London in October: All You Need to Know

The days might be getting shorter and the weather might be taking a turn for the worse, but London doesn’t slow down in October. The sun is fast disappearing, but there are plenty of activities and events scheduled throughout the month, although most of them have by now moved indoors.

You can find food and drink festivals across London during October, from the London Restaurant Festival to London Cocktail Week, while the British Film Institute holds its annual film festival this month. Of course, you can’t forget Halloween, and the city also goes all out for the German Oktoberfest too.

If you do want to get outside, then London’s parks are resplendent in their autumnal shades of red, brown and orange, and it’s a beautiful time of the year to explore – just remember to take a jumper and a raincoat along.

To inspire your trip to the capital, here’s our complete guide to visiting London in October.

The Weather in London in October

Summer is officially over by October, but although the weather is never the best this month, don’t let it put you off visiting the city, as there’s still so much to see and to do. The days are getting shorter and the clocks go back at the end of October, as the time shifts away from British Summer Time.

You can expect mild weather, with things turning decidedly cold through the month. There will be the odd day of sunshine, but don’t expect temperatures to be higher than the mid-20s, if you’re lucky. What you can expect is lots of rain, so be prepared with a raincoat and umbrella at all times. In the evenings you might need to start wrapping up warm too. While you can get away with a jumper during the day – as long as it’s not raining – you’ll want a big coat by the time the sun sets.

Festivals and Events in London in October

In October, there are some wonderful events and festivals scheduled across London. Locals are beginning to move inside and so most of these events are found inside too, with a huge focus on food and drink. It’s a great chance to immerse yourself in the multicultural nature of the capital, and you’ll find great food festivals and awesome film events to visit.

London Restaurant Festival

Every October, London hosts a citywide event that celebrates the enjoyment of dining out. The London Restaurant Festival is held over the entire month and sees hundreds of restaurants across the capital putting on special menus and giving big discounts to draw in the public.

You can eat out at some of the best restaurants in the city, and you’ll find great deals at some of the fanciest and most expensive venues, giving you the opportunity to delve into London’s culinary scene like never before.

London Cocktail Week

London has a big reputation when it comes to drinking, and the London Cocktail Week is a celebration of the more refined side of the city’s drinking culture. The October event will see bars across London putting on excellent deals and mixing some new and unusual cocktails, alongside the classics too.

While the festival is citywide, the hub of the action is found at the Cocktail Village, which is hosted by the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. You’ll find pop-up cocktail stands and plenty of drinking through the week here.

London Frieze

London Frieze is an annual festival that’s held in Regent’s Park at the start of October. It’s an international event, and through the year there are other Frieze festivals held in the likes of New York and Los Angeles too, although the one in London could be considered the best.

This is one of the biggest displays of contemporary international artwork in the world, and temporary exhibition halls are set up in the park to accommodate hundreds of different artists’ work from across the world.

British Film Institute London Film Festival

For two weeks in October, the BFI – British Film Institute – host their annual film festival in the capital. Hundreds of films are screened during the event, at many different venues across the city, including iconic locations such as Leicester Square.

The festival has a huge focus on international and foreign language films, as it aims to highlight lesser-known productions that would otherwise not make their way to the UK. It’s a great chance to see alternative documentaries and powerful films, while there are also Q&As, lectures and glamorous opening and closing ceremonies.

London Literature Festival

If you’re more of a book lover than a film lover, then don’t fear because the Southbank Centre hosts an 11-day literature festival during October. The festival features many of the world’s most renowned authors, with past speakers including such novelists as Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood.

There’s a big focus on poetry too, and you’ll be able to listen to readings from top poets, including the Poet Laureate. It’s a great chance to be immersed in the literary world, and to meet likeminded people and, perhaps, your favourite writers too.

Trafalgar Day Parade

Trafalgar Day is the annual British celebration of Admiral Nelson’s victory over the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. On the Sunday closest to the anniversary a parade is held in Trafalgar Square, where you can see the armed forces and other institutions marching.

It’s a decidedly British celebration and a great chance to be patriotic or to learn more about Britain’s quirky traditions.

Diwali Festival

Also held in Trafalgar Square, the annual Diwali Festival is a rather more international event and one that is a testament to the modern, multicultural nature of London. Thousands of people fill the square at the end of October, as London’s Asian community celebrate one of the biggest events on the calendar.

Diwali is a celebration of light, so you can expect this to be a joyous occasion, including shows, cultural performances and live music alongside great food, that continue late into the night.

Africa on the Square

Africa on the Square is a great event that’s also held in Trafalgar Square in October. For one day, the iconic London square is transported across continents, as a celebration of African culture and heritage is held here by local communities.

It’s another great tribute to London’s multiculturalism, and you’ll find an array of different stalls and stages set up across the square that will give you a real insight into the wide variety of African people who have moved to the city over the years. There will be cultural displays of dance and music, alongside some excellent food from across the continent.

Tequila and Mezcal Fest

Another great international event that’s held in London during October is the increasingly popular Tequila and Mezcal Fest. Held over a weekend in October for the last few years, the festival is going from strength to strength, as Londoners become more enamoured with Tequila, Mezcal, and Mexican culture and food.

There will be plenty of tequila and Mezcal to sample, as well as an insight into Mexican culture, and plenty of after-parties too.

Oktoberfest

While Oktoberfest might be a traditional German festival, London, with its international flair and love of beer has in recent years been hosting its own version in the city. From the end of September into the first week of October, you’ll find bars and pubs across London putting on deals and German-themed nights, but the real highlight is the huge event that’s held at Finsbury Park.

There’s an enormous recreation of a German beer tent, offering you the chance to drink great beer and enjoy great food in an authentic Bavarian setup.

Halloween

The 31 October is Halloween, and the city goes all out to celebrate this ghoulish tradition. You’ll find plenty of events happening in the week leading up to Halloween, while the day itself is usually celebrated with fancy dress parties.

You can take ghost tours through the capital, find special events being held at the London Dungeon and Tower of London, and enjoy screenings of horror movies at local cinemas.

Things to See and Do in London in October

As well as all these excellent events and festivals, there’s much more to see in London throughout October too. It’s a great time to visit the museums and galleries, as they begin to put on special exhibitions, while if you love the outdoors you can enjoy the autumn scenery in one of London’s many parks.

London Dungeon

With Halloween at the end of the month, there couldn’t be a better time to visit the London Dungeon than October. As well as all the regular spooky rides and attractions found here, adults can visit the popular Dungeon Lates, when the gates open after dark

As well as exploring the dungeons, you have the chance to enjoy dungeon-themed cocktails and visit a pub frequented by Jack the Ripper. It’s an unusual evening out, and one that will terrify and enthral you in equal measure.

The Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is one of the best history museums in London, and entrance is totally free. October usually sees the museum putting on different exhibits and displays, such as artistic poppy memorials in the lead-up to Remembrance Day Sunday in early November.

You can learn more about the wars fought by Britain and the Empire across the world, and learn more about the armed forces too.

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is a great London institution that displays some of the finest portraiture from across the world, including photography and artistic works, both historic and contemporary.

October is a great time to call in, not only to escape the cold weather but because there are some intriguing exhibitions on, culminating in the incredibly prestigious BP Portrait Awards, which are held here. The exhibition showcasing the winners and contenders usually runs until the end of the month, so get in now to see some of the most captivating portraits in the capital.

Six Days of Cycling

London hosts a unique cycling event in October, as the six-day cycling series heads to the capital for epic racing. This is track cycling at its best, as teams of two compete for six days straight – yes, for six days – as they race all through the day and the night to be crowned champions.

It’s more than just a cycling event though, as the arena has a party-like atmosphere with DJs playing loud music over six days while the athletes compete on the track. It’s an incredible sporting event to watch, and quite unlike anything else you might see in London in October.

London Ice Rinks

It might only be October but already the city is beginning to gear up for the festive season, which begins with the opening of London’s iconic outdoor ice-skating rinks. While you might associate these with Christmas, by the last week of October many of the most famous ones are already ready for business and you can get a head start on the crowds by skating at the end of the month.

There are ice rinks across the capital, with some of the most well known being found at the Natural History Museum, Oxford Street, and Canary Wharf. It might seem early, but it’s a lot of fun!

Autumn in London’s Parks

The weather might be colder than it has been in previous months, but embrace autumn in London by visiting one of the city’s many great outdoor parks. As summer ends, the trees begin to change from green to shades of red, orange and brown, creating beautifully colourful scenes across the capital, before they shed completely come winter time.

There are some wonderful parks to choose from to catch the autumn scenes, from Richmond Park in the suburbs, which echoes to the sounds of deer rutting, to Hyde Park in the centre.

If you’re planning a trip to London during October, check out Premium Tours’ great range of London tours.

Everything You Need to Know About Kensington Palace

Seventeenth century Kensington Palace is found at the heart of royal life in London. The historic residence is the home of many members of the extended monarchy, including William, Kate and their young family, and Harry and Meghan who are due to move to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor in the spring of 2019.

Kensington Palace though, is very much open to the public, and you can tour through the stately rooms, learn more about the royals past and present who have lived here, and admire the elegant, landscaped gardens.

It’s a beautiful part of royal history in the centre of London. For anyone with an interest in British heritage and traditions, then Kensington Palace is a must visit attraction when you are in the capital.

Where Is Kensington Palace?

