August events in London

Prepare yourself for a spectacular month with our selection of the best events, exhibitions and things to do in London during August 2018
Simon Hadleigh-Sparks/ Flickr
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August in London is teeming with fantastic events, cultural happenings and things to do. Take advantage of the sunny weather (fingers crossed) by heading out into London’s great outdoors, eating alfresco at one of London's best rooftop restaurants and sinking a cocktail or two at one of these bars with a view. Don’t forget to hit up Europe’s biggest street party Notting Hill Carnival or bag a seat at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. August in London is also the month of the summer bank holiday, South West Four Festival, Cocktails in the City, London Craft Beer Festival51st State Festival and Buckingham Palace’s Summer Opening. Here’s your guide to the best pop-ups, parties, events and things to do in August in London 2018. 

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our August 2018 highlights

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The Palace Gates
Andrew Holt/Royal Collection Trust
Things to do, Walks and tours

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening

icon-location-pin St James's Park
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What is it? Every summer London’s most famous house opens for tours with an accompanying exhibition.
Why go? Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, but only 19 of them, the State Rooms, are open to the public. These are the grand spaces, where the Queen hosts receptions and entertains guests. 

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<meta charset="utf-8" /><p><span>Matthew Tennyson (Conor)&nbsp;</span></p>
Theatre, Drama

‘A Monster Calls’

icon-location-pin Southwark
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What is it? Patrick Ness's magical-realist fable about grief, adapted for the stage. 
Why go? To feel feelings and cry alot. 

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3
<meta charset="utf-8" /><p><span>Lloyd Hutchinson as Fool and Ian McKellen as King Lear</span></p>
Theatre, Shakespeare

‘King Lear’

icon-location-pin Covent Garden
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What is it? Ian McKellen's second crack at Shakespeare's biggest role. 
Why go? McKellen is wonderful. 

Time Out says
4
Things to do, Exhibitions

‘Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World’

icon-location-pin King's Cross
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What is it? An exhibition dedicated to all things ice cream. 
Why go? See memorabilia from the world’s largest collection of ice cream paraphernalia, taste a glow-in-the-dark concoction and stand in a cloud of vanilla-flavoured fog and breathe it in. 

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Things to do, Exhibitions

‘Spice Up London’

icon-location-pin Angel
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What is it? The biggest exhibition of Spice Girls memorabilia ever.
Why go? See hundreds of iconic costume pieces, heaps of nostalgia-inducing merchandise and the actual Spice Bus from ‘Spice World: The Movie’. Say you’ll be there? 

6
Bring It On, Southwark Playhouse
© Eliza Wilmott
Theatre, Musicals

‘Bring It On’

icon-location-pin Elephant and Castle
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What is it? A musical version of the teen movie. 
Why go? To hear Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip hop take on cheerleading. 

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7
Matt Martin
Things to do, Food and drink events

Moonshine Saloon

icon-location-pin Chelsea
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What is it? An immersive wild west cocktail experience where you and your best cowboys and gals can BYOL - that's Bring Your Own Liquor - into the undercover saloon. 
Why go? To pretend you're in a spaghetti western. 

8
<meta charset="utf-8" /><p><span>Kaisa </span><span> Hammarlund</span></p>
Theatre, Musicals

‘Fun Home’

icon-location-pin Southwark
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What is it? The wildly praised musical adaption of Alison Bechdel's graphic novel. 
Why go? It's gorgeous, funny and incredibly moving. 

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9
KIDS Adventure Play Hackney
Things to do

Summer holidays in London

Six weeks is a long time to keep anyone entertained, let alone your toughest critics. Don't panic though, we've got this year's school summer holidays totally sorted. 

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<meta charset="utf-8" /><p><span>Rhys Ifans the King Adrian Scarborough the Doctor&nbsp;</span></p>
Theatre, Comedy

‘Exit the King’

icon-location-pin South Bank
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What is it? Patrick Marber directs Ionesco's comedy about an ancient, dying king. 
Why go? Rhys Ifans is magnificent in the title role. 

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11
Things to do, Exhibitions

Sea Creatures

icon-location-pin Westminster
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What is it? Dive into the anatomy of some of the ocean’s most iconic marine life.
Why go? With 50 ethically sourced and painstakingly preserved specimens on display, you can explore the internal organs and structures which enable a life lived under the sea. 

