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Unmissable London events this summer

It may be coming to an end, but summer in London is still looking hot

By Time Out London Things To Do |
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Hot, sunny summer days in London may be drawing to a close, but there’s still time to squeeze out that last zesty drop of the season. Jump into the Hampstead ponds or an outdoor swimming pool. Get yourself onto a London rooftop for some drinks in the sun. Or make a beeline for the Walthamstow Wetlands or one of London’s hidden parks if you want to spend the long, hot days away from the crowds. 

Summer in London means feeling the heat of the Brutalist concrete on the South Bank, it means great art exhibitions, lazy days spent in beer gardens and most importantly: it means the soca sounds and mas bands at Notting Hill Carnival.

Whether you’re after the latest new theatre shows, the best gigs, restaurant openings or other great things to do in London, our summer round-up will keep your social life hotter than an August morning on the Bakerloo Line. Here are 36 sizzling summer events to soak up the last of that balmy sun. 

RECOMMENDED: Plan a brilliant weekend in London  

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Serpentine Pavilion 2019, Design Render, Interior View, © Junya Ishigami + Associates
Art

Serpentine Pavilion

icon-location-pin Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park
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For nearly 20 years, summer at the Serpentine Gallery has meant transforming its lawn with the giant Serpentine Pavilion. Japanese architect Junya Ishigami’s slate-roofed cave was the moody addition for 2019, but come October 6, it’ll be gone. Alexandra Sims

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DulwichPictureGallery_ColourPalace2019_AdamScott_37
Adam Scott
News, Art

The Colour Palace at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Pavilion has offered up some strong competition to the Serpentine this year with its own outdoor structure, The Colour Palace. Catch it before its closes on September 22. If you've got a spare £25,000 you can actually buy it for yourself. Alexandra Sims

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Andrew Scott, Sea Wall
© Kevin Cummins
Theatre, Comedy

‘Present Laughter’

Noël Coward’s classic comedy is being reimagined at the Old Vic, with Andrew Scott – aka Fleabag’s hot vicar – taking the leading role. Almost a decade after featuring in the grand old theatre’s production of ‘Design for Living’, a now rather more famous Scott anchors this major revival in the shape of self-obsessed Garry Essendine. Matthew Warchus’s production is a modern reflection on fame, desire and loneliness - all framed by the show’s impeccable wit. Lucy Lovell

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© Lateef Okunnu

Circolo Popolare

Sometimes more is more and that’s certainly the case with new opening Circolo Popolare. Brought to you by Big Mama, the same team behind East London’s gloriously OTT Italian trattoria Gloria. The new restaurant will be much like its sister site, a heavily planted Italian paradise bringing a slice of Sicilian sunshine to the heart of London. Food wise: we’re talking metre-long pizzas loaded with San Marzano tomato and creamy burrata from Puglia, Sfoglia Norma (a giant silk handkerchief, pasta alla Norma-style) and show-stopping Sicilian grills like calamari e lemoni and pork skewers al arrabiata. Oh and don’t worry that gigantic insta-famous lemon meringue pie is on this menu too. Angela HuiRathbone Square, Fitzrovia. Opening June 28.

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Ruislip Lido Lake, London
Attractions, Rivers, lakes and ponds

Ruislip Lido

icon-location-pin Ruislip

Soak up the last of the summer sun at Ruislip Lido, a 60-acre lake surrounded by a sandy beach and woodland. It’s deceptively named (there’s no swimming allowed), but for the nature-starved Londoner, it has a very important selling point: it‘s reachable by tube. Katie McCabe 

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News, Drinking

Subterranean Summer Series

Until Saturday (August 31), five underground spots (including Bar Three, Nine Lives, Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar, Discount Bar & Lounge) will be mixing tequila-based drinks for just a fiver each in their Subterranean Summer Series. All you have to do is go in and ask for their Subterranean Summer serve (we recommend the Cherry Blossom Margarita at Hawksmoor). If you get all five stamped in one of the special ‘passports’, you’ll also get a free cocktail at the end. National Margarita Day isn’t until February 2020. Your training begins here. Katie McCabe

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Film

The Luna Cinema

icon-location-pin Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill
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Take it from someone who once went to a Valentine’s Day screening of ‘The Apartment’ that ended with dozens of cold, wet people crying on the roof of the National Theatre: outdoor movies are a summertime activity. And if you can find one with actual seats instead of a patch of grass? Even better. With The Luna Cinema, you can hear Gaga hit the high notes of ‘Shallow’ at a screening of ‘A Star is Born’ at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre this Sunday (September 1). Katie McCabe

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Photograph: Applebee’s

Applebee‘s

The summer pop-ups of the South Bank are drawing to a close. Soon we’ll be saying goodbye to Applebee’s, a seafood restaurant import from Borough Market hidden in a pergola beneath Hungerford Bridge (it closes on September 15). Pop by for cocktails, bream and chips or, if you’re brave, raw oysters. Katie McCabe

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Alex Merz
Things to do, pop-ups

Fulham Beach

icon-location-pin Neverland London, Fulham
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'But... but Fulham doesn't have a beach!?', you might scoff. Well, you're wrong - since 2017 it has, albeit one where the sand is imported and the closest thing to the azure ocean is the Thames flowing under Wandsworth Bridge. Here, you can rent day bed, cabanas and beach huts, or just drop in for some beer pong with a side of wood-fired pizza. Katie McCabe

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Film

Rooftop Film Club

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There's more to balmy summer nights than standing outside the pub after work. At the Roof East building in Stratford, the Rooftop Film Club has perfected the art of outdoor movie watching with directors chairs, wireless headphones and blankets. It still has a long list of films to see (including ‘Death Becomes Her’) running at Queen of Hoxton until Autumn. 

