Guide to what’s on in London in August 2021
There’s a host of events on in the capital this summer, including plenty of family-friendly fun.
Summer is in full swing, lockdown has been eased and the kids are off school. Without a doubt, August is surely London’s busiest month when it comes to capital dwellers and visitors seeking leisure fun. Of course, there’s the August bank holiday at the end of the month, offering some carnival alternatives to the postponed action in Notting Hill. This month, expect plenty of festivals, from music to beer to cocktails and food. There’s also plenty of free events if you’re feeling a little short.
Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.
- 7 August 2021 : Queen’s Park Summer Festival 2021
One-day summer festival featuring live entertainment, MCs, Sound Systems, food and drink, bouncy castles and children’s activities. Open 12pm-6pm. Register online for a free ticket. Queen’s Park Public Open Space, 67 Ilbert Street, W10 4QH. Nearest station: Queen’s Park. For more information, visit the Eventbrite page. 🐻
- 7 – 8 August 2021 : London Jerk Fest 2021
Celebrate Jamaican independence with a festival of food, drink, music and culture. Open Sat 7 11am-8pm, Sun 8 11am-7pm. Tickets: Free (register via Eventbrite). Bohemia Place, Hackney, E8 1DU. Nearest station: Hackney Central. Find out more on the festival’s Eventbrite page. 🐻
- 7 – 8 August 2021 : Classic Car Boot Sale
Vintage lovers can shop pre-loved and upcycled goods, including fashion, homewares, fashion and more at this retro festival. 10am-6pm. Tickets: £5, free entry for under 12s. Granary Square, Lewis Cubitt Square and Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Classic Car Boot Sale website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the event.
- 12 – 15 August 2021 : Roy’s Art Fair
Roy’s Art Fair aims to make art more affordable and accessible. Meet and buy direct from the artists, take part in workshops and check out installations. Open Thurs 5pm-8:30pm, Fri 12pm-7pm, Sat 11am–7pm and Sun 11am-5pm. Register online for a free ticket. Bargehouse, Barge House Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars, Southwark or Waterloo. Find out more information on the Roy’s Art Fair website.
- 13 – 15 August : London Craft Beer Festival 2021
Popular beer festival returns to London, featuring over 100 world-class breweries. There will also be street food stalls and live music. Open Fri-Sat 11.30am-11pm, Sun 12pm-5pm. Tickets (early or evening sessions): £45-£53. Tobacco Quay, Wapping Lane, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For more information and booking, visit the London Craft Beer Festival website.
- 13 – 24 August 2021 : Hampton Court Palace Festival
Annual concert series returns to the grounds of historic Hampton Court Palace. Including Bastille ReOrchestrated, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Tom Jones, Keane, Van Morrison and Björn Again. Tickets from £87.50. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court. For more information, visit the Hampton Court Palace Festival website.
- 14 August 2021 : Drag Fest London
Live music festival featuring a host of drag superstars over three stages. Featured names include Todrick Hall, United Kingdolls, Crystal Methyd, The Frock Destroyers, Symone and Priyanka, and many more. Over 14s only. Open 1pm-9pm. Tickets: £54.43-£97.55. Studio 338, 338 Boord Street, North Greenwich, SE10 0PF. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For booking, visit the Eventbrite page.
- 15 August 2021 : BMW Classics presents London Symphony Orchestra
A free, alfresco concert by the London Symphony Orchestra in Trafalgar Square. Featuring young musicians from the LSO’s East London Academy and teenage violin prodigy Leia Zhu, guest soloist for Saint-Saëns’ great showpiece, Introduction and Rondo capriccioso. No glass or furniture allowed. 6.30pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 5DN. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Embankment, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the LSO website.
