April diary

Now that the clocks have gone forward, Londoners can relish the longer days of spring. Celebrate St George's Day at a huge food market in Trafalgar Square and later attend a "real food festival" at Earls Court. Enjoy free guided walks around London's parks, talks by top architects, a floral extravaganza in Covent Garden's Piazza, and a series of antiques and collectors' fairs.
Design Museum
The Design Museum shows the Designs of the Year Awards
Parents take note: many of the capital's fine museums and galleries have free craft/design workshops to amuse children during the April holidays.

Until 27 April: The Design Museum shows the Designs of the Year Awards, with 100 selected artefacts in seven categories from all around the world. Deserved winner is the "one laptop per child" project, which uses advanced design expertise to enrich the world's poorest children.
Design Museum, Shad Thames, SE1 (0870 833 9955; www.designmuseum.org).

Until 27 April: The London Open City exhibition at Somerset House explores issues shaping our capital, such as climate change and population growth - with a chance for you to contribute.
Somerset House, The Strand, WC2 (020 7845 4600; www.somersethouse.org.uk).

Spring workshops at Hampstead School of Art
Spring workshops at Hampstead School of Art
Until 18 April: Spring workshops at Hampstead School of Art teach a wide variety of art techniques at reasonable prices, on short one- to four-day courses. Subjects include life painting and drawing, portraiture and oils. For example, Jewellery Making with Silver is from 7 to 11 April (£135), and One Day Watercolours is on 11 April (£30). A Silk-painting Workshop runs from 14 to 17 April (£130). Kate Tilley offers children's pottery from 7 to 10 April (£130); and all work will be professionally fired and glazed.
19-21 Kidderpore Avenue, NW3 (020 7794 1439; www.art-school-hampstead.co.uk).

4 April: Architecture talk with Norman Foster, about his mammoth work on Beijing airport, with Evening Standard architecture critic Rowan Moore; from 7pm to 8pm; tickets cost £8, concessions available.
V&A Museum, Exhibition Road, SW7 (020 7942 2211; www.vam.ac.uk).

5 April: Special Saturday workshop for children aged three-plus.
Geffrye Musem, E2 (020 7739 9893; www.geffrye-museum.org.uk).

5, 6, 14, 21 April and 26 May: Free holiday drop-in family workshops making masks and garlands are at Somerset House from 11am to 1pm and from 2pm to 4pm.
Somerset House, The Strand, WC2 (020 7845 4600; www.somersethouse.org.uk).

5-13 April: The Tower of London has a new game - children accused of treason and thrown into the tower can (a little gruesomely, perhaps) can Beat the Block with special strategies, such as bribing guards or turning to friends in high places. Admission costs £16.50 adults, £13.50 concessions, £9.50 children.
Tower Hill, EC3 (www.hrp.org.uk).

The Beijing Olympic torch arrives for its London journey on 6 April
The Beijing Olympic torch arrives for its London journey on 6 April, igniting free events across the city
6 April: The Beijing Olympic torch arrives for its London journey, igniting free events in all the boroughs through which it passes - from Wembley through to Oxford Street and Trafalgar Square, on to the City and then to Stratford and Greenwich. Festivities include mini-carnivals in Ladbroke Grove and Notting Hill Gate, a fanfare of ancient Greek trumpets at the British Museum, a spectacular choir of 600 young people at the South Bank Centre, and children's workshop and treasure hunts amid the shopping malls of Canary Wharf (www.london.gov.uk/torchrelay).

6 April, 4 May and 1 June: Appreciate the beauty of the Albert Memorial, with guided tours in Kensington Gardens from 2pm to 3.30pm; tickets cost £4.50.
Kensington Gardens, W8 (020 7495 0916; (www.royalparks.org.uk).

6, 11, 23 and 27 April: Young Designers of the Year workshops for children aged five to 11; workshops are free with museum admission, which costs £8.50 for adults, and £4 for children. Best entries will go on the museum's website.
Design Museum, Shad Thames, SE1 (020 7940 8783; www.designmuseum.org).

7-11 and 14-18 April: Free family drop-in workshops - become an interior designer and make and decorate your own mini-room with brilliant patterns and colours; at the V&A Museum, from 11am to 1pm and from 2pm to 4pm.
V&A Museum, Exhibition Road, SW7 (www.vam.ac.uk/families).

9 April: St James's Park: Innocent Playground or Park of Shame? Make up your own mind on a free walk from 1pm to 2pm.
St James’s Park, SW1 (020 7930 1793; www.royalparks.org.uk).

9 & 10 April: Family days at the Geffrye Museum include Maypole dancing, storytelling, craft workshops and games.
Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, E2 (020 7739 9893; www.geffrye-museum.org.uk).

11 April: Share the seasonal spring secrets of Hyde Park on a free guided walk from 1pm to 2.30pm.
Hyde Park, W2 (020 7298 2083; www.royalparks.org.uk).

13 and 20 April: Free spring guided bird walks from 8am to 10.30am in Regent's Park (meet at the bird breeding centre).
Regent’s Park, NW1 (www.royalparks.org.uk).

14-18 April: Children (from four to 14) can draw ideas for a giant window mural at workshops at the Museum of Childhood; from noon to 4pm. Results will be posted at www.11million.org.uk, the new website set up by the Children's Commissioner for England.
Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, E2 (020 8983 5200; www.vam.ac.uk/moc).

