Music, Art, Theatre: London’s West End Wonders

London’s West End provides a brilliant festival of theatre, music and art this summer.

Jul 17, 2012
Attractions in West End: the streets of London’s West End in the United Kingdom
London’s lively West End is rolling out the red carpet this summer.
Photography Thinkstock

Though London’s summer season is always a feast of arts, special events and music, this summer of 2012 is particularly outstanding. With so many visitors pouring in for the season’s special events, theatres, museums and galleries are making an extra effort. While sports fans are focused on East London and the Olympic Park, the West End is in full swing, with a bounty of cultural festivities. Try these:

Take in a show. For almost all the West End shows, it will be performances as usual during this summer. In case you’ve come with your family, about 40 shows have extended the annual Kids Week discounts through the end of August: One child under 16 goes free with an adult paying full price, plus another two children’s tickets are available for half price.

Enjoy world-class music at the Proms. Every summer the BBC produces a series of stellar concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington. It’s a chance to see orchestras, guest artists and soloists from all over the world, and it lasts throughout the summer—the last night of the Proms in 2012 is September 8. The atmosphere is effervescent, and the eight-week concert series has been going on since 1895—a genuine London tradition.

See the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. The world’s largest open submission art show is now in its 244th year. This juried art show is unique in that anyone can apply to be shown in the RA gallery alongside and on equal footing with Britain’s most well-established artists. All media, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film, are exhibited and most of the works are available for sale. This could be your chance to discover an up-and-coming artist or purchase a print by a fellow of the Royal Academy.

Attend an open-air gig at Somerset House. The magnificent courtyard of Somerset House, an 18th-century Neoclassical building near the Strand, is the splendid venue of open-air events. In July, Paloma Faith and Charlotte Gainsbourg are among the artists scheduled to perform. Throughout August, it’s films under the stars—from classics and cult films to experimental shorts. Before your concert or film, pop inside the Somerset House galleries for free exhibitions: “The Rolling Stones: 50” in the East Wing Galleries and “From the Margin to the Edge: Brazilian Art and Design in the 21st Century” in the Embankment Galleries.

Love London? Read more here.


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