February is for love, dragons and pancakes.
By Jen (follow Jen on Twitter: @JenBarnes207)
It’s true: February is for love, dragons and pancakes. Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year and Pancake Day are all in the shortest month of the year- that’s a lot of things to celebrate! As I’m sure you already know, there’s also a ball pit in Hammersmith for adults and that’s worth celebrating, too!
#1 The Ball Pit | Until Feb13th
No list of free things in February would be complete without this amazing adult ball pit in Hammersmith that everyone has been raving about! It’s totally free but I bet spaces are booking up fast so I’d run over there as fast as you can (email them first at [email protected]). Unfortunately it’s only open during office hours so for all you full-timers it might require an EXTRA long lunch break! Oh, and for every person who comes to play, they’ll donate £1 to charity!
When: Until 13th February , Mon-Fri 10am-5pm
Where: Pearlfisher, 50 Brook Green, London W6 7BJ
#2 Chinese New Year Parade | 22nd February
You probably know about it already, but come on- you say you’ll go every year and you never make it so this is your reminder that Chinese New Year is just around the corner! 2015 is the year of the sheep apparently so good for anyone born in 1967, 1979, 1991 & 2003. There will be a traditional parade with dragon dancers (cool!) and most of the china town restaurants will have special menus for the occasion if you feel like splashing out!
When: 22nd February, Parade starts at 10am
Where: Parade starts at Duncannon Street, London WC2N 4JF
#3 The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race | 17th February
The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race is not to be missed and is a great way to kick-off pancake celebrations (more about the history of pancake day here). I used to miss the American Mardi Gras- but I’ve decided that pancakes are an acceptable alternative. Teams from across London enter the race to raise money for the London Air Ambulance and to have an excuse to run around in fancy dress in public. It’ll be great and you should be there.
When: 17th February, 1230pm
Where: Dray Walk, Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL
#4 Regrets: Robin Lee at Barts Pathology Museum| 4th February – 25th February
Robin Lee’s Regrets at Barts Pathology Museum has got to be the best Alternative Valentine’s Day option in London- an art exhibit about regrets and enlarged hearts smack dab in the middle of a pathology museum. Robin Lee explores regrets with collaborator Russ Litten in the form of enlarged hearts and accompanying monologues detailing the owners regrets. This exhibition is not for the feint of heart (nor is the museum) so think twice before you pop in after lunch one day!
When: 4th February – 25th February
Where: Barts Pathology Museum, West Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE
#5 Nest Collective at Vault Festival | Every Wednesday & Sunday Night
I went to a comedy show that was part of the Vault festival a couple weeks ago and when I went to the bar afterwards, there was an amazing singer on his guitar in this magical underground vault. It’s a great venue and there are some talented up and coming folk singers that will take the stage every Wednesday and Sunday night as part of the The Nest Collective’s curated evenings. Don’t miss out- entry is free and you might hear your next favourite band.
When: Every Wednesday and Sunday from 9:30pm
Where: The Vaults, Waterloo
#6 Dash Café at Rich Mix | 4th February
Explore Peter Pomerantsev’s new book ‘Nothing is True and Everything is Possible” with this month’s Dash Café to launch his new book on modern Russia. After the panel discussion there will be a live set by London-based troubadour Sasha Ilyukevich and his British band ‘The Highly Skilled Migrants’ “who will create an incomparable brew of post punk energy and folk lyricism – the perfect music to complement this ‘electrifying and terrifying’ boo’”.
When: 4th February, 7:30pm
Where: Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
#7 Screening: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris | 19th February
If you’re a sci-fi fan, book this free event now!! The gallery can only accommodate approximately 50 people so you have to reserve a seat but this film screening of Solaris is 100% free. The screening accompanies the “Partial Presence” exhibition (also worth a separate visit!). Set on a space station orbiting Solaris, many bizarre things are happening…
When: 19th February, 6:30pm
Where: The Zabludowicz Collection gallery, 176 Prince of Wales Road, London NW5 3PT
#8 Virginia Overton at White Cube| All Month
Virginia Overton’s exhibition at White Cube will make you feel like a kid again as you wander the gallery, encountering the new spaces she’s created using locally sourced recycled materials. Planks rest against the walls in some rooms, held in place by their own tension, and are suspended from the ceiling in others resulting in simple but elegant sculptures for you to admire. It’s definitely worth a visit and ticks off your ‘high culture’ event for the month!
When: All Month Long
Where: White Cube Mason’s Yard, 25 – 26 Mason’s Yard, London SW1Y 6BU
#9 Bar Shorts Film Club: Love Shorts | 24th February
In honour of everyone’s favourite holiday (can you feel the sarcasm?) The Book Club in Shoreditch is hosting Bar Shorts Film Club ‘Love Shorts’: a collection of short films and animantions on the good, the bad and the ugly of love. On the list for the evening is ‘Coping With Cupid’, a sci-fi romance produced by the BFI in 1991. It sounds just quirky enough to keep everyone in good spirits, whether you’ve got a valentine or not.
When: 24th February, 7-10pm
Where: The Book Club, 100 – 106, Leonard Street, EC2A 4RH
#10 Film Screening at the British Museum: Codebreaker | 21st February
It’s LGBT Film Day at the British Museum and they are screening ‘Codebreaker’– a film on Alan Turing’s life and legacy featuring interviews from contemporary experts like Steve Wozniak. If you’re into science and the limits of technology- this is the film for you. It explores how “modern technology has only just begun to explore the potential of Turing’s ideas” – a little creepy if you ask me!
When: 21st February, 1:15pm
Where: The British Museum, Stevenson Lecture Theatre, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
You may also want to check out the Best Free Festivals in London in 2015.