40+ Summery Things To Do In London This Month: August 2023

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Last Updated 04 August 2023

40+ Summery Things To Do In London This Month: August 2023

Things to do in London in August is sponsored by Detroit Pizza.

A band performing live on stage in front of a crowd at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross
Summer Sounds music festival returns to King's Cross. Image: John Sturrock.

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.

WOMEN'S WORLD CUP: England's Lionesses are in Australia and New Zealand taking part in the Women's Football World Cup, but you can catch all the action at these screenings all around London — just remember that they take place early in the day, due to the time difference. The Lionesses' final group stage match takes place on 1 August — so screenings after that depend on whether they get through. Until 20 August

CAMDEN FRINGE: The 17th edition of Camden Fringe takes place this month, bringing theatre, music, comedy and dance to venues across Camden. Highlights of the nearly 300 performances include apocalyptic improv, comedy set in two toilet stalls, fairytale opera and a comedy take on Greek tragedy. Overwhelmed by the choice? Take a look at our picks for Camden Fringe 2023. 31 July-27 August

SUMMER ON THE SQUARE: After the success of the inaugural event last year, The National Gallery has extended this year's Summer on the Square, a free festival of art taking place just outside the gallery in Trafalgar Square. It offers the public a chance to get involved in activities such as sketching and painting through daily creative sessions and masterclasses. FREE, 1-28 August

Two female performers in adjacent toilet cubicles. The person on the left has a ukelele and the one on the right is in a wedding dress
Release, at Rosemary Branch Theatre, is one of our Camden Fringe picks.

SUMMER IN THE COURTYARD: Somerset House puts its Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court to use with Summer in the Courtyard, a series of events which opens the space up to everyone. On weekdays throughout August it's full of food and drink pop-ups for anyone who want to go along for lunch, with the fountains working on some days. Various events including Trans* Day of Joy, a Queer Family Picnic, and the Vogue Rites Power Ball take place at the weekends. 1-28 August

JAZZ AGE SPEAKEASY: Join infamous socialite Belle Livingstone for a night of wild dancing, decadent drinks, and 1930s-style debauchery at The 58th Street Country Club. This is The Greatest Night Of The Jazz Age – an ambitious immersive experience by The Lost Estate that reimagines a real Prohibition-era speakeasy in spectacular style. Every Thursday-Sunday this month, then Tuesday-Sunday until 24 September (sponsor)

SIX COURSES OF SICILY: Six by Nico is delivering some dolce vita this month with their six course Sicilian-inspired tasting menu. Think rich, pecorino-laced ragù, barbecued lamb flank with caponata, and lemon and whipped ricotta desserts. Till 13 August  

LATINO LIFE: The UK's largest Latin music festival, Latino Life takes to Walpole Park in Ealing for a day celebrating UK-based Latin-American, Spanish and Portuguese performers. Singer Lucy Calcines headlines. 5 August

ROUNDHOUSE COMEDY FESTIVAL: Traditionally, the London comedy scene quietens down a bit in August, as comedians head north of the border for Edinburgh Festival. But the laughs keep coming in Camden at Roundhouse Comedy Festival, which already has Sophie Duker, Jen Ives, Helen Bauer, Sukh Ojla, Kojo Anim and Dylan Moran, among others, on the programme, with more to be announced. 5-23 August

A selection of condiments including Tabasco, Heinz Tomato Ketchup and HP Sauce on a wooden table in a cafe.
Well-known products are in the spotlight at Brushstrokes to Brands.

BRUSHSTROKES TO BRANDS: Ladbroke Grove's Museum of Brands opens a new display, Brushstrokes to Brands, putting the spotlight on still-life oil paintings of big-brand products. Confectionery wrappers, nostalgic items and heritage brands all feature. 5 August-25 November

LONDON TRIATHLON: Swim, bike and run your way across the city as the London Triathlon comes to town. There's a variety of events and distances to sign up for if you're sportily-inclined, but even if you're not an athlete (or spectator) be aware of road closures on the day. Swimming takes place in the Royal Docks, with running events in the area around ExCeL Centre, but the cycling route takes competitors from here to Westminster. 6 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 themed afternoon teas, or perhaps the best afternoon teas near London's tourist attractions, and combine it with a day of sightseeing? 7-13 August

SUMMER SOUNDS: Free music festival Summer Sounds is back at King's Cross, with live concerts every evening, and family sessions on Sunday afternoon, with singer, pianist and songwriter Joe Stilgoe, artists from the English National Opera, and the Harrow Community Gospel Choir on the line-up. FREE, 9-20 August

An artist's impression of the pink makeover at Rooftop Film Club
Rooftop Film Club Peckham has a Barbie makeover.

