The Culturalist: The best of autumn culture 2018

Words by
Flora Drummond-Smith

19th October 2018

Explore what’s on in London this autumn with our cultural guide, featuring theatre, art exhibitions and our favourite restaurants in Marylebone and Fitzrovia

9am Wake up in the plush, eccentric surrounds of boutique townhouse hotel The Mandrake, tucked away in Fitzrovia. Bohemian in style, each room is different and dressed with an opulent flair — stay in the Mandrake Suite to be transported to the exotic realms of an Angela Carter novel, with a freestanding bath, rich fabrics and heavy velvet canopy over the bed. Thanks to the hotel’s evolving artist-in-residence programme, a meander on the way to breakfast will give you your first dose of culture, before eggs Benedict piled high with Cornish crab. 

 

The Mandrake Suite
The Mandrake Suite

The Mandrake Suite

10.30am For a fresh look at history amble over to The British Museum for I Object  (6 September – 20 January). Curated by historian and editor of Private Eye Ian Hislop, the exhibition brings together an array of objects including graffitied bricks, banknotes scrawled with hidden rude words and hats worn on women’s marches that have been used to mock and undermine systems of power throughout history, to tell the unorthodox story of the downtrodden and forgotten protestors.

 

Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL Matt Clayton
Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL Matt Clayton

Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL Matt Clayton

11.30am For a caffeine boost go to the charming Charlotte Street Hotel. If the weather is fair enjoy a cappuccino on the pastel green terrace for a spot of people watching before heading over to Grant Museum of Zoology. Holding over 68,000 zoological specimens, this lesser-known museum is home to some of the world’s rarest skeletons and bones – including the quagga and the dodo as well as more gruesome collections such as a jar of moles and reptiles in preserving fluid. Based in UCL, the museum is still a source of on-going research and runs informative workshops, lectures and discussions.

1pm For lunch, head to Carousel on Blanford Street. Ask for owner Ollie Templeton to put together a very reasonably priced tasting menu together to ensure you try the best dishes, such as rigatoni with spicy sausage followed by a strawberry and pineapple weed ganache. Adventurous eaters should book in for dinner to be delighted by an evolving line up of talented guest chefs from all over the world.

 

Delicious dishes at Carousel
Delicious dishes at Carousel

Delicious dishes at Carousel

2.30pm Continuing with a stellar line up of celebratory exhibitions marking its 250th anniversary, the Royal Academy of Arts presents Oceania its first ever major exhibition of Oceanic art. Founded in 1768, the same year Captain James Cook set out on his first Pacific expedition on the Endeavour, the exhibition, which brings together objects such as a 7 meter long crocodile feast bowl, canoes and shell and ceramic ornaments from New Guinea, Hawaii and New Zealand collected by explorers, missionaries and anthropologists, is a fitting celebration of voyage and discovery.

4pm It’s off to upscale Mayfair to bijou museum Handel & Hendrix. Named after baroque composer George Frideric Handel and rock artist Jimi Hendrix — who lived on the same small street 200 years apart — it brings their music and histories to life with live performances and harpsichord master classes. 

Lisa Reihana, In Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015-2017 (detail). Single-channel video, HD, colour, 7.1 sound. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2014 © Image courtesy of the artist and ARTPROJECTS
Lisa Reihana, In Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015-2017 (detail). Single-channel video, HD, colour, 7.1 sound. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2014 © Image courtesy of the artist and ARTPROJECTS

Lisa Reihana, In Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015-2017 (detail). Single-channel video, HD, colour, 7.1 sound. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2014 © Image courtesy of the artist and ARTPROJECTS

6pm Time for a drink, so ensure you book ahead (without a reservation non-members will be refused entry) for a tipple at Milk & Honey. Try the Alfonso Champagne cocktail laced with Dubonnet, sugar and bitters. 

7.30pm Take your seats at The Old Vic for modern musical Sylvia (3-22 September), which combines dance, hip hop and soul to tell the story of the Suffragette movement, marking the centenary of women getting the vote. It is also 100 years since the end of the First World War, so for an evocative triptych of commemorative ballet performances head to Sadler’s Wells for Lest We Forget (20-29 September).  

No Man's Land by Liam Scarlett part of English National Ballet's Lest We Forget (C) Photography by ASH
No Man's Land by Liam Scarlett part of English National Ballet's Lest We Forget; Photography by ASH

No Man's Land by Liam Scarlett part of English National Ballet's Lest We Forget; Photography by ASH

10pm Wind your way back to the Mandrake for a late supper at Serge. Try burrata, watercress, coriander seeds and apricot from the Earth menu before heading back to your sumptuous suite