3 of the best colour-led events to diarise this month

Welcome to dark February. The month when it’s advisable to start planning your way out of the winter gloom. What better way to begin this process than focussing on getting yourself to events that have a strong emphasis on cheering colour. Keeping in mind that variety is key to a healthy life, we’ve done the rounds and found… a floral exhibition at a favourite horticulture hangout, an uplifting run through colour and an annual festival of light that transforms some of the notable buildings of Cambridge.

Orchids Festival, Kew Gardens – 10 February to 11 March 2018

Kew’s annual celebration of Thailand’s vibrant plant life kicks off this month in the Prince of Wales Conservatory. You can get a colour boost and, thanks both to the warmth of the greenhouse and specially designed soundscapes conjuring up the temples and forests of Thailand, if you half close your eyes you can be transported to warmer climes for a few hours. The installation team has been busy putting together a Bang Pa-In-inspired orchid palace with a flower-draped Thai cart at its centre, which is on loan from Thailand’s embassy in London. You can also find out how Kew scientists are involved in saving endangered orchids and the exhibition details the various plant species and their importance in Thai culture – such as in food and medicine.  Visit on a Saturday or Sunday if you want to experience Thai street food for the full immersive effect and keep an eye out for special events such as how to grow your own orchids. More details here.

e-Luminate, Cambridge – 9 February to 14 February 2018

For Cambridge’s light and architecture festival, e-Luminate, you’ll need to wrap up and take to the streets at night to enjoy the city transformed by colourful lights. Organised by charity Cambridge Live, the event began in 2013 and this year colour is central to the theme. Art historian and broadcaster Dr James Fox has been invited to be Guest Curator and he believes the festival, “floods Cambridge with light at a dark time of the year, and makes us see this beautiful city with fresh eyes. We’ll explore the complex relationship between light and colour from various perspectives, combining art, science, and technology.”

Among the events highlights are The Colour of Science at Cambridge Guildhall, which will open the festival with the Mayor switching on the building’s LGBT-themed design, and the Fitzwilliam Museum’s Night at the Museum, for which images of a selection of colourful artefacts from museums across the city will be projected onto the building’s facade. Trinity Hall, meanwhile, is hosting a lighting piece called Women in History, which marks the 40th anniversary of admitting female students by focussing on women’s role in writing the past. There are also plenty of inspiring talks and workshops to explore – full details here.

Colour Dash, Lincolnshire Showground, Lincoln – 12 May 2018 (but register now)

Whatever makes you exercise – being doused in the most uplifting pink is as good a motivator as any and this can be your reality in May, if you fancy running to raise funds for St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice.

This year’s Inflatable Colour Dash, a 5k fun-run aimed at families, comes with a twist in the shape of inflatable obstacles at each kilometre. As in previous events, participants will also be splattered from head to toe in environmentally friendly coloured powder paint as they run. The emphasis for this run is on not taking life seriously and a willingness to take part whatever your level of fitness. As Laura Stones, Events Fundraiser for St Barnabas Hospice says, “You don’t have to be a runner to take part! Whether you run, walk or dance your way around, you should feel proud that you are doing it for such a good cause.” Register online here.

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist