Sometimes a new festival appears on the UK circuit that makes even hard-core habitués of the scene sit up and take notice. Last year it was the turn of Festival No. 6 in Portmeirion, which was
handed the accolade of Best New Festival at the UK Festival Awards. And now they’re back, with a brand-new line-up just announced. 13-15 September
Those wily organisers behind the All Tomorrow's Parties festivals – temporary bastions for über-hipsters wafting around Butlins watching the latest bands – have announced the latest line-up for
their city festival series I'll Be Your Mirror. And it's a goodie. 4-5 May
It's a brave person who steps onto the stage to face the Glasgow crowds for a comedy gig. This doesn't stop a multitude of performers flocking to the city from all corners of the globe for the
Glasgow International Comedy Festival – Europe's largest dedicated comedy jamboree, now in its 11th year. 14-31 March
The kooky Winterwell festival has taken inspiration from F Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, to set this year's festival within the frame of a Roaring Twenties theme. 8
Film buffs will be delighted to hear that a little bit of celluloid fairy dust is set to be scattered in Scotland as the Glasgow Film Festival – the third-biggest film event in the UK – arrives for
its ninth year. 14-24 February
If there is one day in the calendar that strikes joy into the hearts of gluttons (apart from Christmas, of course), it's Pancake Day. It is with excitement, therefore, that we anticipate the
opening of Shutterbug, an 'experimental crêperie-cum-cocktail-speakeasy' in Shoreditch (yes, they adopted that hideously overused word 'speakeasy', but we'll overlook it just this once). 12
His art may have been overlooked by many in favour of Andy Warhol's work during the heady days of the pop-art movement (Life magazine once ran a feature in 1964 asking 'Is he the worst
artist in the US?'), but artist Roy Lichtenstein's distinctive style is instantly recognisable and loved by many today. 21 February-27 May
A new beer festival, Craft Beer Rising, is coming to London's Old Truman Brewery - that symbol of the city's former brewing might – for a weekend of brews, music and food. 22-23 February
Ladies, take a deep breath and sit down. For Idris Elba, star of The Wire, Luther and Prometheus, is back in his hometown, preparing to host a series of parties in hip
north-west London joint Love and Liquor. until 13 March
A world away from the comfy acrylic canvases, sensual sculptures and challenging photography, does such ‘artificial’ work have a place in the art world? The organisers of the Kinetica Art Fair seem
to think so. 28 February-3 March
One of the greatest pop icons of all time, David Bowie has transfixed and delighted audiences across six decades. It's no surprise, therefore, that the V&A Museum are set to host the world's
first-ever retrospective of his work, having mined his archive of more than 300 items. 23 March-28 July
When London Fashion Week rolls into town every February and September, it’s hard to ignore it, given its widespread media coverage. It’s even harder, however, to get a piece of the action, with
tickets reserved for the upper echelons of the fashion world. That is, until Retrospective landed last September. Open to the public, this catwalk show mines pieces from the fashion archives of
some of the world’s best design houses, with the aim of providing an insight into how past trends inform next season’s fashions. 16 February
Like a glowing ember in the January darkness, the 25th of the month marks the birthday of Scotland's beloved bard, Robert Burns. Here's a selection of the best Burns Night events on offer in London
and the UK. 25 January
If you challenge someone to name a comedy festival in the UK, chances are they'll plump for Edinburgh's summer extravaganza. But Leicester? Well, the likelihood of that is more debatable. It may
come as a surprise, therefore, that the city has been hailed as hosting one of the best in the world. 8-24 February
In the bleak midwinter, otherwise known as the end of January, there is a little ray of light that descends upon the capital, bringing sunshine to those who venture out to find it. This is LOCO
London, a film festival that presents the world's best funny films across one long weekend. 24-27 January
The Destination is back with more hot events for your diary. Whet your appetite for essential happenings coming up this year.
