What's on in February 2020: 9 glorious things to do in London this month

Natasha Afxentiou

31 January 2020

It may be the shortest month of the year, but February still packs a punch. Scroll through our curated guide to what's on in London, fromanticipated new exhibitions and thought-provoking theatre to stylish happenings for London Fashion Week

31 January 2020 | Natasha Afxentiou

Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens, Richmond 

Explore the vibrant flora and fauna of Indonesia at this year's annual orchid festival at Kew Gardens this month. Now in its 25th year, the Princess of Wales Conservatory will be transformed into a tropical paradise, filled with 5,000 species of orchid to honour Indonesia’s vast biodiversity. Look out for life-sized orangutans and crouching tigers nestled amid the flowers.

Vanda orchids in the Rainbow River. Kew orchid festival 2019. Credit Jeff Eden

Date: Saturday 8 February to Sunday 8 March 2020 Time: See website for booking times Price: Event access included with entry to the Gardens Location: Princess of Wales Conservatory, Kew Gardens, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB Closest Station: Kew Gardens Station 

Website: kew.org 

Positive Fashion Exhibition at London Fashion Week, 180 The Strand (14-19 February 2019)

You don’t need a front-row ticket to revel in the action at London Fashion Week. Located at The Store X, 180 Strand, the British Fashion Council is hosting a Positive Fashion Exhibition, which is open to the public. The immersive event is an opportunity to experience British brands and thought-provoking installations, exploring craftsmanship and ethics within the fashion industry. 

Burberry SS20. Charlie-Wheeler. British Fashion Council

Date: LFW: 14 to 18 February 2020; Positive Fashion Designer Exhibition from 14 to 16 February 2020 Time: Times vary, see website Price: Ticket prices and VIP packages vary, see website for details Location: BFC Show Space, the Store X, 180 The Strand, London, WC2R 1EA Closest Station: Temple 

Website: londonfashionweek.co.uk

Lightopia Festival, Chiswick House and Gardens 

Brighten up February at the Lightopia Festival at Chiswick House. Stroll through a resplendent rainbow tunnel, marvel at a towering, illuminated peacock and walk through a twinkling field of 70,000 glowing individual roses. Look out for 47 groups of handmade silk light installations hung throughout the festival, artfully created using a combination of traditional Chinese lantern-making techniques and the latest technology.

Date: Wednesdays-Sundays throughout February until 1 March 2020 Time: 5pm-10pm Price: Tickets from £20, child and family tickets also available, see website Location: Chiswick House & Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 2QN Closest Station: Turnham Green 

Website: chiswickhouseandgardens.org.uk  

Travelling Film Show pop-up cinema at The Shard, London Bridge (12 February) 

This February, watch Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born, against a panoramic backdrop of London's twinkling skyline. The Travelling Film Show is coming to the 69th floor of The Shard on the 12th of February for a pre-Valentine's Day date night with a difference. 

Date: Wednesday 12 February 2020 Time: Admission at 8pm, screening at 8:30pm Price: Tickets £45 Location: The View from the Shard, 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG Closest Station: London Bridge 

Website: travellingfilmshow.co.uk 

The Haystack at Hampstead Theatre, Hampstead 

This month, Roxana Silbert makes her directorial debut as Hampstead Theatre’s new artistic director with the world premiere of Al Blyth’s The Haystack. This espionage thriller follows two twentysomething computer whizzes, who's loyalties and ethics are put to the test after they are recruited by the government. 

Date: Throughout February until 7 March 2020 Time: Monday - Saturday performances: 7:45pm; Wednesday matinees: 2:45pm; Saturday matinees: 3:15pm Price: Tickets from £18 Location: Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, London, NW3 3EU Closest Station: Swiss Cottage 

Website: hampsteadtheatre.com 

Masculinities: Liberation through Photography at the Barbican

A timely exhibition at The Barbican brings together more than 50 photographers and filmmakers for an exploration of masculinity and what it means to be a man in today's world. Highlights include Andrew Moisey’s photobook The American Fraternity: An Illustrated Ritual Manual, which weaves together archival photographs of former US Presidents who all belonged to the fraternity system; Catherine Opie’s seminal series Being and Having, showing her close friends in the West Coast’s LGBTQ+ community, alongside photographs by Richard Avedon and Catherine Opie.

Adi Nes, Untitled, from the series Soldiers, 1999

Read more: unmissable exhibitions in London this year

Date: From 20 February to 17 May 2020 Time: see website Price: from £15 Location: Barbican Art Gallery Silk Street, Barbican, London EC2Y Closest Station: Barbican 

Website: barbican.org.uk 

Pancake Day, across London (25 January 2020)

Shrove Tuesday falls on the 25 February this year and London's offering of fluffy pancakes far exceeds your standard sugar and lemon combo. Where The Pancakes Are in Southwark is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a stack-packed menu including pear and caramel pancakes and a wheat-free, vegan option coined 1000 Baby Greens. The restaurant hopes to surpass the 385kg of batter flipped last year, and extra seating will be available in Flat Iron Square’s Après lodge. Granger & Co's famed ricotta hotcakes, normally only available at breakfast, will be on offer throughout the day, while Fitzrovia’s Mortimer House Kitchen will be flipping gluten-free pancakes with a spread of white chocolate, fresh raspberries and popped quinoa. For the most glamorous pancake stack in town, The Wolseley is unrivalled, while Christopher's in Covent Garden invites you to 'build your own' bespoke tower.

Where The Pancakes Are, Southwark

David Hockney: Drawing from Life at National Portrait Gallery, Charing Cross

For the first time in two decades, David Hockney’s exuberant drawings will be showcased at the National Portrait Gallery this February. The exhibition will feature 150 works drawn from public and private collections, which depict Hockney and sitters close to him – such as his muse Celia Birtwell and the master printer Maurice Payne. Look out for a series of self-portraits produced in the 1980s, when the artist created an image of himself every day during a two-month period of intense self-scrutiny. Now in his 80th year, the irrepressible artist shows no sign of slowing down.

David Hockney, Gregory. Los Angeles. March 31st 1982 © David Hockney. Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

Read more: unmissable exhibitions in London this year

Date: From 27 February 2020 Time: See website Price: £22 Location: National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, WC2H Closest Station: Charing Cross 

Website: npg.org.uk 

Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk at the V&A, South Kensington 

The kimono is being honoured across the world this year at dedicated fashion exhibitions in Tokyo and in London. Opening this month, Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk at the V&A museum explores the Japanese dress as an ever-evolving icon of fashion. More than 315 works explore its influence in fashion and film, from Obi-Wan Kenobi’s costume in Star Wars (1977) to stage designs for Madonna and Björk. Rare historic kimonos, dating back to the 17th century, will be displayed alongside fashion pieces by designers including Yves Saint Laurent and John Galliano.

Read more: unmissable exhibitions in London this year

Christian Dior, Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2007, image courtesy of Getty Images

Date: From Saturday 29 February 2020 Time: See website for times to book Price: £16 Location: Gallery 39 and North Court, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 Closest Station: South Kensington 

Website: vam.ac.uk