This gallery contains 7 photos.
The historic royal palace and prison’s moat has been filled with 29 flower species to mark the Platinum Jubilee.
The summer is flying by as the final month of the season arrives. Expect to see a lot less Londoners in town and a lot more out-of-towners and visitors from abroad as the city becomes continues to be a tourist magnet. There’s also a Bank Holiday at the end of the month (29 August), so expect plenty of events on over the long weekend. This year sees the long-awaited return of the Notting Hill Carnival, following two years on hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
School holidays continue for the remainder of the month so there is plenty of events and activities for children taking place around the capital.
Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.
The Camden Fringe returns for its 16th year, bringing over 200 productions of theatre, comedy and fringe fun to venues across the borough of Camden, including Camden People’s Theatre, Camden Comedy Club, Canal Café Theatre, Etcetera Theatre, The Phoenix Arts Club, The Little Angel Theatre, The Water Rats and the Hen And Chickens, among others. For more information and tickets, visit the Camden Fringe website.
A summer celebration of community and culture in the courtyard of Somerset House, featuring performances, dance, music, talks, workshops, observation wheel and open-air vogue balls. Open 12pm-10.30pm. Free entry. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information, visit the Somerset House website. 🐻
Britain’s flagship beer festival returns with over 1,000 of British and international real ales, ciders, perries and beers with be available to try. Open Tues 2 5pm-10.30pm, Wed-Fri 12pm.-10.30pm, Sat 12pm-7pm. Tickets: £20 (inc festival glass, brochure and 2 half pint tokens). Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Great British Beer Festival website.
An afternoon and evening of food and fun comes to Wimbledon, featuring international food, cocktail mixing demos, beer and cheese pairings, DJs, and games (table football, Connect 4, Giant Jenga, board games and more). From 12pm-9pm. Free entry. The Piazza, Wimbledon, SW19 1QB. Nearest station: Wimbledon. For more information, visit the Love Wimbledon website. 🐻
A festival celebrating self-love and happiness. Featuring creative workshops, meditation, mindfulness, talks, yoga classes, and more. Open 9am-6pm. Tickets: Adults £35.75, Children 5-16 yrs £16.50, 4yr and under free. Chiswick House & Gardens, Burlington Lane, Chiswick, W4 2RP. Nearest station: Chiswick. For tickets and more information, visit the Happy Place website. 🐻
Two week festival comes to the vibrant Soho district, including free workshops (e.g. candle-making and pottery painting, life drawing), interactive masterclasses with Carnaby locals, giveaways, live music, shopping offers, restaurant discounts and more. Times vary. Events take place in Carnaby Street and neighbouring streets, Soho, W1. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website. 🐻
Roll across the Paddington Basin in a giant Zorb. Times TBC. Free. Merchant Square, Paddington, W2. Nearest stations: Paddington and Edgware Road. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website. 🐻
Free music festival returns to King’s Cross, with this year’s theme being ‘Connected Communities’. Performances daily at 6.30pm-8.30pm and Sundays 1pm-6pm. Free. Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the festival. 🐻
The London summer series of the popular cocktail festival continues over three weekends monthly between July and September. London’s top bars host their own pop-ups, alongside live music, street food, silent disco, tastings and demonstrations. All cocktails are £8.50. Open 12pm-4pm and 5pm-10pm. Tickets: £20 (daytime or evening slots). Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, WC1B. Nearest stations: Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road. For tickets, visit the Cocktails In The City website.
Popular beer festival returns to London, featuring over 100 world-class breweries. There will also be street food stalls and live music. Open daily 11.30am-11pm. Tickets (early or evening sessions) from £57.50. Tobacco Quay, Wapping Lane, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest stations: Shadwell or Wapping. For more information and booking, visit the London Craft Beer Festival website.
Foodies with a sweet tooth should head to north London for a celebration of desserts. Featuring dessert brands, innovations and trends, dessert-themed attractions, games, characters and more. Open Fri 5.30pm-9.30pm, Sat 10am-7.40pm, Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults from £30, Under 14s free with an adult. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the London Dessert Festival website. 🐻
A weekend of water fun, including watching the Pros battling it out for the London SUP Open, SUP Yoga lessons, youth clinics, introductory paddle sessions, live sport, music, entertainment, and more. Times vary. Free. Middle Dock and Wood Wharf, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website. 🐻
An immersive experience bringing you into the world of 1980s Hawkins, Indiana. Featuring a 1 hour experience, ’80s themed mixtape medley with food and drink, photo opportunities, merchandise and more. No under 5 yrs. Open Wed-Fri 5pm-9pm, Sat-Sun 11am-9pm. Tickets from £39. Troubadour Brent Cross Studios, Tilling Road, Brent Cross, NW2 1LW. Nearest station: Brent Cross. For tickets, visit the experience website. 🐻
An eclectic exhibition of 1,500 pieces of art submitted by professionals to unknown artists. Open daily 10am-6pm. Tickets: £18. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest stations: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Royal Academy of Arts website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post on last year’s exhibition.
