What's on in London this May 2018 near Kensington
Spring in London is a wonderful time for walks in the parks as the flowers are blooming. This month has two public holidays (on Monday 7 May and Monday 28 May) so that means two long weekends to enjoy.
FASHIONED FROM NATURE
Close to Fraser Suites Queens Gate, the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) has two interesting exhibitions on this month.
Fashioned From Nature is on until 27 January 2019. It explores the relationship between fashion and nature from 1600 to the present day.
In the first UK exhibition to examine the environmental impact of fashion over more than 400 years, fashionable dress is presented alongside natural history specimens, taxidermy and unprocessed materials. The exhibition asks how we can design a more sustainable fashion industry and what we can learn from the last four centuries.
Exquisite designs inspired by nature are shown alongside objects of protest showing the harmful impact fashion's demands and processes have on the earth. A range of contemporary solutions showing the research, creativity and innovation being developed today to improve fashion's processes are on display. These include new fibres made from food waste, designs created from recycled and upcycled materials and intriguing examples of bio-engineered dyes.
THE FUTURE STARTS HERE
Also at the V&A, The Future Starts Here is on until 4 November 2018. This exhibition explores the power of design in shaping the world of tomorrow with more than 100 objects on display.
This is the first opportunity to not only see projects of major corporations such as Google and Apple, but to understand them alongside alternative futures presented by smaller institutions and independent designers.
A major highlight is the public display of Facebook's Aquila aircraft, part of a solar-powered high-altitude platform station (HAPS) system which is in early development as part of Facebook's efforts to bring affordable connectivity to unconnected regions around the world.
The exhibits are the seeds of possible futures, currently in development, being worked on by scientists and designers in studios and laboratories around the world. The exhibition includes portraits of Chelsea Manning generated by her DNA, a chargeable shirt which can power a smartphone, objects printed by the world's first zero gravity printer and a global seed bank to prevent loss of plant species in the event of a crisis.
Together they present various ways in which emerging technologies might affect our lives in the near future, and what choices we have – as citizens – to influence their development.
RODIN AND THE ART OF ANCIENT GREECE
Do head into town this month, as the British Museum has Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece on until 29 July 2018.
For the first time, this major exhibition is bringing together the artist's works with the Parthenon sculptures that influenced his radical approach to sculpture. The show includes Rodin's iconic works The Kiss and The Thinker, and many other sculptures on loan from the Musée Rodin.
In 1881 French sculptor Auguste Rodin visited London. On a trip to the British Museum, he saw the Parthenon sculptures and was instantly captivated and inspired by the beauty of these ancient Greek masterpieces. Included in the exhibition are a number of Rodin’s sketches, including 13 of the Parthenon Sculptures. Some of the sketches were done on headed notepaper from the Thackeray Hotel where Rodin stayed when he was in London, right opposite the British Museum.
This exhibition allows visitors to understand the extent of the influence of the art of antiquity, in particular the Parthenon Sculptures, on Rodin and appreciate the full breadth and depth of Rodin's unique vision and extraordinary achievement as a sculptor.
ROYAL ALBERT HALL
If you are ready for a night out, Planet Earth II – Live in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 13 May 2018 should be really good.
Experience sensational footage from the natural world and Hans Zimmer's stunning score performed live at a special celebration of the landmark television series, Planet Earth II.
Zimmer is renowned for his work on the likes of Gladiator, Interstellar and Blade Runner 2049, but said the landmark BBC series stood out amongst his work.
In this spectacular, the audience gets to rub shoulders with our acrobatic primate cousins in the steaming jungles of Madagascar, race alongside fearsome hunting lions in the remote sandy deserts of Namibia, face stormy Antarctic seas with a family of penguins and feel the raw tension as a baby iguana tries to escape the clutches of deadly racer snakes. And you can tap your toes along with dancing grizzly bears and be swept away by the bravery of a mother snow leopard.
FESTIVAL OF SCIENCE
Also on at the Royal Albert Hall is their inaugural Festival of Science. From 5 May to 10 July 2018, you can explore Space through a series of concerts, talks. screenings and comedy events for space and sci-fi fans young and old.
Highlights this month include an evening with the legendary astronaut Chris Hadfield and the Space Spectacular – a voyage through a galaxy of favourite music from deep space and beyond, with lights, lasers and indoor fireworks.
There's also a Big Space Day for kids to build and launch their own rockets, see a Mars Rover up-close and investigate an inflatable planetarium.
HAMPTON COURT PALACE
Hampton Court Palace's Tudor Kitchens reopen on 5 May 2018 with new displays featuring interactive technology and sensory experiences, allowing visitors to see, smell and touch their way through the process of preparing a meal fit for a king.
Hampton Court Palace's sprawling kitchen complex was the beating heart of Henry VIII's Thames-side pleasure palace, and once produced an astonishing 1,000 meals a day to satisfy the king, his guests, and all those working at the palace.
Look out for the historic kitchens team who are labouring daily to create a host of dishes guaranteed to tickle Tudor taste buds, and they may be on the look-out for extra kitchen hands.
While you're there, why not take a trip on an horse-drawn charabanc? When Queen Victoria opened Hampton Court Palace's gardens to the public in 1838 horse-drawn charabancs would have been a common sight.
The vehicle available is as close as possible to a Victorian horse-drawn charabanc but with a special 21st-century feature: unlike its Victorian predecessors it is wheelchair accessible via a portable lift.
The Temperate House at Kew Gardens also reopens on 5 May 2018. Designed by the eminent architect Decimus Burton, this Grade 1 listed glasshouse was built to house some of the world's rarest and most threatened plants arriving in Kew by the shipload from intrepid plant hunters all over the world. It is the world's largest Victorian glasshouse and has undergone a five-year restoration project.
In contrast to their sumptuous, romantic surroundings, these plants present a stark message. When the last plant of a particular species dies out, what might it take with it? A new cure for cancer? Ebola? The Temperate House will tell the stories of the plants that Kew has rescued, and the journeys they have taken to reach the sanctuary of their new home.
An incredible 10,000 exotic plants are going back in, many of them propagated by Kew's leading horticulturists. The plants in the Temperate House are made up of 1,500 species from temperate regions around the world: the Mediterranean, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South and Central America, Asia and island floras.
If you are planning a trip in London this May, 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: Rodin in his Museum of Antiquities at Meudon on the outskirts of Paris, about 1910. Photo: Albert Harlingue. Image © Musée Rodin | V&A Fashioned From Nature: Cape of curled cockerel feathers, Auguste Champot, France, ca. 1895. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London | V&A The Future Starts Here: Shooting Stars project, Ale and Co Ltd, 2016 © ALE Co. Ltd | Planet Earth II Live in Concert: Swimming sloth, credit: BBC | Temperate House © RBG Kew.