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45 fun things to do in London this August

By Stephanie Hartman

While you’re waiting for Carnival to come around, get yourself to some of the other parties, openings and festivals taking place this August. There are multiple Spice Girls-themed celebrations to dress up for, a festival taking place in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, a number of tasty new restaurants popping up across town and gladiator battles taking place in Guildhall Yard. Have a brilliant month with the suggestions below!


Aug 2-Oct 7: Indian Treasures Mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence at the photo exhibition ‘Indian Treasures’, with images that capture some of the earliest photographic documentation of India. 

Aug 3-12: Vintage Kimono Pop-up Slip into the Sway Gallery where you’ll find a display of vintage and antique kimonos.

Aug 3-23: Summer Screen Prints The Summer Screen Prints exhibition is back and taking place once again during the series of outdoor film screenings at Somerset House.

Aug 4: Lambeth Palace Garden Open Day These gorgeous gardens, which have been cultivated since the twelfth century, are open to explore in high summer.

Aug 4-27: River Stage The NT’s bringing the fun this summer with weekends of free outdoor performance.

Aug 5: FareShare Presents: Live Music and BBQ Fundraiser A fundraising celebration of food and live music from FareShare, who relieve food poverty and reducing food waste by rescuing good quality surplus grub.

Aug 9: Collage Club Swap pencils for scissors and a wealth of beautiful papers and magazines at these regular collage workshops, perfect for anyone keen to flex their creative muscles and get making without having to produce perfectly proportioned, boring drawings.

Aug 12: Safari Festival Back for another year, Safari Festival celebrates comic publishers and cartoonists who’ll be exhibiting and selling their comics alongside prints, zines and graphic merchandise.

Aug 25-27: The Beast Relive every ‘90s game show fantasy you ever had at The Beast, the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course at Alexandra Palace.

Aug 25-28: Gladiator Games 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 26: Hack It: Grow Your Own Food Learn to grow veggies in teeny tiny city spaces at the DIY workshop led by Julie Riehl of Capital Growth. You’ll be picking potatoes on your patio in no time.

Aug 26-27: Shuffle Festival Set over two days in and around Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Shuffle’s 2017 programme is bursting with films, talks, walks, performances, installations, music and food.

Aug 27-28: Notting Hill Carnival Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival, is a vivid spectacle representing London’s multicultural past and present. It’s also a vital date in any party-lover’s diary.


Regina Spektor

Aug 4: Prince vs Bowie: Legends Night Two musical legends collide for a night of back-to-back classics and sing-a-longs from yesteryear at the NYC-style loft space Shoreditch Platform.

Aug 4: Night of 1000 Gingers ‘90s Girl Power is back for this Spice Girls extravaganza at The Glory. Whip out your best Union Jack gear for some Cool Britania-style dancing to ‘90s trash and vintage R ’n’ B.

Aug 9: Regina Spektor A very welcome return for the Moscow-born, Bronx-dwelling piano protegé, singer and anti-folk queen. 

Aug 14: Psychedelic Gong Bath Ditch the suds and sink into the immersive depths of a Psychedelic Gong Bath in the spectacular setting of the Round Chapel’s main theatre.

Aug 18: Conor Oberst The brilliant Bright Eyes main man steps out solo. 

Aug 19: Tief with Jodey Rebelle Tief’s love for deliciously deep house (via post-dubstep, techno and acid tinges) collides with Josey Rebelle’s acclaimed Rinse FM radio show.

Aug 25: Joe Goddard One half of Hot Chip plays indie-electronica.

Aug 25: Push The Button: Spice Up Yer Life 2017 Add a little spice to your bank holiday – not to mention a pinch of sporty, scary, posh, baby and ginger – with a whizz around town in the ‘Spice World’ bus.* Disclaimer: this is not the original bus featured in the ‘90s modern classic, which hasn’t been seen since its iconic Tower Bridge jump.

