July in London is a fabulous month – with many a festival being held and (if you’re lucky) there’ll be sunny weather too!  Whilst there are many tourists in the capital, it’s still a bit less crowded than August and the long days mean you’ve got plenty of time to wander the streets by day and sit in the parks or walk by the Thames quite late into the evenings.    There are so many things to do this July, and the festivals involving music, others involving sport, and quite a few with family-friendly activities.  Here are some of our top recommendations:

1.   Wimbeldon – Quite possibly the most prestigious of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments, Wimbeldon opens this year on Monday 1st July at its famous home – the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, located in south London.  Lucky ticket holders don’t just get to see incredible tennis, and eat delectable bowls of strawberries and cream (a time-honoured tradition) but also sneak a peek into the Royal Box (where, last year, to the crowd’s delight, both Duchesses – Kate and Megan – made appearances…)

Photo courtesy of howtheyplay.com

And if you don’t manage to pick up a ticket the conventional way, don’t despair…you can try ‘The Queue.’  Each morning, a limited number of tickets are released to the general public. Be aware though that if a really popular game is being played, there may be a lot of people camping out overnight!

For more information about Wimbeldon and how to obtain tickets, take a look at this link…

https://www.wimbledondebentureholders.com/buy-wimbledon-tickets

2. British Summer Time concerts – beginning Friday 5th July and ending Sunday 14th July, London’s wonderful Hyde Park plays host to a phenomenal series of music festivals, and top artists for nine long nights.  This year the line up includes (wait for it…) Lionel Richie, Florence and the Machine, Barbra Streisand, Boy Dylan and Stevie Wonder!

Photo courtesy of AMF.Cool.

The festival is now in its seventh year and as popular as ever – not just in terms of the iconic green space in which it is set, but because of the performers that show up.  Who wouldn’t want to sing along to ‘Blowing in the Wind’, ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ or ‘Woman in Love’ on a cool summer’s evening, surrounded by thousands of other music lovers.

https://www.bst-hydepark.com/tickets

3.  Heath Street’s ‘Big Fair in Hampstead – Between midday and 5 pm on Sunday 7th July, the streets of this beautiful north London neighbourhood will be packed with live music, street performances and family activities. Heath Street, home of La Gaffe, will be bustling with over 100 different stalls, selling clothing, artisan food and small gifts.

Photo courtesy of Benham & Reeves

This community-run and inspired festival is free and run entirely by volunteers, all passionate about their neighbourhood and keen to show visitors the best that Hampstead has to offer.

Even better, here at La Gaffe we’re open for lunch, as well as coffee and light bites in our wine bar, so don’t forget to pop in on us…

4.  ‘Love and Angst’ at the British Museum –  The Norwegian artist Edward Munch, whose painting “The Scream’ is probably one of the most recognised pieces of art around (so famous, in fact, that inspired an emoji!) is portrayed in all of his depression and despair at the British Museum’s new exhibition “Love and Angst” this summer.

Photo courtesy of Finishing Touch Gallery

Munch (who Norway likes to think of as their national equivalent of Van Gogh)had a childhood marked by tragedy – at the age of 5, he lost his mother to tuberculosis.  Nine years later, his sister would die of the same illness. As an adult, he trained as an engineer, lived in Berlin, never married and had a rather chaotic love life.  Indeed, in 1902, his relationship with wealthy heiress Tulla Larsen ended in the infliction of a mysterious gunshot wound to his finger! It’s fair to say that whilst this was not a particularly healthy situation, it certainly provided him with plenty of creative material!

Munch produced more than 1,000 paintings and 4,000 drawings over his lifetime, as well as writing extensively (in a very melancholy style, often focusing on the subject of isolation).  

Is it any surprise then that his most famous work has been stolen – not once but twice!

For more about the exhibition, take a look at:

https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/munch.aspx

5.  Proms Concerts – The world’s largest and most famous classical musical festival is back…to the delight of Londoners and tourists alike.  Taking place each year at the Royal Albert Hall, on the edge of Hyde Park, they’ve been going over 100 years. Yes, founded by Sir Henry Wood in 1895, the Proms (short for Promenade Concerts) are a mixture of old and new music.  

Photo courtesy Royal Albert Hall

Baroque, classical and romantic music are played alongside newly-commissioned works.  There are concerts for children, themed programmes (‘Dr Who’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ have been incredibly well-received in the last years). And the wonderful thing about this music festival is that you don’t have to pay a fortune to get a ticket .

Yes, there are always 1000 standing places available for each concert, letting you stand in the central arena with all the other ‘Prommers.’  At £6 a concert (the price for last year) you could pay more for a coffee and pastry than a chance to hear the astonishing Nigel Kennedy or Martha Argerich on the violin or piano.

To find out more about the Proms schedule and how to buy tickets go to:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/proms