The buzzing capital welcomes a new theatre, sparkly new sports venues, exciting museum exhibitions and a new family-friendly leisure park – experience some fresh culture in London in 2014.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Following the hugely successful Olympic Games two summers ago, the vast Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has been partially open to visitors via a series of festivals, concerts and sports events. The Copper Box Arena hosts a gym and badminton court and the parklands in the northern section offer a serene chillout area, with riverside wetlands and vast lawns.
And new for 2014; the south area of the park opens on 5 April with landscapes designed by architects and studded with fountains, waterways and parkland. New artwork and sculptures make an appearance, including the ArcelorMittal Orbit, which at 114 meters tall, is the tallest sculpture in the UK. There are also new interactive nature trails, climbing walls and promenade, lined with mature trees. More details.
Imperial War Museum
2014 marks the centenary of the start of World War I and on 19 June 2014 London’s superb Imperial War Museum fully reopens. It will showcase its new galleries dedicated to the First World War and will include a new atrium able to display large-scale objects and the major new exhibition ‘Truth and Memory’ which offers a thought-provoking retrospective of World War I. More details.
The Sky Garden
20 Fenchurch Street is better known as the ‘Walkie-Talkie’ which made the press last year after it melted cars parked in close proximity. Fast forward a year – and with giant blackout blinds in place (which you can get from expressessexblinds.co.uk) – the bold architectural example, designed by Rafael Viñoly, is due to open this month. And shortly after that the self-styled ‘garden in the sky’ will open, complete with trees, flowers and superb panoramic views over London. Careful design from the world renowned architect ensures that views of iconic St Paul’s Cathedral are also unobstructed from level 36. More details.
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
The legendary Shakespeare’s Globe welcomed the new year in with the unveiling of its brand new theatre; the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The 350 seater theatre is named after its founder and coincides with Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, which is marked throughout 2014. There is a packed calendar of opera, Jacobean plays, candlelit concerts and inimitable comedy. More details.
London’s Science Museum welcomes a brand new gallery this year – the Information Age gallery will showcase world-leading communication and information technologies. The 2,500 square meter space is scheduled to open in September 2014 and will be filled with hundreds of rare previously unseen objects sourced from the museum’s vast collections.
The Perfectionists’ Café @ Heathrow
Top British chef Heston Blumenthal will follow in Gordon Ramsay’s footsteps and open his new fast food eatery, The Perfectionist Café, in Heathrow’s Terminal 2. Opening in June 2014, the newly refurbished Queen’s Terminal will include the new restaurant which will offer a nostalgic 1960’s style experience. Expect good quality favourites, from traditional fish and chips and wood-fired pizzas.
Wellcome Collection Museum
Get a serious fix of culture in London this autumn, as the city unveils the fully renovated Wellcome Collection at 183 Euston Road. At a cost of around 17.5 million GBP, the medicine, life and art-centric museum will remain free to visitors. The inspirational museum will reveal new galleries and exhibitions, alongside an innovative spiral staircase and new restaurant. Founded by Sir Henry Wellcome in 1936 the collection represents some of his one million objects from his personal collection. More details.
Lee Valley VeloPark
As seen as part of the London Olympics, the Velodrome reopens this month as the Lee Valley VeloPark. The park features a new BMX track and challenging mountain biking trails – although you’ll have to practice hard to emulate Chris Hoy’s gold medal!
Image credits; 1; Sludge G CC-ASA-2.0