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Theatre, Drama

‘Allelujah!’

icon-location-pin Bermondsey
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What is it? A new play from theatre legend Alan Bennett. 
Why go? That razor-sharp wit still firmly intact. 

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13
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Zip Now London

icon-location-pin Lambeth
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What is it? Fly down this 225-metre zip line – the biggest and fastest city line in the world. Zooming mid air at 31mph is bloody exhilarating.
Why go? If you thought cycling in rush hour was a buzz, it’s got nothing on this.

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Skylighht Bar. The Dock.  Photo by Steve Dunlop steve@stevedunlop.com www.stevedunlop.com
Steve Dunlop Photographer
Things to do, Quirky events

Skylight

icon-location-pin Wapping
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What is it? Have some (legal) fun in a former carpark at this rooftop playground in Tobacco Dock, which is back for some summer fun. 
Why go? For three floors full of bars, street food, croquet and pétanque with some unparalleled panoramas of the city skyline. 

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15
Midnight Apothecary, Brunel Museum
Things to do, Food and drink events

Midnight Apothecary

icon-location-pin Rotherhithe
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What is it? A quirky cocktail takeover at the Brunel Museum's rooftop garden. 
Why goSip botanical cocktails, pile round campfires, toasting marshmallows, tuck into Greek street food and venture into the Brunel tunnel - a giant subterranean concert hall - at this

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South West Four festival
Music, Dance and electronic

South West Four

icon-location-pin Clapham
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What is it? The mighty SW4 – Clapham Common’s bank holiday dance music explosion – returns.
Why go? For a weekend of big drops, club anthems and arms in the air. 

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17
101 Things To Do in London: Notting Hill Carnival
© David Tett
Music

Notting Hill Carnival

What is it? Since Notting Hill Carnival debuted in 1964, the event has grown and morphed, attracting revellers with its spectacle of floats and series of soundsystems for alfresco dancing.
Why go? It's Europe's most epic street party and a colourful celebration of West Indies culture. 

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beautiful allotment
Things to do, pop-ups

Beautiful Allotment

icon-location-pin Hoxton
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What is it? Bourne & Hollingsworth have unfurled an allotment-themed pop-up in the Geffrye Museum gardens.
Why go? To sip on cocktails made from ingredients grown on the green site, barbecue areas for alfresco dining, and bookable potting sheds, greenhouses and long flower tables. 

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19
Things to do

Capser Sleepmobile

icon-location-pin Brick Lane
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What is it? Power naps are so in vogue you can now catch 40 winks (in a 20-minute slot) right here in the city.
Why go? To get some shut-eye with the help of ambient lighting, privacy blinds and even wake up to post-nap snacks. 

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beautiful allotment
Things to do, pop-ups

Beautiful Allotment

icon-location-pin Hoxton
icon-calendar

What is it? Bourne & Hollingsworth has unfurled am allotment-themed pop-up in the Geffrye Museum gardens.
Why go? For cocktails made from ingredients grown on the green site, barbecue areas for alfresco dining, and bookable potting sheds, greenhouses and long flower tables. 

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21
time out movie boat
Film

Outdoor cinema in London

On a balmy London evening, nothing beats watching a movie under the stars. Whether you want to shriek-along to ‘The Shining’ in a graveyard or catch a romcom in a gorgeous Royal Park or palace, add these events to your fair-weather bucket list. 

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Things to do, Quirky events

Menagerie at the Museum: A Petting Zoo

icon-location-pin South Hackney
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What is it? The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities's Living Menagerie where you can learn all about the weird and wonderful animals from an experienced natural historian.
Why go? Get up close and personal with Winston the Bearded Dragon, Huffty the Blue Tongued Skinkand Professor Green the Python. 

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Notting Hill Carnival
© David Tett
Things to do

August bank holiday weekend

Forget about work, shift yourself from the sofa and make the most of the long weekend. Plan your August bank holiday to the minute with our round-up of the very best events taking place in the capital during the three day weekend.

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RAH_Proms_view.jpg
Music, Classical and opera

The BBC Proms

Move over, Glastonbury: the world’s biggest music festival is coming to town. The BBC Proms 2018 takes place at the Royal Albert Hall, which has hosted the series of classical concerts since 1941 and every year you can expect to see the world’s greatest orchestras and classical performers come to London. Get it in your diary. 