Kensington Palace is superbly located on the edge of Hyde Park, in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Kensington Gardens, where the palace is located, is separated from Hyde Park by the Serpentine, while Hyde Park is just across the road from Buckingham Palace and The Mall, making the whole area rich in royal history and perfect for exploring in a day.

You can easily walk between Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace in half an hour, although you may take longer stopping off along the route through London’s most iconic park.

If you are travelling into London to visit Kensington Palace, then the nearest train station is Paddington, while the nearest tube stations are High Street Kensington or Queensway.

Both tube stations are just a short walk away, with Queensway on the Central Line and High Street Kensington on the Circle and District Lines.

You can also make use of tube stops at Hyde Park Corner, Green Park and Victoria if you are looking to explore the other royal palaces in the area too.

There are also plenty of bus stops close by, while the main intercity National Express coach station is at Victoria. Being a popular tourist spot in a busy area of London, you’ll also find that Kensington Palace is usually featured on many hop-on hop-off bus routes, or there will be stops close by that will give you easy access to the grounds.

The Best Time to Visit Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace is open throughout the year, and you can visit regardless of the weather or the season.

The main indoor exhibits can be toured anytime, however you may find the gardens to be best viewed at different times of the year. In summer, it can be hot, while in winter the gardens may be beautifully layered with frost but freezing to wander through. In spring you can experience the gardens in bloom, while in autumn they are resplendent in different colours as the trees shed their foliage.

Generally speaking, the busiest time of the year in terms of tourist numbers is summer, a trend that is the same across the capital. From May to September, you can expect things to be at their peak and for lines and queues to be at their lengthiest.

The palace operates different opening hours through the year, and is closed for 3 days over Christmas, on the 24, 25 and 26 of December.

From 1 March to 31 October, Kensington Palace opens at 10am and closes at 6pm, with the last admissions being at 5pm.

From 1 November to the end of February, doors open at 10am but close earlier, at 4pm, with the last admission being at 3pm.

To avoid the crowds, you might want to consider arriving early to get in just as the doors open, particularly in summer.

You can check the Kensington Palace website before travelling, in case there are any unexpected closures, as some areas are temporarily shut off to the public for restoration or refurbishment.

You can also check the website for any seasonal events that may be held here. Over Easter, events are often held in the gardens, such as Easter egg hunts, while over the Christmas period there may be festive events too.

The temporary exhibitions can also change, although generally this does not happen that frequently.

How Much Does it Cost to Visit?

To explore Kensington Palace you need to purchase a ticket. You can do this on the door or you can reserve online, in advance.

Current prices, as of 2019, are £19.50 for an adult and £9.50 for a child. If you are hoping to visit lots more palaces in and around London or are returning more than once, then you may want to consider purchasing membership to the Historic Royal Palaces group.

HRP are a charity that looks after many of the royal palaces in the country, and an annual membership costs from £53 per adult, with discounts for family passes. Membership gives you unlimited access to the palaces through the year and a discount in many of the shops and cafes.

 

Restaurants and Cafes

Kensington Palace has several restaurants and cafes that are open to the public, while within walking distance you’ll find plenty of other options.

If you get hungry during your tour, then call in at the Palace Cafe, where you can pick up a light snack, a cup of coffee, or a cold drink for some light refreshment.

Kensington Palace Pavilion and Tea Room is open daily for breakfast and lunch, but the highlight here is the traditional Afternoon Tea, which you need to book in advance. There’s little else more authentic than relaxing on the pavilion, while enjoying sandwiches and cake in the grounds of a royal palace.

Touring Kensington Palace

You can quite easily self-guide your way around Kensington Palace, as the exhibits and displays are clearly labelled and simple to navigate.

You can purchase a guidebook, complete with map and extra information on the rooms and history of the palace and grounds on your way in, if you’d like to learn a little more during your tour and take home a souvenir.

How long you spend at Kensington Palace will depend on your interest and your pace, but you’ll require a minimum of one hour and probably no more than three hours.

The History of Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace has a fascinating past that’s waiting to be discovered on your tour through the grounds. While nothing can compare to walking through the elegant interior of the palace and its lavish apartment, here’s a brief journey through 300 years of royal history to spark your intrigue.

While the palace may now be in the heart of the affluent Kensington area, when it was first built in the 16th century, this was just a small, rural village in the countryside, far from the chaos of the City of London.

In the late 17th century the ruling monarchs, King William II and Queen Mary II, bought the palace and grounds for the very reason that it was far from London – at least at that point in time.

The palace became the main residence of King William II, as he was in ill health and required the fresh air. Since then, the palace has always been crown property, although Buckingham Palace would in later years become the favoured residence of the reigning monarch, and Kensington would become home to other members of the royal family.

After their purchase, William and Mary began to build and expand the property, a process that has continued throughout the years. Famous British architect Christopher Wren added much of the detail you see today during Queen Anne’s day, which is also when the landscaped gardens began to take shape.

In the 18th century, King George II was the last reigning monarch to actually live at the palace whilst they held the Crown, but many more important royals would still call Kensington Palace home.

Perhaps the most notable resident was the future Queen Victoria, as she was raised in the palace and spent much of her childhood here before becoming Queen.

The palace was also the home of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Even after divorcing Charles, Diana still lived here until the tragic accident that resulted in her death in Paris.

A Royal Residence

Kensington Palace continues to fulfil its role as a royal residence today, despite large parts being open to the public and the grounds receiving thousands of visitors.

As well as being home to the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, who have lived here for decades, the palace has also become home to the younger generation of royals, many of whom have been captivating the world with their marriages, and public and private lives.

Kensington Palace became the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – otherwise known as William and Kate – after their marriage in 2011.

Harry has been living in a cottage on the grounds for some time, and after his marriage to Meghan in 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have continued to live here, although they will move to Windsor in the spring of 2019.

The size and scale of the palace ensures that, despite the large number of residents, they have their own private lodgings and space within the grounds, which are usually renovated in a grand and expensive fashion before they move in.

The Kensington Palace State Rooms

The section of the palace that can be visited by tourists primarily consists of the Kensington Palace State Rooms, which were refurbished and reopened to the public as recently as 2012. The palace has had a long history of tourism before this, reaching back to the Victorian era when it was a popular sight.

The staterooms encompass some of the most historic elements of Kensington Palace, including rooms used by Queen Victoria, and apartments lived in by King William and Queen Anne, amongst others.

The King’s State Apartments

The King’s State Apartments are one of the grandest and most regal parts of the palace that visitors can explore.

The rooms here are incredibly well refurbished and offer you a glimpse into the Hanoverian past of the monarchy, as you are taken on a historic journey through the apartments lived in by the Georgian kings.

You’ll find intriguing relics from past inhabitants, and you’ll be given a revealing insight into how the past kings and queens of the United Kingdom lived their daily lives.

The Queen’s State Apartments

The Queen’s State Apartments are another fascinating area of the palace open to visitors, and here you can explore the rooms that were originally ordered to be built by Queen Anne during the initial expansion of the palace after its purchase by the royal family.

The wonderful apartments were Queen Anne’s personal rooms, and she lived here for many years after the death of her husband, King William II.

The rooms are beautiful, and you’ll be given an insight into the lives of their former occupants, with a particular focus on the story of Queen Anne.

Queen Victoria Exhibitions

Queen Victoria, who ruled as monarch during the height of the British Empire, spent much of her childhood at Kensington Palace, and the residence had a particularly special place in her heart.

There are rooms dedicated to Queen Victoria’s legacy, where you can learn more about her early life in the palace and her life as Queen.

You’ll find fascinating exhibits collated from her personal items, which will give you a unique feel for her upbringing and daily life.

The Gardens

Much of the extensive Kensington Gardens that surround the palace can be explored too. They are incredibly beautiful throughout the year, as they change colours with the passing seasons.

At the Pavilion you can enjoy a taste of leisure royal style, as you relax in the gardens and enjoy the lawns – and afternoon tea too if you really want to indulge.

You can tour through the Sunken Garden, photograph the iconic palace fountains, and enjoy wonderful views of the architecture of the buildings from the outside.

Kensington Palace is a marvel of history and royal tradition. For anyone visiting London, it’s a must see attraction to enjoy a glimpse into the inner workings of the monarchy that have called the palace home for 300 years.

To find out more about guided tours of London, including the royal palaces, see Premium Tours’ great range of London tours.

London in September: The Complete Guide

September is the last chance to make the most of summer in London, and it’s a great time to get out and about in the city to visit great festivals and quirky events. There’s a lot going on in September, and a lot of it’s outside with the likes of Proms in the Park entertaining crowds with great music, while the traditional Great River Race plays out along the Thames.

In September, you’ll also have the last chance to tour around Buckingham Palace before the royal residence is closed to the public until next summer, while across London you’ll find film events, comedy festivals, and design and fashion weeks being held in wonderful locations.

This is one of the best months of the year to travel to the capital. To help you plan your trip, here’s our complete guide to visiting London in September.

The Weather in London in September

September is the last real month of summer in London. After this, you can expect temperatures to begin to drop drastically, as the seasons turn to autumn and then into winter. At the beginning of the month, it’s still going to be shorts and t-shirt weather, as temperatures can hit mid-20s Celsius, while the skies are clear and the sun is shining.

