Summer is in full swing with the capital bursting to life with indoor and outdoor events as every turn. Of course, Wimbledon dominates a big chunk of July (3-16th) with tennis, Pimm’s and strawberries the order of the day. The end of the month, the school holidays kick off so there will be plenty of harassed parents looking for ways to entertain their children. So find some inspiration whatever your age or budget in Metro Girl’s guide to what’s on this July.
To find out where London’s urban beaches are this summer, click here.
- 1 July : Art Night
A free contemporary arts festival takes over spaces, venues and landmarks in the capital for one night only, featuring art, architecture, dance and music. Every year, a cultural institution is invited to focus on a different part of London. This year, the event will take place in the East End with the Whitechapel Gallery and independent curator Fatos Ustek. 6pm-4am. Free. For more information, visit the Art Night website.
- 1 – 2 July : Eat Drink Ealing
Food and drink festival returns for a second year, featuring gourmet food stalls, artisan beverages, wine tasting, live music, cookery courses, children’s activities and more. Tickets: £3 (children under 12 go free). Ealing Common, W5. Nearest station: Ealing Broadway or Ealing Common. For more information, visit the Ealing Summer Festival website.
- 1 – 2 July : Chorus Festival
Annual festival celebrating the power of the voice, featuring choirs from the Nordic regions. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Embankment or Westminster. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 1 – 31 July : Rum Festival @ The Jam Tree
Both branches of The Jam Tree will be hosting a month-long celebration of the mighty rum. Featuring Bottomless Brunches with live steel bands, cocktail masterclasses, salsa lessons, Caribbean supperclubs, BBQ and more. The Jam Tree, 541 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW6 2EB. Nearest station: Fulham Broadway or Imperial Wharf or The Jam Tree, 13-19 Old Town, Clapham, SW4 0JT. Nearest station: Clapham Common. For more information, visit The Jam Tree website.
- 2 July : Eid Festival
Festival to celebrate Eid and mark the end of Ramadan. Including a food festival, live music, performances, shopping and children’s activities. 12-6pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- Now until 2 July : Hampstead Summer Festival
The festival takes place in and around Hampstead, including the Big Fair on Heath Street (2 July), open art competitions, poetry, art and literacy events, pub quizzes and more. Many activities are free. For more information, visit the Hampstead Summer Festival website.
- Now until 2 July : Carters Steam Fair @ Hornsey
The vintage travelling funfair sets up camp in Hornsey, featuring rides from the late 19th century to the 1960s. Open 11am-9pm. Free admission. Priory Park, Hornsey, N8 8QR. Nearest station: Hornsey. For more information, visit the Carters Steam Fair website.
- Now until 2 July : East End Film Festival
For its 16th year, the East End Film Festival has been spread out to five weekends. Featuring screenings, Q&As, a Twin Peaks-themed ball and more. At venues across East London, including a Masonic temple. For more information, visit the East End Film Festival website.
- 4 July : La Traviata – Royal Opera House BP Big Screen
Watch the Royal Opera House’s production of La Traviata live on the big screen. 7pm. Free. At Lyric Square (Hammersmith), Trafalgar Square or General Gordon Square (Woolwich). For more information, visit the Royal Opera House website.
- 4 – 9 July : Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
Flower show in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. Celebrity and expert speakers include Chris Packham, Charlie Dimmock, Michaela Stracham, Pippa Greenwood, Christine Walkden, Helen Bostock, Martin Hughes-Games, David Domoney, Justin Fletcher, Hemsley & Hemsley, among others. Open Tues-Sat 10am-7.30pm, Sun 10am-5.30pm. Advance tickets range from £19 to £36.50 depending on full/half-day and RHS membership. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the RHS website.
- Now until 5 July : Masterpiece London
An imaginative art and antiques fair for traditional and contemporary. Featuring a week of cultural, culinary and social experiences. Tickets from £28. Royal Hospital, Chelsea, SW3 4SL. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Masterpiece London website.
- 5 July – 8 October : Frieze Sculpture
Free outdoor sculpture exhibition in Regents Park, featuring 23 new and significant creations by 20th-century masters and leading contemporary artists, including Rasheed Araeen, John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, Gary Hume, KAWS, Alicja Kwade, Michael Craig-Martin, Eduardo Paolozzi, Jaume Plensa, Thomas J Price, Ugo Rondinone and Hank Willis Thomas. Regents Park, Marylebone, NW1. Nearest station: Regents Park, Great Portland Street or Camden Town. For more information, visit the Frieze website.