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Film

Film4 Summer Screen

icon-location-pin Temple
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What is it? Select your comfiest cushion, pack your cool box and head down to London's most elegant outdoor screening session. 
Why go? To see ‘Blue Velvet’, ‘Being John Malkovich’, ‘Call Me by Your Name’, ‘American Animals’ and more after dark in the courtyard of Somerset House.  

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Image courtesy of Leelee Kimmel and Simon Lee Gallery
Art

Leelee Kimmel: ‘Wormhole’

icon-location-pin Mayfair
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What is it? Paintings, sculptures and VR installation by a movie-star-turned artist. 
Why go? Falling through the gaps in the universe is good fun. 

Time Out says
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Neverland
Arron Photo
Things to do, pop-ups

Neverland London

icon-location-pin Parsons Green
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What is it? This Thames-side urban beach, is back and it's perfect for lazy summer days in Fulham.
Why go? To lie on a cabana and sink your toes into truck loads of sand. 

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Tyrone Huntley (the Academic) and Harry McEntire (the Writer)
Marc Brenner
Theatre, Drama

'Homos, Or Everyone in America'

icon-location-pin West Brompton
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What is it? An American ‘post gay’ relationship drama. 
Why go? To bask in the glow of the chemistry between the actors. 

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Things to do, Quirky events

The Beach at Brent Cross

icon-location-pin Brent Cross
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What is it? Brent Cross attempts to liven up its giant shopping centre by plonking 25 fairground rides and a big old ‘urban beach’, filled with the golden stuff.
Why go? To stroll along the city seaside and watch films on the Brent Cross big screen. 

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31
© Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2017. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick)
Art

‘Memory Palace’

icon-location-pin The Borough
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What is it? A memorable multi-venue exhibition about memories and how we make them. 
Why go? For more shades of pink than a Janelle Monae video. 

Time Out says
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Things to do, Exhibitions

Back in the Day: The Autograph Archive x ‘Yardie’

icon-location-pin Hackney
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What is it? Autograph, a collective formed to support black photographers, has curated an exhibiton full of snapshots of London in the ‘70s and ‘80s exploring race and representation. 
Why go? To celebrate the release of Idris Elba's directorial debut  ‘Yardie’ this month. 

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Home, I'm Darling, National Theatre
© Manuel Harlan
Theatre, Comedy

‘Home, I'm Darling’

icon-location-pin South Bank
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What is it? Katherine Parkinson stars in a subversive domestic satire. 
Why go? Laura Wade's piercingly funny script. 

Time Out says
34
THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE
Theatre, Drama

‘The Lieutenant of Inishmore’

icon-location-pin Covent Garden
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What is it? Aidan Turner stars in Martin McDonagh's play about a cat-loving terrorist. 
Why go? Tuner is great and McDonagh's gory humour is hilarious. 

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35
Theatre, Drama

‘Imperium’

icon-location-pin Soho
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What is it? A few years on from the RSC’s terrific ‘Wolf Hall’, here comes another meaty two-part literary adptation from the venerable company. 
Why go? Adapted from Robert Harris's bestselling ‘Cicero’ trilogy, this stage version by Mike Poulton divides the three books into two three-part plays entitled ‘Conspirator’ and ‘Dictator’. 

Time Out says
36
Things to do

Bearpit Karaoke

icon-location-pin Vauxhall
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What is it? Mass karaoke with stangers in the park.
Why go? Tp join a fully-fledged guerrilla choir and have a whole lotta fun. 

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37
Pablo Picasso, 'Woman on the Beach', the Penrose Collection. Copyright Succession Picasso. /DACS London 2018
Art, Painting

‘Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy’

icon-location-pin South Bank
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What is it? The first solo exhibition Tate Modern has ever held for the Spanish master, focusing entirely on 1932, a pivotal and prolific year for Pablo.
Why go? There are some truly beautiful artworks on display and it shows you that even within a year’s work, Picasso blindsides with his inventiveness. 

Time Out says
38
<meta charset="utf-8" /><p><span>Lucy Thackeray as Myrtle</span></p>
Theatre, Drama

‘Brief Encounter’

icon-location-pin St James'
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What is it? Emma Rice's vivid, dreamy, emotionally charged take on Noël Coward’s greatest achievement, ‘Brief Encounter’.
Why go? Few directors alive are as clued in to the lexicon of love as Rice, and she knows exactly what to do with Coward’s classic.

