Category Archives: Festivals

Special events and festivals

What’s on in London this Halloween and Day of the Dead 2019

Find out what museum events, fairs, club nights, film screenings and other Halloween activities are on this October and November.

Pumpkins Halloween © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019Get ready for the scariest season of the year! As well as Halloween, there has been a rise in popularity of Day of the Dead festivities from Mexico.

This year, Halloween comes after the half-term holidays, so plenty of London attractions are kick-starting their spooky events early. If you’re a parent, there’s plenty of Halloween events on during the daytime and early evening.

Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to the best daytime and nighttime – for both children or adults – Halloween and Day of the Dead activities on in the capital this October and early November.

For a guide to what else is on in London this October, click here

Daytime jitters

  • 27 September – 10 November : Dark Arts @ Warner Bros Studio Tour

Dark Arts returns to the Harry Potter experience for the Halloween season. The Great Hall is full of 100 floating pumpkins, while the table features a Halloween feast on red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. Watch a live duel between the Death Eaters. Tickets: Adults £45, Children £37. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For more information, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website.

  • 1 – 31 October : The Home of Halloween @ London Dungeon

One of London’s most ghoulish destinations offers a Halloween experience. Meet some of London’s most notorious characters such as Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd, The Plague Doctor and The Torturer, watch an exclusive Halloween show and enjoy the rides. Tickets: Adults £30, Children £24. London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website.

  • 19 – 27 October : Halloween @ London Zoo

A week of fiendish fun at London Zoo, featuring Grim Keeper tours, creepy crafts, spooky animals and more. Open 10am-5pm. Activities are free with entry to zoo. Entrance tickets: Adults £27.00, Child £17.55 (cheaper online). London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website.

  • 19 – 27 October : Spooky Cats @ the London Museum of Water & Steam

Listen to a cat story every weekday at 11am, make your own cat craft, explore our Splash Cat trail, find the Museum’s hidden cats. Children in cat costumes enter for free. Tickets: Adults £12.50, Children £5.50. London Museum of Water & Steam, Kew Bridge Road, Brentford, TW8 0EF. Nearest station: Kew Bridge. For more information, visit the London Museum of Water & Steam website.

  • 19 – 27 October : Halloween @ Battersea Power Station

A host of Halloween family activities are taking place over the half-term holidays, including Halloween scavenger hunt, eerie ear-making workship, pumpkin carving, Wicked Witches and Wizard Worshop. Dates and times vary for each activity. Free. Battersea Power Station, 188 Kirtling Street, Nine Elms, SW8 5BN. Nearest station: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station website.

  • 19 October – 3 November : Ascarium @ London Aquarium

A Halloween experience at Sea Life London with the Sea Witch asking visitors to help unlock her treasure chest. Tickets start from £21 (online), £26 (on the day). Sea Life London Aquarium, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Sea Life website.

  • 19 – 23 October : Pumpkin Carving @ Morden Hall Park

Carve your own pumpkin at the National Trust grounds and property of Morden Hall Park. Children must be supervised by an adult. 11am-4pm. Small pumpkin £4, medium pumpkin £5. Stableyard, Morden Hall Park, Morden Hall Road, Morden, SM4 5JD. Nearest station: Morden or Phipps Bridge (Tramlink). For more information and opening times, visit the National Trust website.

  • 22 October : Family Day: Halloween @ Benjamin Franklin House

A spooky family day with spooky 18th century stories told by Polly Hewson and gruesome games and crafts for 5-11 year olds. 4pm-5.30pm. Free, but advanced booking recommend. Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, Westminster, WC2N 5NG. Nearest stations: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website.

  • 23 – 31 October : Spooky Storytime @ London Eye

Families will love the Halloween experience on the London Eye. Enjoy fast-track entry and step into a capsule for a 30-minute rotation while listening to spooky stories and leave with a Hotel Chocolat goodie bag. Tickets: £35 (adult and child combi). London Eye, Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For tickets, visit the London Eye website.

  • 24 October – 1 November : Spooktacular Kids Tour

Let your children see the sights of a capital with a 45 minute bus tour of the capital with live guided commentary for chidren. Departs at 4pm. Tickets: Adults £15, Children (5-15) £8. For more information and departure points, visit the Original Tour website.

