After all the excitement of Glastonbury, you might be looking for the next best festival, and luckily for you, the festival calendar looks set to return to its fullest self after two years of disruption. Food, flowers, music and other fun: take a look at London’s festivals.
London is never short of a music festival in summertime, and this year is no different. Already warming up the scene, BST Hyde Park is on until 10 July. Elton John and The Rolling Stones have already entertained crowds in June, and July will bring even more iconic performersLondon’s festival calendar looks set to return to its fullest self. Adele opens up the month (1-2 Jul) before The Rolling Stones perform one more time (3 Jul). The following weekend, 80s favourites Pearl Jam (8-9 Jul) will be supported by Pixies, Stereophonics, Johnny Marr and more, and Duran Duran (10 Jul) will then close the festival.
Over two weekends in July, at three locations, seven of the biggest rappers in the world will headline Wireless Festival. First up, A$AP Rocky, J. Cole and Tyler, The Creator will headline Crystal Palace Park (1-3 Jul). Then it’s girl power at Finsbury Park (8-10 Jul) as Cardi B, SZA and Nicki Minaj take to the main stage. Meanwhile, Dave, Cardi B and J.Cole will headline in Birmingham the same weekend (8-10 Jul).
From 5-10 July, Kew the Music will welcome a glorious festival of summer picnic concerts set within the stunning grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Performers include Van Morrison, James Blunt, Will Young and Gabrielle. At another spectacular location, the Somerset House Summer Series with American Express returns (7-17 Jul). It will be an unforgettable experience with eleven nights of gigs from the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, Arlo Parks, Mabel and John Legend. Each night, the magnificent Somerset House courtyard will be transformed into the ultimate open-air destination.
Something a little different
Discover the awe-inspiring grand organ at Westminster Abbey‘s Summer Organ Festival. The Abbey’s magnificent five-manual Harrison & Harrison organ takes centre stage as the Festival returns from 12 July to 9 August. Hear Vincent Dubois, Thomas Trotter, James O’Donnell, Peter Holder and Matthew Jorysz bring the instrument to life at Tuesday evening concerts. There will also be free Sunday afternoon performances from the rising stars of the organ world at Young Artist Platform recitals.
Further out of town at Chiswick House and Gardens, Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place Festival returns from 6-7 August. Hear enlightening talks, exclusive podcast recordings and live music and take part in workshops and classes at this feel-good festival. Nearby at Hampton Court Palace, King Henry VIII’s beloved home, dive into a world of bold garden design, fabulous floristry and unique plant shopping at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival (4-9 Jul). Set within the Palace’s sprawling grounds, it’s a beautiful five-day celebration of horticulture.
As is always the case when the sun pops its hat on, the capital comes alive with festivals galore. A firm favourite is the Floating Film Festival at St Katharine Docks, which offers a two-week programme of top-notch films screened atop a floating pontoon (12-24 Jul). Lounge in a deckchair as you watch smash-hits like Mamma Mia!, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Pretty Woman and House of Gucci.
All-round good fun
Summer by the River (to 2 Sep) has brought 1930s Miami vibes to three locations along the Thames: The Scoop, Hay’s Galleria and The Pier. As well as various live performances and entertainment, key matches from the Wimbledon tennis tournament will be screened at The Scoop. The Riverside Terrace is a pop-up bar serving a little slice of South Beach, complete with empañadas and piña coladas, while over at The Pier, Taqueria Garcia (third slide) is bringing the heat with tacos and tequila.
Find summer spots bursting with good food, great drinks and lively entertainment at Cavendish Square and Earls Court thanks to Underbelly Festival (to 31 Jul and 16 Jul respectively). Find circus, theatre and comedy acts as well as good food and great drinks. La Clique is gracing the stage with its trailblazing cabaret show (to 3 Jul), and London Comedy Allstars is the one-stop shop for the biggest laughs, with previous performers including TV’s Ed Gamble and Nina Conti (to 29 Jul).
The National Theatre’s River Stage festival (15 Jul-14 Aug) returns to South Bank for the first time since 2019, bringing five weekends of performances and family-friendly activities. Leading arts and performance companies will take over the stage to celebrate the best of British culture including performances from drag artists, dance performances and live streamed theatre.
In east London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, The Great Get Together returns on 23 July, celebrating a decade since the 2012 London Games. This free-to-enter community event brings together music, dance, arts, sports and food for all to enjoy. This year’s is set to be the biggest yet, with workshops led by the V&A Museum, fashion illustration and zine making with the London College of Fashion and opportunities for rollerskating, salsa dancing and more.
Notting Hill Carnival brings an eruption of colour and soul to west London’s streets during the August bank holiday weekend (27-29 Aug). Watch elaborate floats and costumed performers wind their way through the streets in the carnival parade, dance to the sound of steel bands and calypso music, and visit the tempting food stalls along the route.
Finally, Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park will pitch up at locations in and around London. It’s the UK’s biggest celebration of food and music, bringing award-winning restaurants, banging live music, and of course great food. Kerridge will be joined by TV chef Simon Rimmer in Royal Tunbridge Wells (8-10 Jul), and Matt Tebbutt at Chiswick House and Gardens (2-4 Sep). Sample food from some of the country’s top restaurants and party to Craig David TS5, Beverley Knight, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and more.
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