What's on in London this February 2018 around Canary Wharf, London
There's no time to hibernate as we've got lots of reasons to get out and enjoy London this month. Whether you like a drink with friends, daytime or evening exploring or want circus thrills we've got the best February recommendations.
CRAFT BEER RISING
The UK's biggest craft beer festival, Craft Beer Rising returns to east London for its 6th edition from 22 to 24 February. The venue is the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane with 175 breweries exhibiting from well-established beer brands such as Meantime, Sierra Nevada and Oakham Ales sitting alongside local rising stars like Gipsy Hill, Brixton Brewery and Mondo.
As well as the beer there's plenty of great street food and a full music programme too including Don Letts who introduced The Clash to Reggae.
If you prefer Londoners' favourite drink, there's a Gin Festival at Tobacco Dock for spirited fun from 15 to 18 February. They say it's the UK's first, biggest and best gin festival with an enormous variety of gins from all over the world.
As well as the sampling, there are masterclasses, the chance to meet gin distillers plus live music, great food and a gin cocktail bar.
CROSSRAIL PLACE ROOF GARDEN
Crossrail Place Roof Garden is a good place for peace in a busy city. It's free to visit and open every day (usually from 6am to 9pm).
The planting selected for the gardens is intended to reference the area's maritime heritage. Many of the chosen species are indigenous to countries visited during the 19th century by trading ships that used the three docks built in the area by the West India Dock Company trading group.
If you're now ready for some fun, the incredible Cirque Berserk! are back at the Peacock Theatre from 5 to 17 February. This is 'real circus made for theatre' and they're not kidding. There's beautiful contemporary circus artistry plus hair-raising, death-defying stunts, all on a stage in a West End theatre.
The show includes the return of its most famous – and most dangerous – act, the legendary ‘Globe of Death’, in which four motorcyclists defy gravity and risk life and limb traversing the inside of a spherical steel cage at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour!
And 2018 is the 250th anniversary of circus so this is the year to see a show. The art of the circus was born in 1768, when showman and entrepreneur Philip Astley first drew out a circular arena on an abandoned patch of land in London's Waterloo and filled it with astonishing equestrian acrobatics. (You can see some of those skills performed in the Zippos Circus 2018 show which starts its tour in London at Easter.)
SCULPTURE IN THE CITY
If you're ready to get out for an enjoyable walk how about exploring Sculpture in The City in the City of London? It's the seventh edition of the project and includes contemporary works by internationally renowned artists such as Paul McCarthy, Mark Wallinger and Damien Hirst.
It turns The City into an annual urban sculpture park with the backdrop of iconic architecture. Sculpture in The City is on the streets so is totally free and you can pick up a map at the City Information Centre, near St Paul's Cathedral, or download the app. The artworks are on display until May 2018.
At the start of the month, on 3 and 4 February you can also enjoy free guided walks across London for the Walk London Winter Wanders.
CLAPHAM SOUTH: SUBTERRANEAN SCREENINGS
Opened to the public for sheltering in July 1944, Clapham South deep-level shelter has over a mile of subterranean passageways that reveal the extraordinary stories of those who sheltered here, from Londoners seeking refuge during the Second World War, to Caribbean migrants arriving on the Empire Windrush, as well as thrifty visitors to the Festival of Britain.
For the screenings you get to cosy up underneath a blanket 180 steps underground and watch a bespoke Second World War film reel curated by London Transport Museum. See one of 16 sub-shelters in the vast complex of tunnels and learn about the realities of being a Londoner during the Second World War whilst sitting in one of eight deep-level shelters that exists across London.
With first hand oral histories and footage from people that actually sheltered here during the V-weapon raids and throughout the end of the war, Ministry of Information propaganda films, cartoons and newsreel clips of the day, this unique event transports you to a time encapsulated in history in this shelter hidden deep underground.
For both the Clapham South Shelter Tour and Subterranean Screening events the ticket price includes a half price day pass to the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, to be used within one month of the event date, and a 10% discount on all merchandise at the London Transport Museum’s shop, both online and in store too.
COLOUR: THE RAINBOW REVEALED
Colour: The Rainbow Revealed is an award-winning exhibition exploring the endless ways in which colour shapes our world. It opens at the family-friendly Horniman Museum in Forest Hill on 10 February.
Be dazzled by how colours are made and perceived, discover how animals use colour to attract and hide, and look into how different colours mean many different things for people across the planet.
The exhibition has interactive games including an Art Machine for you to create your own vibrant masterpiece, a Mood Room with multi-coloured lights, and a Colour Café to learn why only certain colours tempt our taste buds.
Also opening on 10 February, but this time at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, Dream On is an exploration of dreams, the unconscious and an imaginary world between sleep and wakefulness.
Looking at our relationship to objects and the power of the inanimate, this exhibition plays with the notion that objects come to life when we are not looking, much like our dreams as we fall asleep. You may look at your childhood teddy differently after seeing this exhibition.
DOCKS AFTER DARK
I mentioned these after-hours events last year but they are definitely worth noting again.
Docks After Dark are 2 hour-long evening tours of the Museum of London Docklands, housed in a 200 year old warehouse, on 6 and 27 February at 6.30pm.
You'll hear about ghostly secrets and chilling accounts from museum staff while being guided through the most haunted spots of the building. Follow in the footsteps of the men, women and children who worked in the Docks before meeting their grisly and untimely end.
Arrive on time as your ticket includes a refreshment in the Museum foyer (to help your nerves!)
TONY LAW COMEDY SPECIAL
Canadian stand-up Tony Law is performing his surreal style of alternative comedy from Cutty Sark with a night devoted to ships on 24 February. As well as his own inimitable show, he's bringing with him two special guests, each of whom have at least one routine that is ship related or historical (with bonus points for 19th century sailing routines). Join in the fun by bringing any naval and historical attire of your own.
Or come on 12 February to see Tom Allen and Friends. Following his sell-out performance during the Cutty Sark Edinburgh Fringe Previews, Tom Allen is returning to the ship once a month with his award-winning brand of comedy.
Also in Greenwich you can enjoy this kitsch classic featuring a soundtrack by Queen and outrageous outfits with prizes for best cosplay. Flash Gordon is on 17 February in the Peter Harrison Planetarium.
Ming the Merciless (Max Von Sydow) captures three puny earthlings when they crash land on his planet, but little does he realise that he is dealing with sport superstar and Earth's hero: Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones). After the screening the presenting astronomer will try to make sense of Ming the Merciless' power to cause chaos on Earth before announcing the cosplay competition winners.
AN EVENING WITH THE STARS
The popular after dark experience, An Evening with the Stars at the Royal Observatory Greenwich includes a show in London's only public planetarium and the chance to look through the gigantic Great Equatorial Telescope at what the night sky has to offer. Plus, you get to spend some time on the Greenwich Meridian with a hot drink, an amazing view and astronomers on hand to answer all your space-related questions.
This month there are events on 2 and 3 February (adults and children), plus Valentine's An Evening with the Stars on 9 and 14 February (adults only).
If you are planning your trip in February, please check Fraser Place Canary Wharf offers! We are in the heart of Canary Wharf, minutes away from great bars, restaurants and shopping malls.
Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on Twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.
Required image credits: Sculpture in the City: Timber Shed Expanded by Nathaniel Rackowe, photo © Nick Turpin | Dream On: Ludus Est - Caroline and Godfrey go to school, Ceramic 2017. Photo: Sylvain Deleu.