30+ Summery Things To Do In London This Month: August 2022

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30+ Summery Things To Do In London This Month: August 2022
This Bright Land at Somerset House (Artwork). Courtesy of Somerset House

SUMMER HOLIDAYS: With schools closed, we've put together a guide to spending the summer holidays in London, packed full of family-friendly events, exhibitions, theatre shows, outdoor activities — and plenty of cheap and free options too.

CAMDEN FRINGE: The 16th edition of Camden Fringe takes place this month, bringing theatre, music, comedy and dance to venues across Camden. Highlights include 'coming of middle-age comedy' The Importance of Being Anxious, an audio play from the point of view of a tree, and Club Chemo, the story of one man's fight against testicular cancer. 1-28 August

THIS BRIGHT LAND: Somerset House hosts a celebration of community and culture, This Bright Land. The open-air courtyard is transformed into something of a wonderland, with performances, talks, workshops and more — all centred around a 35m-high temporary observation wheel, with a different sound installation in each gondola. Plus, there's a street food market curated by Black Eats LDN. 1-29 August

REGGAE ON FILM: BFI Southbank hosts a Reggae On Film season, to mark 60 years of Jamaican independence, celebrating reggae music and culture and its relationship to cinema. One highlight is the re-release of 1972 Jamaican crime film The Harder They Come, which is often credited with bringing reggae to the world through its soundtrack. Browse the full programme. 1-30 August

The Harder They Come is rereleased as part of BFI's Reggae on Film series
The Harder They Come is rereleased as part of BFI's Reggae on Film series

KLIMT: Immersive art experiences are quite the trend right now, and Austrian painter Gustav Klimt is the latest to get the treatment, at The Boiler House in Shoreditch. Floor-to-ceiling large-scale digital projections are used to create moving versions of his paintings, with a VR experience thrown in too. From 3 August

LONDON TRIATHLON: Swim, bike and run your way across the city as the London Triathlon comes to town. Even if you're not an athlete (or spectator) be aware of road closures on the day. 7 August

AFTERNOON TEA WEEK: Not that we ever need an excuse to tuck into a scone and a couple of cakes, but Afternoon Tea Week falls in August. Why not celebrate at one of London's best afternoon teas with a view, or perhaps the best afternoon teas near London's tourist attractions, and combine it with a day of sightseeing? 8-14 August

SUMMER SOUNDS: King's Cross has rebranded its outdoor gig programme Cubitt Sessions into a new, free event for 2022: Summer Sounds Music Festival. There are live concerts every evening, and family sessions on Sunday afternoon, with London Community Gospel Choir, gypsy jazz quartet Tacla and London based singer-songwriter Zola Courtney on the line-up. 10-21 August

Step inside Klimt: The Immersive Experience

SESSIONS FOOD MARKET: Islington's getting a new foodie venue. Sessions is a restaurant-meets-food-hall set-up, with four menus served at a time, each for a limited period. It launches with Korean, Mediterranean, West African and classic British cuisine — the menus cooked up by featured chefs. 11 August

SUMMER ON THE SQUARE: The National Gallery takes things al fresco for the summer, with a free festival of art out on Trafalgar Square. Summer on the Square offers the public a chance to get involved in creative activities such as sketching and painting, and food trucks will be parked up for when you need refuelling. 11-29 August

LONDON CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL: Over 100 breweries are expected to be at the 10th anniversary of London Craft Beer Festival, which is at Wapping's Tobacco Dock. Sample from a choice of hundreds of beers, from established and newer breweries. Tickets include a festival tasting glass, and live DJ sets as you sup. 12-13 August

LONDON DESSERT FESTIVAL: An ice cream bar and sprinkle pool, an afternoon tea bar, a pick 'n' mix wall and a sundae school (see what they did there?) are all part of the London Dessert Festival at Business Design Centre in Islington. There's plenty to keep sweet-toothed Londoners happy, including immersive activities, photo opportunities and live DJ sets, as well as plenty of eating and drinking. 12-14 August

Live music at Summer Sounds at King's Cross

MEDIEVAL JOUST: Travel back to medieval times at Eltham Palace's Legendary Joust. Watch four knights competing for honour on horseback, and enjoy falconry displays too. It's part of the wider Medieval Season taking place at the palace throughout the summer. 13-14 August

TOUGH MUDDER: Feeling fit? Show what you're made of at Tough Mudder, a challenging obstacle course in Morden Park. Choose between a 5K or 10k route (or a one-mile route for kids) and sign up solo or as part of a team. 13-14 August

OPERA FESTIVAL: Tête à Tête is a festival of new opera, bringing performances to a variety of venues across London, including a one-off beer opera, performed on the Bermondsey Beer Mile. 15 August-11 September

STRANGER THINGS: Take a trip to Hawkins via Brent Cross, with Stranger Things: The Experience. The collab from Netflix and Fever promises an immersive journey through a new storyline inspired by the show, with a series of 80s locations to explore, and choose-your-own-adventure elements. 18 August-November   

NASHVILLE MEETS LONDON: Americana and Country music festival Nashville Meets London comes to Trinity Buoy Wharf for two days of live performances — plus a warm-up gig on a river cruise a few days before. 19-25 August

Fancy tackling Tough Mudder?

