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Things to do in June
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London events in June

June in London is here. Make it the greatest month of your year yet with our guide to the best art exhibitions, plays and general shindigs taking place around the city in June 2024.

Edited by
Alexandra Sims
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June in London is filled with a sense of excitement. It’s that ‘school’s out!’ feeling, until you remember that you left school years ago, and ‘summer holidays’ don’t really exist for adults. Shame. 

June is also the start of summer in London, which means the capital’s beer gardens are at their prime, the city parks are at their prettiest, the open-air theatre season gets into full swing and eating alfresco is on the cards at some of London’s best restaurants. Plus, expect to see long queues in south west London as tennis fans line up to bag a place at the epic Wimbledon championships

June in London also means its time for London Sundance Film Festival, the Roundhouse’s poetry festival The Last Word and Open Square Gardens. So mark them all off in your calendar and prepare to have a ball fit for a queen.  

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The best things to do in June in London

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Covent Garden

Musical theatre fans, get ready for outdoor dancing and sing-a-longs with some of the West End's biggest stars: West End Live is back! It's the initiative that turns some of the most expensive forms of entertainment in London into the cheapest fun going. Each year, casts of some of London's best West End musicals emerge blinking into the open-air for a weekend of free alfresco performances in Trafalgar Square, accompanied by fun photo ops, merch stalls, and bags of showbiz atmosphere.

  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • South Bank

Joining a long list of legendary names that includes David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Grace Jones and David Byrne, Chaka Khan is taking on Southbank Centre’s fabulous annual Meltdown Festival, and the first few performers have just been announced. Todrick Hall (June 16), Speakers Corner Quartet and the Guildhall Orchestra (June 17), Incognito (June 19) and Morcheeba (June 22) are just a handful of the names on the programme, with plenty more to be announced. You can expect a celebration of all things Chaka, as it marks a whopping 50 years of her career as a musician. In that time, she's sold 100 million records, won ten Grammys and released absolute bangers like 'Ain't Nobody', 'I'm Every Woman', 'I Feel for You' – need we go on?

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Kew Midsummer Fete
  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Kew

With over 100 stalls, a traditional Victorian fun fair, a beer tent, a tea tent, a dog show, tug of war and live local bands, Kew’s Midsummer Fete is your average village green fair dialled up to 11. The best part? Entry is free, but all your well-spent cash will be going to some very worthy causes – last year raised more than £22,000 for local charities like Richmond Food Bank and the Riverbank Trust. 

  • Things to do
  • Film events
  • South Bank

This two month-long season aims to explore the brilliant yet lesser-known gems of Pan-African cinema, handpicked by the BFI Southbank. There’ll be a screening of Integration Report 1, a film made by Madeleine Anderson, the first African American documnetarian, as well as Cabascabo, a thrilling drama by director Omuarou Ganda about a Senegalese rifleman enlisted in the Indochina war. Coming Forth By Day is a debut about the struggle of a young girl and her mother looking after her father in Cairo, and there’ll also be a selection of four short films in the ‘Original Voices’ programme – loads to see.

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  • Music
  • Hoxton

Test your stamina by seeing how long you can make it through this day-to-night Pride party in Hackney Wick from sexual wellness brand and queer ravers Howl. This year, the event runs for 15 hours and will kick off in the afternoon with some special guest performances, a garden party, a queer market stall and even a bouncy castle. As the sun sets, things will shift up a gear for a massive night rave. Keep your eyes peeled for the line-up – organisers promise this will be their “biggest party yet”.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • South Kensington

The Natural History Museum’s big exhibition for 2024 is this massive new celebration of our avian pals. As you can doubtless glean from the title, ‘Birds: Brilliant & Bizarre’ focuses on the weirder end of the feathered spectrum, from actually strange-looking birds to exploring things like the links between pigeons and T-rex, or daring you to sniff a stinky seabird egg. While some of the NHM’s permanent exhibitions can look a little tired these days, its big temporary exhibitions are typically cutting-edge, interactive and hugely fun.