Time Out says
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39
Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 2018 Christo
Art

Christo & Jeanne-Claude

icon-location-pin Knightsbridge
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What is it? An enormous installation in the Serpentine from the masters of enormous installations. 
Why go? It might piss off the swimmers, but it's a delight for the eyes. 

Time Out says
40
Sensational Butterflies Girl with butterfly
Things to do

Sensational Butterflies

icon-location-pin Brompton
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What is it? The Natural History Museum's butterfly house returns to a specially constructed tropical enclosure on the Museum's east lawn.
Why go? Come face-to-face with tropical butterflies and take part in games, activities and challenges that teach more about the sensory world of the fluttering creatures. 

Time Out says
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41
Things to do, Late openings

Park Nights

icon-location-pin Knightsbridge
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What is it? A dusky evening of ‘art encounters’ held in the Serpentine Pavillion.
Why go? Over eight weekends, see an a mix of art exhibitions and experimental performances, featuring artists Megan Rooney, Pedro Reyes, Yaeji, Kamasi Washington and many more. 

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Aristocrats, Donmar
© Johan Persson
Theatre, Drama

‘Aristocrats’

icon-location-pin Covent Garden
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What is it? A revival of Brian Friel's play about fading Irish poshos. 
Why go? For Lyndsey Turner's sharp direction, and Es Devlin's smart set. 

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43
Things to do, Event spaces

Summer of Sound on The Roof

icon-location-pin Oxford Street
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What is it? The Gardening Society on John Lewis's Oxford Street store's rooftop is turning into a live music venue.
Why go? Rock up for garden gigs, immersive studio spaces, DJ sets and fried chicken from 'Butchies', all a world away from the hustle and bustle below. 

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Things to do, Walks and tours

Greenwich Painted Hall Ceiling Tours

icon-location-pin Greenwich
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What is it? Get up close to the ceiling of the Greenwich’s Painted Hall in this series of tours taking place while conservators restore 40,000 sqft of the ceiling’s painted surface. Why go? This place is described as ‘the Sistine Chapel of the UK’, so it's worth a look. 

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Things to do, pop-ups

Costa Del Tottenham

icon-location-pin Tottenham Hale
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What is it? London’s first nightclub with an outdoor pool is splashing into life with 15-foot palm trees and London's first ever Bring Your Own BBQ.
Why go? While the weather's hot they'll be throwing pool parties, outdoors DJ sets, live gigs and cocktail masterclasses. 

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Image from Frieze Sculpture 2017 © Stephen White/Frieze
Art

Frieze Sculpture 2018

icon-location-pin Regent's Park
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What is it? Frieze's annual outdoor display of contemporary sculptures in the English Gardens of Regent's Park.
Why go? Beautiful art in beautiful surroundings - what more could you want?

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47
<p>Sheila Atim (Emilia) and Andr&eacute; Holland (Othello)</p>
Theatre, Shakespeare

‘Othello’

icon-location-pin South Bank
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What is it? A sparky, complex new spin on a Shakespeare tragedy. 
Why go? Mark Rylance is wonderful. 

Time Out says
48
Ben Miles, Adam  Godley  and Simon Russell Beale inThe Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre
Theatre, Drama

‘The Lehman Trilogy’

icon-location-pin South Bank
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What is it? Sam Mendes directs an epic story of three banking brothers. 
Why go? For a trio of electrifying performances. 

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49
David LaChapelle 'An illuminating path' (1998) Courtesy of the artist
Art

Michael Jackson: ‘On the Wall’

icon-location-pin Leicester Square
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What is it? Art inspired by the King of Pop. 
Why go? It's about so much more than just MJ, and it's brilliantly put together. 

Time Out says
50
© Andrea Levy
Things to do, Exhibitions

‘Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land’

icon-location-pin Euston
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What is it? Marking 70 years since the Empire Windrush carried hundreds of migrants from the Caribbean to London, this exhibition explores why people came to the UK, what they left behind and how they have shaped Britain.
Why go? Listen to jazz and calypso, hear personal reflections from some of the first Caribbean nurses to join the NHS and  learn about Jamaican feminist poet Una Marson. 

