As the country’s entertainment venues finally open, there are countless activities and events that I am looking forward to. It seems almost surreal to contemplate visiting museums, watching live music and wandering around crowded markets. However, given that travelling abroad will most likely be off the cards this summer, our entertainment venues will prove increasingly important.
Though it’s a cliché to say as a history student, I’ll hold my hands up and admit that museums re-opening might be one of my most highly anticipated aspects of lockdown restrictions easing. For me, nothing quite beats wandering around a museum or art gallery with a couple of friends, whether it’s to see a new exhibition or permanent displays. Some of my favourite galleries and museums to visit in London include Tate Modern, The Saatchi Gallery, The British Museum, National Gallery and The Victoria and Albert Museum. This summer, I’ll definitely be checking out Paula Rego’s exhibition at Tate Britain as well as Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s show at Tate Modern. The British Museum’s upcoming exhibition about contemporary art from North Africa and the Middle East also looks intriguing.
If museum trips aren’t really your thing, the return of bustling markets is another equally exciting activity given the imminent long summer months. Whether it’s wandering around Camden Market or attending your city’s local vintage clothing kilo sale, there is something immensely enjoyable about taking a day to enjoy some street food, peruse small businesses’ goods, and even listen to live music.
The re-opening of bookshops has also proven especially thrilling this past week. It’s not unusual for me to spend up to an hour in a well-curated bookshop and I know that, in the next few months, I will be taking full advantage of the re-opening of my favourite specialist and second-hand bookshops. Although major brands like Waterstones and Foyles offer a great book shopping experience, some of my personal favourites around London include Daunt Books, Persephone Books, Gays the Word and Skoob Books. The latter two’s location near Russel Square makes them part of an ideal day out, in which independent coffee shops act as the perfect accompaniment to book-buying activities. Skoob Books is always my go-to recommendation; an underground basement filled to the brim with second-hand books, it offers a great shopping experience alongside appealing prices.
Many are excited about the re-opening of cinemas as, over the past year, countless new films have been limited to small screens. New releases worth getting excited about include In the Heights, based off of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hit, and Wes Anderson’s latest film, The French Dispatch. Nothing quite beats the cinema experience, despite the overpriced popcorn and occasional glare of someone’s phone screen. These summer movies seem like they will embody the hope and optimism of the holidays.
Summer 2021 clearly has a lot of promise, especially with the re-opening of some of the nation’s favourite entertainment venues. Though last year was a summer full of picnics and outdoor pub trips, one can only hope that a wider range of indoor and outdoor activities will make this year a little more varied.
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