An ‘out-of-season’ visit to the UK capital is appealing, indeed – not least because hotel rates and prices in general may well be cheaper outside of the summer and Holidays season, but also because the city’s easily one of the world’s most visiting; thus, a fascinating destination any time of the year. So, come February then, what should you try to pack into your event calendar London…?
Chinese New Year Parade
(Various locations in the West End/ 18th February from 10am onwards)
If you’re in the capital come the middle of February then you have to check out Chinatown – and the surrounding streets – as the Chinese New Year celebrations here are, each year, the biggest staged anywhere outside Asia.
Truly, And the chief attraction is always the parade that kicks-off in Charing Cross Road, featuring a dragon and lion dance shimmying its way into Chinatown itself. Simultaneously, stages erected in Trafalgar host major performances from midday onwards, while calligraphy workshops and more in Leicester Square maintain the family fun, before a fantastic pyrotechnics display back in Trafalgar Square closes the day’s celebrations.
Teatime at China Exchange
(32A Gerrard Street W1D 6JA/ 18th-25th February)
Following experiencing all the Chinese New Year’s Day tumult in the Trafalgar and Leicester Squares, why not pop into this nearby establishment where you can put craft skills to the test by creating a postcard inspired by the fun around you and learn all about the traditional Spring Festival festivities. Also, here, you can throw yourself into tea-making workshops, discovering traditional Chinese dresses and so on.
London Classic Car Show
(ExCel London, 1 Western Gateway E16 1XL/ 14th-17th February)
A little distance it may be from hotels in Paddington London it may be, yet this venue’s very easily reachable thanks to London’s terrific public transport system – and, speaking of travel, the showcase it’s hosting in mid-February looks set to be simply unmissable for car enthusiasts of great-looking motors from back in the day.
Populating the ‘Grand Avenue’, a spectacular roadway that’ll run right through the ExCel, will be some of the most prestigious vintage vehicles in the world – as well as products and memorabilia – all gathered together from classic car clubs, collectors and dealers. Additionally, expect a very special guest racing legend to make an appearance, alongside their cars, trophies and more; in previous years these have included Nigel Mansell and Jenson Button.
Hyde Park 5K and 10K Runs
(Hyde Park Bandstand W2 2UH/ 16th February; 9.30am-12noon)
An awesome opportunity to pit yourself against other amateur long-distance running enthusiasts, these two events’ll see hundreds of folks pulling on their spikes and completing either a 5k or 10k and run around the flat paths of the glorious green parkland right in the centre of London itself (and little more than a stroll away from our hotel in the heart of the Paddington district).
Superbugs: The Fight for Our Lives
(Science Museum, Exhibition Road SW7 2DD/ runs until 1st April)
Did you know you – and billions more of lucky people – have been indebted to antibiotics for all our lives? You may do, but it’s certainly not always been that way; what with these all-important drugs having been relied on for decades now to fight diseases that were once killers because they were untreatable.
And yet, fascinatingly, this exhibition takes as its focus – in an impressively and importantly educational way – the fact that bacteria are, like it or not, fighting back as they evolve into superbugs that are resistant to many antibiotics. Featuring interactive elements throughout, it studies the cutting-edge work scientists are doing to tackle this unprecedented threat, as well, of course, of entering the incredible, microscopic world of bacteria itself.