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90 excellent things to do in London this September

By Stephanie Hartman

So with August done and dusted, it's time to start planning an even better September. The ninth month of the year has a vast array of festivals scheduled including Open House London, Merge and London Design Festival, as well as the Last Night of the Proms to enjoy and a generous scattering of food events across nearly every borough. Dig out your diary and start filling your days will all the joy below!


Sep 1-30: Totally Thames This month-long celebration of the Thames is sure to make a splash with its mix of arts festivals, community events, regattas, river races, foreshore archaeology and environmental activities. 

Sep 3-27: Deloitte Ignite The Royal Opera House and Covent Garden Piazza become even more entertaining than usual thanks to this trio of day-long festivals. Explore the ROH itself with interactive tours, musical theatre singalongs, dance workshops and Operaoke, or experience the modern side of classical music at the Nonclassical Club Night

Sep 4-6: Now Play This Play more than 20 games at this fun-filled weekend, from the lo-fi and familiar to the new and cutting-edge.

Sep 4-12: Shaped in Mexico This contemporary exhibition brings the best of Mexico's cultural tradition and identity to the South Bank, displaying 150 works by 32 international artists.

Sep 5: RA Lates: Enchanted Cosmos This RA Late event brings together a bevy of magic and science themed entertainment inspired by Joseph Cornell's obsession with theatrical performance and the allure of an infinite cosmos.

Sep 8: Synth Club Learn how to build your very own electronic musical instrument at this DIY workshop taking place in East Dulwich. The step-by step session will give guests the chance to make a tone generator with four trigger buttons and four adjustable frequencies. 

Sep 10-13: Chambord Chapter Eight Games Enjoy a game of croquet on the roof of the Hothouse Building with Chambord who will be serving up special cocktails and french food to hungry players. 

Sep 13: Run to the Beat No need to update your running playlist for this 10k in Wembley Park. The route will be lined with DJs (including Danny Howard, Marvin Humes and Jameela Jamil) who'll play sets that will keep you feeling energetic the whole way through. 

Sept 18: Maggie's Culture Crawl This night-time walk with a difference offers participants pit stops at such iconic buildings as Chelsea Physic Garden, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Foster + Partners Studio. 

Sep 18-Oct 18: Merge Festival on Bankside A collection of creative events and installations will take over venues great and small in the Bankside area for a fifth year in 2015, inviting the public to discover the area's buildings and spaces by interacting with specially designed artworks. 

Sep 18-Mar 13: Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age An exhibition telling the remarkable story of how Russia launched the space age.

Sep 19 and 24 London's Night Owls Sleepover at MoL Walk in the footsteps of Londoners past and explore the Museum of London by torchlight at these special after-hours events for ages seven to 11. 

Sep 19-27: London Design Festival The London Design Festival spans dozens of locations, includes hundreds of exhibitors and has one clear mission: to prove that our city is the capital of design. With so many other great London events in September, make sure that you mark out Sat Sep 19 – Sun Sep 27 to explore this celebration of craft and design. 

Sep 19-20: Open House London The annual Open House London weekend, which takes place on Saturday Sep 19–Sunday Sep 20 2015, gives Londoners the chance to explore behind the closed doors of some of the capital's biggest, most renowned and most secret venues for free this September.

Sep 21: Maker Mile An exciting evening trail packed with hands-on workshops, open studios and activities mapping the diverse network of suppliers, makers and outlets so local communities can discover the maker culture and resources open to them.

Sep 24-27: Radio Times Festival This four-day event is actually a vast line-up of talks, panel discussions, exhibitions and children's workshops which celebrate TV, radio and books. 

Sep 24-Jan 31: Celts: Art and Identity at British Museum The many tribes of people in Iron Age and Medieval Europe who are known as Celts have a fairly patchy history – their geography, ethnicity, languages and even cultures are greatly varied. This exhibition tells their story through intricate jewellery, stylised religious pieces and decorative arts from the late nineteenth century which were inspired by the Celtic designs of the past.

Sep 25: Science Uncovered The Natural History Museum's annual celebration of EU Researchers' Night will gather more than 300 scientists and experts to offer displays, tours, experiments, challenges, discussions and debate. 

Sep 25-27: Why Music at the Wellcome This partenrship between BBC Radio 3 and the Wellcome Collection will explore just what it is about music that moves human beings so completely.

Sep 25-27: Ceramics in the City at the Geffrye The annual exhibition of contemporary ceramics returns to the Geffrye, with some 50 potters  showing their work to sell at prices starting from a very reasonable £10. 

Sep 25-27: The International London Tattoo Convention at Tobacco Dock An annual body art festival packed with the best in the business, the London Tattoo Convention is back for an eleventh year in 2015, with more than 400 of the world's most talented tattoo artists confirmed to attend. 

