August can sometimes feel like a quiet month in England's capital - many Londoners flee the city and the last two weeks of the month, in particular, can leave the city feeling more 'empty', with young families on holiday and locals businesses closed. But that doesn't mean there isn't fun to be had - on the contrary, there's plenty going on in the summer months, so take advantage of the fact that the locals have flown the coop - it might even be easier to get a top restaurant reservation or coveted theatre tickets! Here are some of the things we, here at La Gaffe, would recommend for you this August..
1. Notting Hill Carnival
Get ready to party at Europe's largest street festival, which takes place this year from Sunday 25th to Monday 26th August. It's been held annually since 1966, and takes place in West London, bringing a huge splash of colour to the area. It's fair to say that if you want to experience Caribbean culture in all its glory, then this is the place to be over the Bank Holiday weekend. https://www.thelondonnottinghillcarnival.com/
The Carnival features steel bands, elaborate floats (with participants sporting the most colourful of costumes) and does its utmost to recreate the atmosphere of the original Trinidad carnival. There will be at least50,000 performers in the paradeandmore than 30 sound systems. Team that up with the sizzling street food (jerk chicken is the great favourite) with more than the one million revellers anticipated to attend and you've got one fine party in the making.
2. London Craft Beer Festival - Calling all aficionados of this fine drink! Between 9th and 11th August, the capital will be hosting a celebration of independent breweries - in fact about 80 of them will be at Tobacco Docks, in Wapping, East London It's a real mix of companies - big names like Mikkeller, Five Points and Beavertown will be in the same space as Poland's Funky Fluid, the Left-Handed Giant and the White Hag. Between them all, you will be able to sample around 500 different kinds of brews - and you'll get to drink unlimited samples! There will also be loads of music (including live DJs) and plenty of food options too, served up by some of London's best restaurants. And to cap it all, a free glass is included in the ticket price, which will be yours to keep and drink beer from, for many years to come!
3. The Photographer's Gallery 'Urban Impulses' - This West End photographic gallery has been going as long as we can remember, and is always worth popping into. One of their latest exhibitions features works by over 70 photographers and artists, all focusing on Latin America, It includes names such as Alberto Korda, Graciela Iturbide, Eduardo Longoni and Beatriz Jaramillo, and deals with life on the streets, as well as historical events across the continent (think Castro's revolution in 1959, the military dictatorship of Argentina and mass protest movements). The gallery, incidentally, has no permanent collection, but its exhibitions are curated with a historical and educational focus. After you've seen the exhibition, why not pop into their cafe or peruse the books in their store? A perfect place to idle away a couple of hours. https://thephotographersgallery.org.uk
4. Tango at Spitafields - if you've always wanted to learn the tango, but don't fancy a long flight to Buenos Aires, fear not because on Sunday 11th August, the London Underground will swiftly deposit you at central London's Spitafields, where you can head to a makeshift milonga (where, traditionally, the Argentine tango is danced). https://www.spitalfields.co.uk/event-calendar/tango-spitalfields-free-outdoor-tango-dancing/
And if you're a beginner, fear not either, because free lessons are offered at 12.30 pm, before the dancing begins in earnest. Oh, and bring comfy shoes! This event is free. Amphitheatre Canopy, Bishops Square, Spitalfields Market, 37 Brushfield Street, London E1 6AA
5. Leicester Square's Weekend of Free Outdoor Cinema - it's the first event of its kind but it's bound to be popular. From Thursday 8th to Sunday 12th August, there will be free movies screened in Leicester Square Gardens from morning to night, offering all kinds of classics, including ET, Grease, Mamma Mia and Frozen. Between screenings, there will be fun activities and a few freebies handed out by West End businesses. And if you forget to bring a picnic blanket, don't worry because there will be beanbags on offer for those who get there early enough - a great antidote against a numb bum! For more information on what's going to be on the Big Screens, take a look at https://www.leicestersquare.london/leicester-square-summer-screenings/