It’s time to say bye bye to the summer - after weeks full of sunshine, with barely a drop of rain (leading to parched parks and hosepipe bans!) Autumn is on its way in London.
And Autumn is a beautiful time of the year in the capital - for sure. The days are growing shorter, but the leaves on the trees will be changing colour, there will be a nip in the air and things will be getting back to normal across the city, with children back at school and ‘business as usual’ after the summer holidays.September is also a popular time of year for us at La Gaffe - we receive visitors year round but this particular month always sees a rush of guests. So what can you do in our fine town this particular month? As well as the regular things people love (Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Hyde Park, shopping in the West End) we’ve been looking at London events this September you might enjoy. Here’s a few ideas - enjoy yourself!
1. Open House London - 8th to 21st September
If there’s one weekend Londoner’s look forward to throughout the year, it’s got to be Open House when hundreds of buildings across the capital fling their doors open to the public - for free.
And this year it’s even more special, because it’s the 30th Anniversary of the event. All over London, as long as you’re prepared to wait in line, there are more buildings than you can imagine waiting to be explored - from the iconic (the Gherkin, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Bank of England) to the relatively unknown (Crystal Palace subway, the Association of Anaesthetists, the Theravada Thai Temple).
Even better, there’s also a series of guided walks, where you can learn about the history and architecture of neighbourhoods that many tourists never visit (Lewisham, Walworth, Bethnal Green). In our neck of the woods, Keats House and Kenwood are both open - we’re close by so come to our Italian restaurant in Hampstead!
Open House Festival, All across London
2. London Design Festival - 17th to 25th September
The 20th anniversary of the London Design Festival is upon the city and is absolutely jam packed with things to do and see.
Taking place at the beautiful Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington (or the “V&A”) as Londoners refer to it, it gives a platform to creative businesses and designers to showcase their work - work that an audience from around the world will come to see.
For the most part, the festival is free and aims to shine new light on the city with a programme of museum exhibits, ‘Design Districts’ (which highlight creative activity across London), the Global Design Forum and - as usual - some astonishing have-to-experience installations and museum exhibits.
Even better, the V&A is a stone’s throw from Hyde Park (a wonderful place to stroll, row a boat or sit in a deckchair and enjoy some of the month’s last rays of sunshine).
London Design Festival, V&A Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2LR
3. Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ - opens 14th september
Arthur Miller’s gripping drama is back at the National Theatre with a revival of the playwright’s astonishing drama surrounding the Salem witch trials.
Directed by Lyndsey Turner (a regular at the National), it’s starring Brendaw Cowel as the hero John Proctor and the rising star of the Netflix drama ‘The Crown’ Erin Doherty, who plays the ‘possessed’ young woman Abigail, when hysteria breaks out in the tiny Massachusetts town. This historic play hasn’t been at the National for some time and, as its Artistic Director Rufus Norris has said, “a revival of this story of mass panic and collective delusion seems particularly timely.”
So if you’re in the mood for some serious drama, head down to Waterloo underground for this darkly thrilling production.The Crucible, National Theatre, South Bank Centre, London SE1 9PX
4. Anatomy of the Orchestra - 24th September
This free event takes place at the Southbank Centre, on the banks of the River Thames (with all kinds of fabulous buildings around to gaze at, including the Houses of Parliament, London Eye and St. Paul’s Cathedral).‘Anatomy of the Orchestra’ is led by the conductor Charles Hazlewood and is a 360-degree installation and part performance of classical music. It lets you, the audience, understand more about immersing yourself in the experience of how music is made collectively - as you walk around the space, strolling between musicians playing all kinds of instruments.
‘ParaOrchestra’ (who are the musicians) is, incidentally, the world’s only large-scale virtuoso ensemble of professional disabled and non-disabled musicians! And the event doesn’t cost a penny either!The nearest tube is Waterloo but you can also walk easily to the Southbank from the Tate Modern museum and Globe Theatre, or across from Charing Cross Station (close to Covent Garden).
Anatomy of the Orchestra
The Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
5. “How the Light Gets In” festival - 17th-18th September
Finally, we couldn’t not mention our beloved Hampstead, which is going to be the setting for the world’s largest music and philosophy event.This weekend of dancing, partying and reflecting with some of the globe’s leading thinkers will host over 200 events. This year’s theme is ‘Dreams and jeopardy’ and headline speakers include Shami Chakrabarti (the human right’s activist), journalist David Aaronovitch, and philosopher Slavoj Zizek.
The festival takes place in the glorious Kenwood House and grounds (situated on the edge of Hampstead Heath) Many of the events will be live-streamed and it's not all about philosophical debate either. There will be plenty of music (from Django Django) as well as comedy and cabaret - after all, isn’t entertainment an integral part of the philosophical experience?And - just so you know - La Gaffe is a 20 minute walk from Kenwood, so if you’re up for a coffee, a glass of wine, a light bite or a full sit-down dinner meal, don’t hesitate to contact us or just take your chances and pop by!
How the Light Gets In festival
Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, London NW3 7JR
Finally, if you’ve had a great day out, and are in the mood for some traditional fare, have dinner with us, here at our Italian in Hampstead.Or, if you need a friendly and welcoming place to stay while you're visiting the capital, you can book a room at our hotel in Hampstead on our website.