ALL POINTS EAST: Disclosure, Gorillaz, Tame Impala, The Chemical Brothers, Charli XCX, Kraftwerk 3D, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds... just some of the impressive line-up at this year's All Points East Festival in Victoria Park, which also incorporates Field Day. 19-28 August

THAMESMEAD FESTIVAL: Southmere Park hosts Thamesmead Festival, a celebration of the local area. Highlights this year include Fields of EveryWhen: a hot air balloon 'tapestried' with stories from the area, which will hover above the festival site, and act as a floating gallery — plus performances from Thamesmead-based street dance group Dynamix, local singer Samm Henshaw and Britain's Got Talent champions Twist and Pulse. 20 August

BEYOND BOLLYWOOD: Take a tour of India through the medium of dance at Beyond Bollywood, coming to Sadler's Wells after last being seen in the West End in 2015. The show follows Shaily Shergill as she leaves her German home to venture to India, on a mission to fulfil her mother’s dying wish of reviving her family’s failing theatre. Kalbelia, Lezim, Bihu, Garba and Kathak are among the Indian dance styles which feature in the show. 24 August-3 September

GREENWICH AND DOCKLANDS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL: Free outdoor performing arts festival Greenwich and Docklands International Festival returns, for two weeks of theatre, art, dance and circus in outdoor locations. Highlights include a rainbow island of foam taking over Greenwich Peninsula, and a digital artwork which recreates many of the Ukrainian mosaics which have been destroyed in the invasion of the country. 26 August-11 September 2022

Make the most of the bank holiday weekend. Image: Shutterstock

YAM CARNIVAL: Looking for some summertime revelry? Yam Carnival, which debuted last year, returns to Clapham Common this August. The celebration of Black culture has big names playing across its three stages, including Nigerian singer-songwriter Wizkid. 27 August This event has been cancelled.

FOOD FESTIVAL: Feast your eyes on the surroundings of Hampton Court Palace, and your stomach on goodies from the Hampton Court Palace Food Festival, which is held in the palace gardens. Tuck into street food, browse and buy artisan products including wine, rum, cakes, pastries, coffee and cheese. There's also live music at the bandstand, and face painting and shire horse rides for kids. 27-29 August

BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND: The month comes to an end with a glorious, three-day bank holiday weekend. Make the most of the extra day with our guide to spending the bank holiday in London, so you're guaranteed a good time... even if good weather isn't guaranteed. 27-29 August

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL: After two years on hold, Notting Hill Carnival is back on the streets of west London. Full details still TBC at time of writing, but expect the usual heady mix of Caribbean culture, samba, mas, soca and calypso, dazzling costumes... and lots and lots of people. 27-29 August

Ongoing events in London in August 2022

There's still time to see Superbloom © Historic Royal Palaces

Traditionally, summer is a quiet time on the London culture scene, with fewer new exhibitions opening than in other months. Why not use that time to catch up on something that's already open instead?

SUMMER LIGHTS: Until mid-August, head to Canary Wharf for the daylight version of a lights festival. Summer Lights consists of sculptures and artworks and installations designed to look their best in sunlight. It's free, and there's plenty else going on in the area, including a mini golf course. Until 20 August

ROYAL ACADEMY SUMMER EXHIBITION: A highlight of the London art calendar, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition brings together established and emerging artists to display their work. Prints, painting, film, photography, architectural works and sculpture all feature, and the theme this year is 'Climate', with Grayson Perry among those taking part. It's the first time in three years the Summer Exhibition has actually been held in the summer, due to delays caused by Covid. Until 21 August

PROMS: The BBC Proms are now well under way, celebrating classical music through a series of concerts — may of them at the Royal Albert Hall. Here's our guide to the 2022 BBC Proms, and here's what's still to come on this year's programme. Until 10 September

SUPERBLOOM: The Tower of London's moat is a riot of colour at the moment, as Superbloom takes over. Over 20 million seeds were sown back in the spring and they're now coming into fruition. Wander among them in the moat, which you can enter via a giant slide, combine your visit with a trip to the Tower, or book for one of the special late opening evening events. Until 18 September (though how long the flowers are there for depends on the weather, so visiting sooner rather than later is advisable)

IN THE BLACK FANTASTIC: Hayward Gallery's current exhibition, In the Black Fantastic, brings together myth, science fiction, spiritual traditions and the legacy of Afrofuturism. See works by 11 contemporary artists from the African diaspora, which question our knowledge of the world. Until 18 September

Sculpture in the City 2022. Photo: Londonist

OUTDOOR CINEMA: At this time of year, outdoor cinemas pop up all over town, on rooftops, in parks, and in palace gardens. Films on offer range from absolute classics to new releases, with a few curveballs thrown in along the way — find your nearest outdoor cinema, and get stuck into the popcorn. Until September

VISIT BUCKINGHAM PALACE: The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to the public this summer as usual, giving us mere mortals a peek at the sheer opulence that lies behind the palace walls. Visit the ballroom, throne room and other locations where the Royal Family host visiting dignitaries and special guests. Until 2 October

SERPENTINE PAVILION: Chicago artist Theaster Gates and architects Adjaye Associates collaborated on the design for this year's Serpentine Pavilion, a temporary structure erected in Kensington Gardens each summer. Black Chapel takes its inspiration from the chapels and kilns of Stoke-on-Trent, and is free to visit throughout its residency. Until 16 October

CHIMPS: 28 bronze, lifelike sculptures of chimpanzees have been installed in the area between London Bridge and Tower Bridge on the south side of the river. Spend some time tracking them down, interacting with them and taking photos — while considering the serious conservation message they're spreading. Until October

AFRICA FASHION: The largest ever exhibition of African fashion is now open at the V&A. Africa Fashion covers the period from the mid 20th century to the present day, through photos, textiles, music and visual art. Until April 2023

SCULPTURE IN THE CITY: Take a stroll around the Square Mile (weekends are best, when it's a little bit quieter) and hunt out this year's Sculpture in the City installations, including these bizarre human snails in Aldgate Square. Until Spring 2023

Last Updated 01 September 2022