25+ Amazing Things To Do In London This Month: September 2021

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 11 months ago
25+ Amazing Things To Do In London This Month: September 2021
The Chelsea Flower Show takes place in September for the first time

We're thrilled to see London coming back to life again. If you're ready to get back out and explore the capital, read on for our pick of events happening in September 2021. Bear in mind that restrictions may still be in place at some venues, and there may be booking requirements or capacity limits. Check directly with the venue or organiser for the most up to date information.

BBC PROMS: The Proms continue apace, and with everything from organ recitals to 20th century film music on the programme for September, there's bound to be something to get your trumpet tootling. In most cases, bargain price Promming tickets for the events go on sale at 9am on the day, ideal for last minute plans. Can't make it, or stuck at home isolating? Many of the performances are shown on TV. Until 11 September

GREENWICH+DOCKLANDS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL: Outdoor performing arts festival GDIF is back, bringing free performances for all the family to east London. Highlights include a light display inspired by the Northern Lights, a fire garden with sound effects, dance theatre, circus performances and more. Until 11 September

See a recreation of the Northern Lights at Greenwich and Docklands International Festival

TURNER'S MODERN WORLD: We're in the final weeks of Turner's Modern World at Tate Britain. The exhibition looks at how painter J.M.W. Turner embraced the changes of the Industrial Revolution in his work, rather than ignoring its effects as many of his contemporaries did. Until 12 September

SECRET WORLD OF PLANTS:  Last chance to see the Secret World of Plants, a Kew Gardens exhibition looking at the secret details of the natural world. Get up close to native plant species via special viewing holes, and look out for art installations and immersive experiences as you wander around the gardens. Until 19 September

Please be Seated by Paul Cocksedge is part of Secret World of Plants at Kew Gardens © RBG Kew

UNDERBELLY: It's the final month of this year's Underbelly Festival, which is at a new location in Cavendish Square. September highlight include 1940s-style party night Miss Kiddy and the Cads, a live recording of comedy podcast Drunk Women Solving Crime, and cabaret comedy duo Frisky & Mannish. Kids are catered for too, with beatboxing and appearances by Basil Brush. Until 26 September

LONDON WONDERGROUND: Giant fairground London Wonderground sees out its season with vintage rides, an urban beach, food and drink stalls, and live performances.  Our September picks include comedian Stephen K. Amos, a drag improv show, and late night variety show Stamptown. Until 26 September

There's still time to visit London Wonderground this summer

ROOFTOP FILM CLUB: It wouldn't be summer in London without classic films being screened under the stars. Rooftop Film Club's 2021 season takes place at two venues, the Bussey Building in Peckham and Roof East in Stratford, with classics such as Heathers, Moulin Rouge and Pulp Fiction on the September programme, along with newer releases such as Jungle Cruise and Candyman. Ideal if you're hungry for some Hollywood magic bur aren't ready to return to the confined space of your local multiplex. Until 26 September

CINEMA: Combine cinema with sightseeing by catching one of Luna Cinema's screenings at impressive outdoor venues including Regent's Park, Royal Hospital Chelsea and Brompton Cemetery. As the sun sets on London's landmarks, kick back and watch the likes of The Greatest Showman, Rocketman, Dirty Dancing and Notting Hill on the big screen. Until 3 October

The Classic Boat Festival is part of Totally Thames

TOTALLY THAMES: A month-long festival celebrating the River Thames, Totally Thames 2021 encompasses talks, walks, live performances, film screenings, workshops and much more. Learn about Rotherhithe's links to the Mayflower, take a boat trip to see the Illuminated River bridges, find out more about the mysterious Eel Pie Island, ogle beautiful vessels at the Classic Boat Festival, or try out all manner of activities on the water — and that's just a tiny snippet of the full programme. 1-30 September

LONDON PODCAST FESTIVAL: Plug into all manner of audio treats at the London Podcast Festival at Kings Place. Attend live recordings of podcasts covering all manner of topics from Doctor Who to Studio Ghibli to heartbreak, and meet the people behind them. 2-12 September

