Say hello to August and the flippin' wonderful array of fun it's bringing to London! Start the month with a daytime party courtesy of Mister Sunday, sip on delicious wine, play games and eat great grub mid-month at The Three Crowns Urban Wine Fair, and wrap it all up at the Notting Hill Carnival. Have a blast, gang!
THINGS TO DO
Aug 1: Doggetts Coat and Badge Race London has more than its fair share of nonsensical long-running traditions. The first Coat and Badge event saw Thomas Doggett commemorating the first anniversary of King George I's coronation by organising a five mile rowing race from Fishmonger's Hall at London Bridge to Cadogan Pier. Skip forward three centuries and it's happened on August 1 every year since.
Aug 1: Victoria Park Pillow Fight Feathers will fly at this east London pillow fight. There's also free PJs and goodie bags up for grabs. Ready, steady, swing!
Aug 1: Japanese Anime Screenings Summer Explorers! Get lost in the magic of anime at this day of screenings at The Japan Foundation. The films are suitable for various age groups, from 2+ to 10+, and there will be some Japanese Language Taster Sessions on the day.
Aug 1-2: RideLondon in St James's, Green and Richmond Parks A weekend-long feast of cycling sport and leisure that sees an eight mile loop of roads around central London closed to regular traffic so that bike-enthusiasts can get a clear run at it.
Aug 2: Union Chapel Summer Fete There'll be stalls, games, cakes, music and community feel-good vibes a-plenty at the Union Chapel's summer fete. Head to Compton Terrace Gardens at the front of the venue if the weather is good or inside if it’s rainy for guided tours and a drink at the bar (12pm-4pm).
Aug 5-6: Tanabata Japanese Festival at Kew These celebrations at Minka House – a traditional Japanese farmhouse in Kew's bamboo garden – will feature storytelling by A Thousand Cranes Children's Theatre Company (noon, 1.30pm and 3pm), origami workshops and calligraphy demonstrations.
Aug 6: Dellow Nights at Providence Row This evening of live music and street food takes place in the garden courtyard of the Dellow Centre, where the Providence Row charity is based.
Aug 7 and 14: Peter Pan walk in Hyde Park London's Royal Parks provided a good chunk of the inspiration for J M Barrie's 'Peter Pan'; discover where the magical stories originated on this interactive walk through Hyde Park.
Aug 7-9: Nine Worlds Geekfest The fan-run Nine Worlds Geekfest is a chance for those who love geek culture in general (and its many specifics) to meet like-minded fanatics away from the manic atmosphere of the corporate sci-fi expos. Gaming, film, cosplay, literature and science are all celebrated alongside science-fiction and fantasy.
Aug 8-9: London Triathlon at London Docks After last year's super successful event, the London Triathlon is back for 2015 and is expecting a record number of triathletes to take part.
Aug 9: The Bridge Festival – Part of the Urban Weekend Expect live graffiti, music, MCs and dance performances at this celebration of street culture during Southbank Centre's Urban Weekend.
Aug 8-23: Get Crafty in the Sky at the ArcelorMittal Orbit Families ascending the 115m ArcelorMittal Orbit this August between noon and 4pm can get stuck into a range of flying themed activities curated by artist Natalie Ryde. Kids will be invited to take inspiration from birds and bats to get inventive and create flying machines, parachutes, kites and flying finger puppets from a range of art materials.
Aug 8: How to Read a Film Tutor Hilary Smith will lead this in-depth evening of discussion and analysis. Using three contemporary films, 'Skyfall', 'Once Upon a Time in Anatolia' and 'Drive' students will explore how to make sense of films, by focusing on elements such as visual style, sound, cinematography, editing and narrative construction.
Aug 8-16: Gladiator Games at Museum of London See professional gladiators (who may well have other jobs too, but they're definitely also very good at pretending to be gladiators) battle it out in Guildhall Yard, the site of London's only Roman amphitheatre.
Aug 8: March for Mothers in Hyde Park This 5km run/walk has been organised to raise awareness of the thousands of women who die in pregnancy and childbirth each year, while raising money for Health Poverty Action, which supports mothers and babies in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Aug 12 and 13: A Taste of India Walk This walking tour celebrates Indian Independence Day and visits sites around the Holborn area associated with Indian history and culture. Meet at the orange kiosk outside Holborn station for the 45 minutes walk.