Celebration of free outdoor performing arts, including theatre, dance, and street arts. At various venues across Greenwich and Docklands. For more information, visit the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival website. Read the rest of this entry
This gallery contains 7 photos.
The historic royal palace and prison’s moat has been filled with 29 flower species to mark the Platinum Jubilee.
Summer is in full bloom with long warm nights and a gargantuan choice of events on in London. Schools are breaking up for the summer holidays towards the end of the month so expect plenty of local and out-of-town families diverging on the capital looking to be entertained. Fortunately, there’s a host of family-friendly events on around town.
This month sees the long-awaited return of some popular events after being scaled back or cancelled over the past two years due to Covid-19.
Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.
Three-day festival inspired by the Andalusian celebration of Spanish food and culture. Featuring Spanish dance and music performances and workshops, food traders, and drink vendors. Open Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 11am-3pm/3pm-6pm/6.30pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-4pm/4pm-9pm. Tickets: Adults £10, Under 16s free. Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2 5AE. Nearest stations: St Paul’s or Bank. For more information, visit the Feria de Londres website. 🐻
Show for people who suffer from allergies, intolerances, coeliac disease, hay fever or eczema. Featuring cooking classes, seminars, expert advice, skin consultations, live music and more. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: Free (register online). ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest stations: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the show’s official website.
Plant-based living for Vegans to Flexitarians. Featuring Vegan-friendly skincare, lifestyle products and food, seminars and both popular and new vegan brands. Tickets: Free (register online). ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest stations: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the show’s official website.
Pride is back with a bang as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Pride in the UK. Parade starts at Hyde Park Corner and ends at Trafalgar Square. Timings TBA. Free to spectate. For more information, visit the Pride in London website.
The festival takes place in and around Hampstead, including the Keats Grove Community Mural Festival, Family Garden Party, The Taming of the Shrew production, Art Fair and more. Many activities are free. For more information, visit the Hampstead Summer Festival website. 🐻
Celebrate Pride at Wembley with live performances, DJs, dance workshops (Zumba, pop and voguing), art classes, face painting, fitness sessions (yoga and Pilates) and drag queens. 11am-10pm. Free. Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website. 🐻
Enjoy one of the country’s most quirky races, with participants competing with their handmade vehicles. 12pm-6pm. Tickets: Over 25 yrs £29.99, Under 25 yrs £19.99. Alexandra Palace Park, N22 7AY. Nearest stations: Alexandra Palace or Wood Green. For more information, visit the Red Bull website. 🐻
The world’s largest garden show returns to the grounds of the historical Hampton Court. Attractions include show gardens, Market Theatre, live music, DJs, RHS Flower School, Festival of Roses, Floral Marquee, talks and demos. RHS members only Mon and Tues. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6.30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5.30pm. Tickets from £28.85 (cheaper for RHS members). Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court. For tickets, visit the RHS website. 🐻
An imaginative art and antiques fair for traditional and contemporary. Featuring a week of cultural, culinary and social experiences. Open Thu, Mon-Wed 11am-9pm, Fri-Sun 11am-7pm. Tickets from £45. The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, SW3 4SL. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Masterpiece London website.
One day festival in the City of London raising money for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Featuring beers, street food, and live music. From 12.30pm-9pm. Tickets: £13.50. Guildhall Yard, Gresham Street, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest stations: St Paul’s or Bank. For tickets, visit the City Beerfest website. Read the rest of this entry
With Christmas getting closer all the time and depressing warnings about ‘supply issues’ at the big chain stores, the thought of in-person shopping from independent traders is more appealing than ever. What better way to pick up some gifts for your loved ones, while getting an injection of festive spirit at one of London’s many Christmas markets and fairs.
Whether you live in north, south, east or west London, or just visiting the capital, there’s plenty of festive shopping opportunities around town. This season we’ll see the return of some popular, long-term markets, while many local communities, museums and charities are hosting one-off or weekend fairs.
Many of the markets and fairs have free entry, while some charge a small entry fee to raise money for charity. Be aware that some events are asking visitors to register for a free ticket online so they can control crowd numbers as the pandemic continues.
Here’s a guide to London’s best Christmas markets and fairs this 2021.
Some markets are opening throughout the run-up to Christmas, with some still going into the new year. Most of these markets will close earlier than usual on Christmas Eve and be closed all day on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Wooden chalets selling festive food, drink, gifts and treats alongside the river on the South Bank. Open daily 11am-11pm. Free. Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market in Bavarian-style huts. There will also be a Santa’s Grotto for kids and a Spiegeltent, which will host a production of La Clique. Open Mon-Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. Free entry to the market, but tickets required for Santa’s Grotto and the Spiegeltent. Leicester Square, WC2H. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Christmas In Leicester Square website.
