Spring in the City

Spring in the City
Credit Unsplash

Spring has officially arrived. Whether you’re looking for something to do with the kids or you want to plan a day out with a loved one. Here’s a list of some wonderful things to do in the City.

Something for the cultural connoisseur

Whether you’re a history buff or a cultural connoisseur, the City’s iconic heritage and world-class arts and cultural scene delivers a rich programme of activities. Explore London through a fresh perspective at the Kaleidoscope/London exhibition at Guildhall Art Gallery; uncover Roman history that’s over 2,000 years old right under the City’s streets, or find out where some of the world’s most famous literary pioneers lived.

  1. Hear beautiful music in historic locations: Discover concerts across the City including City Music Foundation’s monthly lunchtime concerts at magnificent Livery Halls each month, and Temple Music’s regular concerts in the stunning Temple Church and Middle Temple Hall. Events include an exquisite lunchtime concert by soprano singer, Caroline Taylor and internationally acclaimed pianists, Roger Vignoles giving a special recital at the ornate Goldsmith’s Hall on 26 March.
  2. Billingsgate Roman House and Baths: Reopening for public tours in April, visit the curious old pathways beneath the Square Mile and discover the rich Roman history surviving 2,000 years of buildings, fires and bombings. Public tours take place every Saturday from April at 101 Lower Thames Street.
  3. Follow in the footsteps of famous writers: Visit Dr Johnson’s House, the place Dr Samuel Johnson, the writer and wit, lived and worked in the mid-18th century, compiling his great Dictionary of the English Language. To continue the literary theme, join guided walking tours with official City of London Guides, or pick up self-guided walks from the City Information Centre (opposite St Paul’s Cathedral) to follow in the footsteps of Charles Dickens and Shakespeare.
  4. Free outdoor installations: From 10 April until 18 August, Purple Hibiscus – an ambitious new commission created in collaboration with hundreds of craftspeople from Tamale in Ghana and artist Ibrahim Mahama – will transform the Barbican’s Lakeside Terrace as colossal panels of pink and purple fabric are fitted to the exterior. The commission forms part of the ‘Unravel: The Power & Politics of Textiles in Art’ exhibition (13 Feb – 26 May) at the Barbican Centre.

Outdoor spaces for a spot of spring sun

If you’re looking to soak up the spring sun, why not dine al fresco on the sunken lawn at Festival Garden next to St Paul’s Cathedral, step into a secret garden in church ruins at St Dunstan or visit the tropical oasis at the Barbican Conservatory.

  1. Festival Gardens: Perch for a picnic in the sunken lawn and listen to the trickling fountain at the beautiful Festival Gardens against the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral backdrop.
  2. St Dunstan in the East Church Garden: Step into the secret garden of these church ruins with award-winning landscaping of lush foliage and twisting branches to frame dozens of Instagram-worthy pics. See if you can capture that perfect ‘past meets future’ shot of The Shard spied through an ancient archway.
  3. Postman’s Park: One of the City’s largest open spaces, Postman’s Park harbours a fascinating history, part of which can be discovered in the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice. Located between King Edward Street and Aldersgate Street.
  4. Barbican Conservatory: Step into the tropical paradise bursting with life within the iconic brutalist architecture of the Barbican Centre. The second biggest conservatory in London is free to enter but tickets must be booked in advance.
  5. Sky Garden: Visit the capital’s highest public garden and experience epic views of London and enjoy a drink from its two bars and two restaurants. Visiting is free but spaces are limited and must be booked in advance.
  6. City in Bloom: Discover City Gardens and green spaces bursting with colourful flowers. With 180 green spaces across the City, there’s a wide range of places to explore and relax. Find perfect pink cherry blossom in March in Aldgate Square and outside St Paul’s Cathedral; elegant magnolias at St Mary Aldermanbury Gardens (late March to early April). bright red and pink Tree Peonies in Cleary Gardens); and for purple Wisteria in May, head for St Paul’s Cathedral Churchyard Gardens, or go up to the outdoor rooftop Garden at 120.

Family Fun

Keeping the kids entertained is easy with an array of family-friendly activities across the Square Mile. Whether it’s coming fact to face with the larger-than-life animals at the Wild Babies exhibition, special screenings at the Family Film Club at the Barbican, or exploring renowned history with the Children’s Trail – there’s something for the whole family!

  1. City of London Children’s Trail: Step into a realm where history meets modernity as you explore the City of London with the Children’s Trail map. Find your free Children’s Trail Map & stickers from the City Information Centre near St Paul’s Cathedral for an interactive family experience.
  2. Wild About Babies outdoor statues: Experience the magic of larger-than-life animal statues at Paternoster Square. Witness gorillas, hippos, elephants, and more come to life in this captivating free exhibition by artists Gillie and Marc. The installation is on display all year until January 2025.
  3. Sculpture in the City: Delve into the beauty of outdoor artworks with Sculpture in the City around the eastern side of the City. Families can download a special family map for extra activities and fun while you follow the trail. The 12th Edition artworks will be in place until April 2024.
  4. Family Film Club at the Barbican: Experience enchanting screenings and drawing demos at Barbican’s Family Film Club every Saturday morning.
  5. F1 Arcade: Ignite your sense of adventure with the thrilling F1 Arcade. Experience the glamour and excitement of Formula 1® with bespoke full-motion racing simulators, delicious food, and an electric atmosphere. The perfect venue for a family gaming experience until 6pm, with an 18+ age policy after. Located at One New Change.
  6. Second Saturday – Free Family Activities: A monthly programme of family activities at Guildhall Art Gallery with different themes each month may have you heading into the Roman Amphitheatre and hearing tales of Roman conquests or creating crafts from the Victorian paintings surrounding you.
  7. The War of the World’s Immersive Experience: Experience a Martian Invasion in London with this interactive adventure packed with sensory moments, VR and AR technology, volumetric holograms and immersive theatre. Live actors, virtual reality and iconic music recreating 24 interactive scenes.

For the latest headlines from the City of London and beyond, follow City Matters on TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.