A bumper crop of new design and art exhibitions are waiting to be discovered this February at the city’s best galleries and museums, alongside restaurant openings throughout the British capital, and Lunar New Year celebrations.
Here are the best things to do in London this February.
Seasonal things to do in London
Lunar New Year
When: 10 February
Lunar New Year falls on Saturday 10th February this year, and Chinese New Year celebrations are set to return to the West End and Chinatown to bring in the Year of the Dragon. Expect colourful processions with dozens of floats, countless lanterns, and the biggest Chinese dragon and lion display in Europe, as well as ceremonies and performances in Trafalgar Square. Elsewhere, restaurants across the city are hosting activations and special menus to celebrate. Daddy Bao in Tooting has created a special menu full of Taiwanese traditions and symbols, including venison and plum bao, roast duck and whole grilled bream. The similarly named and separate restaurant Bao is setting up a pop-up kiosk in Dover Street Market to celebrate, joining forces with esteemed designers to create limited edition collaboration pieces.
Food and drink happenings in London
Address: 129A Pritchard’s Road, London, E2 9AP
Price: small plates from 4 GBP; large plates from 13 GBP
A new neighbourhood restaurant has opened by Broadway Market in Hackney, from sommelier Honey Spencer and partner Charlie Sims. Pop in for lunch, or a candlelit evening meal with canal-side views. As expected, the wine list is excellent, while the kitchen is captained by chef Michael Robins, who comes from Pidgin. A varied menu includes as za’atar spiced lamb ribs with honey, velvety homemade pastas, and a lavish fruits de mer plate.
Belvedere, Holland Park
Address: Holland Park, Abbotsbury Road, London W8 6LU
Price: main dishes from 19 GBP
The latest iteration of west London’s Belvedere transforms the former ballroom into a romantic double-height dining room, with towering palms and leafy pants, set behind grand gates within Holland Park’s lavish, manicured gardens. An Italian-leaning menu includes creamy lobster linguine, beetroot ravioli with smoked burrata and posh pizzas. Keep cosy by the bar for now, but make a reservation on the outdoor terrace when the weather warms up. There is also a private dining room for larger events.
The Good Egg, Camden
Where: 732-736 North Yard, Camden Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AH
How much: Brunch from 14 GBP
Stoke Newington’s neighbourhood brunch spot The Good Egg, which offers a mix of East Med all day brunch options along with natural wines and cocktails, has opened a second location in Camden Stables Market. Outdoor seating at the front is crying out for some warm weekend mornings for brunch in the sun, and it is also open in the evening on Fridays and Saturdays. The lamb shawarma and smoked haddock hashes are excellent, as are the labneh, hummus and whipped feta dips. And to finish, there’s a variety of babka to choose from – including babka French toast.
Where: 120a W Green Road, South Tottenham, London, N15 5AA
How much: Sharing plates 5-22 GBP
Neighbourhood small plates restaurant and wine bar Pasero, which opened in October 2022, is celebrating the appointment of a new head chef, Angelos Angelides, who previously worked at Brat, Honey & Co and Bao, and will take the reins for a few months. His European cooking is inspired by his Cypriot and Serbian heritage. The menu changes weekly, and recent dishes have included lamb tartare, chestnut and pumpkin wontons, and marinated mackerel and caper stems.
The best exhibitions in London
Barbara Kruger: Thinking of
You. I Mean Me. I Mean You at Serpentine Galleries
Where: Serpentine South Gallery, London, W2 3XA
When: 1 February – 17 March
American artist Barbara Kruger is presenting her first solo institutional show in London for more than 20 years. The 79-year-old artist is known for her impactful use of images and words, drawing from an early career in graphic design. Her work applies the visual language of advertising and media to explore the mechanisms of power, gender, class and consumerism. The show features unique installations spanning the floors, walls and ceilings of South Serpentine Gallery, accompanied by moving images and soundscapes, and will enter the public realm in the form of an immersive digital screen installation at Outernet Arts in Soho.