Annual festive market featuring food, drink, craft and gift stalls across The Scoop More London, Hay’s Galleria and London Bridge City Pier. Open daily 11am-10pm. Free entry. Queen’s Walk and Hay’s Galleria, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.
Over 40 wooden cabins will be selling festive food, drink and gifts. Times TBC. Free entry. Market is located across two sites: The first in between Clarence Street and High Street, and the 2nd in front of All Saints Church, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1. Nearest station: Kingston. For more information, visit the Kingston Christmas Market website.
Winter Wonderland returns to Hyde Park and offers a German market selling gifts, as well as food and drink. You can bring the whole family and get into the festive spirit with a fun fair, circus, live shows and an ice rink. Open daily 10am-10pm. General entry: (must be pre-booked) Peak £5-£7.50, Off-peak free. Entrance fee waived if you spend over £20 on attractions, rides or games in advance. Hyde Park, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.
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 from over 750 independent boutiques. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Open Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm, Thur: 10am-9pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults start from £21 (from £25 on the door), Children 13-16 yrs from £14 (£18 on the door), 12 and under free. Olympia Grand, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website.
Buy gifts directly from crafters and makers, enjoy food and drink from street food stalls or take part in a make-your-own-botanical-necklace workshop. 11am-5pm. Free entry.
A festive evening to coincide with the Christmas lights switch-on with charity partner Mind Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster. Featuring retailer discounts, food and gift stalls, charity tombola, wreath-making, live music, Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, with a celebrity switching on the lights. 3pm-7pm. Free to attend. Marylebone Village (Marylebone High Street, Paddington Street and Devonshire Street), W1. Nearest stations: Bond Street, Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website.
Prepare for the festive season with a host of Christmas stalls and events, including expert talks, workshops, food hall, shopping emporium, meet-the-makers and champagne bar. Open Wed-Thur 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-3pm. Tickets: Adults from £20, Children 5-16yrs £9. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the County Living Fair website.
Christmas market featuring live music, Finnish treats and gifts, food and drink from the cafeteria. Opening hours vary. Free entry. Finnish Church, 33 Albion Street, Rotherhithe, SE16 7JG. Nearest station: Rotherhithe. For more information, visit the Finnish Church website. Read the rest of this entry
November is here, the nights are drawing in, it’s getting colder… but on the bright side, it’s all getting a bit Christmassy. After last year’s lockdown, this year Londoners will be wanting to make up for lost time and prepare for a fabulous festive season. As well as host of Christmas shopping events, expect to see light shows and trails; the Lord Mayor’s Show; Oktoberfest, Diwali celebrations, music festivals and the return of Winter Wonderland.
Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.
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 from over 600 independent boutiques and artisan makers. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Open Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm, Thur: 10am-9pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults start from £21 (from £25 on the door), Children 13-16 yrs from £14 (£18 on the door), 12 and under free. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website. 🐻
Arts and antiques event, featuring over 70 dealers showcasing over 20,000 pieces, ranging in price from £100 to £500,000. Open Tues-Wed & Fri-Sat 11am–6pm, Thur 11am–9pm, Sun 11am–5pm. Tickets: Tues-Fri – Adults £21, Children 13-16yrs £14. Weekends – Adults £23 (advance, more on the door), Children 13-16 yrs £16, 12 and under free. National Hall, Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Olympia Antiques website.
Canary Wharf celebrates the Hindu festival Diwali with a floating flower installation. Lights on from 5pm-11pm. Free. Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website. 🐻
Watch documentaries exploring environmental issues. The UK-wide festival will be hosting London screenings in Dalston. Times and prices vary. Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland Road, Dalston, E8 2PB. Nearest station: Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction. For more information, visit the festival website.
Head to Devonshire Square to celebrate the Indian festival of lights. Featuring a dance show with Indian folk and classical dancers; complimentary tastings of Indian confectionary, Diwali canapes and tamarind soda drink from Cinnamon Kitchen; and the visual art of Rangoli lit by candles. 5.30pm-8pm. Free to attend, but register for a place through Eventbrite. Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
Festive evening sees over 100 shops, boutiques and restaurants of the Carnaby district are offering 20% discounts, in-store events, free drinks and goodie bags. Carnaby Street’s festive light installation will also be switched on. 12pm-8pm. Register online for a free ticket. Carnaby London, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website. 🐻
Celebrate the German beer festival with plenty of Bavarian food, beer, and more. Open Thu-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm. Tickets: General admission £5-£15, Bavarian £21-£29 (inc 1 Mass of Bavarian FestBeer, Brezel snack and Bratwurst in bread). Dock X, Canada Water, 40 Surrey Quays Road, Docklands, SE16 7DX. Nearest station: Canada Water or Rotherhithe. For more information and tickets, visit the Oktoberfest London website.
