26 April, 2023
Each summer, the romantic 17th-century ruins of Holland House provide a bucolic backdrop for Opera Holland Park, which brings country-house opera to the heart of London. Sheltered beneath an all-weather canopy, this year's productions include Verdi's ever-popular Rigoletto (to 24 June) and Humperdinck's delightful Hansel and Gretel (10 to 23 June). Start your evening with a stroll in the sylvan surroundings of Holland Park, or book a table on the Terrace or in the Dutch Garden for a pre-performance picnic.
Britain is known as a nation of gardeners, and London is packed with superb parks and gardens, so its Open Gardens Weekend is always worth exploring. Taking place over the weekend of 10-11 June, it includes many famous gardens, such as 10 Downing Street, as well as over 100 others. Some of them are brand new, such as a roof garden overlooking St Paul's Cathedral, but there are old favourites too, such as the 17th-century kitchen garden at Chiswick House.
First held in 2016, the London Design Biennale is a global gathering for designers, curators and design institutions, held in the grand Georgian buildings of Somerset House from 1 to 25 June. This year's festival is led by the Nieuwe Instituut, the Netherlands' national museum and institute for architecture, design and digital culture. Over 40 exhibitors from Britain and around the world will showcase world-leading design, confronting the challenges of our times and inspiring visitors with thought-provoking and interactive installations.
Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney at the Wallace Collection has proved to be the surprise hit of the season. The first major exhibition devoted to dog portraiture, it explores our devotion to four-legged friends across the centuries, from working dogs to pampered pets, in a show that's funny, touching and cleverly curated. Set in the opulent surroundings of Hertford House, it's a short walk from The Beaumont, and a treat for dog-lovers of all ages. To 15 October.