- 6 July – 17 August : Tales Of Silk & Music Festival
Historic Devonshire Square in the City of London is celebrating UK-India Year Of Culture with an Indian dance festival. Featuring performances from world class dancers. During the festival, Cinnamon Kitchen will be hosting a Summer Pavilion and Bombay Sapphire Gin Garden. Performances every Thursday at 12.30pm. Free to watch. Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post on the festival.
- 7 – 9 July : Just V Show
Lifestyle festival for vegans, vegetarians or those who want to live a more plant-based diet. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: £10 (includes entrance to Love Natural Love You and The Allergy & Free From Show, also on in the same venue). Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For tickets, visit the Just V Show website.
Summer is nearing an end. However, September usually has that lovely balmy weather with significantly less tourists so London is more comfortable. Of course, the Rio Paralympics will be on 7 – 18 September so expect to see some Brazilian-themed fun on around town and opportunity to watch the games on the big screen.
For a guide to the capital’s pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.
- 1 September : Canalside Comedy
Enjoy a free lunchtime comedy show by the canal in Paddington. 12.30-1.30pm. Free. Canalside Live Stage, Paddington Basin, Paddington, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.
- 1 – 4 September : Chambord Chapter Eight Games
French liquor Chambord are hosting a four day pop-up on the Dalston Roof Park, featuring plenty of cocktails, food and flamingo croquet. Tickets: £7.50 (plus fee) for time slots. Dalston Roof Park, 18 Ashwin Street, Dalston, E8 3DL. Nearest station: Dalston Junction or Dalston Kingsland. For more information, visit Chambord’s Facebook page.
- 1 – 11 September : Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival
Ten day festival featuring free screenings in the Peckham and Nunhead area at various locations, including The Montague Arms, The Nunhead Gardener, Glengall Wharf Garden and The Ivy House. Free. Nearest stations: Peckham Rye, Queen’s Road Peckham and Nunhead. For more information and listings, visit the PNFFF website.
- 1 – 16 September : Portobello Film Festival
Two and half week festival returns to Notting Hill with screenings and events at the KPH, Pop Up Cinema in Acklam Road and the Muse Gallery. Free. Nearest stations: Ladbroke Grove or Westbourne Park. For more information, visit the Portobello Film 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 (10-11 Sept), The Great River Race (3 Sept), walks, art installations, live music, theatre, dinners, river relay, film screenings and many more activities. For more information, visit the Totally Thames website.
- 2 – 4 September : Meatopia
Weekend of meat, drink, music and fire. Featuring chefs including Niklas Ekstedt, Jose Pizarro, Matti Hurttia, Luke Findlay, Tomos Parry, Andrew Clarke, Henry Harris, Jackson Boxer and Gina Hopkins. Music from Professor Green (DJ set), Andy Smith (Portishead), MC Zani and Bass 6, DJ Tofu and Temple Funk Collective. Tickets: £23.85-£34.45. Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station: Wapping or Shadwell. For information and booking, visit the Meatopia website.
- 4 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 admission. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the Angel Canal Festival website.
- Now until 4 September : Exhibitionism @ Saatchi Gallery
The Rolling Stones stage their first major exhibition to mark 50 years of rock ‘n’ roll. Open Thu-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun-Wed 10am-6pm. Tickets: £21. Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s Square, King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 4SQ. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Saatchi Gallery website.
- Now until 4 September : Goosebumps Alive
This summer, another immersive theatre experience returns to the tunnels below Waterloo station. With two separate shows for adults or children inspired by the ’90s cult horror series. Take a journey through the dark, abandoned vaults and scare yourself silly as you try to escape the stuff of nightmares. Times vary. Tickets: Adults start from £32.50. Children from £15. The Vaults, Launcelot Street (off Lower Marsh), Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For booking, visit Goosebumps Alive website. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog post on the production.
- Now until 4 September : The Gardening Society
The rooftop of John Lewis in Oxford Street has cafe, bar, yoga classes, great views and a rotating set of pop-up restaurants serving lunch and dinner. Open Mon-Wed: 12-8pm, Thurs-Sat: 12-10pm, Sun: 12-6pm. The Gardening Society (Enter via the 5th Floor), John Lewis, 300 Oxford Street, W1A 1EX. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Bond Street. For more information, visit the John Lewis website.