Street Feast, the hip market collective that has ping-ponged its way between Brick Lane, Camden and Dalston this year, is currently in Shoreditch, having taken up a festive residence there.
until 23 December
The experimental German musicians are bringing their distinctive music, 3D projections and animations to Tate Modern’s cavernous Turbine Hall in February for an eight-night run. 6-14
Clash magazine is curating an ahead-of-the-curve gig at hipster hangout The Shacklewell Arms (Dalston) – you’ll be guaranteed an unusual sonic safari. Wednesday 12 December
The Feast collective is back with a festive offering that will see a host of top chefs collide with the biggest names in street food. Taking refuge in an atmospheric Victorian sorting office in
Islington, there will be musical entertainment as guests gorge themselves on food from Hix, Big Apple Hot Dogs, Mishkin’s, Moro, Yum Bun and Lucky Chip, to name but a few. 6-9 December
If there is one dish that brings out the competitive edge in a keen cook, it’s chilli con carne. With a recipe known and loved – and altered – by chefs the world over, challenges to see who’s the
king of the carne can be a heated affair. Saturday 17 November
For some, nothing screams Christmas more than a glut of snow-filled films taking over our TV screens for six weeks of the year – from A Christmas Carol to The Nightmare Before
Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street. This year, some interesting venues are being transformed into festive fantasy lands, showing winter blockbusters throughout December. 18 November
to 31 January
Theatregoers who prefer this adrenaline-filled style should hotfoot it to Camden’s Roundhouse in the New Year for Fuerzabruta. Coming from the creators of memorable Argentinian show De La Guarda,
Fuerzabruta is a physical show that sees much of the action played out above the audience’s heads whilst they’re standing up. 27 December to 26 January
Following the success of Jumpy this summer, starring Tamsin Greig, the third and final play in the series is transferring to the Duke of York's Theatre: Constellations, by Nick Payne.
9 November 2012 to 5 January 2013
The latest London pub to host a chef residency is Disco Bistro, a dual-personality offering at The Rising Sun pub on Carter Lane near St Paul’s that includes an upstairs dining room with a
robata-style grill, where rare-breed meats and fresh fish are served, and a downstairs pub menu of 'trash food', including fried chicken wrapped in pig skin. 19 November 2012 to 31 May 2013
The V&A's autumn exhibition is dedicated to the fabulous subject of Hollywood Costume, consisting of more than 100 costumes (including those mentioned above) from films spanning a century.
20 October to 27 January
It's time to get those pumpkins out; Halloween is upon us once more. And some suitably gruesome events are being held to celebrate. 25-31 October and 26 October
This autumn offers the chance for art lovers to spot the top new talent of tomorrow, today. Four young artists are to be recognised and celebrated with Dazed & Confused's annual art prize this
autumn. The Converse/Dazed 2012 Emerging Artist Award has seen four artists – all under the age of 35 – recognised by an expert panel of judges. 25 October to 13 November
Learning disability charity Mencap’s Little Noise sessions are back for another autumnal season of live gigs and goodwill in the atmospheric St John at Hackney church. The line-up includes top
northern crooner Richard Hawley, indie quintet The Maccabees and folk-rockers Noah and the Whale (pictured). 20-25 November
Tim Walker, one of the most esteemed fashion photographers in the world, is opening his first-ever exhibition this autumn and winter. 18 October to 27 January
The UK has become well practised in the art of protest across the centuries, but recent years have given some enough reason to get the placards out. This October will see an exhibition of some of
the most notorious pieces of peace-protest artwork to be created in the past few years. 12-18 October
Memory is a tricky thing. So it is that the Serpentine Gallery is dedicating a whole weekend to the subject this October, with artists, writers, neuroscientists and even the world memory champion
all coming together to present, discuss and perform based on the subject in a Memory Marathon. 12-14 October
Just as Pret A Diner opened its doors for its pop-up members club dining and art experience last week, a new kid has announced its intentions for the London gastronomic scene in October. This time
it's the turn of The Waldorf Project, which is the brainchild of British artist Sean Rogg. 10-14 October
