The best events in London this February

From a pancake day race and an orchid festival, to a new exhibition on the war in Ukraine and a speech from Bernie Sanders,  it's a busy month in the UK capital. Find our guide to the best events in London this February.

whynow February events guide

The Mail Rail, Clerkenwell

Until 28 March

events london february the mail rail

(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Let’s start with an existing offering – London Postal Museum’s the Mail Rail. It looks fascinating. A 100-year-old, underground railway, independent from the well trodden Tube. The Mail Rail was used to ferry post across London during the 20th century, before eventually being phased out in 2003. 

In 2013, the Mail Rail reopened, this time to visitors, who can explore the underground world on foot, with access to tunnels, tracks and abandoned underground stations. 

Battersea Power Station Light Festival

Until 5 March

events london february battersea power station

As part of its rejuvenation project, Battersea Power Station is putting on its very own light festival. It consists of eight installations by different artists, set in both indoor and outdoor environments. Open from 8am to 11pm daily, Battersea’s light show is just one of the things to do in the area.

Ukraine: Photographs from the Frontline, Imperial War Museum

3 February – 8 May

events london february imperial war museum

Not 12 months on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and with the war raging on, the Imperial War Museum is already curating an exhibition. It features a collection of photos from some of the hardest hit regions of Ukraine. Donbas and Crimea, in particular, are the main subject of Ukraine: Photographs from the Frontline, which you can read more about and get a harrowing preview of, before the exhibition opens on February 3.

Kew Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens

4 February – 5 May

events london february kew orchid festival

Horticulturist Elisa Biond creates a wall of Vanda orchids for the Orchid Festival in The Princess of Wales Conservatory at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Kew’s famous orchid celebration returns, with this year’s festival “inspired by the biodiversity of Cameroon.” Throughout the Princess of Wales Conservatory, there will be “horticultural displays and living plant sculptures”. Visitors can encounter “towering giraffe sculptures and a troop of gorillas, alongside magnificent roaring lions and wallowing hippo arrangements, highlighting the incredible biodiversity and awe-inspiring wildlife of this West African nation.”

Interestingly, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew work closely with Cameroon year round on “vital scientific and research projects, including collaborating with the National Herbarium of Cameroon and others to identify Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) in the country.”

Royal Coronation Walking Tour, Parliament Square

2pm, 5 February

events london february king charles

(Photo by Alastair Grant – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

We’re note quite getting King Charles III’s coronation yet, but for any among you who simply can’t bear to wait until 6 May, there’s a new guided walk exploring the history behind Britain’s coronations

Described as “a gentle 90 minute walk through the heart of beautiful royal London”, the tour visits key sites and memorials, starting in Parliament Square and finishing at Buckingham Palace.

Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre

8 – 18 February 

children's festival southbank centre london events february

Credits Belinda Lawley. Image courtesy of the Southbank Centre.

If you’re looking for ways to fill the February half-term school holiday, Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival runs the same week. It features a little bit of everything, from workshops to exhibitions across music, art and literature.

London Fashion Week

17 – 21 February 

events london february london fashion week queen anna wintour

Queen Elizabeth II sits with Anna Wintour, Caroline Rush (L), chief executive of the British Fashion Council (BFC) and royal dressmaker Angela Kelly (R) as they view Richard Quinn’s runway show before presenting him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design during London Fashion Week in 2018. (Photo by Yui Mok – Pool/Getty Images)

An acquired taste, I suppose. I can’t imagine anyone just stumbles into a London Fashion Week event and you probably need to move in certain circles to have any involvement whatsoever, but, if you’re in that strange world, it’s the biggest week of the year. I’ll be content to look on from the sidelines, probably with a combination of jealousy and disgust, but if high-end fashion shows are your thing, knock yourself out.

Inter-Livery Pancake Race, Guildhall Yard

21 February (Shrove Tuesday)

Inter-livery Pancake Race Takes Place At Guildhall Yard events london february

The Lord Mayor of London joins others as they flip pancakes ahead of the annual Inter-Livery Pancake Race. The race sees 24 teams from London’s traditional companies of craftspeople take part in a pancake-tossing race, while dressed in either their ceremonial robes or novelty costumes. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

At the other end of the event-spectrum, it’s a pancake flipping race. Free, wholesome, pancake fun at the quintessentially British Inter-Livery Pancake Race. Decked out in their full regalia, the Liveries of London compete for the ultimate honour. 

The event is organised by the Poulters (egg suppliers), but there’s room for all sorts of traditional professions. “Clockmakers time it, Gunmakers fire the starting pistol, Glovers provide the white gloves worn by racers, the Fruiterers provide lemons and the Cutlers provide the forks.” It all ends with one of the guilds taking home the coveted frying pan trophy.

Bernie Sanders: It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism, Southbank Centre

23 February 

Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Campaigns Across Michigan Ahead Of Primary

(Photo by Brittany Greeson/Getty Images)

The man who has, for so long, been the face of left-wing politics in the United States is coming to London. On the evening of 23 February, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders is heading to the Southbank Centre to deliver a talk called It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism. A democratic presidential candidate in both 2016 and 2020, Sanders is perhaps best known for twice finishing runner up, but has had a political career spanning over 40 years, and is now the longest serving independent in America’s congressional history. (I’m already going to this. Just saying.)

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