Aug 13: Chelsea Physic Garden After-Hours Visitors to this ancient garden are normally turfed out at dusk, but this event is a rare chance to enjoy its tranquility as the sun sets. Head Gardener Nick Bailey will lead tours highlighting its newest additions, and guests may visit the summer exhibition of watercolour images of plants grown in the garden.
Aug 15: The Elephant and the Nun Festival A day-long family-friendly festival in that will see Burgess Park filled with lively musical performances, an African market, family-friendly activities, a food village and huge funfair.
Aug 15: Spotlight Festival at 7 Dials Spotlight returns for 2015, taking over Seven Dials for an afternoon of live music, comedy, dance and street food. Local shops will be providing in-store discounts, drinks and promotions, plus a pop-up lawn with deck chairs and games will be waiting for tired shoppers to rest their feet.
Aug 22: Teddy Bears' Picnic at Strawberry Hill Pack a picnic and make sure the little ones have their favourite teddy in tow for an afternoon of storytelling in the grounds of Strawberry Hill.
Aug 23-31: Mind Sports Olympiad at JW3 This annual festival of the mind will feature sedentary tournaments in more than 60 board games.
Aug 25: Amy’s Kitchen Presents: A Handcrafted Summer at E5 Bakehouse Learn a new craft and enjoy a healthy dinner courtesy of Amy's Kitchen at this series of supper events held in east London. The E5 Bakery will play host to the four evenings which see organic meals served up with a selection of freshly prepared salads from chef and food blogger, The Panthers Whiskers.
Aug 25-27: Outdoor Games at Museum of Childhood Get moving at the Museum of Childhood with family activities taking place outside in the grounds. Check out the current exhibitions before giving little ones time to let off steam with games that will have them running, hopping, skipping and jumping.
Aug 26: Discovery Days at Isis Education Centre in Hyde Park Find out more about London's wonderful flora at this day of crafts and activities. Follow a nature trail to learn facts about the flowers you find, go pond dipping and hunt down bugs.
Aug 26: Tea Dance at Spitalfields E1 Join the New Covent Garden Dance Orchestra in Crispin Place for some fancy footwork to music from the '30s, '40s and '50s. Dancers of all abilities are welcome, and styles will include foxtrots, quicksteps and cha chas.
Aug 27: Paddle Boarding, Litter Pick and BBQ in Paddington Basin Hop onto a paddle board, and help clear the canal of rubbish between Paddington Basin and Little Venice. Active360 will be on hand to dish out tips to beginners and a free BBQ will be waiting at the end for all litter pickers.
Aug 27: Create and Make: DIY Gamer Animation Workshop at the Design Museum Kids aged five to 11 can become a designer in these informal art workshops inspired by the Design Museum's temporary exhibitions. Technology Will Save Us lead this month's session.
Until Aug 27: Dan Clarke at Førest A beautiful new exhibition of paintings, prints and textile by London illustrator Dan Clarke taking place in the Clerkenwell furniture store.
Aug 29–30: Big Wedding Weekend at the Southbank Centre The Big Wedding Weekend involves a number of mass ceremonies in which couples may wed, renew their vows or convert their civil partnership into marriage.
Aug 29: Teddy Bears' Picnic Children can take their favourite teddies on this day out in Abbey Woods on the outskirts of Greenwich. There'll be performances and workshops from Doriel School of Dance, traditional games, stalls and a barbecue.
Aug 30-31: Notting Hill Carnival Europe’s biggest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival is a vivid spectacle representing London's multicultural past and present. This August bank holiday, don’t go anywhere without reading our guide, which includes invaluable Carnival information, route details and tips on having fun and staying safe.
Aug 1: Duck 'n Roll at Baranis Duck ’n Roll pop up with dishes that include shredded duck confit burgers, duck summer rolls and confit fries with crazy salt.
Aug 3-7: Cinnamon Kitchen Joins Forces With Pizza Pilgrims Executive Chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon Kitchen has teamed up with Pizza Pilgrims to create an exclusive range of Indian-inspired slices. Classic pizzas will be given a tantalising taste of the tandoor.
