70+ Summery Things To Do In London This Month: July 2024

Last Updated 04 July 2024

70+ Summery Things To Do In London This Month: July 2024

Things to do this month is sponsored by The Courtauld.

People watching a stage, with the London skyline in the background
Kaleidoscope Festival is at Alexandra Palace

EUROS: The UEFA Euro football tournament continues until mid-July, from the group stages through to the big final. At time of writing, we don't know all the teams who will make it through, but these London venues should be screening the matches. Until 14 July

WIMBLEDON: As we head into July, the world's greatest tennis players descend on SW19. No Centre Court tickets? No problem — stay up to date with the action at these Wimbledon screenings around town, or acquaint yourself with the ways of The Queue to bag on-the-day tickets. Many of the screenings are free. 1-14 July

SPANISH SHIP: Spanish Armada naval training ship the Juan Sebastián de Elcano docks in the Isle of Dogs, offering two open days while it's there. 2-4 July

SUMMER SCIENCE EXHIBITION: The Royal Society's annual Summer Science Exhibition is a free interactive experience for anyone curious about the latest advances in science and technology. Take part in drop-in workshops, meet scientists and researchers, and find out about topics such as child language acquisition, processed foods, AI and creativity, and the future of medicine. It begins with a sports science-themed Lates evening. FREE, 2-7 July

GARDEN FESTIVAL: Didn't make it to the Chelsea Flower Show? Head to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival instead. Wander the palace grounds to see specially designed gardens, and enjoy demos on gardening and floristry,  from experts including horticulturalist Martin Fish, actor and passionate gardener Caroline Quentin, and 'Drag Queen Gardener' Tom Leonard. 2-7 July

Nick Grimshaw
Nick Grimshaw takes part in Classical Pride

CLASSICAL PRIDE: Showcasing LGBTQ+ musicians working in classical music, festival Classical Pride returns with five days of concerts and events. Names on the schedule include the London Symphony Orchestra, Nick Grimshaw, Monét X Change, Thorgy Thor, Pavel Kolesnikov and Pumeza Matshikiza. 3-7 July

HIDDEN LONDON: Dive deep into the secrets of the Underground network on a guided tour by London Transport Museum. From subterranean adventures exploring disused stations (Aldwych, Down Street) and concealed platforms that now serve as film locations (Charing Cross), to street-level tours that reveal how the West End shaped the city’s transport system, urban explorers really are spoilt for choice. 3-31 July (sponsor)

GENERAL ELECTION: A General Election has been called for 4 July, so remember to put some time aside to head to your polling station on that day (open 7am-10pm). Keen to watch the results roll in? Book for one of these election night viewing parties around London. 4 July

AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY: 4 July is Independence Day for the USA. Whether you're an American here in London, or a Londoner wanting to get in on the fun, try one of the best American restaurants in London, or London's best diners... or head further afield to these 6 retro American diners worth leaving London for. There are also plenty of special Independence Day events taking place all over the capital. 4 July

UNDERBELLY FESTIVAL: Pop-up culture venue Underbelly Festival is back in Cavendish Square, offering a slice of Edinburgh Fringe for anyone who can't make it to Scotland. Cabaret, circus and comedy shows are on the programme, as well as family entertainment, and there are bars and street food traders to keep you fed and watered. 4 July-21 September

IDLER FESTIVAL: Comedians, writers, musicians and philosophers take to the stage at Idler Festival, happening at Fenton House in Hampstead. Across three days hear from former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on the Seven Deadly Sins, zoologist and author Lucy Cooke about why sloths are misunderstood, and novelist Zadie Smith about her life and work, among others. 5-7 July

RIVER STAGE: Every weekend in July, the River Stage pops up outside the National Theatre on South Bank, offering free performances spanning music, theatre, dance, family workshops and club nights. The team behind now-closed Hackney LGBTQ+ bar The Glory curate the first weekend, followed by Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, dance company Rambert, and the National Theatre itself. FREE, 5-28 July

A drag performer in front of a crowd outside the National Theatre
The Glory curates the first weekend of the River Stage. Photo: Sophie Wedgewood

BARBIE: One of the most anticipated exhibitions of the year opens at the Design Museum, focusing on one of the world's most famous toys. Museum curators worked in partnership with Mattel Inc, and were given special access to the Barbie archives in California to put together Barbie: The Exhibition. 180 dolls feature, including a rare first edition Barbie from 1959, and the first Black, Hispanic and Asian dolls to bear the Barbie name, as well as the first Barbie with Down syndrome, and the first to use a wheelchair. 5 July-21 February

