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What's on in London this March 2017 near Kensington

In March we have the annual St Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday 19 March and it's Mother's Day in the UK on Sunday 26 March. And don't forget to change your clocks one hour forward on Sunday 26 March for British Summer Time. March is a wonderful time to be in London and, as ever, we've got lots of recommendations for this month.

KEW GARDENS

March sees Kew Gardens host the biggest spring flowering display in the country. With 5 million bulbs, including daffodils and crocuses, filling the Gardens with colour, this is the perfect setting to enjoy Mother's Day (26 March).

Make sure you also go in The Shirley Sherwood Gallery as there's a new exhibition from 25 March of the works of the so-called 'King of Kew'. Sir Joseph Hooker: Putting plants in their place explores Hooker's importance as a botanist through his expeditions to Antarctica, The Himalayas, India and USA.

Hooker (1817-1911) was one of Britain's most important botanists and explorers, and is remembered as Charles Darwin's scientific confidant and one of Kew Gardens' most illustrious Directors (1865-1885).

ASWAD

Popular 1980s and 90s UK reggae band Aswad are performing at Under the Bridge on Saturday 18 March.

Aswad have worked with The Wailers, Sting, Vanessa Mae, Janet Kay and Jah Shaka. They had hits including Don’t Turn Around, Give a Little Love, Best of my Love and the feel-good tune Shine.

Under the Bridge is at Stamford Bridge in Fulham, Chelsea FC's ground, and is designed in homage to the legendary venues in London's rock history. It's small (only holds around 500 people) so it makes for a great setting for an intimate gig.

FOOTBALL

While it can be hard to get tickets for London's leading football teams this match means a trip to Wembley so can accommodate many more fans.

See England vs Lithuania in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier match at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 26 March. The last two times the teams have met England has won so we're feeling hopeful.

DIANA: HER FASHION STORY

Kensington Palace was home to Diana, Princess of Wales for fifteen years. Twenty years on from her death, there is a new exhibition here and temporary garden celebrating her life.

Diana: Her Fashion Story traces the evolution of the Princess's style, from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life. 

The exhibition displays exquisite and celebrated outfits from throughout the Princess's public life ranging from the glamorous evening gowns worn on engagements in the 1980s, to the chic Catherine Walker suits that made up Diana's 'working wardrobe' in the 1990s.

Exhibition highlights include the pale pink Emanuel blouse worn for Diana's engagement portrait by Lord Snowdon in 1981, and Victor Edelstein's iconic ink blue velvet gown, famously worn at the White House when the Princess danced with John Travolta.

The exhibition is accompanied by a White Garden floral display in the historic Sunken Garden that will look best in spring/summer this year.

DON JUAN IN SOHO

David Tennant returns to the West End in a new production of Patrick Marber's Don Juan in Soho at the Wyndham's Theatre from 17 March to 10 June.

Directed by the author, the play is loosely based on Molière's 1965 tragicomedy Don Juan. This savagely funny and filthy modern update transports the action to contemporary London and follows the final adventures of its debauched protagonist as an infamous amoral hedonist in a society entranced by sensation.

SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUMS

The three big South Kensington museums are always worth visiting. The Natural History Museum has the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition on until 10 September. The animal photographs include intimate portraits and dramatic landscapes. Do note the Museum's Hintze Hall is closed until the summer while the Diplodocus skeleton cast is dismantled for its UK tour and the blue whale is installed in its place. This means the Cromwell Road main entrance is closed but there are entrances on Queen's Gate and Exhibition Road.

At the V&A it's your last chance to see Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear as it closes on 12 March. The exhibition opened in April 2016 and we featured it then.

At the Science Museum you can now see Tim Peake's spacecraft. This is the actual spacecraft that took astronauts Yuri Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Britain's Tim Peake up to the International Space Station in 2015 and then returned them safely to Earth the following year.

Soyuz TMA-19M is the descent module that brought Major Peake home and it's now on display in the Wellcome Wing, complete with scorch marks from its re-entry through the atmosphere.

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

Two spring exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery bring together a groundbreaking survey of the abstract portraits of Howard Hodgkin, together with an inspired exhibition pairing the works of Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun – two pioneering artists who, although separated by several decades, address similarly compelling themes of gender, identity, masquerade, performance and self-portraiture.

Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun: Behind the mask, another mask opens on 9 March (and runs to 29 May 2017) and Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends opens on 23 March (and runs to 18 June 2017). Both exhibitions include unseen and new works.

British contemporary artist Gillian Wearing (b.1963) studied at Goldsmiths University and won the Turner Prize in 1997. Her photographic self-portraits incorporate painstaking recreations of her as others in an intriguing and sometimes unsettling range of guises such as where she becomes her immediate family members using prosthetic masks.

French artist Claude Cahun (1894-1954), along with her contemporaries André Breton and Man Ray, was affiliated with the French Surrealist movement although her work was rarely exhibited during her lifetime. Together with her partner, the artist and stage designer Marcel Moore, the two women left Paris and were then imprisoned in Nazi-occupied Jersey during the Second World War as a result of their roles in the French Resistance. In her photographs she is depicted wearing masks and costumes and she also changes her appearance by shaving her hair and wearing wigs, often challenging traditional notions of gender representation.

The Howard Hodgkin exhibition is the first to focus on Hodgkin's portraits. Internationally recognised as one of Britain's leading artists Hodgkin was awarded the Turner Prize in 1985, a year after representing Great Britain at the Venice Biennale. With over 55 works from collections around the world and dating from 1949 to the present, the exhibition is not of obvious portraits as Hodgkin described himself as a "representational painter, but not a painter of appearances". It features portraits of the artist's friends including Peter Blake, Stephen Buckley, Patrick Caulfield, David Hockney and Richard Smith.

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS

Christopher Wheeldon's stunning reinvention of the Oscar-winning film features the music of George and Ira Gershwin in An American in Paris the Musical. On at the Dominion Theatre, there are previews from 4 March and the official opening night is 21 March.

It's a fascinating story of a young American soldier striving to make it as a painter in the aftermath of war. Following a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer, the 'City of Light' becomes the backdrop to a sensuous, modern romance of art, friendship and love.

This award-winning Broadway musical stars Jane Asher in a spectacular theatre production with a company of 50 actors, dancers and musicians. Who could ask for anything more?

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 March. 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: Kew Gardens: Rhododendron hookeri, 1856, by Walter Hood Fitch. Pencil and watercolour with uncoloured lithograph. Credit: RGB Kew  |  Princess Diana & John Travolta: Public domain from Ronald Reagan Library  |  NHM Wildlife Photographer of the Year: © Sam Dobson  |  An American in Paris: Original Broadway cast, credit: Matthew Murphy  |  NPG: Portrait of the artist by Howard Hodgkin, 1984-87; ©: Howard Hodgkin