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What's On In London | August 2016
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What's On In London | August 2016

Picture of Harriet Clugston
Updated: 15 November 2016
It’s a sizzling summer month ahead, with outdoor cinema galore, Europe’s biggest street party and the country’s largest beer and gin festivals all packed in while our capital celebrates a whole host of national cultures and niche subcultures, from Indonesian to African, feminist to punk. Get ready to eat, drink and dance the month away with our guide to the hottest events.


DRINK| Set Sail From Hackney Wick With The Floating Gaarden

📅 Saturday, 30th July – Sunday, 21st August

Moored outside popular East End hangout spot Number 90, Hoegaarden’s pop-up barge brings a floating oasis to the canals of Hackney Wick. The Floating Gaardens is a multi-sensory experience, with paired canapés and an interactive soundscape controlled by you and designed to bring out different flavours in the wheat beer, strengthening sour notes at one extreme and sweet at the other – seriously, it seems to work! Trips are won by draw, but when not sailing, the barge doubles as a beer garden, open to all.

Tickets: Free

📍90 Wallis Road, London, E9 5LN

FILM | Indulge In Balmy Evenings With The Film4 Summer Screen

📅 Thursday, 4th August – Wednesday, 17th August

For a brief two-week period each year, a state-of-the-art, open-air cinema screen is erected in the courtyard of Somerset House, in an event that is the making of many a film buff’s summer. Grab a blanket, stake out a prime spot on the cobbles, and cosy up to watch a film from this year’s great lineup, with contemporary classics, popular favourites and even new premieres on offer. Some of the best picks include Trainspotting, Jackie Brown and ExMachina.

Tickets: £16-£24

📍90 Wallis Road, London, E9 5LN

THEATRE | Delve Into A World Of Victorian Villainy With Extravaganza Macabre

📅 Tuesday, 26th July – Friday, 26th August

This month sees the opening of a brand new outdoor theatre space in the heart of the iconic Battersea Arts Centre. The courtyard space has been designed by Stirling Prize-winning architects Haworth Tompkins and is being launched by the latest creation from acclaimed theatre company, Little Bulb Theatre, an uproarious tale of Victorian villainy, filled with original music hall numbers and tongue-in-cheek opera compositions and washed down with plenty of gin, ginger beer and traditional Penny Pies for an all-encompassing experience.

Tickets: £12.50-£30

📍Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN

FILM | Celebrate Bugsy Malone‘s 40th In Style With BAFTA’s Big Birthday Bash

📅 Friday, 5th August – Sunday, 7th August

Everyone’s favourite pre-teen gangster flick is turning the big four-oh this year, and to celebrate, BAFTA is transforming its Piccadilly home into Fat Sam’s Grand Slam. A host of daily film screenings and talks complements an exhibition showing behind-the-scenes images, concept art and the last original splurge gun. For the main event, head into the speakeasy den for a dress-up photo experience with plenty of feather boas, to throw a custard pie, and order some American diner classics and mocktails.

Tickets: £5-£8

📍BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LN

ART | Celebrate Over 60 Years Of DIY Spirit At The Barbican With Fanzines: A Cut-And-Paste Revolution

📅 Monday, 1st August – Tuesday, 30th August

As part of this year’s ongoing, London-wide celebration of all things punk, Barbican Music Library are hosting a special exhibition showcasing the art of the zine. With a revolutionary underground, self-published press thriving in the DIY-style aesthetic of the punk subculture, producing gloriously crass zines such as Sniffin Glue and Outrage, this exhibition traces the development of the fanzine from early sci-fi in the ’40s through to punk, with a bit of millennial Riot Grrrl and Pop thrown in for good measure.

Tickets: Free

📍Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS


DRINK| Sample The Nation’s Finest Ales At The Great British Beer Festival

📅 Tuesday, 9th August – Saturday, 13th August

This August, Olympia London transforms into the city’s biggest pub as the Great British Beer Festival rolls into town, courtesy of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Over 55,000 Londoners will be descending on the venue across the week, drawn by over 900 real ales, ciders, perries and international beers. Drinks are complemented by a range of food stalls serving up traditional pub grub alongside contemporary street food, as well as a programme of live entertainment and classic pub games.

Tickets: £9-£13

📍Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX

FESTIVAL | Sample Culture From The World’s Largest Island Cluster With Indonesia Day

📅 Sunday, 14th August

Trafalgar Square is once more taken over in the spirit of cross-cultural celebration with Indonesia Day, a free festival showcasing the culture of the world’s largest archipelago. The main stage will host a variety of performances from traditional musicians and folk dancers, while the square will be filled with food stalls – be warned, Indonesians like it spicy – and craft activities, where you can get hands-on with traditional Indonesian arts.