The hipster festival to end all hipster festivals, All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) is back for its early December shindig, The Nightmare Before Christmas. This festive event sees most of east London
decamp to Pontins in Camber Sands, East Sussex, to explore the outer realms of the musical landscape. 30 November-2 December
Roll up, roll up! Celebrated circus troupe Cirque du Soleil is heading back to town in the New Year with a dazzling new show called Kooza. 5-27 January 2013
The Barbican is a gold mine of challenging cultural events, including the Barbican Weekender – a programme of free events that takes place across a weekend. November’s offering, Natural Circuits,
celebrates the influence of digital technology on the arts with a series of talks, performances and installations. 3-4 November
Immersive theatre, in which the audience plays an active role, is back in vogue, with shows such as You Me Bum Bum Train proving the hottest ticket in town this summer. One of the best companies
around for this sort of thing is experimental collective Shunt, which returns with a new show from the end of November. 27 November-6 January 2013
The diminutive yet highly influential Almeida Theatre in Islington will see two of Britain’s theatrical heavyweights team up for a brand new play, The Dark Earth and the Light Sky. 8
November-12 January 2013
Warehouse parties often go down in history for their brilliant atmosphere. Manchester’s Warehouse Project is back for three months at the end of the year, hosting a diverse line-up in a new venue
just across from Old Trafford football stadium. Until 1 January 2013
With summer events such as Secret Garden Party and Shambhala fading in the memory, those looking to shake off post-festival season blues should check out a carnivalesque party known as Rumpus. 7
This autumn sees a lot of big new shows hitting theatre-land, and one of the most anticipated is Anton Chekhov’s classic Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre, which has just announced Downton
Abbey’s Laura Carmichael – who plays Lady Edith - in a lead role. 25 October-16 February 2013
Now in its 18th year, Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival brings together almost 200 live-action and animated short films to the city of Bristol to celebrate the best work in this field
from across the globe. 18-23 September
Global dining sensation Pret A Diner has rolled back into London just months after packing its bags and leaving town. This time, it’s a temporary private members’ club, set in the Senate Rooms of
the Royal Academy of Arts. 13 September-17 November
See how punk has affected fashion, design and ideology at a new exhibition, entitled Some Day All The Adults Will Die!, at the Hayward Gallery in London’s Southbank Centre. The show has been
created to coincide with the launch of a new book called Punk: An Aesthetic by Jon Savage, which incorporates more 500 images, along with accompanying essays by Johan Kugelberg, William Gibson, and
Linder Sterling. 14 September-4 November
31 AUGUST 2012: Electro band LCD Soundsystem split in 2011, but not for the usual reasons of artistic differences or rock ‘n’ roll burnout. They just wanted to quit while they were ahead. And,
luckily, a film crew was on hand to record the group’s last-ever performance for a feature-length documentary.
27 AUGUST 2012: East London is set to gain a new, temporary theatre this autumn when a purpose-built, in-the-round auditorium is constructed in Shoreditch Town Hall.
If you’ve ever been to Kilburn, you may have been distracted by a rather dilapidated-looking, corrugated iron-clad building in the shape of a chapel. This structure, the Grade II-listed Tin
Tabernacle, is set to be the location for a new installation by British artist Lindsay Seers, exploring themes of migration, memory and water through video, performance, photography and animation.
8 September-21 October
As the air grows cooler and the nights draw in, the merry-go-round of festivals that pepper the summer calendar draws to a close. And it’s only now that the gig circuit really gets into full swing,
as artists aren’t distracted by ‘glamping’ in yurts and playing in the great outdoors. For those looking for some aural delights in the darker months, two of the most exciting acts due to reach our
shores this autumn are Yeasayer and Efterklang (pictured). 27/29 September and 23-30 October.
Hold on to your hats – and all your other clothes, for that matter – for one of the world’s most notorious and seductive cabaret acts is coming to London for three months. 18 September-24
Top-of-the-range boutique event Festival No. 6, organised by the people behind successful winter festival Snowbombing, is heading for the unsuspecting Welsh village of Portmeirion in September.