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Strand

Twenty years after the classic comedy film briefly threatened to make Lyndsey Lohan a global icon for the right reasons, Tina Fey’s musical adaptation of her smash ‘Mean Girls’ finally makes it to the West End. Following the misadventures of Cady Heron, a home-schooled student totally naive to the cliquey ways of the high school she starts at aged 16, the musical version of ‘Mean Girls’ did decent business on Broadway a few years back but then became a victim of the pandemic. General word on the street was that the script was as funny as ever. 

  • Nightlife
  • Vauxhall

LGBTQ+ collective Duckie became famous for their weekly Saturday night sets at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, which were a super-fun mix of anything-goes performances and brilliant music which had been running since ‘95. They ceased in 2022, but Duckie Magic is back for Pride. DJ duo the Readers Wifes play everything from Britpop and Britney, and Irish DJ Azara is on the programme too. Head to Eagle for what is promised to be a ‘night of mischief and mayhem’.

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  • Things to do
  • Quirky events
  • Regent’s Park

A reincarnation of Zoo Lates (which ended in 2015), Zoo Nights returns to bring ‘after hours’ fun to ZSL London Zoo. Attractions entrial a packed street-food market, live music, an after-hours look at the reptile house in ‘The Secret Life of Reptiles and Amphibians’, and a ‘The Birds and the Bees’ tour where experts will shed some light on animal sex. For the extreme animal enthusiasts out there, you can even opt for a Zoo Nights VIP Sleepover and rest your head in one of the zoo’s nine lodges. Time to unpack that elephant onsie?

  • Nightlife
  • Clapham Junction

South London’s cathedral of camp is once again going all-out for its late-night Pride in London afterparty this year, with a stellar line-up of DJs, dancers and drag stars keeping the party going until 3am. This year’s event is headlined by  BRIT and Ivor Novello-nominated pop star and producer MNEK, who will get behind the decks to soundtrack the festivities. More performers are to be announced, and you can also expect balloon drops, confetti cannons and lasers to up the excitement throughout the night.

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  • Music
  • Pop
  • Wembley

Every summer, London pop radio station Capital packs an eye-watering number of huge names into Wembley Stadium for their annual all-day megashow. Brit-winners RAYE, Aitch and Becky Hill are on the programme this year, as is GRAMMY-winning Meghan Trainor. The Sugababes will be bringing us some throwback tracks, and singer-songwriter Ella Henderson will grace the stage, too. The Summertime Ball usually sells out straight away, so be quick off the mark if you fancy sampling this taster menu of pop talent.

  • Art
  • Bankside

This mid-career survey of South African visual activist Zanele Muholi captures the breadth and power of an extensive body of work dedicated to presenting a multifaceted view of Black LGBTQI+ individuals. This show originally opened near the start of the pandemic, and has now been expanded with more recent work, all tackling big important themes like labour, racism, sexism and sexual politics.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Aldwych

Have you noticed that everyone’s wearing kilts at the moment? It’s partly down to Glaswegian fashion designer and radical creative Charles Jeffrey, whose fashion brand Loverboy reimagined the textile, creating checked lewks that were more high club night than Highland fling. This exhibition – fittingly at Somerset House, where Jeffrey has a studio – will go behind-the-scenes, exploring how Jeffrey built the brand from scratch. Expect intriguing sounding ‘sensorially led spaces’ full of archival artefacts from Jeffrey’s unique collections and newly commissioned works. Plus, it’s pay what you can, so everyone can appreciate the fabulousness. 

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • South Kensington

Prince Albert might be best known for the debate over whether he actually had ‘that piercing’. But he also helped devise the Great Exhibition, an embarrassment of world riches and inventions that drew 6 million visitors to Hyde Park in 1851. Prince Albert used the money he made form it tp help develop the V&A, the Natural History Museum, the Royal Albert Hall – pretty much every grand institution on Exhibition Road – creating his ‘Albertopolis’. Many of those grand institutions are joining forces for the Great Exhibition Road Festival, two days of events inspired by the 1851 bonanza. Everything is free (if you register), and the programme is as mixed as a family bag of Revels. 