Tickets: Free

📍Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DN

FOOD | Celebrate The Nation’s Favourite Pastime With Afternoon Tea Week

📅 Monday, 8th August – Sunday, 14th August

Take a little time out this week and enjoy a spot of afternoon tea as the country celebrates one of its most iconic traditions. There’s a host of activities on offer throughout London to mark Afternoon Tea Week, with tea-tasting events, bakery classes, themed tea tours and even a flower arranging masterclass courtesy of Harrods. On the actual Afternoon Tea side of things, you can enjoy discounted treats, pick up a portable Afternoon Tea picnic box, or simply take tea at one of the capital’s best venues.


FESTIVAL | Kill Two Birds With One Stone With This Celebration Of Music In The Movies

📅 Monday, 8th August – Sunday, 21st August

Get set for some music movie mania this month with Backyard Cinema’s al fresco Music Film Festival. Setting up shop in the historic market place at Camden (where else?), this two-week event screens live concerts, features and biographies to an audience sprawled on deckchairs and bean bags under the stars, snacking on burgers courtesy of Honest Burgers and sipping on cocktails and craft beers. Top picks this year include Ray, Cobain: Montage of Heck, and The Blues Brothers.

Tickets: £16.50-£79

📍Camden Lock Place, London, NW1 8AB


First look at David Brent: Life on the Road| ©Entertainment One/PantherOnline / LGBTQ flag|Wikicommons / Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer|Courtesy of The Corner Shop / Courtesy of Genesis Cinema, Mile End
First look at David Brent: Life on the Road | ©Entertainment One/PantherOnline / LGBTQ flag|Wikicommons / Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer|Courtesy of The Corner Shop / Courtesy of Genesis Cinema, Mile End

FILM | Die Of Embarrassment With The Release Of David Brent: Life On The Road

📅 Friday, 19th August

Everybody’s favourite boss from hell is back and, if the trailer is anything to go by, more cringe-inducing than ever. Ricky Gervais had Brits everywhere squirming in their seats with the antics of David Brent, star of smash-hit BBC mockumentary The Office, which last aired all the way back in 2003. David Brent: Life On The Road is set 15 years on and features a fictional film crew following Brent around the country as he lives out his rock star fantasy.

MUSIC | Dance The Night Away For LGBT Rights At The Monarch

📅 Wednesday, 17th August

Co-founded by Sir Ian McKellen in 1989, Stonewall is the largest LGBT rights organisation in Europe. For one night this August, they are taking over Camden institution The Monarch for ‘Get Over It’, a night of live music raising awareness of LGBT+ issues. Entry is a donation, with all proceeds going to the charity, and the lineup includes the aggressive alternative rock band Yearbook, Wallflower, Nervus and Stephen Davidson of indie rock band Tellison.

Tickets: Donation

📍40-42 Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8BG

THEATRE | Watch Theatre’s Finest Tread The Boards In The Entertainer

📅 Saturday, 20th August – Saturday, 12th November

The hotly anticipated latest production in the knockout, star-studded first season of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company opens at The Garrick on the 20th. A revival of a modern classic by British playwright John Osbourne – whose 1956 play Look Back in Anger sparked the New Wave in British cinema – The Entertainer sees Robert Ashford directing Kenneth Branagh alongside Olivier Award nominee Phil Dunster and Downton Abbey’s Sophie McShera. Sadly, John Hurt has had to pull out on medical grounds.

Tickets: £15-95

📍2 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0HH

FESTIVAL | Get Radical With This Punk Rock Evening Of Feminist Music And Movies

📅 Saturday, 20th August

The fourth in a series of feminist punk rock, riot grrrl nights at East End gem Genesis Cinema, #Genesisters vol. 4 knows how to throw a party, radical intersectional feminist style. The evening’s shenanigans will include an incredibly rare screening of Not Bad For a Girl, a rockumentary on women musicians of the ’90s which was co-produced by Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, as well as live music from bands including Wimmins’ Institute, DJ sets, cupcakes, cocktails and a collection of feminist zine stalls.

