Our top picks of exhibitions together with cultural spaces and places, both online and in the real world.


All, Art, Auctions, Exhibitions, Travel & Hospitality, Initiatives

Doing Sotheby’s Jubilee Arts Festival

In honour of Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning British monarch ever, Sotheby’s is staging a month-long programme of exhibitions, events and auctions. Until 15 June, the Bond Street galleries will host specially curated exhibitions of royal portraits, rare aristocratic jewels and important manuscripts, including works loaned from prestigious private collections.

Must-see treasures include the iconic Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I on loan from The Woburn Abbey Collection and a rare Warhol painting of Queen Elizabeth II. Offered in British Art: The Jubilee Auction on 29 June — a sale dedicated to the very best of British art from across the centuries — is a new unique work donated by Chris Levine.

In addition to the royal-themed exhibitions and auctions, Sotheby’s has curated a diverse programme of talks, debates and musical and dramatic performances inspired by creativity in all its forms, from art, music and literature to food and fashion.

On our radar is the tiara talk on 7 June between jewellery designer Kiki McDonough and Sotheby’s expert Kristian Spofforth and the series of immersive performances by graduates of the Royal College of Dramatic Art. We also recommend snapping up a ticket for the conversation on 13th June at 6.30pm between Turner Prize-winning artist Lubaina Himid, writer Lauren Elkin, Head of Modern, Contemporary African Art at Sotheby’s Hannah O’Leary and art historian Carrie Scott. Hop to it.

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Doing Jubilee Celebrations at Claridge’s

Celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in right royal style at Claridge’s, often described as the ‘Annexe of Buckingham Palace’. Over the course of her 70-year reign, the Queen has celebrated numerous personal and public occasions at Claridge’s, including her 60th birthday and her ruby wedding anniversary with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

To commemorate this joyous national milestone, Claridge’s is showcasing rarely seen treasures from its archives dating from the Queen’s 1953 Coronation. Curated by Claridge’s in-house archivist Kate Hudson, and displayed in the hotel’s lobby from 1st June, this special presentation includes an original swatch of the hand stitched and beaded fabric from the Queen’s Coronation gown and original menus and cocktail cards served at Claridge’s on Coronation Day in 1953.

Talking of cocktails, The Fumoir and Claridge’s Bar are celebrating the occasion with five new concoctions inspired by the coronation. Toast to Her Majesty with a Royal Stag or a Windsor Rose, which was originally served at Claridge’s on Coronation Day in 1953. Make sure to glimpse the parade of Union Jacks on leaving.

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Doing Hay Festival

Returning for its first live event since 2019, Hay Festival brings together some of the greatest voices, authors and minds of our times. We’re talking the first Black female winner of the Booker Prize, Bernadine Evaristo, writer and environmental activist George Monbiot, and designer Jenny Packham, among others.

Set in the grounds of Hay Castle on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, this year’s festival features more than 600 live events, talks and conversations, with a selection available to watch live online from the comfort of your own home.

Highlights include the talk between Elizabeth Day and Emma Gannon, which centres on key themes of Day’s new novel, Magpie; and the new Women in Power series, which sees such famous names as Nicola Sturgeon, Huma Abedin and Bernardine Evaristo discuss the fight for gender equality.

Thesps should investigate the stripped back production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at the specially commissioned open-air theatre, while foodies may enjoy the talk between Kate Humble, Andrew Montgomery and Kitty Corrigan. If you’ve got kids in tow, head to the Make & Take tent, where you’ll find activities from print-making to junk modelling.

With so much to see and do, make sure to browse the festival programme in advance — and, more importantly, pre-book your tickets online. Accommodation gets booked up early, but there are always beds and campsites to be found. So persevere and see you there.

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