Andy Murrah

What’s on in London Summer 2019

Here’s the newsletter which goes out to my subscribers giving them loads of information about what’s on in London. Summer 2019 is going to be a fun time judging by all the amazing events and shows on.  Enjoy…

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Andy MurrahHere’s your Summer 2019 newsletter giving you a taster of the exciting events coming up in the next 3 months in our capital. If you want to hear more about anything listed (or other things you’ve heard about) send me an email ( and I’ll get right back to you.

Have a look at Sue’s blog on the website ( to read about what I’ve been up to lately – a peek into life in London. I’m also on Twitter at @itsyourlondon so do join my 4250 followers for the latest news and I’m on Instagram as @sueinlondon for some lovely photos.

Hope you enjoy your newsletter and are excited about what’s on in London  let me know what you think!



  • July The annual Pride event takes over the centre of London with parades, exuberance and lots of fun. Wimbledon tennis tournament has moved a week later so falls fully into July now.  It’s a big deal in London and we have been spoilt having a British winner but this time Andy’s recovery means he’ll be competing in the doubles only. The Proms season begins for the 124th time and there are over 90 varied and magnificent concerts over 8 weeks making this the world’s greatest classical music festival. Held mostly in the Royal Albert Hall, big names and favourite old pieces feature alongside new commissions and lesser known works. This year they celebrate 50 years since the moon landing with space related concerts.
  • August The Notting Hill Carnival is a brilliant event, the largest street party in Europe. There is a massive parade of music and costumes, sounds stages blasting out everything from reggae to rock and roll, all kinds of great street food, dancing in the streets and tons of fun to be had over the 2 days when millions of people come to Notting Hill for a great time.
  • September The Mayor’s Thames Festival, Totally Thames, brings the river alive for the whole month, we are expecting the river to be buzzing again this year and the riverside restaurants will be joining in with special menus and events. London Fashion Week takes over the fashion and shopping world across London and the Weekend is open to the public.  Open House is a high point of the year if you like nosing into buildings you cannot usually enter, including Government buildings and private homes.


  • July The well loved novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin comes to the stage at the Harold Pinter theatre. One of my favourite shows of recent years, Barber Shop Chronicles returns to the London stage for a short run at the Roundhouse, bringing us the banter from barber shops around Africa and London.  Clive Owen will be starring in Night of the Iguana at the Noe Coward theatre alongside the wonderful Lia Williams, it’s Tennessee Williams so we will be expecting hot and steamy. Another novel adaptation is The Girl on the Train at the Duke of York’s theatre. Sharon D Clarke brings her extraordinary vocal talents to Blues in the Night at the Kiln Theatre. Jesus Christ Superstar transfers from Regent’s Park Open Air theatre to the Barbican and Midsummer’s Night Dream takes over in the open air. Jason and the Technicolour Dreamcoat returns to London starring Jason Donovan and Sheridan Smith at the Palladium.
  • August Some good family shows this month with The Very Hungry Caterpillar at the Troubadour and Horrible Histories Part 4 at the Apollo. Evita hits the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre. I’m intrigued by the sound of Queen of the Mist, the true story of Anna Edson Taylor who on her 63rd birthday in 1901 became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel of her own design! In the lovely setting of the grounds of St Paul’s church Covent Garden, The Hunchback of Notre Dame has a one month run in open air.
  • September There is an African theme this month with 2 plays set in this continent. Our Lady of Kibeho at the Theatre Royal Stratford East looks at Rwanda in 1981 where a vision warns a young girl of the impending disaster.  Set in Nigeria, The Fishermen at the Trafalgar Studios explores what happens when 2 brothers fish in a forbidden river. Big, the Tom Hanks film, comes to the West End as a musical at the Wynham’s. The Young Vic brings us A Very Expensive Poison set in the shadowy world of international espionage at the time of the Cold War.


  • July At the Tate Modern Olaf Eliasson: In Real Life is billed as ‘unmissable’. All but one of the works on show have never been seen in the UK before and there will also be a spectacular sculpture outside the gallery. Also at the Tate Modern, expect innovative work from Takis focussing on the electromagnetic universe!  Chose Love at Somerset House from the Print Club London supports Help Refugees with a collection of exclusive limited edition screen prints. Somerset House also hosts the World Illustration Awards showing all 200 entries shortlisted for this award and in depth presentations of the winning projects. .
  • August Not much in the way of new openings so a good time to catch up on all the good stuff: Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Cindy Sherman at the National Portrait Gallery, Lee Krasner at the Barbican, Leonardo at the Queens Gallery and Van Gogh at the Tate Britain for starters!
  • September The Tate Britain hosts a major exhibition of the works of William Blake, the largest for 20 years with over 300 pieces. There will also be a recreation of the small domestic room where he showed his art in 1809 and you can imagine the impact they had at that time. September is a big month for design with the London Design Festival with events, exhibitions, pop ups all over this city showcasing new and established designers in huge venues and small shops. The Royal Academy has a show dedicated to Anthony Gormley showcasing work from his 40 year career including rarely seen pieces for the 70s and 80s alongside installations created specifically for these galleries. 


  • July Don’t miss the bargains in London’s famous July sales where everyone from the High Street to Harrods slash their prices. Spitalfields Market has regular events including a free monthly tea dance event and also monthly milongas where you can show off your tango steps or learn what it’s all about.
  • August Summer is the best time to visit London’s numerous street markets: Portobello, Columbia Road, Camden, Greenwich and many more. Any day of the week one of these great markets will be just the place to while away the summer and grab some unique purchases.
  • September  London Fashion Week is a chance to get ahead of the fashion curve with catwalk shows and splash out on some new clothes too, with collections looking ahead to winter 2019/20 and beyond, this year it takes place in a few venues across London


  • July and August  June was a bumper month for openings so for July and August it’s a chance to visit the top exhibitions this month including one of the biggest shows in town, Dior at the V&A has been extended through to September and although advance tickets are sold out, you can queue for the few tickets that are available on the day. Other great shows are Secret Rivers at the Museum of London Docklands and Beasts of London at the Museum of London, Rembrandt’s drawings at the British Museum, Edvard Munch also at the British Museum, Stanley Kubrick at the Design Museum and visit the Moon at the Natural History Museum.
  • September At the V&A a new exhibition opens featuring photographer Tim Walker’s fantastical work called Wonderful Things. Billed as an immersive journey which includes 10 new series of photographs influenced by the V&A’s collections. The Fashion and Textile Museum opens a show about British design legend Zandra Rhodes called Fifty Years of Fabulous, a retrospective which will highlight 100 key looks and 50 original textiles.


  • July Coming to Kings Cross from the USA, the Standard Hotel will have 2 ground floor eating and drinking spaces – Isla and Double Standard both run by Adam Rawson. Isla will focus on British coastal cuisine while Double Standards will be more of a pub. Opening in Borough, Flor from the Lyle team will be part bakery part wine bar. Fresh from their success at bagging a 38th spot in the world’s top 50 restaurants, this opening will be eagerly awaited. KPH in Notting Hill has seen many legendary music nights and is returning as a ground floor pub and a Parisian bistro style first floor restaurant – expect the music to return as well.  Traditional Iranian recipes with a modern twist will be brought to us by Nutshell in Covent Garden from the former head chef at Palomar.
  • August. The BBC Good Food Festival returns to Hampton Court with top chefs doing demos, stalls, tastings and demonstrations all in the beautiful grounds of the Palace. I’m looking forward to Eggslut coming to Portobello Road as it’s just near me but I’m expecting long queues for the Los Angeles all day eggs in buns joint.  Mamma Mia The Party comes to Waterloo with a dinner theatre experience, serving Greek food in a tavern style venue with an immersive show.  Apparently it’s been working well in Stockholm!
  • September. Davies and Brook opens at Claridge’s (taking over the Fera slot) with acclaimed New York chef Daniel Humm from Eleven Madison Park, up with the best restaurants in the world. In case you are wondering Davies and Brook are the 2 streets the Claridge’s is on, American style naming. The Biltmore hotel will be opening in Grosvenor Square with Jason Atherton at the helm of their restaurant The Betterment. Another big name will be opening a restaurant with a great name:  Richard Corrigan will bring us Daffodil Mulligan in Old Street area. The name references the famous Irish song Biddy Mulligan the Price of Coombe and Daffodil Mulligan is Biddy’s daughter! Yet another big name opens a new place this month, Ben Tish of Salt Yard (some of my favourite tapas) is teaming up with the Stafford Hotel to open Norma over 3 floors in Charlotte Street and will be Sicilian/Moorish in theme.


  • July The famous Flower Show takes over the grounds of Hampton Court for a wonderful weekend in a more relaxed atmosphere than the Chelsea equivalent and it’s much easier to get tickets too. Buckingham Palace starts its summer opening when the Queen goes on her holidays and she lets us look around her London home and be amazed by the huge room, amazing decorations, fabulous furniture and great paintings. This year’s special exhibition in the palace focuses on Queen Victoria, the first monarch to live in the palace, looking at her life there with her family and affairs of state and the changes she made to the building. Hyde Park is home to great music, including the major league festival British Summer Time, as is Kew Gardens. Kensington Palace has an outdoor showing of The Favourite for a complete royal experience.
  • August A Food Festival comes to Hampton Court’s grounds to tempt you with all kinds of goodies and top chefs from Michel Roux to Nadiya Hussain and Michel Roux Jr to name just a few. August is a brilliant time to enjoy London’s parks with lakes, fountains and events. Regent’s Park has an open air theatre with great shows on, this August it’s Evita with those well-known songs to enjoy. Don’t miss the Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park, a wonderful site specific installation by Japanese architect Junya Ishigama who has created a bird’s wing from 60+ tons of slate.
  • September The Last Night of the Proms is streamed live into Hyde Park so thousands can wave flags and sing their hearts out. Buckingham Palace is open to visitors for another month as the Queen is still on her holidays! The Tower of London hosts a Food Festival, moving across town from Hampton Court last month, in the great setting of its moat.


  • July Wimbledon has moved on a week this year so July now has both weeks of this great tournament and we have our fingers crossed for Andy Murray but his injuries make it hard for him to be on top form just now. In Men’s cricket, it’s the final stages of the World Cup with the final being held at Lord’s. Then there’s a one off test match against Ireland at Lords and there is plenty of county cricket matches at the Oval and Lords. The annual Anniversary Games at the London Stadium (formerly the Olympic Stadium) brings big names as usual and super sprinter Dina Asher Smith is one big draw for fans.
  • August. County cricket will be in full flow at all the London grounds and there’s the second test England v Australia at Lord’s. The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final will be entertaining the crowds at Wembley. In football, there’s the Community Shield with Man City v Liverpool and the Premiership starts in August, which always feels too early as it is the season for summer sports.  Be sporty yourself and try out the world’s longest fastest city zipwire if you dare, on the south bank overlooking the Thames and the Houses of Parliament. Ride London is a massive cycling event, through London and out to Box Hill, for the public and elite competitors. In Rugby Union the autumn internationals are early due to the World Cup and England are playing Ireland and also Wales at Twickenham as part of their warm up.
  • September  The 5th  and final Ashes series test match against Australia is at the Oval and you can also catch one day matches, county matches and 20:20 cricket too as the season draws to a close. Stage 9 the final stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race rolls into London with a 14 lap circuit so plenty of chances to see the riders whoosh past. The Great River Race is an endurance test, like a marathon on the water from the Isle of Dogs to Ham House and you can see over 330 boats struggle through the 21.6 mile course. The world Para Swimming championships are at the Aquatic centre


  • July The festival season is in full flow with British Summer Time – with big names such Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Robbie Williams, Florence + The Machine, Celine Dion and that’s just the headliners! The Summer Series at Somerset House has a great setting and brings us a wide range of styles including The Good the Bad and the Queen supergroup, Parcels and Franc Moody and Gossip + Big Joanie  Lovebox stays in Gunnersbury Park and brings us a huge programme including Solange, Chance The Rapper, J Hus and Loyle Carner.. Let’s not forget the nightly Proms season which kicks off in July and stretches through to September with over 90 concerts to choose from, this year with a Moon theme to celebrate 50 years since the moon landing. Wireless at Finsbury Park has Cardi B, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky and Migo among its biggest names. The Old Royal Naval College Greenwich’s GMT festival has Groove Armada and Paul Weller
  • August It’s full on festival time!  South West Four on Clapham Common brings us the biggest names in dance music including Armin van Helden, Ms Dynamite, Craig David, Tinie Tempah and loads loads more. Prepare yourself for the Notting Hill Carnival – 2 days of very loud music to get us all up and dancing in the streets. Look out for Gaz’s Rocking Crew and the nearby dub reggae truck which are my favourites or get your ears blown off on All Saints Road!  On Blackheath a more family orientated festival brings us Grace Jones, Jamiroquai, Swing Out Sister, Soul ll Soul. UB40, Aswad, Brand  New Heavies and tons of food stalls, some from Michelin starred chef, pop up restaurants and craft beers. The 26th Meltdown festival on the South Bank is curated by Nile Rodgers with an extraordinary range from himself, Jonny Marr to Mali’s Songhoy Blues.
  • September The wonderful Proms come to an end with a simulcast in Hyde Park called Proms in the Park with the line-up of artists performing ahead of the classical spectacular. And that will be the end of the festival season for another year! So it’s back to the big arenas with the London Palladium putting on a range of shows from Hozier to Belinda Carlisle, Bonnie Tyler and Aled Jones with Russell Watson. The 02 Arena has Muse, Khalid, and the Electric Soul Festival with Cool and the Gang, Brand New Heavies and Heather Small among the names.