- Now until 17 August 2021 : Be in Vauxhall presents Summer Screen
Enjoy alfresco cinema in Vauxhall over four consecutive Tuesday evenings for free. Films include Mamma Mia! (3 Aug), Paddington 2 (10 Aug), and Black Panther (17 Aug). There will also be local vendors selling food and drink. Register on the website for your free ticket. Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, Vauxhall Walk, SE11 5HL. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Be In Vauxhall website. 🐻
- 20 – 21 August 2021 : Cocktails In The City Summer Series
The last of the London summer series of the popular cocktail festival has been taking place monthly since June. London’s top bars host their own pop-ups, alongside live music, street food, tastings and demonstrations. Open 12pm-4pm and 5pm-10pm. Tickets: £20 (daytime or evening slots). Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, WC1B. Nearest stations: Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road. For tickets, visit the Cocktails In The City website.
- 20 – 22 August 2021 : Foodies Festival @ Syon Park
Huge food festival featuring Chefs Theatre, Cake & Bake Theatre, Drinks Theatre, Kids’ Cookery Theatre, Kids’ Zone, Craft Tent, street food, live music, vintage cider tent, vintage tea tent and more. Open Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 11am-8pm. Tickets: Adults £19, 12-18yrs £5, Under 12s free. Syon Park, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane or Brentford. For more information and tickets, visit the Foodies Festival website. 🐻
- Now until 22 August 2021 : Dodge @ Somerset House
The iconic courtyard of Somerset House is transformed into an open-air fun palace, featuring dodgems, art installations and drinking and dining options, as well as late-night DJ events. Times vary. Dodgem tickets: £5pp. Somerset House, Strand, Aldwych, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the Somerset House website. 🐻
- Now until 22 August 2021 : Thomas Becket – Murder and the Making of a Saint
Exhibition explores the life and murder of the Medieval Archbishop of Canterbury. Including manuscripts, jewellery, and reliquaries. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets from £17. British Museum, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3DG. Nearest stations: Tottenham Court Road or Russell Square. For more information and booking, visit the British Museum’s website.
- 26 – 29 August 2021 : Film & Food Fest
Four day festival of street food, outdoor cinema, live comedy, music, short films and more. Times vary. Tickets start from £16.50 (children under 12 half-price for afternoon showings). Beckenham Place Park, Beckenham, Kent, BR3 5BS. Nearest station: Beckenham Hill (30 mins from London Bridge or Blackfriars). For more information, visit the festival website. 🐻
- 27 August – 11 September 2021 : Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF)
Two week festival of free outdoor theatre and performing arts returns. Installations, theatre, dance, circus, street games, music and kids’ entertainment will be taking place at various locations. Most events are free. For more information, visit the GDIF website. 🐻
- 28 August 2021 : Victorian Vauxhall
A Victorian funfair, featuring circus acts, performers, ice cream, music and vintage games. 2pm-7pm. Free. Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, Vauxhall Walk, SE11 5HL. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Be In Vauxhall website. 🐻
- 28 August 2021 : Yam Carnival
Celebration of black culture from around the world comes to Clapham Common. Including live music and entertainment, food and drink and more. Over 16s only. Open 11.30am-10.30pm. Tickets: £66.95-£100.70. Clapham Common, Windmill Drive, Clapham, SW4 9DE. Nearest station: Clapham Common or Clapham South. For more information and booking, visit the Yam Carnival website.
- Now until late August 2021 : The Summer of 1321 @ Leadenhall Market
The City of London market celebrates 700 years of history with a series of free events. From live music to art exhibitions to guided and self-guided history tours. Leadenhall Market (access from Gracechurch Street, Lime Street and Whittington Avenue), City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the events.
- Now until 30 August 2021 : Summer Showtime on The Coaling Jetty
Enjoy open-air theatre and cinema against the backdrop of the River Thames and the iconic Battersea Power Station. The theatre will features many family-friendly productions. Times vary. Cinema tickets: Two seats £35, Four seats £60. Theatre tickets vary. The Coaling Jetty, Battersea Power Station Pier, SW8 4NR. Nearest stations: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station website. 🐻
- Now until 30 August 2021 : Unearthed – Photography’s Roots @ Dulwich Picture Gallery
Photography exhibition explores the history of the medium, featuring over 100 works by 41 international artists. Open Wed-Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £16.50, Concs £8. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, SE21 7AD. Nearest station: West Dulwich or North Dulwich. For booking, visit the Dulwich Picture Gallery website.
