London comes alive in autumn and winter. While it may not have the allure of a balmy climate, the city more than makes up for it with a calendar of events, shows and exhibitions that are well worth braving a cold snap for. Here’s our guide to the best cultural highlights of the season.
See Henri Matisse’s works of art in a new light at this fabulous exhibition which showcases his extraordinary talent and personal objects which inspired some of the French artist’s most famous paintings.
Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly; until 12th November 2017
Discover the work and legacy of influential couturier Cristobal Balenciaga. The exhibition features over 100 of his pieces along with works by his protégées and contemporary fashion designers.
Victoria & Albert Museum; until 18th February 2018
The Tate Britain celebrates 25 years of one of Britain’s leading contemporary artists with one of its most comprehensive exhibitions to date. Showcasing works from Whiteread’s 30-year career and new work not previously shown.
Tate Britain, Millbank; 12th September 2017 – 4th February 2018
The English National Opera’s award-winning Chorus and Orchestra demonstrate their full power with Verdi’s AIDA this autumn. This beautiful timeless story tells of duty, love and betrayal amid the clash of war.
London Coliseum, St. Martin’s Lane; 28th September – 2nd December 2017
The Victoria & Albert Museum together with the Royal Opera House have joined forces to create this landmark exhibition which tells of the extraordinary operatic history, from its origins in late-Renaissance Italy to the present day.
Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road; 30th September 2017 – 25th February 2018
Focusing on the 1434 ‘Arnolfini Portrait’ by Jan Van Eyck this exhibition puts the historical work in dialogue with the art of the Pre-Raphaelites and allows one to discover how this piece became one of the beacons of a radical new style of painting.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square; 2nd October 2017 – 2nd April 2018
Discover the outstanding group of portraits that played a key role in establishing Chaïm Soutine’s reputation and wealth as one of the leading painters in Paris of the 20th century. Bringing together 21 of the most important paintings from this series from public and private collections around the world.
The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House; 19th October 2017 – 21st January 2018
This major new exhibition, marks the first show entirely devoted to the portraits of Paul Cezanne. Hailed as “the father of us all” by Matisse and Picasso, bringing together 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK.
National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin’s Place; 26th October 2017 – 11th February 2018
The critically-acclaimed and multi-award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton will open this autumn at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre. Telling the story of America’s founding father Alexander Hamilton, who became George Washington’s righthand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary.
Victoria Palace Theatre; 21st November 2017 – 30th June 2018
Based on the book by Raymond Briggs, this timeless story continues to amaze and delight audiences for nineteen years on The Peacock stage. A must-see festive family treat for all ages!
Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street; 23rd November – 31st December 2018
The Royal Ballet celebrates Peter Wright’s 90th birthday with his much-loved production of this beautiful classical ballet. Over 100 dancers and musicians bring The Nutcracker to life with exquisite dancing, beautiful sets and Tchaikovsky’s glorious score.
The Royal Opera House; 5th December 2017 – 10th January 2018
Marking the beginning of the Hayward Gallery’s 50th anniversary year, Andreas Gursky is the first exhibition to take place since major refurbishment. Widely regarded as one of the most significant photographers of our time, this exhibition will showcase 60 of Gursky’s ground-breaking photographs.
The Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre; 25th January – 22nd April 2018