*All listings correct to the best of my knowledge but exact details should be checked with each venue.

Serpentine Pavilion 2019

The Serpentine Pavilion 2019

The annual opening of the Serpentine Pavilion is a real sign that we are properly into the London summer, even if the weather is not always as warm as we’d like.

Each year a new architect is chosen to bring their vision of a temporary pavilion to the site next to the original Serpentine Gallery. This competition has been going since  2000 when the first winner was Zaha Hadid and it has grown into a showcase for emerging talent from around the world.

This year’s Serpentine Pavilion is designed by Junya Ishigami, a Japanese architect who is known for his experimental structures which reflect natural phenomena.   The result is a wonderful wing shape roof of Cumbrian slate which produces an open covered space.  The brilliance of the design and the construction gives us a structure which seems light and fluid in its shape.  The 61 tons of slate that make up the single canopy roof give it a strong organic feel but the way it is supported and shaped make it appear light and somehow growing out of the surrounding grass.

Serpentine Pavilion 2019

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Victoria at Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace, Queen Victoria’s childhood home

Kensington Palace has spruced up the rooms where Princess Victoria grew up to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth.  Alongside these permanent rooms is a temporary exhibition Victoria: Woman and Crown which examines her role as matriarch and monarch.   Victoria spent her formative years at Kensington Palace and became Queen here before moving the short distance to Buckingham Palace, the first sovereign to live there.

Victoria at Kensington Palace

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Leonardo da Vinci drawings

Da Vinci’s drawings grace the Queen’s Gallery

The Queen owns priceless art treasures and thanks to her ancestors’ collecting habits the Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world.

The Royal Collection contains the greatest collection of da VInci drawings, a group of 550 drawings that have remained together since his death in 1519 and rarely shown so they are in excellent condition.  At his death in 1519, Da VInci left all his drawings to his pupil Francesco Melzi who kept them faithfully until his own death when the sculptor Pompeo Leoni acquired them and mounted them in at least 2 albums. By 1630 one of the albums had reached England into the collection of the Earl of Arundel until around 1670 when Charles ll acquired it, perhaps as a gift from the Earl but ‘acquired’ is a little vague in the royal context! King Charles II was keen buyer and acquirer of art and his interest in these drawings was a master stroke.  In the 1900s they were removed from the album but luckily it was kept and preserved and here it is, on proud display.  Its contents remain an unbroken group as they were in 1519.

Leonardo da Vinci drawings

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Secret Rivers Museum of London Docklands

Secret Rivers tells a new story of London

It’s always a treat to travel on the Thames so when the Museum of London Docklands said they were launching their new exhibition Secret Rivers, we thought we should arrive by river boat to honour London’s watery past and present.

Taking one of the Thames Clippers along the Thames is a wonderful way to travel and see the sights that make London so famous. Whizzing past the Houses of Parliament, London Eye, St Paul’s, Tate Modern, Globe theatre, Tower of London and then under Tower Bridge is almost an overload of top sights.

Arriving at the museum’s building you are taken back in the days when London’s docklands were full of old warehouses and wharves, not Canary Wharf’s modern glass towers.  Their new exhibition Secret Rivers is really good and I learned a lot about the Thames and its tributaries, so many of  which are now lost or hidden.

Secret Rivers Museum of London Docklands

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Beasts of London, Museum of London

London’s Beasts come to the Museum of London

When you think of the animals which live among us in London,  you are likely to conjure up pigeons,  squirrels and foxes not the magnificent beasts of the jungle and arctic.  A visit to Beasts of London at the Museum of London will change all that.  Did you know that London has been home to lions since pre history,  to zebras and even a polar bear?  You’ll hear about these beasts and many more as you step into the new immersive exhibition at the Museum of London. Continue reading

Painted Hall, Greenwich

Welcome back to the Painted Hall, Greenwich

The Painted Hall has been undergoing extensive renovation for the last 2 years so I was really looking forward to seeing this amazing place when it was unveiled.  They managed to keep the venue open to visitors during the work by offering tours on the enormous scaffolding erected to enable the painstaking cleaning and this gave visitors a once in a lifetime chance to see the ceiling really close up.  I went on one of these tours and you can read about that here. Continue reading