Dozens of vintage cars from 125 years of motoring will be on display for the Regent Street Motorshow ahead of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run the following day. Featuring entertainment and interactive displays. The road will be closed to vehicle traffic. 10.30am-4pm. Free. Regent Street, W1B 5TD. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Regent Street Motor Show website. 🐻
Watch the beginning of 64 mile route from the capital to Brighton. Get up early to watch 500 classic cars setting off from Hyde Park Corner between 6.56am and 8.15am. Expect many drivers and passengers to be suitably dressed in costume and vintage clothing for the spectacle. Route starts at Serpentine Road in Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace, over Westminster Bridge and south via Kennington, Brixton and Streatham. Free to spectate. Hyde Park Corner, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Veteran Car Run website. 🐻
A festive evening to coincide with the Christmas lights switch-on with charity partner Mind Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster. Featuring retailer discounts, food and gift stalls, charity tombola, wreath-making, live music, Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, with a celebrity switching on the lights. 3pm-7pm. Free to attend. Marylebone Village (Marylebone High Street, Paddington Street and Devonshire Street), W1. Nearest stations: Bond Street, Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website. 🐻
Prepare for the festive season with a host of Christmas stalls and events, including expert talks, workshops, food hall, shopping emporium, meet-the-makers and champagne bar. Open Wed-Thur 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-3pm. Tickets: Adults from £20, Children 5-16yrs £9. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the County Living Fair website. 🐻
A new music and food festival pops up at the Selfridges Hotel. Featuring Michelin-starred chefs, immersive dining, creative cocktails and live music. Over 18s only. Open 11-20 Nov: Thu-Sat 6pm-12am, 25-27 Nov: 12pm-3pm and 6pm-12am, 1-18 Dec: Wed-Sat 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am. Tickets: £20-£60. Old Selfridges Hotel, 1 Orchard St, Marylebone, W1H 6HJ. Nearest stations: Bond Street or Marble Arch. For more information and booking, visit The Great Feast website.
Try your hand at curling as the winter sports pops up at King’s Cross for the festive season. Visitors can enjoy a 45 minute curling slot on one of the six synthetic ice rinks, before enjoying a cocktail at the bar. Open daily 11am-9pm. Tickets: Adults £5, Children under 12 free. Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information and booking, visit the King’s Cross website. Check out Metro Girl’s post for more details. 🐻
Europe’s official Star Trek convention comes to London, with the chance to see some of the series’ iconic faces, including George Takei, Kate Mulgrew, Jeri Ryan, Doug Jones, Robert Beltran, Marianna Hill, Mark Rolston, Alice Krige and more. Open Fri 2pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm. Tickets: One day £29 (Sat or Sun), Weekend £44 (Sat & Sun), three day £54. Premium ticket packages also available. ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information and tickets, visit the Destination Star Trek website. 🐻
Wellness festival returns to the East End for a weekend of mindfulness, fitness, relaxation and more. Opening times vary (morning and afternoon sessions). Tickets vary depending on day and session. Adults start from £26.50 (half-day), from £50 (full-day). The Old Truman Brewery, 15 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, E1 6QR. Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Balance Festival website.
International jazz stars gather at venues all over the capital, including Dave Holland and John Scofield; Nu Civilisation Orchestra; Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita; Gwenifer Raymound; Black Midi & Moor Mother; Robocobra Quartet & Archipelago; Archie Sheep and Jason Moran; and many more. Gigs range from free to ticketed. At various locations across London. For listings and bookings, visit the EFG London Jazz Festival website.
Follow an illuminated trail through the gardens and arboretum of Syon Park. Lighting will transform the trees, plants and lake. Hot food and drinks available for sale. Open Fri-Sun, entry slots every 20 minutes from 5pm-7.40pm. Tickets: Adults £10, Children £7.50. Syon Park, London Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the Enchanted Woodland website. 🐻
The spectacle is known as the oldest and largest civic procession in the world and marks the new Lord Mayor of London in a three-mile procession. The procession sets off from Mansion House at 11am, passes St Pauls before heading down Ludgate Hill to Fleet Street, then returns via the Victoria Embankment (approx 1.15pm-2.30pm) to Mansion House (arriving 2.30pm). Free to spectate. Nearest stations: Mansion House, Temple, Blackfriars, St Paul’s and Cannon Street. For more information visit the Lord Mayor’s Show website. 🐻
A host of world-class musicians gather in Wimbledon for a series of classical, opera and jazz concerts and recitals. Artists include Sir Willard White, Imogen Cooper, The Tallis Scholars and Tango Club. Ticket prices vary. At various venues in Wimbledon, including King’s College School, Trinity United Reformed Church, St. John’s Church, Wimbledon College Hall, Wimbledon Synagogue. Nearest stations: Wimbledon or Raynes Park. For more information and tickets, visit the WIMF website.