15-18 April: A packed programme of children's workshops (for ages 3 to 15) at the Geffrye Museum are on a first-come, first-served basis. For example, on 17 April, from 2pm to 4pm, the over-10s can make bird and butterfly kites; and on 16 April (same times), ages 13 to 15 can create cocktails from flowers and herbs. Three- to five-year-olds can make puppets on 15 April, and springtime masks on 18 April, from 10.30am to 11.45am.
Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, E2 (020 7739 9893; www.geffrye-museum.org.uk).

Rare George III cow creamer by John Schupps, London, 1760-61, £9,000 from Nicholas Shaw Antiques, The Esher Hall Antiques and Fine Art Fair
Rare George III cow creamer by John Schupps, London (1760-61, £9,000) from Nicholas Shaw Antiques, The Esher Hall Antiques and Fine Art Fair
18-20 April: Esher Hall Antiques and Fine Art Fair has 45 dealers showing furniture, clocks, jewellery, barometers, glass, ceramics, furniture, oriental carpets, paintings, maps and more. Free parking, plus a creche on Saturday and Sunday. Entrance of £5 includes a catalogue and re-admission.
Sandown Park Racecourse, Surrey (01797 252030; www.esherhallfair.com).

19-27 April: the St George Festival in Southwark (www.stgeorgefestival.org.uk).

21 April: The Queen's Birthday - listen for gun salutes at noon and 1pm. And enjoy free guided walks with the royal gardeners, who will explain the many makeovers royalty have given St James's Park throughout its history; from 1pm to 2pm, and 2.30pm to 3.30pm.
St James’s Park, SW1 (020 7930 1793; www.royalparks.org.uk).

21 April: Festival of St George with traditional folk and Morris dancing, street theatre, arts and crafts.
Covent Garden Market, WC2 (www.london.gov.uk)

19th century Chinese ceramics, from £50, at the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair
19th century Chinese ceramics, from £50, at the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair
22-27 April: The Decorative Antiques and Textile Fair has 130 dealers selling traditional English furniture, antique lighting, vintage soft furnishings, 1950s midcentury-modern design and more. A colourful display of cushions, tapestries and patchwork quilts is by the charity Fine Cell Work, which sells on behalf of prison inmates. Free parking and free shuttle from Sloane Square.
The Marquee, Battersea Park, SW11.
(020 7624 5173; www.decorativefair.com)

23 April: St George's Day, with Food Glorious Food in Trafalgar Square to celebrate, as Borough Market relocates for one day; plus stage entertainment and street theatre.
Trafalgar Square, WC2 (www.london.gov.uk).

23 April-18 May: The Spring Renaissancein Covent Garden's historic cobbled market features celebrity florist Preston Bailey, who will create a dramatic and evolving flowery "artwork". For sale will be blooms from the UK's top flower merchants, plus plants, seeds, and fresh organic produce/foods. See a working mini-allotment with talks and demos on garden design, composting, recycling, bee-keeping and much more. Gardening and eco-experts will hold plant surgeries, and there will be an Urban Gardening Boutique.
Covent Garden Market, WC2 (020 7208 7152).

24-27 April: The Chelsea Art Fair has 40 UK and international dealers displaying modern British art mainly from 1930 to the present. Find paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and ceramics by more than 500 artists, from £50 to £30,000.
Chelsea Old Town Hall, Kings Road, SW3 (0870 350 2442; www.penman-fairs.co.uk).

24-27 April: The Real Food Festival at Earls Court features about 500 carefully selected "artisan" producers - "the largest Farmers Market ever" with food that is "good, clean and fair". Plus tastings, demos, book-signings and much, much more. Tickets cost £15 in advance, and £18 on the door.
Warwick Road, SW5. (0870 912 0831; www.realfoodfestival.co.uk).

Heavy glass bowls by Annette Meach at Contemporary Applied Arts
Heavy glass bowls by Annette Meach at Contemporary Applied Arts
25 April-31 May: The Glasshouse and its Tree is a stunning show of studio blown glass, themed around the famous Glasshouse studio in Covent Garden, which opened in 1969 and was a first home for now-famous glassblowers such as Fleur Tookey, Bob Crooks and Annette Meech. Contempoary Applied Arts, 2 Percy Street, W1 (020 7436 2344; www.caa.org.uk).

25 April: Architecture talk with Alistair Lansley, about the new St Pancras International, his "eighth wonder of the world." Tickets cost £10. From 7.15pm to 8.30pm, doors open 6.45pm.
Design Museum, Shad Thames, SE1 (020 7940 8783; www.designmuseum.org).

Unique hand made goods direct from the makers at the East London Craft Guerrilla monthly market
Unique handmade goods direct from the makers at the East London Craft Guerrilla monthly market
26 April: The Guerrilla Craft Market fills the pretty garden of Penny Fielding's shop (a mini-gallery for local art and crafts). Find high-quality handmade goods direct from the makers, including perfumes, ceramics, jewellery, soft furnishings and children's clothes ... and free fairy cakes; from 10am to 5.30pm; (markets continue on the last Saturday of each month until September).
34 Orford Road, Walthamstow Village, E17 (020 8509 0039; www.craftguerrilla.com; www.pennyfielding.com).

26 April: Make your own flower pots from recycled materials in a free workshop in Regent's Park from 11.30am to 3.30pm.
Community Wildlife Garden at York Bridge (www.royalparks.org.uk).

27 April: Kitchen Garden Open Day, with a herbal maze, fruit garden and cutting-flowers beds, is in the beautiful grounds of Palladian mansion Chiswick House. Get expert tips and buy plants and flowers; from 1pm to 5pm. And maybe visit the house as well.
Chiswick House, Burlington Lane, W4; (www.english-heritage.org.uk; www.kitchengarden.org.uk).

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