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.
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.
Returning to East London to brighten up gloomy February is the eclectic London Remixed Festival. Over two days, 25 musical acts and DJs will be taking over four stages at Richmix in Shoreditch. Promising all of the fun and sounds of a festival without the mud and cold, the London Remixed Festival will feature Latin Grooves, Afro beats, Tropical Bass, Vintage-Remix, Desert Remix, Balkan Beats, Urban Roots, Acoustic Soundclash and Brass Band Remix.
Among the fabulous names performing are Sam And The Womp with their soundsystem show of Balkan-influenced heavy dance beats. London Remixed Festival’s very own new UK Garage Orchestra will be performing UK garage classics with the Blue Lion Band and special guests MCs. Meanwhile, The True Stays will be playing vintage rock ‘n’ roll in the Folk Ghetto.
On Friday night, the Brass Off stage curated by Continental Drifts features Deadbeat Brass vs Das Brass. On Saturday, revellers will be spoiled for choice with severals stages to choose from, including Tropicarnival curated by Wormfood + Movimientos; Polka Club curated by Continental Drifts + MARSM; and the Folk Ghetto curated by Fire in the Mountain + Woodburner. There will also be the popular Silent Disco, with music from PantherPanther, DJ Hiphoppapotamus, Ecklectic Mick and Madame Electrifie.
- The London Remixed Festival takes place from 1-2 February 2019. Open: Fri 8pm-1am, Sat 8pm-4am. Tickets: £11.19–£21.79. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street. For tickets, visit the London Remixed Festival website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in Febuary, click here.
Autumn is coming. It feels like we’ve been treated to an extra long summer this year thanks to the blazing hot temperatures. However, with London not really cut out for the practicalities of an uber hot heatwave, the cooler evenings and not-so-busy capital is sure to be welcomed by many Londoners. Despite being autumn, there’s plenty of alfresco festivals throughout September, with foodies and booze fans well accommodated. Here’s Metro Girl’s round-up of the best events on in the capital this September.
- 31 August – 2 September : Meatopia
Weekend of meat, drink, music and fire. Featuring chefs from Smoke & Salt, Smoking Goat, Ox Club, Smokestak, The Lido, Foxlow, Patty & Bun, Hawksmoor and more. Music from The Cuban Brothers, John Fairhurst, DJ Pierre, New York Brass Band, Tom Findlay (Groove Armada) and more. Open Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-9pm, Sun 12pm-7pm. Tickets: £23.85-£93.28 (depending on package). Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station: Wapping or Shadwell. For information and booking, visit the Meatopia website.
- 1 September : Camberwell Fair
A long tradition of the Camberwell Fair continues, stemming back to the 13th century. Featuring market, games, two live music stages, food, drink and community events. 12pm-9pm. Free entry. Camberwell Green, Camberwell, SE5 7AF. Nearest station: Denmark Hill or Oval. For more information, visit the Camberwell Fair 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 (7-9 Sept), The Great River Race (8 Sept), Billingsgate Roman Bath House open days, walks, mudlarking, art installations, 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 – 31 September : Lambeth Heritage Festival
A month-long festival celebrating the heritage and people of Lambeth – stretching from the South Bank all the way to Streatham and Norwood. Featuring a local history fair, talks, guided walks, film, music, theatre, exhibitions, and workshops. At venues across the borough including West Norwood Cemetary, Lambeth Palace, the Cinema Museum, National Theatre, Brixton Library and Brixton Windmill. For more information, visit the Lambeth.gov.uk website.
- 2 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 2 September : Spin Festival
Cycling festival featuring over 100 road, urban and lifestyle exhibitors. Expect plenty of stalls, workshops, talks and more. Tickets: Adults £13, Weekend pass £21. Printworks, Surrey Quays Road, Rotherhithe, SE16 7PJ. Nearest station: Canada Water. For more information, visit the Spin website.
- Now until 2 September : Painted Hall Ceiling Tours
The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College is undergoing a huge restoration. For a limited time only, visitors will be able to ascend 60ft to see the painted ceiling up close. Times vary. Tickets: Adults £10, Children £5. Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest station: Greenwich, Maze Hill or Cutty Sark (DLR). To book, visit the Old Royal Naval College website. Read Metro Girl’s review of the tour here.
