26 Terrific Things To Do In London This Month: September 2019

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26 Terrific Things To Do In London This Month: September 2019
Totally Thames Festival is on throughout September

MAMMA MIA THE PARTY: ABBA-themed dinner party Mamma Mia! The Party gets into full swing at The O2 this month. 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 unfold, interspersed with ABBA songs as you dine — but be warned, tickets start at £135. Monet, money, money indeed. Until 16 February

UNDERBELLY: It's the final month of this year's Underbelly Festival on South Bank. Take a look at the full programme for an idea of what to expect this month including comedy, cabaret, magic and drag — out picks include 007 Voices of Bond, the Aretha Franklin Story and supernatural drag show Sèayoncè. Until 29 September

Séayoncé is part of the final month of Underbelly Festival

TOTALLY THAMES: A month-long festival celebrating the River Thames, Totally Thames 2019 encompasses art installations, concerts, guided walks, river swims, regattas and sailing events and much more. Many of the events are free — look out for a very Instagrammable ship, and check out the full programme. 1-30 September

DOGGETT'S COAT AND BADGE: Although it's now considered part of Totally Thames, the Doggett's Coat and Badge Wager is a London tradition in its own right. 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. 4 September

OPEN CITY DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL: Week-long film event Open City Documentary Festival is a celebration of non-fiction filmmakers. In addition to a plethora of film screenings (our picks are rhino extinction film The Last Male On Earth, and Railway Men), the programme boasts Q&A sessions, bootcamps, networking sessions and exhibitions. 4-10 September

Mamma Mia! The Party takes place all month

HISTORIANS LECTURE: Arthur Burns, Professor of Modern British History at King's College, is the guest speaker at this year's London Historians Annual Lecture, focusing on the town clergyman in Hanoverian and Victorian London. The stereotype of the 'country clergyman' exists, but the 'town' clergyman has received little attention. Find out more about the 'slum clergyman', a common figure in the 19th century East End. 5 September

BEING HUMAN: The science-centric Wellcome Collection opens a new permanent gallery, Being Human, looking at what it means to be human in the 21st century. Identity and health are covered across four sections (Genetics, Minds & Bodies, Infection, and Climate Breakdown), each showcasing artworks and objects about how new forms of medical knowledge are changing our existence. From 5 September

LONDON PODCAST FESTIVAL: Plug into all manner of audio treats at the London Podcast Festival. Attend live recordings of podcasts covering all manner of topics from comedy to football shirts to films to death, and meet the people behind them. 6-15 September

Being Human opens at Wellcome Collection

IAIN SINCLAIR: Book ahead to hear London author and psychogeographer Iain Sinclair, author Rachel Lichtenstein and poet Rachel Nwokoro in conversation about the river and its boundaries. The event is linked to the current Secret Rivers exhibition. 10 September

WILLIAM BLAKE: The largest exhibition of works by William Blake in more than 20 years comes to Tate Britain. Better-known as a poet, Blake was also a prolific artist, and over over 300 original watercolours, paintings and prints of his feature in the show. 11 September-February 2020

SCIENCE CITY: A brand new gallery opens at Science Museum, and it's all about London. Science City is dedicated to the capital's experimental side, looking at how London’s scientists and artisans transformed our understanding of the world. It only goes up until the year 1800, but objects on display include Newton's telescope, and Robert Hooke's microscope and illustrations. From 12 September

Presumably the beefeaters have a starring role at the Tower of London Food Festival

FOOD FESTIVAL: Tuck into all manner of food and drink at a this culinary festival which takes place inside the moat at the Tower of London. Top chefs including Emily Roux and Josè Pizarro host workshops and demonstrations, and exhibitors sell items including cheese, gin, bread, champagne, rum, chocolate, churros and mac'n'cheese. 13-15 September

HANDMADE FESTIVAL: While things get tasty at the Tower of London, things get crafty at another Historic Royal Palace. Hampton Court hosts the Handmade Festival with Kirstie Allsopp, featuring stalls, demos and workshops covering knitting, crochet, calligraphy, origami and a whole host of other crafts — including blacksmithing. 13-15 September

