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London events in July

Your definitive guide to the best events and things to do happening in London throughout July 2022

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Time Out London Things To Do
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July is in full swing and its proving to be sun-soaked and full of brilliant happenings – from England’s 8-0 win against Norway in the UEFA Women’s Euros, to one of the biggest Pride marches London has ever seen. 

Make the most of the hot weather with a splash in one of the city’s lidos, a meal outdoors or a cocktail or pint in one of London’s best rooftop bars or beer gardens. At this time of year, London’s parks are at their finest, or for more outdoor action visit one of the city’s urban beaches or outdoor cinemas

When you’re not galavanting about outside there’s also plenty of culture to take in. From stunning exhibitions, including the V&A’s ‘Africa Fashion’, the new Serpentine Pavillion and a smart, funny sequel to Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’.

London music festivals are still in full swing in July, and it’s also a chance to take in the city’s lavender and sunflower fields, which are at their blooming loveliest. Here’s our guide to the best exhibitions, shows and things to do this July 2022 in London. 

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

The best July 2022 events in London

  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

It may feel like barely any time has passed since we were red in the face cheering on the England men’s football team against Italy in the Euros 2020 final. Now we can relive the anxiety of watching England play all over again at the UEFA Women’s Euros. 

The lads didn’t win last year, but England’s women are hoping to do better in 2022 and get to the final at Wembley on Sunday July 31. If you haven’t been able to get your hands on tickets, no sweat. There are plenty of screens popping across the capital where you can see all the action in blistering HD glory. Here’s a list of spots that will be showing the matches across the city. 

 

  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

Body Movements celebrates LGBTQ+ people in dance music, taking place across 16 east London venues, including Colour Factory, Crate, Number 90 and The Yard. The festival won Time Out London’s ’Best New Event’ in our 2021 ’Best of the City’ awards – make sure it’s on your bucket list for 2022. 

The line-up includes Adonis, Daytimers, Big Dyke Energy, Pxssy Palace, TechnoMate

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  • Music
  • Music

The most famous classical music concert series on the planet. This year it’s celebrating its 150th anniversary with 84 concerts over 57 days with over 3,000 musicians. This year the event will see the return of international orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Australian World Orchestra and the newly formed Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra. It will also feature a large-scale repertoire not heard at the festival since 2019.

There’s still a chance to bag tickets for ‘The First Night’, which will feature a moving rendition of Verdi’s mighty ‘Requiem’, the massed voices of the BBC Symphony Chorus and Crouch End Festival Chorus as well as young soloists including BBC Cardiff Singer of the World prize-winning soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha and rising British-Italian tenor Freddie De Tommaso.

  • Art
  • South Kensington

The V&A’s ambitious new exhibition is a triumphant attempt to complete the near-impossible task of capturing an entire continent through its fashion. Incorporating textiles, design and still and moving images, ‘Africa Fashion’ takes visitors on a compelling journey from the 1960s to the present day in a bid to reshape existing geographies and narratives of style.

It feels like a glorious celebration. You leave this beautiful show with its vision for the future, an Afrotopia, where ‘Fashion is a space for imagination, for hope, for pain, for aspiration. African fashion creatives use their work to actualise a more equitable and sustainable future in which we all thrive.’ Satisfyingly, this exhibition is cut from the same cloth.

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  • Things to do
  • London

You’ve heard of Venice. You know São Paulo. Now get to know London’s very own arty biennial. This year’s theme is ‘In the House of my Love’ looking at the many meanings of homemaking. Taking place in a cluster of locations, there’ll be 12 artists’ projects to explore over the summer. Look out for Katarzyna Perlak’s traditional Polish paper chandeliers hanging in St Matthew’s Church in Willesden and a former fish and chip shop in Kilburn transformed into a Jamaican takeaway diving into dancehall’s golden era in northwest London. 

 

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Regent’s Park

The second of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s ‘big summer musicals’ this year is a much-delayed, all-singing adaptation of Dodie Smith’s iconic kids’ novel – best known, of course, for the Disney cartoon film – which is, astonishingly, the theatre’s first-ever original musical commission. The presence of the excellent Toby Olié as puppetry designer and director gives a fair clue as to how the hordes of hounds will manifest themselves. The always excellent Kate Fleetwood leads the cast as top baddie Cruella de Vil.

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  • Art
  • South Bank

Things are about to get seriously fantastical as the Hayward Gallery takes a deep dive into the work of Black artists who mash together folklore, myth, science fiction and spiritual traditions. Expect immersive film installations, scupltures, paintings and photos by artists include Ellen Gallagher, Hew Locke, Chris Ofili and Kara Walker, all using fantasy to twist historical ideas into powerful, politically charged new shapes. 

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

Did a visit to see Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ at the National Gallery fail to provide your flower fix? Get neck-deep in heliotropic heaven at these golden fields full of custard-yellow blooms. 

  • Art
  • Art

Every year, the Serpentine Pavilion shows up to herald the start of summer, and it’s back again for 2022, designed this time by American artist Theaster Gates. But, this isn’t the pavilion of classic idyllic English summers. This is a serious, stark, austere business. 

The ‘Black Chapel’, is an imposing, cylindrical building. The inspiration at the heart of the work is the Rothko Chapel, a prayer space in Texas, with art by abstract expressionist master Mark Rothko. Gates’s building follows a similarly meditative template, creating a space for quiet contemplation, like being inside a giant vase, but in a very very relaxed way.