- 4 September – 30 October : Dinner At The Twits
An immersive and gruesome dining experience inspired by Roald Dahl’s classic The Twits. From the same team behind Alice’s Adventures Underground and food wizards Bompas & Parr. Minimum age 14+. Tickets: £80-£110 (feature a 90 minute show, arrival cocktail, banquet with wine, box of chocolates and hot beverage). The Vaults, Launcelot Street (off Lower Marsh), Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For booking, visit The Twits dinner website. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog post on the production.
- 5 – 9 September : Health & Happiness Week @ Merchant Square
Spend your lunch break focused on your health as part of Reclaim Your Lunch Break. Featuring free fitness classes, including ping pong, running, paddle board yoga, hula fit and jumping fitness. 12.30-1.30pm. Free. Merchant Square, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.
- Now until 6 September : Shakespeare In Ten Acts @ British Library
An exhibition to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare death, featuring how his plays were performed through history and how his reputation changed. Featuring the only surviving play-script in his hand, an authentic Shakespeare signature, the earliest printed edition of Hamlet and Shakespeare’s First Folio. Tickets: Adults from £12. PACCAR Gallery, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Nearest station: Euston, King’s Cross or St Pancras. For booking, visit The British Library website.
- 7 September : Urban Edibles @ Ask For Janice
Foraging expert Jason Irving will host an evening of urban foraging, featuring tips on hunter gathering and foraging hotspots. Guests will then be able to try the raw ingredients which will be used in fresh cocktails and inventive dishes. 6-9pm. Tickets: £20. Ask For Janice, 50-52 Long Lane, Smithfield, EC1A 9EJ. Nearest station: Farringdon. For booking, visit Billetto. Read the rest of this entry
Now we’re in August, it feels like the summer is rushing by the rate of knots. However, there’s still time for some festival fever. This August Bank Holiday Monday, chart legends Madness are hosting their very own music festival on Clapham Common.
The Baggy Trousers stars will be inviting a host of their musical pals to share the stage during the day long alfresco extravaganza. Acts include The Hot 8 Brass Band, Craig Charles, Terry Farley, Spring King, Toddla T, Rob Da Bank, and Reggae Roast. Also performing include Toots & The Maytals, David Rodigan, Norman Jay MBE, Congo Natty & The All Stars, Mike Skinner & Murkage present Tonga, Ms. Dynamite, Kiko Bun and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.
A statement from Madness reads: ‘We are honoured and privileged that London has found us a place where for one day every year we can have our very own festival, we here by name that day House of Common. See you in Clapham Madheads… For the love of the common people.’
- House of Common takes place on Monday 29 August 2016 (Bank Holiday) from 12pm until 10.30pm. Tickets: £47.81. Clapham Common, SW4. Nearest stations: Clapham Common or Clapham South. For more information and tickets, visit the Madness website.
For a guide to London’s music festivals this summer, click here.
For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.
Summer is here! After a rather changeable May, the summer season is now in full swing. As you would expect, there’s a host of alfresco fun taking place throughout June. Here’s a guide to what’s on around the capital.
To find out where to watch Euro 2016 and Wimbledon on the big screen, click here.
For a guide to music festivals in London this summer, click here.
For a guide to open-air and pop-up cinemas in London this summer, click here.
- 1 – 30 June : London Festival Of Architecture
A month long celebration of architecture, with this year’s theme being ‘community’. Featuring talks, installations, tours, exhibitions, open studios, film screenings, debates and conferences. At various venues around town. For more information, visit the London Festival of Architecture website.
- 1 June – 2 July : LIFT Festival
Lift festival returns to the capital, brining ‘pioneering new theatre, spectacular performances and moments of magic’. Over 30 events at locations across London featuring work from 14 countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Canada, Japan, Australia, the USA, Lebanon and Syria. For more information, visit the LIFT Festival website. For Metro Girl’s blog on the LIFT Festival, click here.
- 1 June – 3 July : Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: Somme 100
Outdoor exhibition features images of the present-day battlefields alongside archive pictures of the trenches during the Great War. Free. Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V. Nearest station: St Paul’s. For more information, visit the City Of London website.