Sep 26-Jan 10: The Fabric of India at the V&A Sumptuous Indian textiles come under the spotlight in the V&A's major autumn 2015 exhibition.

Sep 28-Oct 12: London Literature Festival at Southbank Centre The London Literature Festival once again fills the Southbank Centre with acclaimed authors, poets, speakers and collaborators for a fortnight of wordy events.

Le Dîner en Blanc

Le Dîner en Blanc


From Sep 1: Hammerschlagen A new pop-up cafe and bar named after a traditional German game which sees players hammer a nail into a log with as few strikes as possible. The venue will be serving up fine beers from across the globe, and winners of the log game will get a discount on their bar tab. 

From Sep 1: Vico A new restaurant from the people behind Bocca di Lupo and Gelupo. Vico offer Italian dishes inspired by street food, with informal seating and drinks (including prosecco) on tap.

Sep 1-5: John Gregory-Smith at the Carousel A Turkish inspired menu from chef, food writer and adventurer John Gregory Smith whose dishes include light meze plates such as charcoal grilled sardines and bigger numbers like marinated lamb tenderloin seared to perfection on the grill.

Sep 1- Oct 4: Squid Kitchen's September Residency Head to Clapham for this new residency inspired by Madrid Market Eating. Visitors can dine on traditional snacks and produce from the Spanish capital including chorizo stew and pepper and patatas bravas with spicy tomato and paprika sauce.

Sep 2-4: London Shell Co Four courses of fresh seafood and fine wine and great booze served on the Peagreen canal boat somewhere on Regent’s Canal.

Sept 3: Le Dîner en Blanc This most classy of picnics will see 1,000 people dressed head-to-toe in white sit down for dinner in a public space (which will remain secret until the very last minute). Guests must bring a table, white chairs and white tablecloth, a picnic basket filled with fine food and white tableware, and wine or champagne to drink – beer and spirits clearly aren't classy enough for this gig.

Sep 4-6: Kerb Southbank Riverside Swing by the riverside stretch in front of the Southbank Centre for these food markets which will keep you eating from lunch until sundown if you think you're hungry enough.

From Sep 4: The Manhattans Project at POND Dalston The Manhattans Project begin their three month residency serving up ‘classic cocktails done right’. The drinks menu is complemented by a brand new food menu from POND's head chef Byron Knight. 

Sep 5: Cookbook Confidential Festival This day of talks, demonstrations and tastings celebrates the world of cooking, with some big names from the food world on the bill.

Sep 5-6: Grillstock At US barbecue festivals meat and music combine to create one hell of a party, and Grillstock will be bringing the hunger-inducing, hip-shaking combination to Walthamstow this September.

Sep 7-13: Little Bao pop-up at Soho Kitchen and Bar Little Boa descend on Soho Kitchen for a week-long pop-up where they’ll be serving up their sumptuous signature Asian burgers 

Sep 9-Oct 3: Conflict Café An innovative pop-up restaurant launched by peacebuilding charity International Alert, is returning to London for its second year to inspire more strangers to ‘break bread’ and start conversations about peace through food.

Sep 10-13: Omnivore Food & Drink Festival The French-born, itinerant Omnivore food fest began in 2003 and has been trotting the globe since 2012, but this London instalment promises to be one of the best yet, with its roster of top international chefs and mixologists meeting plenty of homegrown talent.

Sep 11: Free Tom Kerridge Pop-up Enter this ballot to win a pair of tickets to an exclusive event with chef Tom Kerridge who will be cooking up tasty bites for 100 lucky guests. Email with your name, age, contact number and address by Sept 4 to enter.

Sep 16-27: The Bayou Banquet A New Orleans inspired series of supper clubs, cocktail parties, Sunday brunches and live music events in the Vaults at Waterloo.

Sep 19-20: Tequila and Mezcal Fest Returning for a second year, this festival boasts fantastic booze, Mexican street food, live bands, a photography exhibition and more.

Sep 19-20: Meatopia It’s baaaaaack (bacon) – the meatiest of food fests, Meatopia. London's hunger for protein shows no sign of waning so for its third year this celebration of meat, booze and fire will offer more than 20 chef teams per day and plenty of entertainment besides.

Sep 27: Fare Healthy A one-day festival celebrating great food, fitness and wellbeing in Borough Market.

Opening Sep: Rudie's A fresh Jamaican food joint heading to Dalston using traditional techniques with a modern twist. Expect expert jerk dishes, spiced lobster patties and delicious small plates.  

Kit Neale


Sep 1-6: Kit Neale Outlet Head to the Hackney Shop on Morning Lane for serious discounts from Kit Neale with prices ranging from £5-£50. 