EEL PIE ISLAND: The second of this summer's open weekends at Eel Pie Island falls this month. It's a chance to set foot on the mysterious and private island in the Thames and visit the artists who live and work there in their studios — and of course, buy artworks straight from the source. FREE, 6-7 July

HELLO, DOLLY: Imelda Staunton is back in the role of socialite turned matchmaker Dolly Levi, as Broadway musical Hello, Dolly! opens at the London Palladium. 6 July-14 September

THE BAKER'S WIFE: Based on the film La Femme du Boulanger, musical The Baker's Wife opens at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark, telling the story of the impact a new baker and his wife make when they arrive in a sleepy French village. 6 July-14 September

A Barbie doll wearing a printed dress and lilac hair bow
Hi Barbie! Image: Petra Rajnicova for the Design Museum

TURNER AND THE ENVIRONMENT: There's a new exhibition at Turner's House in Twickenham, the former home of artist J.M.W Turner. A World of Care: Turner and the Environment looks at how his work portrayed environmental and social developments — including burning furnaces and deforested landscapes — that would go on to change Britain and the world‘s climates forever. From 6 July

FUSE INTERNATIONAL: FUSE International is a festival offering an eclectic programme of music, theatre, dance, comedy, visual arts, spoken word, circus and more, at various locations around Kingston. Over 40 events in total — phew! Until 7 July

HOT AIR BALLOONS: Three Sundays in July have been put aside for Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta to take place this year. If weather conditions are rights, dozens of balloons in various designs (and shapes) will float across the capital from Battersea Park first thing in the morning — from about 5am in fact, so set your alarm early. FREE, 7/21/28 July

THE CALLY FESTIVAL: Islington's Caledonian Road — affectionately known as 'The Cally' — closes to traffic and  puts on its party gear for The Cally Festival. The free-entry celebration of local culture has previously included live music, storytelling, workshops, kids' activities and more — full 2024 details TBC at time of writing. FREE, 7 July

YACHT CLUB OPEN DAY: Twickenham Yacht Club invites members of the public inside for an open day. Have a go at sailing or paddleboarding on the river, and find out more about the club and becoming a member. FREE, 7 July

A yellow and orange painting
How did Turner depict climate change? Image: Sunset 1830-35 J.M.W. Turner Copyright Tate

HAMPSTEAD BIG FAIR: Heath Street in Hampstead goes traffic-free for the Hampstead Big Fair, with 100 stalls selling crafts, food and drink, alongside a funfair, circus school, live music and other entertainment. FREE, 7 July

CHESS FEST: Trafalgar Square hosts a free chess festival, open to all, whether you're a seasoned player or want to learn the game. This year's Chess Fest has a theme of Alice Through The Looking Glass, and once again includes a living chess set with 32 actors taking on the role of the pieces. FREE, 7 July

Sponsor message

See incredible post-war images of young Londoners at The Courtauld's first ever photography exhibition

Image credit: Men and Boys, Southam Street, London , 1959 Vintage gelatin silver print, 18.5 x 27 Courtesy the Roger Mayne Archive

Calling all street photography enthusiasts! The Courtauld – a gem of an art gallery located at Somerset House — is currently hosting a major exhibition of work by Roger Mayne.

The self-taught British photographer is perhaps best known for his documentation of children and young people on the impoverished Southam Street in North Kensington during the late '50s. Roger Mayne: Youth includes plenty such images, alongside other striking black and white depictions of post-war Londoners and intimate images of Mayne’s own family - some of which have never been on display before.

While browsing the 60 images, you’ll encounter Teddy Girls posing at Battersea Funfair, children playing in a bombed-out building in Bermondsey, and a young goalie diving to make a save on a street in Paddington. The exhibition — and its accompanying catalogue — casts Roger Mayne as a key figure in the emergence of documentary photography as an art form in post-war Britain.

Tickets to Roger Mayne: Youth cost £13-£15, which includes admission to The Courtauld Gallery’s permanent collection, home to an impressive selection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works. You’ll also get access to the gallery’s Vanessa Bell: A Pioneer of Modern Art display, and the temporary exhibition Henry Moore: Shadows on the Wall which, together with Roger Mayne: Youth, make up The Courtauld's fantastic Summer of Art programme.

Roger Mayne: Youth is at The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House (Strand) until 1 September. Tickets here.

