David Hockney takes over Piccadilly Circus to reinvigorate central London post-lockdown as part of a new tourism campaign
Lead image: David Hockney takes over Piccadilly Circus as part of Let’s Do London
Central London has been blissfully quiet since this whole pandemic thing kicked off. But while it makes for a pleasant stroll and some quality Instas, tranquil streets do not a vibrant metropolis make.
In fact, analysis of forecasts by VisitBritain show that consumer spending in central London by overseas tourists was £7.4 billion lower throughout 2020, while domestic tourists will have spent £3.5 billion less and some 300,000 Londoners have lost their jobs.
So, to get the crowds (socially distanced, for now) back out onto London’s streets, the newly re-elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced the city’s biggest-ever tourism campaign to promote the capital’s hospitality, culture, nightlife and retail venues.
Let’s Do London is set to reinvigorate central London’s cultural scene, backed by big name creatives like David Hockney, Yinka Ilori and Es Devlin, as well as institutions such as the Royal Opera House and Shakespeare’s Globe, plus a very helpful £6m in funding.
David Hockney, ahead of his spring show at Royal Academy of Arts, kicks off the campaign by transforming Piccadilly Circus into ‘Hockney Circus’ from 10-16 May. As well as reworking TFL’s iconic roundel in his inimitable style at the iconic tube station, the influential artist will also show his new video project on Piccadilly’s giant billboard screens every evening throughout May at 20:21 (and at the same time online via circa.art).
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Royal Academy artists Yinka Shonibare, Michael Armitage, Farshid Moussavi, Vanessa Jackson and Isaac Julien will also transform road crossings and street furniture in the west end, in partnership with the Heart of London Business Alliance Art of London programme.
Plus, many of the capital’s famous chefs, foodies and hospitality venues will come together to promote and celebrate London’s diverse food and drink venues in new ways (details to be confirmed).
There’s more to come in summer, too, with a range of family friendly events, outdoor film screenings curated by BAFTA and the British Film Institute and London Lates cultural venues (look out for the Royal Opera House Unlocked taking over Covent Garden piazza, Midnight Matinees at Shakespeare’s Globe and Twilight Tickets at London Zoo, all starting in July).
‘The work begins anew today to refresh and reignite our city and to kick-start our economy as London continues to reopen,’ said Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
‘This includes making jobs, jobs, jobs a top priority and banging the drum for London to attract the jobs, tourism and investment our city needs.
‘With restrictions on international travel likely to continue this year, Londoners and visitors from the UK have a unique opportunity to experience the capital without the queues’
‘With restrictions on international travel likely to continue this year, Londoners and visitors from the UK have a unique opportunity to experience all the capital has to offer without the queues.
‘In doing so you’ll be providing vital support for our world-leading venues as they start to re-open and need our help more than ever.’
In autumn, major creative festivals such as London Fashion Week, Frieze London, London Design Festival and the 65th BFI London Film Festival will return, and further events for Let’s Do London are planned throughout the year. Upcoming highlights include:
- Multi-award-winning artist and designer Es Devlin planting a living forest at Somerset House for this year’s London Design Biennale in June
- A free self-guided audio tour, the Movie Magic Tour, taking in 12 filming locations across central London from Batman Begins to Mary Poppins Returns, curated by Film London and produced in partnership with Geotourist (available now)
- A celebration of sport in London this summer, with eight UEFA Euro 2020 games taking place in the capital, including the semi-finals and the final at Wembley, plus the return of Wimbledon Tennis Championships and a brand-new cricket competition called The Hundred in July
- The London Festival of Hope with an art and photography contest, amateur ‘bake-off’, community activations, giant inflatables taking over London’s skyline and a series of outdoor live music concerts, organised by the London Tourism Cooperative
Find out more at visitlondon.com
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