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17 must-do things in London this summer

Summer in London is looking seriously hot and we’ve got a list of the events you won’t want to miss

London is heating up at the moment and the capital’s events scene is hitting top gear. From new art blockbusters and fresh faces in the West End, to London music festivals and a beachload of fun things to do, here’s 17 events you don't want to miss this in the British capital this summer. Ice creams not included.

1
Girl from the North Country
© Manuel Harlan
1/15

Girl from the North Country

Acclaimed Irish playwright Conor McPherson is known for plays including 'The Weir' and 'The Seafarer', which mix wittily observed naturalism with a touch of dark magic. So a new work (about a lost family running a bleak guesthouse in Depression-era Minnesota) from McPherson is something to get excited about.

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Until Saturday October 7 2017
2
Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power
2/15

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

The Tate's summer blockbuster exhibition looks set to flip the idea of 'black art' on its head, tracing an underlooked 20-year period of creative innovation among African-American artists, against the seismic backdrop of the Civil Rights movement. 

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Until Sunday October 22 2017
3
Somerset House Summer Series
3/15

Somerset House Summer Series

The Summer Series at Somerset House has become a firm fixture of the London music calendar because of its reputation for booking spectacular live acts – and 2017 doesn't disappoint. There's all the open-air excitement of a festival stage right in the centre of the capital in a grand eighteenth-century courtyard by the Thames. Fancy. Check out the lineup here. 

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By: Amy Smith
4
Plywood
Alvar Aalto, armchair, Finland, 1930. Photograph. © Victoria and Albert Museum.
4/15

Plywood

An exhibition about industrially produced sheet wood might not exactly sound enthralling. But never underestimate the V&A's ability to take the most humdrum of subjects and bring it to life. This exhibition will cast a look at plywood's revolutionary use within furniture, aircraft and architecture, and the role it currently plays in digital design.  

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Until Sunday November 12 2017
5
Fahrelnissa Zeid
Fahrelnissa Zeid, 'Untitled', c.1950s. Presented by Raad Zeid Al-Hussein 2015.
5/15

Fahrelnissa Zeid

The works of Turkish painter Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid are like pulsating hives of colour on large cuts of canvas that unfold in front of you like living Byzantine mosaics. In this extensive exhibition of Zeid’s work, the sea change is like a kaleidoscopic sucker punch; her paintings from 1948 onwards literally leave you seeing stars. 

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Until Sunday October 8 2017
6
Road
6/15

Road

A new production of Jim Cartwright's 'Road' hits the Royal Court this summer: his seminal, humorous depiction of a Lancashire town in the poverty-stricken '80s, which began life at the Court in 1986. Certainly it's not hard to see it as a pointed choice of revival in these gloomy times. 

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Until Saturday September 9 2017
7
Dunkirk
7/15

Dunkirk

(Released July 21) ‘What’s a Dunkirk? Harry Styles fans were a bit bamboozled about exactly what Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic is about. Harry stars alongside heavyweights Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh in what is summer’s most hotly anticipated films.

 

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8
Afropunk
Dennis Emmanuel
8/15

Afropunk

The renowned music festival that made its London debut last year returns to the city with an awesome line-up. Musical offerings aside, it will also host a bunch of foodie pop-ups, art stalls and exhibitions, all in the name of non-conformity and self-expression. If you fancy an eclectic fest where you’re free to just do you, then get ready, people: we predict a riot.

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Until Sunday July 23 2017
9
Baby Driver
9/15

Baby Driver

(Released July 28) 'Shaun of the Dead' genius Edgar Wright hasn’t directed a film since 'The World's End' in 2012. So we're more than ready for this crime comedy about a teenage getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) who finds himself in trouble up to his eyeballs when a bank heist goes wrong.

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10
Yerma
10/15

Yerma

As swear words flew and Billie Piper strode through a cream-carpeted loft, Lorca’s 1934 play ‘Yerma’, a story about a farmer’s wife broken by her longing for a child, stormed London's theatre scene last year. Get excited - it returns to the Young Vic this summer and rumours are that's its gonna be a good one. 

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Wednesday July 26 2017 - Thursday August 31 2017
11
Eastern Electrics
Gemma Parker Photography
11/15

Eastern Electrics

After three years luxuriating in rural Hertfordshire, premier dance festival Eastern Electrics is setting up home in a new central London venue: but don't worry they plan to retain all ten stages and the line-up is sure to include some suitably huge names from dance music's A-list to delight the party-hungry hordes. 

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Saturday August 5 2017
12
Matisse in the Studio
12/15

Matisse in the Studio

Not just an extraordinary painter, Henri Matisee was also an avid collector, who picked up all sorts of objects and artefacts during his travels to North Africa, Mali and the Far East. This exhibition will look at the influences these exotic acquisitions had on his art.

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Saturday August 5 2017 - Sunday November 12 2017
13
Sunfall
© Ben Stas
13/15

Sunfall

There are two parts to Sunfall: a day of raving in Brockwell Park, followed by eight eclectic after parties across south London with no extra tickets needed. Expect big dance names and cult heroes from the teams behind ace London nightspots Phonox, The Nest and XOYO, plus Croatian festivals Dimensions and Outlook.

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Saturday August 12 2017
14
The Dark Tower
14/15

The Dark Tower

(Released August 18) Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ series of fantasy novels is coming to the big screen, with Idris Elba as the notorious Gunslinger, who pursues his enemy, The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), through a dusty, western-inspired world. 

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Release date: Friday July 28 2017
15
Notting Hill Carnival
Dancer at Notting Hill Carnival © David Tett
15/15

Notting Hill Carnival

Since 1964, the capital's Caribbean communities have celebrated their culture and traditions at this two-day festival of fantastic live music, which ranges from reggae to dub to salsa. The celebrations also include soca floats, steel bands and a whole lot of jerk chicken and fried plantain. Notting Hill is place to be over the August bank holiday. 

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By: Time Out London editors
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