10 AUGUST 2012: For those who think that opera is a stuffy pastime played out in front of elaborate sets, perceptions are to be challenged once more by one of the leading lights of London’s
independent theatre scene.
Laurence Olivier Award-winner Tamsin Greig will be taking to the stage in Jumpy, a Royal Court Theatre play that’s transferring to the West End for its second run. 16 August-3 November
3 JULY 2012: Photographer David Bailey has been documenting the East-End borough of Newham in which he was raised throughout his life. A new exhibition focuses on work that was taken in three
decades: the 1960s, the 1980s and the most recent years.
30 JUNE 2012: The multi-faceted Damon Albarn has once again ventured into the world of opera with the opening of his production of Dr Dee at the ENO. It tells the story of Elizabeth I’s medical
advisor John Dee, set against a quasi-folk music score performed by Albarn himself.
30 JUNE 2012: The antithesis to V, Reading and Leeds, End of the Road is a weekend festival in north Dorset that celebrates folk and independent music.
2 JULY 2012: Move over Olympics – The Chap Olympiad is back, attracting lovers of tweed, martinis and handlebar moustaches in a ‘celebration of athletic ineptitude and immaculate trouser creases’.
He’s one of Britain’s most lauded film directors, so it’s no great surprise that the British Film Institute is celebrating the works of Alfred Hitchcock. All 58 surviving Hitchcock films will be
shown during the retrospective, including nine silent films – check out the 1928 comedy Champagne (pictured). June-October
1 JULY 2012: If there’s one London art gallery that has to be on every culture vulture's list this season, it’s the Serpentine. The gallery is featuring a special exposition of Yoko Ono’s
(pictured) work, reflecting on her impact on the worlds of art, film and music. To the Light is her first UK exhibition for more than 10 years, and will include Smile, which invites people to
upload images of their smiles as part of a global anthology of portraits.
26 JUNE 2012: As London’s open-air gig season gets under way for another year, the city prepares for the return of the Summer Series at Somerset House. The series sees a number of artists take to
the stage in the stunning setting of an 18th century neo-classical courtyard to deliver inspirational sets as the sun goes down.
20 JUNE 2012: If you're in Northamptonshire in a month’s time, you may happen across a country house full of hippies, flappers and ravers. Fear not, for this is not some tired old fancy dress party
full of cheese and pineapple sticks, but the Vintage Festival – a celebration of all the top trends through the decades.
12 JUNE 2012: For those unlucky souls who couldn’t get tickets to The Stone Roses reunion gigs at Manchester’s Heaton Park this summer, a new exhibition will enable them to relive a slice of the
‘Madchester’ era without the crowds or warm beer.
31 MAY 2012: Highgate Cemetery Chapel is set to host a talk about a very talented family – the Rossettis: poet, political exile and head of the family Gabriele Rossetti and his four children, who
excelled in literature and the arts.
25 MAY 2012: In a city full of surprises, new venue the London Pleasure Gardens is providing a shot in the – already strong – arm of London’s summer events with Bloc Weekend, a bustling programme
of music, arts, films and fun.
Manchester is set to move to a different beat over the summer months; the Afro-beat – because the city is to be taken over by art and music from west Africa during its We Face Forward season. 2
25 MAY 2012: The plentiful bounty on display at Kew Gardens is always a wonder to behold, but this year an added dimension will be added because the famous garden has teamed up with the
much-admired sculptor David Nash.
14 MAY 2012: Brainlove Festival is back, landing at the delightfully ramshackle Brixton Windmill on Saturday 26 May. Run by the record label of the same name, the day involves a whole heap of new
and exciting acts, as well as a free barbecue in the garden.
4 MAY 2012: Experiential cinema has been big news for a while, and Notting Hill’s Electric Cinema has come up with yet another novel idea to help bring the action on the silver screen to life for
its audience: an 'integrated tasting experience’ for guests.