- 1 June – 31 October : London Bridge City Summer Festival
Replacing the More London Free Festival is an expanded festival featuring live music, theatre and dance performances, fitness classes, film and sports screenings and return of the London Riviera pop-up bar and restaurant. Free. Events taking place between Tower Bridge and London Bridge on the south bank of Thames. Nearest stations: Tower Hill or London Bridge. For more information, visit the London Bridge City Summer Festival website.
- 2 – 5 June : Sundance Film Festival – London
The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, comes to London to showcase the best of independent movies, featuring UK and International feature film premieres, 15 shorts and special events. Individual tickets from £15. Festival pass £150. VIP pass £450. Picturehouse Central, corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Great Windmill Street, Piccadilly, W1D 7DH. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Sundance London website.
- 2 – 26 June : Spitalfields Summer Music Festival
Festival incorporating classical music, contemporary music, family activities and bespoke tours. Highlights include a concert in the Tower Of London’s chapel, recitals throughout Spitalfields and more. Tickets range from free to £30. For tickets, visit the Spitalfields Music website. For more information on the festival, check out Metro Girl’s blog post.
- 2 – 30 June : Happy Birthday, Miss Monroe
An exhibition of limited edition prints of Marilyn Monroe to celebrate what would have been her 90th birthday, with the opportunity to purchase. 10am-6pm. The Showroom Presents…, 25 Effie Road, Fulham Broadway, SW6 1EL. Nearest station: Fulham Broadway. For more information, visit the ONGallery website.
- 3 – 5 June : Chestertons Polo In The Park
Bringing polo from the country estates into London. As well as watching the polo, there is plenty of entertainment and food and drink venues, including Mahiki Bar; Lanson Champagne Garden; Fentiman’s Botanical Garden, MINT Bar and Garden, Pimm’s Bus, luxury shopping village and Kids Club. Tickets: £35-45 (adults), £10-15 (children). Hurlingham Park, Fulham, SW6 3RH. Nearest station: Putney Bridge or Parson’s Green. For more information and tickets, visit Chestertons Polo In The Park’s website. To read about Metro Girl’s visit to Polo In The Park, check out this post.
- 3 – 5 June : Stoke Newington Literary Festival
A festival featuring readings, workshops and performances at venues across the suburb. Speakers include Zandra Rhodes, Nikesh Shukla, Brix Smith Start, Janet Ellis and many more. Tickets range from free to £12.50. Venues include Clissold House, Abney Public Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall, The Haunt and William Patten School. For more information and tickets, visit the Stoke Newington Literary Festival website.
- 3 June – 15 July : Sunset Safari
London Zoo’s summer evening openings on Fridays are open to friends, couples and families. You can see the animals getting ready for bed on a self-guided Safari Trail. There will also be entertainment and a world food market. 6-10pm. Tickets: Adults £27, Children £20.25. London Zoo, Outer Circle (Regent’s Park), NW1 4RY. Nearest tube: Camden Town or Regent’s Park. For more information and booking, visit the Zoological Society London website.
- 4 June : Blitz Party
Step back in time to the 1940s for a themed night of patriotic revelry, featuring swing dancing, big band music, cocktails, performers, dance classes and vintage makeovers. Dress code: 1940s glam, home front utility clothing and allied uniform. 8pm until late. Tickets from £30. In a secret East London bunker, with location revealed near the time. For more information, visit The Blitz Party website. Read the rest of this entry
Autumn is whizzing by and with the onset of November, we know that Christmas is almost around the corner. For those organised enough, there’s lots of Christmas-related events on this month so you can start your gift shopping. However, if you’re like me and don’t like anything Christmas-related until December, there’s plenty of non-festive fun on around town. Here’s my round-up of the best festivals and special events on in London this November.
For a guide to open-air ice rinks this winter, click here.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
- 1 November : London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
Setting off from Hyde Park Corner between 7 and 8.30am, spectators can line the 64-mile route all the way from the capital to Brighton to watch 500 classic cars show off their prowess and vintage style. Entrance rules stipulate cars must be built before 1905 and will be either of the three or four-wheel variety. Expect many drivers and passengers to be suitably dressed in costume and vintage clothing for the spectacle. Free to spectate. For more information, visit the Veteran Car Run website.
