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12 incredible things to do in London this February

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February can feel like the epitome of ‘meh’: too early to start imagining spring and the better weather, and the big occasion? Valentine’s Day, which is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. But fear not: it needn’t be a struggle to get out of bed this February with this list of amazing things to do in London.

1) THE SIX NATIONS IS HERE The rugby has kicked off, with the next England fixture taking place this Saturday afternoon. Rugby fans are always a pleasant bunch, so book a table at a pub and bed in. The Anthologist in the City, Brigadiers at Bloomberg Arcade and The Cadogan Arms in Chelsea are all showing the fixtures this year.

2) CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR WITH BRILLIANT FOOD It’s Chinese New Year this Saturday 10 February and that means some of London’s best restaurants will be throwing special feasts to welcome in the Year of The Dragon. For instance, the Bun House in Soho’s head chef has created Cantonese-style steamed buns decorated like traditional red lanterns.

3) GET FLIPPING TO CELEBRATE PANCAKE DAY Pancake Day returns on 13 February so bookmark the date whether you’re staying at home for a flipping good time or heading out. If you’re looking for something unusual, The Lamb Tavern is throwing their legendary pancake race at Leadenhall Market for the 15th year running this month, on Tuesday 13th February at 12.30pm.

Read more: A ski holiday in Verbier, where Prince Harry practises his backflips

4) IT’S LGBT HISTORY MONTH Not to be confused with Pride Month in June, LGBT History Month runs the length of February and is a celebration of LGBT history in the UK and beyond, and the civil rights movements. There’s an art workshop at the Old Diorama Arts Centre on 24, LGBTQ tours of Westminster on the 4 and 23 and free LGBT tours of the Tate Modern on the 7 and 24. There are plenty of other LGBT History Month events taking place throughout London all month, check the website for more information at lgbtplushistorymonth.co.uk.

5) GAWP AT SOME ORCHIDS AT THIS KEW GARDENS FESTIVAL The Kew Gardens orchid festival returns this month and there’s a special Orchids after Hours series of events throughout the month, with live music and food and drink in the evenings, an unusual way to browse past the pretty flowers. They will all be beautifully lit up too by night so you can see another perspective to them, and if you’d rather go during the daytime, the annual Orchid Festival is this year dedicated to the beauty and bounty of Madagascar, home to over 14,000 plants found nowhere else in the world. The idea is to display as many vibrant plants to make the winter seem brighter too.

6) SEE OFF DRY JANUARY WITH A BIG SUPER BOWL NIGHT OUT It’s the Super Bowl again this February 11 and although the kick off is 11.30pm UK time, plenty of London’s bars and pubs stay open into the small hours to show the event. Over the past five years or so staying up to watch the Super Bowl has become increasingly popular in the capital. The Sports Bar & Grill on Old Street, Greenwood sports bar in Victoria, The Trafalgar Arms in Tooting, Pergola on the Wharf at Canary Wharf, Nordic Bar in Fitzrovia and The Regent in Balham are all staying open late with food and drink options available.

Read more: Where to watch Super Bowl 2024 in London, from pubs to restaurants

7) WANDER THROUGH A LOAD OF BAMBOO AT SOMERSET HOUSE Hong Kong based artist Zheng Bo has been given free reign of the courtyard at Somerset House this winter for his ‘bamboo as method’ exhibition, a place for contemplation and a reminder of the “restorative” nature of bamboo. Guests are invited to “temporarily disconnect from their fast-paced, hyper-connected everyday lives by immersing themselves in the biosphere that surrounds us and by taking up the activity of drawing.” You’ll do your best scribbles of bamboo leaves which will be decomposed on site later on. From 28 February.

8) THINK ABOUT THE ROMAN EMPIRE MORE! If you’ve been reading social media lately you’ll be aware that plenty of men, it seems, spend their time thinking about the Roman Empire. Well now they can spend even more time ruminating about it, because a new exhibition called Legion explores what life would have been like in the Roman army. The exhibition features some of the oldest written letters in the UK, notes from soldiers written on papyri, that reveal what life was like for soldiers in the bloodthirsty era. All of February.

9) BE THERE WHEN LONDON’S BEST FESTIVAL RETURNS Vault Festival – the UK’s biggest festival second only to the Fringe – lost their licence earlier this year when landlords threw them out of their Waterloo home to prioritise more commercial tenants. It didn’t look good for the festival – but there is brilliant news: they have secured a new home, which is opening later this year. First though, and the festival is running A Pinch of Vault, a scaled-down version of the festival, with 130 live shows, from 12 February. For tickets go to wearevault. org/apov24

10) DO SOMETHING THAT ISN’T CRINGEY FOR VALENTINE’S DAY It can be a terrible night, when restaurant staff are run ragged serving endless couples smooching at their tables. But if you want to do the whole Valentine’s Day ‘thing’ but do something different, there are a few options. Mama Shelter hotel in Shoreditch is hosting sex positive workshops for couples or groups of friends, plus a ‘Menu D’Amour’ cocktail list. There’s an event on 13 February where guests can “unlearn sexual shame, build confidence and embrace their desires in a safe space,” and guests even get a free vibrator. That’s what we call self love.

11) GET YOUR RUNNING SHOES ON FOR CHARITY The London Winter Run is a 10k trafficfree run through central London raising money for Cancer Research UK. Sign ups are still open and the idea of the event is that it’s super accessible, so no former running experience is needed. Since 2015 the run has raised £5.7 million to fund prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. Sunday 25 February, for more information go to londonwinterrun. co.uk/officialcharitypartner.

12) EAT AT ONE OF THE NEW LONDON RESTAURANTS TO BE AWARDED A MICHELIN STAR The new Michelin stars have been handed out to London restaurants for 2024. A handful of restaurants have received their first star this year. They include Ormer in Mayfair, Pavyllon London at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane and Chishuru on Great Titchfield Street.

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