23 Summery Things To Do In London This Month: August 2019

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23 Summery Things To Do In London This Month: August 2019
Notting Hill Carnival takes place over the bank holiday weekend. Image: Shutterstock

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS: School's out for summer. If you're looking for ways to keep the kids amused, take a look at our guide to London in the school holidays. We've covered family-friendly attractions, exhibitions, events and theatre shows, plus plenty of places to eat and drink.

BBC PROMS: The huge classical music series continues with concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and other venues throughout the month, in addition to talks and family workshops. Highlights this month include The Sound of Space, Mozart's Requiem and The Warner Brothers Story. Until 14 September

STATE ROOMS: Every summer, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are opened to the public, offering a chance to see inside the glitzy Throne Room and Ballroom, among other areas. This year there's also a special exhibition, Queen Victoria's Palace. Marking the 200th anniversary of her birth, it looks at how the monarch transformed the Palace from private house to royal residence. Until 29 September

Spice Gals is one of the August highlights at Underbelly Festival

UNDERBELLY: Performing arts festival Underbelly rumbles on in its purple tent by the Thames. August highlights include disco circus night Club Briefs, a celebration of three decades of the Phoenix Arts Club, and a Spice Girls drag show. Until 29 September

51ST STATE: There will be plenty of sniggering ravers as they ride the Piccadilly line to Cockfosters for music festival 51st State in Trent Park. This year is the event's fifth birthday, and it's celebrating the only way it knows how — masses of house music with a dash of garage, a hint of soul and a dollop of disco across seven stages. 3 August

EASTERN ELECTRICS: Another festival dedicated to making your body move but with acts like Goldie, Big Narstie and Hannah Wants, Eastern Electrics has a hard edge. Expect bass, the kind that may leave your ears ringing for a week. If that sounds a bit much, you can always just follow the roaming samba band around the site for two straight days. 3-4 August

Prudential RideLondon takes cyclists through London and beyond

PRUDENTIAL RIDELONDON: Get on yer bike for a weekend of cycling, courtesy of Prudential RideLondon. Sign up to take part in the family-friendly RideLondon-Surrey 19, which joins the final 19 miles of the London-Surrey 100 route between Sandown Park and Green Park. Otherwise, take part in the FreeCycle, a traffic-free 7-mile route through the streets of central London. 3-4 August

MELTDOWN FESTIVAL: Musician and producer Nile Rodgers has curated the 26th edition of Southbank Centre's Meltdown Festival. Expect eight days of cutting edge live music events — some of which are selling out fast. Our picks include the music of Stranger Things, Rodgers himself in conversation with music manager Merck Mercuriadis, the Eurythmics Songbook, and a free day of catwalking at the Vogue Ball.  3-11 August

SHARD SESSIONS: As live music venues go, the View from The Shard is a fairly unique one. Enjoy a series of late-night summer concerts and DJ sets 800ft above the capital, with a glass of Moët & Chandon. 3 August-12 October

Enjoy live music at The View From The Shard

GREAT BRITISH BEER FESTIVAL: At time of writing, the full line-up for this year's Great British Beer Festival has yet to be announced, but we do know that there will be a plethora of beer tastings (last year's event had 1,000 beers, ciders and perries from over 400 breweries), plus live music, pub games and street food. 6-10 August

ESPRESSO MARTINI FESTIVAL: If cocktails are more your buzz, the Mr Black Expresso Martini Festival is dedicated to the caffeine-laced serve. Sign up for a free digital pass to get £6 espresso martinis at participating bars across London, and access to various pop-ups and parties. 7-11 August

Film 4 Summer Screen comes to Somerset House

FILM 4 SUMMER SCREEN: The cobbled courtyard of Somerset House houses a giant cinema for Film4 Summer Screen. As usual, we're offered an edgier, more unique selection of films than the crowd-pleasers at summer cinemas — not that that usually stops it selling out. The full programme is available here, and includes Black Panther, Reservoir Dogs and This Is England. Just remember to bring something soft to sit on. 8-21 August