Camden Town Brewery hosts a Tank Party

TANK PARTY: Camden Town Brewery marks the end of its Tank Party Tour with a party on home turf. Head to the newly renovated beer hall to sample unfiltered beer poured directly from the tanks, along with live music, entertainment and street food vendors. 4-5 September

NEW MUSEUM: Get a preview of Museum of London's new home. For one weekend, visitors are invited to drop by the General Market site in Smithfield and get a glimpse of the construction work going on, ahead of the museum relocating in a few years. 4-5 September

The Waiters' Race is part of Soho Village Fete

OPEN HOUSE LONDON: One of our favourite events in the London calendar, Open House London is a chance to go behind the scenes, on roofs and inside London buildings which are usually off-limits to the public — and best of all, it's running for a whole week this year. Some of the buildings such as Downing Street and Great Scotland Yard are only accessible by ballot, but for the rest, it's a case of perusing the programme, and seeing what takes your fancy, be that Roman remains, or the modern City Hall. Some require booking, others don't, and most are free — check the programme for full details. 4-12 September

CROSS THE TRACKS: A stellar line up comes to one of south London's loveliest festival spaces. Cross The Tracks unites Lianne La Havas, The Cinematic Orchestra, Greentea Peng, and the London African Gospel Choir, and an equally punchy set of street food vendors. It's one of a staggeringly good three day stretch of festivals at Brockwell Park, with Wide Awake and Mighty Hoopla on the Friday and Saturday, so worth thinking about grabbing a weekend ticket for the entire series. 5 September

Cross The Tracks back in 2019. Image by Luke Dyson.

SOHO VILLAGE FETE: See a group of waiters racing around the streets of Soho in their uniforms, while balancing a bottle of champagne and a glass on a tray. The Soho Waiters' Race is the centrepiece of the Soho Village Fete, which also includes a dog show, tug of war, spaghetti eating competition, snail racing and more. 5 September

The Doggett's Coat and Badge Race

DOGGETT'S COAT AND BADGE: The Doggett's Coat and Badge Wager is a London tradition. Head to the banks of the Thames between London Bridge and Cadogan Pier to watch the boat race, organised by the Fishmongers' Company, with support from the Company of Watermen and Lightermen. It's one of London's oldest sporting events, having been established in 1715. 8 September

PHOTO LONDON: The work of iconic and emerging photographers from all over the world is on display at Photo London at Somerset House. The fair includes and exhibition of works by war reporter Robert Capa, as well as workshops, artist talks and plenty of photos to admire. 8-12 September

Barnet Medieval Festival. Photo: Alex Dingwell

OPEN CITY DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL: Film event Open City Documentary Festival is a celebration of non-fiction filmmakers, this year featuring both in-person and online events. In addition to a plethora of film screenings (our picks are Songs for the River, about communities coming together in lockdown, and Río Turbio, which focuses on an Argentinian coal town), the programme boasts workshops, writing surgeries and masterclasses for budding filmmakers, as well as a look at how London is adapting and evolving after lockdown. 8-23 September

GROUND ZERO: 20 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Imperial War Museum opens a photography exhibition about the aftermath. Wim Wenders: Photographing Ground Zero is a series of large-scale photographs taken by Wenders at the site in the two months after the attacks, as New York adapted to a new reality. 10 September-9 January

BARNET MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL: This year is the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Barnet, a significant skirmish in the War of the Roses. The anniversary is marked by Barnet Medieval Festival, which includes reenactments, archery displays and living history encampments, to give 21st century Londoners an idea of what the battle would have been like. 11-12 September

There's a packed programme at Chelsea History Festival

CHELSEA HISTORY FESTIVAL: Spies, nursing, mudlarking and gardening are just some of the topics covered by Chelsea History Festival, which has a mixture of physical and virtual events focusing on the local area's past. Hear about a spy who worked in British Intelligence for over 40 years, find out about items which have washed up in the Thames, take a tour of Chelsea Physic Garden, and much more. 17-26 September