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Olafur Eliasson 'Your uncertain shadow' (2010) © Olafur Eliasson
Art

Olafur Eliasson: ‘In Real Life’

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, Bankside
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Remember the giant glowing sun that took over the Tate’s Turbine Hall in 2003? That celestial artwork was created by Olafur Eliasson, and he’s back at the Bankside institution with a brand new exhibition. ‘In Real Life’ promises captivating installations - we’re talking rainbows, reflections and shadows - to engage audiences with environmental issues like climate change. Eliasson has been let loose in the kitchen too, and he’s shaking up the Tate Modern’s Terrace Bar menu with new plates inspired by the organic, vegetarian and locally sourced grub served in his Berlin studio. Lucy Lovell

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Skylight Bar at The Dock
Photograph: Steve Dunlop
Things to do, Event spaces

Skylight London

icon-location-pin Wapping

Pretty soon, Skylight’s rooftop at Tobacco Dock will be swapping those jugs of sharing Pimm‘s for spiced cider for its autumn season. But right now, it’s still acceptable to down Daiquiris in sunglasses on the day beds. See the place at its liveliest this Sunday for the Sounds Familiar Music Quiz, which is just an excuse to play bangers outdoors and try to win ‘best team name’. Katie McCabe   

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Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Dalston Roof Park

icon-location-pin Dalston

The £3 entry fee to this bar from Bootstrap Company that reboots its look every year is worth it for the lurid AstroTurf, real-life flora in hanging baskets and makeshift planters, and bunting flapping in the breeze. This Sunday they’ll be throwing a Strictly Good Times Party. Katie McCabe 

Time Out says
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Camera
Attractions

Arcade Food Theatre

icon-location-pin St Giles

A massive new food hall is opening its doors in central London this July, but it’s way more exciting than your average street-food-stall set-up. The line-up includes a new branch of ace bakery Pophams, a Mexican-inspired restaurant from the team behind Barrafina and a new concept from Flat Iron focusing on creative dishes using sustainably sourced beef from UK producers. There’s also an outdoor terrace and The Loft: a regularly changing kitchen residency that showcases some of the city’s most exciting up-and-coming restaurateurs. Hungry yet? Charlie Allenby 

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag at the Big Belly, Underbelly.
© Richard Davenport
Theatre, Drama

‘Fleabag’

You binged both series and wept into your G&T tinnie when it was revealed there wouldn’t be a third series of ‘Fleabag’. Then, you cried even more when you missed out on tickets to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s last ever reprisal of the monologue that spawned the hit TV show. But there is a glimmer of hope. Although tickets sold out quicker than you could say ‘hot priest’, there will be a handful of tickets released on the day of each performance. Make sure you don’t miss out this time for fox sake. Charlie Allenby 

Time Out says
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Attractions, Parks and gardens

Swimming lake at Beckenham Place Park

icon-location-pin Beckenham

Move over Hampstead Heath, there’s a new wild swimming spot in town. Beckenham Place Park, Lewisham’s largest green space, is re-filling its lost Georgian lake and transforming it into an urban oasis where you can (legally) strip down to your cossie and enjoy a cooling dip. Part of a £1.9 million project by the Mayor to make London a National Park City, the brand new open water spot will span 285m by 48m and is 3.5m at its deepest point. Officially opening on July 20, it’ll have a shallow sandy area for paddling, a jetty, a brand new cafe nearby for post-swim snacks and offer kayaking and other water sports. We’re ready to take the plunge! Alexandra Sims. Beckenham Place Park, BR3 5BS. Opens Jul 20.

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Tree, Young Vic, Idris Elba
Theatre, Drama

‘Tree’

Idris Elba is the big draw in this production, even if he doesn’t actually star in ‘Tree’. Seamlessly blending music, dance, and drama, the highly anticipated new show was co-created with Kwame Kwei-Armah - award-winning playwright and artistic director at the Young Vic. The pair’s collaborative work promises an epic journey to the heart of South Africa, following Kaelo (played by Alfred Enoch) as he visits his parent’s homeland. Expect a soundtrack inspired by Elba’s 2014 album ‘Mi Mandela’, and for the audience to be placed at the heart of the action. Lucy Lovell

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Restaurants, American

Eggslut

icon-location-pin Portobello Road

If the name has the propensity to shock you, you’re probably not a regular on the LA dining scene. After all, gourmet breakfast bap join Eggslut has proved nothing short of a cultural phenomenon in California, which is why it’s such a big deal they’re opening their first European branch in London this summer. They specialise in – you guessed it –eggs. So expect oozing yolks, fluffy buns and, if all goes to plan, a pretty sizeable queue. Bobby Palmer. Opening August 7. 

Venue says The first Eggslut in the UK is now OPEN - come try our amazing Bacon, Egg & Cheese aka "BEC-ky"

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