- Now until 31 August 2021 : Louis Roederer pop-up @ The Savoy
Champagne house Louis Roederer is hosting a chic pop-up at London’s iconic Savoy this summer. Along with a boutique selling Louis Roederer champagnes, including rare vintages, there will also be a Suite Dining Experience, offering a three-course private dinner accompanied by Champagne in a riverview suite. Find out more on The Savoy website.
- Now until 5 September 2021 : IQL Summer Screen @ Stratford
Enjoying screenings of classic movies, sporting events (Tokyo Paralympics) and new releases on the big screen, as well as yoga classes. Times vary. Tickets are free, but need to be booked in advance due to limited numbers. IQL Summer Screen (near Layard Street), Stratford, E20 1JN. Nearest station: Stratford. For more information and listings, visit the International Quarter website. 🐻
- Now until 5 September 2021 : Summer Festival @ Hammersmith BID
A season of free, family-friendly activities in Hammersmith city centre. Featuring Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic screenings, alfresco film nights, opera, wellness classes and more. Times vary. Free. Events take place at St Paul’s Green, Lyric Square and 245 Hammersmith. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For more information, visit the Hammersmith BID website. 🐻
- Now until 5 September 2021 : Dub London – Bassline of a City
A new exhibition explores dub reggae and its influence on the capital. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-3.30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. Free entry, but book a time slot in advance. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, Barbican, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest stations: Moorgate or Barbican. For more information, visit the Museum of London website.
- Now until 5 September 2021 : The Romance of Ruins @ Sir John Soane Museum
Exhibition showcases watercolours from a 1764 expedition to ancient Ionia (modern Turkey), against the backdrop of the Sir John Soane’s museum. Open 10am-5pm. Entry: free (timed ticket). Sir John’s Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn, WC2A 3BP. Nearest station: Holborn. For more information, visit the Sir John Soane Museum website.
- Now until 9 September 2021 : Summer Staycation Live Music Sessions @ Paddington Basin
Enjoy free, live music every Thursday lunchtime at the Paddington basin. Thursdays only 12.30pm-2.30pm. Free Floating Pocket Park, Paddington Basin, W2 1AN. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.
- Now until 19 September 2021 : Secret World of Plants @ Kew Gardens
Enjoy unique art installations dotted amongst the plants of Kew. Entrance included with normal ticket. Opening hours vary, but you must book an entry time slot. Tickets: Adults £15/£16, Children £5. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website. 🐻
- Now until 25 September 2021 : London Wonderground
Summer culture extravaganza has moved from the South Bank to Earls Court. Expect the best in comedy, circus, music and family entertainment in the big top and upside cow Udderbelly. As well as performances, there will also be outdoor bars, street food, musical bandstand performances, vintage fairground rides, family activities and a ‘beach’. Tickets: free entry to site, but shows are ticketed. London Wonderground, Empress Place, Earls Court, SW6 1TT. Nearest station: West Brompton. For more information and tickets, visit the London Wonderground website. 🐻
- Now until 26 September 2021 : Rooftop Film Club
Rooftop Film Club are offering both drive-in and rooftop cinematic experiences this summer. Watch your favourite classics or newer releases in the comfort of your car… or a cosy deckchair with a cool vista. Times vary. Tickets: Drive-ins £29.50/£31/50 per car; Rooftop seating £15.95-£21.95. Venues include Roof East (Stratford), Bussey Building (Peckham), Brent Cross (🚗), Alexandra Palace (🚗) and Sandown Park (🚗). For more information, visit the Rooftop Film Club website. 🐻
- Now until 26 September 2021 : Pop-Up Screens
Roaming cinema brings your favourite films to the big screen at a host of outdoor spaces across London. Tickets: Adults £14, Children £9. Venues include Bishops Park (Fulham), Kennington Park, Ravenscourt Park (Hammersmith), Hilly Fields (Brockley), Coram’s Fields (Holborn), Guildhall Yard (City), Manor House Gardens (Hither Green), and North Greenwich Peninsula. For more information and booking, visit the Pop-Up Screens website. 🐻
- Now until 26 September 2021 : London in the Sky
Take the phrase ‘dine with a view’ to a whole new level as you are suspended 100ft in the air while dining. Enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea or cocktails while safely strapped to a hovering platform above the O2 in Greenwich. Diners must be at 1.4metres tall. Times vary. Tickets: £89-£199. The O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0DX. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information and booking, visit the London in the Sky website.
