classic advertising posters. The Present zone has 'Cycle Spin Fun' hosted by Santander Cycles, 'Moquette Land' showcasing the fabric used across the transport network, and more. The 'London 2040' future zone has a sensory cinema, virtual reality headsets and 'TED'-style talks on technology and design throughout the day. It's a fantastic family-friendly day out.
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 July. 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.
Images: Coronation dress sketch: © Royal Collection Trust | Kew the Music: © RGB, Kew | Pavilion at the V&A: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London | Colour and Vision: © Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London | RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show: © Royal Horticultural Society Media Image Collection | Transported by Design: © John Pannell