Aug 4-5: Marmite Love Café Customers can pay for their order at Soho Grind based solely on the amount of love or hate they spread about Marmite on social media. ‘Lovers’ will receive their order for free, whilst ‘haters’ will pay full price.
Aug 7-29: Old Bengal’s ‘Sweet America’ Old Bengal’s ‘Sweet America’ sees the UK’s largest swing dance community take centre stage in the former 18th century East India Company warehouse near Liverpool Street. On Fridays and Saturdays, the bar will host a new series of swing dance nights and food comes courtesy of The Liberty Cheesesteak Company.
Aug 10: Mission Sato Head Chef Angelo Sato presents this one-off dinner which sees a thirteen course tasting menu presented to hungry guests. Expect food influenced by his Japanese-German background.
Aug 15: The Three Crowns Urban Wine Fair This fair returns to Old Street Roundabout from noon-10pm followed by disco in the pub until late. Expect great good, games on the astroturf and a live music stage.
Aug 10: Rök Our love affair with all things Scandi continues, and the latest entry into the snowy field is Rök, which is set to open at 26 Curtain Rd. Rök bills itself as a Nordic smokery, taking products from Cobble Lane Cured in Islington and finishing them on the premises.
Aug 10: Redemption Bar For a completely different bar experience, there’s a chance to let it all hang out without letting it all hang over the next day. Redemption Bar, 100 per cent abstemious, is coming to a permanent venue in Westbourne Grove after running a series of residencies. It will be at 6 Chepstow Road, Westbourne Grove, W2 5BH from the 10th onwards, and you can use alcohol-free cocktails to wash down salads and other wholesome dishes.
Aug 14: Seymour's Parlour The star bar of the month will be the Seymour's Parlour cocktail lounge, opening August 14 at the new Zetter Townhouse Marylebone. The original Zetter in Clerkenwell is one of the best cocktail bars in London, and with a food offering by Bruno Loubet as well as drinks by Tony Conigliaro, the Marylebone outpost also promises great things.
Aug TBC: Hungerdog Are we barking mad? It seems that our appetite for hot dogs shows no sign of abating. Or that’s the hope, anyway, of the peeps letting Hungerdog out of the kennel. No date specified, but it will be at 21a Camden High Street, NW1 7 JE, opposite KOKO. High-quality meat is promised, and buns and toppings made entirely in-house. Woof woof!
Until Aug 8: The Phoenix Fringe Ardal O'Hanlon, Milton Jones, Nick Helm, Aisling Bea, Elis James and so many more take over the Phoenix pub near Oxford Circus for this summer comedy shindig.
Aug 5-11: Comedians' Cinema Club Eric Lampaert and his gang of alcohol-fuelled fools recreate 'Scarface', 'The Ring', 'Mary Poppins' and other film favourites, live on stage.
Aug 6 and 7: Limmy – Daft Wee Stories The cult Scottish comic celebrates the release of his book, 'Daft Wee Stories', by making a few rare live appearances to read some of his, well, daft wee stories.
Fridays and Saturdays, Aug 7-Sep 12: Richard Herring – The 12 Shows of Herring The Edinburgh Fringe stalwart is taking a break from the fest this year and reviving 11 of his old shows in London, as well as premiering a brand new one.
Aug 8: Doug Loves Movies Film fans, get your geek on. Stoner comic Doug Benson (star of 'Super High Me') records his hugely popular podcast in London for the first time.
Aug 17-29: Iliza Shlesinger – Freezing Hot This slick, caustic American comic – all the way from Dallas, Texas – makes her UK debut. Strong, no-nonsense opinions on pop culture.
Film4 Summer Screen
Aug 6: Fantastic Four It’s been ten years since the last ‘Fantastic Four’ film and its slapdash, unfunny sequel. Perfect timing then for a franchise reboot of the Marvel comic books. And it looks like this time around more attention is being paid.
Aug 6-19: Film4 Summer Screen Watching a movie under the stars in Somerset House’s beautiful courtyard on a balmy summer evening is a near-perfect London experience. Films start at 9pm, but doors open at 6.30pm, so bring a picnic and make a night of it.
