What a difference a year makes, eh? Last year, this roundup was all about the reopening of pubs and restaurants as lockdown eased, but with life approaching something close to normality these days, we’ve set our sights on so much more of London life. As the evenings get brighter and warmer weather is (hopefully) on the horizon, it’s time to get out and properly explore the city again. And of course, London won’t disappoint, with a cavalcade of art exhibitions, restaurant openings, quirky pop-ups, and immersive experiences waiting for you. Here is Secret London’s pick of the best things to do in London in April 2022! Let’s get cracking…
A huge exhibition dedicated to teeny tiny artworks, Small Is Beautiful arrives in London on April 15, with an dazzling array of unique creations in tow. 32 talented artists have turned bottle caps, Lego figurines, and teensy pencil sketches into unbelievable art, with a breathtaking attention to detail. For instance, have you ever seen a vase of sunflowers that could sit on your fingertip? The exhibition was a smash-hit in Paris, but you might want to consider bringing a magnifying glass along for this one! Tickets can be found here, and you’ll want to book soon to avoid disappointment.
The weather may still have us in its icy grip, but we’ve found a way to cure your blues! It comes in the shape of SicilyFEST: a four-day celebration of all things Sicilian taking place from April 7 – 10. Hosted by PopUpMarketSicily & P&A Events in Islington, this wholesome festival will take you on a culinary journey, serving up some of the finest cannoli, arancini, pizza, pasta, preserves, and many more Italian delicacies. There’ll also be loads of fine wine and beers to wash down your Sicilian samples with! Grab your tickets here. ⭐️ Sponsored ⭐️
I’m not sure about you, but I could definitely use a mood booster right now. Handily, multi-sensory pop-up Dopamine Land is coming to London this month to do just that, with an array of experiences that’ll trigger your dopamine response and send your happiness levels soaring. Designed to engage all your senses, you’ll be tasked with popping bubbles, navigating a labyrinth of lights, and even becoming an action hero (if only for a moment). There’s even a room filled with the scent of fresh popcorn! If you’ve been feeling those winter blues, this is one place you’ll want to make a beeline for when it opens on April 16. Tickets are on sale now; find yours here.
4. Chill out at Tooting’s Tulum-inspired rooftop bar (April 1)
New rooftop bars never go out of style, and Tooting is about to get a luxe new one. The Corin spills across two levels, with a relaxed downstairs bar and the Mexico-themed rooftop space, both filled with botanicals and cocktails made with British spirits. Oh and don’t fret – that rooftop comes with a retractable roof to keep the British weather at bay!
5. Catch the Boat Race returning to the Thames (April 3)
The annual boat race between Cambridge and Oxford takes place on the first Sunday in April, returning to its historic setting on the Thames after a year behind closed doors. Being one of the world’s oldest sporting races, this year marks the 167th Men’s Boat Race and the 76th Women’s Boat Race, and it’s well worth watching. Especially if you can find a spot in a riverside pub…
Speaking of boats, the powerful Titanic exhibition down in Surrey Quays reaches its final weeks this month. It’s your last chance to discover the incredible stories of courage, survival, and tragedy that surround the famous boat, told through a series of treasured personal objects. Don’t miss out, find your tickets here.
7. Hit up this ‘taco takeover’ for beers and banging Mexican food (April 6)
The excellent Two Tribes Brewery are heating up April with their Campfire grill, and this time they’ve teamed up with beloved London taqueria El Pastor for tacos aplenty. Expect tacos, guac, and chips, plus the chance to sample their new collaboration beer, the ‘El Pastor Pale’.
Much-hyped Chinese restaurant Tattu finally makes its London debut this month, with a prime spot overlooking Charing Cross Road. Designed to emulate a historic Chinese courtyard house, the restaurant will feature four ‘residencies’ – Phoenix, Koi Carp, Dragon, and Tiger – and a forest of cherry blossom trees, along with a swanky outdoor terrace. The menu looks pretty enticing too, as you can see from the picture! Read all about it here.
Cherry blossom is stealing the show right now, with parts of the capital becoming awash in pretty pink petals. And of course, Instagram will be there to capture it all… See our guide to the best spots here.