Visit your favourite Harry Potter sets, such as the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley, Hagrid’s Hut and the Hogwarts castle, which have been transformed with snow for the festive season. Tickets from £47. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For more information and tickets, visit the WB Studio Tour website. 🐻
Artists in residence will set up studio at Orleans House and explore in art ways we could fix the Earth’s ecological crisis. Among the artists taking part in the six-month project include Ackroyd & Harvey; Nestor Pestana; Bryony Benge-Abbott; Vicky Long and Eloise Moody. During the exhibition, there will also be workshops, talks, family activities and late night events. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Entry: Free (donations welcome). Orleans House Gallery, Orleans Road, Twickenham, TW1 3BL. Nearest station: St Margaret’s. For more information, visit the Orleans House Gallery website.
Follow a magical trail around Kew Gardens, through tunnels of light, past dancing waterfalls, illuminations and the Fire Garden, and a light display at the Palm House. 4pm-10pm. Tickets: Standard advance adult: Off peak £21.50/Peak £26.50, Children: Off peak £14/peak £16.50. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website. 🐻 Read the rest of this entry
Summer is here at last! Expect to see plenty of outdoor festivals, with Pride, World Gin Day and the month-long London Festival of Architecture among the highlights of June. If you’re short on cash, there’s plenty of free events, including Soho Music Month’s free gigs and London Seafood Festival.
For a guide to Wimbledon screenings in London, click here.
For a guide to London’s outdoor and pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.
Here’s Metro Girl’s round-up of the best London events on in June.
The free film festival returns to Herne Hill for the seventh year. Films include Black Panther, Mary Poppins Returns, The Babadook, American Animals, Wreck It Ralph 2, Bohemian Rhapsody, Isle Of Dogs and more. Venues include The Lido Café, Station Hall, Prince Regent pub, Brockwell Lido, The Half Moon, Herne Hill Velodrome and more. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For more details, visit the Free Film Festival website.
A month-long celebration of architecture, with this year’s theme being ‘boundaries’. Featuring talks, installations, tours, exhibitions, open studios, film screenings, debate, conferences and the ‘Lunch Break’ installation. At various venues around town. For more information, visit the London Festival of Architecture website.
A month-long series of events celebrating the cultural heritage of Soho. Featuring DJ sessions, panel discussions, free gigs, special food and drink menus and more. At venues around Soho, including Carnaby and Newburgh Quarter. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit Carnaby website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the event.
Help find the world’s best pizza as six pizzerias battle to be crowned the winner. Sample different slices, while enjoying a beer and listening to a DJ. 12pm-6pm (entrance at timed slots). Tickets: £28 (inc 6 quarter slices of pizza, 1 beer or soft drink and entrance to the festival). Borough Market (Green Market), Borough, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Young & Foodish website.
New exhibition celebrates the fashion, textiles, homewares and furniture of the Swinging Sixties. Including vintage designs by Mary Quant, Laura Ashley and Terence Conran. Open Tues-Sat 11am–6pm, Thurs 11am-8pm, Sun 11am–5pm. Tickets: £9.90. Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the museum website.
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, shorts and special events. Tickets prices vary. Picturehouse Central, corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Great Windmill Street, Piccadilly, W1D 7DH. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Picturehouse website.
Free public art exhibition, bringing contemporary pieces to the streets and spaces of the City of London. Free. At various sites around the Square Mile. Nearest stations: Fenchurch Street, Monument or Liverpool Street. For more information and a map of the artworks, visit the City Of London’s official website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the 2017/2018 exhibition.
Pop-up art exhibition comes to the South Bank for one week only, featuring pieces from Pittsburgh’s established and emerging artists. Visitors can also enter a competition to win a trip to Pittsburgh with British Airways by snapping a selfie with their favourite piece. South Bank, SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Visit Pittsburgh website.
An evening pageant of music, horses, cannons and fireworks against the backdrop of St James’s Park and Horse Guards Parade. A military precision drill from the Household Division in the week preceding Trooping The Colour. 8pm. Tickets from £20. Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, SW1A 2AX. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Embankment or Westminster. For more information, visit the Household Division’s website.
Four day festival celebrating ‘mother’s ruin’ from Drink Up London – the people behind London Cocktail Week. Some of London’s best bars will be offering special £6 gin cocktails to those with a festival pass. There will also be a World Gin Day Festival hub in Devonshire Square. Bars include Basement Sate, Two One Four, Bluebird Chelsea, Flight Club, Graphic, Le Pont de la Tour, Nine Lives, Oriole, The Little Yellow Door, The Ned and many more. Festival pass: £10 on the Drink Up London app (valid for four days). For more information, visit the DrinkUpLondon website.
Versatile music and poetry festiva, covering jazz, neo-soul, punk, and disco. Headliners include Lavinia Greenlaw, Village Hall Disco, Belinda Zhawi and members of Steam Down Collective. King’s Place, 90 York Way, King’s Cross, N1 9AG. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For tickets, visit the King’s Place website.
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 The Grazing Paddock (restaurants and street food), Champagne Lanson Garden, Mahiki and Polo Bars, Slingsby Cocktail Bar, PIMM’s Bus, Fever-Tree Bar and Garden, Luxury Shopping Village and Little Hooves Kids’ Club. Tickets start from £15.20 (adults), £10 (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.