- Now until 2 September : Summer By The River – Outdoor Theatre
Watch a live outdoor performance of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz 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.
- 5 September : The Rum Off @ Bobby Fitzpatrick
Help find the world’s best rum in the first heat of the Rum Off 2018. Four leading rum brands – Havana Club, The Real McCoy, Gosling’s and Skipper – will compete through a series of cocktail making heats, with you getting to vote for your favourite. 7pm-10pm. Tickets: £8. Bobby Fitzpatrick, 273 West End Lane, Hampstead, NW6 1QS. Nearest station: West Hampstead. For tickets, visit Eventbrite. Read the rest of this entry
Can you believe it’s summer already? With the long warm nights, festival season is in full swing with tons of alfresco events. There’s cultural celebrations, film festivals, free outdoor theatre and open gardens, among many others activities so there’s plenty to do whatever our interests. Here’s Metro Girl’s pick of the best things on in London this June.
For a guide to open air cinemas in London, click here.
For a guide to open air screenings of Wimbledon and other sport this summer, click here.
- 1 – 30 June : London Festival Of Architecture
A month long celebration of architecture, with this year’s theme being ‘work in progress’. Featuring talks, installations, tours, exhibitions, open studios, film screenings, debates and conferences. At various venue around town. For more information, visit the London Festival of Architecture website.
- 2 – 16 June : Spitalfields Summer Music Festival
Two week festival incorporating classical music, contemporary music, family activities and bespoke tours. Some events are free, while others will cost. For more information, venues and tickets, visit the Spitalfields Music website.
- 3 – 7 June : Soho Create
A five day festival celebration the best of Soho’s creative scene, including discussions, speeches, talks, chats, drinks, performance and parties. Speakers include Kelly Hoppen MBE, Angela Hartnett, David Lan, Stephen Mangan, Alan Yentob, Gareth Pugh, Jessica Hynes, Jo Malone, Mike Figgis, Ms Dynamite, Maureen Lipman CBE and many more. Various locations in Soho. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit Soho Create.
- 3 – 5, 10 – 30 June : More London Free Festival
Free fringe festival of music and theatre at The Scoop, near Potter’s Field Park by the Thames. Featuring include Camillo Menjura, The Magic Lantern, Rex Domino, The Pantaloons perform Pride & Prejudice, Arthur Lea, Bellatrix, We Used to Make Things, Music Fridays presented by Sunday Best, Stick In The Wheel and much more. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest tube: London Bridge. For more information and listings, visit the More London website.
- 5 – 7 June : Nine Elms Horticultural Spa & Apothecary Experience by Loop.pH
As part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival, relax in a temporary structure that is part greenhouse and part pneumatic bubble. Visitors are invited to ephemeral and futuristic tea ceremony, where your drink is ‘served through clouds of fragrant medicinal fog consumed through breathing and absorbed into the skin’. There will also be workshops. Free. 12-8pm. Riverside Gardens, Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall, SW8 2DU. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Nine Elms London website.
- 5 – 7 June : 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, Pimm’s Bus, luxury shopping village and Club Med Kids. Tickets: £30-£45 (adults), £10-15 (children). Hurlingham Park, Fulham, SW6 3RH. Nearest tube: 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
- 5 – 7 June : Stoke Newington Literary Festival
A festival featuring readings, workshops and performances at venues across the suburb, including the Town Hall, Library and Abney Park Cemetery. Tickets range from free to £12. Will Self, Michael Rosen, Tracey Thorn, Tom Huddleston and Zoe Williams among the names taking part. For more information and tickets, visit the Stoke Newington Literary Festival website.
- 5 – 7 June : Carters Steam Fair @ Peckham Rye
The vintage travelling funfair sets up camp in Peckham Rye, featuring rides from the late 19th century to the 1960s. Open Fri 4-10pm; Sat 12-10pm and Sun 12-8pm. Free admission. Peckham Rye, SE15 3UA. Nearest station: Peckham Rye, Nunhead or East Dulwich. For more information, visit the Carters Steam Fair website.
- 5 June – 17 July : Sunset Safari
Late night opening at London Zoo is a bit different this year. Instead of previous years’ London Zoo Lates, this summer’s 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 start from £14.56/£20.80. 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.