Towards the end of September though, things can begin to get a little cooler, as the temperatures begin to drop. Throughout the month, expect chillier evenings, so be prepared with jumpers. Being England, the weather is also very unpredictable, particularly in September, when the seasons are beginning to transition. Check the forecast before you head out into the city, as you might want to be prepared with raincoats and umbrellas.

Festivals and Events in London during September

September is a great month for festival lovers, as you can catch the end of the summer season for many big events, while others make use of the last of the summer sun to entertain Londoners. Enjoy a celebration of the River Thames, watch boat races and immerse yourself in London Fashion Week or at the London Design Festival. There’s a lot going on in September. Here are our favourite festivals and events to visit in the capital.

BBC Proms in the Park

The Proms is an iconic British music event that takes place from July through September, as classical music lovers in the capital enjoy some sterling performances from some of the best orchestras in the world.

As the summer season draws to an end in the middle of September, the epic finale of the Proms is played out in Hyde Park, as crowds in the thousands enjoy listening to the ending of this huge musical event. You can expect fireworks, unbelievable classical performances and plenty of rousing music to be played late into the night. Get tickets as soon as they are released, because this is a popular event. If you miss out though, then the BBC always televises it.

Totally Thames

The River Thames is one of the most important natural landmarks in the city, as London grew and developed through the centuries along the banks of the waterway that divides it. The river is many things to Londoners; it’s a historic part of the city, a way to travel around and an enduring sight. Totally Thames is a month-long festival that celebrates what the river means to Londoners.

Along the Thames throughout the entirety of September, you’ll find different events happening, many of which are free and open to everyone. There are small music festivals, art installations and riverboat racing too. You can join boat cruises along the river, learn more about the history of London and its relationship with the Thames, and find plenty of great pubs offering fantastic deals overlooking the water.

Classic Boat Festival

Another great event that’s found on the Thames is the Classic Boat Festival. Held at St Katherine Docks over one weekend in the middle of September, this is one of the best components of Totally Thames. The event collects together some of the best classic boats in the country, from tall sailing ships to vintage motorboats.

It’s a colourful and lively spectacle, as the array of boats is lined up along the docks. There are some great talks, you can board the boats and even cruise out along the Thames too.

Underbelly Festival

Southbank is one of the cultural hubs of London, and through summer the area hosts the huge Underbelly Festival, which quite literally entertains visitors for weeks on end. The festival sees different events being played over summer, with the final few weeks being in September. Underbelly Festival is a unique event, featuring alternative artists, musicians and performers from around the world.

There are comedy shows, burlesque shows, cabaret and family-friendly circus acts too. There’s a little something for everyone at the Underbelly, so check September’s schedule and catch the last performances at the Southbank.

Greenwich Comedy Festival

Another entertaining event to visit in London during September is the ever-popular Greenwich Comedy Festival. Over several days in the month, Greenwich hosts some of the country’s best comedy acts, as they perform in the grounds of the National Maritime Museum.

There are different tents, with both emerging acts and well-established acts on stage. Tickets are surprisingly cheap given the great location and the quality of the comedians, and the Greenwich Comedy Festival is often cited as the best comedy festival in London. You won’t want to miss out if you are looking for a few laughs in September, so grab your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

London Design Festival

The London Design Festival is a nine-day event that’s been taking place in London every September since 2003. The modern festival celebrates London’s influence as a design capital of the world, and you’ll find hundreds of events and thousands of visitors across the city.

The festival has a broad focus, with design encompassing everything from architecture to product packaging, but the consistent focus is on innovation and creativity within the sphere. There are talks, lectures, seminars, displays, exhibitions and art installations to explore during the London Design Festival.

While there are many different venues across London, the iconic Victoria and Albert Museum – which focuses on art and design – acts as the central location for the festival, hosting big events and exhibitions, and offering unique tours and displays to visitors.

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week is another citywide event that takes place in September. This popular festival of fashion actually takes place twice a year, so if you missed the first round early on in February, then in September you have a second chance to attend and to learn more about the city’s relationship with fashion.

This is not just one of the largest fashion events in the country, but in the world. For one week, you can expect the streets to be filled with fashionistas from all over the globe, as they arrive in the city looking to jump on the latest trends. There are many events held during the weeklong festival, with the most impressive being the fashion walk shows put on by the big designers.

Open House London

Open House is one of the most intriguing and fascinating citywide festivals held in London during the year. Towards the end of September, hundreds of different properties and buildings across the capital open their doors to the public, allowing visitors to explore some of the most interesting, and usually closed off, parts of London.

Open House London is an architectural festival. The driving idea behind it is to allow the public free access into private buildings. It’s a wonderful project, and the schedule of events and open buildings is ever growing and different each year. This is an opportunity to explore the London skyline in a way that’s normally impossible and you’ll be able to visit iconic skyscrapers and historic houses throughout the festival.

Open House London releases the list of buildings and tours nearer the time, so check in with them in August to find out more about the schedule of events happening during September.

The Great River Race

The Great River Race is a must-see event if you are in London in September. Another part of the lengthy Totally Thames river celebrations held through the month, the Great River Race is more of a marathon than a race, as the course stretches for just over 20 miles.

Small, traditional boats powered by oars compete against each other to cross the finish line first. Hundreds of crews will be competing and thousands will be lining the riverbanks to cheer them on. It’s always a fun-filled day, with fancy dress and plenty of cold drinks to go around.

Things to See and Do in London in September

As well as a huge array of great festivals and events to attend in London during September, there are also lots of great things to see and do. Explore the classic sights and attractions of London, as you would any month of the year, but make sure you call into Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, because they have a few special tours and events planned.

Walking Tours

Enjoy London in the last of the summer sunshine by taking a walking tour of the capital. It’s a great way to get out and about, to take in the fresh air, and get a little bit of exercise as you walk from one destination to the next.

There are walking tours that cater to all interests. You can take history-focused tours that guide you through iconic locations, you can join Harry Potter-themed tours that show where the films were shot, or you can take budget-friendly, tips-based walking tours where you only ever pay what you feel it was worth.

Buckingham Palace

You can visit Buckingham Palace and see the iconic Changing of the Guard Ceremony throughout the year, but September is the last opportunity for visitors to actually walk through the gates and explore the inside of the palace.

Throughout the summer months, Buckingham Palace is open to the public, although you can only see a small section of the vast number of its rooms and corridors. You’ll have the chance to see the lavish furnishings and extensive art collections within the rooms, so for anyone with even a passing interest in British history or the Royal Family, it’s a must do in September, because the doors won’t be opening again until the following summer.

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is one of the city’s most iconic and recognisable sights, and you can tour through the castle, the keeps and the dungeons with the Beefeaters, who are the ceremonial guards as well as guides within the tower.

In September though, you also have the chance to visit the Tower of London’s food festival, which is held – hopefully in the sun! – in the moat surrounding the castle. You can try some delicious food and watch demonstrations from celebrated chefs, all in an unbeatable and historic location.

Luna Cinema

Luna Cinema is one of the country’s best-loved outdoor cinema providers. They set up their screenings in some of the most unique venues across the United Kingdom, from castles to palaces.

The company sets up huge projections in fantastic locations, providing outdoor seating under the stars and putting on a range of food and drink to enjoy while you watch a classic movie. September is the last chance to catch a screening, as, after this, the summer evenings disappear and open-air cinemas become a risky affair in the deteriorating English weather.

London Parks

Enjoy London’s great parks during September before autumn begins to appear. See the last of the vibrant greenery before trees begin to shed their leaves in preparation for winter, and enjoy the wildlife, deer and birds before they begin to hibernate through the colder months.

If you’re planning to visit London this September, check out Premium Tour’s great range of London tours. We’ll show you a different side to the city.

Vauxhall Bridge

London in August: The Complete Guide

Visiting London in August will see you in the capital to catch the last real month of summer. British summers are short but sweet, and August is a month of outdoor events and festivals that celebrate the diverse multicultural makeup of the city, while the sun is still shining.

You’ll quickly realise that August is a month that’s packed with festivals, as the city hosts everything from international music events to street carnivals and beer festivals. There’s a lot going on, and with a Bank Holiday in August, Londoners definitely make the most of their free time by enjoying all that’s on offer across the city.

To help you to plan your trip to the capital this summer, here’s our complete guide to visiting London in August.

The Weather in London in August

August usually sees London experiencing its second hottest month of the year, with temperatures similar to July but slowly beginning to fall again. The start of the month can see highs of 30 degrees Celsius, while the average throughout August will generally be in the mid-20s.

This is the end of summer though, and evenings will begin to get chillier, as the days begin to shorten. Towards the tail end of August, you can begin to expect rain, with more rain throughout the month than you will have seen in July. Enjoy the sunshine when it’s there though, because this is your last chance for much of the year in London.

London in Summer

Festivals and Events in London in August

August is full of festivals, and there’s bound to be an event to suit your tastes, whether it be beer, food, music or culture. The trouble you will have in London though, is deciding which events to attend, as many of the most high profile and best-known festivals are held at the same time over the Bank Holiday Weekend. You’ll be spoiled for choice, and there will be some tough decisions to make, but rest assured that August is a great time to be in London.

August Bank Holiday

August is beloved by Londoners because they are treated to a long Bank Holiday weekend at the end of the month, on the last weekend, which really then becomes the last long weekend of summer in the country.