KEW THE MUSIC: A stage and large screen is set up in Kew Gardens for live music by the likes of Mika, Ronan Keating, Passenger and Beverley Knight. New for this year in an evening in conversation with Monty Don, on the opening night. Take your own picnic chair or blanket, pack a picnic or buy food and drink on site — and enjoy live music in a relaxed and (hopefully) sunny setting. 8-14 July

DOGGETT'S COAT AND BADGE: Yes, it's the name of a pub, but the Doggett's Coat & Badge is also an annual boat race taking place on the Thames between London Bridge and Chelsea. It's been going for over 300 years, with up to six young watermen participating each time — here's the course, so you can pick a viewing point. FREE, 9 July

SHAKEITUP: Bard-based bedlam is promised at ShakeItUp, the improvised Shakespeare show coming to The Other Palace Theatre, in which the cast use audience suggestions to create a new Shakespeare play live on stage, with music and songs thrown in. 9-13 July

People sitting and standing at picnic tables beneath colourful bunting in a garden
Cocktails in the City is back in Bedford Square Gardens

CITY BEERFEST: Clock off work early and head to Guildhall Yard for the 10-year anniversary of City Beerfest. Several breweries are serving their beers, plus there's live music and street food, and the whole event raises money for charity. 11 July

RELICS OF OLD LONDON: London Metropolitan Archives offers an illustrated talk about photos from the Society of Photographic Relics of Old London's collection. Between 1875 and 1899 the society was commissioned to create a record of 120 buildings under the threat of demolition in a rapidly changing city. 11 July

DRAGON BOAT RACE: South Dock in Canary Wharf hosts a day of dragon boat racing in support of Water Aid. It's £350 to enter a team, but if you can't do that, head down on the day to watch and support them. 11 July

COCKTAILS IN THE CITY: Boozy festival Cocktails in the City takes place over three weekends this summer, bringing together some of the most popular bars in London to serve up their concoctions in the private garden of Bedford Square, with live entertainment thrown in. 11-13 July

SUMMER SERIES: Corinne Bailey Rae, The Amazons and Cory Henry are among the headliners at this year's Somerset House Summer Series, a programme of open-air gigs taking place in the building's courtyard. 11-21 July. See other music festivals taking place in London this summer.

A large crowd of people watching the stage in the Somerset House courtyard
Gigs in the courtyard at Somerset House? Yes, please! © James Bryant

BUCKINGHAM PALACE: Take the opportunity to go inside Buckingham Palace at the annual summer opening of the State Rooms. The Throne Room, Ballroom Grand Staircase and Palace Gardens are among the areas open to the public for just a few weeks — we've been inside a few times, and it is spectacular. 11 July-29 September

PORTRAIT AWARD: Whittled down from 1,647 entries from 62 countries, the shortlisted artworks for the Herbert Smith Freehills Portrait Award go on display in a free exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery — the winner will be announced on 9 July. FREE, 11 July-27 October

BALHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL: Kerry Godliman, Stephen K. Amos, Robin Morgan, Maisie Adam and Alexandra Haddow are among the comedians on the bill at the Balham Comedy Festival, organised by Banana Cabaret and taking place at The Bedford. 12-20 July

KALEIDOSCOPE FESTIVAL: Soul II Soul, Artful Dodgrt and comedians Simon Amstell and Sophie Duker are all on the eclectic line-up at Kaleidoscope Festival. The one-day event takes over Alexandra Palace with live music, DJ sets, comedy and spoken word performances, plus magicians, games and workshops for families — all with incredible views over London. 13 July

LONDON ARCHAEOLOGY: Southwark Cathedral hosts a day of talks about the archaeology of London, with topics ranging from historic graffiti at the Tower of London to the social history of London houses. 13 July

People sitting in stripy deckhairs at a festival
Enjoy live entertainment at Kaleidoscope Festival

CAROUSEL: For one night only, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel is performed in concert at Southbank Centre, with Jamie Muscato (Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Les Misérables) taking on the role of bad-boy carousel barker Billy Bigelow. 13 July

MONSTER JAM: Usually home to football, the London Stadium has some rather different visitors in the form of Monster Jam, featuring 12,000lb behemoths on wheels taking part in stunts (including backflips!). They're going to ruin that pitch... 13 July

WHITECROSS STREET PARTY: Though it hosts a lively street food market most week days, Whitecross Street near Barbican really comes alive for the annual Whitecross Street Party. This year there's a focus on the radical communities which have called the area home, and the event opens with a multicultural parade, followed by short film screenings, panel talks (author Malorie Blackman is scheduled), with live painting and street art, a words stage, live music, family activities, food stalls and more. FREE, 13-14 July