- 6 June : Turkish Day
A celebration of Turkish culture, including food, guest speakers and entertainment in Trafalgar Square. Free. 12-8pm. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- Now until 6 June : Brockley Street Art Festival
One week long celebration of street art, featuring local, national and international talent. Featuring activities for adults and children alike, including colouring competition, mural painting, live DJs and talks. Various venues around Brockley. For more information, visit the Brockley Street Art Festival website.
- 6 June – 31 August : Festival Of Love
The Festival Of Love returns to the Southbank Centre for the second year in a row, featuring love-themed music, exhibitions, performances, activities and other events. Highlights include the Big Wedding Weekend and exhibtion of neon artist Chris Bracey’s work in ‘Love And Liquid’. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 7 June : Indonesia Day
Family event in Trafalgar Square showcasing the culture and traditions of Indonesia, featuring food, performances and cultural activities. Free. 12-6pm. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- 8 June : Albanian Festival
A celebration of Albanian culture, including folk dancing, singing, poetry and an iPhone photography competition. Free. 4-9pm. More London, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest tube: London Bridge. For more information, visit the More London website.
- 8 June : Trader Vic’s Tiki Cinema
Trader Vic’s in the London Hilton are hosting monthly screenings in their Tiki-themed bar and restaurant. This month’s screening is Dr No. Film starts at 7.30pm, food is served from 6pm. Tickets: £13 (including screening and a cocktail). Trader’s Vic, 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1BE. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Trader’s Vic website
- 9 – 24 June : Theatre In The Square (Hammersmith Summer Festival)
BID teamed up with the Lyric Hammersmith to provide alfresco theatre performances. Productions include Boy Meets Girl, Monotone Man and Citizen Squid. Free. 12-3pm every Tuesday and Wednesday. Lyric Square, Hammersmith, W6 0ED. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For more information, visit the Hammersmith London website.
Spring is in full swing, the nights are getting longer and the days are getting warmer. With two bank holidays, May is jam-packed with festivals and special events, with many outside so we can enjoy the spring weather. Here’s a guide to what is on in London this month.
For a guide to London’s open air cinemas this summer, click here.
- 1 – 17 May : Wandsworth Arts Festival & Fringe
Two week festival in the borough of Wandsworth featuring theatre, dance, art, music, comedy, poetry, workshops, talks, markets and more. Highlights include Noel Coward’s Private Lives, Alice In Wonderland, South African Voices and Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. For more information, visit the Wandsworth Art Festival website.
- 1 – 31 May : Herne Hill Free Film Festival
Four week festival featuring free screenings in the Herne Hill area at various locations, including Railway Tavern, Herne Hill Velodrome, Brockwell Lido, Prince Regent Pub and Rosendale School. Films include The Ladykillers, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Nearest train station: Herne Hill. For more information and screenings, visit the Herne Hill Free Festival website.
- 1 – 31 May : Notting Hill MayFest
A month-long festival in and around Notting Hill, featuring concerts, lectures, exhibitions, film screenings, children’s events and a May Fair on 9 May. Various venues including St John’s Church, St Peter’s Church, 20th Century Theatre and the Gate Theatre. Ticket prices vary. For more information and tickets, visit the MayFest website.
- 2 – 4 May : Canalway Cavalcade
A unique waterways and community festival at Little Venice. Features stalls, bands, kids’ activities, Morris dancers, a Real Ale bar, food and pageant of boats. Free. 10am-6pm. Nearest tube: Warwick Avenue. For more information, visit the Inland Waterways Association.
- 2 – 4 May : Morden Hall Country Show
Country show in the grounds of Morden Hall, featuring jive pony equestrian acrobatics, terrier racing, Goat Show, birds of prey, Devilstick Peat children’s entertainment, historical re-enactment, ferret racing, arts, crafts, gifts and food marquees. Entrance: £7.50, concessions £6, Children age 5-16 £3, Under 5 free, family: £19 (2 adults and 2 children). £2 per car for the car park. Morden Hall Road, Morden, Surrey, SM4 5JD. Nearest station: Morden or Phipps Bridge (tram). For more information, visit the Oakleigh Fairs website.
- 2 – 10 May : Grand Designs Live
Based on the Channel 4 TV series, the show features ideas and inspiration for your own grand design, including workshops, consultations and lectures. Tickets: Weekday £12, Weekend £15. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest tube: Custom House (DLR). For more information and tickets, visit the Grand Designs Live website.