CATHEDRAL LATES: St Paul's Cathedral stays open late for a chance to see the church in twilight hours on Thursday evenings in August. Visit the main cathedral and crypt, without the usual daytime crowds — non-flash photography is permitted. 8-29 August

LONDON CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL: Almost 100 breweries are on the line-up for London Craft Beer Festival, a three-day brewing celebration at Tobacco Dock. Focus may be on the drinks, but the music line-up is pretty decent too, with the likes of Friendly Fires, Kaiser Chiefs and Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip playing DJ sets. 9-11 August

Tuck into sweet treats at London Dessert Festival

LONDON DESSERT FESTIVAL: Satiate your sweet tooth at London Dessert Festival. Eat your way around dishes from producers and chefs from all over the country, including plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. We're also promised Instagrammable walls and themed rooms, food photography workshops, and make-up artists offering styles inspired by desserts. 17-18 August

ARIANA GRANDE: American pop singer Ariana Grande brings her Sweetener World Tour to the O2 for three dates in August (plus a further two in October). English singer-songwriter Ella Mai is the support act. 17-20 August

FLEABAG: Phoebe Waller-Bridge takes her phenomenally successful TV show back to its original form as a one-woman stage show. "I know!" we hear you cry, "but tickets have all sold out". Not so. There are still ways of getting tickets if you know how, which we do, and we've shared the info with you. You're welcome. 20 August-14 September

The Monster obstacle course comes to Ally Pally

THE MONSTER: Kids, it's time to move over and let the adults have fun. The Monster is a giant inflatable obstacle course popping up at Alexandra Palace — and it's only for adults. The 300m long course is surrounded by bars, street food stalls and live DJ sets. 23-28 August

SOUTH WEST FOUR: Mega. That's the one word that sums up Clapham Common's EDM/grime/garage/whatever-the-hell-people-want-to-dance-to end of summer weekender. The line-up is massive. Dance music is a broad church, so if you and your mates all have differing tastes this could be the festival for you — there's at least one act on this behemoth of this line-up that everyone will go crazy for. What's ours? Tough choice, but TQD have never let us down before. Clapham Common, £57-£99, book ahead, 24-25 August

Image: Shutterstock

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL: Europe's biggest street festival takes over west London for the bank holiday weekend. Notting Hill Carnival has been running for over 50 years, so it's got the blend of performers, dancers, epic sound systems and tempting street food down to a tee. 24-26 August

BANK HOLIDAY: The final weekend of August is a bank holiday — the last one before Christmas (sob). Make the most of it with our guide to things to do in London on bank holiday weekend. 26 August

Mamma Mia The Party begins this month — alas, not in Waterloo

MAMMA MIA THE PARTY: Long-awaited ABBA-themed restaurant Mamma Mia The Party opens inside the O2. The "immersive theatrical experience" is overseen by ABBA member Björn Ulvaeus, and is set in a Greek taverna in Skopelos, the island where parts of Mamma Mia were filmed. Watch the story of Nikos, the taverna's owner, play out in front of you, while they tuck into Mediterranean food and drink, all soundtracked by ABBA songs. You'll need Money, Money, Money to go though — tickets start at £135 per person, plus a 12% booking fee. Mamma Mia! 29 August-16 February

SOUTHPORT WEEKENDER: Despite having a Merseyside town in its name, Southport Weekender is in south London, Crystal Palace to be precise (it's also worth pointing out that it's just one day). The reason for the name lies in the festival's origins, a R&B, garage, house and soul weekend in Southport Pontins. The team have brought the self-proclaimed 'world's friendliest party' vibe down to the Big Smoke, for a few years now, although this is its first time in south London. No line-up announced at the time of writing. Crystal Palace Park, £45-£66, book ahead, 31 August

Check out our guide to summer in London for more music festivals, outdoor film screenings, pop-up beaches and more.

Last Updated 08 July 2019