The best events in London: The 2023 hotlist

Diaries at the ready! Here is our curated pick of all the exhibitions, shows, new openings and events in London you won’t want to miss this year

The best events in London for 2023

Royal events in London 2023

The Coronation of King Charles III

There are plenty of royal events to look forward to in 2023 – the big one, of course, being King Charles III’s Coronation on 6 May: expect plenty of pomp, pageantry and processions. Find out more about what to expect, here. 

Trooping the Colour

On 17 June, the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony will be the first for our new monarch. Marking his official birthday, this 260-year-old event sees hundreds of officers, horses and musicians parading down The Mall, accompanied by members of the Royal Family on horseback. The celebration will end with the Royal Family appearing on the palace balcony to watch the Royal Air Force flypast.

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Visit Westminster Abbey

The World Heritage Site of Westminster Abbey offers daily services to all comers but also remains a royal church. It has witnessed some pivotal moments in British history, hosting coronations (like that of King Charles III on 6 May), royal weddings and state funerals, most recently that of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

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Changing the Guard 

One of London’s most iconic sights is Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, when the King’s guard hand over responsibility for his protection while dressed in their red coats and bearskin hats. This unmissable spectacle takes place every other day, depending on the time of year; see the website for dates.

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Meet the (waxwork) Royals at Madame Tussauds
events in london
Photo credit: Jonathan Short

London is home to the original Madame Tussauds waxwork museum, first established in 1835. Here you can admire more than 150 wonderfully lifelike figures, including the Royal Family and the late Queen Elizabeth II, who was first modelled in wax when she was just two years old!

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The best events in London this summer

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The world-renowned RHS Chelsea Flower Show (22-27 May) will once again put on a dazzling array of flower and landscape displays in the heart of London’s leafy Chelsea. This is surely one of the best events in London every year, not to miss. 

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Cricket at The Oval

Don’t miss the opportunity to watch a match of England’s national sport, cricket, in its most iconic ground, The Oval, where the Ashes were born in 1882. The season runs from April to September.

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Royal Ascot

This high-profile sporting event is famous not only for fast horses, but also for top hats and fancy frocks. The elegant affair is held every summer for five days (20-24 June) and was always faithfully attended by the Queen. Perhaps King Charles will make an appearance this year, too?

events in london

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Wimbledon 2023

For the two weeks that Wimbledon lasts, the British become obsessed with tennis. In 2023 the championships run from 3 to 16 July. Get hold of Centre Court tickets for a chance to see tennis’s top stars dazzle the crowds.

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Notting Hill Carnival

The two-day Notting Hill Carnival (27-28 August) is one of the world’s largest street festivals, celebrating the colour and vibrancy of Caribbean heritage. Join locals for one of the best events in London every summer, to dance to reggae, calypso and rumba beats.

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Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is renowned for its exhibitions – we’d expect nothing else from the world’s leading museum of art and design. The big 2023 exhibitions include Hallyu! The Korean Wave, showcasing the colourful and dynamic popular culture of South Korea (until 25 June); Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance, the first major UK exhibition to explore the exceptional talents of the master sculptor (from 11 Feb); Re:Imagining Musicals, celebrating the glittering world of musical theatre (until 27 November); and Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto, dedicated to the work of French couturière, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel and bound to be a sell-out (from 16 Sept). 

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events in London
Costume from the musical The Lion King for the character of Sarabi. Replica of original costume designed by Julie Taymor for the debut production in 1994. Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum London
The National Gallery

Alongside the heady array of masterpieces in its permanent collection, the National Gallery has some unmissable exhibitions lined up, including Frans Hals (from 30 Sept), which will bring together 50 of the 17th-century master’s finest works, including the first-ever loan of his most famous painting, The Laughing Cavalier; Saint Francis of Assisi will bring visitors face-to-face with one of history’s most inspirational figures in the first major UK art exhibition to explore his life (6 May to 30 July); while After Impressionism will delve into a period of great upheaval, when artists broke with established tradition – with dazzling results (25 March to 13 Aug). 

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The Royal Academy

The Royal Academy of Arts is one of the oldest permanent collections of art in the UK. Its Summer Exhibition (13 June to 20 Aug) has run since 1769 and displays works from emerging and established talent. 

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Tate Modern

For modern art exhibitions, Tate Modern is unbeatable. Its big Philip Guston exhibition will showcase the works of one of the most celebrated abstract painters of the 1950s and 1960s (from 5 Oct). 

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The British Museum

The British Museum can always be counted on to provide some of the year’s cultural highlights. This year’s big exhibitions is Luxury and Power: Persia to Greece, exploring luxury as a political tool in the Middle East and southeast Europe from 550–30 BC (4 May to 13 Aug).

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The British Library

The British Library holds the world’s biggest collection of books, with over 150 million items. It also puts on excellent exhibitions, including Animals: Art, Science & Sound which charts the history of human documentation of the animal world.

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The Royal Albert Hall

The iconic Royal Albert Hall has a wealth of highlights for 2023. Look out for the English National Ballet’s Cinderella (15-25 June), as well as the famous Proms concert season (July to September).  

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Dulwich Picture Gallery

The Dulwich Picture Gallery presents the first major UK exhibition of Berthe Morisot, the renowned Impressionist, since 1950. One of the founders of the Impressionist movement, Morisot was known for her swiftly painted glimpses of contemporary life and intimate domestic scenes. The exhibition brings together around 30 of Morisot’s most important works from international collections, many never seen before in the UK (until 10 Sept).

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The Courtald at Somerset House

The Courtauld’s remarkable collection – in one of the most magnificent settings, Somerset House – ranges from the Renaissance to the 20th century, with a stellar array of Impressionists, including masterpieces such as Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and Gauguin’s Nevermore. Following a recent large-scale restoration, its doors are once again open, with some new contemporary touches, including Unmoored from her Reflection, a dramatic new large-scale work by Cecily Brown.

events in london
Cecily Brown, Unmoored from her reflection. © Cecily Brown. Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery. Photo © Hufton+Crow

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The Southbank Centre

The Southbank Centre, a multi-venue arts space, can always be relied upon to come up with an inspiring programme. In 2023 don’t miss violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter performing Beethoven and Brahms (4 June). There are excellent festivals throughout the year too, focusing on literature and music.

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Tate Britain

Tate Britain houses the largest collection of British art in the world. This year’s standout exhibition is The Rossettis, following the Rossetti generation through and beyond the Pre-Raphaelite years, and featuring the largest display of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s iconic works in two decades (6 April to 24 Sept). There’s also an exhibition of the work of Sarah Lucas, one of the ‘Young British Artists’ who is internationally celebrated for her bold and provocative use of materials and imagery (from 26 Sept).

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