Aug 14: Trainwreck The posters say ‘from the guy who brought you “Bridesmaids”’, meaning comedy super-producer Judd Apatow, who produces and directs Amy Schumer’s script. ‘Trainwreck’ is more of a straightforward romcom than ‘Bridesmaids’, except that here Schumer plays the traditional ‘man’ role.
Aug 14: The Man from Uncle Man from who? If you’re under 40, chances are you haven’t got a clue about ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E’, the massively popular 1960s American TV series following agents at the law-enforcement organisation U.N.C.L.E. Now comes a makeover from Guy Ritchie with a trailer that’s got a whole lot of Bond spoof retro chic going on.
Aug 28: 45 Years Acting masterclasses from Charlotte Rampling as a woman who discovers a secret about her husband the day before their 45th wedding anniversary.
Aug 28: Straight Outta Compton This is definitely the authorised biopic of hip-hop legends NWA. Just watch the trailer. It opens with Dr Dre driving around the old neighbourhood with Ice Cube reminiscing about the good old days: ‘We put it all in the music. All our frustration and anger. Our music was like our weapon.’
Aug 1: Krankbrother Terrace Party The Krankbrother party primers return with another blinder at Greenwich club Studio 338. One of the many benefits of holding the event at S338 is the addition of the vast terrace space to give an Ibiza-style flavour, so get prepared to party alfresco and don't worry if it rains – this being the UK and all, covers have been thoughtfully built-in to the club's terraces in case the rain comes down.
Aug 1: Drum 'n' Bass Boat Party No prizes for guessing what this one's all about, but who needs prizes when you'v got Brazilian D&B hero DJ Marky ripping up a boat with fluid grooves and ballsy beats?
Aug 1: Norm De Plume's Disco Lounge with Paxton Fettel Disco, house and other low-slung, funky grooves from DJ Norm De Plume and guests, taking place in a Hackney bike shop-cum-bar.
Aug 1: Get Diverted: Seven Years on the Terrace with A Guy Called Gerald It's that time of year again – time for a terrace party from Get Diverted, who head back to the Prince of Wales for a 12-hour alfresco dance marathon. These parties have worked up quite a name for themselves over the years, thanks to a dedicated following who lap up the first-class DJ line-ups.
Aug 2: Mister Sunday Top New York DJ duo Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin have built a grand reputation for themselves off the back of their acclaimed disco, house and funk-filled Mister Saturday Night parties in Brooklyn, taking place on – yep – Saturday nights. The pair have now put Sunday night into a disco blender with their Mister Sunday parties, which have also proved a hit with London audiences too.
Aug 2-30: Sunday Sunset Barbecues Slick weekly Sunday daytime parties on a seventh-floor terrace of a hip hotel, featuring DJs, spritzers and a Michelin-starred chef manning the BBQ.
Aug 3: Dedicated to Kanye West: A Night of Yeezy NHAC's annual bash to celebrate everyone's favourite megalomaniac rap superstar returns for a third outing. You'll hear tons of tracks from KW's hefty solo back catalogue, plus his mixtapes, remixes and musicians that have influenced him over the years.
Aug 7: Gin & Juice Terrace Party A terrace party on a brilliant Brixton rooftop from a raucous, hip hop and R&B-loving crew. Mr Thing, the First World DJs, Dan Hills and the G&J ressies spin the jams, and there'll be a barbecue, live art, breakdancers and ice cream, obviously.
Aug 7: The Rhythm Parlour A monthly pop-up barber shop with a disco soundtrack, spun by DJs, plus cocktails and street food.
From Aug 7: Flamingo Pier One of the finest and most fun pop-up parties of last summer, Flamingo Pier is back for summer 2015, which is great news for anyone who likes their pop-ups with a big dose of tropical indulgence.
Aug 8: Seth Troxler's Acid Future Deep house don, BBQ-lover and occasional nudist Seth Troxler is not a man to sit still for too long. His latest endeavour is a thoroughly enticing one for anyone who likes their dance music with a generous dollop of old-school rave attitude – or just anyone who likes a good party to some 'proper' dance music.
