Recommend these events to your guests this June to guarantee a great trip
This year’s London Open Garden (10-11 June) sees 117 green spaces across the capital opening to the public. It’s a rare opportunity to visit garden squares, community gardens, allotments and mini woodlands, plus the gardens of charities, places of worship and City of London guilds, with 13 London boroughs represented. A weekend ticket grants you entry to the vast majority of the green spaces, though some gardens, such as the Skyline Garden on the rooftop of Coutts Bank, must be pre-booked.
The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition (13 June-20 Aug) has been held every year without interruption since 1769. It’s the largest open submission art exhibition in the world, featuring more than 1,000 artworks spanning almost every medium, from paintings to prints and from film to sculpture. You’ll find work by famous names as well as lesser-known artists up and down the country, with work selected by a committee of leading artists and architects. Most works are available to buy.
See performances of dozens of top West End musicals at West End LIVE (17-18 June), a free annual celebration of London theatre in Trafalgar Square. The weekend is non-ticketed to enable as many people as possible to join the fun, so make sure you turn up early to get a good viewing spot. Participating shows are announced in early June, but based on the 2022 lineup, which included Sister Act, Six and Hamilton, you’re in for a spectacular time.
When it comes to horse races, it’s hard to beat Royal Ascot (20-24 June), the crème de la crème of the British racing calendar in terms of pageantry, fashion and royal connections. There are three enclosures to choose from (the fourth, the Royal Enclosure, is invitation only), each offering a different atmosphere depending on how formal you like to be and how close you want to be to the track. Additional packages such as catered picnics can be added to event tickets.
The National Portrait Gallery reopens this month (22 June), showcasing the splendid results of a three-year refurbishment. Changes to the gallery’s historic building include a new Learning Centre, gallery spaces and a more welcoming entrance, while a complete rehang of the collection means that even areas that returning visitors think they know well will feel completely different. The gallery opens with an exhibition of photographs by Paul McCartney.
East London’s culture scene gets a boost this summer with the reopening of Young V&A (formerly the V&A Museum of Childhood) on 1 July following a £13 million transformation. It’s designed with children up to the age of 14 in mind, with three new galleries – Play, Imagine and Design – that encourage active engagement with the museum’s extraordinary collection of over 33,000 objects. Exciting new acquisitions include a skateboard owned by Tokyo 2020 medallist Sky Brown, aged just 13 when she competed.