- 3 May : Streetfest
One day celebration of street culture, featuring performance art, live urban music, film, dance, sport and fashion. Acts include Kutmah, James Massiah, MC Loyle Carner, Hannah Faith, Shamz Le Roc, So Fresh So Clean and Doctor’s Order Showcase. 1-11pm. Tickets start from £20. Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest tube: Wapping. For more information and tickets, visit the Streetfest website.
- Now until 3 May : New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival
A free film festival run and staffed by volunteers offering free screenings in venues around New Cross and Deptford. Classics will be screened alongside independent films by new and local talent. Films on show include Friday Night Fever, Paddington, Love & Basketball, Arthur Sleep and singalong Frozen. For more information, visit the Free Film Festival website. For Metro Girl’s interview with one of the film-makers and trailer of one of the film’s being shown, click here.
- Now until 3 May : London Coffee Festival
A celebration of coffee for the capital’s caffeine lovers at the Old Truman Brewery, featuring food, music and – of course – coffee. Visitors will even have the chance to make perfect coffee at home from some top baristas. Tickets start from £11.50 (advance), £14.50 (on the door). The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the London Coffee Festival website.
- Now until 4 May : Pick Me Up
Graphic arts festival at Somerset House’s Embankment Galleries, showcasing and selling original graphic art, design and illustration. Daily 10am-6pm, late nights on Wed and Thurs until 10pm. Tickets: £10, concessions £8. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple. For more information, visit the Pick Me Up website.
- 5 May – 8 October : Victorian London In Photographs
Exhibition of archive shots of Victorian London on show at the London Metropolitan Archives. Free entry. Opening times: Mon and Sat 9.30am-4.45pm, Tues-Thurs 9.30am-7.30pm, Closed Fridays and Sundays. London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HB. Nearest station: Farringdon. For more information, visit the City Of London website.
- 6 – 10 May : London Craft Week
An inaugural event celebrating craftsmanship, featuring workshops, exhibitions, open studios, galleries and shops. Various venues across the capital. For more information, visit the London Craft Week website.
This weekend sees the return of the Elephant & Nun, a quirky arts festival in Southwark involving local artists and the community. A host of different areas will be taking over Burgess Park in Camberwell, south London, including the Global Local Stage, The Village Hall Experience, The Aylesbury Live, Plug In To Perform, Kinetika Bloco parade, Rumble in the Jumble, Irvin’s Funfair and Burgess BMX.
However, one such area is a festival within a festival – Africa Live have moved to the Elephant & Nun to create one big super festival following their run in East Dulwich last year.
The one day, free event celebrates the best of African culture, including music, performances, fashion, crafts, therapies and cuisine. Africa Live will be located by the world music stage, the National Theatre’s pop-up performances and the cabaret tent.
- The Africa Live Festival takes place on Saturday 16th August from 12-8pm. The Elephant & The Nun, Burgess Park, Southwark, SE5. Nearest tube/train: Elephant & Castle or Peckham Rye. For more information, visit the Africa Live website
This summer sees some of the biggest music acts and DJs in the world converging on London – and the Home Counties – for the festival season. Here’s a one-stop guide to what’s on and where to get tickets. However, be aware that many will sell out in advance so I would recommend getting your tickets asap.
- 11 – 25 June : Hampton Court Palace Festival
Big names perform against the backdrop of the historic palace. Acts include Dionne Warwick, Jools Holland, The Beach Boys, Van Morrison, Jamie Cullum, George Benson, Rick Astley and Jason Donovan. Tickets range from £45 to £70 depending on act. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest train station: Hampton Court (trains from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the Hampton Court Palace Festival website.
- 13 – 22 June : Meltdown
This year’s Meltdown festival on London’s Southbank is curated by Musical and artistic innovator James Lavelle. Featuring gigs by UNKLE, Chrissie Hynde, DJ Shadow, Grandmaster Flash, Mark Lanegan, Joshua Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age), Edwyn Collins, Radkey, Neneh Cherry and Goldie. Tickets range from free to £40. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For booking and more information, visit the Meltdown website.