Secret Cinema’s spectacular Bridgerton Ball has been enchanting guests for several weeks now, but all good things must come to an end. With season two now available on Netflix, there’s never been a better time to catapult yourself into the Ton, whether you’re looking to be crowned Diamond of the Evening or sniff out all the salacious secrets you can. The final tickets are available here.
11. Get behind the controls at an independent games festival (April 8-10)
An annual feature at the ever-brilliant Somerset House, indie games festival Now Play This is back for another year. Highlights this year include a giant version of Pong where players can add their own rules, with the aim of teaching us about democracy. It’s the most fun way to learn about the haves and the have-nots, we reckon.
Camden’s Electric Ballroom knows how to throw a party, and Massaoke certainly qualifies as a party: a giant crowd of partygoers, giving it their all in a huge karaoke session. No matter if you can’t sing, because you’ll be just one of many voices singing along. April’s event is an 80s-themed night, so we’re looking forward to a steady diet of Whitney, Queen, Madonna, Bon Jovi, and more – but the lyrics will be up on the big screen for anyone who’s forgotten them! Pick up your tickets here.
Adding a pop of colour to the upcoming London summer, Roof East are once again opening their doors for another raucous runaround. This year’s season is set to be bigger and better than even, thanks to an expansion of the space and a fresh coat of paint – you can find out more here.
14. Celebrate Easter in style (April 15-18)
Easter – or as I like to call it, Spring Christmas – falls smack dab in the middle of April this year, and London restaurants in particular are pretty keen to celebrate. Bluebird Chelsea will host a petting zoo on April 16, Biscuiteers are hosting boozy ‘Icing Lates’ through the month, whilst Bun House have created sweet chick buns in honour of the season. And that’s only the B’s!
Something truly special is happening at Madison Rooftop and Bar on April 12, as Fever bring their popular candlelight concerts to the rooftop venue. With the breathtaking St Paul’s Cathedral as the backdrop, and the soft candlelight flickering across the room, you’ll enjoy a classical tribute to Queen, with hits like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ performed by an orchestra. Meanwhile, VIP ticket holders can enjoy a delicious three-course meal before or after the show. It’s the ultimate date night package, and tickets are available here!
More candlelight concerts in April 2022
Candlelight: Magical Movie Soundtracks @ Syon Park (April 2 & 10)
Candlelight: Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake & More ft. Ballet @ Central Hall Westminster (April 9)
Candlelight: A Tribute to BTS @ Butcher’s Hall (April 23)
Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift @ Southwark Cathedral (April 29)
Candlelight: Soundtracks of Ennio Morricone, Hans Zimmer, & More @ Grand Junction (April 29)
21. Sneak a peek at this new Brooklyn-inspired basement bar
The world has been throwing covetous looks at the urban cool of Brooklyn for years now, and whilst we’ve got more than enough cool in London to cope, it hasn’t stopped the Brooklyn invasion from continuing apace. Next to bring NYC vibes to town is BRIX, a restaurant and late-night basement bar which draws inspiration from New York’s all-day dining scene. Think craft beers, cocktails, and aged meats, and you’ll be on the right track. It’s open from March 31, so April is the ideal time to visit.
22. Pick out some fancy new art at the London Art Fair (April 21-24)
Back for a 34th edition, the London Art Fair heads to Islington this month with over 100 galleries from across the globe exhibiting. Works from David Hockney, Bridget Riley, and Paula Rego will be featured, and there’ll be a range of prints and major works that would look just peachy on your walls…
Ok, so beach weather might not quite have arrived yet, but we can dream can’t we? So, why not plot a weekend escape sometime soon to these brilliant beaches near London?
24. Scope out the snacks at Canary Wharf’s new food hall
Market Halls Canary Wharf Cargo might be a mouthful of a name, but it’s a delicious mouthful nonetheless. That’ll be thanks in part to Pasta Evangelists, Le Bab, Gopal’s Corner, BaoziInn and the other cadre of food outlets that are set to open here in April. Read more here.
