The coolest things to do in London in April 2021

Zoe Gunn

6 April 2021

Celebrate easing restrictions with the best IRL events taking place in the capital this month

6 April 2021 | Zoe Gunn

It’s official. From 12 April, shops, bars, restaurants, hairdressers, gyms and a host of other venues that you’ve been sorely missing over the last few months will be reopening. Yes, there are still some restrictions in places (you’ll be spending a lot of time outside we suggest layers), but life will finally start resembling something like normalcy again.

Which begs the question: what to do with this new found freedom? If you’ve already had your fill of picnics in the park and haven’t been quick enough to book a table at one of London’s best rooftop bars, the good news is the capital will also play host to whole range of events spanning art, food and much more this month. Here’s our pick of the best things to do in London in April 2021.

The restaurant: Kerridge’s Garden Grill at the Corinthia London

The return of restaurants means the return of pop-ups and the first one to have on your foodie bucket list post-lockdown is Kerridge’s Garden Grill. Created by the team behind Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, Tom Kerridge’s permanent fixture within the Corinthia hotel, this al fresco restaurant will see head chef Nick Beardshaw serve seasonal dishes cooked on an open grill in the hotel’s mezzanine garden. Stand-out fare includes grilled whole lobster with herb butter, Cornish day boat turbot with seaweed tartare and Amalfi lemon tart with raspberry coulis. Only open until 16 May, think of it as the most sophisticated back garden barbecue you’ll probably ever go to.

Kerridge’s Garden Grill, from 12 April - 16 May 2021,

The exhibition: The Silk Road: A Living History

Image courtesy Christopher Wilton-Steer/The Aga Khan Development Network

Art galleries remain closed for now but that hasn’t stopped some intrepid artists staging socially-distanced shows in the great outdoors. One of this month's largest will be an exhibition by photographer Christopher Wilton-Steer showcasing his journey along the historic Silk Road. Opening on 8 April in Granary Square, King’s Cross, the free exhibition will comprise more than 160 photographs, taken by Wilton-Steer during his four-month 40,000 km journey from London to Beijing, highlighting how the history and traditions of this famous trade route live on today. Equal parts art and travelogue, The Silk Road: A Living History promises to satisfy your need for adventure and escapism this spring.

The Silk Road: A Living History, 8 April - 16 June 2021,

The shopping: Cadogan Estate

It’s not news that London is full of great independent shops and beautiful luxury boutiques but, for those looking for some serious retail therapy this month, may we suggest you make beeline for the Cadogan Estate? Spanning 90 acres of prime shopping space across Chelsea and Knightsbridge, the Estate is introducing a range of new initiatives and changes to make post-lockdown shopping a glorious experience. The Duke of York Square fine food market will return while Pavilion Road will be completely pedestrianised to allow for the addition of 500 new al fresco dining seats. There will also be new flagship stores from Ralph Lauren, Balenciaga, Ganni and Rixo to peruse, while the much buzzed about Beaverbrook Town House will throw open its doors in May. We’ll see you there.

From 12 April,;

The art: Affordable Online Art Fair

Car, Dallas by Samuel Hicks

It will be a while yet before events on the scale of Frieze or Masterpiece can take place but the Affordable Art Fair has been successfully offering those looking to start an art collection a brilliant online alternative during lockdown. The next instalment of the Affordable Online Art Fair will take place this month, bringing together 50 specially-curated galleries and thousands of prints, photographs, paintings and sculptures priced from just £50. This edition will see 26 new international galleries join the roster, with all pieces available to buy online, while a programme of artist interviews, debates and panel discussions will offer excellent insight for those taking their first steps into the art market.

Affordable Online Art Fair, 9 April - 3 May 2021,

The theatre: Royal Opera House Double Bill

Image courtesy Danielle Patrick

Few theatres have poured quite so much love and attention into their online offerings during lockdown as the Royal Opera House. Ballet and opera fans have been kept well sated by a constantly changing roster of livestreamed performances and, with the theatre hopefully reopening in May, this month may be your last chance to catch the ROH’s world-class shows at home. While there are plenty of archival shows to choose from, it is a live double bill of The Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel taking place on 9 April that shouldn’t be missed.

The former sees British director Isabelle Kettle reimagine Kurt Weill’s darkly satirical opera as a ballet chanté, performed by Stephanie Wake-Edwards and Jonadette Carpio, with Michael Papadopoulos conducting the ROH orchestra. For the latter, also directed by Kettle, Kseniia Nikolaieva will take the role of Bessie in this classic collaboration between Bertolt Brecht and Weill. Created with streaming in mind, expect an immersive night of virtual theatre that’s nearly as good as the real thing.

Royal Opera House Double Bill, livestream on 9 April and on-demand for 30 days,

The pop-up: Courtyard Fire series at The Stafford

Another foodie pop-up not to be missed this month, St James’s The Stafford London hotel will kick off its new Courtyard Fire barbecue series with Matt Brown, group executive chef at Hawksmoor. Brown will be joining The Stafford’s culinary director Ben Tish and executive chef Jozef Rogulski for one day only to serve an indulgent menu featuring carnivorous delights such as short rib and Ogleshield nuggets with kimchi ketchup, Old Spot belly ribs with vinegar slaw and classic dry-aged porterhouse steaks. Also keep an eye out for future events in the series featuring Genevieve Taylor and Mei Mei London founder Elizabeth Haigh.

Courtyard Fire series at The Stafford, 24 April,

Read more: London's best restaurants for outdoor dining