26 APRIL 2012: May sees the Festival of One Man Bands come to The Blues Kitchen from 6-11 May. The venue is giving away five pairs of VIP passes to Square Meal readers, including a complimentary
dinner (excluding drinks). Find out how to get your hands on a pair here.
26 APRIL 2012: The weekend tradition of brunch has been enjoying a makeover recently. So, wave farewell to eggs Benedict and the newspapers, and say hello to Champagne, DJs and beautiful people.
20 APRIL 2012: For a statement of intent, the name FutureEverything is rather big. This ambitious title lends itself to not only a technological and social innovation organisation based in
Manchester, but also a festival of art, music and ideas that will be taking place in May.
20 APRIL 2012: 2012 sees the 25th anniversary of the Hay Festival, with appearances from comedic musician Tim Minchin, Booker Prize-winner Hilary Mantel (author of Wolf Hall), and a lecture from
James Watson, who discovered the structure of DNA with Francis Crick.
20 APRIL 2012: In a world chock-full of music blogs waxing lyrical about the Next Big Thing, it can be difficult to keep up to speed on what’s hot and what’s not in music land. So, what’s a fan to
do? Head to Brighton for The Great Escape, of course. This three-day festival by the sea is the UK’s answer to South By Southwest in Texas, where new bands go to get a break.
20 APRIL 2012: Some of the UK’s greatest museums will be opening their doors to a range of nocturnal activities during the Museums at Night weekend. Among the usual exhibitions, there’ll be further
flights of fancy inspired by sleepovers, ghost hunts and talks from authors, plus jelly-inspired creations from Bompass & Parr (pictured).
26 APRIL 2012: The queen of contemporary art is back, and she’s returning to her roots. Tracey Emin (pictured) is set to unveil a major solo exhibition at the Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate
– the town she grew up in.
26 APRIL 2012: The world’s best-loved playwright is also one of the UK’s most iconic figures, so what better way to celebrate the cultural importance of the British Isles in 2012 than with a
gigantic festival dedicated to William Shakespeare?
16 APRIL 2012: Music lovers, unite! It’s time to fight against a world of digital music and iTunes with the return of Record Store Day on Saturday 21 April.
13 APRIL: For those wanting to indulge in the art of stargazing in the Big Smoke, Islay whisky distillery Bowmore whisky is bringing a touch of Scotland’s Darkness to the city in an event
celebrating its whisky.
5 APRIL 2012: With the return of lighter, brighter nights, Londoners are enjoying another boom in the street-food movement, with collaborations and pop-ups being announced at the drop of a hat.
Sundance, the infamous independent film festival whose roots are found in Utah, is heading to London for four days in April. Expect a programme of 14 narrative and documentary feature films showing
at The O2, as well as panel discussions, live music performances and other events.
Islington’s Public House is launching a monthly liquid book club that sees attendees dissect a book that has strong links with alcohol – be it in the plot or the author’s penchant for it – while
supping on specially created cocktails throughout the evening.
Another blockbuster art exhibition is about to hit London with the imminent opening of a new Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern. The show is going to be the first substantial retrospective of
the Turner Prize-winner’s artwork in the UK, taking in two decades of his work with more than 70 pieces on display.
Boiler Room, London’s seminal clubbing experience, is celebrating the first birthday of its groundbreaking website. It’s thanks to the website’s live stream that fans are treated to aural
adventures in electronica from their armchair.
Dalston – that hotbed of hipster action – is dusting off its bunting and preparing for the fourth Land of Kings festival in May. A fun and inventive gathering of top talent and like-minded people,
Land of Kings is an underground music and arts festival which ramps the eternally fun East London neighbourhood’s atmosphere past 11.
It’s official: Latitude Festival and its candy-coloured sheep are coming back for another year. And it has announced one of the strongest line-ups of the summer season. Falsetto-voiced folk artist
Bon Iver, Mercury Prize winners Elbow and the Modfather, Paul Weller, are all billed to headline the main stage, with indie miserablists White Lies, psychedelic goth rockers The Horrors and
delightful eccentrics Wild Beasts topping the second stage.