  • 26 – 27 October : Horniman Halloween Fair

A Halloween fair for the whole family, featuring creepy crawlies, Halloween trail, spooky storytelling, arts and crafts stalls, and food stalls. 10.30am-4.30pm. Free. Horniman Museum & Gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ. Nearest station: Forest Hill. For more information, visit the Horniman Museum website.

  • 26 October – 3 November : Halloween @ Ham House

Scare yourself silly on a family ghost tour of the 17th century house, which is said to have 15 different ghosts. Ages 7+. Tours from 6pm. Tickets: Adults £15, Children £15. Ham House & Gardens, Ham Street, Ham, TW10 7RS. Nearest station: Richmond Station. For more information, visit the National Trust website.

  • 28 October – 3 November : Halloween @ Backyard Cinema

Travel through the Winter Night Garden to watch one of your favourite Halloween films at Backyard Cinema’s new permanent home in Wandsworth. Films include Beetlejuice, Scream, Shaun of the Dead, Hocus Pocus, Casper, The Witches and more. Matinees and evening screenings. Full bar and street food stalls available. Tickets: Adults £18.99, Children £9.50. Capital Studios, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, SW18 1ET. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town. For booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website.


Things that go bump in the night

  • 26 September – 10 November : Journey to the Underworld

An immersive, theatrical dining experience on a luxury train carriage on a journey to the Underworld. Featuring a four-course meal and interactions with characters. Time slots vary. Tickets: £57-£60. Pedley Street Station, Arch 63, Pedley Street, Bethnal Green, E1 5BW. Nearest station: Bethnal Green. For more information and tickets, visit the Funincular Productions website.

Switch up your Halloween routine and mark Day of the Dead

  • 8 October – 2 November : London Horror Festival

Festival of live horror performance including cabaret, film screenings, Zombie weekends, midnight performances and a short horror play competition. Ticket prices vary. Most events take place at the Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, Islington, EC1V 4NJ. Nearest station: Angel; or Pleasance, Carpenters Mews, North Road, Islington, N7 9EF. Nearest station: Caledonian Road. For more information, visit the London Horror Festival website.

  • 18 October : Halloween Late @ London Dungeon

After-hours fun for adults-only, featuring a darker experience and drinks. Over 18s only. Arrival from 7pm-9pm. Tickets: £29. London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Dungeon, click here.

  • 19 October : Festival of the Dead

Mexican-style festival comes to Limehouse. Expect full pageantry, giant skull processions, acrobats, dancers, decorative art, amazing costumes, confetti, CO2, light shows, live music and DJs. 9pm-2am. Tickets: £29.59. Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, Limehouse, E1 0HX. Nearest station: Limehouse. For more information, visit the Troxy website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in October 2019

Autumn is here! half-term, Halloween etc, plenty of drinking festivals and art fairs

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Autumn is in full swing

Autumn is in full swing. October is jam-packed with events, including plenty of art fairs, and drinking events, including London Cocktail Week. As well as half-term holidays for the children, there is also Halloween at the end of the month with plenty of activities and parties for both adults and children on around the capital.

For a guide to London’s Halloween and Day of the Dead events this month, click here

  • 1 – 31 October : London Restaurant Festival

Restaurants all over the capital are taking place in this festival, offering special menus, discounts and events celebrating the capital’s culinary culture. Highlights include gourmet odysseys, tasting menus, restaurant-hopping walking tours, film club and more. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website.

  • 1 October – 15 January 2020 : Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders

Darling & Edge return to The Vaults with an immersive, adult pantomime, dining experience. Doors open 6.30pm, Show starts 7.30pm. Tickets from £30. The Vaults (entrance via Leake Street tunnel), Launcelot Street, Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For tickets, visit The Vaults website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Darling & Edge’s 2017 production Beauty And The Feast.

  • 2 – 6 October : Moniker Art Fair

Contemporary art fair celebrating urban art and culture. Open Thu 3pm-10pm, Fri 1pm-9pm, Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Tickets: £13.52–£27.54. The Chelsea Sorting Office, 90-100 Sydney Street, SW3 6NJ. Nearest station: Sloane Square or South Kensington. For more information and tickets, visit the Moniker Art Fair website.