Annual literary festival returns to various venues around Stoke Newington. Tickets range from free to £8. Venues include Abney Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall, St Paul’s Church Hall, Unitarian Chapel, Ryan’s Bar, Mascara Bar and William Patten School. For more information and tickets, visit the Stoke Newington Literary Festival website.
The vintage travelling fun fair sets up camp in East London, featuring rides from the late 19th century to the 1960s. Open Fri 4-10pm; Sat 12-10pm and Sun 12-8pm. Free admission. Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, E17 4PP. Nearest station: Walthamstow Central. For more information, visit the Carters Steam Fair website.
London Zoo are hosting late summer evening openings for adults-only on Fridays through June. As well as checking out the animals, you can follow a trail, listen to music, enjoy a drink and feast at the world food market. 6pm-10pm. Tickets: £19.95. London Zoo, Outer Circle (Regent’s Park), NW1 4RY. Nearest stations: Camden Town or Regent’s Park. For more information and booking, visit the Zoological Society London website. Read the rest of this entry
The Tower of London is one of the capital’s most iconic sights. It’s been standing on the fringes of the City, looming over the River Thames, for over 1,000 years. With such an amazing heritage, the layers of history within the Tower walls can be overwhelming for a visitor. I previously visited the Tower of London as a teenager and didn’t really absorb the stories of the complex as I knew I would as an adult. Over the Easter Weekend, I paid a long-awaited return to the Tower on a semi-private tour with Context Travel.
Context Travel is a specialist walking tour company, which offers private, semi-private and custom tours in over 50 cities worldwide. Aiming to put tourist sights ‘in context’, the tours are hosted by experts in their field, giving you an in-depth knowledge while taking you off-the-beaten track to find hidden places and details. Context Travel semi-private tours are in small groups, which immediately appealed to me because I’m not a fan of sharing my travel/tourist experiences (even in my hometown of London!) with a huge group of people.
My three-hour tour started on a sunny Sunday morning so the weather was on our side. Myself and two other participants met our guide Lesley outside Tower Hill station and headed straight to the entrance of the complex. The immediate bonus of visiting on a group tour I noticed was being able to bypass the long queue and we were within the tower walls within no time.
We swiftly passed through the Middle Tower and crossed the now-dry moat before passing under the Byward Tower for our first stop on the tour. Looking at the complex, I would find it hard to identify the ages of the different parts. However, Lesley shared her great knowledge of each buildings’ history, which King (or Queen) was responsible for its building and how their use had evolved over time.
Before delving deeper into the various sections, Lesley suggested we head straight to the Jewel House to visit the world-famous Crown Jewels. As guides aren’t allowed to accompany tour groups inside during busy periods, Lesley gave us easy-to-remember pointers on what to focus on inside. Covering 800 years of the British monarchy, the Jewel House contains some truly amazing sights and spectacular examples of wealth. I recognised many crowns and other regalia and vestments I had seen worn by Queen Elizabeth II over the decades. It was great to see them in the flesh so to speak – albeit surrounded by heavy security.
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Eastern Europe as a travel destination has been rising in popularity over the past decade, with countries such as Croatia and Poland attracting huge numbers from around the world. Of course, the downside of this is overcrowding, sometimes sparking a backlash from local residents. When planning a summer holiday, I was looking for somewhere in Europe a bit more off-the-beaten track with a lot less tourists and I thought about Montenegro. When I mentioned the country to a few friends, hardly anyone had been and many could not even point it out on the map.
Montenegro shares the same Adriatic coastline as Croatia, Albania… and if you go even further south, Greece. By European standards, it’s a relatively small country and takes a few hours to drive from the Albanian border to the Croatian. When it comes to flights from the UK, some of the budget airlines fly direct to Tivat (Bay of Kotor) and the capital Podgorica. However, these flights aren’t daily (at time of writing) and were quite expensive, so we opted to fly to Dubrovnik and rent a car from there, which is only 17km north of the border. As this piece is about Montenegro, I won’t linger too long on Dubrovnik. We decided to spend a total of two nights in the Croatian resort at the beginning and end of our holiday, staying at this cute little B&B Guesthouse Rustico in the Old Town. Daytime in the old town was pretty overwhelming thanks to the huge crowds of cruise ship travellers, but once they headed back to the boats in the evening, it’s was a lot more enjoyable and less frantic.
When it comes to renting a car for our trip to Montenegro, we looked at a variety of options, but decided renting a car from Dubrovnik would be easier. We had seen a few horror stories online regarding so-called ‘damage’ and high insurance excess from some local car companies so stuck to Hertz. Whatever car you rent, you must make sure you are insured to drive it in Montenegro (some companies may charge extra for leaving Croatia) and you must have the right car documentation to show at the border. When we drove into Montenegro, they didn’t ask for it, but on the way back to Croatia, they did request the vehicle paperwork. Overall, it was pretty straightforward process. The queue at the border was about 45 minutes, although it was a lot quicker returning to Croatia a week later.