There are a lot of options for your Bank Holiday weekend in London, and as long as the weather holds out you can join everyone else in the parks, enjoying picnics or BBQs. You can head to the beer gardens to drink in the sun, or visit one of the many festivals held in the capital over the weekend.

Notting Hill Carnival

The Notting Hill Carnival is one of the most famous and well-attended festivals held in London. Held in Kensington over the Sunday and Monday of the Bank Holiday Weekend, the carnival is a celebration of Caribbean culture, and represents the diversity within London, with many more minority cultures featuring too.

Notting Hill Carnival is essentially two long days of street parties, with colourful, vibrant parades taking over Kensington. You can immerse yourself in Caribbean culture, learn more about local migrant communities in London, and have one of the best weekends in the city. The carnival gets incredibly busy, with well over a million estimated visitors over two days each year. You can enjoy music and eat great food from around the world and, of course, you’ll find the parties carrying on well into the night.

Notting Hill Carnival

The BBC Proms

The world-renowned BBC Proms are in full swing throughout August, and it’s a great opportunity to catch a performance from the best international orchestras and composers in London. If you enjoy classical music, then the Proms are for you, but get in early to secure your tickets, because even though the concerts are held over the entirety of the summer months, they can still get booked out, particularly on weekends.

The Great British Beer Festival

As the name would suggest, The Great British Beer Festival is one huge festival devoted to beer. The event is hosted by CAMRA – the Campaign For Real Ale, an organisation devoted to the preservation and advancement of British ales across the country – and no one else could match them for detail and knowledge when it comes to beer.

It’s a great event where you can try new beers from the country’s best breweries, discover up and coming ales, and find out what’s on the horizon in the beer world. The festival is also home to the British Beer Awards, and the winners will be announced – and celebrated with plenty of beer drinking – during the course of the event.

Beer

Carnaval del Pueblo

Burgess Park in London is the site of Carnaval del Pueblo, a huge event that transforms the district into a Latin America fiesta on the first Sunday of August. It’s the biggest event of its kind held in Europe and attracts both Latin crowds and many more people from across the world who take part in the vibrant, colourful and loud festival.

It’s a wonderful celebration of Latin culture and yet another demonstration of London’s incredible diversity. You can enjoy music, great food, dancing and fantastic culture from across Central and South America.

Camden Fringe Festival

It’s not quite as famous as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, also held throughout August in the Scottish capital, but the Camden Fringe Festival is becoming increasingly popular with each passing year.

Throughout August you can find a whole array of comedic acts being played out across venues in Camden. Alongside a few established acts, it’s a brilliant place to discover new, up and coming performers and groups.

South West Four Weekender Festival

The South West Four Weekender Festival takes place over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August, and it’s grown into one of the most popular dance music festivals in the United Kingdom.

This dance music festival is held on Clapham Common, and you’ll find several stages and plenty of huge international names lining the bill over the long weekend. After the main headliners finish their sets, then the parties spill out into the nearby clubs to carry on until the early hours of the morning. If you love dance music, then this is the place to spend your Bank Holiday, but you’ll need to get your ticket well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Festival

Espresso Martini Festival

Espresso Martinis are a potent mix of coffee and liquor, and the drink has become one of the most fashionable cocktails in London in recent years. Coffee and alcohol lovers won’t want to miss the impressive Espresso Martini Festival, where not only can you drink endless coffee-based alcoholic beverages, but you can learn how to make your own too.

There are cocktail-making workshops, talks from industry professionals, and much more on offer at the Espresso Martini Festival, which is held over a long weekend in August.

London Mela

The unique London Mela festival is a celebration of all things South Asian in Southall Park. The festival attracts artists, musicians and performers from the South Asian community in the United Kingdom and from South Asia itself, and there are stages catering to the best music and dance from the region.

More than this though, the festival is the largest celebration of South Asian culture in Europe and features an incredible array of different foods and cuisines. If you are interested in learning more about the culture, then this is a great opportunity, and if you just love South Asian food, then there’s no reason to stay away because entrance is free. Get to Southall Park and gorge on food while you listen to great music.

Hampton Court Palace Food Festival

Hampton Court Palace is a former royal residence and has been the home of kings and queens through English history. These days the palace is open to the public, as the royal family no longer live here, and the vast halls and gardens of Hampton Court host regular events throughout the year.

One of these events is the Hampton Court Palace Food Festival, which is held over the Bank Holiday weekend in August each year. Set in the beautiful gardens of the palace, this is a foodie festival of epic proportions and you’ll be able to eat and drink all day long. You’ll find food on offer from across the world, as well as cooking lessons, demonstrations, and talks and appearances from some of the United Kingdom’s most well known chefs. The best part is the entrance costs no more than the usual ticket price to visit Hampton Court Palace; you just need to make sure you get in fast.

Food

Things to See and Do in London August

August is the month for festival lovers in London, but if you need a break or a change from the street parties, carnivals, and music and food festivals, then there’s plenty more to see and to do in London in August. Check out the city’s major sporting events, visit Parliament or Buckingham Palace, and explore the capital in the last of the summer sunshine.

The Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament in Westminster close through August for the summer recess, when the MPs are on holiday. During this extended break, it’s possible to visit Parliament for a tour of the government building.

Most of the year, it’s only possible to tour on weekends, but when there are parliaments in session, it’s open to the public all through the week. See the different chambers where big decisions are made by the country’s leaders, and learn about the history of democracy in the United Kingdom.

Buckingham Palace

Just as the Houses of Parliament open during summer for visitors, so does Buckingham Palace, the iconic residential home of the Queen. The palace is opened up for guided tours, and you can visit the stately rooms and admire the grand opulence that the royal family live in.

It’s a rare opportunity to see how royalty really lives in London, and a very intriguing insight into their lives in the palace.

Buckingham Palace

Cricket

London has some of England’s most impressive cricket grounds, and August is the end of the cricketing season when international test matches can be found in full flow at stadiums such as Lords or The Oval.

Experience the quintessentially English sport of cricket first hand, as you join the crowds in the sun to watch the last games before the inevitable rain arrives to wash out the season.

Football

While the summer cricketing season might be drawing to a close in England, the football season is very much beginning, as the first games kick off across London and the rest of the country. You can catch matches across the city, but the most sought-after tickets are for the Premier League fixtures, which can sell out far in advance.

Ride London

Carry on the sporting activities by signing up for or spectating at Ride London. This is London’s most popular cycling event, as thousands of riders take to the streets to complete different sections of a course around the city, depending on how far they can ride.

The following day after the public event, one professional cycling race is held across the city and into the countryside of Surrey, before finishing in the city centre. As well as the racing, you can learn more about how to get into cycling and enjoy all things sporty over the weekend it’s held in August.

Outdoor Cinemas

Outdoor cinemas are incredibly popular in London throughout August, as the warm evenings and generally clear skies offer the last chance to watch movies in the open air. There are many great venues across the city, with rooftop bars turning into cinemas on certain nights of the week, and many dedicated venues purely devoted to the great art that is the world of outdoor cinema. Enjoy some great food, great drinks and great movies during a long summer evening.

If you’re planning a trip to London this August, check out Premium Tours’ great range of London Tours.

Summer park in London

London in July: Everything You Need to Know

July is one of the best months of the year to visit London, because this is the height of summer in the UK. July is one of the most happening months in the capital, as the sunshine and long evenings bring out the crowds to enjoy the unfortunately short summer months when they are at their best. Make the most of London in July, because you never quite know when it’s going to rain again.

There’s a lot to experience in London in July, from colourful flower shows set in royal palaces, to outdoor music festivals celebrating the summertime. You can hang out in beer gardens or make the most of rooftop restaurants and bars, or take to the parks to enjoy a picnic in the sun. London in July is quite simply glorious. To help you to plan your next trip to the capital, here’s our guide to everything you need to know about enjoying summer in the capital.

The Weather in London in July

July is one of the hottest months of the year to visit London, with almost perpetual sunshine, blue skies and hot weather. This being England however, things are rarely too hot, with temperatures only infrequently breaking 30 degrees Celsius during the odd heatwave that strikes the country.

Average temperatures will hover around 25 degrees Celsius, but you might want to pack a jumper for the late evening when the heat drops dramatically. Long days of sunshine ensure that things are busy in the capital and well into the night too, while you can also expect the city to be packed out throughout the month, as this is London’s peak tourist season.

London Park

Festivals and Events in London in July

London’s events schedule throughout July is a busy one, and you can find many excellent outdoor events being held across the city, from music festivals to food fairs. It’s a great time to experience the best of London’s unique culture, music and sports, as the city comes alive with the sunshine. Here are the best festivals to visit in London this July.

BBC Proms

Every year the Royal Albert Hall in London opens its doors to host one of the world’s biggest classical music events. The BBC Proms have been held since 1895, and it’s become of the most renowned performances of its kind, attracting music lovers from across the world to London in summer.

The event lasts eight weeks, and runs throughout July and August and into September, with the opening nights generally scheduled for the middle of July. There’s only ever a short window of time to purchase tickets for this popular season of music, so make sure you jump on the chance to buy if you don’t want to be disappointed.

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Hampton Court Palace is one of England’s most historic, former royal estates. For one week in July, the beautiful gardens are transformed as they host one of London’s biggest and best flower shows. Hampton Court Palace dates back to the 16th century, and was once the home of the infamous King Henry VIII. Today, it’s a place of history and culture, and while it’s no longer a royal residence, the grandeur and opulence are still second to none.