  • 2 – 13 October : BFI London Film Festival 2019

The biggest event in the capital’s film calendar brings a host of big names for premieres, screenings, Q&As and more. Venues include BFI Southbank, Vue West End, Cineworld Leicester Square, Curzon Soho, Picturehouse Central, Prince Charles Cinema and more. For more information, visit the BFI website.

  • 3 – 6 October : Frieze Art Fair

Contemporary art event in Regent’s Park, featuring over 160 galleries from around the world. Opening hours vary. Tickets start from £38.70. Regents Park (Art Fair near the Outer Circle in SE corner of the park). Nearest stations: Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street, Baker Street or Camden Town. For more information and tickets, visit the Frieze London website.

  • 3 – 6 October : Roy’s Art Fair

This 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 Thu 5pm-9.30pm, Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Register on the website for free tickets. Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the Roy’s Art Fair website.

  • 3 – 6 October : The Other Art Fair

The bi-annual fair is a great place to buy art from 130 emerging and undiscovered artists. There will also be guest artists, immersive theatre, live music, bar and restaurant. Opening times vary. Tickets: £9-£25. Victoria House, Southampton Row, Holborn, WC1A 2QP. Nearest station: Holborn. For tickets, visit The Other Art Fair website.

  • 3 – 6 and 10 – 13 October : Oktoberfest London @ Canary Wharf

Celebrate the German beer fest in Docklands, featuring a host of beer, food and entertainment. Opening hours vary. General admission starts from free to £60 (depending on day and package). Millwall Park, Manchester Road, Isle of Dogs, E14 3AY. Nearest station: Island Gardens or Mudchute. For booking, visit the London Oktoberfest website.

  • 3 – 13 October : Wimbledon Bookfest

Festival featuring readings, children’s events, storytelling, comedy, courses, screenings, walks and interviews from a wide range of authors, including Sir Trevor McDonald, Joanne Harris, Sir Alastair Cook, Harry Hill, James O’Brien, Tracy Chevalier, Mariella Frostup, Patricia Cornwall, Emily Maitlis, Alexander McCall Smith, Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Max Hastings, Johnny Ball, Konnie Huq, Charles Moore, Robert Elms and many more. Tickets prices vary. A majority of events take place in tents on Wimbledon Common, but also other venues nearby. Nearest station: Wimbledon. For more information and tickets, visit the BookFest website.

  • 4 – 6 October : The Cake And Bake Show

Event celebrating all things baking and decorating, featuring celebrity experts, stalls selling baking equipment, cake competitions and more. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: £14. ExCel, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House. For tickets, visit the Cake And Bake Show website.

  • 4 – 13 October : London Cocktail Week

This year’s LCW is extended to 10 days to marks its 10th anniversary. Enjoy £6 cocktails in over 300 bars, visit pop-ups, cocktail parties and workshops, or visit the Cocktail Hub on Brick Lane. Visit the website to buy a LCW festival pass for £10 to enjoy the £6 cocktails. For more information, visit the DrinkUpLondon website. Check out Metro Girl’s guide to London Cocktail Week.

Brockwell Park Clock Tower © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Herne Hill Music Festival returns

  • 4 – 13 October : Herne Hill Music Festival

Music festival in Herne Hill, south London at various venues across SE24 and neighbouring areas including The Half Moon, Off The Cuff, St Faith’s Church, Brockwell Hall and St Saviour’s Hall. Tickets range from free to £20. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For more information, visit the Herne Hill Music Festival website.

  • Now until 6 October : Serpentine Pavilion

Visit the temporary structure in the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. This year’s Pavilion is designed by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami. Free to visit, but also contains a pop-up café inside. 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 gallery of this year’s pavilion.

  • Now until 6 October : Frieze Sculpture 2019

Open-air sculpture exhibition in the English Gardens. Featuring pieces are 23 international artists, including Tracey Emin, Vik Muniz, Zak Ove, Leiko Ikemura and more. Open during park hours. Free. Regent’s Park (English Gardens in south-east corner of the park), Marylebone, NW1 4LL. Nearest stations: Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street or Baker Street. For more information, visit the Frieze website. See Metro Girl’s photos of this year’s exhibition.