FESTIVAL OF HOME: Not visited the Museum of the Home (previously known as the Geffrye Museum) since it reopened? Here's your chance — it hosts a two-day Festival of Home, featuring talks, performances and workshops on the theme of home and belonging. Events range from a discussion on gentrification to an embroidery workshop, an Indonesian supperclub, and an appearance by queer pan-Asian cabaret collective The Bitten Peach. 18-19 September

WEST END LIVE: West End Live is THE festival for musical lovers — and it's free. For two days, the stars of London's biggest musicals take over Trafalgar Square for a programme of lively sing alongs. Performers from & Juliet, The Book of Mormon, Hamilton, Mamma Mia!, Matilda the Musical and dozens more shows all take to the stage for renditions of their tunes. Note that although the event is unticketed, you'll need to show proof of your Covid-19 status to gain entry — more details on the website. Trafalgar Square, 18-19 September

Medusa by Sou Fujimoto and Tin Drum is part of London Design Festival

LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL: Installations, exhibitions, talks, workshops, guided tours and live art are just some of the events on the London Design Festival programme. One of the highlights is Medusa by Sou Fujimoto and Tin Drum, an installation at the V&A which moves and evolves based on the people visiting the space. More information on other events TBC. 18-26 September

CHELSEA IN BLOOM: To coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show, businesses in the local area erect their own floral displays to form the free Chelsea in Bloom trail. After a false start in 2020, they're sticking with the Extraordinary Voyages theme, so we're crossing our fingers for hot air balloons, suitcases, and other wonderful, wanderlust-filled displays, made entirely of flowers and free to view. A map should be available to download closer to the festival. 20-25 September

Belgravia in Bloom is back

BELGRAVIA IN BLOOM: Similar to its Chelsea counterpart, Belgravia in Bloom is also returning, with shops, restaurants and other local businesses pulling out all the stops with decorations on a Floral Fairground theme. Top tip: if you don comfortable shoes, and pack plenty of stamina, you can tick off Chelsea in Bloom and Belgravia in Bloom in one day — a beautiful, free day out. 20-26 September

CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW: Normally you can set your watch to the Chelsea Flower Show, taking place in west London in May each year. But, things being what they are, it's taking place in September for the first time ever. Expect the usual mix of gorgeous gardens going head to head for recognition, including an NHS tribute garden, and pick up plenty of tips for improving your own green space. Plus, if you're visiting on the last day, hang around until the end of the day when the plants are all sold off — just think about how you're going to get that palm tree home on the tube. 21-26 September

Same principle, different bridge: The Sheep Drive relocates to Southwark Bridge this year

SHEEP DRIVE: One of London's odder traditions, the Sheep Drive over the Thames is exactly what it sounds like — people herding sheep over the Thames crossing. This year the woolly creatures are being sent across Southwark Bridge rather than London Bridge. Places have sold out to have a go at the herding, but you can still turn up to watch (and consider making a donation to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and the Woolmen’s Charitable Trust, as it's a charity event). 26 September

DIRTY OLD LONDON: No need to leave home to see this online talk by Dr Lee Jackson, hosted by Southwark Cathedral. Jackson discusses his book, Dirty Old London, and the filth the capital had to battle in the 19th century, including toxic pollution and mountains of household rubbish. 30 September

RIVERS OF LONDON: Choose whether to head to Kensington Library for this event with author Ben Aaronovitch, or tune into the livestream from home. The Rivers of London author celebrates 10 years since the book's publication with a talk and Q&A session, so be prepared with your questions about the novel series. 30 September

KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI: Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai is best-known for his iconic print, The Great Wave. The British Museum's new exhibition is a chance to see beyond that, with 103 of Hokusai's drawings, dating from the 1820 to 1840s on display. 30 September-30 January

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser at the V&A continues

ONGOING EXHIBITIONS: Our pick of London's biggest exhibitions going on throughout September includes:

Last Updated 24 August 2021