BARBIE CINEMA: For one long weekend, Rooftop Film Club turns its Peckham venue into a pink Barbie paradise, with special screenings of the newly-released film. Surround yourself with neon, sparkles and pink plastic and settle down to watch the film with a special Barbie-Marg cocktail in hand. 10-13 August

LONDON CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL: Over 100 breweries are expected to be at this year's London Craft Beer Festival, which is at Wapping's Tobacco Dock. Sample from a choice of 800+ beers, from established and newer breweries. Tickets include a festival tasting glass, and live entertainment as you sup. 11-12 August

DINOSAUR WORLD LIVE: Interactive family theatre show Dinosaur World Live returns to Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, with appearances by tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops, giraffatitan, microraptor and segnosaurus — and a chance to meet them all on the lawn after the show. 11 August-3 September

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Started in an archway to serve US expats a taste of home during the pandemic, Detroit Pizza opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Spitalfields last year (earning a slew of rave reviews, including a spot in our very discerning 2022 round-up of London's Best New Restaurants). Head here for unapologetically decadent pies like the Detroit — pepperoni, jalapeño, parsley, honey, parmesan — or the Bacon Double Cheeseburger pizza, or enjoy classics by-the-slice if you fancy something light(er). Whichever you go for, know that it'll have been whipped up in authentic Detroit style: baked in a blue steel pan for an extra-crispy organic sourdough crust.

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SPOGOMI WORLD CUP: OK, bear with us here. Spogomi is the Japanese sport of picking up litter. That sport has a world cup. And you can take part in the UK qualifying round in Hackney. Points are awarded for the type and weight of rubbish collected in a certain area within a certain time period. It's a great way to get involved in cleaning up the park, and if you win, the prize is a trip to Japan to compete in the finals. 12 August

ANIME & GAMING CON: The UK's largest anime convention comes to Hammersmith, with four floors of merch, gaming, comics and cosplay. Expect live performers from J-Pop, Anime inspired singers, bands and performers throughout the day, as well as a chance to meet voice actors from anime productions. 12-13 August

ALL POINTS EAST: Stormzy, Haim, Aphex Twin, The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs... just some of the impressive line-up at this year's All Points East Festival in Victoria Park, which also incorporates Field Day. 18-28 August

CROYDON STANDS TALL: 30 giraffe sculptures appear in south London for Croydon Stands Tall, a free art trail with works decorated by local artists. In addition, a litter of 30 baby giraffe sculptures, decorated by local schools and community groups, will appear in Croydon shops. FREE, 21 August-27 October

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 tightrope walking, aerial dancing, and dance performances on the roof of a house which is submerged in Royal Docks. 25 August-10 September

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. 26-28 August

A woman in carnival outfit: red and gold feathered headress and wings, and gold bikini-style top
August means CARNIVAL! Image: Shutterstock

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL: Notting Hill Carnival is back on the streets of west London for three days of Caribbean-style entertainment. 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. 26-28 August

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 and cart rides for kids. 26-28 August

BATTERSEA PARK IN CONCERT: Battersea Park hosts three evenings of open-air picnic concerts. Saturday is A Night At The Musicals and Sunday is Proms in the Park, both performed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, while Gabrielle headlines Monday night, with support from Yolanda Brown and the Ronnie Scott's All Stars. 26-28 August

A field full of people sitting on picnic blankets, watching a live performance on the stage, as it gets dark.
Three nights of concerts in Battersea Park

CAPITAL CRIME: Armchair sleuths, save space in your diary for Capital Crime, a literary festival focusing exclusively on the crime and thriller genre. Louise Candlish, Dorothy Koomson, Kate Atkinson, Lisa Jewell and Adele Parks are among the authors scheduled to appear at various events across the weekend. 31 August-2 September

BARTHOLOMEW FAIR: The Bartholomew Fair last took place in 1855 — at the time it was considered too raucous, and was banned. But now it's back, taking place around the City over three weeks, with family-friendly events — the highlight of which is an aerial dance performance on top of St Paul's Cathedral. FREE, 31 August-16 September

OUTDOOR CULTURE: Cross your fingers for decent weather this month, then make the most of it with London's al fresco culture options. Theatre, films, art and live music can all be enjoyed in the open-air if you know where to look and what to book... which we do, naturally.

OUTDOOR CINEMA: As an extension to the above, London's awash with outdoor cinemas, from ones on rooftops to those in palace grounds, and alongside canals. Get booking to watch cult classic and new release films in the open-air this summer.

