Get us in your inbox

Search
Photograph: Time Out
Photograph: Time Out

The best things to do this summer 2022 in London

Summer in London is here, baby! And that means all your favourite events and venues are having their time in the sun. Here’s what you should have on your radar.

Written by
Kate Lloyd
&
Katie McCabe
Advertising

Finally, summer in the city is back to something like normal after two years of social distancing, lockdowns and cancellations. Queuing for Wimbledon tickets? It’s back. The London Pride parade? It’s making a return. Notting Hill Carnival? The sound systems are being prepped. Getting sweaty in a teeming crowd at a festival? You bet. Yep, all the great pillars of Great British Summertime are with us again. 

But don’t be fooled into spending the sunny season going to a mediocre event just because all your mates are doing it. You aren’t a sheep, are you? You’re a glossy sheepdog, and a very handsome one at that.

Instead, come here to us, Time Out. We’re your wisest, oldest friends and we’re here to guide you towards the best that London’s got going on over the next few months. And we’re starting with this list of all the good summer stuff that you really can’t miss.

Recommended: You, outside, right now! It’s the very best of outdoor London

The best things to do in London this summer

  • LGBTQ+

London’s LGBTQ+ scene is among the most fabulous in the world, but it’s Pride month when the LGBTQ+ celebrations really take off, the centrepiece of which is always the annual Pride parade. 

Making its IRL return after a two-year hiatus, this year’s parade promises to be extra-special as it marks 50 years since the very first Pride march in 1972. In celebration of this, the 2022 march will retrace the route of the historic inaugural 1972 parade

As well as the marching, floats and dancing there’ll also be more than a hundred singers, dancers, lip-synchers and entertainers performing over four stages, including Emeli Sandé, Ava Max, Samantha Mumba and Eurovision winner Netta headlining the main stage in Trafalgar Square. 

  • Things to do

Nothing says summer like the tennis whites, strawberries and cream and Pimms of Wimbledon. Missed out on tickets in the Wimbledon Tennis Championships ballot? Can’t face camping out on the street for day tickets? No problem. London is a city that gives back and this summer it will be peppered with big screens showing all the Murray Mound (okay, Henman Hill) action in so much blown-up high-res glory that you might as well be court-side. 

There’s a screen for everyone, with some offering special-edition cocktails and finger food and coming with pop-up tennis lessons. 

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

Body Movements festival is returning to its multi-venue location in Hackney Wick for another dance music blow-out on Saturday July 30. A colossal celebration of queer community it will feature DJ sets, performances and plenty of vibes from LGBTQI+ clubbing collectives from around the country, including party starters Adonis, Big Dyke Energy, Bitch, Please!, He.She.They, Jay Jay Revlon, Let’s Have A Kiki, Little Gay Brother, Pxssy Palace and Queer House Party
 
Body Movements was crowned Time Out London's ‘Best New Event’ in our 2021 ‘Best of the City’ awards for showing just how massive a contribution London’s queer community makes to the city’s culture. So don’t miss it. 

  • Theatre
  • Experimental
  • Deptford

‘Durational Lithuanian climate-change opera’ isn’t perhaps the single sexiest show description of all time, But ‘Sun & Sea’ created by an all-female team from the country is so singular it’s inevitable any plain description just makes it sound baffling. There’s very little to compare it to, and there’s lots going on in it. 

The centrepiece of the first LIFT festival in four years, 14 tonnes of sand have been dumped on the floor of the Albany arts centre in Deptford to create an artificial beach, which the audience looks down on from above to see sunbathers, who sing to a gorgeous, reverb-drenched electronic keyboard score. It’s immensely beautiful – sometimes overwhelmingly so. This is a vision of a lazy day at the beach so gaspingly sad and beautiful it’ll have you fighting tears.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Music

Damn. London already has its fair share of massive acts playing its parks this summer, but Wireless seems to be taking things to a whole other level. The line-up – or should we say line-ups – is jaw-droppingly spectacular and will take place across two sites in London: Crystal Palace Park and Finsbury Park. 

Catch performances from ASAP Rocky, Tyler, the Creator, Cardi B, J Cole, Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat and Burna Boy. And it doesn’t stop there. Other acts, including Playboi Carti, Rico Nasty, Baby Keem, Roddy Ricch, Little Simz, Polo G, Jack Harlow and Nicki Minaj will also be playing slots at the festival.

  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

It may feel like barely any time has passed since we were 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 there are plenty of screens popping across the capital where you can see all the action in blistering HD glory. Here’s our pick of the best places to grab a pint and watch the matches. 

Advertising
  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • Bow

All Points East is back next year to take over Victoria Park for six (hopefully sun-kissed) days. The line-up is as eclectic as ever, featuring some seriously hot acts including Greentea Peng and Remi Wolf, as well as long-cemented favourites like Gorillaz, Disclosure, and James Blake. Saturday August 20th will present Field Day, a day of electronic music's biggest names including The Chemical Brothers, Kraftwerk, Floating Points, HAAi, and Logic 1000. It's going to be hard to get any better than this.  

  • Music
  • Music

Since the first Field Day took place in Victoria Park back in 2007, a hell of a lot has changed in the capital. But the staple east London all-dayer hasn’t lost its edge. In its 15 years, the festival has brought stars like Aphex Twin, Skepta, Jorja Smith and Bicep to tens of thousands of partiers. 

If this year’s line-up is anything to go by, Field Day 2022 looks like it will be similarly ‘rabble-rousing’. From Kraftwerk’s legendary 3D show and The Chemical Brothers’ epic live performance to emerging underground DJs like Logic 1000 and Heléna Star, and plenty more acts across the whole day, this birthday party is going to be a cracker. Don’t forget your earplugs – we’ll see you front left.