FANGIRLS: Opening at the Lyric Hammersmith, Fangirls is an Australian comedy musical about a 14-year old girl experiencing a concert of her favourite boyband in her home city. 15 July-24 August

PARADOX MUSEUM: 50 interactive exhibits and 25 rooms make up the Paradox Museum, a new venue opening on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge. Reverse rooms, a giant kaleidoscope and a mirror maze are among the experiences. From 17 July

DINOSAUR GARDEN: The Natural History Museum unveils its new Evolution Garden — or 'Dinosaur Garden' outside its main entrance, inviting visitors to wend their way through sunken paths, along an immersive timeline of plants, geology, and representations of reptiles, birds and mammals. Oh, and it'll be home to a huge bronze cast of a dinosaur skeleton too. FREE, from 18 July

People walking among colourful trucks and murals at Whitecross Street
Whitecross Street Party is free to attend. Photo: Kash Bashir

HYPER JAPAN FESTIVAL: Love all things Japanese? Get yourself to Hyper Japan, a celebration of Japanese culture at Olympia London. Live performances, a market, food and drink stalls and a sake experience are all part of the fun. 19-21 July

BBC PROMS: We can't even type those words without Land of Hope and Glory firing up on the record player inside our heads — but that's Last Night of the Proms, and there's almost two months' worth of live music to enjoy before that. For all your info on tickets, highlights, promming and the like, peruse our guide to the BBC Proms 2024. 19 July-14 September

CART MARKING CEREMONY: One of London's quirkier events is the Ceremony of Cart Marking, a 500+ year old tradition by the Worshipful Company of Carmen. See a collection of handcarts, horses and carts, steam-driven vehicles, electric, solar-powered and hydrogen vehicles on display at Guildhall, with Livery Masters and Court Assistants in their official robes, chains and hats. FREE, 20 July

FOOD FESTIVAL: Eat your way around the world at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival, at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Hear from cookbook authors including Yui Miles and Denai Moore, and watch live cooking demos and masterclasses, so you can attempt to recreate your favourite dishes at home. 20-21 July

ICE WEEKEND: Once a year, the London Canal Museum in King's Cross holds an ice weekend, celebrating the space where ice was stored before the days of refrigeration. Go down into its Victorian ice well (Sunday only). descending by ladder into the underground space where ice used to be stored, and take part in all manner of ice-themed activities back above ground. 20-21 July

Two people walking through a mindbending tunnel, with white and black dotty walls
Get your brain scrambled at the Paradox Museum

LONDON E-PRIX: All-electric vehicles take over the area around Royal Docks and ExCeL for the London E-Prix. The track partially goes inside the ExCeL Centre itself, and there's a fan village, live music and kids' area for spectators. 20-21 July

ROUGH MAGIC: Opening just in time for the summer holidays, Rough Magic is a family-friendly show set in the world of Shakespeare's characters, specifically Macbeth's Weird Sisters. Audience members are invited to dress as their favourite mythical creature (think fairies, witches, ghosts, monsters) for the show at Shakespeare's Globe. Recommended for age 5+. 20 July-24 August

FANTASTICALLY GREAT WOMEN: Scientists, secret agents, artists and explorers are among the people celebrated in musical Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World, playing at The Other Palace. Their stories are told to a backdrop of pop hits and choreography, by the songwriters behind Girls Aloud and Miley Cyrus. 20 July-8 September

SOHO VILLAGE FETE: A tug of war between the police and fire brigade, a best in show where pooches must dress like royalty, and a music stage are all part of the Soho Village Fete. But surely the highlight is the Soho Waiters' Race, which sees serving staff from different restaurants legging it around the area while balancing a bottle of fizz, wine glass and ashtray on their tray. FREE, 21 July

LOOKING FOR LEONARDO: When the founders of Dulwich Picture Gallery began assembling the collection in the 19th century, they were determined to find a masterpiece by the artist and inventor, Leonardo da Vinci. It proved difficult, a story that is told in new display, Looking for Leonardo: The Quest for a Renaissance Masterpiece. 23 July-26 January

Rough Magic is a family-friendly show based on Shakespeare's characters

RUBBER DUCK RACE: 1,000 rubber ducks are released into Paddington Basin... all for a good cause. The annual rubber duck race raises money for local charity Cosmic (Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care), by allowing the public to sponsor a duck. Later the same day, a dragon boat race takes place along the same stretch of water, also for charity. 25 July

OLYMPICS: It's a big summer for sport: in addition to Wimbledon and the Euros (above), the Olympics take place across the Channel in Paris. As Paris is only one hour ahead of the UK, the events are scheduled at a decent hour for us Londoners, with many venues in the capital broadcasting the latest action on large screens throughout the competition. From 26 July