DAY TRIPS FROM LONDON: Need to get out of the city for a day or two? We hear you. Check out our Beyond London section, for day trip inspo, weekends away in the UK, and city breaks further afield. At the moment, we're loving these Sussex seaside towns, relaxed weekends in Southwold, and this gorgeous country house with links to Harry Potter and Henry VIII.

A pair of glowing model swans, face to face on a stretch of water in front of some buildings. It's dark and the swans are illuminated white, and reflected in the water.
Glowing swans are part of this year's Greenwich + Docklands International Festival. Photo: Loomaland

LAST CHANCE: A few things are closing this month too. It's your last chance to go to:

  • ASTRONOMY PHOTOGRAPHY: Reach for the stars at the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, where you can ogle 100 stunning photos of stars, galaxies, suns and moons. Until 13 August
  • PERSIA TO GREECE: Blockbuster British Museum exhibition Luxury and Power: Persia to Greece uses blinging objects to tell the story of how Greeks saw Persians as decadent, but after defeating them in battle happily co-opted their luxurious items. Until 13 August
  • MILKY WAY VR EXPERIENCE: Beyond the Milky Way is a VR experience at the Royal Institution, voiced by physicist Brian Cox. It takes visitors on a tour of the Square Kilometre Array telescope being built in the Australian outback, and offers a look at what it will be able to see when it's complete. Until 19 August
  • GROUNDHOG DAY: Really, this one should be stuck on a loop replaying forever, but in reality, time's running out to catch the Groundhog Day musical at The Old Vic. It's about a cynical weatherman who finds himself waking up in the same day over and over again who finds himself waking up in the same day over and over again who finds himself waking up in the same day over and over again who... Until 19 August
A morph statue with Power to the People on its chest
Track down all the Morphs before they disappear for good.
  • MORPH TRAIL: You may have spotted some of the multicoloured Morph sculptures which have popped up around the capital. They're part of a free and completely accessible art trail featuring 56 models of the beloved TV character, mainly dotted around the City and South Bank, but with a few elsewhere too. FREE, until 20 August
  • SUMMER EXHIBITION: One of the highlights of the London art calendar, this year's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition has a theme of 'Only Connect'. There are more than 1,600 artworks on show by the likes of Phyllida Barlow RA, Tracey Emin RA, Hew Locke RA, Barbara Walker RA, Gavin Turk, and a witty painting by prankster comedian Joe Lycett. Until 20 August
  • SCIENCE FICTION: It's been extended once already, but time really is running out to see Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination at Science Museum. The whole set up is somewhat theatrical, but packs plenty of substance to balance the style, featuring props and costumes from blockbuster sci-fi, as well as human stories and historic artefacts. Until 20 August
  • SPITTING IMAGE: Fans of satire, get yourselves to the Phoenix Theatre for Spitting Image: The Musical, featuring over 100 puppet celebrity look-a-likes. Until 26 August
Two spacesuits. The one on the left is heavily shielded and golden. That on the right is a white Apollo moon suit
Last chance to catch Science Museum's sci-fi exhibition
  • WE WILL ROCK YOU: Admittedly the opening reviews were... mixed. But if you're keen to see the 21st anniversary revival of Queen musical We Will Rock You, you've only got until the end of this month. Until 26 August
  • SPONGEBOB MUSICAL: A treat for the summer holidays, The SpongeBob Musical at Southbank Centre stars Ru-Paul’s Drag Race legend Divina De Campo. It features the same citizens of Bikini Bottom as the TV show, who find out that their home is in danger of being destroyed by a volcano. Age 6+. Until 27 August
  • FINDING FAMILY: The Foundling Museum uses art to challenge and question the world around us in exhibition Finding Family, which looks at what the idea of family has meant, from the 17th century through to the present day. Until 27 August
  • THEATRE ON KEW: Every Wednesday to Sunday (plus the bank holiday Monday) throughout August, catch family-friendly performances of Alice in Wonderland in the open air at Kew Gardens. Ticket includes entry to the gardens as well, so you can make a day of it during the summer holidays. Age 5+. Until 28 August
  • PERFORM IN THE PARK: Alternatively, head to Coram's Fields in Bloomsbury for all your family-friendly theatre needs. Perform in the Park has live performances every day, including The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and Mermaids & Pirates, in a specially-built air-conditioned theatre. Until 28 August
  • LAUREL & CHAPLIN: No, that's not a typo. Laurel & Chaplin - The Feud is a comedic portrayal of the true story of teenage best friends Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin who grew up to become professional rivals, and never spoke again. Until 28 August
  • ANIMALS: Another exhibition which we loved was Animals: Art, Science and Sound at the British Library. It uses the Library's vast archive of books, magazines, video, ephemera and sound recordings to look at how different animal species have been recorded throughout history, with a few charming surprises thrown in. Until 28 August