  • 8 – 27 October : Dance Umbrella

A festival bringing new dance to the capital and a wider audience who may not usually access the art form. Various events at locations across the capital, including Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Southbank Centre, The Yard Theatre, Fairfield Halls, The Place, Shoreditch Town Hall, and Barbican. Tickets prices vary. For more information and tickets, visit the Dance Umbrella website. Read the rest of this entry

Emerge Festival 2019: What to see at the inaugural night-time, arts spectacular

Jungle will perform a DJ set at the Natural History Museum during the Emerge Festival

Coming to London this weekend is a brand new festival which brings contemporary and classic culture together. A host of museums and heritage spaces around the capital will be hosting an innovative new ‘Lates’ spectacular – the Emerge Festival.

The inaugural 2019 festival will see London experience a hybrid of arts and nightlife during the Friday 27 – Saturday 28 September weekend. Some of the UK’s rising new talent will be performing at some iconic venues. Artists include Jungle (DJ set), Ady Suleiman, Bryony Gordon, Lost Lectures, The Vagina Museum and young people’s laureate Theresa Lola.

The Emerge Festival will feature a wide range of events, including live music, DJ sets, talks, workshops, performances, poetry, live art installations, theatre and immersive experiences. There will even be a pop-up gin bar on the roof of the Wellington Arch.

Highlights of the new festival include rising soul stars Ady Suleiman and Poppy Ajudha at The Horniman Museum; author and journalist Bryony Gordon celebrating body positivism and mental health awareness at Dulwich Picture Gallery; UK rapper Flohio curating an evening of entertainment at the stunning 17th century Banqueting House; and a special Lost Lectures collaboration with the Natural History Museum. Also at the NHM will be the collective Jungle, who will be DJing underneath Hope the Whale and Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon installation in the striking Hintze Hall.

To immerse yourself in the Emerge Festival experience, all you need is one ticket to give you access to dozens of events at over 40 venues. Participating spaces include the Design Museum, The Old Operating Theatre, The Jewish Museum, Tower Bridge, The Monument, The London Canal Museum, and many more.

  • Emerge Festival runs from 27-28 September 2019. Tickets: For 18–30s, NHS workers and benefits recipients – Day £15, Weekend £30. For over 30s – Day £25, Weekend £40. Concs available. For tickets, visit the Emerge Festival website or search Emerge on the DICE app.

For a guide to what else is on in London this September, click here.

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Photo Friday: The Ship of Tolerance for Totally Thames

Japan Matsuri 2019: The best of Japanese food, arts and culture at a one-day spectacular in London

Head to Trafalgar Square for the Japan Matsuri festival

Japanese cultural festival Japan Matsuri is returning to the capital this September. The annual one-day spectacular offers Londoners the chance to experience the best of Japanese food, music, dance and more. Designed for the whole family, the 10-hour festival is free to attend and takes place in the city’s iconic Trafalgar Square.

Kicking off at 10am, Japan Matsuri will host two stages featuring an exciting programme of traditional and modern theatre, dance, martial arts and music. Acts include Iwami Kagura; ICHI; Joji Hirota & the London Taiko Drummers; Hasiken; Okinawa Sanshinkai / Kenjinkai and Sonda Seinenkai Eisa Group; Hibiki Ichikawa & Akari Mochizuki; Yosakoi London – Temuzu; Hiroko Tanaka Nihon Buyo Group; O-HA-YA-SHI Couple“Reiwa” Group; and Naomi Suzuki. There will also be a family activity tent when visitors can enjoy free workshops in manga, calligraphy and origami, as well as the chance to dress up in Kimonos.

Watch traditional Japanese martial arts displays

Foodies will be in for a treat with a wide variety of food stalls offering classic Japanese street snacks, including takoyaki octopus balls, yakisoba noodles and okonomiyaki pancakes. Or if you fancy something larger, you can choose from wagyu burgers, ramen, bento boxes, donburi rice bowls and sushi. For those with a sweet tooth, there will be plenty of dessert such as red-bean jam dorayaki pancakes to mochi rice cakes.

If you’re feeling inspired to visit the country, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) will also be on-site offering travel inspiration and information. The JNTO are also one of the event sponsors.

  • Japan Matsuri takes place on Sunday 29 September 2019. From 10am-8pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 5DN. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Embankment, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Japan Matsuri website.

For a guide to what else is on in London this September, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in September 2019

Find out what festivals, exhibitions, fairs and more are taking place in the capital this September.