- Now until 1 November : Mademoiselle Prive
A journey through Chanel’s creations, highlighting the Haute Couture, Bijoux de Diamants jewellery and Chanel No.5. 10am-6pm. Free. Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 4RY. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Saatchi Gallery website.
- 2 – 8 November : Spirit Of Christmas Fair
For the super organised, get ready for Christmas early with this fair, where you can stock up on gifts, design and food all ready for the festive season. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Opening times vary. Tickets: £19.50. Olympia Grand, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website.
- 2 – 8 November : Winter Olympia Art & Antique Fair
Arts and antiques event, featuring over 120 dealers showcasing their unusual objects and art. Open Tues-Thur 11am-8pm, Fri-Sat 11am-7pm & Sun 11am-5pm. Tickets: £15 advance, £20 on the door. Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Olympian Antiques website.
- Now until 4 November : Kilburn Literary Festival
The North West London suburb of Kilburn hosts their second literary festival, featuring talks, workshops, readings and competitions. At various venues across NW6 including the North London Tavern, Tricycle Theatre and the Sheriff Centre. For more information, visit the Kilburn Literary Festival website.
- 5 – 29 November : World Press Photo Exhibition
The shortlisted entries for the annual World Press Photo completion go on display in the Royal Festival Hall. Free. Open 10am-11pm. Royal Festival Hall, Upper Ground, Southbank, SE1 9PX. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information, visit the World Press Photo website.
- 6 – 27 November : Richmond Literature Festival
A festivals of books and words at various locations across the borough, including Marble Hill House, Hampton Library, Richmond Old Town Hall and St Mary’s University. Featuring talks and Q&As from authors, including Simon Singh, Vince Cable, Alwyn W Turner, Sonia Purnell, Henry Marsh and more. For more information, visit the Richmond Literature Festival website.
- 6 – 28 November : Crystal Palace International Film Festival
Screenings, premieres and Q&As during this two week long festival in South East London at various venues. Nearest station: Crystal Palace. For full listings and tickets, check the CPIFF website.
- 7 November : Wahaca’s Day Of The Dead Festival
A festival celebrating modern Mexico, including live music, film, street art, culture, food, talks, Mezcal & tequila Mexican market. From 1pm onwards. Tickets: £31.90. Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest tube: Wapping (Overground). For more information, visit Wahaca’s website.
- Now until 7 November :Nightwatchers @ Tower Of London
Enjoy special access to the Tower Of London when the visitors have gone for an immersive nighttime experience, directed by award-winning digital theatre company ANAGRAM. Have an induction to the world of covert investigation as you find your way around London’s most notorious prison using messages and phonecalls. For ages 16+ only, running time 45 minutes. Tickets: £16-£20. Tower Of London, Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB. Nearest station: Tower Hill, Tower Gateway (DLR) or Fenchurch Street. For more information and booking, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.
Looking for something a bit different this weekend? Well, how about a warehouse festival in Chelsea? The team behind pop-up brand Roxx are bringing together some of the capital’s best DJs, food trucks, live acts, art installations and fashion brands for one special day-to-night event.
Taking place this Saturday 30 May, RVLRY will be a combination of indoor festival and warehouse party. The daytime action will start with a relaxed festival vibe outdoors with performances from acoustic artists. When the sun goes down, London DJs The Space Cowboys (The Cuckoo Club), and Nicola Robinson (It’s Rude To Stare) will really be getting the party going indoors. There will also be entertainment until the early hours from beat boxing harmonica players, double percussionists, LED sax players, electric guitarists, and rock’n’roll live bands.
Also taking part will be some of London’s quirkiest boutique brands and new talent, including Pritch London fashion, a community art project managed by Talenthouse, art from James Mylne, Rich Simmons & Elmo Hood, jewellery by Other Goods, and photography by David Richardson. Meanwhile, drinks brands Crystal Head Vodka, Don Julio and Pistonhead beer will be among those keeping you lubricated, while Kurobuta, Tommy’s Burger Joint and The Wandering Chef will be keeping hunger at bay.
The event will be taking place in a warehouse space in the heart of Chelsea, with full details to be revealed to ticket holders nearer the time.
- RVLRY takes place on Saturday 30 May 2015. 6pm–3am. Tickets from £20. For more information and tickets, visit Design My Night.
For a guide to what else is on in London in June, click here.