After crossing the border, within 15 minutes we reached the stunning Bay of Kotor – one of Montenegro’s most popular tourist destinations. It is a stunning span of water surrounded by mountains with Venetian settlements dotted along the bay. If you want to cross to the southern part of the Bay, you have two options – drive all the way around or get the short car ferry connecting Kamenari and Lepetane. For our first trip around the Bay, we wanted to drive the whole way so took the scenic route past the various villages and towns, such as Herceg Novi, Lipci and Perast. Kotor town is one of the main hubs in the Bay and is often a stop-off for cruise ships during the day. As we were seeking a bit more tranquillity, we rented a self-catering apartment in Muo – a waterside fishing village 1.5 miles away from Kotor. We had a huge apartment with two double beds and a seaview balcony, with free parking and bike rental available. Within a couple of minutes walk, there were plenty of small, empty pebbly beaches or piers so you could easily go swimming in the clear blue waters.
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Summer is in full swing and so is tourist season. London has one of its busiest months of the year as hordes of visitors descend on the capital and the school holidays kick off at the end of the month. It’s also a big month for sports fans with the World Cup and Wimbledon taking place.
For a guide to London’s urban beaches, click here.
Find out where London’s nearest lavender fields are.
The annual arts, music and performance festival returns to Bankside, drawing upon the area’s heritage and contemporary culture. Events include the Emily Peasgood’s sound installation Requiem for Crossebones, and many more. For more information, visit the Merge Festival website.
The vintage travelling funfair sets up camp in Hornsey, featuring rides from the late 19th century to the 1960s. Open Frid 3pm-8pm, Sat 11am-8pm and Sun 11am-8pm. Free admission. Priory Park, Hornsey, N8 8QR. Nearest station: Hornsey. For more information, visit the Carters Steam Fair website.
The festival takes place in and around Hampstead, including the Big Fair on Heath Street (1 July), open art competitions, poetry, art and literacy events, pub quizzes and more. Many activities are free. For more information, visit the HampsteadSummer Festival website.
A festival for working women bringing together inspiring women giving talks, workshops, entertainment and more. Times vary. The AllBright, 11 Rathbone Place, Soho, W1T 1HR. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus or Goodge Street. For more information, visit the FoundHER festival website.
Flower show in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. Celebrity and expert speakers include Pippa Greenwood, Julia Bradbury, David Domoney, Bill Oddie, Chris Beardshaw, Carol Klein, Joe Swift and Ben Faulks. Open to RHS members only Tues-Wed, Public entry Mon and Thu-Sun. Advance tickets range from £19.50 to £37 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.
A sensory immersive celebration of ice cream from food wizards Bompas & Parr. Featuring the history of ice cream, ice cream weather, glow-in-the-dark ice cream, the neuroscience of ice cream and the dark side of desserts. Open: Mon-Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. Tickets: Adults: £12, Conc £10, Under 16s £6 (+ booking fee). Unit 2, Gasholders Building, 1 Lewis Cubitt Square, Kings Cross, N1C 4BY. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information and booking, visit the BMOF website.
Ten tall ships will be cruising up and down the River Thames. Visitors can enjoy a quite unique opportunity to cruise aboard one of the ships. Setting off from Woolwich Royal Arsenal Pier, there’ll be a range of cruise options available throughout the event with the route taking visitors past Canary Wharf and The O2 Arena as far as the Cutty Sark, Greenwich Royal Naval College and even the Thames Barrier or Tower Bridge depending on the chosen departure. There will also be firework displays each evening. Cruises packages and departure times vary. For more information, check out the Sail Royal Greenwich website.
Connaught Village celebrates 150 years of history with a special event. Featuring live music, theatre, jelly art from Bompas & Parr, workshops, freebies and more. 3pm-7pm. Free to attend. Connaught Village, W2 2AA. Nearest station: Marble Arch, Paddington or Lancaster Gate. For more information, visit the Connaught Village website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post on the event.
One day beer festival comes to the City of London. Featuring 14 breweries, live music from City Music Foundation artists and food stalls. 12.30pm-9.30pm. Free entry or Beer packages from £12 (incl 4 beer tokens and 1 City Beerfest glass per person). Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest station: St Paul’s. For tickets (save at least 10%), visit the City Beerfest website.
Celebrate the US holiday with a banquet of Southern American style food, beer and bourbon. Learn all things bourbon and beer with ambassadors for Heaven Hill and FourPure, while DJs will be spinning American classics on the decks. Tickets: £15 (inc food with 1 cocktail/beer). The Gallery, 190 Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead, NW6 3AY. Nearest station: West Hampstead. For more information, visit the Gallery website.
