What's Happening in May
Eight months on from the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a grand weekend of coronation events in London will take place to celebrate the crowning of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey, a symbolic formality steeped in history.
Aside from watching the historic moment on television or taking to the streets for a glimpse of the newly-crowned King, the Capital will be flooded with coronation events - an ideal way to make use of the extra May bank holiday.
Outside of soaking in the atmosphere, here are some ways to enjoy London and celebrate the month of May.
1. Crown to Couture
Kensington Palace is staging its most extensive exhibition to date this summer – Crown to Couture. Featuring modern masterpieces like Lady Gaga’s MTV Awards dress alongside historical garments worn by Monarchs, including Charles II. A highlight of the exhibition is the Rockingham mantua, an exquisite example of court dress dating to the 1760s. Alexander McQueen’s production designer Joseph Bennett is behind the curation, so expect to be astounded in the glittering world of the Georgian royal court.
Address: Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
Until Sunday 29th October, 2023
2. Head to Grosvenor Square
The neighbourhood of Mayfair will host a secret garden party in honour of the new Monarch, transforming into an urban garden wonderland inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Soak up the sunshine in the square while sipping themed cocktails and watch history unfold on the cinema screens dotted across the greenery before enjoying a meal in a world-class restaurant nearby.
3. Enjoy the West End
A colourful display of over 150 Union Jack flags flies proudly above the iconic curve of Regent Street, and down to Waterloo Place. Make sure to spot the new coronation emblem, which forms part of the display. You can also see the flags in nearby St James’s from 30th April. St James’s Market plays host to another must-see display over the coronation period. Lit in glistening gold, James Glancy Design’s emblem art installation will become a focal point of the celebrations and will be available to view from the 27th of April, in the neighbourhood. Study the striking design inspired by the official emblem of the coronation, and spot the flora and fauna representing the four nations, shaped into a crown. Follow in royal footsteps by exploring some of the many Royal Warrant Holders in the area. These shops frequented by the Royal Family have been awarded warrants for their services – so, enjoy a spray or two of fantastic fragrances from Penhaligon’s or pamper yourself with Molton Brown's sumptuous soaps and body care products from its flagship store.
4. Dress like a Royal
Marylebone Village boasts its own royal warrant holders, perfect to pick up for your summer street party outfit. Known for quality, John Smedley are selling a limited edition knit jumper, with the wool sourced from The Duchy of Cornwall (a private estate established in 1337 which funds the public, charitable, and private activities of the Prince of Wales and his family). For the ladies, independent British clothing label O Pioneers, offers the most flattering floral dresses, crafted in floral Liberty fabrics. Keep your feet comfortable with Joseph Cheaney & Sons timeless leather shoes for both men and women.
5. Paddington Bear Walking Tour
Take the family on a Paddington Bear Walking Tour and discover more about everyone’s favourite marmalade-eating bear. Led by an expert guide, you’ll take a delightful walking tour through Paddington’s London and discover suitcases worth of stories about this famous bear’s journey to the capital from ‘darkest Peru’!From his humble beginnings in London when the kind-hearted Mr and Mrs Brown took him into their home and cared for him to his incredible escapades in the city, you will get to learn it all. Starting at the iconic location of Paddington station where you will get to see the wonderful Paddington statue before following in the (large) footsteps of the blue-coated bear. Be on the lookout for iconic locations from the films and storybooks of London's most beloved bear.
13, 20, 27 and 30 May