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  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • South Bank

At Between The Bridges every Sunday this summer, SoLo Craft Fair will hold the eclectic South Bank Summer Market. With over 60 traders, you’ll find a wide variety of bits and bobs to take home with you, from art, jewellery, fashion, kids’ products and more, all created by independent designers from across the capital. If you want to try your hand at making something, there’ll be free workshops on site. Food and drink, live sports screenings and DJ sets will keep you occupied between shopping.

  • Nightlife
  • Charing Cross

With the never-ending list of parties scheduled for June 29, it’s easy to forget that it’s Pride weekend, and not just Pride Saturday. But it’s okay – Heaven has got us covered. This Lana Del Rave is a celebration of all our favourites from the alternative genre (think Marina, Florence + the Machine, Lorde, Paramore, Grimes, Ethel Cain and Sky Ferreira, plus more) to make sure we can wave goodbye to the weekend in swaying, sad-girl style. But that’s not all - Queer artist and London-based DJ Callum Crighton will be on the decks, and there’ll be performances by Flesh & Bones, as well as tribute acts, balloon drops, confetti and (of course) lots of glitter.

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  • Art
  • Piccadilly

The RA’s annual showcase of all the artists you need to know about right now will return for its 256th edition to brighten up the summer holidays. The world’s oldest open submission exhibition (which means anyone can enter their work to be considered for inclusion), the artist with the big job of sifting through the works and curating them this year is sculptor Ann Christopher. 

 

World Press Photo Exhibition 2024

After a seven-year hiatus, the World Press Photo Exhibition returns to London, taking place at Borough Yards throughout May. Presenting the results of the 2024 World Press Photo Contest, the annual exhibition showcases the best and most important photojournalism and documentary photography of the last year. The winners were chosen by an independent jury made of 31 professionals from around the world who reviewed more than 61,062 photographs were entered by 3,581 photographers from 130 countries.

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  • Things to do
  • Literary events
  • Chalk Farm

Taking over north London’s iconic Roundhouse throughout June, The Last Word Festival is back for its brilliant eleventh edition. The fest is one of the best in the UK for championing exciting voices and emerging talent in the world of spoken word, and what better live venue could there be to host it? This year, there’ll be poetry slam heats, where 18-25-year-olds can compete for a cash prize, and a session called ‘redacted’ where poems are created by removing words from articles, chapters or magazines, plus much, much more.

  • Theatre
  • Experimental
  • South Bank

Even by Complicité’s lofty standards, 1999’s ‘Mnemonic’ is regarded as something truly exceptional. Devised by company founder Simon McBurney – and originally starring him –  it’s a wild ride show about humanity, memory and loss that starts as a jokey biochemistry lecture and ends up as something vast and transcendent involving an ancient body found in the ice and a woman searching for her vanished lover. You kind of jut have to see it, really, but if it lives up to the hype, it’ll change your life. McBurney directs again, though it seems unlikely he’ll star this time: the only cast members confirmed so far are Richard Katz and Kostas Phillippoglou.

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  • Things to do
  • Food and drink events
  • Regent’s Park

Munch your way through dishes from the great and the good of the capital’s restaurant scene at this sprawling culinary festival. Set in the picturesque surroundings of central London’s Regent’s Park you can chow down on food from Korean rabata (barbecue) restaurant Roka, South American fusion from YOPO and Big Mamma’s quintet of maximalist Italian joints (that’s GloriaCircolo PopolareAve Mario, Jacuzzi and Carlotta) are among the line-up of restaurants peddling plates to celebrate the events 20th anniversary. If you’re not in a food coma by the end, there’ll also be kitchen masterclasses, chef talks and tastings to get involved with. Our advice? Have some Rennies on hand. 

Phantom Peak

Grab your sunblock and hiking boots to explore Phantom Peak’s starlit summer, as the residents of Phantom Peak are heading to the great outdoors!Follow ten ground breaking trails with new characters, and thrilling new stories, and for the first time, Phantom Peak will host an audience-wide competition! Compete in camp activities, uncover secrets, and impress the townsfolk to gain points and support your cabin!