WING FEST: Arrive hungry at the London Stadium for Wing Fest, apparently the world's largest chicken wing festival, with 45 different street food traders, restaurants and BBQ teams serving up their best chicken wings. Tickets include live music, DJs, bands, entertainment, rides, games, axe throwing and eating competitions. 26-28 July

SUNDAES IN THE PARK: Ben & Jerry’s Sundaes In The Park Festival returns to London for the first time in over a decade, pitching up at Chiswick House and Gardens for a day of live music headlined by Shingai (from the Noisettes), along with vintage theatre acts and cabaret performances and other entertainment. Despite the festival's name, it takes place on a Saturday. 27 July

LAVENDER HARVEST: For one weekend, Carshalton Lavender invites the public to descend on its allotment, and pick their own lavender — just remember to bring some secateurs or scissors to do your snipping with. 27-28 July

Shinghai posing with an electric guitar
Shinghai headlines Sundaes in the Park

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: Classic musical Fiddler on the Roof returns to the London stage, for a summer run at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. 27 July-21 September

CAMDEN FRINGE: Who needs Edinburgh when you've got Camden Fringe? The festival offers new and experimental theatre and comedy performances by emerging artists across North London, with 300 shows on the 2024 programme. The bulk of the festival is in August, but it kicks off in late July — see the programme for what's on when, and get booking. 29 July-25 August

SYMPHONIC HORIZONS: Science and orchestral music combine in Symphonic Horizons at the Royal Opera House. Professor Brian Cox examines cosmic ideas and links between cosmology and music by Mahler, Strauss and Sibelius, accompanied by the Britten Sinfonia conducted by Daniel Harding. 30 July-4 August

BRAINIAC LIVE: For four weeks in the summer holidays, Brainiac Live is at the Marylebone Theatre, with science experiments and demonstrations performed live on stage. Expect loud bangs, flashing lights, smoke, and haze effects. Recommended for age 5+. 30 July-24 August

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS: Most schools in London break up for summer towards the end of July. Browse our school holiday event listings, for ideas of how to keep the family occupied, including plenty of free things to do in London.

Scientists on stage in Brainiac Live
Take the kids to Brainiac Live during the school holidays.

OUTDOOR CULTURE: Cross your fingers for better 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.

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

A woman walking down a replica of a tube station corridor
Last chance to see Fashion City at Museum of London Docklands
  • HEATHERS: Following its successful West End run and a national tour, Heathers The Musical is back in London at Soho Place, about a high school girl who is taken under the wings of three cruel students, all called Heathers. Until 6 July
  • FASHION CITY: The contribution of Jewish designers and tailors in making London a fashion powerhouse is shown in Fashion City at Museum of London Docklands. Objects featured include a famous red coat worn by Princess Diana, and the unique garb of Dot Cotton from Eastenders. Until 7 July
  • SARGENT AND FASHION: Find out how painter John Singer Sargent used fashion as a tool to portray identity in his portrait paintings. 60 of his works are on display at Tate Britain. Until 7 July
  • TEA: The Horniman Museum's exhibition, Chá, Chai, Tea, tells the story of the much-loved drink, including its productions, and traditions around drinking it in different countries. FREE, until 7 July
  • BABIES: Babies at The Other Palace is a comedy musical about a group of secondary school students who are given the task of keeping a fake baby alive for an entire week in a bid to stop teenage pregnancies. Until 14 July
  • FREUD AND LATIN AMERICA: The Freud Museum in Hampstead offers an exploration of the impact that psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud had on culture, society, art and psychoanalysis in Latin America. Until 14 July
  • FORTITUDE: Hear healthcare workers' experiences of the Covid19 pandemic in Fortitude at the Royal College of Physicians. The often-challenging stories were sourced from workers from over 20 medical specialties and professions. Until 18 July
  • LAST CARAVAGGIO: The National Gallery's display, The Last Caravaggio, showcases the last known work of Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. It's the first time The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula has been on display in London for 20 years. Until 21 July
  • GREAT ESCAPES: The National Archives' current exhibition is Great Escapes, about prisoners of war and civilians who were confined to internment camps during the second world war. Some managed to escape physically, while others remained trapped but found freedom in creative endeavours such as art and theatre productions, or in writing letters to loved ones. Until 21 July
  • MICHELANGELO: On at the British Museum, Michelangelo: the last decades focuses on the last 30 years of the artist's life, when he'd left Florence to live in Rome. Until 28 July