Thursday 14 August 2014

London’s most well-known cultural institutions are coming together in a new initiative to promote the capital’s exceptional autumn season, as forecasts show over two million tourists are expected to visit a collection of blockbuster exhibitions and events taking place throughout the city*.

The stellar line-up of shows and exhibitions taking place in the autumn includes Turner at Tate Britain, Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy and Ming: 50 years that changed China, a major exhibition covering the Ming Dynasty reign at the British Museum featuring some of the most beautiful objects and paintings ever made in China. In “The man who never lived and who will never die”, the Museum of London will invite visitors to delve into the mind of Sherlock Holmes, the world’s most famous fictional detective, and the museum will recreate the atmosphere of Sherlock’s London through film, photographs and original artefacts.


London remains the undisputed theatre capital of the world and this autumn will see a range of excellent theatrical offerings from new British based shows such as Made in Dagenham starring Gemma Arterton and the story of The Kinks rise to stardom in Sunny Afternoon.


In an effort to maintain London’s position as the most visited capital city on earth** and highlight the spectacular season ahead, London Partners – the Mayor’s official promotional company for the capital – and the GREAT Britain campaign have produced a short film previewing the Autumn Season in London as preparations start for the key period in the cultural calendar. Narrated by the respected British actor David Harewood MBE, the film highlights some of the key artistic, literary and theatrical events available across the capital and the great historical treasures that domestic and international visitors can enjoy. (Access details for broadcast quality version below)


This evening, a launch event at Tate Britain will see industry leaders from London’s museums, art galleries, theatres and centres of performing arts gather to promote the upcoming season. The reception will feature special previews of blockbuster exhibitions across the Barbican Centre, the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum (IWM London), the Museum of London, the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, the Royal Academy, Tate Britain, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This autumn’s outstanding programme of exhibitions, plays and shows is another great reason to put London at the top of your list of places to visit. Throughout the year, the capital offers an unbeatable variety of arts and culture, attracting people in their millions from around the world. It is a fabulous success story, which we want to build on, and we are developing a plan aimed at maximising the potential of the full range of cultural activity to be found throughout our city.”


Dr Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, said: “London’s cultural offering this autumn is world class and I expect to see even more than usual visitors as a result. The National Gallery receives 6 million visitors each year. This autumn, the National Gallery presents a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, Rembrandt: The Late Works – this is the first ever in-depth exploration of Rembrandt’s final years of painting – and it is sure to be a huge draw for visitors from across the globe.”


David Harewood MBE, said: “As someone with strong connections to London’s cultural scene, I am delighted to support this campaign. Our vibrant city is building on centuries of history to create new exhibitions, shows and events that are truly inspiring and will draw people from across the UK and all over the world to the capital. It is vital that we continue to showcase London’s fantastic offer so that as many people as possible are moved to come and be stimulated by our city’s culture.”


Caro Newling, Society of London Theatre (SOLT) President added: “This autumn sees the West End premieres of no less than five new musicals, two of which originated in the UK. Alongside the arrival of hotly anticipated transfers from both the ‘not-for-profit’ and commercial stables across the Atlantic, the upcoming season offers an exhilarating choice of musical theatre. Added to which, three new plays will appeal to a much wider audience after hugely successful initial seasons at affiliate theatres or on tour. London Theatre continues to thrive with unparalleled quality on offer, and an ever-growing audience continues to show its appreciation.”


London Partners CEO Gordon Innes said: “Overseas visitors to our cultural institutions generate an estimated £4 billion annually to London’s economy. As the most visited city on earth, London’s phenomenal global success continues to see record tourism figures. It is our job as a company to promote the capital’s strengths to the world and particularly our magnificent cultural collage of history and heritage, museums and art galleries, and theatre and performance. We hope this initiative will be the start of a global campaign that firmly positions London as the world capital of culture.”


Culture remains the leading driver for tourists, with eight out of ten citing it as the main reason they visit the capital. The blockbuster autumn season includes the largest exhibition of British First World War art for almost 100 years at the Imperial War Museum; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the passion and innovation of Rembrandt’s influential late works at the National Gallery; and a major exhibition offering a new interpretation of one of Britain’s best-loved artists, John Constable, at the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

Notes to Editors

* London Partners research estimates with data provided by London’s major cultural institutions [Autumn Period defined as 1 September – 30 November]
** 2014 Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index




The London in Autumn is GREAT film and accompanying b-roll is HD broadcast quality, access media worldwide, all rights cleared including music.


Access from 2:00PM BST 14th August:


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If you wish to embed the video it can be accessed here – YouTube: – the film will be unlisted until 2:00PM BST, 14 August 2014






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Images of David Harewood and preview photos from the exhibitions can be accessed from the following dropbox:



Joanna Mackle, Deputy Director of the British Museum: “This autumn the British Museum will open the BP exhibition, Ming: 50 years that changed China, exploring a golden age in China’s history bringing together unique loans from collections around the world. The Ming exhibition will be shown in the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, the Museum’s new purpose built temporary exhibition gallery, and we hope it attracts many thousands of visitors following the success of the Vikings exhibition that opened the space earlier this year.” 


