Celebrations for the Queen's Birthday Celebrations for the Queen's Birthday

London Summer 2016: Anniversary events

Whatever your cultural tastes, there’s a party lined up for you in London this summer

“Celebration” is the motto for this spring/summer season. A wide range of anniversaries are being marked across London, crowned by the Queen’s 90th birthday. The biggest street party the country has ever seen makes way for the season of The Bard. The RSC return to the Barbican this season as part of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary year.

Summer is all about the great outdoors, so if theatrical plays aren’t your thing, why not join the celebrations surrounding Capability Brown's 300th anniversary? The birth of the man who designed more than 170 of the country’s most spectacular gardens will be marked by guided walking tours, evening bike rides and garden parties. The summer cultural trail continues with widespread events marking the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London – expect exhibitions and light installations to light up the capital once more. For those who love literature, London’s Southbank Centre is one of the many museums across the country marking Roald Dahl’s centenary, the National Portrait Gallery is staging an exhibition on Charlotte Brontë’s bicentenary and Beatrix Potter would have been 150 years old this year.

The Queen's Birthday

Queens-Birthday-PATRONS-LUNCH---V11The Queen's Birthday

10,000 guests for a birthday party is not too bad. If you think it’s Her Majesty who throws it, then it all makes sense. The Queen turned 90 on 21 April but official celebrations won’t take place until the summer. Don’t expect anything too uptight. Pimm’s and a wicker hamper lunch are on the menu if you head to the Mall on 12 June to attend the biggest ‘carnival style’ street party the country has ever seen. The Patron’s Lunch is the highlight of a weekend of celebrations including the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, and the annual Queen’s Birthday Parade on Horse Guards. The event, which sees the participation of Prince Philip and grandsons William and Harry, is designed to mark her role as patron of more than 600 national and Commonwealth organisations. www.uk-sel.com

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The Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican

Shakespeare400atBarbicanShakespeare 400 at The Barbican

On the occasion of William Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, the Royal Shakespeare Company couldn’t miss the chance to return to its east London pied à terre. The RSC will bring together his greatest tetralogy of history plays presented in repertoire. ‘Kings of War,’ directed by the brilliant Ivo Van Hove, ‘The Shadow King’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream - a play for the nation’ are all part of the offer. www.barbican.org.uk

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Charlotte Brontë’s bicentenary

Charlotte-BronteCharlotte Bronte

Literature lovers, be braced for a 5-year programme of events to celebrate the bicentenary of the births of the Brontë siblings. 2016 is Charlotte’s anniversary year. The author of best- selling novel Jane Eyre will be remembered with an exhibition in her West Yorkshire hometown and one in London. The National Portrait Gallery will display a series of paintings that explore her life and career until 14 August. www.bronte.org.uk

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Capability Brown’s 300th anniversary

KewGardensCapabilityBrownLondononViewKew Gardens, London, designed by Capability Brown

If you’ve ever explored a garden located on the grounds of an English castle or country estate, chances are good that Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown designed it. Among them: Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Blenheim Palace and Holland Park. To rediscover the genius of the former head gardener at Hampton Court Palace, the Capability Brown Festival 2016 will indeed serve the purpose with a wide range of events to enjoy throughout the season. www.capabilitybrown.org

Related: London's South Bank: a guide

Fire ! Fire ! At The Museum Of London

Great-Fire-of-London-Dutch-School-style-1666-c-Museum-of-LondonGreat Fire of London, Dutch School style, 1666 © Museum of London

Imagine how the English capital would have looked at the time of the 1666 Great Fire. To answer many of the questions relating to one of the most dramatic episodes in London history, Fire! Fire! Is the exhibition to visit. From 23 July you can find out how the fire started and hear accounts of the people who were there when it happened. www.museumoflondon.org

1 RSC at The Barbican
2 Charlotte Brontë at the National Portrait Gallery
3 Fire! Fire! Museum of London