- 14 June : Found Festival
Daytime dance party in Haggerston Park is organised by forward-thinking London club night Found. Featuring house and techno acts including Damian Lazarus, DJ Sneak, Ben Pierce, Noir, Lil’ Louis, Moody Man, Lombardo, Geddes, Krankbrother and more. 11am-9pm. Tickets start from £50. Haggerston Park, Audrey Street, off Goldsmith’s Row, Shoreditch, E2 8QH. Nearest station: Hoxton (Overground) or Cambridge Heath. For more information, visit the Found Festival website.
- 20 – 21 June : Camden Crawl
Dozens of venues across Camden come together for this annual festival, which allows revellers to buy a wristband and then crawl around the gigs. Acts include Of Montreal, ABC, The Field, Yuck, Atari Teenage Riot, Mouse On Mars, Steve Mason, Alexis Taylor, Au Revoir Simone, Dirty Beaches perform across 25 stages at venues such as Koko, Underworld, Electric Ballroom and Proud. Tickets: Friday pass £27.50, Saturday pass £30, 2 day pass: £49.50. Nearest stations: Camden Town, Camden Road, Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent. For more information and tickets, visit the Camden Crawl website.
- 21 June : CoppaFeel! FestiFeel 2014
Festival curated by Fearne Cotton aims to raise awareness for the charity CoppaFeel, which encourages women to check their breasts for signs of cancer. Performances from Rizzle Kicks, Lianne La Havas, Zane Lowe, Swim Deep, Norman Jay and more. 1pm onwards. Tickets: £23. London Fields Brewery, 365-366 Warburton Street, E8 3RR. Nearest train station: London Fields. For more information, visit the Festifeel website.
- 28 – 29 June : Calling Festival
Although the Hard Rock is dropped, the Calling Festival lives on. Stevie Wonder, Aerosmith, Joe Bonamassa, Thunder, Paloma Faith, Jack Johnson, Richie Sambora. Tickets £69.50 per day. Clapham Common, SW4. Nearest tube: Clapham Common. For more information and tickets, visit the Calling Festival website.
- 4 – 6 July : Wireless Festival
The Wireless Festival moves to Finsbury Park for 2014. Acts include Kanye West, Bruno Mars, Outkast, Pharrell Williams, Drake, Rudimental, Tinie Tempah, Basement Jaxx, Iggy Azalea, Wiz Khalifa, Ellie Goulding, Robin Thicke, Sean Paul, Salt ‘N’ Pepa and much more. Tickets start from £75 (not including fees). Finsbury Park, N4. Nearest tube: Finsbury Park. For more information, visit the Wireless Festival.
- 5 July : High Definition Festival
Dance festival outside London in East Sussex. Line-up includes Carl Cox, The Martinez Brothers, Gorgon City, Ms Dynamite. Tickets start from £39.50. Eridge Park, Tunbridge Wells, East Sussex TN3 9JT. Nearest train station: Eridge Park (trains from London Bridge) and then a taxi. For more information and tickets, visit the High Definition website.
- 10 – 20 July : Summer Series @ Somerset House
The open-air concerts in the courtyard of Somerset House returns again in July. Acts include Agnes Obel, The Cat Empire, Kelis, Daughter, Kodaline, Bastille, Franz Ferdinand, Chvrches, Sam Smith, Clean Bandit and Little Dragon. Tickets: £28.50 (not including booking fees). Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple or Holborn. For more information, visit the Somerset House website.
- 12 – 13 July : Electric Daisy Carnival
The popular American dance music festival comes to the UK for a weekend at Milton Keynes Bowl. Includes some of the world’s biggest DJs, including Avicii, Calvin Harris, Fatboy Slim, Nicky Romero, Hardwell, Steve Aoki, Gordon City, Route 94, Steve Angello, Timo Maas, Paul Oakenfold and Paul Van Dyk. Tickets: Saturday £65, Sunday £60, Weekend £120. Milton Keynes Bowl, Watling Street, Milton Keynes, MK5 8AA. Nearest train station: Milton Keynes (Trains from Euston, 30 minute walk). For more information, visit the Electric Daisy Carnival website. Read the rest of this entry
Spring flew by and now we’re in June, the summer is finally here (let’s hope it sticks around and provides some decent weather!). Aside from Wimbledon and World Cup, there’s also plenty going on in London around town. Festival season is kicking off with a mix of free and paid-for events in the capital.
For a guide to open-air cinemas in London, click here.