Dulwich Pavilion Colour Palace © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

The Dulwich Pavilion

Summer is starting to wind down and autumn is creeping ever closer. September seems to be a hybrid month between the two, where we could have warm summer nights, but there’s always the risk of windy, wet weather. September is a more manageable city to spend time in as the main tourist throngs have died down and the children are back in school.

  • 31 August – 1 September : Zee London Mela

Family festival inspired by the rich culture and flavours of South Asia, featuring live Bollywood, traditional and urban music, performers, food, drink, fashion, sports, kids area, funfair, fireworks finale and more. Open Sat 31 1pm-8pm and Sun 1 1pm-9pm. Tickets: £2. Under 16s Free. Southall Park, Uxbridge Road, Southall, UB1 3BT. Nearest station: Southall. For more information, visit the London Mela website.

  • 1 September : Angel Canal Festival

One day festival in the City Road Lock, Basin and Regents Canal towpath. Featuring over 80 stalls, children’s fun fair, Punch & Judy, story-teller, boat trips and canoeing, art projects and galleries, live music and street theatre. 11am-5pm. Free. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the Angel Canal Festival website.

  • 1 – 30 September : Totally Thames

Totally Thames is a month-long celebration of our city’s main waterway. Among the many activities taking place are the St Katharine Docks Classic Boat Festival (6-8 Sept), The Great River Race (14 Sept), Regatta London (29 Sep), walks, mudlarking, art installations (such as the Ship of Tolerance), live music, theatre, dinners, river relay, film screenings and many more activities. Many events are free. For more information, visit the Totally Thames website.

  • 1 – 30 September :Carnaby Eats

The restaurants, cafes and bars of Carnaby are taking part in a month-long foodie festival. Featuring special menus, masterclasses, cookbook launches and more. At the streets in and around the Carnaby district of Soho. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog post.

  • Now until 1 September : Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams @ V&A

Exhibition of Christian Dior designs, from 1947 to the present day. Featuring over 200 garments and hundreds of accessories, photographs, videos, sketches and more. Exhibition hours opening vary (timed entry). Tickets: £20-£24. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information, visit the V&A website. Read Metro Girl’s review of the exhibition.

  • Now until 1 September : Meatopia

Weekend of meat, drink, music and fire. Featuring chefs from Smokestak, B’s Cracklin Atlanta, Gunpowder, Cabrito, Blacklock, Sausage Commitment, Brigade, Hangfire, Belzan, Hawksmoor and many more. Music from Olugbenga (Metronomy), Das Brass, Huey Morgan, Izo Fitzroy, King Brasstards and more. Open Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-7pm. Tickets: £23-94 (depending on admission day and package). Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station: Wapping or Shadwell. For information and booking, visit the Meatopia website.

  • Now until 2 September : Summer By The River – Outdoor Theatre

Watch a live outdoor performance of The Sea Queen or Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by the Thames. Performances from Wed-Sat at 6pm, Sun at 4pm. Free entry. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, London Bridge, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.

  • 3 – 28 September : RIFT present Midsummer Night’s Dream @ Ally Pally

An immersive theatrical performance of the Shakespeare classic in the newly-opened basements of Alexandra Palace. Age 12 and over only. 7.30pm-10pm. Tickets: £28.50. Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest stations: Alexandra Palace or Wood Green. For more information, visit the Alexandra Palace website.

  • 4 – 7 September : Santo pop-up @ The Little Yellow Door

Notting Hill’s foodie favourite Santo will be hosting a pop-up with the flatmates, featuring Mexican food, drink and music. From 6pm. The Little Yellow Door, 6-8 All Saints Road, Notting Hill, W11 1HH. Nearest station: Westbourne Park or Ladbroke Grove. For more information, visit The Little Yellow Door website or the event’s Facebook page. For more information about TLYD, read Metro Girl’s blog post.

  • 5 – 15 September : Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival

Ten day festival featuring free screenings in the Peckham and Nunhead area at various locations, including Nunhead Cemetery, Peckham Palms, The Ivy House, The Old Waiting Room and more. Films include The Lady Vanishes, Harold & Maude, Widows, Albatross, The River and The Wall and more. Free. Nearest stations: Peckham Rye, Queen’s Road Peckham and Nunhead. For more information and listings, visit the PNFFF website.

