If you want to celebrate the best of British, you’ve picked a good time to visit. Nobody does it better than James Bond, while this March also sees the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race row into town and an iconic rabbit in Kew Gardens.
To 29 April
The major audio-visual event, "ABBA: Super Troupers" at the Southbank Centre pays homage to one of the world’s most successful bands. The foursome—Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad—sold more than 380m albums and singles, and retain their evergreen appeal. Fans can cast their eyes over gold capes and flamboyant costumes the band used on stage, plus handwritten lyrics and sketches, musical instruments and album artwork. An ABBA exhibition wouldn’t be the full experience without music, with rooms playing specific soundtracks that travel through eras of the band’s history.
To 17 March
NatWest Six Nations, Europe’s biggest rugby tournament, enters its final three weekends of matches. Major encounters this month include England vs Ireland at Twickenham Stadium (17 Mar). This one is likely to be the title decider: England are going for their third successive title, but Ireland are looking strong and they may well use the spirit of St Patrick's Day to full effect. There’s more good news for rugby fans: the World Rugby Museum has reopened its doors at Twickenham Stadium after a major refurbishment, with thousands of exhibits.
From 8 March
Highlighting what's considered to be one of Picasso’s most dazzling artistic periods, Tate Modern’s first solo Pablo Picasso exhibition, “Picasso 1932 – Love Fame Tragedy” is a mesmerising month-by-month journey through the Spanish master’s year in art. It captures his creative and personal life, as he precariously balanced two women—his wife Olga and young mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter—with the demands of his art. Displaying more than 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings, the exhibition includes his portraits of Marie-Thérèse, which have since become regarded as some of his greatest works.
A touch of Nashville comes to the capital for the Country to Country Festival at The O2, which is now in its sixth year. This three-day event has a host of stars performing, including the Nashville Star contestant Kacey Musgraves (left), Grammy Award-winning Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. There’s also a special tribute to legend Glen Campbell.
To prove that veganism is more than just a trend, get on board this growing foodie lifestyle. London Viva! Vegan Festival at Shoreditch Town Hall encourages you to taste new and unfamiliar vegan brands, shop for cruelty-free cosmetics and gifts, swap recipes and learn about animal welfare. You can also watch cookery demonstrations and listen to talks by a vegan athlete.
21 March—1 April
The British Film Institute’s annual festival, BFI Flare, which celebrates film about and created by the LGBT+ community, is back with premieres, shorts, talks and features. At Europe’s biggest LGBT+ film festival, the emphasis is very much on film, but there will also be weekend club nights and a series of thought-provoking debates. Taking place at BFI Southbank, Flare is sure to inspire and entertain.
In addition to 007’s suave suits, his villainous enemies and of course the high-tech gadgets, each film set the scene with its iconic theme tune. Hear the highlights at The Best of James Bond at the Southbank Centre, a musical tribute to the fictional Secret Service agent, featuring all your favourites from more than 50 years. Enjoy "Goldfinger", "Diamonds are Forever", "Live and Let Die" and "Skyfall", performed by the London Concert Orchestra.
It’s one of London’s oldest and most famous sporting traditions: the annual Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. The race, which has been held annually since 1856 (except during the World Wars) begins at Putney Bridge and ends at Mortlake. Find a riverside spot to watch the eight-strong crews battle it out, starting with the women’s race (4.31pm) followed by the men’s (5.31pm). Cambridge’s male team has won 82 times since 1829, ahead of Oxford’s 80 triumphs. The race has had memorable moments over the years, including capsizing and, more recently, a protester who leapt into the water. What drama will possibly happen this year?
"Sutra" is the result of a dazzling collaboration between choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, sculptor Antony Gormley and monks from the Shaolin monastery in China. Following a global tour, it returns to Sadler’s Wells for its 200th performance. Expect human springs, fast-paced flips and kung fu kicks among a set of 21 wooden boxes designed by Gormley, all performed to a dramatic score by Szymon Brzóska.
An annual Easter tradition since 2010 returns to Trafalgar Square on Good Friday, where an estimated audience of 20,000 gathers in the iconic square to watch an outdoor performance of "The Passion of Jesus", the Easter story. There are two performances (noon and 3.15pm), both of them free. The play is performed by 100 Wintershall players, with a powerful portrayal of the final days of Jesus including a realistic interpretation of the crucifixion.
30 March—15 April
Get into the Easter spirit at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with its first Peter Rabbit Easter-themed festival. Inspired by Beatrix Potter’s iconic tales, Peter and his furry friends take visitors on a botanical bunny adventure with games, crafts and storytelling, all set against a beautiful backdrop of springtime crocuses, daffodils and magnolias. Children of all ages will love the interactive trails, where they can discover the science behind the fruit and vegetables that Peter loves to eat, and learn about Potter’s links with Kew.