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  • Things to do
  • Food and drink events
  • Chiswick

Presented by Michelin-starred chef and longtime ‘Great British Menu’ judge Tom Kerridge, Pub in the Park is a touring food and music festival that aims to bring a convivial public house atmosphere to the great outdoors with loads of delicious pub grub and equally enticing live performances. This year, it’s back for four weekends in and around London throughout the summer: Marlow (May 16-19), Chiswick (June 28-30), Reigate (July 12-14), St Albans (September 6-8). 

So, what’s on the menu? There’s an exciting roster of new chefs, including the likes of Mary Berry, former judge on the Great British Bake Off, Jeremy Chan of Ikoyi, a fine-dining restaurant on The Strand, and Becky Excell aka ‘Queen of Gluten Free’. Michel Roux Junior, Simon Rimmer and Andi Oliver are just some previous celebrity chef guests who’ll be back this year, and popular kitchens such as Kerridge’s own The Hand & Flowers, Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano and Riwaz by Atul Kochhar are returning by popular demand, too. 

Now for the music. The programme at each weekend includes a cracking line-up with stars such as Scouting for Girls, Paloma Faith, Jools Holland, McFly and Olly Murs. Van Morrison is on the programme, too (check out the full line-ups here!).

  • Theatre
  • Experimental
  • Covent Garden

Jeremy O Harris’s frenzied satire about a trio of interracial couples who seek to get their sex lives back on track by indulging in Antebellum-styled master-slave roleplays was both a massive smash and wildly controversial over its two Broadway seasons (for reasons that are presumably obvious from that description). Harris’s second play ‘“Daddy”’ was better received over its 2022 Almeida run than it was back home, but a UK transfer for ‘Slave Play’ has been a long time coming. Finally, though, here’s Robert O’Hara’s production, which boasts a cast to die for, with James Cusati-Moyer, Chalia La Tour, Annie McNamara and Irene Sofia Lucio returning from its the original Broadway production, plus an infusion of Brits headed by ‘Game of Thrones’ man Kit Harington and the reliably hilarious Fisayo Akinade.

 

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Kew Midsummer Fete
  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Kew

With over 100 stalls, a traditional Victorian fun fair, a beer tent and a tea tent, a dog show with a VIP judge, tug of war, and live local bands, Kew’s Midsummer Fete is a brilliant way to chill out on the village green this month. But there’s plenty more to 2024’s edition of the popular afternoon, including a karate display, inflatables and a charity raffle, too. The best part? Entry is free, but all your well-spent cash will be going to some very worthy causes – last year raised more than £22,000 for local charities like Richmond Food Bank and the Riverbank Trust. 

  • Art
  • Barbican

He’s pushed a block of ice across Mexico City, kicked a flaming football, painted a line across Palestine and moved a mountain: Belgian artist Francis Alÿs goes for big gestures to make big points. He’s one of the most affecting and recognisable conceptual artists working today, and now he’s taking over the Barbican for an exhibition about children’s games in all their different forms around the world. 

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Between Riverside and Crazy

Since his wife died, ex-cop Walter ‘Pops’ Washington has filled his palatial rent-controlled apartment in one of Manhattan’s most desirable areas with an oddball extended family of petty criminals. So now he’s besieged by the landlords, who want him out, the NYPD, who want him to settle his lawsuit against them, and the ladies from the local church, who want to save his soul. But Pops, calm at the eye of the storm, is going to do precisely what Pops wants to do…

Get tickets for £15, ending June 15!

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Wembley

Perhaps more so than ‘Cats’, more so than ‘Phantom’, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Starlight Express’ is his most quintessentially ’80s musical, its world of highly competitive trains played by people on rollerskates somewhat unimaginable as a product of any other era. This new UK production, which will convert the Troubadour Theatre in Wembley Park into the Starlight Auditorium and what we’re promised will be an ‘immersive’ take on the show directed by Luke Sheppard of ‘& Juliet’ fame. 

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  • Film

At Time Out we’re big fans of cosying up in our favourite London cinemas and entering a whole new world through the power of projection. But, when the sun’s out and the weather’s at its best, hiding away in a dark, stuffy room isn’t quite as appealing. 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 2023. Welcome to the summer of the big-screen extravaganza.

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