Planning a trip to London this summer? There's never been a better time to visit.
1. It's The Queen's 90th Birthday
Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday this year, and London is celebrating suitably. If you feel like getting involved, the Queen's Birthday Parade runs June 11 and promises to be quite the spectacle. Then there's "Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe," an exhibition that travels to different location in the UK as the largest-ever of the Queen's wardrobe. It also will be at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms, Buckingham Palace, running from July 23 to October 2, 2016.
2. The New Tate Modern
It's been in the pipeline for some time (and in scaffolding for what feels like years), but this summer sees the opening of The New Tate Modern, a brand new 10-story addition to one of London's most iconic art museums. Opening June 17, the new twisting, pyramid-like building has been created behind the original power station, as not only a dynamic addition to the London skyline but also with additional galleries as well as areas for visitors to meet, learn, and create.
3. Street Food
If there's one thing the city does particularly well in the summer it's street food. We can't get enough: Street Feast has reopened for the summer at Dalston Yard, which means your Friday night and weekend plans are sorted; and during the week, there's Kerb, with sites right across the city, so that's lunch fixed for you.
4. The Dover Street Market on Haymarket
If it's London's stores that appeal, all hail Dover Street Market, which is relocating its home to Haymarket. Right in the center of town, in what's most commonly considered to be a pretty common tourist trap, DSM's relocation to Haymarket comes as one of the first of several new openings coming to the area. Go forth, shop, and show your support.
5. Exhibitionism at The Saatchi Gallery
Chances are, die-hard Rolling Stones fans booked their London flights yesterday, in much anticipation of the new Exhibitionism show at the Saatchi Gallery. But not just die-hard fans will enjoy it. Sure to be one of the biggest shows of the year, Exhibitionism features more than 500 original Stones' artifacts, in nine thematic exhibitions, spread over two floors of the gallery. An all-encompassing display, there'll be everything from rare audio tracks to video footage, personal diaries, posters, and album artwork, and never-before-seen paraphernalia of the culture icons.
6. City Music Festivals
London comes alive the summer, in part because of its abundance of music festivals. Along with the great festivals in the rest of the UK—Glastonbury, Wilderness, Festival No.6, to name just a few—the city itself has several, including some day festivals that are new this year. Sunfall in Brockwell Park (July) promises to delight electro-music fans, GALA (end of May) will, too, and for something a little more chilled out, there's Citadel (July) with yoga, performance art, and great food.
Wimbledon runs June 27 to July 10, and is a great time to visit London—spirits are high with patriotic spirit. Of course, attending the games is ideal, and guarantees a little celeb-spotting too, but otherwise, you can have just as much fun watching the game over a strawberries-and-cream picnic up on Henman Hill—just don't forget your umbrella.
8. The 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare's Death
A big year for theater and literature, 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. In celebration of such a figure, Cafe Royal, a hotel in the heart of London's 'theatreland,' has launched the Midsummer Night's Dreaming experience, which includes an overnight stay in the Tudor Suite, breakfast, three course meal at Ten Room, cocktails, and two tickets for Henry V at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. Elsewhere, Romeo and Juliet, one of his most celebrated works, plays at the Garrick Theatre May 12 through August 31; and The Globe Theatre is running a series of special events right through the summer in celebration of the inimitable playwright.