With October and Halloween out of the way, it can be hard to enjoy November without the looming thought of Christmas hanging over your head. The dropping temperatures also make us more reluctant to go out and about during your free time because the sofa and TV can be so appealing. However, there is plenty of fun things on in the capital to lure you away from your home – many free and also in the warm indoors.
For a guide to open air ice rinks in London this winter, click here.
For a guide to Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
- 1 November : Nightmare on Camden High Street
One day festival in Camden, featuring live music and parties at venues across town including Brewdog, Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom, Jazz Café, Hawley Arms, The Barfly and Our Black Heart. Acts include King Charles, Blood Red Shoes, Inme, Howling Bells, Night Engine and dozens more. Tickets £20 for a wristband which allows you access to various events, capacity depending. Nearest tube/train: Camden Town, Chalk Farm and Camden Road. For more information and listings, visit the Nightmare Festival website.
- 1- 2 November : Regent Street Motorshow and London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
On 1 November, 300 cars from 125 years of motoring will be on display for the Regent Street Motorshow from 10.30am-4pm. On 2 November the Veteran Car Run will set off from Hyde Park Corner between 7 and 8.30am, spectators can line the 64-mile route all the way from the capital to Brighton to watch 500 classic cars show off their prowess and vintage style. Entrance rules stipulate cars must be built before 1905 and will be either of the three or four-wheel variety. Expect many drivers and passengers to be suitably dressed in costume and vintage clothing for the spectacle. Free to spectate or visit the motorshow. Visit the Veteran Car Run website or Regent Street Motorshow website for more information.
- Now until 2 November : Day Of The Dead Festival
Embassy of Mexico has teamed up with tequila brand Jose Cuervo and Arte Mexico to bring the 3000 year old Mexican celebration, Dia de los Muertos to London’s Southbank. Featuring Day Of The Dead art displays, Jose Cuervo masterclasses, children’s art and crafts workshops, and a screening of Under the Volcano. Free, but workshops require registering in advance.11am-6pm. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH. Nearest tube/train: Waterloo or Blackfriars. For more information and registration, visit the Oxo Tower website.
- 1 – 15 November : Crystal Palace International Film Festival
Screenings, premieres and Q&As during this two week long festival in South East London at various venues including Stanley Halls, St John’s Church and the Sparrowhawk. Nearest rail/overground: Crystal Palace. Check the CPIFF website for full listings and tickets.
- Now until 2 November : London International Animation Festival
Showcase of animation from around the world featuring gala premieres, retrospectives, filmmakers Q&As, workshops, audience voting and screenings. Tickets start from £10.50 (Barbican session tickets) to £95 for full pass. Venues include the Barbican, Rio Cinema (Dalston) and Horse Hospital (Bloomsbury). For more information and tickets, visit the LIAF website.
- 2 – 29 November : Richmond Literature Festival
A festivals of books and words at various locations across the borough, including Marble Hill House and Strawberry Hill House. Featuring talks and Q&As from authors, including Paddy Ashdown, Emma Bridgewater, Irving Finkel, Peter Snow, Sheila Hancock, Liam Fox, Jacqueline Wilson and Simon Barnes. For more information, visit the Richmond Literature Festival website.
It may be September, but that doesn’t mean the summer is over. While technically autumn, Septembers over the past few years have had lovely warm weather. Tourism dies down a bit from peak season and the school holidays are over meaning it isn’t so crowded, providing a much more pleasant way to enjoy some of the festivals and exhibitions on in town.
For a guide to open air cinemas in London, click here.
- 1 – 30 September : Totally Thames
Replacing the former 10 day long Thames Festival, Totally Thames is a new month-long celebration of our city’s main waterway. Among the many activities taking place are the Fire Garden by Caboose, Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival, St Katherines Docks Classic Boat Rally, Barge Driving Races (14 Sept), The Great River Race (27 Sept) and many more. For more information, visit the Totally Thames website.
- 3 – 26 September : More London Free Film Festival
There will be free screenings of films in The Scoop, near Potter’s Field Park. Films include Philomena, Life Of Pi, The Goonies, Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom and The Truman Show. Nearest tube: London Bridge. For more information and listings, visit the More London website.
- 4 – 5 September : Experience Cinema @ Madame Tussauds
Watch classic films alongside the ‘stars’ of the movies themselves at after-hours screenings at Madame Tussauds. Films include Romeo & Juliet, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Top Gun and Pretty Woman. Tickets £22.50 (highly recommend to book in advance). For more information and booking, visit the Experience Cinema website.