It might all be serious and contemplative, but it won’t be quiet. Over the course of the summer, the pavilion will host a series of concerts – including performances by jazz drummer Moses Boyd and the London Oratory Choir, who will be doing some Gregorian chanting, apparently – as well as tea ceremonies and clay workshops.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

The confusingly named ‘Warner Bros Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter’ in Watford lets fans walk among sets used in the films. Now you can actually step into Professor Sprout’s greenhouse. Visitors will get the chance to mess around with a potted Mandrake and experience the Great Hall to the Frog Choir scene as seen in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’. 

  • Film

When the sun’s out and the weather’s at its summery best, hiding away in a dark, stuffy room isn’t the most appealing option. Thank god then, for outdoor cinemas letting us get our film fix under the stars and with a sweet summer breeze in our hair.

London is home to some brilliant alfresco movie spots, which will be popping up all over the city in 2022, everywhere from docks and parks to rooftops and manicured gardens. Here’s a list of our favourites. 

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  • Theatre
  • Comedy
  • South Bank

Richard Bean’s farce ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ was one of the National Theatre’s biggest ever hits, so it’s no surprise he’s loosely adapting another historical comedy for the theatre’s massive Olivier mainstage. Based on 1775 Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’, ’Jack Absolute Flies Again’ follows competing suitors who are after fashionable lady Lydia Languish's hand in marriage. Bean and Chris’s vigorous rewrite sets the action during WWII, when fighter pilot Jack woos a young heiress. 

  • Art
  • Mayfair

Peter Saul is gross. He’s weird and violent and nasty and strange and surreal and, most of all, he’s brilliant. The American painter has been pushing his melty Pop art satirical aggression for decades, and despite being almost in his 90s, no one comes close. His new paintings here are the same old Saul, but that’s exactly what you want.  Saul is a special painter, and getting lost in his Bizarro World take on Pop is a trip we should all get to take.

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  • Music
  • Music

The Strand institution is bringing back its outdoor gig series after two years. The line-up for the 11-day 2022 edition looks absolutely mega. Brit Award Best Newcomer winner Londoner Arlo Parks is performing hits from her poetic, soulful and excellent debut album ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’. Catchy Canadian songstress Carly Rae Jepsen will be bringing her effervescent pop to London for the occasion. Angular Bristolians Squid will be twitching their tentacles. And on a (hopefully sunny) Saturday evening to remember, multi-platinum US singer-songwriter John Legend will be taking to London’s most scenic stage.

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  • Theatre
  • Immersive
  • Chalk Farm

Made by the team behind ‘Doctor Who: Time Fracture’, ‘Peaky Blinders: The Rise’ is a new immersive theatre show that’ll enable you to join forces with Thomas Shelby and gang as they aim to take over Camden Town. If ‘Time Fracture’ is anything to go by it’ll be a big fun, low-peril night that will surely feature some sort of pre-recorded cameos from Ciaran Murphy et al.

  • Things to do

It’s going to be very very hot indeed this week. So, there’s no better time to cool off in one of London’s brilliant outdoor swimming pools. Here’s a list of our favourite alfresco bathing spots, however, our desire to paddle around under a sunny sky does mean that it’s important to book ahead if you want your open-air swim fix. So no rocking up to try your luck. 

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Soho

Moved from Alexandra Palace, an all-female indie rock line-up is taking over the London Palladium for this extra-special gig at an iconic London venue. Connie Constance and Nadine Shah will take to the stage before the legendary singer-poet Patti Smith, aka the ‘Godmother of Punk’, fills the stage with unconventional and unapologetic rock. 

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Leicester Square

‘The Seagull’ flies again! The Jamie Lloyd Company’s production of Chekhov’s masterpiece marks the West End debut of Emilia Clarke, who’ll be trading in dragon riding for the role of vain young actress Nina in Chekhov’s great play in a version by Anya Reiss (presumably the same one that played at Southwark Playhouse in 2012, starring a young Lily James). 

 

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  • Art
  • Trafalgar Square

Rumour has it that one of the greatest quotes in history – ‘good artists borrow, great artists steal’ – was first attributed to none other than twentieth-century master Pablo Picasso. It’s a believable attribution, because Pablo loved a good bit of artistic theft, as evidenced by this show pitting Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s ‘Madame Moitessier’ from 1856 against Pablo’s ‘Woman with a Book’ from 1932. It’s a small, free show, but a brilliant chance to see artistic inspiration (and burglary) at work. 

 

  • Art
  • King’s Cross

These days, writing in gold is as easy as popping into Paperchase and buying a glitter pen. But in the years before, writing with gold actually meant something – it carried a heavy symbolic weight. To prove it, the basement of the British Library has been filled with gold-drenched manuscripts from around the world, in multiple languages, telling countless stories. The gold still glistens, it still shines on the page, meaning that all of these stories still feel somehow alive, after all these years.

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  • Art
  • Barbican

The Barbican Curve becomes a space for meditation on the ecological future of our planet in this experiential new group exhibition. Artists from around the world have been brought together to show work about the earth, including crockery made for animals, an immersive soil experience, plankton noise, fashion made out of living cells, and a chance to experience ‘tree time’. 

  • Art
  • Aldwych

Anguish, pain and melancholy are flooding through the rooms of the Courtauld. It’s what you’d expect from a show of work by the man who painted ‘The Scream’ – probably the most famous image of angst in history – but it still packs an emotional punch. 

Edvard Munch is Norway’s great modern artist, a radical figure who dedicated his life to painting emotion like the Impressionists painted light. This collection of early works starts off sedately enough, but soon light is swapped for shadow, daytime for midnight and we see all the Munch tropes: the long, thick swooping outlines, the sunken cheeks, the pallid skin. Come for the torment, the anguish, the darkness, you big emo, and there’s plenty of it.

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