It’s the perfect setting for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society, which also runs the equally famous Chelsea Flower Show. This is the largest flower show of its kind to be held anywhere in the world, and it draws in crowds each and every day the doors are open. The event showcases flowers from across the country, but more than this it’s increasingly becoming a space to raise awareness about the natural world and the effect of humanity on the environment.

Hampton Court Palace

London Pride Parade

London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and the capital puts on the largest Pride Parade in England, usually on the first weekend in July. The annual LGBTQ event sees huge numbers of people descending on the capital to join the pride festivities, and it’s a great chance to get to know this side of the city’s culture and history.

The main aim of the event is to promote awareness of the Pride community in London and to showcase the talents and lives of people who identify as LGBTQ. It’s always a lively and fun day, with a huge parade being the highlight of the event. As well as the parade, you’ll also find other events being held across London during the run-up to Pride.

British Summertime Festival

The iconic Hyde Park becomes the scene of a huge outdoor music event in July when the British Summertime Festival is held to celebrate the onset of some of the longest days of the year. The weekend-long event has become a firm favourite on the capital’s summer music circuit, and it attracts huge crowds and huge bands. You can expect to see some of the top performers in the country and from abroad playing to a packed out Hyde Park.

It’s a great event, but make sure you get in early to secure a ticket, as they inevitably sell out quickly. You can expect great music, food trucks and lots of cold beers over the weekend that the British Summertime Festival is held.

Summer Streets by Regent Street

One of the best places in London to visit in July is the famous Regent Street, as the road is closed to traffic and becomes entirely pedestrianised every Sunday throughout the month. Alongside the usual Regents Street shopping experience, you can enjoy some unique events along the road, as summer is well and truly celebrated in style.

There are food markets, live entertainment and more shopping stalls than you could imagine. You can experience one of London’s most iconic streets without worrying about crossing the road, as people from across the city descend here to go car-free for their Sunday. Each weekend, there’s a different theme to the festivities too, ensuring that you can come back every day that it’s held in July to see something new.

Regent Street

Things to See and Do in London in July

Aside from the fantastic festivals and events that are held across London in July, the city has a great many more attractions to visit when you are in the capital. From classic sporting events such as Wimbledon to the opening of Buckingham Palace to the public, there are some great things to see and do in London in July.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is easily one of the best places to visit in London any time of the year, but in July something unusual happens, as the royal palace is opened to the public. From July through to September, visitors can book onto guided tours of the country’s most iconic building, and you have the opportunity to see inside the historic palace and to explore the staterooms.

You can see where the Queen of England lives, and where Kings and Queens have held residence for several hundred years. It’s a tour like no other in the capital, as you’ll enjoy seeing first-hand just how the royal family live their lives inside a palace that is usually closed off to outside eyes.

Swan Upping

Swan Upping is one of the most unusual things to see in London in July. This slightly bizarre event is perhaps the most English sight that it’s ever possible to witness in the capital, as an annual census takes place that counts and tags the number of swans that live on the River Thames.

It’s a royal event, as due to long-standing tradition swans are the property of the ruling English monarch, who has the power to grant rights over the animals to other subjects if they desire. The practice has become a well-attended event, as small boats are rowed along the Thames to round up the swans on the river before they are released again later. The Queen is usually present at the event, which sees much royal tradition and ceremony throughout the day. It’s a quirky, yet quintessentially English spectacle.

Wimbledon Tennis Championships

From the end of June through most of July, one of the world’s classic tennis championships is held at Wimbledon. The world-famous sporting event dates back to 1877 and is the world’s oldest tennis tournament. It attracts world-class talent, as well as crowds from not only across the United Kingdom but internationally too.

You can soak up the Wimbledon atmosphere in the sunshine, as you eat strawberries and cream while drinking a tall glass of fruity Pimms. The crowds are always lively, and while the knockout stages of the men’s and women’s tournaments can sell out quickly, you can get tickets for many of the other matches on the day. If you can’t buy a ticket, then you can still watch the games from the Mound, where matches are televised on huge screens and the atmosphere is always jubilant.

Wimbledon Tennis

The Cricket World Cup

2019 sees London hosting matches of the Cricket World Cup, the popular one-day cricketing event that sees the best teams from around the world competing for glory. The world cup is being held across England and Wales, however many of the most iconic cricket grounds – such as Lords and The Oval – are found in London, and it’s in the capital that the final will be played out at the end of the month.

Enjoy a classic English sport as the July sun shines down on the grounds, join the crowds as they cheer on their teams on the field, and drink more than a few cold beers as the tournament progresses through the month.

Zoo Nights

With the long summer evenings in full swing, London Zoo opens its gates well after the usual closing time to bring their famed zoo nights to the public. As well as being able to peruse the zoo’s many unique enclosures and see the animals after hours, London Zoo also puts on a great street food market that runs late into the night. You can eat and drink in the unusual confines of a zoo, as well as enjoying many other activities – mostly aimed at adults – such as animal quizzes, comedy acts and packed out bars, all of which delve into the theme of wildlife and the world around us.

It’s a wonderful way to experience London Zoo and to make the most of the summer while it lasts in the city in an utterly unique setting.

Pub Beer Gardens and Rooftop Restaurants

With beautiful summer weather all through July, it’s time to enjoy the sun in style, by spending quality time in pub beer gardens or in rooftop restaurants and bars across the city. Despite the usually cold weather the rest of the year, London still has a huge array of outdoor establishments. Many traditional English pubs have great beer gardens that overflow long into the evening during summer, while more and more rooftop bars are opening up in the capital.

Sit back in the sun or enjoy the long hours of daylight into the evening, as you sip a few cold beverages or sample some of London’s finest cuisine in a great atmosphere and setting.

Alcohol

Picnics and BBQs

As well as visiting beer gardens, rooftop bars and restaurants, July sees local Londoners taking to the city’s parks and green spaces when the sun is out to picnic the day away or to start up the BBQ. As soon as the faintest rays of sunshine are seen in the city, evenings and weekends will see parks across the city crowded with groups of friends or families making the most of the great weather.

Take a picnic or stock up on some meat for a BBQ, whichever you prefer. July is the best time of year to enjoy the outdoors when you are in London, and you’ll find that there are plenty of people with the same idea, too.

If you’re planning on visiting London in July, check out Premium Tours’ fantastic range of London Tours for a fascinating insight into the capital.

Vegan Pizza

15 Vegan Restaurants in London You Need to Try

Veganism is taking off like never before, and London is proudly at the forefront of the ethical eating trend that’s sweeping the world.

With more people than ever ditching meat and animal products during Veganuary, in London it’s easier than ever before to carry on the healthy eating practice throughout the year and to try new vegan restaurants any day of the week.

London is undoubtedly one of the best places in the country to find great vegan food, and more and more dedicated vegan restaurants are popping up all the time across the city, serving everything from burgers and pizzas to curries and pies. The fierce competition means that the quality and creativity of the menus are constantly improving too, and it’s not hard to be swayed away from meat in these imaginative vegan restaurants.

To help inspire your next culinary tour of the capital, here are 15 vegan restaurants in London you need to try.

  1. Temple of Seitan

The intriguingly named Temple of Seitan isn’t a restaurant dedicated to the dark arts; it’s a restaurant dedicated to the great art of crafting quality vegan food. This is a place that takes the concept of veganism to its modern conclusion, as they harness the energy and ethics of the vegan movement to draw in the crowds with their delicious meat-free alternatives to classic meaty dishes.

Their signature eats are vegan burgers and vegan wings, and if you doubted whether these generally meat-orientated dishes could ever be the same when cooked vegan, then a few bites at the Temple of Seitan will leave you in no doubt at all that they can, and that they can even be better.

Burger

  1. Filth

Filth is a new eatery that is taking the vegan scene in London by storm with their filthy vegan burgers. The restaurant is found in Shoreditch, a hotbed for alternative movements, and veganism has been fast to take root here, with great results too.

Leading the way is Filth, which offers some of the best vegan burgers in London, and is easily competing with meat chains for customers too. Their unique burgers are simple but effective and you can even enjoy some excellent vegan cheese, which allows the burgers to have that original American-style feel to them without the use of any animal products.

The restaurant also focuses on biodegradable waste, making this a truly ethical vegan fast food joint for the truly ethical eater in London.

  1. Club Mexicana

It’s hard not to love Mexican food, with the intense palette of spices, flavours and fillings that the cuisine offers having long been a favourite across the world. At Club Mexicana, you can now delight in the fact that it’s possible to find truly authentic Mexican food without the meat, a rarity indeed.

The food here is inspired by the vibrant street food culture of Mexico, which is transported to the streets of Camden. If you love tacos but hate meat, then this is the place to eat, because the restaurant fills their beautiful corn tortillas with all manner of vegan toppings and ingredients.

You can even try their tofu alternative to fish tacos, or dip into a big bowl of nachos swimming in delicious guacamole and salsa. Club Mexicana has only been around for a short time, but already they are cooking up food to rival the best Mexican restaurants in London, and they are completely vegan too.

  1. Mildreds Restaurant

Mildreds Restaurant has long been a firm favourite on the vegetarian scene in London, and with the ever-increasing popularity of veganism sweeping across the city, they also have a wide array of vegan dishes on their menu.