- 4 – 14 September : Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival
Ten day festival featuring free screenings in the Peckham and Nunhead area at various locations, including The Montpelier, Bussey Building, Old Nun’s Head and the Peckham Liberal Club. Nearest stations: Peckham Rye, Queen’s Road Peckham and Nunhead. For more information and listings, visit the PNFFF website.
- 7 September : Angel Canal Festival
One day festival in the City Road Lock, Basin and Regents Canal towpath. Featuring a children’s fun fair, Punch & Judy, story-teller, boat trips, art projects and galleries, live music and street theatre. Free admission. 11am-5pm. For more information, visit the Angel Canal Festival website.
Alicante is a great destination for both a city break or longer, with a lot of museums, beaches, churches and is said to be home to Spain’s best nightlife. However, for one week every year in late June the city is taken over by the Hogueras De San Juan (Bonfires of Saint John) festival. In June this year, a group of friends and I decided we wanted a beachside city break somewhere in Europe. We plumped for Alicante and it just happened to take place during Hogueras – one of the biggest festivals in the Andalucian – and more specifically Alicante’s – calendar.
When it came to searching for accommodation, there are a lot of choices – hotels, hotels, pensions and self-catering apartments. I have become a recent convert of AirBnB, having used them in recent months in Venice Beach, California; and Paris. My friends and I were flying in late on a Friday night so didn’t want the hassle of setting an alarm clock for an early hotel breakfast, so decided to go self-catering. Airbnb gives you the chance to rent either rooms or an apartment/house direct from the owner. After much deliberating between staying by the beach or the city centre (which is very compact anyway), we opted for the latter. We chose a one bedroom loft apartment sleeping up to four a stone’s throw from the bullring, located just five minutes walk from the market and 10 from the beach. Before booking, we inquired if a midnight arrival time was too late and happily the owner was able to accommodate us. Before arrival, we were sent the owner’s personal guide to Alicante, with restaurant reviews, opening times of shops, museums, etc, which was very helpful and a nice personal touch. Just as the positive reviews had said, the apartment was modern, spacious, with lots of windows letting in plenty of fresh air, so we were really pleased. We had a balcony that managed to have the sun on it for most of the day so a perfect location for lazy brunches and views of Santa Barbara Castle – the ancient fort on top of the rocky hill overlooking Alicante.
Usually, the apartment would be quiet because it is in a residential area, however during the Fogueras festival the whole city of Alicante is taken over by the festivities. Huge bonfire structures featuring ‘Ninots’ are erected all over the streets, usually a critique of political, societal or cultural issues in Spain or Alicante. Referring to Spain’s current economic problems, I saw one Ninot depicting a 50 euro note with wings. Neighbourhood groups also raise money to create pop-up party venues including restaurants, bars and discos. Throughout the night, these venues will play blaring loud music – hence it may be difficult to sleep if you’re staying in central Alicante, so it’s probably best to forgo sleep and join the fun! Although many of these venues are only open to the neighbourhood residents who have funded it, some are open to the public so you can join in the fun. There are also a host of bars and clubs – many concentrated in the city’s El Barrio (old quarter), which are open to sunrise. Towards the end of the festival, bonfires are lit all over town, while fireworks are set off on a daily basis – both day and night, adding to the noise. It’s worth checking out the daytime firework display ‘mascletàs’, for which ear-plugs are thoroughly recommended! During the festival, there are also nightly parades. Chairs were placed all over town so you could sit and watch bands, dancers and children parade through the town in their traditional dress. The streets were heaving with people of all ages, drinking, dancing and generally enjoying themselves. The atmosphere was amazing.
My friends and I were only in Alicante for a whirlwind two days which went by very quickly. Most of our trip was spent enjoying the sights and sounds of the festival, with a little sightseeing and relaxing in between so I can’t offer much in reviews of the museums and other sights. The city beach Playa Postiguet is popular both day and night, with the Hogueras action moving to the sands in the evening with bonfires dotted around. During the day, we rented sunloungers and an umbrella and enjoyed sipping 5 euro giant glasses of fresh Sangria sold by the vendors while sunning ourselves. If you don’t mind travelling a bit further afield, the Playa San Juan beach is a short drive away and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. Read the rest of this entry