Explore London

2017: bring on London’s brightest trends

As always, we can’t predict what will happen this year, with much uncertainty over London’s future: but we’ve pulled together some of the biggest, brightest trends and events to hit the capital this year. From light shows to virtual reality, we’re thinking positively in our look at London’s 2017.

Virtual reality

Sitting in a homely restaurant along the Italian Riviera or exploring French vineyards on a warm, summer’s day: two settings suitable for any luxury meal away from the hum-drum of modern life. It is new technology right here in London, however, that will take you there. Immersive experiences are available for a variety of occasions, not least dining: in 2016 Condé Nast helped guests sip Champagne on a virtual tour of Moët & Chandon’s vineyards, while Carluccio’s allowed diners to try their new menu ‘in’ Italy from the viewpoint of Taormina, Sicily.

With a challenge laid down by Samsung, we’re expecting more restaurants to follow in transporting customers all over the world. And it’s not just dining: the Royal Academy is featuring a virtual reality exhibition in January, where visitors can interact with virtual art, alongside a display of 3D-printed works.

Light festivals

For something to brighten the short winter days, the year is kicking off with two enormous light festivals on opposite sides of the city. In West London the Magical Lantern Festival is bringing a mesmerising array of sculptures, light trails and shows to Chiswick House. Drawing on a theme of the Silk Road, displays from the countries and regions lining the route – from China, through Iran and Egypt to Europe – will be shown, as well as food, drink and even an ice rink. In Canary Wharf, meanwhile, the dark evenings will be illuminated by the Winter Light Festival, featuring 30 works across the peninsula including interactive pieces and sculptures, the highlight of which will be an enormous egg. Watch out.

A sporting summer

A consistent feature of New Year’s resolutions is to be more active, but should that fail there is always the chance to watch sport. 2017 should be a particularly good year in London for that part, too: in addition to the usual festivities in Wimbledon and the FA Cup final, there is the IAAF world athletics and world paraathletics championships both taking place at the London Stadium (the former Olympic stadium). This is likely to be the last time human cheetah Usain Bolt will visit the capital, as well as being a chance to catch the newly Knighted double-Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah.


In some ways you could not find two authors further apart in style and genre: Jane Austen focuses on the plight of well-endowed individuals in a post-Romantic era; JK Rowling magically spinning tales as fast as the flick of Harry Potter’s wand. This year these two very different literary figures will both celebrate respective anniversaries: it is 200 years since the death of Austen, with the British Library marking the occasion by convening an

focusing on how her third novel was received by friends and family.

The House of Illustration is also displaying the entries to a competition for a new publication of Austen’s Mansfield Park. The British Library is similarly marking 20 years since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, while in Soho the House of Minalima has converted their building into one stupefying homage to the Potter films, focusing on the graphic designs of the Warner Bros. adaptations.