Mildreds Restaurant dates back to the 1980s, and few other vegetarian or vegan restaurants in London can really say they pioneered the new healthy eating and ethical eating trends of the last few decades in the same way that this place has.

They have several locations across the city and their menu has twists on dishes from across the world, with a range of choices from burgers to curries available to order. If you love the food, then Mildreds has even released a vegan cookbook with the best of their recipes so you can try your hand at cooking, too.

Salad

  1. Biffs Jack Shack

Another Shoreditch favourite is Biffs Jack Shack, an eatery that serves up what they call ‘filthy vegan junk food’. Aimed at the fast food loving generation that are now looking to make more ethical choices in life, Biffs Jack Shack could be the answer you are looking for if you want to be vegan but still eat ‘filthy’.

They are popular enough that they are opening more chains outside of Shoreditch, to spread their dirty vegan food across the capital. One of their best dishes uses Jackfruit to simulate the delights of fried chicken without the need for any chickens to perish in the making of it. You can delve into their range of crispy, jackfruit burgers or go for a basket of crispy fried jackfruit wings. On the side, you’ll get a heap of fries to go with it too, all drowned in a blaze of different vegan sauces.

  1. Vanilla Black

If your tastes are more refined than filthy fast food, you’ll want to book a table at the excellent Vanilla Black, a dedicated vegetarian and vegan restaurant that has earned itself a reputation as a fine dining establishment without any meat being on the menu whatsoever.

Vanilla Black can get busy so you’ll need a reservation to enjoy an evening of serene vegan food here, but the wait and the prices are worth it to enjoy an array of unique dishes that can’t be found in any other gourmet restaurant in London. With their ever-changing and creative vegan and veggie options you’ll be amazed at what it’s actually possible to cook without using any meat at all.

  1. Manna

Hidden away in Primrose Hill in London, Manna has for decades been crafting beautiful veggie and vegan dishes for the hungry patrons of London.

Primrose Hill is, of course, an upmarket part of the city, and Manna caters to the higher end vegan looking for gourmet quality dishes that will both excite and satisfy the taste buds.

This is one of London’s oldest dedicated vegetarian restaurants, and with their new emphasis on vegan eating you can rest assured that the chefs at Manna know what they are doing. Alongside a great range of unique dishes from pastas to soups, they have a wonderful wine menu to complement the food.

Pasta

  1. Tibits

If you are looking for a casual dining experience but with quality vegan food to enjoy, then the Swiss restaurant Tibits offers the best of both worlds.

Tibits offers wonderful veggie and vegan food, for takeaway or to dine in, and the laid back, casual buffet style of their eateries is perfect for lunches or light dinners. The food is generally seasonal too, and you expect the menu to be constantly changing and refreshed throughout the year.

  1. 222 Vegan Cuisine

222 Vegan Cuisine focuses solely on producing quality vegan food in London. It’s one of the most popular vegan experiences in the capital, and you can choose from their range of excellent dishes, including such delights as quinoa and spinach meatballs, pumpkin noodles, and seitan medallions.

Given the gourmet feel of the food and the attention that goes into these vegan dishes, the restaurant is superbly priced for what you get. They even have a lunchtime buffet through the week where you can try as many of their vegan dishes as you can handle in one sitting.

  1. Wild Food Cafe

The Wild Food Cafe has proven so popular in Covent Garden that the restaurant is opening up more branches across London to meet the insatiable demand of the rapidly expanding vegan movement in the city.

Wild Food Cafe focuses on raw food, and everything on the menu is guaranteed to be sustainable and ethically sourced too. It’s the detail that goes into the dishes, alongside the ethos and motives behind the cafe that have made it such a success.

Here you can try such offerings as Raw Pizza and Wild Salad, with everything prepared with fresh ingredients on the day. More than just a cafe though, this is a community minded initiative, and you can find regular cooking and wellbeing workshops and events being held here too.

Salad

  1. Purezza

If you are vegan and you’re craving pizza, then head to Purezza in Camden to try some of the city’s best.

Originally based out of Brighton, the restaurant opened up in London after the roaring success of their sourdough pizza menu on the south coast. Even if you aren’t vegan, but love pizza, then you’ll enjoy their unique take on the Italian classic, with sourdough-based culinary delights topped with the likes of wild mushrooms or fresh courgettes. There are salads, macaroni sides, and even calzone in the menu too.

Few pizza joints do a good job at creating vegan options, but Purezza somehow meets the challenge and then takes it to another level. More than this though, the restaurant is genuinely interested in creating a more sustainable eating environment and they have a real focus on raw foods to try and meet this.

  1. The Vurger Co

Burger lovers with an equal love for all things meat free can rejoice, because The Vurger Co in London is taking vegan fast food to another level.

The Vurger Co is taking the classic burger and not only making it meatless but also making it into a uniquely sustainable meal. They have a great range of burgers, offering everything from black bean patties to portobello mushroom fillings, while if you want to go carb free you can even just order their burgers without the buns, in a huge bowl full of salad and greenery.

It’s fast food but it’s healthy, and you can eat in, take away or get your vegan burgers delivered to your home, meaning there’s really no excuse not to enjoy the meat-free lifestyle if you so desire it. Not only is The Vurger Co making vegan food more enjoyable, they are also making it much more accessible to mainstream Londoners.

  1. Cook Daily

Cook Daily are taking classic dishes and turning them into meat-free delicacies. At this wonderfully creative vegan and veggie restaurant in London Fields you can find a menu that takes inspiration from around the world, but with a particular focus on local English dishes too.

Here you can try a vegan chicken and mushroom pie, while if you are hungering for a full English breakfast, then the Tofu Full English is the early morning choice for you. They also have delicious curries, Asian-inspired noodle dishes and huge salad bowls too. The menu is great and even if you aren’t vegan you’ll enjoy their experimentation and their delightful, unique takes on your usual restaurant foods.

curry

  1. Farmacy

Found in the heart of Notting Hill, the relatively new Farmacy restaurant is already a hot topic in the city’s vegan circles.

Farmacy offers a huge menu, with excellent choices for both vegans and vegetarians that will keep you returning time after time to try something new and innovative. The restaurant is higher end but somehow still keeps things casual. If you love your health foods and ethical sourcing, then this is the place for you to eat, and to eat regularly.

  1. Spice Box

Spice Box in Walthamstow offers you the chance to cure your curry cravings and remain completely meat free. The Indian restaurant is completely vegan, and they offer a wide selection of spicy curries inspired by the cuisine of the subcontinent, and those classic British Indian dishes created closer to home too.

The restaurant started as a street food stand but proved so popular that they had to open a proper outlet to cater to the vegan demand for curry.

If you’re heading to London to sample its fantastic vegan restaurants, take a look at our fantastic range of London tours or contact Premium Tours to find out more.

Admission

A Guide to the Best Outdoor Cinemas in London

Nothing much beats watching a film in the sun or under the stars while you sit back in the great outdoors, enjoying a cool evening breeze or the heat of a summer day. That’s why London’s outdoor cinemas are growing in popularity, even while traditional cinemas are falling by the wayside. The city has a whole range of unique, outside setups to help fuel your movie addictions.

You can find outdoor cinemas popping up across London throughout the year – even in the cold depths of winter – but it’s the short-lived British Summer that brings out the best of cinemagoers and the best of the films.

You can enjoy time-tested classics hosted on rooftop bars or new releases shown in the grounds of historic estates, while boats on the River Thames are transformed into cinemas, and summer festivals see outdoor screenings playing to huge crowds in London.

The capital is a great city to be a film lover. Here’s our guide to the best outdoor cinemas in London.

Audience

  1. Rooftop Film Club

The Rooftop Film Club is one of London’s best and most popular outdoor cinema venues. Held in Peckham at the top of the Bussey Building, this is classic cinema territory. You’ll be treated to a movie-going experience that few others can match for atmosphere.

The Rooftop Film Club runs through summer, with several showings every week until it’s too cold to sit out under the night sky. A whole array of films are shown through the season, with everything from new releases to classics catering to the audience, meaning you can keep returning evening after evening to catch a different showing.

As well as the film, you can grab a beer at the rooftop bar, a few snacks, and enjoy the sublime sunsets and panoramic views over the city of London below.

  1. Nomad Cinema

Nomad Cinema is not only a fantastic outdoor cinema experience but it’s a charitable endeavour that sees the profits going to a great cause too, meaning that you can sit back and enjoy the film, safe in the knowledge that you’re also contributing to some good in the world.

Nomad Cinema is held at various locations across the capital, primarily through the summer season, but with the occasional showing through the rest of the year too.

With its pop-up concept, you’ll need to check the exact date and venue, as the beauty of Nomad Cinema lies in the fact that it’s an ever-changing event.

All the profits from Nomad Cinema go to help the South African charity The Sustainability Institute, which works towards creating a better future for rural communities across Southern Africa.

Popcorn

  1. Luna House Cinema

Luna House is one of the most respected outdoor cinema event organisers in the United Kingdom. They host screenings across the capital throughout the summer season.

The events are always in unique locations, with big crowds and huge projection screens and sound systems that create an epic atmosphere. The locations range from parks and estates to swimming pools and racecourses with new, more unusual venues being announced each year.

There’s great food, great drinks and you can catch classics and new releases at Luna House events. For the kids, the company even organise outdoor screenings of children’s movies during the school holidays.