Aug 9: Good Times on the Thames It’s hard to be miserable at a boat party in summer, and when said event is led by soulful selector Norman Jay MBE, it’s scientifically impossible. Soak up guaranteed good vibes at this boat party led by Jay and his funky Good Times crew.
Aug 15: A Summer Shindig with Old Dirty Brasstards Make the most of summer while you can at this full-on fun happening, organised by Time Out. Soulful troupe Old Dirty Brasstards will be unleashing their infectious 'drum and brass' party jams from 7pm and Time Out's own Alexi Duggins will be on DJ duties, spinning hip hop and further dancefloor-filling tunes.
Until 28: Summer Tales A pop-up party from the Night Tales crew, featuring cocktails, street food, DJs and a jungle theme.
Aug 30: Notsosilent Garden Party Scottish-born party crew Notsosilent have expanded their low-frequency operations to London over the last few years. Last summer they helmed some great rooftop parties and for 2015 they've got a new open-air space to play with.
Aug 30: One Day Party Set in Kensington's super-plush Roof Gardens venue, this sky-high party features Dimmi and other DJs spinning sharp house and funk, plus cocktails and a BBQ.
All month: Behind This Wall One of the many sad things about seminal Shoreditch club Plastic People closing was the loss of Behind The Wall, a vinyl-focused club night, record exchange and general meet-up for wax addicts. Thankfully it's been reborn and is touching down on the wonderful terrace of Bethnal Green arts venue Oval Space during the summer.
Opening Aug: Bloc Bar After the closure of long-standing Camden LGBT venue The Black Cap – and other venue closures around London – it's encouraging to find that new venues are actually still opening. Bloc Bar comes from the team behind popular east London gay bar East Bloc and looks like it'll take a similar approach.
Festivals in London
Aug 1-2: Clockwork Festival Two days of bands, booze and barbecue in one of Camden's best venues, hosted by London promoters Clockwork. Saturday's bill has raucous garage punks Arrows Of Love and psychedelic sounds by Blind Yeti and Electric Discharge Machine, while Sunday features Asylums, Tear and Mohit.
Aug 8: Visions Festival Another year of underground music, street food, craft markets and summer fun at this cool one-day festival in Hackney. The lineup includes Camera Obscura, Fat White Family, The Antlers, Toy, Jens Lekman, The Antlers, Andy Stott, Merchandise, Shamir, Hinds, Girl Band, Oscar, Jones + more.
Aug 8: 51st State Festival A new one-day dance music festival in the grounds of a country estate in north London, featuring big-name classic US house DJs.
Aug 9: Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival The festival dedicated to new opera (the world’s largest, apparently) returns to London with plenty of world premieres and operatic oddness. Venues across and around King’s Cross this year include arts spaces, theatres, studios, streets and even a nightclub.
Aug 14-16: Canary Wharf Jazz Festival Do you like free jazz? No, not that kind of free jazz – we mean the opportunity to catch some of London’s best and most envelope-pushing jazz acts live, gratis. Canary Wharf Jazz Festival offers that opportunity, bringing top acts including Sons Of Kemet (Friday), Eska (Saturday) and Yazz Ahmed and Neil Cowley Trio (Sunday) to Canada Square Park.
Aug 15: Reverb This mini-festival is set in Kensington's lush Roof Gardens venue, and features DJs, live music and comedy taking place throughout the day, plus cocktails and BBQ food to see you through.
Aug 17-30: David Byrne's Meltdown This year’s Meltdown takes place in August and is curated by David Byrne. The former Talking Head is a ceaseless musical innovator who’s created everything from a musical about Imelda Marcos (‘Here Lies Love’) to an installation that turns buildings into huge musical instruments.
Aug 21-23: Wyrdout Inspired by the makeshift series of gigs after the cancelled Jabberwocky festival last year, Wyrdout is a new DIY festival with noisy under-the-radar bands playing several venues over three days.
Aug 29-30: South West Four Clapham Common’s dance music festival attracts superstar DJs from across the globe, including Fatboy Slim and Faithless live.