Aug 27: Boy Better Know Takeover BBK are joined by other massive names in grime and hip hop – including A$AP Rocky and Chip – for their bank holiday takeover at The O2 Arena. Go ride the grimewave.

Aug 27: Mister Sunday The Mister Sunday lads return to the big smoke for a day time party in York Hall.

Aug 28-30: Kandace Springs The Nashville-based singer, songwriter and pianist returns to London after her sold out gig in November and after a stint supporting Gregory Porter on tour.

Aug 28-30: The Necks Australian cult jazz trio The Necks improvise every show they play, inspired by the audience, the venue and the different environments they find themselves in.


London Craft Beer Festival

New openings:

The New Leaf A Cambridge Heath bar opening this week with a Beijing hutong theme from The Art of Drinking.

Core A Notting Hill restaurant from Clare Smyth, the first female chef to hold three Michelin stars.

Fancy Crab A shellfish restaurant in Soho; crab is the speciality here, but there's also scallop ceviche, tuna tartare and oysters.

Coal Rooms A meat-focused restaurant and café set in a Grade II-listed ticket office in Peckham.  

Joe Allen A new home for the famous West End haunt, just 25 metres down the road from the original site (which was bought up by Robert De Nero with plans to redevelop it into a boutique hotel).  


Aug 3: Love Europe Wine Tasting Sip your way through 20 new wines from London’s first urban winery, London Cru.

Aug 4-6: London Craft Beer Festival The London Craft Beer Festival is moving into a bigger, badder venue at Shoreditch Electric Light Station, the home of the UK’s National Circus School, so expect a few new tricks.

Aug 6: Jamaican Independence Day at Rudie’s Mark the day Jamaica broke free from the UK with a stonking Caribbean feast at Rudie’s in Stoke Newington, featuring jerked stuffed chicken wings; crab, mango and lobster salad and curry goat cigar.

Aug 10: Seafood and Craft Beer Feast Tuck into a six-course menu of British seafood dishes from Claw’s head chef Josh Levy, all paired with top craft beers including Siren Craft’s ‘Pomelmocello’.


Aug 10-24: Merchant Square Movie Nights Catch a flick for free at Merchant Square’s weekly movie nights. ‘Save the Last Dance’, ‘Pitch Perfect’ and ‘Man on Wire’ are all on the bill. Arrive early to nab a deckchair.

Aug 11: NTS presents 1991: The Year Punk Broke NTS Radio presents a screening at the Rio in Dalston of this documentary following Sonic Youth and Nirvana across their 1991 European tour, 25 years after it made its theatrical debut.

Aug 13-15: Taste Film presents ‘Hook’ Catch Spielberg’s spin-off of the classic Peter Pan tale while tucking into grub carefully picked to complement the movie’s best-loved scenes, including that ‘imaginary feast’ hosted by the lost boys.


The Majority

Aug 9-Sept 3: The Odyssey Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ gets the free outdoor theatre treatment this summer.

Aug 11-28: The Majority Fingers on your buzzers: Rob Drummond’s new show invites the audience to decide its path by pressing buttons at their seats.

Aug 12-Sept 30: Against Ben Whishaw returns to the Almeida – following 2015’s ‘The Bacchae’ – to star in a new play by American writer Christopher Shinn, directed by Ian Rickson. 

Aug 17-Oct 7: Knives in Hens Yaël Farber directs David Harrower’s stark, strange modern classic.

Until Nov 18: Apologia Stockard Channing leads the cast of this bold family drama.


Aug 3-Sept 24: Zadie Xa Korean-Canadian Xa works with a lurid, maximal aesthetic that spills across painting, textiles, video and sound.

Aug 5-Nov 12: Matisse in the Studio Not just an extraordinary painter, Matisse was also an avid collector. This exhibition will look at the influences the exotic acquisitions he amassed had on his art.

Aug 12-13: Independent Publishing Fair Kiosk present this publishing fair taking place at Copeland Gallery in Peckham. Exhibitors include Ditto, Hato Press, Heresy, Migrant Journal, Sabat Magazine and Shelf Heroes.


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