I send out a newsletter to subscribers with a preview of some of the great stuff on in London over the next 3 months but blog readers are able to enjoy it too. So here it is and I’m happy to take any questions about anything featured.
IT’S YOUR LONDON NEWSLETTER FOR SUMMER 2018
Here’s your Summer 2018 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll get right back to you.
Have a look at Sue’s blog on the website (itsyourlondon.co.uk) 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 4000+ followers for the latest news and I’m on Instagram as @sueinlondon for some lovely photos.
JULY 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 injuries make a win very unlikely. The Proms season begins for the 123rd 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 Leonard Bernstein life, 100 years since the end of the 1St World War and the work of women composers. And Pride takes to the streets to bring an exuberant vibe to London.
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 Lots of press about the revival, direct from Broadway, of The King and I at the London Palladium (London’s largest theatre) with Ken Wanatabe as the King and I read that Yul Brynner played the role on the stage as well as in the film which must have been a wonderful experience for the audiences. Poldark heartthrob Aidan Turner takes to the stage at the Noel Coward Theatre in the Lieutenant of Inishmore, making his West End debut in this dark Irish comedy. The Jungle at the Playhouse theatre is set in the refugee camps of Calais, giving viewers an insight to the lives of that community, their hopes and fears, in an interactive experience thanks to imaginative staging. Braving the weather, As You Like It comes to the open air Regent’s Park theatre. The Park theatre (not in a park!) hosts reliably good theatrical events so Alkaline, a play about friendship, faith, fear and change sounds like another winner.
AUGUST August sees a few Shakespeare’s in town, with Othello starring the incomparable Mark Rylance at The Globe and Love’s Labours Lost at the adjoining Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Regent’s Park open air theatre switches gear to bring us the Little Shop of Horrors, claiming to be ‘like Faust on Fertiliser’ and ‘a botanical bloodfest’! Old favourite The Importance of Being Ernest, part of the Oscar Wilde season, comes to the Vaudeville theatre where we will eagerly await the famous line ‘a handbag!’
SEPTEMBER In this year of celebration of 100 years since partial female suffrage, Sylvia at the Old Vic combines dance, soul, hip hop and funk to shed new light on the story of Sylvia Pankhurst and it features Beverley Knight as Emmeline. The Woods at the Royal Court sounds scary but this is a theatre renowned for its excellent new work so it’ll be worth a view. The Other Place at the Park theatre receives its UK premiere of this psychological drama. Broadway legend Patti Lupone stars in a gender reversal staging of Sondheim’s Company at the Gielgud Theatre, a version apparently ‘blessed’ by Sondheim!
ART AND DESIGN
JULY The Tate Modern has Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-1933 showing 70 works, many of which are from private collections inaccessible to the public and unusually it will be open for a year. London is awash with recent openings so for July and August listing I’m highlighting the key ones not to miss. Picasso at the Tate Modern gives us extraordinary work created in just one year, 1932. The BP Portrait award at the National Portrait Gallery is full of wonderful paintings. The Queen’s Gallery gives us a peek into the treasures of the Royal Collection with their exhibition Splendours of the Subcontinent. Finally on my list but there are more (!) Monet and Architecture at the National Gallery shows his great work through a different lens and yes there are his wonderful London pictures on show.
AUGUST See July! Don’t miss the chance to visit the Courtauld Gallery, one of London’s gems, as it will be closing early September for a 2-year refurbishment. It is home to great impressionist and post-impressionist works from Van Gogh to Cezanne, from Renior, and Gauguin to Matisse and Degas among many others and will be sorely missed.
SEPTEMBER The annual Turner Prize will no doubt spark controversy at the Tate Britain. The extraordinary The Clock by Christian Marclay opens at the Tate Modern, a film splicing together clocks from films showing the actual time for 24 hours and be warned it’s mesmerising and you’ll want to stay for ‘just another hour’. Somerset House is launching the second edition of the London Design Biennale with the theme of Emotional States which will take over the entirety of this huge building looking at how design affects our lives.
SHOPPING, FASHION & MARKETS
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 Silk Series, featuring 28 stalls of fashion from East London’s most exciting creatives.
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 2018 and beyond This year it takes place in a few venues across London
MUSEUMS AND EXHIBITIONS
JULY The Science Museum brings us IVF: 6 Million Babies Later to celebrate 40 years since in vitro fertilisation enabled the birth of Louise Brown, the first ‘miraculous birth’ and Louise herself will attend a special event. Life in the Dark opens at the Natural History Museum looking at creatures who live and thrive in the dark, on land and under the sea
AUGUST Few new openings this month so a chance to visit the top exhibitions this month including Rodin at the British Museum showing us the influence on his word of the Parthenon Sculptures. Frida Kahlo at the V&A museum is a fascinating insight to her life and her struggles. The Design Museum’s Azzedine Alaia shows his beautiful dresses in the best way I’ve ever seen fashion displayed.