Tickets: £3

📍93-95 Mile End Road, London E1


Courtesy of the Foodies Festival / © Bernard Bodo/WikiCommons / Courtesy of the London Gin Festival / Notting Hill Carnival |© Romazur/WikiCommons
Courtesy of the Foodies Festival / © Eva Rinaldi/WikiCommons / Courtesy of the London Gin Festival / Notting Hill Carnival | © Romazur/WikiCommons

FOOD | Eat And Drink Until You Burst At Ally Pally’s Foodies Festival

📅 Saturday, 27th August – Monday, 29th August

The UK’s biggest series of food festivals is returning to North London’s Alexandra Palace. Besides more street food than you could eat in a month and more than one bar bus, there will be a Vintage Tea tent, a drinks theatre and an artisan food market. The festival is also packed with events including live music, a chilli-eating competition, baking lessons and live cookery performances from celebrity chefs – and of course, it’s all accompanied by stunning, panoramic views.

Tickets: £13-£48

📍Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY

ART | Experience The Ultimate Sunday Afternoon At The Sunday Papers Live

📅 Sunday, 29th August

Quite possibly the most middle-class event the world has ever seen, Sunday Papers Live aims to turn the ritual of the Sunday papers into a festival experience. The ‘proudly left of centre’ event brings the broadsheets to life in a series of expert talks and performances on everything from politics and news to culture and fashion, all in cosy, over-sized living rooms. Roast dinners, brunches, martinis, wines and Bloody Marys are on offer all day, and you’re encouraged to bring your slippers.

Tickets: £35

📍Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, London NW1 7AY

FESTIVAL | Dance Until You Drop At This Year’s South West Four Festival

📅 Saturday, 27th August – Sunday, 28th August

Clapham Common’s bank holiday dance music festival is always a sell-out. Attracting some of the biggest DJs in the world, South West Four is the next best thing to Ibiza, letting festival goers see out the summer in style to a mix of house, techno, trance and EDM over an exhausting two days. This year’s lineup includes The Chemical Brothers, Rudimental, MK and A-Trak. There’s no camping, so be sure to plan ahead!

Tickets: £62.50

📍Windmill Drive, London SW4 9DE

DRINK | Drink Away In High Spirits At The London Gin Festival

📅 Friday, 26th August – Sunday, 28th August

We’ve had the ales; now it’s gin’s turn. Having sold out during last year’s inaugural event, the London Gin Festival has upgraded to a bigger venue, squeezing over 100 gins and squeezing into the East End’s Tobacco Dock in the UK’s biggest gin festival and a modern-day Gin Palace – Hogarth will be turning in his grave. Alongside copious amounts of Veera Lynn (the Cockney’s gin), there will be live entertainment, food stalls and talks from gin industry experts.

Tickets: £12.50 + drink tokens

📍Tobacco Dock, Tobacco Quay, Wapping Ln, London E1W 2SF

FESTIVAL | Celebrate The Colours Of The Carribean At Notting Hill Carnival

📅 Sunday, 28th August – Monday, 29th August

Don’t let doom-and-gloom profiteers spoil anticipation of Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street party. This loud, proud bank holiday festival is a colourful celebration of multicultural London – held every year since 1966, it’s become the event of the season, attracting around one million people each year. The carnival floats run on both days, setting off at 9am and running until 7pm. Sample Caribbean food, listen to fantastic live music and keep the festivities going at one of the many after parties.

Tickets: Free

📍Western Road, London W11 1AB

MONDAY 29th AUGUST – Wednesday 31st AUGUST

Courtesy of Anglo Management / Courtesy of the Southbank Centre / Courtesy of the South Bank Centre
Courtesy of Anglo Management / Courtesy of the Southbank Centre / Courtesy of the South Bank Centre

FESTIVAL | Join Crowds Of Fellow Commoners At Madness’ House of Common

📅 Monday, 29th August

Ska legends Madness take over Clapham Common this bank holiday as they headline in their very own one-day festival, House of Common – ‘for the love of the common people’. Madness will be joined onstage by 20 hand-picked, like-minded artists and DJs including Spring King, Ms Dynamite, Rob Da Bank and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. They’ve also made like Willy Wonka and have hidden golden pint glasses in five London pubs – if you’re served one, you’ve bagged tickets. What are you waiting for?

Tickets: £47+

📍Clapham Common, Windmill Dr, London SW4 9DE

ART | Explore What The West Can Learn From Africa At The Southbank Centre

📅 Wednesday, August 31st – Sunday, September 4th

Africa takes centre stage at the Southbank Centre’s five-day event, Africa Utopia, which celebrates the cultures from across ‘one of the world’s most dynamic and fast changing continents’. Running since 2012, this year’s festival will for the first time have a major focus on comedy, with the Presidents of Laughrica showcasing some of the continent’s best comedians. There are also talks, debates, theatre, fashion, music, a Thames-side Black History Walk and an African street food market.

Tickets: Various

📍Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX