The London connection

With excellent GWR rail access to the big city, London’s only a short trip away for Cotswold dwellers. Here we round up some of our favourite things to see in ‘the smoke’ over the next couple of months.

Twelfth Night

THE NATIONAL THEATRE

We’re spoiled rotten with Shakespeare in the Cotswolds, with the RSC in Stratford upon Avon. But it’s worth making the trip to London to catch the National Theatre’s take on Twelfth Night, staring Tamsin Greig (Black Books, Green Wing) as ‘Malvolia’. Greig looks a dour, puritannical, snape-ish figure, infusing the part with delicious bitterness in this comic tale of mismatching and cross-dressing (not to mention cross-gatering).

Twelfth Night runs at the National Theatre (Olivier Theatre), South Bank until 13th May. Mon – Thu & all matinees £60, £52, £39, £29, £15 Fri & Sat evening £65, £56, £44, £31, £18. For more information, and to book tickets, visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

Robots

at THE SCIENCE MUSEUM

Sometimes it seems we’re constantly being warned - or reassured - that robots will be taking our jobs…any moment now? But this is hardly a new fear. Mankind has been dreaming about robots for longer than you might think, as this new exhibition shows by tracing the development of technology over 500 years of history. 

As the promised robotics boom looms, the Science Museum’s latest barnstormer assembles over one hundred robots for your contemplation - twelve still in working order - from a ‘16th century mechanical monk’ to ‘Cygan, a giant 1950s Italian robot with a glamorous past.’ Prepare yourself for the revolution with a look at the history of our steely future friends/foes (delete as applicable).

Catch Robots until 3rd September 2017, when the exhibition terminates. Find the museum on Exhibition Road, via South Kensington tube station.

£15 Adults, £13 Concessions. Entry to museum free.

www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

Electricity: The Spark of Life and Making Nature: How we see animals

at THE WELLCOME COLLECTION

Found next to Euston station, the Wellcome Collection is a ‘destination for the incurably curious’. Showcasing the utterly eccentric, captivating collection of medicine man/pharmacist Henry Wellcome, it also stages thought-provoking and splendidly designed temporary exhibitions. These have tackled big, important subjects such as like death, dreams, consciousness, sex and drugs - now it’s the turn of electricity (Electricity: The Spark of Life, until 25th June 2017) and our relationship with the animal kingdom (Making Nature: How we see animals, until 21st May 2017).

The two permanent exhibitions - Medicine Man and Medicine Now - will likely surprise you with their variety and strangeness. The Wellcome Collection is also home to an excellent library, a gift-and-book shop, and a cafe. It also puts on engrossing talks and interesting workshops, so be sure to check the website before your visit to ensure you don’t miss one.

Exhibitions & Entry free

www.wellcomecollection.org

David Hockney

TATE BRITAIN

This is a big one. The Tate’s comprehensive new exhibition pulls together some some of Hockney’s most noteworthy works, swimming pools and all.

For all the sun-drenched Californian dreaminess on display, it’s easy to forget that some of the more erotic works were produced when homosexuality was still illegal in Britain. Leaving the Yorkshire of his provincial childhood behind, Hockney found glamour and liberation (and fame) in Los Angeles - and became its most perceptive chronicler.

Somehow Hockney’s energy and vision remains unclouded by the passage of decades (now in his eighties, he’s still beating new pathways - even turning to the iPad as medium), but it’s endlessly rewarding to look back over his oeuvre and appreciate the myriad subtleties that emerge.

Simply on a technical level, Hockney’s boisterous and unapologetic mastery of colour will leave you thrilled - even optimistic - and you’ll be wowed by his aptitude for drawing. This is life-affirming stuff: art with heart.

Be warned, though - it’s Hockney, so you’d better book. The exhibition runs until 29th May 2017. Closest tube stop Pimlico.

Book online at www.tate.org.uk

£17.70 Adults (without donation), £15.90 Concessions (without donation). Members go free and do not need to book online. Under 12s Free (up to four per ticketed adult); family tickets available.