Aspiring art collectors, mark up your diaries now, for the Affordable Art Fair (AAF) is coming to town again. The AAF aims to make art accessible to all, and with pieces ranging in value from £40
to £4,000, there are plenty of options for everyone. What's more, Square Meal readers can get two tickets for the price of one.
Square Meal readers are offered two-for-one entry to the upcoming Affordable Art Fair
Stolen is a monthly supperclub with a truly underground feel: as the name suggests, everything that makes up the dining experience has been begged, borrowed or even stolen, for the event. On Monday
19 March, the menu will take inspiration from Pascal Aussignac’s Clerkenwell gem Club Gascon. Tickets cost £38.
Limber up for the summer season as the first of Lovebox festival’s acts are revealed - with BRIT winner Lana Del Rey as a headline act.
The English National Ballet has started a week-long residency at Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries to celebrate the opening of the exhibition Picasso and Modern British Art, which examines the
artist’s connection with Britain.
Returning to the London stage this spring after 13 years, Cate Blanchett plays the role of Lotte in Big and Small, a play written by German writer Botho Strauss, about a woman searching to
overcome the disconnection she experiences with the world.
Big and Small comes to the UK for a fortnight in April, and is one of the key projects of the London 2012 Festival ahead of the Olympics this summer.
After a successful live-music season in 2011, Kensington Roof Gardens is welcoming back some of its sell-out performers along with new acts for the coming year. The award-winning venue’s heated
marquee will host a variety of musicians. Friday evenings will see headlining acts including upcoming soulful star Tiger Lilly and next-big-thing singer-songwriter Sam Gray, while Saturday nights
will focus on jazz artists.
On 21 March, Gaucho restaurant will host The Gaucho International Polo at London’s O2 arena. This year, as well as enjoying two high-octane arena polo matches, guests can expect live music courtesy
of Grammy award-winning Argentinian band, Bajofondo.
Comedy giant Michael McIntyre is back for his third and biggest stadium tour later this year. The 58-date UK and Ireland tour starts in Cardiff on 22 August and takes in gigs in Cardiff,
Nottingham, Birmingham, London’s 02, Sheffield, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Dublin and Liverpool, before finishing up back in London, at Wembley Arena, from 28 November to 3 December.
The BRIT Awards are just a week away and anyone who is anyone in the world of pop is taking to the stage there, from long-standing groups such as Coldplay and Blur to relative newcomers including
show-stopping singer Florence + the Machine and grime sensation Ed Sheeran, who’s been hotly tipped to win the Best British Male category. Regular tickets to the event have now sold out, but
nominate an ‘unsung hero’ in the music industry before 15 February and you could be in with a chance to win one of the last coveted spots at the ceremony.
The Old Vic theatre is lending the tunnels beneath the theatre (pictured) to Silent Opera, a young person’s theatre group specialising in innovative opera. The group will stage a modern version of
Puccini’s La Bohème until 26 February: think tattoos, swabs and syringes as the tale of Mimi and Rodolfo’s romance in the artists’ quarter of Paris is rebooted for the 21st century.
On 23 June, Californian punk rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers, led by singer Anthony Kiedis (pictured), will play to fans at Knebworth. The line-up will include hits from the group’s career –
which spans more than two decades – including songs from their 10th and latest album, I’m With You. Tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster and cost from £57.50.
The Destination is your essential guide to what’s hip and what’s happening in London and around the UK. Be in the know before anyone else with Square Meal’s round-up of the latest must-attend
events, brought to you in association with Mercedes-Benz. From cool festivals to intimate music gigs, and from molecular mixology to celebrity events, The Destination is your passport to all that’s
cool in the worlds of food, drink, music, film and the arts.
Tony Conigliaro, the brains behind the stellar cocktails offered at 69 Colebrooke Row and ZTH, is offering the perfect Valentine's experience for those looking for something out of the ordinary.