New season starts: the latest openings in London

London, Great Britain

8 places
Harriet Wiseman

There is always something hopeful and rejuvenating about spring, new life starts to appear both around us in nature as the flowers begin to rise through the soil, and about us in the new wave of exciting ventures opening up in the city. This season looks set to be interesting and varied with innovation sprouting up in the form of exhibitions, restaurants, bars and club nights.

The Sky Garden

The Sky Garden is a triple-level space at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street (also know as the Walkie-Talkie due to its eccentric yet familiar shape). The huge gardens featuring a wide array of vegetation are open for free to the public and offer incredible views of the city. There is an open air terrace on which you can get the full force of the sun on your face. It is worth getting ahead of the crowd and visiting now to witness those lovely spring mornings from such a great height. There is a bar, a reasonably priced brasserie and a fine dining seafood restaurant in the gardens, and as word gets around it is worth telephoning ahead to book your table (the staff are also really lovely and can't do enough to help you).

Bull in a China Shop

When it comes to inspired pairings, you can’t get much better than whiskey and rotisserie chicken – that lovely succulent meat washed down by the strong, warming whiskey is the perfect antidote to the bustling city. That is exactly the thinking behind the new eatery ‘Bull in a China Shop’ (opening up in Shoreditch in early April). The head chef Simon Chan brines the chicken for 4 hours, then marinates it in Asian spices and yoghurt for 24 hours before glazing it in whiskey (my mouth is already watering). Bull in a China Shop will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as offering cocktails and whiskeys for those that want to sample the assortment of Japanese varieties available.

Spring at Somerset House

Spring at Somerset House is one of the must visit destinations this year. Skye Gyngell’s first solo enterprise, Spring’s exceptionality comes in its approach to cooking – the kitchen is lead by the ingredients of the season and creates elegant menus that change daily to adapt to this method. The setting itself is beautiful, calming and refined, the renovated 19th century drawing room is filled with light and unusual art works. If sophisticated food with a historical background is your idea of heaven then book yourself a table at Spring and enjoy!

The Pignic at The Proud Archivist

The Proud Archivist is situated on Regent's Canal, it is a gallery, bar, restaurant, cafe and events space with beautiful views. The Proud Archivist serves food, drink and has a lively events programme. At the end of May they will be holding The Pignic – a pop-up event that will bring people together with micro pigs, in order to educate about their wellbeing and spread the word on how to look after one properly. Ran by Pet Piggies, a dedicated micro pig breeder in Bedfordshire, and, the idea is to spread the message on the sociable character of pigs and how to ensure they are kept healthy and happy. Highlights will include teacup pigs to play with, talks, drinks and food.

The Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House was founded in 1732 and is celebrated around the world for the high quality productions that it shows. This season is no exception: The Magic Flute, Il Turco in Italia, Madam Butterfly and Swan Lake are all on the menu this Spring. Tickets will sell out quickly so it is definitely worth booking in advance. The architecture of the building in Covent Garden will be of interest to those who enjoy the fusion of contemporary with antique; it really is a lovely space and when visiting you can’t help but be touched by the history of the company.

The Cross Keys Chelsea

This pub has seen JMW Turner, Dylan Thomas and Bob Marley walk through its doors an enjoy a tipple or two. It first opened in 1708 but shut its doors in 2012 so that it could have a well deserved renovation, now it is back in business and looking better than ever. The chef in the kitchen is Michelin star-trained so the food is to a very high quality, and yet it has managed to keep its pub atmosphere and you can still have a casual drink in a cosy corner. It is so new however that there are not any official photographs of the inside yet, so take the gamble and go and have a look for yourself.

White Cube

This brainchild of Jay Jopling, an influential British art businessman, former husband of the artist Sam Taylor-Wood and chief patron of young British artists needs no introduction. Besides that, Jopling is a close friend of Damien Hirst. With his financial support of his friend, Hirst created his axiomatic artworks The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (five-meter tiger shark in a tank of formaldehyde) and For the Love of God (diamond-encrusted skull for £14 million).
White Cube is a tier I commercial gallery, its turnover reaches astronomical figures, and represents the most expensive artists.
There are three galleries in the list of exhibition spaces of White Cube: in Mayfair, Hoxton, and a new space White Cube Bermondsey - the biggest commercial gallery in Europe claiming a status of the museum of modern art.
Admission is free.

The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The minds behind the infamous Ivy Restaurant have decided to open a little sister eatery in Chelsea. Opening in late March, The Ivy Chelsea Garden looks set to be a success - it will be set in a grade two listed building that has its own antique bowling green and it will even have tables for those that have not booked (a relief in comparison with its Covent Garden counterpart). The restaurant will be serving high end dishes but there will also be a bar, lounge, café, orangery, terrace and specially designed garden at the venue.


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