August is an interesting month in London - on the one hand, the capital can be a lot more quiet than usual, since it’s the middle of the school summer holidays and many locals are out of town, On the other hand, the weather can be sunny - even hot - and the days are still quite long, which means there’s still a lot of opportunity to have plenty of outdoor fun.
Whether you’re a tourist, a business traveller or a local, there’s plenty to do in the capital - music, art, dance, food and drink events abound, the famous Proms classical music is in full swing and there are many pop-ups and free events to choose from. All you need is an Oyster card for the tube and bus, some comfy walking shoes and a bottle of water….and London is yours!What are you waiting for?
1. Notting Hill Carnival - 27th to 29th August
The biggest street party in London is back - and after a two year absence (thanks Covid!) we’re sure it’s going to be louder, more colourful and busier than ever. For anyone that loves Caribbean culture and a chance to see Londoners of all creeds and colours out in force, this is the festival to join at the end of August.As usual, there are going to be all kinds of performers in brightly-coloured costumes, and a myriad of elaborate floats, and plenty of calypso music and stell bands for good measure. The festival attracts many out-of-towners too - with 30+ sound systems and around 50,000 participants, about a million people are expected to show up, so be prepared for some jostling!
The carnival is free and there will be all kinds of street food stalls to tempt your tastebuds. Our only warning - pickpockets will also be out there, so leave your valuables at home and carry just a bit of cash and a bottle of water, in case all that partying dehydrates you…Notting Hill Festival, venues across West London
Tel: 020 7221 9700
2. The Great British Beer Festival - 2nd to 6th August
Come on - what’s more British than a pint of beer? Especially on a hot summer’s day (which might well be the cast, since it’s August). It’s a fantastic opportunity to try out all kinds of British (and international) beers from hundreds of different breweries.And if you’re more keen on other alcoholic beverages, they also have wine, gin and ciders on offer, not to mention street food and live music. It’s the perfect opportunity to kick back with friends and find out if craft beer is all it's cracked up to be. Prices start at £20 if you buy the ticket online (it’s £24 on the door), and this includes general admission and a souvenir festival glass and token. They'll even throw in two half pint beer tokens to get you started!
Great British Beer Festival, Olympia, Hammersmith Road, London W14
Tel: 020 7385 1200
3. The ‘Proms’ (aka Promenade Concerts) - all through August
The Proms take place every summer in London at the Royal Albert Hall and they’re not just the biggest classical music festival in the world - they’re probably the most magnificent. And whilst it’s mainly classical, they do have jazz evenings and themes (their ‘Dr Who’ Prom was so popular one year that the morning tickets were released, demand was so great that it crashed their website).
Even better, if you’re prepared to rough it a bit, you can be a real ‘Prommer’ and buy a standing ticket for the princely sum of £7.12. There are about 1000 of them released on the day - truly, the best deal in the capital!
This year’s offerings will be as marvellous as ever, and include Simon Rattle conducting Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, Andreas Schiff performing Betthoven and a special performance from the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra.
The Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London SW
Tel: 020 7589 8212
4. Watercolour Outing on Hampstead Heath
As we know only too well, Hampstead Heath is one of London’s most beautiful spots, which you can wander through for hours (if not days) and without getting bored. Woodlands, a Hill Garden with Pergola, Parliament Hill, the Bathing Ponds and Kenwood House are just some of its many glorious spots. And what better way to enjoy them than by painting them?
Organised by Katie Rose Johnson (who has a Masters degree from the Royal College of Art), this is a chance to improve your brush skills - kits are provided (although you can bring your own) and you’ll walk around different parts of the Heath and, as you paint, Katie will be there to guide you. You’re advised to bring a folding chair and a packed lunch (and even a blanket to sit on). Oh, and wear comfy shoes, since you might be doing a bit of walking!
Watercolour Painting on Hampstead Heath, London NW3
Meeting point: Refreshment House at Golders Hills Park, London NW11
5. Closer, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre - 15th July - 13th August
In the great city that is London, four strangers meet, fall in love then fall apart. Patrick Marber’s drama, which first premiered in the UK back in 1997, has returned to West London, and if you’re the kind of person who likes to ponder the nature of love and romance, this is the play for you this August.
The central theme of ‘Closer’ is, without a doubt, the question of truth - something all four characters struggle with. When we are passionate about something, should we tell the complete truth - despite how much emotional pain it might cause another? Are friends and lovers really brought closer together by the telling of the truth - or is this a ridiculous illusion?
There’s nothing like some good London theatre so go along and decide for yourself if honesty really is the best policy…
Closer, Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, Kings Street, London W6
Tel: 020 8741 6850
Finally, if you’ve had a great day out, and are in the mood for some traditional Italian fare, head down to Hampstead (we’re just 15 minutes from the West End by tube) and have dinner with us, here at our Italian in Hampstead.We’re open every evening, from 6.30 pm on and whether you’re in the mood for a light bite in our wine bar, or a proper sit-down meal in our restaurant, you can count on us to feed you well! And if you need a friendly and welcoming place to stay while you're visiting the capital, our hotel in Hampstead you can book direct on our website.
Call ahead to book a table. We can’t wait to see you...