During these testing times it’s more important than ever to take pleasure in the things London still has to offer, and more important than ever to support the people out there offering us the chance. In this new regular column, we update you on the ever-changing restrictions and give you a list of ways to spend a perfect, Covid-safe afternoon.
The advice: Going into the weekend, the government advice around galleries and museums remains unchanged. This means no mixing between households in indoor areas, but most galleries are open as usual. It is strongly advised to book before you go, however, with timed tickets, cashless payments and social distancing mandatory.
Bruce Nauman at the Tate Modern
Bruce Nauman has been making pithy neons since before Tracey Emin, playful photographs exploring the human condition since since before Wolfgang Tillmans and intimate videos about 21st century life since before Steve McQueen.
The American artist has been a leading figure in contemporary art since the late 1960s, with his formidable oeuvre encompassing sculpture, photography, neon, video, drawing, printmaking, and performance.
This, the first major exhibition of his work in London in more than 20 years, takes the form of a series of social-distancing friendly immersive installations in which to lose yourself for a few hours.
The Royal Academy Winter Exhibition
Every year I write about how much I dislike the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition and every year I look forward to attending it. Sure, it’s stacked high with more art than one person could fully appreciate in a dozen visits, but it’s also an integral part of the cultural calendar.
So it was a sad day when it was deemed untenable this summer. But now, for the first time, you can enjoy the summer exhibition in the winter, with the gallery hosting its flagship event until the end of the year. Prepare to be overwhelmed, if not by joy at its return then by the sheer volume of the thing.
The advice: With major cinema chains either closing or offering screenings at weekends only, there are major disruptions to anything approaching a regular schedule over the weekend, with the silver lining being that you can catch these releases in a few days on various streaming channels.
Summer of 85
Beloved director François Ozon (Frantz, By The Grace of God) crafts a nostalgic flashback drama about young love, told through the prism of a dark event that happens in the present. A more restrained take on a same-sex relationship than Call Me By Your Name, this is well worth your time this weekend.
The Secret Garden
With half term approaching, The Secret Garden may be the key to keeping the kids occupied over the next few days. While it’s a fairly by-the-numbers adaptation, the story still holds a special magic, says James Luxford in our review.
The advice: The hospitality sector continues to be hard hit by Tier 2 restrictions, with no mixed groups allowed to meet indoors (although there is a grey area over business lunches, which it seems are allowed). Those hoping to catch up with friends should seek out places with outdoor heated terraces, such as those listed in our round-up.
Should you want to venture out within your household bubble, Andy Silvester heartily recommends Rondo, the new Holborn hotel restaurant by Will Lander and Chris Gillard, the former the brains behind Quality Chop House, Clipstone and Portland, and the former head chef of Clerkenwell institution St. John, respectively.
If you’re in the mood for drinks, Mark Hix’s new take on his speak-easy style Mark’s Bar concept is now open in the basement of 1 Lombard Street, where you can enjoy cocktails including his famous Temperley Sour. Read about it here.