Cultural UK Recommendations to Visit This Year
With spring bringing the world back to vivid colour, and a swathe of cultural experiences available to us again, this is a time to be savoured. To help you navigate the plethora of stimulating exhibitions, literature, media, and dining on offer around the UK throughout the coming months, we have created a handy list of recommendations.
To Do & Visit Now
Windowology: New Architectural Views from Japan, London
This one-of-a-kind experience appeared in our last cultural roundup but we couldn’t resist mentioning it again as it will remain open until the 10th of April. With such an impact on human existence, both in Japan and around the world, this exploration of windows' influence deserves a closer look. The cultural significance and tradition of windows are masterfully highlighted by curator, architect, and critic Igarashi Taro, this is one to add to the calendar.
A Century of the Artist’s Studio: 1920 – 2020, Whitechapel Gallery London
An exhibition consisting of paintings, sculptures, installations, and films depicting the artist’s studio as a work of art, this feature at the Whitechapel Gallery elevates the ordinary to extraordinary. The offering brings together more than 100 works by over 80 artists and collectives from Africa, Australasia, South Asia, China, Europe, Japan, the Middle East, North and South America.
Rachel Kneebone: 399 Days, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire
Visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for their breath-taking unveiling of 399 Days by Rachel Kneebone. Situated in the unique environment of the 18th-century Chapel, it is the artist’s most ambitious sculpture to date. 399 Days — named after the length of time it took to make — comes in at a monumental five-metres in height and comprises 63 exquisitely detailed exterior panels.
Small Island, National Theatre London
Take in the five-star production of Andrea Levy’s bestselling novel Small Island at the National Theatre. Adapted by Helen Edmundson and directed by Rufus Norris, this 'resonant, funny and moving' (★★★★★ Mail on Sunday) play brings to life the intertwined history of Jamaica and the UK. Follow the moving story of Hortense throughout the second world war and through to the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush.
Christine Bovill: Live, UK Wide & Paris
Feel transported into a world of music, storytelling, and performance. Christine Bovill’s live shows are nothing less than spectacular with a voice to match. Her award-winning career has included stints on stage and screen, but her incredible talents will be on display around the UK over the coming months. Currently touring with different performances, her Piaf and PARIS shows are not to be missed.
Orchids: Journey through our Costa Rican paradise, Kew Gardens London
Celebrating the diversity of Costa Rica, the annual Orchid Festival is back at Kew Gardens. The stunning displays take inspiration from the rich and colourful culture of South America, allowing visitors the perfect opportunity to escape the UK’s changing weather and embrace the sights and sounds of this internationally recognised biodiversity haven.
The Joy Of Short Stories & Essays
Film: The Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Depicting an unlikely and unexpected love triangle, this beautifully expressive film follows the three women caught up in it. Told in three movements to delve into the intersecting storylines, it has an emotional depth and delicacy that exemplifies quality storytelling. You’ll be thinking of these unique and complex stories for days after…
Reading: Five Tuesdays in Winter, Lily King
For the first time ever, celebrated author Lily King collects ten of her finest short stories, opening fresh realms of discovery for avid and new readers alike. Told in the intimate voices of unique and endearing characters of all ages, these tales explore desire and heartbreak, loss and exploration, moments of dramatic conflict and the undeniable pull of love.
Reading: Burning Questions by Margaret Atwood
From cultural juggernaut Margaret Atwood, author of the now-infamous Handmaid’s Tale, comes a brilliant collection of essays that seek answers to Burning Questions such as:
Why do people everywhere, in all cultures, tell stories?
How much of yourself can you give away without evaporating?
How can we live on our planet?
Is it true? And is it fair?
What do zombies have to do with authoritarianism?
Told with deft humour and a keen curiosity, this collection is an internal conversation for those who gaze upon the world with wonder.
As the Season Turns - Ffern
Featuring nature-writer Lia Leendertz as presenter, As the Season Turns is a guide to what to look out for in the month ahead - from the sky above to the land below. Told with a beautiful pace, the episodes are tranquil, comforting, and could even be used as a method of meditation or to wind down in the evening. The podcast is created in conjunction with Ffern, a natural fragrance maker based in Somerset. Working with the rhythms of the seasons, they blend, barrel-age and bottle four fragrances a year, released at the equinox and solstice.
Our episode recommendation: January 2022.
Listen to wherever you get your podcasts.
Desperately Seeking Wisdom
“A podcast for people hoping to live a simpler, more fulfilled life - and want to hear the wisdom others gained after facing life's challenges.”
This podcast is a study of insight and truly highlights the philosophy that life is about outlook. Each episode, hosted by former BBC politics and communication director Craig Oliver, speaks to a guest who has lived and learned, resulting in a wealth of wisdom to share.
Listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Now You’re Asking with Marian Keyes and Tara Flynn
A collaboration between prolific multi-award-winning author Marian Keyes and her close friend and actor/comedian/writer Tara Flynn, this podcast is a mood-lifting take on the advice column of old. Listeners write in with problems large and small for Marian and Tara to give their well-informed or at least well-meaning advice. This is a lovely listen akin to a chat with a friend.
Listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Food & Drink
If you’re craving the fare of a Florentine trattoria, restaurant Brutto, nestled in Clerkenwell, is where to find as close to the real thing without leaving the capital. Visit for stunning Florentine dishes made with one priority: taste. It is a cut above the multitude of Italian eateries in London due to its impeccably researched, entirely authentic menu.
The Water House Project, London
The Water House Project is a dining experience consisting of onsite seating’s at 7pm Wednesday to Saturday in Bethnal Green or at home tasting hampers. Whether you enjoy the fare at home or at the restaurant you can expect seasonal produce to enhance a fine-dining experience in a relaxed environment.
This relatively new restaurant has already earned a Michelin Star for its fine dining experience. Awarded based on ‘outstanding cooking’, considering ‘the quality of the ingredients, the harmony of the flavours, the mastery of techniques, the personality of the chef as expressed in their cuisine and, just importantly, consistency both over time and across the entire menu’, this is a must-visit for a truly special culinary experience.
Celentano’s is an Italian-inspired restaurant, built on a passion for sharing good food and drinks with family and loved ones. The menu showcases wholesome dishes, made using the best seasonal ingredients. Enjoy them in a warm and welcoming environment just a short walk from the city centre.
The Elder, Bath
The Elder is a restaurant as much about values as it is about flavours. There is a focus on wild food, carefully harvested from land that has been managed for thousands of years. Enjoy simple, delicious, local, and seasonal food with charming hospitality.
Osip, Bruton Somerset
With a sense of community and cosiness, this tiny farm-to-table option in Bruton is a must-visit. Last year, they made the decision to remove menus entirely from the dining experience. Expect to experience a classic country restaurant - a place where guests can come and put their faith in the kitchen, knowing that they will cook from the heart using ingredients that have been cultivated on the two plots of land that the restaurant manages nearby.