Things To Do in Barnes, Battersea, Cheam, Clapham, Epsom, Fulham, Kingston, Putney, Surbiton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Wimbledon
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5 First Dates

Local inspiration for your Valentines date night:

Run Away to the Circus
Cirque du Soleil’s OVO – which means ‘egg’ in Portuguese – is teeming with colourful insect life. The cast features more than 50 artists from around the world – Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Columbia, South Korea – as well as British gymnast Alana Baker. Butterflies fly through the air in a death-defying trapeze act, crickets leap off trampolines and stick themselves to towering walls, and the show feels like a carnival at times, with an immersive Brazilian music score, vivid costumes and a dazzling lights display. To top-off the incredible display of acrobatic prowess, humorous characters pervade the action and share a little of the show’s overriding message – that although somebody may look different from the outside, beneath our shells we are all the same.
Until 4 March, Royal Albert Hall
www.cirquedusoleil.com

Flower Power
Immerse yourself in a celebration of Thailand’s vibrant colours, culture and magnificent plant life, at the 23rd annual Orchids Festival at Kew Gardens. The theme of ‘Thailand’ will be the centrepiece of this year’s festival, and inside the tropical paradise of the Princess Wales Conservatory visitors can shake off the winter blues and take part in creative activities for all ages. Admire handcrafted Thai umbrellas, an exquisite Bang Pa-In-inspired orchid palace and a special Thai cart on loan from Thailand’s embassy in London, as well as learn about the significance of orchids in Thai cuisine, medicine and culture.
Until 11 March; normal admission applies
Princess Wales Conservatory, Kew Gardens
www.kew.org

Life Drawing
Lose your inhibitions this Valentine’s with a life drawing class at London Fine Art Studios, on Lavender Hill. Set back from the road in a business park, they welcome artistic students of all levels and offer classes and courses on everything from sculpture to portraits. We found their life drawing class to be welcoming, unintimidating and a real learning experience. We attended as part of a hen party and it was a great success!
www.londonfineartstudios.com

Juliet and Romeo: A Guide to Long Life and Happy Marriage
Award-winning dance theatre company Lost Dog follow-up their smash hit Paradise Lost with a reimagined version of Shakespeare’s deeply pessimistic teenage love story. Juliet and Romeo have somehow survived through to middle age and are now struggling under the stresses and strains of supposedly being the world’s most romantic couple.
14-24 February; £18/£15/£12.50
Battersea Arts Centre, Battersea
www.bac.org.uk

A Country Walk
It may still be dark and cold outside, but take comfort – tiny blooms of pretty snowdrops are beginning to emerge, bringing with them the first signs of spring. And there are plenty of places where you can find them in all their glory. Head to the National’s Trust’s Polesden Lacey, near Dorking, to enjoy a carpet of 20 different varieties of snowdrops on the Lime Walk. Meanwhile, on the first Sunday of every month, Gatton Park in Reigate, opens its doors to the public, and there are vast displays of the flowers to be seen all over Gatton’s historic gardens. If you don’t want to head too far, then a stroll on Chalk Farm Lane in Epsom, will reward you with a beautiful display of blooms.  
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesden-lacey
www.gattonpark.com

Kew Gardens