Advertising
  • Art
  • Art

Every year, the Serpentine Pavilion shows up to herald the start of summer, and this time around it’s designed by American artist Theaster Gates. But put away your sunscreen and ice creams, because this is a serious, stark, austere business. His ‘Black Chapel’, is an imposing, cylindrical pavilion, inspired by the Rothko Chapel, a prayer space in Texas. It’s 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.

  • Theatre
  • Outdoor theatres
  • South Bank

After two years off due to the pandemic, the National Theatre’s River Stage mini-festival returns to the South Bank for a month of outdoor live music, dance, performance, workshops and family fun. Weekend evenings will see a varied programme of entertainment take place in front of the theatre, with special take-over weekends from The Glory, HOME Manchester, Hackney Empire Young Producers, Hofesh Shechter and the National Theatre itself.

 

Advertising
  • Film

Watching films under the stars is a novel activity for us Brits, so it’s no wonder we get excited when big outdoor screens pop up across the city in the summer waiting for us to get our film fix with a sweet summer breeze in our hair.

London is home to some brilliant alfresco movie spots, but the Barbican’s alfresco projections are some of the very best. It’s cinema in the stunning Brutalist surrounds of the Sculpture Court, ditches the usual suspects that often crop up on seasonal programmes to offer screenings of iconic concert film ‘Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii’, Japanese production ‘Mothra’, Studio Ghibli’s stunning fantasy ‘Princess Mononoke’ and French animator René Laloux’s ‘La Planète Sauvage’.

Screenings run Aug 23-28. 

Advertising
  • Theatre
  • Theatre & Performance

The Greenwich + Docklands International Festival is back, baby! After keeping our spirits buoyed during the pandemic, the spectacular Docklands-based festival of street theatre is back into its normal groove again. 

The highlights are several and varied, but it’s hard not to imagine the most talked about being German artist Stephanie Lüning’s ‘Island of Foam: Version XVIII’, which will see torrents of rainbow-coloured foam surge through the streets of the Greenwich Peninsula on September 3 and 4. Also causing a stir will be Peter Hudson’s temporary landmark ‘Charon’, a 32ft high ‘kinetic’ installation originally built for Burning Man – when it comes to life at night, the idea is that it brings a little slice of the iconic desert festival to Canning Town at a TBC location from September 1 to 10.

 

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Leicester Square

‘The Seagull’ flies again! Making her West End debut, Emilia Clarke will trade 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).

She’ll be joined by an excellent returning cast of Tom Rhys Harries (Trigorin), Daniel Monks (Konstantin), Indira Varma (Arkadina), and Sophie Wu (Masha). As ever, Lloyd directs and Soutra Gilmour designs.

 

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Food and drink events
  • Wapping

The London Craft Beer Festival is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, and that means they’re inviting some of their fave breweries from the past decade to pour one out. The line-up includes 100 craft breweries, from London locals like Hackney Church Brew Co to international offerings from over 25 US beer makers.

Soak up all that booze with snacks from the likes of Decatur and Tacos Padre, or branch out into cocktails and spirits from Tiempo Tequila or Jim and Tonic. There's also a music line-up to keep the atmosphere buzzing all night long.

  • Art
  • South Bank

Anything is possible in science fiction. Sub-genre Afrofuturism takes aim at the heart of racial injustice, and this exhibition celebrates the Black artists who wield that utopian weapon. 

There’s Nick Cave (not that one) and his fantastical, glittery, hyper-colour wearable sculptures, Wangechi Mutu’s watery, gloopy collages of hybrid beings, Hew Locke’s Black warriors on horseback, Tabita Rezaire’s psychedelic mirrored room, Chris Ofili’s enormous mythology-inspired paintings of the Odyssey transplanted to Trinidad and Kara Walker’s animation of white supremacist crimes in American history. 

Advertising

Let’s be honest: urban beaches are in no way as good as real beaches. We’re not going to stand here and try and kid of you of that. There’s no sea to swim in. There’s very limited access to high-quality fish and chips. It’s very unlikely you can go surfing at one. 

That being said... you can’t catch the Tube to the coast, so, why not make life a bit easier for yourself and visit an urban beach? They have sand, they have cocktails, they often have beach parties and they sometimes (when we’re lucky) get a bit of sun. We’re not going to turn our noses up at any of that. So, we’ve rounded up the very best ones in the city. 

  • Bars and pubs

We’ve got the lowdown on exactly which sky-high bars are open for cool cocktails on hot summer days. These places can be pretty popular, so it’s worth booking where you can. From swanky city skyscrapers to informal warehouse hangouts, cheers to getting up on the roof.   

 

Paid content
Advertising
  • Bars and pubs

Beer gardens are one of the best things about London. There’s no finer way to spend a sunny (or not-so-sunny) afternoon in the capital, than sipping a few cold ones with the city’s famous skyline in the background. We want you to relish in the pleasure of supping away in the breezy great outdoors, so here are the best alfresco pint-sipping spots the city has to offer. 

Advertising
  • Music
  • Music festivals

Here’s a sentence that – if you’d asked us two weeks ago – we really wouldn’t have expected to be writing. Festivals… They’re back! Since Boris Johnson’s roadmap to normality was announced on February 22, a number of UK festivals have revealed that they’re planning to go ahead this summer. There’s already a diverse mix to choose from – from artsy old timers to London newbies – and we’re sure that over the coming months they’ll be joined by more.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Bestselling Time Out offers
        Advertising