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58 fabulous things to do in London this August

By Stephanie Hartman

August is here and it's bursting with brilliant events, parties, screenings and restaurant openings. It's also got Notting Hill Carnival to get excited about, multiple Olympic-themed shindigs to get involved with and music festivals for days. Diaries at the ready, because it's time to plan a pretty damn great month.


Aug 2: Christie’s Lates: Festival of Folk Catch Mercury Prize-nominated singer Sam Lee perform, Museum of British Folklore director Simon Costin in conversation with photographer Henry Bourne and illustrator Rob Flowers who'll be designing a series of masks throughout the evening.

Aug 5-7: Bugsy’s 40th Birthday Bash Enter Fat Sam's Grand Slam and celebrate Bugsy's birthday at this weekend of family-friendly events spanning talks, screenings and an exhibition documenting the making of 'Bugsy Malone'.

Aug 5-14: Objects of Desire An exhibition exploring the stories of sex workers and issues surrounding exploitation and empowerment.

Aug 6-7: Night of Festivals These family-friendly festivals are being thrown in celebration of the Rio Olympics so expect Brazilian and Latin American themes flowing throughout.

Aug 11: Streak for Tigers If you like tigers and enjoy getting naked, then you absolutely must sign up for this charity run through London Zoo, which is raising funds for global conservation work.

Aug 11: Intoxicating Sensory Soirée Explore Chelsea Physic Garden after hours at this scent-themed late opening. Head Gardener, Nick Bailey will be on hand to point out scented displays and guests will also get the chance to make herb bags and discover their scent profile with English perfume house, Penhaligon's.

Aug 12-14: London Craft Beer Festival The London Craft Beer Festival is back at Oval Space for a fourth year, bringing an international line-up of breweries to a huge crowd of beer enthusiasts and fun-seekers.

Aug 13: River Rat Race Most people struggle to run 10km. The London Rat Race somehow corrals large groups of Londoners to not only run but jump, swim, kayak and climb the distance and all for a good cause - Shelter.

Aug 13: Holi Festival of Colours Wembley Park hosts the 2016 edition of the Holi-inspired Festival of Colours. The actual Hindu celebration of Holi took place in March, so this is very much an excuse for an inclusive good time, banging tunes and throwing powder paint on your mates.

Aug 16: Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host Ira Glass, creator and host of the hit radio show 'This American Life' swaps studio for stage in this extravaganza of storytelling and dance.

Aug 19-20: The Summer Shindig at Hornsey Town Hall Make the most of summer while you can at this full-on fun happening, organised by Time Out. Best of all, it takes place over two days in a gorgeous, unique venue: Hornsey Town Hall. 

Aug 27-28: Sunday Papers Live A personification of our weekend reading material with talks, walks, workshops and armchairs. Sunday roasts will be available, but BYO slippers.

Aug 28-29: Notting Hill Carnival Europe’s biggest street party fills the streets of west London over August bank holiday.

Rio Olympics 2016 screenings in London Rio de Janeiro, the location of the Olympics Games, might be bloomin' miles away, but that doesn't mean you have to leave the city to catch a glimpse of it. You can get in on all the Rio Olympics 2016 action and atmosphere via the capital's copious coverage of the big event on little and large screens all over the place.

Sipsmith Summer Terrace


Restaurant openings:

Rum Kitchen Brixton A third location of the popular Notting Hill restaurant and bar, this Brixton branch – on Coldharbour Lane – follows the group's ethos of going big on Caribbean food and drink.

Chicama A modern Peruvian seafood restaurant, from the team behind Pachamama. Inspired by the coastal food of Peru, it will revolve around the fish catch of the day with no meat on the menu. 

Cure & Cut From the team behind Sam’s Brasserie, Tante Clair, Bibendum and Kettner’s, Cure and Cut - specialises in home-smoked pastrami and freshly made sandwiches.

Yosma A Turkish restaurant from the duo behind Frescobaldi restaurant, and the Good Food Society.

Blanchette East The modern menu is Southern French and North African influenced, and décor is a combination of Parisian Belle Époque era with the urban feel of East London.

Killer Tomato The ex-streetfood trader Killer Tomato opens a permanent taco and burrito joint, serving new dishes like deep-fried avocado tostadas and cheeseburger tacos.

Events and pop-ups:

From Aug 1: Shotgun BBQ's Rooftop Residency Dine on brisket and pork belly, plus suckling pig stuffed pretzel roll with bacon jam at this pop up on the roof of John Lewis.

Aug 3-Sep 20: Sipsmith Summer Terrace Views of Greenwich Peninsula, Canary Wharf and The Thames reward drinkers at this Sipsmith pop-up at Craft London. As well as Craft's own cocktail menu, bartenders will be making Sipsmith gin and vodka special.

Aug 5, 12: London Beer City London Beer Factory takes over the taps for London's Beer City week celebrations – including a 100-can giveaway on Friday Aug 12.

Aug 6: Wray’s Jerk Fest Get ready for nine hours of Jamaican vibes at the Bussey Building's rooftop bar. Rum brand Wray & Nephew are hosting the alfresco party so expect plenty of boozy punch and free pouring challenges alongside a live graffiti mural and expert DJs.

Aug 12: Free Pad Thai at Rosa’s Thai Cafe Grab free grub in celebration of the revered Queen Sirikit of Thailand’s birthday at the restaurant's Carnaby branch. You must be wearing blue to claim the offer and pre-booking is essential. Email with “Happy Birthday” in the subject line.