All month: BBC Proms Every year the Proms see the world’s greatest orchestras and classical performers come to London, and 2015 is no exception. Advance booking is recommended for the biggest concerts – including, of course, the Last Night of the Proms.
Festivals just outside London
Aug 1: Eastern Electrics Returning to the grand grounds of Hertfordshire's Hatfield House for the second year, premier dance festival Eastern Electrics has grown into an even bigger beast for 2015: the capacity of the one-day event has expanded to 12,000 people, plus the organisers have added an eighth stage and a 'ravey woodlands' area.
Aug 1-2: Standon Calling This boutiquey festival near London plays host to The Dandy Warhols, Basement Jaxx and Little Dragon.
Aug 6-9: Wilderness The ever-magical August getaway returns for its fifth year in Oxfordshire, with a top-notch music line-up. Quirky pop goddess Björk headlines a bill that also includes Ben Howard, Nick Mulvey, awesome Afrotronic crew Ibibio Sound Machine, veteran funk ambassador George Clinton and many more.
Aug 7-9: Supernormal This super leftfield three-day festival in rural Oxfordshire is about much more than music: various weird goings-on around the festival site include lock-up performance art, a maze and zine workshops.
Aug 13-16: Boomtown Fair While other festivals are happy with a couple of tents and a main stage, Boomtown goes the whole hog and transforms the Matterly Bowl estate in southeast England into an entire town just for the weekend.
Aug 22-23: V Festival Calvin Harris, Kasabian and Sam Smith headline the pop festival in Essex.
Aug 28-30: Reading Festival The Libertines, Metallica and Mumford & Sons headline this August weekender just outside London.
From Aug 8: Multi-Story Orchestra Talk about musique concrète! Peckham’s disused multi-storey car park is the setting for summer concerts from the 60-strong Multi-Story Orchestra under Christopher Stark, alongside recitals in a smaller ‘strawditorium’ space.
Aug 13: Akala + Awate + more Part of Utopia at the Roundhouse, this evening session features a live performance by ever-impressive, politically-minded London MC Akala. You’ll also hear rhymes from local boy Awate and rapper/singer Amy True, plus a DJ set by wonky pop singer and composer Micachu.
Aug 28-30: Music Cube Over two weekends you can experience this concept at both of London’s Westfields, Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford. Acts are still under wraps, but last year’s line-up (which included hip young producer MNEK and girl band Neon Jungle) should give you an idea of what to expect.
© Johan Persson
Aug 5-Oct 31: Hamlet Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the greatest stage role in the English language.
Aug 12-16: King Lear with Sheep The stars have aligned on this one: not only is there a director mad enough to try 'King Lear With Sheep' out, they've also found a theatre mad enough to host it. Yes, apparently there are actually real live sheep (in tiny costumes!) in this riff on Shakespeare's play.
All month: Splendour Abi Morgan's intriguing four hander is revived in its first major London run as part of the Donmar Warehouse's new season. Robert Hastie directs 'Splendour', set in the drawing room of a presidential palace of an unnamed dictatorship where the dictator's wife, her best friend, a translator and a photojournalist await the arrival of the dictator.
Aug 4-Sep 5: Vivian Maier A presentation of stunning photographs by the original secret street photographer.
Aug 4-22: Utopia Art, theatre, music mash-up, 'Utopia' is the brainchild of British filmmaker, director and artist Penny Woolcock. She's been given full run of the Roundhouse's main space for 'Utopia', which is an installation created in collaboration with Block9 - regulars in creating crazy fantasy worlds at Glastonbury Festival.
Aug 6-Sep 26: Thomas Ruff: Nature Morte In the age of digital photography, the German artist’s new photograms herald the importance of the film negative.
Aug 6-Sep 5: Celina Teague: I think therefore I # For all their bright flare, Teague’s latest paintings actually have a dark undertone as they respond to the global atrocities reported via social media.
Aug 22: Safari Festival A curated collection of cartoonists and publishers present a huge range of innovative work at this one-day free festival of contemporary comics and art.
Aug 26-Sep 20: Tate Sensorium An immersive display featuring four paintings from the Tate collection where visitors can experience sounds, smells, tastes and physical forms inspired by the artworks, and record and review responses.