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51
Dave McGowan
Things to do, Walks and tours

Tunnel Boat Trip

icon-location-pin King's Cross
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What is it? Brush up on your canal history while drifting through the Islington Tunnel on a narrow boat on a Tunnel Boat Trip from the Canal Museum.
Why go? Get up close to the tunnel's nooks and crannies and learn all about how it was built on this hour-long guided ride. 

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Things to do, Exhibitions

‘Picturing Forgotten London’

icon-location-pin Clerkenwell
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What is it? Rediscover bits of London that have been lost over the years at this London Metropolitan Archives' exhibition.
Why go? Check out long-gone landmarks, vanished streets and neighbourhoods that are no more. 

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53
© John Vernon Lord
Museums

John Vernon Lord: Illustrating Carroll and Joyce

icon-location-pin King's Cross
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What is it? House of Illustration's exhibition showing the illustrator's work for five books including ‘Finnegan’s Wake’, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Ulysses’.
Why go? Illustrations are often seen as playing second fiddle to actual ‘art’, but the intricately detailed and endlessly inventive creations of John Vernon Lord are just as beautiful as anything in an art gallery. 

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Nick Turpin
Things to do, Exhibitions

‘London Nights’

icon-location-pin Smithfield
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What is it? London Nights looks at how photographers have captured the aesthetic of the city at night.
Why go? See a darker side to capital and how Londoners live their lives after hours.

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Frida Kahlo
Things to do, Exhibitions

‘Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up’

icon-location-pin Brompton
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What is it? The V&A’s much-anticipated exhibition dedicated to the incredible collection of personal artefacts and clothing belonging to iconic Mexican, Frida Kahlo.
Why go? See exceptional dresses and envy-inducing possessions which were locked away following the artist’s death. 

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Deptford Bites
Things to do, Food and drink events

Deptford Bites

icon-location-pin Deptford
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What is it? Swish, newly redeveloped Deptford Market Yard now houses a new weekly food and craft market Deptford Bites. Why go? To pick up fresh farm produce, piping hot street food and crafts.

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© Getty Quentin Martinez
Museums

‘Life in the Dark’

icon-location-pin Brompton
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What is it? This exhibition dishes the dirt on the lives of animals that come out at night. 
Why go? Enter the shadowy world of a bat cave, lock eyes with a vampire squid or come face to face with a Mexican blind cave fish. 

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The Suffragette Winefride Mary Rix
© Museum of London
Things to do, Exhibitions

Votes for Women

icon-location-pin Smithfield
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What is it? This exhibition takes a closer look at the Representation of the People Act was passed 100 years ago, giving (some) women the right to vote in the UK.
What is it? Get to know some of the less well known suffragettes whose perseverance made it all happen. 

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59
© Estate of Otto Dix 2018
Art

‘Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919 - 1933’

icon-location-pin South Bank
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What is it? Tate Modern's major new free exhibition reclaiming the term ‘magic realism’.
Why go? Remember how the term was actually invented by Franz Roh and how the German artist and critic coined it as a name for the art created in his home country following the emotionally fraught German Expressionist movement.

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Copyright Jenny Holzer and Tate
Art, Contemporary art

Jenny Holzer

icon-location-pin South Bank
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What is it? Wordy art by a pioneer of the form. 
Why go? This little display is so full of ideas it'll leave your head spinning. 

 

Time Out says
Find out what's happening in September

Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Tomtom Coffee House

icon-location-pin Belgravia

Following a visit to Cuba in the '90s, Tom Assheton was inspired to bring a little bit of Havana to London, which he did by opening a cigar shop, marrying the experience of smoking fine cigars with a decent cup of coffee. He now has several venues across the city. Tomtom Coffee House is a place to grab a bite to eat while sipping on a blend of beans from Brazil to Ethiopia. Breakfast is served until 3pm and there’s a wide variety to choose from; eggs done any way you want, toasties and scotch pancakes. The lunch menu offers up an assortment of salads as well as tartines – sourdough bread with a choice of toppings including Welsh rarebit and smoked salmon.   There’s also an alcohol license and cigars are available from the store if you want to plonk yourself outside and have a more authentic Cuban experience…

Venue says Meet the locals, attacking their eggs with gusto and restarting their brains with Tomtom’s smooth espresso blend. Delicious.

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