Hampton Court Palace hosts the Handmade Festival. Image: Shutterstock

LONDON FASHION WEEK: No tickets for the front row this London Fashion Week? No problem, as there are still plenty of events open to the public, including catwalk shows, fashion talks and designer exhibitions. Get tickets here. 13-17 September

LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL: Installations, exhibitions, talks, workshops, guided tours and live art are just some of the events on the London Design Festival programme. Look out for Camille Walala brightening up South Molton Street, live mural painting on Tottenham Court Road, and design tours of Westminster Cathedral. 14-22 September

Camille Walala's contribution for London Design Festival

PROFESSOR BRIAN COX: Astrophysicist Professor Brian Cox is possibly the first person in his profession to have had a sell-out arena world tour. An extra London date has been added, for another chance to hear Cox offer an insight into the workings of our universe, whether you're a science buff or a complete novice. 19 September

OPEN HOUSE WEEKEND: One of our favourite events in the London calendar, Open House Weekend is a chance to go behind the scenes, on roofs and inside London buildings which are usually off-limits to the public. The full programme of over 800 buildings for this year will be announced on 20 August. The more exclusive openings need to be booked in advance and sell out almost instantly — for others, it's a case of perusing the programme, turning up during the opening hours, and being prepared to queue for your peek inside. 21-22 September

Marvel Universe Live comes to The O2

ANTHONY GORMLEY: Britain's most famous living sculptor, Anthony Gormley, gets a major exhibition at the Royal Academy. Work from across his 45-year career is on display, alongside brand new pieces (although — spoiler alert — we're pretty sure the Angel of the North won't fit inside the building). 21 September-3 December

CAR FREE DAY: London goes car-free this September... for one day only. Roads around Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the City of London are shut, and at least 18 London boroughs have special events planned, including pop-up playgrounds, street festivals and BMX rides. 22 September

GRAYSON PERRY: Artist Grayson Perry presents new work in a solo show at Victoria Miro Gallery. Expect pots, sculpture, large-scale prints, a tapestry and a carpet, all focusing on the heady collision of art, money, power and desire. 25 September-20 December

A skyline photography masterclass is part of Emerge Festival

MARVEL UNIVERSE LIVE: Super hero fans — head to the O2 for Marvel Universe Live, an action-packed show of aerial stunts, martial arts, pyrotechnics, video projection, and motorcycle tricks. Familiar characters including Spider-Man, The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy all feature. 26 September-6 October

EMERGE FESTIVAL: We are beyond excited for Emerge Festival, a fantastic curated programme of events over two days, from a gin bar at the top of Wellington Arch, to a chance to peek inside London Zoo's library, and a house party at Jimi Hendrix's pad. 27-28 September

The Sheep Drive takes place on London Bridge. Photo: The Guild of the Freemen of the City of London

ZANDRA RHODES: The Fashion & Textile Museum launches a new exhibition about British designer Zandra Rhodes, looking back over her 50-year career. 100 key looks and 50 original textile designs feature. 27 September-January 2020

SHEEP DRIVE: One of London's odder traditions, the Sheep Drive over London Bridge is exactly what it sounds like — people herding sheep over the Thames crossing. Michael Portillo kicks things off this year (an honour previously held by Alan Titchmarsh and Mary Berry). 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). 29 September

Japan Matsuri comes to Trafalgar Square

HARVEST FESTIVAL: London's Pearly Kings and Queens celebrate their annual Harvest Festival in Guildhall Yard. Be entertained by Morris dancing, maypole dancing, a marching band and other entertainment, but be warned that there's no seating available, for security reasons. 29 September

JAPAN MATSURI: Trafalgar Square hosts Japan Matsuri, a free, family-friendly festival of Japanese culture. Tuck into Japanese food, enjoy traditional music and dance performances across two stages, and try on a kimono. 29 September

Last Updated 20 August 2019