SEPTEMBER The British Museum’s new exhibition this month is I Object: Ian Hislop’s Search for Dissent, his selection of items from the BM’s great reserves which show dissent over the ages from Babylonian graffiti to the pink ‘pussy’ hat of the anti-Trump women’s marches. This will explore the range of dissent and also the consequences for dissenters, some more dangerous than others. The Imperial War Museum has 3 new exhibitions as part of their Making a New World season showing how the 1st World War shaped the world The exhibitions show photographs of post war life, explore the life of African soldiers and personal stories from the period of the armistice.
JULY Coming to Mayfair, Gazelle offers all day dining and a cocktail bar from the top mixologist Tony Conigliaro. Borealis, a new Nordic eatery comes to Borough. It’s good to see Centre Point coming back to life and Vivi will be offering retro food choices, think chicken kiev and arctic roll! Custard by Gunpowder by Tower Bridge sounds interesting – a bakery by day and a wine bar by night and the day service does include the custard of the title. The old Television Centre building in White City continues to attract new openings with a high end sushi bar next on the list- Endo at Rotunda – but with just 15 covers this will be a challenge to book.
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. Farmer J is trying to bring more healthy food to the City workers and even offers a weekend brunch for visitors. It’s worth keeping an eye on the Tower Bridge development on the south bank as Gunpowder opens a branch of their Indian empire there, a restaurant alongside their bakery and wine bar.
SEPTEMBER Yet another US burger joint comes to town as Wahlburgers comes to Covent Garden, brought to us by actor Mark Wahlberg and his brothers. The Tower of London provides a great backdrop to their Food Festival – I went last year and had an excellent time tasting all kinds of foods and gins! Kricket, one of my favourite Indian small plates venues heads to White City to join in what’s becoming a great foodie venue. The biggest chef news is that Tom Kerridge is due to open Kerridge’s Bar and Grill at the posh Corinthia Hotel after his plans to open at another posh hotel fell through with David Collins giving the old Massimo space a new look.
PARKS & GARDENS, ROYAL PALACES
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 is called Prince and Patron to mark Prince Charles’s 70th with items chosen by him. Hyde Park is home to great music, including the major league festival British Summer Time, as is Kew Gardens. Also happening at Kew Gardens is the reopening of the Great Pagoda and this is expected to be a very popular climb of 253 steps!
AUGUST Clarence House, the official residence of Charles, the Prince of Wales and Camilla is also open to the public, but just for August as he has shorter holidays than the Queen! 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 Jose Pizarro to name just a few.
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 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 the hopes of the nations rest on Andy Murray but his injuries make it unlikely he will progress very far. In Men’s cricket, England plays one of the test series against South Africa 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 the last chance to see gold medal-winning long jumper Greg Rutherford in action. The London Stadium also hosts the Athletics World Cup with 8 of the top athletics nations competing across 2 days and luckily Team GB is one of those. The Women’s World Cup Hockey will take place in the Lee Valley centre in the Olympic Park with England flying the flag for the UK after their Olympic gold in Rio. Ride London is a massive cycling event, through London and out to Box Hill, for the public and elite competitors.
AUGUST County cricket will be in full flow at all the London grounds. There’s the second test England v India at Lord’s. The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final will be entertaining the crowds at Wembley and in football, 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 zip wire if you dare, on the south bank overlooking the Thames and the Houses of Parliament.
SEPTEMBER India is back in town for the last match of the 5 test series 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.
JULY The festival season is in full flow with British Summer Time – full of the big names such The Cure, Roger Waters, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Bruno Mars, Michael Buble 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 De La Soul, Jorja Smith, Sigrid + Oli Fox and David Rodigan. Lovebox has moved to Gunnersbury Park and brings us a huge programme including Skepta, Childish Gambino, Annie Mac and stars of now and some old favourites. 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. Eminem is on at Twickenham Stadium and Wireless at Finsbury Park has Stormzy as its biggest name.
AUGUST The South West Four festival on Clapham Common brings us the biggest names in dance music including Armin van Buuren, Dizzy Rascal, Sigma, Marshmello and 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!
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. On Blackheath a more family orientated festival brings us Paloma Faith, Squeeze, De La Soul and Divine Comedy, and tons of food stalls, some from Michelin starred chef, pop up restaurants and craft beers. And that will be the end of the festival season for another year! So it’s back to the big arenas with Barry Manilow and 50 Cents at the 02 and Joan Armatrading at the Barbican.
*All listings correct to the best of my knowledge but exact details should be checked with each venue.