  1. Floating Film Festival

If you are looking for one of London’s most unusual and entertaining outdoor cinema venues then the Floating Film Festival is for you.

At St Katharine Docks right on the River Thames there’s a floating pontoon stretching out across the water. It’s a truly beautiful location to host an outdoor cinema, as the waves lap gently against the pontoon. There’s a large canvas tent to protect you from any untoward English weather and you can catch some of the year’s most highly rated films in summer.

If you can grab a ticket for the evening shows, then you can enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Thames as you sip cold beverages and wait for the film to begin. The Floating Film Festival season is generally short, only usually running through July each year, but it’s one of London’s most unique outdoor venues to visit.

River Thames

  1. Backyard Cinema

Backyard Cinema holds events in different locations in London throughout the year, with open air cinemas in summer and cosy venues in winter.

The concept began one summer when some friends decided that they loved watching films in their back garden, and they had the bright idea to take their passion mainstream, believing that most other sane people also enjoyed the great outdoors and cinema together.

They weren’t wrong. From their humble beginnings, they’ve gone on to host not just classic open air cinema showings but more artistic and creative cinema shows too.

They’ve hosted such eclectic performances as space-themed cinema that immerses you into the world of science fiction while you watch classics such as Men in Black. They’ve had choirs singing in churches to accompany Shakespearean movies, and they host regular Christmas shows during the festive season. They never forget their backyard roots though and when summer comes around they undoubtedly host cinema shows in the great outdoors at some unusual and quirky venues across London.

  1. Film Four Summer Screen

For decades Film Four has been producing some of the country’s best film and television, from hard-hitting dramas to alternative comedies. Every year they host a massive cinema event at their Summer Screen festival in August.

Held in the majestic courtyard of Somerset House, the open air cinema plays for two weeks when the weather is at its best in London. The courtyard at the historic central London building couldn’t be a more fitting venue to experience the best of British cinema, and you’ll find a sold-out crowd every day there is a screening.

As well as the film showings, you have the chance to enjoy Q & A sessions with directors or producers, while big British actors and actresses can always be spotted in the seats too, making this one of the most hotly anticipated cinema events on the London calendar.

Somerset House

  1. Movies on the River

The iconic River Thames becomes the venue for one of London’s best outdoor cinemas every summer, as classic movies are screened as you cruise along the water.

You’ll pass London’s most well known sights as you’re given a tour of the city skyline, passing locations such as Westminster and Southbank, to name just a few.

You’ll watch the sunset from the river as you enjoy a fully stocked bar and plenty of food, with an almost party-like atmosphere guaranteed by the end of the film. Previous screenings have included the likes of Jaws, Dirty Dancing and even Love Actually.

It’s one of the best outdoor cinema events in London, but if you want to enjoy a sunset cruise with a classic movie this summer then make sure to snap up your tickets as soon as they are released, because it’s always popular.

  1. Secret Cinema

Secret Cinema takes the concept of attending a movie theatre to a new level, as you not only watch a film, but you are immersed in the film.

The idea behind these novel events is to merge cinema with live action. It’s part film, part theatre and you’re never quite sure how things are going to play out. Secret Cinema events are only announced shortly before showings and the locations are always kept tightly under wraps, only being disclosed right before the action starts.

The venues are designed specifically for each event and many have been held in the great outdoors during summer. One past event involved creating a replica of the town from Back to the Future in which the audience were literally immersed for the duration of the film.

It’s not for everyone but the shows always offer a unique take on classic cinema, with a fresh and creative approach that can’t be matched by more traditional outlets in London.

  1. London Bridge City Summer Festival

Every summer the London Bridge City Summer Festival welcomes crowds to its multitude of varied events, held at venues along the river between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

One of the best festival events to attend is the weekly outdoor cinema. Held at the Scoop Amphitheatre, you can catch some classic movies in a beautiful setting. Enjoy the evening air along the river as you sit back and watch movies on the big projector. Conditions are basic, with concrete seating for all, but you can’t complain because this is the best free outdoor cinema in London. Get there early because although the amphitheatre can hold over 1,000 people, you’ll want your pick of the seats to get the best view.

The festival is more than just this one event though, and you’ll find much more going on by London Bridge throughout the summer, too.

  1. British Summer Time Party

For one weekend every July, the British Summer Time Festival takes over Hyde Park in London. This huge festival sees headline music acts from across the world playing to sold-out crowds packing out the grass in one of the city’s most iconic parks, for three days of music, eating and drinking.

While the festival is best known for the music, they also host outdoor cinema screenings through July, with several nights a week dedicated to movies. In the past, movie screenings have been free to attend with films on show ranging from Disney animations for the kids, to musicals such as Grease and classics from the past few decades for everyone.

Hyde Park

  1. Pop Up Screens

The organisers of Pop Up Screens offer a basic outdoor cinema experience, but one that through simplicity is proving to be exceptionally popular.

In parks and green spaces across the capital through summer, Pop Up Screens move their inflatable cinema screens from venue to venue. Tickets are cheap and there’s always plenty of room for more people, making it one of the most laid back and relaxed outdoor cinemas to visit in London.

They play classics mixed in with a few newer releases, and you’ll find that it’s an enjoyable place to kick back, have a few drinks and enjoy the summer evenings.

  1. Block Party Cinema

If you are interested in learning more about London’s minority communities and cultures, then attending a Block Party Cinema event is a great chance to see an alternative side of the city.

Their outdoor cinemas are pop up events, and they are hosted across London during festivals or in places such as Brixton or Camden.

The screening focus on showing productions focusing on minorities, but more than this you can also find a huge array of street food stalls from around the world, great drinks and great company too. Past shows include comedy classics such as Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America, right through to hard hitting, violent dramas such as the Brazilian cult movie City of God.

  1. Regents Park Open Air Theatre

Okay, so it’s not technically a cinema and you won’t be watching a movie, but the wonderful Regents Park Open Air Theatre is an open air event that will take you back through the ages to a time before movies.

The Regents Park Open Air Theatre is perfect if you need a change from the cinema but still want to be entertained on a warm summer evening. Before cinema there was only theatre and this is your chance to take things back a step, and to enjoy the classic, live action predecessor of the film industry, which is often overlooked in London today.

The theatre has long been a favourite during its summer run, offering great adaptations of Shakespearean plays and more modern, alternative productions too.

There’s a huge bar, a dining area and a great atmosphere during every performance at the Regents Park Open Air Theatre, making this the number one alternative to London’s open air cinemas.

If you’re heading to London to experience one of these fantastic outdoor cinema events, check out Premium Tours’ great selection of London tours so you can learn more about the city while you’re in town.

London in May: The Complete Guide

Summer is almost here, or at least it’s not too cold in London anymore come May, and it’s a great opportunity to get outdoors and to explore some of the capital’s best sights and most vibrant cultural events.

Londoners get two Bank Holidays in May, which they use to celebrate the onset of great weather and more of it to come, and you’ll find this is a month of festivities and outside entertainment. There are countless important sporting events held across the capital, from the FA Cup Finals to the start of the cricketing season, while theatre productions are performed in the great open air, and parks are absolutely resplendent in their May colours.

There’s a lot going on throughout May, so to help you to plan your visit to the big city here’s our complete guide to London in May.

The Weather in London in May

London in May sees great weather, all things considered. Spring is well and truly moving into summer, and the days are getting longer and the nights shorter. The grey mist of winter has long been forgotten, and you’ll find parks full of colour and beer gardens spilling over into the streets as Londoners soak up the newly arrived sunshine.

Although the mornings and evening may be a little chilly and you’ll definitely want a jumper, you’ll start to see the locals out wearing just shorts and t-shirts and, inevitably, sporting some sunburn after a long weekend of sun. You might get the odd rainy day, though it’s not too often an occurrence to make it worth worrying about, but given the good weather you can expect London to be much busier in May than in previous months of the year.

Park

Festivals and Events

London plays host to many great events through May, and it’s the perfect time of the year to get involved in the sunshine and to soak up some culture, and perhaps a few drinks too. From Bank Holiday weekends to flower shows and sporting events, here are our top picks for London in May.

May Bank Holidays

There are two Bank Holiday weekends in England in May, giving Londoners plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great weather and to take a break from work.

The first Monday of May sees the Early May Bank Holiday, which is the newest Bank Holiday to be introduced, primarily, it would seem, to give people the chance to bask in the early summer sunshine.

The second Bank Holiday is officially known as the spring Bank Holiday, and it falls on the last Monday of May.

Both long weekends, you’ll find plenty of cultural and sporting events being held across the capital. It’s a lively if busy time to visit London, and you’ll be able to join the locals in the parks and across the city enjoying their time off. If the sun’s out, the t-shirts and shorts will be too, alongside football games, barbecues and drinks.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a must-see event in London, and it’s held every May in the gardens of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea over five days towards the end of the month.

The Chelsea Flower Show is an exceptional display of botany run by the Royal Horticultural Society, and it offers flower enthusiasts from across the country the chance to compete for recognition and to win prizes for their work.

You’ll also find more unusual works of art – flower related of course – on display here, but just remember that it’s an incredibly popular event, so try to get tickets early. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock here over the five days of the event, and it’s popular enough to be televised by the BBC.

London History Day

31st May is the annual celebration of London History Day, a day that recognises the city’s rich history, and attempts to educate people on the intriguing past of the capital.