For a guide of where to watch the World Cup and Wimbledon on the big screen this summer, click here.
For a guide to music festivals in and around London this summer, click here.
- 2 – 8 June : London Wine Week
Bars, restaurants and other surprising venues are celebrating London Wine Week with a variety of offers and events around the capital. To get the most out of it, buy a £10 wristband so you can enjoy wine at some of the capital’s best restaurants for as little as £5. For more information, visit the London Wine Week website.
- 4 – 7, 11-13, 18-20 June : More London Free Festival
Free fringe festival in The Scoop, near Potter’s Field Park by the Thames. Starting with an opening street party with live Latin and Caribbean music and dance. Shows include The Pantaloons – History Of Britain and Merry Opera Company – Kiss Me, Figaro. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest tube: London Bridge. For more information and listings, visit the More London website.
- 6 – 8 June : Stoke Newington Literary Festival
A festival featuring readings, workshops and performances at venues across the suburb, including the Town Hall, Library and Abney Park Cemetery. Tickets range from free to £10. Ray Davies, Mark Kermode, Lynn Barber and Jukebox Fury among the names taking part. For more information and tickets, visit the Stoke Newington Literary Festival website.
- 6 – 8 June : Sidelines: Football Film Festival
A weekend of thought-provoking films based around sport and human rights hosted by Amnesty International. Includes the UK première of Eric Cantona’s new documentary Looking for Rio. Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare St, Hackney, E8 1HE. Nearest train/overground: Hackney Central. For more information visit the Amnesty International website.
- 6 – 8 June : London Swing Festival
Fifth annual London Swing Festival. Once again we bringing together people from all over the world, a team of inspiring teachers and fabulous bands to some of London’s finest ballrooms for an annual celebration of Swing dance and Swing music in London. For more information, vist the London Swing Festival website.
- 6 – 8 June : London Foodies Festival @ Clapham Common
Enjoy fine food and drink, teach your kids to cook in the Children’s Cookery Theatre, listen to live music, tea dances, vintage kitchen market and watch chefs in action such as Natalie Coleman, Shelina Permalloo. Steven Edwards, Andrew Kojima, Mat Follas and Steve Groves. Tickets start from £12. 11am-8pm. Clapham Common, SW4. Nearest train station: Clapham Common or Clapham Junction. For more information and tickets, visit the Foodies Festival website.
- 6 – 8 June : Junipalooza Gin Festival
An event dedicated to gin, featuring fun, immersive installations that combine botanicals, industrial warehousing, music and gin. There will be a variety of bars serving over 40 gins. For more information, visit the Gin Foundry website. Tickets start from £20. Factory 7, 13 Hearn Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3LS. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit the Gin Foundry website.
Spring is in full swing and festival season is really kicking off. As the sun returns to our skies, the parks and open spaces of London are hosting open-air festivals, fairs and performances. With Easter falling in April this year, there is a host of activities to keep families entertained during the holidays. (N.B. Please check back as I will update this post throughout the month with new events).
For a special Easter guide for family activities over the school holidays, click here. Or for an adults-only Easter Egg hunt, read Baileys Feaster Egg Hunt: Time for adults to have some Easter fun!
- 3 – 6 April : London Coffee Festival
A celebration of coffee for the capital’s caffeine lovers at the Old Truman Brewery, featuring food, music and – of course – coffee. Visitors will even have the chance to make perfect coffee at home from some top baristas. The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL. Nearest tube: Shoreditch High Street (overland) or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the London Coffee Festival website.
- 5 April : World Pillow Fight Day
Celebrate World Pillow Fight Day by taking a (soft!) pillow you don’t mind being destroyed to Trafalgar Square. From 3pm until 5pm and free. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information and the rules, visit World Pillow Fight Day website.
- 5 April onwards : ArcelorMittal Orbit re-opens
The Orbit structure in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park re-opens to the public permanently. Visitors will be able to access two viewing platforms at the top of the Orbit, giving 360 degree views of the Park and London. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog on the Orbit.
