• Epping Forest’s historic Butler’s Retreat has reopened its doors as a cafe following a refurbishment project to restore the building to its former glory. The building was constructed in the 19th century and is one of the last remaining Victorian-era ‘retreats’ within the forest. Named for its 1891 occupier, John Butler, it was one of a number of retreats built to serve refreshments as part of the Temperance movement – said to have been “extremely popular” with visitors from the East End. The building, which now forms part of the Epping Forest visitor hub, is expected to host a range of events this summer and will have its opening hours extended with the slated opening of a restaurant upstairs in the evenings. Owned by the City of London, Epping Forest is the largest public open space in the London area, stretching across 12 miles from Manor Park in East London to a spot past Epping in Essex. The cafe, the refurbishment of which was carried out with funding provided via the Heritage Lottery’s Branching Out project, will be open from 9am to 5pm weekdays and 8am to 5pm weekends. For more on the cafe, see www.worldslarder.co.uk. For more on Epping Forest, see www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/eppingforest

• On Now – Designs of the Year Exhibition: The London Olympic Torch and the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress are among 90 objects nominated as one of the “best designs in the world” in this year’s Design of the Year competition. The objects, which go on display at the Design Museum today, have been entered in seven categories – architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphics, product and transport – with winners to be announced on 24th April. Among the other objects nominated are a wind-propelled landmine detector, a pop-up cinema in Hackney, the London 2012 velodrome and the first Tesco virtual store. An admission charge applies for the exhibition which runs until 15th July.  For more information, see designsoftheyear.com.

On Now – Lucian Freud Portraits. The last work of the late artist Lucian Freud is on show for the first time in this exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. The unfinished painting, Portrait of the Hound 2011, which depicts Freud’s assistant assistant David Dawson and his dog Eli, is a highlight of the exhibition which also includes works dating back as far as the 1940s. The 130 paintings and works on paper – which feature sitters including artists Francis Bacon and David Hockney along with the likes of Andrew Parker Bowles and Baron Rothschild – have been loaned from museums and private collections around the world. Runs until 27th May, 2012. Admission charge applies. See www.npg.org.uk.

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