  • 5 September – 19 January 2020 : The Immersive Wolf Of Wall Street

Enjoy a taste of ’90s high-flying Wall Street hedonism with an immersive theatre production, adapted from the hit film. Expect a restaurant, bars, supercars and more. Over 18s only. Dress code: 90s American Office attire. Times vary. Tickets: £58-£100. 5-15 Sun Street, City of London, EC2M 2PT. Nearest station: Moorgate or Liverpool Street. For more information, visit the Immersive Wolf website.

Classic Boat Festival St Katharine Docks © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The Classic Boat Festival returns to St Katharine Docks

  • 6 – 8 September : Classic Boat Festival 2019

As part of the Totally Thames celebration (see above), St Katharine Docks are hosting a weekend festival, featuring a display of 40 vintage sail and power vessels, alongside live music, street food, workshops, talks and children’s activities. 12pm-6pm. Free. St Katharine Docks, 50 St. Katharine’s Way, Tower Bridge, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill, Fenchurch Street or Tower Gateway (DLR). For more information, visit the St Katharine Docks website.

  • 6 – 14 September : Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival

Eight day film festival offers free screenings in Charlton and Woolwich. In various locations including Severndroog Castle, Charlton House, The White Swan, St George’s Garrison Church, The Reach, The Thames-Side Studios and more. Nearest stations: Charlton or Woolwich. For more information and listings, visit the CWFFF website. Read the rest of this entry

Open House London 2019: Tips and highlights of the annual architecture festival

How to make the most of one of London’s most fascinating and photogenic festivals.

View of the City from the Leadenhall Building

Open House London is a must-do for any lovers of architecture, history… or just London really! Whatever your taste in design, you can be guaranteed to find a building that appeals. To those uninitiated, Open House London is a two-day long festival of architecture, when hundreds of buildings open their doors to the public for free. It could be a chance to step inside a government building, a City of London skyscraper, an art deco masterpiece or a brutalist icon – places that would normally be off-limits to visitors.

This year’s Open House London is the 27th and takes place from 21 – 22 September 2019. Over 800 buildings are taking part in the event, with most of these accessible to those who just turn up. However, there are some special buildings – such as 10 Downing Street. the new US Embassy and the BT Tower – which are balloted entry only, so you need to apply before the beginning of September to be in with a chance. There are some other buildings which have limited numbers so offer time slot bookings in advance.

Top 10 tips on making the most of Open House London

  1. Make a list of places you want to visit and also a few back-up options if the queues are too long by searching Open House’s official website. Alternatively, you could buy a hard copy of the guide here or download the free app available on Apple Store or Google Play.
  2. Check out TFL’s website to make sure there are no engineering works affecting your transportation to the sites.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes and check the weather forecast to inspire suitable clothing. You will be walking and standing a lot.
  4. Get up early: Most of the buildings taking part open around 10am or 11am, but some open even earlier. If you get there before they open, you could beat the queues.
  5. Make sure your phone and/or camera are fully charged and bring a portable charger if you have one so you can search online maps and share photos on social media.
  6. Bring ID – some buildings may require ID to enter.
  7. Make sure you don’t carry too much in your bag, as many buildings are subjected to security searches.
  8. Go the toilet whenever you find one. Some of the more unusual buildings may not have any available facilities or you could end up desperate while waiting in a very long queue.
  9. Follow Open House London on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
  10. Share your discoveries on social media with the hashtag #openhouselondon. It’s worth searching this hashtag on Twitter to find out where the long queues are.

Top picks to visit at Open House London 2019

Camden Highline. A tour of the proposed Camden Highline park connecting Camden Town to King’s Cross. Open Saturday and Sunday 9.30am-3.30pm (pre-book only). Camden Gardens, Camden Street, NW1 9PT. Nearest station: Camden Town or Camden Road.

Drapers’ Hall. Livery Hall first built in 1530s, twice rebuilt. Featuring 19th century façade and Victorian interiors. Open Sunday 10am-4pm. Throgmorton Street, City of London, EC2N 2DQ. Nearest station: Bank or Liverpool Street.

Freemasons’ Hall. Art Deco meets classical, built in 1927-33. Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm. 60 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AZ. Nearest station: Holborn or Covent Garden. Read the rest of this entry

Munch your way around the world at foodie festival Carnaby Eats

Enjoy masterclasses, special menus, cookbook launches and more at this month-long food festival in September 2019.