- 5 – 21 April : Charlie’s Chocolate Adventure @ Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is hosting Charlie And The Chocolate Factory-inspired events for their Easter Festival, including create your own chocolate bar, sing along in the inventing room, go nuts in the nut room and not forgetting the Easter egg hunt on 20 April. Must buy general entrance tickets: Adults £14.50, Children 16 and under (accompanied by an adult) Free. Activities vary in cost from free to £5. Brentford Gate, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest tube: Kew Gardens. For more information and tickets, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- 6 April : Oxbridge Boat Race
This year it’s the 159th boat race between the Cambridge and Oxford University crews. Thousands will line the banks between Putney Bridge and Mortlake to watch the action. Starts at 5.55pm. Free. Nearest tube/rail stations: Putney Bridge, Hammersmith, Ravenscourt Park, Stamford Brook, East Putney, Barnes Bridge or Chiswick. For more information, visit the Boat Race website.
- Now until 6 April : Sensing Spaces : Architecture Re-Imagined
Exhibition at the Royal Academy featuring creations from architects across the world imploring you to gain a new perspective on architecture. Tickets: £14-£15.50. Opening times: Saturday-Thursday 10am-6pm, Fridays 10am-10pm. Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Green Park. For more information, visit the Royal Academy website.
- Now until 6 April : Chorus Festival
Festival celebrating singing as a group, featuring concerts, warm-ups and workshops. Tickets range from free to £15. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 7 April – 14 June : Both Sides Now @ National Theatre
Photographic exhibition of 1960s singer-songwriters living in Laurel Canyon and the new wave bands in downtown 1970s New York. Entrance: Free. Open Monday – Saturday 9.30am-11pm, Sundays 12-6pm. Lyttelton Exhibition Space, National Theatre, Upper Ground, Southbank, SE1 9PX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the National Theatre website.
- 8 – 10 April : Let’s All Be Free Film Festival
A festival of films from around the world demonstrating what it’s like to be really free. Screenings include Mamis, Good Wife and Not Anymore. Brixton Ritzy, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, SW2 1JG. Nearest tube: Brixton. For more information, visit the LABFFF website.
Our British summer is shorter than we would like to be, but we can always guarantee the biggest music acts and DJs in the world will be drawn towards London for a series of open-air gigs and festivals. Here’s a one-stop guide to what’s on and where to get tickets. However, be aware that many will sell out in advance so I would recommend getting your tickets asap.
- 29 – 30 June : Hard Rock Calling
Bruce Springsteen, Alabama Shakes, Kasabian, Klaxons, Paul Wellers and The Black Crowes are among the acts rocking this year’s Hard Rock Calling, which has moved to Queen Elizabeth Park. Tickets start from £51.75. Queen Elizabeth Park, Stratford, E20 2ST. Nearest tube: Stratford. For more information, visit the Hard Rock Calling website.
- 5 – 14 July: British Summer Time @ Hyde Park
A festival of music, comedy and theatre at Hyde Park. Includes concerts from Bon Jovi, Bush, Eliza Doolittle, Sir Elton John, Jake Bugg, Jennifer Lopez, JLS, Kaiser Chiefs, Lionel Richie, Paul Young, Stooshe, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, The Saturdays and The Vaccines, among others. Tickets for main stage concerts range from £35 to £95. Hyde Park, W2 2UH. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information and tickets, visit the British Summer Time website.
- 6 July : Carnaby Sound
One day free music festival in Soho’s Carnaby Street. Featuring live music from artists and bands in a wide range on genres. Also includes food stalls, store promotions and activities, complimentary drinks. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby Street website.
- 9 – 14 July : Kew the Music
Six day festival features big names including Paul Weller, Blondie, Leona Lewis and Jools Holland performing at outdoor picnic concerts against the backdrop of the Victorian Temperate House at Kew Gardens. Tickets start from £35.50. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Tube: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- 11 – 21 July : Summer Series at Somerset House
The open-air concerts in the courtyard of Somerset House returns again in July. Acts include Lianne La Havas, Tom Odell, Jessie Ware, Goldfrapp and Bassment Jaxx. Tickets: £27.50 (not including booking fees). Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple or Holborn. For more information, visit the Somerset House website.
- 12 – 14 July : Wireless Festival
Wireless has moved from its previous site in Hyde Park to Queen Elizabeth Park. Acts over the three days include Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Emeli Sande, Rita Ora and Calvin Harris. Although some tickets are sold out, there are some still available. Tickets start from £75 (not including fees). Queen Elizabeth Park, Stratford, E20 2ST. Nearest tube: Stratford. For more information, visit the Yahoo! Wireless Festival website.