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What's on in London this March 2018 near Kensington

Spring is a wonderful time to be in London. There are bright yellow daffodils blooming in the parks and it's Mother's Day in the UK on Sunday 11 March 2018. The month also ends with Easter (Good Friday on 30 March).

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Now here's a place to enjoy a movie! There are Movie Nights at the Natural History Museum on Friday 2 March and Saturday 3 March 2018.

Set in the magnificent Hintze Hall, beneath Hope the blue whale skeleton, you can grab a drink or snack at the bar and settle in for some sci-fi action.

On 2 March there's Star Trek (2009) at 7.15pm and Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) at 10.15pm.

And on 3 March there's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) at 7.15pm and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) at 10.15pm.

You can visit the Mammals gallery and the Dinosaurs gallery before the films. Do note that Movie Nights is for over 18s only.

ALBERT MEMORIAL TOURS

A wonderful reason to take a stroll in Kensington Gardens is to see the glorious, golden Albert Memorial. Commemorating the death of Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert in 1861, it's one of London's most ornate memorials. And, after a winter break, the Albert Memorial tours start again this month.

The tours are on the first Sunday of the month from March to December at 2pm and 3pm and last approximately 45 minutes. So this month it's on Sunday 4 March and you do not need to book in advance.

We can all admire the memorial from afar but the only way to get inside the memorial railings is to join one of these special guided tours. This means you can get a closer look at the Frieze of Parnassus and other fine details while hearing about how the monument came to be built here in this very distinctive style.

ROYAL ALBERT HALL

2018 is the centenary of some British women getting the vote for the first time. This important moment in history is being marked throughout the year.

On Monday 26 March the Royal Albert Hall has a special screening of Suffragette (2015) followed by a Q&A as part of their Women and the Hall festival.

The film is inspired by the true story of women's suffrage in Britain. Starring Anne-Marie Duff, Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, with Meryl Streep, the film follows the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement – women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal state.

The post-screening Q&A is chaired by Oscar winning producer Mia Bays. The panel includes the film’s director Sarah Gavron, producers Alison Owen (Elizabeth, Saving Mr Banks, Shaun of the Dead) and Faye Ward (Jane Eyre, The Other Boleyn Girl), Helen Pankhurst, international development and women's rights activist (and great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst), and Catherine Mayer – co-founder of the Women's Equality Party.

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

The National Portrait Gallery is staging an exhibition of photographs by four of the most celebrated figures in art photography, including previously unseen works and a notorious photomontage.

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography opens on 1 March and combines the portraits by Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Oscar Rejlander (1813–75) and Lady Clementina Hawarden (1822-65). The exhibition is the first to examine the relationship between these four groundbreaking artists.

Drawn from public and private collections internationally, it features some of the most breathtaking images in photographic history, including many which have not been seen in Britain since they were made.

Swedish born Oscar Rejlander is considered to be the 'Father of Photoshop' and the exhibition includes the finest surviving print of his famous picture Two Ways of Life of 1856-7, which used his pioneering technique combining several different negatives to create a single final image. Constructed from over 30 separate negatives, Two Ways of Life was so large it had to be printed on two sheets of paper joined together.

As an Alice in Wonderland fan I want to see Lewis Carroll's photographs of his muse Alice Liddell. Also included are less well known photographs of Alice when she was an adult. 

NATIONAL GALLERY

Open from 28 February at the National Gallery, Murillo: The Self Portraits marks the 400th anniversary of his birth. Spanish artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo is well known for his religious paintings and his extraordinary depictions of street children.

The exhibition reunites the only two known 'Self Portraits' by the artist for the first time in over three hundred years: one of Murillo in his thirties from the Frick Collection, New York (about 1650–5) and the other from the National Gallery Collection showing him about twenty years older.

With approximately ten additional works, including other paintings by Murillo and later reproductions of the two self-portraits that reflect their fame in Europe, this presents an exciting opportunity to appreciate this leading figure in Spanish 17th-century art in a new light.

BOAT RACE

The Boat Race is an annual contest between two rowing crews from Oxford and Cambridge Universities and this year it's on Saturday 24 March. 2018 brings the 164th Boat Race and 73rd Women's Boat Race.

The Race starts downstream of Putney Bridge and passes under Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes Bridge before finishing just before Chiswick Bridge. The Championship Course is 4 miles, 374 yards (6.8 km) long.

The crew who win the coin toss before the race choses which side (or station) they will race on. The stations are known as Middlesex and Surrey, with advantages and disadvantages for each side because of the bends in the river.

It's a popular event so as well as watching from next to the Thames, there are two Fan Parks a Furnivall Gardens in Hammersmith and Bishops Park in Fulham.

The record time over the course in The Boat Race is 16 minutes 19 seconds, set by Cambridge in 1998. But while the race itself is quite short the fun goes on all day with food and drink, entertainment and those all important big screens to see the race.

SERPENTINE GALLERY

Two exhibitions are opening at the Serpentine Gallery on 6 March. American artist Ian Cheng explores the nature of mutation and the capacity of humans to relate to change.

Drawing on principles of video game design, improvisation and cognitive science, Cheng has developed 'live simulations' which he likens to a 'neurological gym'. It's a format for viewers to deliberately exercise feelings of confusion, anxiety and cognitive dissonance that accompany the experience of unrelenting change.

And in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, there's an exhibition of work by American artist Sondra Perry. Her work revolves around black American history and ways in which technology shapes identities, often with her own personal history as a point of departure.

This is Perry's first solo presentation of her work in Europe and includes a site-specific installation incorporating existing works.

TATE BRITAIN

All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life opened at Tate Britain on 28 February (and stays until 27 August 2018). Focusing on modern figurative painting from the second half of the 20th century, with Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon at its heart, Tate Britain examines how artists in Britain captured the intense experience of life in paint.

Groups of major and rarely seen works by Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon give visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the rich sensuality and intimacy of these two modern masters.

Key paintings spanning Freud's career explore his studio as both context and subject of his work and show how his unflinchingly honest depictions of models became more sculptural and visceral over time, in works such as Frank Auerbach 1975-6 and Sleeping by the Lion Carpet 1996.

In contrast to Freud's practice of working from life, the exhibition looks at Bacon's relationship with photographer John Deakin, whose portraits of friends and lovers were often the starting point for Bacon's work, including Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne 1966. Earlier works by Bacon like Study after Velazquez 1950 are shown alongside a sculpture by Giacometti, both artists having explored the enduring presence of isolated figures.

There are around 100 artworks on display including works from the School of London artists such as Frank Auerbach and R.B. Kitaj and the figurative work of Paula Rego and F.N. Souza, among others.

 If you are planning a trip in London this February, 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: Movie Nights: © Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London  |  Victorian Giants: Two ways of Life by Oscar Rejlander, 1856-7, © Moderna Museet, Stockholm  |  Murillo: The Self Portraits: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Count Diego Ortiz de Zúñiga (1633–1680), about 1665, Private collection in the UK, © Photo courtesy Sotheby's  |  Boat Race: © Pointillist  |  All Too Human: Lucian Freud, Girl with a White Dog 1950–1. Tate. © Tate