Kerstin Mogull, Managing Director, Tate: “London’s museums and galleries put on some of the greatest exhibitions in the world. These attract new audiences and maintain the UK’s role as a global leader in culture and the arts. The collaboration between these institutions strengthens this further to provide a vibrant and diverse offer. We are delighted to support this initiative, which provides an international platform to promote a sector that contributes so significantly to the reputation of London and the UK as a whole.”


Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican: “London is a world leader in the arts with a huge range of diverse venues presenting outstanding events and exhibitions across all art forms. The 2012 Olympics stimulated an era of growing collaboration between arts and cultural organisations across the capital that has ensured London continues to be an

outstanding destination for cultural visitors.”

Tim Reeve, COO Victoria and Albert Museum:
“Once again London is proving itself to be the cultural capital of the world, with an incredible and varied range of special exhibitions, performances and events across the city this autumn. At the VA, in addition to free admission to our world renowned collections of art and design, we are presenting the definitive retrospective of Horst P. Horst, one of the 20th-century’s master photographers, as well as a major exhibition of Constable’s work, which brings for the first time the British painter’s most famous works and sketches together with the Old Master paintings that inspired him. The VA is also the central hub for the London Design Festival for a week in September, which will see an amazing array of installations, talks and workshops throughout the Museum.”

Blockbuster Exhibitions:

  • British Museum: Ming: 50 years that changed China (18 Sept 2014 – 5 Jan 2015)
    Ming: 50 Years that changed China will feature rare loans of some of the most beautiful objects and paintings ever made in China.
  • Imperial War Museum: Truth Memory: British Art of WW1 (19 July 2014 – 8 March 2015)
    The largest exhibition of British First World War art for almost 100 years, this major retrospective reveals how artists helped commemorate the First World War and shape a memory of the conflict that endures to this day. 
  • Museum of London: Sherlock Holmes (17 October 2014 – 12 April 2015)
    London’s first major exhibition since 1951 on Sherlock Holmes recreates the famous detective’s London, through early film, photography, paintings and original artefacts.
  • National Gallery: Rembrandt: The Late Works (15 October 2014 – 18 January 2015)
    A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the passion and innovation of Rembrandt’s influential late works.
  • Natural History Museum: Wildlife Photographer of the Year (October 2014 – March 2015)
    The acclaimed Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition premieres at London’s Natural History Museum each year showcasing award-winning images.
  • Royal Academy: Anselm Keifer (27 September 2014 – 14 December 2015)
    The first major retrospective of work to be held in the UK by Honorary Royal Academician, Anselm Kiefer.
  • The EY exhibition: Late Turner: Painting Set free (September 2014 – January 2015)
    Tate Britain’s Late Turner: Painting Set Free is the first exhibition devoted to the artist’s extraordinary late-period work and sheds new light on his life and art.
  • VA: Constable: The Making of a Master (20 September 2014 – 11 January 2015)
    This major exhibition will reassess John Constable’s influences, techniques and legacy to offer a new interpretation of Britain’s best-loved artist.

London Theatre 

Earlier this month, the first quantitative analysis of the capital’s multi-faceted theatre ecology was released with the findings confirming that London is the most significant theatre capital in the world, with a huge variety of types and sizes of theatre across London’s boroughs. The 2014 London Theatre Report found that in 2012/13, more than 22 million people attended London theatre performances and took £618.5m at the box office, more than was taken by London cinemas.

The full report is available here.

Blockbuster musicals opening this autumn:

  • Sunny Afternoon, Harold Pinter (opens 28 Oct, previews from 4 Oct)
  • The Scottsboro Boys, Garrick Theatre (previews from 4 Oct)
  • Memphis, Shaftesbury Theatre (Opens 23 Oct, previews from 9 Oct)
  • Made In Dagenham, Adelphi (opens 15 Nov, previews from 9 Oct)

Blockbuster plays opening this autumn:

  • King Charles III, Wyndham’s Theatre (opens 11 September, previews from 2 Sep)
  • Electra, The Old Vic (Opens 1 October, previews from 20 Sep)
  • Speed-The-Plow, Playhouse Theatre (Opens 2 Oct, previews from 24 Sep)
  • East Is East, Trafalgar Studios (Opens 15 Oct, previews from 4 Oct)

About London Partners

London Partners is the official promotional company for London. We promote London and attract businesses, events, congresses, students and visitors to the capital. Our aims are to build London’s international reputation and to attract investment and visitor spend, which create jobs and growth.

London Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners.

For more information visit       


Rebekah Clement, Media PR Manager – Leisure Tourism
Tel: +44 (0)20 7234 5861 / +44 (0) 7826 907 415

London Partners Media PR Team
Tel: +44 (0)20 7234 5710
Switch: +44 (0)20 7234 5800

Twitter: @London_PR