Wrights Brothers will be taking part in Carnaby Eats

The many eateries of Kingly Court will be taking place

The Carnaby district of Soho is well-known for its wealth of restaurants and bars. So it’s the perfect destination for a month-long foodie festival this September. Throughout the month, the restaurants and cafes will be offering special menus, masterclasses, and cookbook launches.

Budding foodies can take part in free expert masterclasses from Dehesa and Farm Girl, while cocktail aficinoados can enjoy a Pisco Sour masterclass at Señor Ceviche or a mixologist taster class at Jakata. Throughout the month, there will be cookbook launches from Dishoom, Leon and Chai by Mira. Popular eateries Pure, Shoryu Carnaby and Pastaio will be debuting their new autumn menus. Meanwhile, Ugly Dumpling’s executive chef Emilian Craciun will be offering a tasting menu on the first and last Sunday of September.

American diner favourite Dirty Bones will be offering customers the chance to ‘Pimp your Dog’ and customise their signature Yankee Dog. Pizza Pilgrims will be creating a special birthday pizza to mark their 7th year, as well as launching their new 100% biodegradable pasta straws. Meanwhile, Wright Brothers Soho will unveil a new selection of small plates and sustainable dishes, as well as their own gin. You can also head downstairs (and back in time) to 1940s cocktail den Cahoots, who will be entertaining and feeding guests with their ‘Squiffy picnic’ every Saturday.

Over 40 Carnaby restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs have signed up to the new Blue Turtle sustainability scheme in collaboration with ocean conservation organisation Project 0. The scheme aims to reduce consumption of single-use plastic and encourage business owners to embrace more sustainable practises.

  • Carnaby Eats is taking place from 1 – 30 September 2019. At the streets in and around the Carnaby district of Soho. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in September, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in August 2019

Find out what events, festivals and exhibitions are on in the capital this summer.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Summer is here! The schools are out, the tourists are in town and (hopefully) the weather is glorious. As you would expect, there’s more events and festivals than ever taking place in the great outdoors. If you’re a parent or grandparent looking to entertain the kids during the school holidays, there’s plenty going on – with many events even free! There’s also plenty on around the August Bank Holiday, including the famous Notting Hill Carnival.

Here’s a round-up of the best events on in the London this August.

For a guide to London’s outdoor and pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.

  • 3 August : International Scottish Gin Day @ Mr Fogg’s

Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour will be serving a special cocktail menu celebrating Scottish gin for one-day only. Expect concoctions such as a Scots Seaside Martini, Scottish Spice and a Hendricks in the Highlands. 1pm-12am. 1 New Row, Covent Garden, WC2N 4EA. Nearest station: Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Mr Fogg’s website.

  • 3 – 4 August : London Halal Food Festival

The UK’s only food festival dedicated to Halal. Featuring over 150 food & drink stalls, cookery theatre, The Souq market, kids zone, Halal Eat Offs, chill out lounge, live music and more. N.B. All vendors will be cash only and there are no cash machines are venue. Tickets: Adults £10-£30, Under 10s free. Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For tickets, visit the London Halal Food Festival website.

  • 3 – 4 August : Prudential RideLondon

The annual cycling festival returns to London. Eight miles of road in central London will be closed to cars so people can experience cycling on safe and clear roads. Anyone is welcome to take part in the FreeCycle on Saturday 3, while more serious cyclists will be passing through London on the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday 4. Other events for spectators include the Brompton World Championship and RideLondon Classique. To register, visit the Ride London website.

  • 3 – 11 August : Nile Rodgers’ Meltdown Festival

This year’s Meltdown Festival is curated by Nile Rodgers. Acts include Jungle, Johnny Marr, Kero Kero Bonito, Thundercat, Yael Naim, CHIC, anais, Durand Jones & The Indications, and more. Ticket prices vary. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For booking, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • 4 August : Island Love Brunch @ Skylight

Celebrate the end of another red hot summer with an alfresco brunch with views of the city. Expect food and drink from Skylight, Yiro and Flipside along with summer club anthem hits, live performances and games inspired by the hit show Love Island. Over 18s only. 12pm-3pm. Tickets: £10-£45. Skylight, Tobacco Quay (Pennington Street entrance), Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For tickets, visit DesignMyNight.

