This weeks blog is a rundown of what we think are fantastic things to do in and around London on what is looking to be a scorcher of a three day weekend! August Bank Holiday is going to be the first ‘normal’ bank holiday for a very long time. For starters, there are actual music festivals happening – Yam Carnival and All Points East are both going ahead, as is Field Day, but that last one is long sold out. Looking for something a little more low-key? Take a trip to Tate Modern for the Sophie Taeuber-Arp retrospective, or have a wholesome day on a pick-your-own fruit farm. This is the last gasp of the summer, so now is the time to make plans. You’ve gained this extra day off, after all, so make it count.
With London’s most extensive Oyster menu, Seabird has fantastic views, food and cocktails for to make for a wonderful day or evening. With the weather looking bright, you can enjoy tapas dishes that are out of this world, alongside the ‘cocktail of the day’, which is always delicious. Or, enjoy the ‘Afternoon Sea’ which includes a huge array of dishes – but make sure you order this 48 hours in advance. This restaurant and hotel is really one to watch.
- See the Northern Lights in Greenwich // Aug 27th-Sept 11th
London’s spectacular, (mostly) free, outdoor Greenwich + Docklands International Festival returns for 2021 with an edition sure to be dominated by talk of ‘Borealis’, a laser show which aims to recreate the Northern Lights over Greenwich and Woolwich. But there’s plenty of other cool stuff besides, from a version of Dennis Potter’s classic ‘Blue Remembered Hills’ on a forbidden landfill site, to ‘Black Victorians’, a dance piece celebrating Britain’s pre-Windrush Black population. A cultural option this August Bank Holiday.
- Watch Lily Allen in ‘2:22 A Ghost Story’ // Now-Oct 16th
Lily Allen makes her West End debut in this spooky new play written by Danny Robins of hugely successful supernatural podcast The Battersea Poltergeist. Matthew Dunster’s production stars Allen as Jenny, who moves into a new home with her husband Sam (Hadley Fraser) and becomes convinced it’s haunted. Lauren (Julia Chan) and Ben (Jake Wood) play their friends who come round to dinner one fateful night – the truth will be revealed at… 2.22! At the Noel Coward Theatre.
- Yam Carnival // Aug 28th
Afro Nation’s new festival of afrobeat, reggaeton, R&B, hip hop and dancehall acts will be taking over Clapham Common this bank holiday weekend. The organisers have promised some top-quality Caribbean and Latin American street food, but nobody is shelling out more than £66 for access to good snacks. Rest assured Yam has some big names on the bill: Davido, Kehlani, Femi Kuti, Koffee, Honey Dijon, Ari Lennox, Ms Banks and Princess Nokia will all be performing. Other Festivals taking place this August Bank Holiday are: All Points East, Return ii Dance, Junction 2, Field Day amongst others.
- Pick your own Fruit and Veg // (Summer)
Spend a day out on a pick-your-own farm in (or near) London this bank holiday weekend. Whether you want to pluck summer-ripe berries, leafy greens and root veg or gather autumnal apples, pumpkins and squashes, these farms all have acres of PYO fields to keep you busy. Strawberries are getting harder to find, but there’s still plenty of apples and blackberries to fill your punnet. Remember, always call your chosen farm ahead of your visit to check what’s ripe for picking.
- See the Beautiful Landscapes by Bernardo Bellotto // Now-Oct 31st
You’re dwarfed by these paintings as you walk in. Venetian painter Bernardo Bellotto’s five views of Königstein in Dresden are big, towering, heavy works. They loom over you with their pillars of grey stone and stark, sharp angles. He was commissioned to do these in the eighteenth century as a court painter and, like any court painter, his job was to make his boss look big and impressive. And it worked. Bellotto uses every weapon of perspective in his arsenal to create vistas that are intensely dramatic and tell a story of fearsome power and impenetrable defences. You can see them at the National Gallery.
- Have some fun at London Wonderground // Now-Sept 26th
There is something deeply soothing about London Wonderground. During an unsettling time, the Empress Place, Earl’s Court attraction offers immersion in the frivolously extra paraphernalia of the festival season. There’s an artificial beach with deckchairs, a helter-skelter, bumper cars, endless bars… and, of course, a giant inflatable upside-down purple cow, aka the Udderbelly performance venue. You could probably spend a nice enough evening there without taking in a show if the weather was right. But it’s the shows that provide the main impetus to go. As ever with the Wonderground, the genre is ‘a bit of everything’: you’ll find comedy, music and a smattering of cabaret.
- National BURGER DAY! // Aug 27th
National Burger Day is a thing, and it’s a big deal for bun huns AND it falls on this August Bank holiday weekend. Devoted to everything burgers, Vinegar Yard will be celebrating the mighty meaty patty with a whole bunch of burger traders in one place, and you’ll be able to sample slider sizes to try them all without getting too full up. Tickets cost £12 and include two free cans of Two Tribes lager or ale (or soft drinks). Tables of four and eight are available.
- West End Drag Brunch // Every Sunday
Sashay down to The Folly with your fabulous queens & experience London’s first drag brunch that has an exclusive line up from the glittering West End stage. You can choose from two time slots: 1-4pm or 7-10pm so whether you’re up for brunch or going all out for the evening (with the bonus Monday off the hangovers don’t matter!), get ready to party! Expect jaw-dropping dance moves, fabulous lip-syncing & plenty of sass. Alongside this knockout entertainment, enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless cocktails & a delicious brunch dish all for £49.95pp.
- Luxurious Breakfast at the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park
With a backdrop of knightsbridge, enjoy delights such as French Toast with apricot and toasted almond compote, Full English/Vegan, or Coconut and Chia Pudding. This can all be washed down with Detox Juices/Smoothies, or for those of you who are indulging themselves this Bank Holiday weekend, Billecart Rose-Salmon Brut, or a breakfast cocktail such a bellini. This is all served in the Rosebery, one of London’s most fashionable destinations. After breakfast, why not head to the award winning spa for a treatment or two.