- Now until 26 September 2021 : Van Gogh Alive UK
An immersive, multi-sensory experience inspired by the art and life of Vincent Van Gogh. Open: Sun–Thur 10am–8pm, Fri–Sat 10am–9pm. Tickets: Adults £24. Kensington Gardens (East Albert Lawn), Kensington, SW7 2AP. Nearest stations: Gloucester Road, Knightsbridge or High Street Kensington. For more information, visit the Van Gogh Alive website.
- Now until 30 September 2021 : Summer of Play @ Wembley Park
A whole season of free events are taking place in and around Wembley Park, including live music, outdoor cinema screenings, public art trail and sporting activities. Free. At various locations in Wembley Park. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the events. 🐻
- Now until 30 September 2021 : Luna Cinema
Roaming alfresco cinema pops up at various locations across the capital (and the UK). Expect old classics and new favourites. Times vary.l Tickets: Adults start from £16, Children from £11. Venues include Brompton Cemetery, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Regent’s Park Open-Air Cinema, Chiswick House, Kensington Palace, Dulwich Park, Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster Abbey, Wimbledon Park, Clapham Common, Kenwood House, Hampton Court Palace, Marble Hill and Old Royal Naval College. For more information and tickets, visit the Luna Cinema website. 🐻
- Now until 30 September 2021 : Summer by the River 2021
A series of entertainment returns to The Scoop near City Hall. Featuring outdoor cinema, theatre, live music, fitness classes, karaoke, riverside bar and pop-up restaurant from Jimmy Garcia. Times vary. Most events are free. London Bridge City (between Tower Bridge and London Bridge on the south side of the Thames), SE1. Nearest stations: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information and full listings, visit the London Bridge City website. 🐻
- Now until late September 2021 : Wander Art Trail
Art lovers should head to the West End to discover installations from 12 world-renowned contemporary artists. Partipicating artists include Fernando Laposse, Julien Colombier, Margaux Carpentier, Morag Myerscough, Yinka Ilori, Andre Mendes, Craig & Karl, Emily Forgot, Jordan Söderberg Mills, Kinska, Ricardo Cavolo, and Richard Woods. Free. At various locations in Belgravia and Mayfair. Nearest stations: Victoria, Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Bond Street. For more information, visit the Belgravia website. 🐻
- Now until 17 October 2021 : Serpentine Pavilion 2021
After a 2020 hiatus, the latest temporary pavilion by the Serpentine Gallery has been unveiled. This year’s Serpentine Pavilion is designed by Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace, directed by Sumayya Vally. Open 10am-6pm. Free. Serpentine Pavilion, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA. Nearest stations: Lancaster Gate, Knightsbridge or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Serpentine Gallery website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the pavilion.
- Now until 24 October 2021 : Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street
With lockdown making us more casual than ever, no doubt our sneakers have been worn more than ever in the past year. This new exhibition celebrates the footwear phenomenon. Tickets: £12 (adults), members free. Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, W8 6AG. Nearest stations: Earls Court, High Street Kensington or Holland Park. For booking, visit the Design Museum website.
- Now until 30 October 2021 : Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds – The Immersive Experience
An immersive experience inspired by the classic story. Travel back in time to Victorian London and the Martian invasion of 1898. Experience immersive theatre, virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms and other cutting-edge technology. Over 12s only. Times vary. Tickets: £39.50-£84.50. The Old Metal Exchange, 56 Leadenhall Street, City of London, EC3A 2BJ. Nearest station: Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. For booking, visit the War of the World’s website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the show.