25. Go for lunch, brunch, and dinner at the lovely Dalloway Terrace
Quite easily one of London’s most Instagrammable restaurants, Bloomsbury’s Dalloway Terrace is up to its usual tricks when it comes to décor. The restaurant’s idyllic terrace has been given a fresh look for spring, and sipping seasonal cocktails here is just the treat we need after a long winter. More here.
With the weather taking a (potentially) warmer turn, it’s high time you washed those winter blues away with a dip in a London lido. Here are some of our favourites.
Arcade Food Theatre didn’t have the best start to life, with some mixed reviews upon opening and then running headlong into a pandemic that forced its closure. Now reborn under the new, marginally different name Arcade Food Hall, and with JKS Restaurants (Gymkhana, Hoppers, BAO, etc) in control, it’ll reopen in April with nine new restaurants filling the space. Those include southern Thai cuisine at Plaza Khao Gaeng, a little sister for hyped spot Sabor (named Saborcito), and a dessert restaurant from Bompas & Parr named the Benham & Froud Jelladrome. Alrighty then.
28. Celebrate Earth Day with a powerful new art installation (April 22)
Back at Somerset House, you’ll be able to see a thought-provoking sculpture from Filipino artist and designer Leeroy New, which is in place from April 5-26. Made from plastic waste and recycled goods, three giant ships will call attention to the communities facing the worst of the climate crisis, a sobering thought worth bearing in mind this Earth Day.
Skylight, the Wapping rooftop that boasts sundowner sessions, sweeping views, and rooftop games, is another spot reopening this month. They’re kicking things off on April 28 with a refreshed look, an all-new food menu, and the winning array of drinks that’s made them immensely popular amongst Londoners. Find out more about Skylight here.
30. Nip up to the roof for a brilliant outdoor cinema (April 29)
Rooftop Film Club, London’s original outdoor rooftop picturehouse, is back for the summer season this month. Opening at the Bussey Building in Peckham later in April (and at Roof East on May 3), they’ll bring a mix of cult favourites and new releases to town. Best of all, they’ll be launching partnerships through the summer to celebrate London Fashion Week and the brilliance of Black cinema, with other events including a Tom Cruise-themed affair and a 90s style prom night series.
There’s nothing Secret London likes quite like a beer garden, so you can bet your bottom dollar we’ve got some favourites up our sleeve for this month. Here are some of the team’s favourite beer gardens in town.
Mei Ume at the Four Seasons Hotel has been transformed into a beautiful, blossom-covered garden to celebrate the Japanese tradition of Hanami. They’ve created a special menu featuring the likes of Ika Karaage (crispy deep fried squid) and Wagyu Beef Yaki Gyoza, as well as some spectacular sushi specials, including the Golden Dragon Roll. More info here.
For some reason, I just feel that April is the perfect month for afternoon tea. Whether you’re after something quirky, casual or flamboyantly fancy, this list has something for everyone.
34. Wander thoughtfully through these fab art exhibitions
Need your culture fix? Here’s our pick of the top art exhibitions opening or reaching the end of their run this month – and you can see even more here.
Art exhibitions opening in April 2022
Art exhibitions closing in April 2022
🚨 Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art, 50s-Now, Tate Britain (closes April 3)
🚨 Kehinde Wiley, National Gallery (closes April 18)
Some big names are playing London this month, and our resident music lover Sam (not the one pictured above) has been picking out his highlights!
🎤 ArrDee, O2 Academy Islington (April 1 & 2)
🎸 Sam Fender, Wembley SSE Arena (April 1 & 2)
🎹 Jordan Rakei, O2 Academy Brixton (April 26)
🥁 Foals, Olympia London (April 29 & 30, May 1 & 2)
42-46. Uncover even more brilliant London spots
We’ve been hard at work in March writing about London’s hidden gems, and April is the perfect time to go and check them out!
X Nightjar: London’s jazz-filled basement speakeasy
X Sugarcane: south London spot serving up fab Caribbean food
X KERB Counter: bricks and mortar space from the street food legends
X To Home From London: the city’s first pancake art cafe
X Sky Garden: our revamped guide to this free panoramic viewing platform
More things to do inspiration…
Also published on Medium.