  • 6 August : Taste of Puglia Supper Club

The second of Bottles wine bar ‘Taste of…’ supper club, this month exploring the Italian region of Puglia. Guests can enjoy three courses alongside wine tastings from Puglia. 7.30pm-9.30pm. Tickets: £35. Bottles, 67 Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, E1 6AA. Neatest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit DesignMyNight.

  • 6 – 10 August : Great British Beer Festival

Over 1,000 of British and international real ales, ciders, perries and beers with be available to try, along with the new wine and gin bar. Also including live entertainment and street food. Tickets £9-£11 (advance), £14 (on the door). Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Great British Beer Festival website.

  • 7 – 11 August : Mr Black Espresso Martini Fest

Fans of the Espresso Martini will love this three-day festival, from Drink Up London (London Cocktail Week, London Beer Week, London Wine Week). Over 50 bars across London will be offering £6 Espresso Martinis and other Mr Black cocktails. Wristbands: £10 (includes access to £6 cocktails, entry to Mr Black’s Church of Coffee pop-up (@ Truman Brewery) and access to 1,000 free Espresso Martinis on 16 Aug). For more information, visit the DrinkUpLondon website.

  • 7 – 30 August : Fentimans Secret Spritz Garden

Pop-up cocktail garden in leafy Clerkwenwell, featuring refreshing cocktails and workshops in a secret garden. Opening hours: Wed-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm and Bank Holiday Sunday 12pm-11pm. Nearest station: Farringdon (5 min walk). For the location, visit the Secret Spritz Garden website. See Metro Girl’s blog post for more information.

  • 7 August – 2 September : Summer By The River – Outdoor Theatre

Watch a live outdoor performance of The Sea Queen or Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by the Thames. Performances from Wed-Sat at 6pm, Sun at 4pm. Free entry. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, London Bridge, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.

  • Now until 7 August : Banquet of Hoshena

Dinner Time Story brings their new immersive dining experience to London. Diners will be treated to a projector-lead dining concept using 3D visual technology, image mapping and experiential props. Tickets: £85/£95/£110. Westfield, Ariel Way, White City, W12 7GF. Nearest station: White City. Pre-booking requests: info@dinnertimestory.com or tel: 07510 204 003. Visit Banquet of Hoshena on Instagram. See Metro Girl’s blog post for more information.

  • 9 – 11 August : London Craft Beer Festival

Over 100 breweries from London, the UK, Europe and USA will be showing off 100s of beers. Also including food stalls, live music and DJs from Friendly Fires, Zombie Disco Squad, Kaiser Chiefs, Jack Stevens, Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) and more. Times vary. Tickets: £40-£79.96 (includes all your beer, tasting glass and programme. Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station: Wapping or Shadwell. For more information, visit the London Craft Beer Festival.

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Celebrate female talent at Devonshire Square’s International Women in Arts Festival

The International Women in Arts Festival at Devonshire Square
© Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

A month-long festival celebrating female talent has kicked off in the capital this month. Running until 26 July, the International Women in Arts Festival is taking place in Devonshire Square. Hosted by WeWork and with donations going to The Pink Ribbon Foundation, the four-week programme will offer Londoners and visitors free entertainment.

Throughout the month there will all-female bands performing a range of musical genres, including jazz, swing, classical and pop. Meanwhile, an array of professional dancers and students from top dance schools and creative companies will be showcasing their dance skills.

Highlights included dance shows choreographed by Artistic Director, former English National Ballet soloist Jenna Lee; performances by Oriental dancer and school founder Fleur Estelle; and award-winning Samba sensation Gladys Cavalcante. Also performing will be professional Javanese and Balinese dancers Andrea Rutkowski accompanied by Artistic Director Ni Made’ Pujawati, who will perform sacred Rejang Sari and traditional Legong Kuntul dances. Gymnasts from Team GB will showcase their ribbon choreography, followed by a high-energy set from an all-female acrobatic trio.

During the festival, WeWork’s Devonshire Square community with be fundraising for the Pink Ribbon Foundation, or guests can donate online. Located in the City of London, just a short walk from Liverpool Street or Spitalfields Market, Devonshire Square is a historic business, dining and entertainment quarter, dating back to the 18th century.

  • The International Women in Arts Festival takes place from 5 – 26 July 2019. Most performances start at 1pm. Free. At Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in July, click here.

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