- Now until 14 November 2021 : Remember the Future exhibition
Artists in residence will set up studio at Orleans House and explore in art ways we could fix the Earth’s ecological crisis. Among the artists taking part in the six-month project include Ackroyd & Harvey; Nestor Pestana; Bryony Benge-Abbott; Vicky Long and Eloise Moody. During the exhibition, there will also be workshops, talks, family activities and late night events. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Entry: free (donations welcome). Orleans House Gallery, Orleans Road, Twickenham, TW1 3BL. Nearest station: St Margaret’s. For more information, visit the Orleans House Gallery website.
- Now until 21 November 2021 : The Art of Banksy
Exhibition of Banksy’s art made up of pieces from private collections (although not curated or authorized by the artist himself). Expect prints, canvasses, screen prints, sculptures and other unique works. Open Mon-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu-Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 9.30am-7pm, Sun 10am-6pm. Tickets: £21.50-£24.50. 50 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9LJ. Nearest stations: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For tickets, visit the Art of Banksy website.
- Now until 21 November 2021 : The Making of Rodin @ Tate Modern
Explore the sculptor who changed modern art in a new exhibition of his plasterwork. Entry times 10am-4.30pm/5pm. Tickets: £18, under 12s free. Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest station: Blackfriars. For more information and booking, visit the Tate Modern website.
- Now until 23 December 2021 : Noël Coward: Art & Style exhibition
Exhibition celebrating the life and work of playwright Noël Coward. Open daily 10:30am-4pm. Free entry, but booking required. Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest stations: St Paul’s or Bank. For more information, visit the City of London website.
- Now until 31 December 2021 : Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser
An immersive and theatrical exhibition charting the evolution of Lewis Carroll’s iconic character and how she has inspired media, fashion and culture. Open Wed-Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: £20, under 12s free. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information and to book your timed entry, visit the V&A website. 🐻
- Now until 31 December 2021 : Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition
London Muggles can get their Potter fix a bit closer to home with an exhibition of photographs charting the whole franchise. You can also enjoy a drink at the Butterbeer bar. Times vary. Tickets: Adults £20, Children 5-15yrs £14. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN. Nearest stations: Covent Garden, Temple or Holborn. For more information and booking, visit the Harry Potter on Location website. 🐻
- Now until 9 January 2022 : Marble Arch Mound
An 25-metre artificial hill has been erected by Marble Arch, offering visitors striking views down Oxford Street and over Hyde Park. Advance booking recommended. Opening hours vary.
Tickets from £4.50. Free to visit in August. Marble Arch, Westminster, W1H 7EL. Nearest station: Marble Arch. For more information and booking, visit the Marble Arch Mound website. 🐻
- Now until 27 February 2022 : The Murder Express
Enjoy an immersive fine dining experience on board a 19th century train carriage. Enjoy a four-course meal cooked by a Masterchef finalist, while sipping on cocktails and watching a murder mystery unfold. Times vary. Tickets from £60. Located at 63 Pedley Street, E1 5FB. Nearest stations: Bethnal Green, Shoreditch High Street or Whitechapel. For more information, visit Funicular Productions. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details.
- Now until 22 April 2022 : Sculpture In The City 2021/2022
Free public art exhibition, bringing 18 contemporary pieces to the streets and spaces of the City of London. Free. At various sites around the Square Mile. Nearest stations: Fenchurch Street, Monument or Liverpool Street. For more information and a map of the artworks, visit the Sculpture in the City website.
- Now until July 2023 : Scenes in the Square
Check out bronze sculptures of iconic film characters around Leicester Square. Eight interactive characters, such as Lauren & Hardy to Wonder Woman will be placed in the square for four months. Free. Leicester Square, Westminster, WC2H 7DE. Nearest stations: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Leicester Square website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the exhibition. 🐻