Sep 2: Diptyque Box Park Pop Up High-end perfumer Diptyque heads to the East End to set up shop in a Boxpark container. Expect an edit of the Parisian brand’s best-selling fragrances, candles and beauty products that smell good and look good on Instagram, too.

Sep 3: One Night Stand with American Eagle Outfitters Head to the Old Street pop-up store on Thursday for a jean-focussed shopping soiree complete with drinks, discounts and fashion advice from Time Out style editor, Miriam Bouteba. 

Sep 5-6: Vintage Clothing and Record Fayre Mint celebrate their tenth birthday with a weekend long sale in Dalston. Over 5000 items including jeans, dress, coats, jackets and heaps of vinyl records will be up for grabs with prices at £4, £6 and £8. 

Sep 10: Regent Street Fashion and Design Month One of London’s most handsome shopping thoroughfares, Regent Street has announced its first ever Fashion and Design Month: a 30-day celebration of pioneers of style and design.

Sept 17: Carnaby Style Night More than a hundred of Carnaby’s shops, restaurants and bars team up for an evening of fashion and free stuff.

Sept 18: Minnie Style Icon A new exhibition of photographs at Blacks Club exploring the influence of Minnie Mouse in fashion and popular culture. Images on show include a number shot by Georgia May Jagger who co-curated the show.

Sep 21-Oct 18: Louis Vuitton Series 3 Exhibition Explore Nicolas Ghesquière’s inspirations for his fourth ready-to-wear show as the Artistic Director for women’s collections at Louis Vuitton at this exhibition on The Strand.

Sep 24-27: London Fashion Weekend Invitation to the Burberry show lost in the post? London Fashion Weekend offers us mere mortals an insider’s perspective on the fashion industry, with trend-led catwalks from big name designers and talks from fashion hotshots.



Sep 1-12: Ronny Chieng He's been away for a little while, Ronny Chieng, but the disgruntled Malaysian stand-up is back after a stint at the Edinburgh Fringe with his latest hour, 'Chieng Rection'.

Sep 3 and 4: Marc Maron Ever listened to this Jewish grump's (think Larry David) popular podcast, 'WTF'? Because his stand-up isn't too dissimilar and this month you can see it first-hand when he performs 'Maronation' for two nights in Leicester Square.

Sep 16-20: Greenwich Comedy Festival This consistently superb festival is back with one of their best line-ups yet. Including Reginald D Hunter, David O'Doherty, Jerry Sadowitz, Adam Buxton, Tim Key, Bridget Christie, Kevin Eldon and many more.

Sep 22-Oct 10: Sam Simmons The madass Aussie surrealist is back with 'Spaghetti for Breakfast'. In this unsurprisingly absurd hour Simmons details 'things that shit me', which are better known to us as the frustrations of life.

Sep 23 and 24: Tommy Tiernan Multi award-winning Irish superstar Tommy Tiernan brings his new solo show, 'Out of the Whirlwind', back to London, during which he tackles the big issues of today – sex, religion and family – with his trademark sense of outrage. 


Sep 3-5: Tribal Art London The tribal art fair returns for a second year with all manner of masks, antique textiles and ethnographic photography.

Sep 10-13: Start Focusing on emerging artists and young international galleries, the second START art fair continues to provide a platform for the talents emerging from countries like Korea, South Africa and Vietnam.

Sep 17-Jan 24: The World Goes Pop Over 200 works by artists from Latin America to Asia celebrates the many faces of pop art.

Sep 18-Nov 22: Jumana Manna Music and politics merge in the Berlin-based, Palestinian artist’s first UK solo show.

Sep 18-Dec 23: Astronomy Photographer of the Year Once again you can expect to see remarkable feats of astrophotography at the seventh Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition.

Sep 19-Dec 13: Ai Weiwei The Chinese artist and activist gets his first British survey show.

Sep 24-Nov 15: Prem Sahib You may know Sahib from his occasional club night Anal House Meltdown organised with fellow artists Eddie Peake and George Henry Longly that were hosted in sweaty basement spaces in Dalston and Haggerston.

Sep 25- Oct 4: Deptford X The established South London art-fest returns with another ambitious line-up of exhibitions and events in galleries, studios and other venues across Deptford. 

Take a look at the Time Out exhibitions calendar here.


Sep 3-26: More London Free Festival: Film These free September screenings are officially the last hurrah of the outdoor film season. The Scoop is a 1,000-seat open-air sunken amphitheatre on the South Bank next to City Hall.

Sep 3-13: Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival Returning for a sixth year, this volunteer-run festival boasts a great programme of free screenings taking place across a number of venues in the SE15 area.

At the cinema...

Sep 4: Ricki and the Flash Ageing rocker Ricki Randazzo (Meryl Streep) barely holds on to her grocery checkout job during the daytime. She’s sarcastic, bitter and chatty. But those liabilities become assets at night, when she becomes the frontwoman of a scruffy bar band and her local fans howl appreciatively through the hits.