An imaginative art and antiques fair for traditional and contemporary. Featuring a week of cultural, culinary and social experiences. Tickets from £35. Royal Hospital, Chelsea, SW3 4SL. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Masterpiece London website.
Lifestyle festival for vegans, vegetarians or those who want to live a more plant-based diet. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: £10 (also include entry to the Love Natural Love You and The Allergy & Free From Show). Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For tickets, visit the Just V Show website.
A celebration of the unique creativity and diversity of Stockwell. This year’s theme is ‘Stockwellbeing’. 12pm-6pm. Free entry. Larkhall Park, Stockwell, SW8 2PX. Nearest station: Stockwell or Wandsworth Road. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
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 south of the Thames across Southbank, Vauxhall and Nine Elms. 6pm-6am. Free. For more information, visit the Art Night website.
Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Chotto Matte are hosting a party to celebrate Pride, featuring multi-coloured cocktails, rainbow menu, DJs and more. From 12pm-1pm, guests will be served free multi-coloured food and drink on the house. Chotto Matte, 11-13 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4RB. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Chotto Matte website.
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Summer is here! We’ve had some fairly good weather in recent weeks, two glorious bank holidays and a good dose of wedding fever thanks to the royal nuptials. However, with all that excitement behind us, there’s still plenty to look forward to in June. There’s a host of arts and cultural events, the return of foodie extravaganza Taste Of London and Trooping The Colour and boozy festivals to celebrate World Gin Day, are among just some of the events on around town.
For a guide to this summer’s London’s outdoor cinemas, click here.
Find out where to watch the World Cup and Wimbledon on the big screen this summer.
Learn about the art of mindfulness and meditation and how it can help you in your life. Featuring keynote speakers Will Young, Professor Paul Gilbert OBE, Dr Kristin Neff, Madeleine Shaw, Angie Ward, John Siddique and many more. Activities include creative and physical workshops, talks, meditation spaces, zen products and more. Open Fri 10am-5.30pm, Sat 10am-5pm. Tickets: £30-£60. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the show website.
A festival featuring readings, workshops and performances at venues across the suburb. Speakers include Chelsea Clinton, Aaron Gillies (Technically Ron), Kerstin Rodgers, Lucy Mangan, The Secret Barrister, Tom Huddleston and many more. Tickets range from free to £8. Venues include Abney Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall, St Paul’s Church Hall, Unitarian Chapel, Ryan’s Bar, Mascara Bar and William Patten School. For more information and tickets, visit the Stoke Newington Literary Festival website.
Nine-day community arts festival featuring live music, dance, craft markets, poetry, art installations, film screenings, workshops, talks, interactive games and more. At venues across Brockley, Ladywell, Crofton Park and Honor Oak. For more information, visit the Brockley Max website.
London Zoo are hosting late summer evening openings for adults-only on Fridays through June. As well as checking out the animals, you can follow a trail, listen to music, enjoy a drink and feast at the world food market. 6-10pm. Tickets: £18.50. London Zoo, Outer Circle (Regent’s Park), NW1 4RY. Nearest stations: Camden Town or Regent’s Park. For more information and booking, visit the Zoological Society London website.
A month-long celebration of architecture, with this year’s theme being ‘identity’. 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.
A month-long series of events celebrating the cultural heritage of Soho. Featuring DJ sessions, panel discussions, free gigs, special food and drink menus and more. At venues around Soho, including Carnaby and Newburgh Quarter. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit Carnaby website or ThisIsSoho.co.uk. Read Metro Girl’s blog post on this year’s event.
Month-long free celebration of film, featuring screenings, workshops, competitions, short films, live music around Herne Hill. Movies include Get Out, Paddington 2, Coco, Loving Vincent, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and more. At venues around SE24, including Prince Regent pub, Effraspace, Lido Café, Half Moon pub, The Florence and more. For more information, visit the Free Film Festivals site.
The world’s finest burlesque performers gather in the capital for an extended five-week festival. Doors open 7pm, shows start at 8.05pm. Tickets: General £24, Priority £35. Shaw Theatre, 110 Euston Road, NW1 2AJ. Nearest station: Euston or Kings Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the London Burlesque Festival website.
Forty dragon boat teams will race at the London Regatta Centre in Docklands. As well the race, the free festival includes martial arts displays, live East West music festival, traditional lion and dragon dancing, a Hong Kong food festival, cultural festival and children’s games. 10am-5pm. Free. London Regatta Centre, Dockside Road, Docklands, E16 2QT. Nearest station: Royal Albert (DLR). For more information, visit the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post on this year’s event.
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. Festival passes for £150 or individual tickets available. Picturehouse Central, corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Great Windmill Street, Piccadilly, W1D 7DH. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Picturehouse website.
Fashion fans and aspiring designers will get the chance to check out the rising talent in the industry. Featuring catwalk shows, showcases and more. Tickets start from £8. Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6QR. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the Graduate Fashion Week website. Read the rest of this entry