May is the month when things really start to liven up in London, starting with London Craft Week at the beginning of the month and finishing in a blaze of colour and scent at the Chelsea Flower Show. With two long Bank Holiday weekends in May, it's the perfect time to treat yourself to a long stay at The Beaumont.
The concierge team at The Beaumont know London inside out, and they are here to help guests look beyond the obvious tourist clichés. Here are four of their top recommendations for this month:
Each year, London Craft Week promotes the work of Britain's best artist-craftsmen with a range of workshops, discussions, demonstrations and displays, and this year The Beaumont hosts a special showcase of British fragrance makers. Each maker has come up with a bespoke scent creation inspired by one of the famous rebels and reprobates whose pictures feature in The Lotos Room. The result is The Jimmy Beaumont Perfume Collection, which guests and visitors can enjoy in the Art Deco lobby of The Beaumont from 8 to 12 May.
One of the greatest artists who ever lived, Rembrandt is revered not just for his great paintings and portraits, but also for his fabulous drawings and prints. Rembrandt: Thinking on Paper, at the British Museum until 4 August, offers a wonderful opportunity to get up close to some of his finest work, and includes examples of his astonishing technical brilliance as an engraver as well as his profound human insight and sympathy. It's rare to see so many masterpieces in a single room, some of them rarely shown.
Sam Mendes' brilliant direction of The Lehman Trilogy garnered ecstatic reviews and a sold-out season at the National Theatre last year, and this month it transfers to the Piccadilly Theatre for a limited 12-week run (ending on 3 August). Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles reprise their roles in the rags-to-riches story of three Bavarian brothers who emigrated to New York and founded a bank that went on to become a spectacular success - but which, 163 years later, triggered the biggest financial crash in history.
The Chelsea Flower Show may get most of the publicity, but well-informed flower fans can avoid the crowds, the crush and the Pimm's in plastic cups by wandering a little further along the Thames to the Chelsea Physic Garden. Founded in 1673 and hidden behind high brick walls, this beautiful four-acre plot boasts over 5,000 types of plant (many of them rare and unusual), not to mention a fine café. For more adventurous souls, the Chelsea Fringe festival (18 to 26 May) promotes horticultural events all over London.