When Forms Come Alive at Hayward Gallery
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
When: 7 February – 6 May
Price: 18 GBP
This new group exhibition at the Hayward Gallery spans 60 years of contemporary sculpture, featuring work by 21 international artists including Ruth Asawa, Jean-Luc Moulène and Nairy Baghramian. The curation takes movement, flux and organic growth as its central theme, and presents how artists are influenced by these familiar experiences. Materialising in the form of a dancer’s gesture or the breaking of a wave on a shoreline, the sculptures invite a tactile gaze along their undulating, dynamic forms.
Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art at The Barbican
Where: Barbican Art Gallery, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
When: 13 February – 26 May
Price: 18 GBP
A new show at The Barbican explores how artists from the 60s to today have explored the transformative and subversive potential of textiles, harnessing the medium to question power, who holds it, and how it can be reclaimed. Spanning small handcrafted pieces to large scale sculptural installations, the exhibition brings together more than 100 artworks by 50 international artists, working across stitching, braiding, weaving, beading and knotting.
Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind at Tate Modern
Where: Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
When: 15 February – 1 September
Price: 22 GBP
Tate Modern is hosting the UK’s largest exhibition celebrating the work of artist and activist Yoko Ono, particularly her trailblazing early conceptual and participatory art, film and performance. Spanning seven decades of the artist’s multidisciplinary practice, the show will trace the development of her work and its impact on contemporary culture, bringing together over 200 works including installations, scores, films, music, and photography. Also featured are her instruction pieces, which instruct the viewer to complete the work, sometimes with a single verb, such as ‘Touch’, or a simple phrase like ‘Listen to a heartbeat’. A particular focus in the exhibition is her radical work created during her time living in London in the 60s.
Zheng Bo: Bamboo as Method at Somerset House
Where: Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
When: Until 28 April
Somerset House is hosting a large-scale commission from Hong-Kong artist Zheng Bo, transforming Fountain Court into a lush bamboo garden of more than 300 plants. The installation creates a quiet space for contemplation and offers a reminder of the restorative qualities of nature in the heart of the city. Visitors are invited by the artist to participate in the installation by sketching different bamboo species growing in the garden. Once completed, the drawings are deposited in the garden to decompose and fertilise, creating a circular relationship between visitors’ creative responses and the natural impetus.
Mao Yan: New Paintings at Pace Gallery
Where: 5 Hanover Square, London W1S 1HQ
When: Until March 2024
Pace Gallery London in Mayfair is running an exhibition of new paintings by Chinese painter Mao Yan this month. Yan is one of the most influential painters in China and has established a reputation for striking portraits over the last decade, developing a depth of expression within the medium. Following his large-scale survey at Song Art Museum in Beijing, this show at Pace will focus on his new phase of representative portraits and abstract paintings, fusing classical techniques and dynamic innovation.
Skateboard at the Design Museum
Where: 224-238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AG
When: Until 2 June 2024
Price: From 14.38 GBP
The Design Museum is tracing the history of skateboard design, from the 1950s to the present day, taking in its humble homemade origins to contemporary professional and technological models. The exhibition is curated by author, designer and skater Jonathan Olivares, and is the first of its kind in the UK to explore skateboard design in such depth. Ninety unique designs are on display alongside over 100 other objects, including hardware, VHS tapes, DVDs, magazines and other ephemera. Alongside the exhibition, a skateboard ramp has been installed in the gallery, allowing skaters to ride inside the museum.
Ainu Stories: Contemporary Lives by the Saru River at Japan House
When: Until 21 April 2024
Where: 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA
How much: Free
Located on Kensington High Street, Japan House acts as a Japanese cultural hub for Europe. Its latest exhibition focuses on contemporary Ainu, an indigenous community native to Northern Japan. Curated in collaboration with the people of Biratori – a town in Hokkaido – it explores Ainu culture through its distinctive language (which differs to Japanese), music, craft and photography. The exhibit is accompanied by an extensive events programme that is soon to be announced, including live emus-rimse (sword-dance) performances and cookery workshops.
Continue your cultural tour of London with our insider guide to the city’s greatest galleries and museums.