Aug 14-15: Spirit of Tiki Two days of tiki fun on this Greenwich roof beach will be catered by a village of 15 bars, each showcasing their own cocktails at just £5 a pop.

Aug 20: Wing Fest Inspired by the National Buffalo Wing Festival held annually in Buffalo, this London event sees a fine selection of chicken wings from around the country on offer. Visitors can work their way through them all before deciding on the winning wing. 

Aug 27: Pizza-Pocalypse A big ol’ celebration of doughy goodness. Get stuck into slices of delicious pizza, craft lager from Frontier and ice cream from Sorbitium.

Suicide Squad


New releases:

Suicide Squad Supervillains gang up to save the planet in Summer's most hyped movie. Will Smith and Margot Robbie star, but all eyes are on Jared Leto's Joker.

David Brent: Life on the Road The big-screen 'Office' spin-off. Ricky Gervais's is back as David Brent, who's ditched the office and is pursuing dreams of rock stardom.

Julieta Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar adapts three Alice Munro stories as a woman looks for her missing daughter.


Aug 3: Punk London: ‘Jubilee’ To tie in with the 40 years of punk celebrations across London, the British Film Institute on the South Bank is presenting a month of movies that capture the spirit of the age.

Aug 4: The Nomad: ‘The Lost Boys’ The Nomad’s quest to screen movies in all of London’s loveliest green spaces continues with a trip to the Coram Secret Garden, a unique, little known arboreal bolthole.

Aug 5: £1 Cinema Club: ‘Spice World: The Movie’ + party If you hate the movie, stop reading now. But if you’re a fan, this epic night of girl power antics is for you. Not just a screening of the Spice Girls’ one and only cinematic effort, this is also a dance party, costume competition and even a tribute act – all for £1.

Aug 7: Sunday Shorts Inspired by its ongoing exhibition of found objects, The Foundling Museum is screening a lovely double bill of classic short films.

Aug 8: ‘Office Space’ This evening is inspired in part by efforts to bring in a four-day week for British workers. A fine ambition, but it’s the film we’re most interested in.

Aug 10-12: Rooftop Film Club and Benefit Cosmetics Climb aboard the Good Ship Benefit to watch films such as ‘When Harry Met Sally’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Tickets include a complimentary glass of Pimms, Tyrrells Poshcorn and 10% off Benefit products. 

© Marc Sethi, 51st State Festival


Aug 2-30: Father Groove: Summer in Brixton Roof Party Series Join the Coldharbour Disco Society – a new gang in town – for eight hours of funk, soul and disco sweetness on the lush Prince of Wales roof terrace, every Tuesday this summer.

Aug 4-7: Wilderness This escapist weekender in Oxfordshire is consistently one of the UK’s best festivals.

Aug 4-13: Cubitt Sessions A new outdoor venue and two-week music programme at King's Cross. Get engaged with classical music, immersive theatre, comedy and performances.

Aug 5: The Nest Collective’s Campfire Club Folk and flames is one of those magical combinations that just makes sense, like ham and cheese, and it's why Campfire Club is such a winning formula.

Aug 6: 51st State Festival A one-day dance festival in north London specialising in classic US house music. 

Aug 6: Eastern Electrics Big beats and bigger fun in Hertfordshire, a short train ride from central London.

Aug 6: Visions Festival Another one-day festival of underground music, street food, craft markets and summer fun in Hackney. 

Aug 6-7: Caught By The River Thames Head down to the banks of the river for a civilised weekend of bands, books and beer.

Aug 6- 27: DJ Harvey All Night Long Harvey Bassett made his name with a London residency, at his Moist night in Covent Garden, and he’s returning after a long absence to play a seven-hour set every weekend in August. 

Aug 11: Sons Of Kemet Star sax-and-clarinettist Shabaka Hutchings leads the double-drumming wallop of SOK. 

Aug 13: The Doctor's Orders: The History of Hip Hop The Southbank Centre goes hip hop for one day in August, with a little help from London rap party professionals The Doctor’s Orders.

Aug 13: 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.

Aug 15: Róisín Murphy Nominated for last year’s Mercury Prize for her first album in eight years, the former Moloko frontwoman notches up a historic first here by playing a live gig at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Aug 20: Bow Wow Wow The outrageously underrated, Afropop-infused, percussion-heavy new-wave band from the ’80s return to London with Annabella Lwin centre-stage. Terrific ’80s hits are guaranteed.

Aug 20-21: Canary Wharf Jazz Festival Do you like free jazz? No, not that kind of free jazz – we mean the opportunity to catch some of the best and most envelope-pushing jazz acts from London and beyond, gratis.

Aug 27-28: South West Four Clapham Common’s dance music festival attracts superstar DJs from across the globe.

Aug 29: Madness presents House of Common The ska brigade headline their own festival, with Toots & The Maytals also on the bill.


Aug 1-10: Yerma Billie Piper stars in this take on the Lorca classic by shit hot Aussie director Simon Stone.

Aug 1- Sep 17: Groundhog Day A new musical based on the 1993 hit film proves that the Old Vic is anything but stuck in the past.

Aug 12-Oct 1: They Drink It In the Congo Promising looking satire on liberal guilt and patronisation of Africa. 

Aug 20-Nov 12: The Entertainer Kenneth Branagh's West End season ends with him starring in the John Osborne classic that revived Olivier's career. 


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