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What's on in London in June 2016 near Canary Wharf

This month in London brings a new giant slide, medieval jousting and the Queen's 90th birthday.

ORBIT SLIDE

From 24 June you can 'ride the slide' at The Orbit on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We all said the UK's tallest sculpture looked like a helter skelter and now it has the curly slide to complete our dreams.

The slide is the world's longest and tallest tunnel slide, measuring approximately 178m long and 76m high. You will zoom down at about 15mph and reach the ground in 40 seconds as you circle The Orbit twelve times.

Anish Kapoor designed The Orbit and Belgian artist Carsten Höller has created the slide making this is a unique collaboration between two of the world's leading artists and a major new interactive art installation for the capital.

AC/DC

Rock band AC/DC are going to be the first band to perform at the transformed Olympic Stadium at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. On Saturday 4 June AC/DC are returning to the UK as part of their European Rock or Bust tour; in support of their 2014 release Rock or Bust - their first album since 2008's Black Ice and the first without founding member Malcolm Young. 

The stadium can hold 80,000 so this is a big concert and I'm hoping for some of their most well-known hits such as Highway to Hell, Back in Black and Whole Lotta Rosie.

GREENWICH + DOCKLANDS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL

Greenwich + Docklands International Festival is London's leading festival of free outdoor theatre, dance, and street arts and it's back for a 2016 spectacular. The Festival has been growing every year and in 2015 it featured over a hundred performances. On from 24 June to 2 July, GDIF is celebrating its 21st birthday this year with six World Premieres, five UK Premieres and twelve London Premieres.

The festival has three large scale productions including a spectacular fusion of dance, film and pyrotechnics to mark the 400th anniversary of The Queen's House in Greenwich.

More highlights include The People Build – a monumental installation at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park assembled from cardboard boxes and human power, and Dancing City – a two day programme of outdoor dance across the parks and piazzas of Canary Wharf.

ABOVE AND BEYOND

On until 29 August, Above and Beyond at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich allows you to experience what space flight is really like and glimpse into its future in a new family-friendly, interactive exhibition.

Packed full with immersive simulations, interactive design challenges and visionary concepts for the future, you can learn how to fly like a bird with Spread Your Wings, take an Elevator to Space and enjoy the view of Earth from above, or go on a Marathon to Mars and see how your body would cope on the long-haul trip to the red planet.

The exhibition, produced in collaboration with NASA, features interactive experiences made possible using flight simulation, augmented reality and virtual reality.

The exhibition will also span Boeing's centennial date of 15 July 2016, following the founding of the company by Bill Boeing.

GRAND MEDIEVAL JOUST

On Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June there's the Grand Medieval Joust at Eltham Palace.

It's a thundering battle of bravery with knights competing on horseback ready for your cheers.

Visitors can get into the medieval way of life in the colourful encampments and be entertained by the cheeky court jester, whilst budding young knights test their strength in the field.

MARY HEILMANN

The Whitechapel Art Gallery presents the first major UK survey of the American artist Mary Heilmann. Looking at Pictures spans the artist's five decade career, from her early geometric paintings made in the 1970s to her recent shaped canvases in day-glo colours. It features approximately 45 paintings as well as a selection of ceramics, chairs and works on paper, many of which have never been exhibited, offering a unique insight into her playful approach to abstraction.

Born in California in 1940, Heilmann studied ceramics and poetry before moving to New York in 1968 and taking up painting. Her vibrantly coloured, abstract canvases reference popular culture, particular places and personal experiences with a good dose of humour.

19 PRINCELET STREET

Also known as the Museum of Immigration, 19 Princelet Street is a fascinating place to visit and has been described as our "Ellis Island." London has been a haven for immigrants for centuries yet we have no permanent collection to document and celebrate London's diverse ethnic heritage.

The building dates back to 1719 and was a five-storey Georgian townhouse in Spitalfields where Huguenot silk weavers lived. In 1869 it became a synagogue and stayed one up to the 1960s. The building hasn't been well preserved and a charity is fundraising for renovations. Yet it is a unique and moving place to visit and a time capsule that should be preserved to tell its story.

There are free openings for Refugee Week on Sunday 19 June, 2pm-6pm, and Sunday 26 June, 2pm-6pm. Expect long queues as the rare openings are always popular.

There are also daytime tours available this month to see both 19 Princelet Street and Dennis Severs' House – another unrenovated Georgian building with an imaginary family of Huguenot silk weavers 'living' there.

OPEN GARDEN SQUARES WEEKEND

With 211 gardens taking part in Open Garden Squares Weekend this year, a single ticket allows visitors an unique opportunity to discover and explore some of London's most fascinating squares, gardens and green spaces – most of which are not normally open to the public.

On Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June there are gardens open all across London including the spectacular Roof Garden at Crossrail Place in Canary Wharf.

Crossrail Place Roof Garden and Jubilee Place are hosting Bloom & Grow for the weekend too with a programme of walks, talks, workshops and children's activities to appeal to both gardening experts and green-fingered novices alike.

LIFT FESTIVAL

Lift Festival is a London-wide festival of performance, politics and pop culture running from 1 June to 2 July.

From 1 to 3 June at Crossrail Place in Canary Wharf there's Everything by my side – a UK theatrical debut of a dreamlike installation by celebrated contemporary Argentinian artist Fernando Rubio.

You are invited to step into bed and listen to long-lost memories of a childhood tale, whispered to you from across the covers. Lay down and enjoy.

LIFE'S A DREAM

Keeping that dream-like feeling, there's open-air theatre in Jubilee Park in Canary Wharf on Monday 27 June at 6.45pm. Based on Calderon's greatest play, La Vida Es Sueño, published 20 years after Shakespeare's death, Life's a Dream is regarded as the jewel in the crown of Spain's golden age of literature. It's an epic fable of love, war and destiny, brimming with passion and laced with humour.

A young woman, travelling through a wild and mountainous region, discovers a prince who has been locked away by his father to thwart a prophecy that he will bring disaster to the world and death to the king. Prompted by the woman, the king is overcome with remorse and sets his son free. But is it possible to escape what’s written in the stars? It sounds like you need go to find out.

By choosing to stay at Fraser Place Canary Wharf you will be in the heart of Canary Wharf, and a short ride away from some of these great events happening in June. Check out our Special Offers and we hope to welcome you soon! 

Fraser Suites Queens Gate has also a great selection on what to do in London near Kensington: Find out more

Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on Twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

 

Image credits: Lift Festival: © Maria Baranova  |  GDIF: © Lumi Photogaphie  |  Mary Heilmann: © Mary Heilmann, Music of the Spheres, Photo credit: Hauser & Wirth, Courtesy of the artist, 303 Gallery, New York, and Hauser & Wirth