Sep 4: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl The Citizen Kane of teen cancer tearjerkers, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s funny and bruising Sundance sensation is like The Fault in Our Stars remade for Criterion Collection fetishists.

Sep 11: Legend This film stars Tom Hardy, playing not one, but both Kray brothers. Hardy made his career portraying the rage and brute physicality of career criminal Charles Bronson. So we can expect a full-throttle performance from him as Ronnie and Reggie, who ruled the east End in the 1960s with a rod of iron (quite literally at times).

Sep 11: Irrational Man Another year, another Woody Allen film. But not since 2007’s ‘Cassandra’s Dream’ has Allen played it almost entirely deadly straight with a tragic male character at the heart of his drama. ‘Irrational Man’ harks further back to the likes of ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’ and gives us Abe (Joaquin Phoenix), a philosophy lecturer who arrives to teach at a small East Coast college preceded by his reputation for eccentricity and womanising.

Sep 25: Life This small, well-coiffed and attentively designed film shows us a few weeks in the life of James Dean (Dane DeHaan) on the brink of reluctant stardom in 1955.

Sep 25: Mia Madre The new film from Italian director Nanni Moretti ('The Son's Room') tells of a filmmaker who is working on a movie with an American star and is struggling to hold her life together off the film set.



Sep 4-5: Field Maneuvers Now in its third year, this three-day party celebrates underground electronic music with a line-up of talented, rising UK DJs (plus a few established heroes). 

Sep 5: Elrow The Balearic-feel party loved in Ibiza and Cape Town brings its carnival-style fun to London.

Sep 10-12: Despacio Put the magic back into clubbing with James Murphy and 2ManyDJs' disco soundsystem.

Sep 12: Ceremony Festival Building on their history of wicked outdoor dance-athons around town, expert party-starters Found are bringing back the one-day Ceremony Festival for another outing.

From Sep 12: Jasper James at Phonox In-house resident DJ at new club Phonox Jasper James will be taking control of the Brixton venue's sounds every Saturday night. He'll be playing eclectic sets – that will likely dip into deep house, tripped-out techno and forward-thinking dancefloor jams – and bringing in guest DJs too.   

Sep 13: United Festival After a storming debut last year, this one-day celebration of UK rave culture returns to shake up Finsbury Park. Over 150 hard-hitting names will be helping the crowds to rave hard and true, blasting out drum 'n' bass, techno, hardcore, garage and acid house across eight arenas.

Sep 25: Quantic DJ Set Hear William Holland flex his DJ muscles, with a set that should take in tropical funk, soulful house and other colourful global beats influenced by his current home of Colombia.

Sep 26: Optimo: Until the Music Stops The DJ duo return to the capital along with London based collective Sofrito at the end of the month for their second party of the year.

TBC: Clock Strikes 13  It's a new series of parties planned for the final three months of 2015, on consecutive Fridays and Saturdays. The project is the brainchild of Ajay Jayaram, one of the crew behind excellent underground clubbing series The Hydra, which has ripped London nightlife a new one in recent years.   


Sep 3: The Polyphonic Spree Hooray! The Spree are back on a London stage that’s big enough to accommodate their 20-odd members.

Sep 6, 12-13: Multi Story Orchestra Talk about musique concrète! Peckham’s disused multi-storey car park is the setting for concerts from the 60-strong Multi-Story Orchestra under Christopher Stark, alongside recitals in a smaller ‘strawditorium’ space.

Sep 7-8: King Crimson The latest incarnation of the veteran prog band causes merry havoc across two nights in Hackney.

Sept 12: Last Night of Proms Marin Alsop once again conducts the flag-waving culmination to the Proms, which reaches a crescendo with rousing favourites including Arne's Rule, Britannia!, Elgar's Pomp And Circumstance March No 1 In D Major 'Land Of Hope And Glory', Parry's orchestration of Jerusalem and Britten's arrangement of The National Anthem.

Sep 12-13: On Blackheath SE3 hosts its very own music festival, with Elbow and Madness topping the bill plus food and fun. 

Sep 21-25: Florence + the Machine Florence Welch and her band have notched up a third consecutive Number One album with their mighty new album ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’, and to celebrate they’re playing no fewer than four enormous Ally Pally shows. 

Sep 23: Unknown Mortal Orchestra Ruban Nielson and his freaky pop cohorts bring songs from their new album ‘Multi-Love’ to London.

Sep 23: Chvrches Since 2013 Chvrches have toured the world and soundtracked the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, and now they're back in London for a ballot-only gig at The Dome and a huge show at Ally Pally.

Sep 26: Apple Music Festival: Pharrell Williams The hip hop and R&B hitmaker comes to town, headlining the free Apple Music Festival.



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