London has a long history that dates back to pre-Roman times. On this day, you’ll find events held in museums across the city, which offer an insight into the diverse development and growth of London into the sprawling metropolis you see today.

The 31st May was chosen as the date for this historical commemoration because this was the date that Big Ben, London’s iconic timekeeper, was first rung.

London Wine Week

If you’d prefer to enjoy a few drinks of the good stuff rather than learning about the city’s history, then never fear, because London hosts an entire week devoted to wine! Held in the middle of May, London Wine Week is the perfect place for wine connoisseurs to indulge their taste buds.

Venues across the capital host special events throughout the week, allowing you to join tasting sessions, sommelier classes and much more in some of the city’s best wine bars.

Wine

London Craft Week

London Craft Week is also held in May each year, and it offers visitors to the city the chance to not only learn more about the creative scene in the capital but to get hands-on classes for master craftsmen too.

Events are held across London, and you’ll be able to learn about such crafts as metal and glass working, ceramic designs and painting, to name just a few. It’s a great chance to learn new skills and to see the creative side behind often-overlooked yet talented craftspeople.

Canalway Cavalcade

The Canalway Cavalcade is a wonderfully fun event that’s held on the waterways of Little Venice, a beautiful collection of canals that are found around Westminster. The festival takes place over the first May Bank Holiday weekend, ensuring that there are three packed days of events to enjoy.

You can learn more about the canals and the boats, the history and the enthusiasts that keep old traditions alive today through the long weekend. It’s colourful, fun and energetic, and you might just get to take to the water yourself.

Foodies Festival in Syon Park

The last Bank Holiday of the month sees food lovers descending upon Syon Park, a vast estate in west London, for a culinary experience like no other. For the long weekend, you can enjoy the biggest food festival in the country, as top chefs and experts give talks and demonstrations to crowds of people.

There will be plenty of quality food to try, alongside cooking workshops, live music and many other events too, all held in a wonderful, outdoor setting. You might even spot a few celebrity chefs mixing with the crowds at the Foodies Festival in Syon Park.

Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival

Perhaps the most unusual, yet strangely enthralling festival to be held in London in May, is the Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival. For decades, puppet fanatics have been coming to this unique event to celebrate all things puppet related, but in particular Punch and Judy.

The classic English puppet show has long entertained children and adults alike with an amusing simplicity that has carried it for centuries. Held on the 9th May each year, this wonderful festival is great fun for adults and children alike, and you can enjoy performances from puppet masters who have travelled here from across the country, and gain an insight into this sometimes peculiar pastime.

Covent Garden

Things to See and Do

As well as an array of events to attend during May, there are plenty of great things to see and to do in London too throughout the month. Visit the city’s great many parks, enjoy walking tours in the fresh air, or attend some of the excellent outdoor theatre performances held in locations across London. Here are the best things to do in London in May.

London’s Parks

London’s parks are quite simply excellent to visit in May, because with the sun out they are awash with people enjoying the great outdoors and escaping the city. There are many to visit, from small, hidden parks found deep within London to the larger royal parks in the suburbs.

Take a walk through verdant green spaces, jog or cycle along trails and pathways, and immerse yourself in London’s glorious nature.

Hyde Park is particularly busy on Bank Holidays, while you can head out of London’s centre to visit the beautiful Richmond Park, where you’ll find not only the flowers and trees blooming in the sunshine but the herds of deer out in the open, enjoying the start of summer too.

Hyde Park

Walking Tours

Walking tours of London are a must throughout May, as the weather lends itself particularly nicely to enjoying the sights of the city while strolling through the busy streets. There are lots to join, including tip-based walking tours led by enthusiastic guides, to Harry Potter or Jack the Ripper themed tours that will take you through unique parts of the city that would otherwise be hidden.

Enjoy the outdoors as you learn about London’s past, present and future, while seeing the best that the city has to offer on a walking tour.

Cruise the Thames

Take to the mighty River Thames during your trip to London in May, to explore the city’s great waterway on a boat cruise. There’s nothing better than sitting out on deck, enjoying the breeze as you leisurely travel past London’s most iconic sights.

There are many different cruises to choose from, including simple sightseeing or even commuting boats, to more extravagant dinner cruises that come complete with drinks and gourmet dining as you explore the River Thames.

FA Cup Final

One of the best sporting events to see in London in May is the classic FA Cup Final. This is the biggest cup final of the year, and it’s held at Wembley, the national football stadium, to packed out, raucous crowds, as two teams battle it out to be crowned winners in what is always a hard fought and compelling match.

The men’s FA Cup Final is always the most popular, but you can also watch the much-underrated women’s FA Cup Final too, which is also held at Wembley usually a week or so before the men’s game, to enjoy a match between the equally talented English women’s teams.

Cricket Matches

May is when the cricket season well and truly begins, as rain is limited and the sun is out. A great English pastime is enjoying a cricket match, and soaking in the atmosphere on weekends. Head to one of the iconic cricket stadiums such as Lords or The Oval to catch a world-class game while you are in London.

As a bonus for cricket fans, the ICC Cricket World Cup is held across England and Wales, starting at the end of May, with many of the matches being held in London including the opening games and ceremonies. You can expect packed stands at all the events!

Cricket

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

May sees the opening of the excellent Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, with performances being held through May and well into the summer months.

This wonderful theatre makes use of the great weather to stage top quality events in Regent’s Park in London, as the organisers and actors put on not classics, but new and intriguing productions that you won’t find anywhere else in the city.

It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoor air and to witness some brilliant plays at the same time.

Museum of the London Docklands

The often overlooked Museum of the London Docklands does, in fact, hold some fascinating exhibitions, and being free to enter it’s certainly worth a visit this May to peruse the intriguing and unique displays of local history held here.

As well as learning about the Docklands growth into one of the most powerful and rich trading areas in the British Empire, you can also learn about the slave trade, the Fire of London, and much more. Of particular interest is the Secret Rivers exhibition, which begins in May 2019, and offers a look into the city’s many hidden waterways and long lost rivers, proving that the Thames isn’t the only river to have shaped London’s history.

To find out more about our great range of London tours, contact Premium Tours today.

Street Art

21 Fun (and Free) Things to Do in Shoreditch

Shoreditch, the liveliest part of London’s East End, is a hub of creativity and alternative culture. It’s a great part of the capital to explore and luckily, compared to much of the rest of London anyway, there are a lot of free things to do in Shoreditch.

The area has earned itself the reputation of being the ‘hipster’ capital of London, and in Shoreditch you’ll find a vibrant street art scene meaning that a simple stroll around turns into an experience in itself. There are markets and free museums to visit while you are in Shoreditch, alongside galleries and plenty of parks, too.

Put your wallet away, because to help you to plan your trip to this artistic, happening part of London, here are 21 fun (and free) things to do in Shoreditch.

Explore the Street Art

Shoreditch is a hive of artistic activity and you’ll see this reflected on the very walls of the borough itself. Walking through Shoreditch, you’ll find art on every corner, plastered across buildings and painted across fences.

It’s not just graffiti either, as some of the world’s top artists make an appearance here to paint murals, including famous works by Banksy, one of which can be found on Rivington Street. Head to Great Eastern Street to find two decommissioned rail carriages transplanted onto a rooftop and spray painted with art, or walk to Shoreditch High Street to look for sculpted faces left on the walls by an artist.

There’s a lot out there, and the best way to see it all is to simply wander through the streets of Shoreditch.

Street Art

East End Graffiti and Street Art Tours

Of course, if you’d rather be guided around in search of the best street art in Shoreditch, then don’t fear, because there’s a free walking tour that does exactly that. This pay-what-you-feel tour takes you not only through Shoreditch but through much of the rest of London’s East End too, as you hunt out hidden masterpieces in the care of a local enthusiast.

You won’t miss those famous Banksy murals and, along the way, you’ll be given an intimate look at just how the streets of Shoreditch became the creative, artistic canvas they are today. The tour lasts around two and a half hours and, at the end of it, if you enjoyed yourself you can give a tip to your guide, but there’s no obligation, making this one of the best free things to do in Shoreditch.

Visit the Geffrye Museum

Found on Kingsland Road, the Geffrye Museum is one of Shoreditch’s hidden historical gems. It’s not particularly well known, particularly given the vast number of infinitely more famous museums to be found in London, but it will give you an unexpected insight into London life from the 1600s through to the present.

The best thing is it’s free to enter, meaning there’s really nothing to lose by swinging by the Geffyre Museum. It’s housed in a heritage listed building dating back to the 18th century, and inside you’ll find a mixture of displays and exhibits that will take you on a journey that demonstrates the evolution of simple home living through the centuries.

Browse through Antique Shops (Just Don’t Buy Anything!)

Shoreditch has an unusually high number of antique shops, representing the rich cultural history of the borough in the vast number of antiques collected across the district. With the ever-evolving hipster scene taking styles back to bygone eras, antique shops have a seen a resurgence too, as people look for quirky and interesting items to buy.

Browsing through old memorabilia and classics is a great way to spend some time in Shoreditch, and as long as you don’t actually buy anything, then it’s totally free too.

Brick Lane Market

Brick Lane Market is one of the best markets to visit in Shoreditch. Located along Brick Lane, a place famous for its excellent curries and multicultural nature, the market can trace its origins far back to the 17th century.

Ever since it humbly began as a small farmers’ market, it’s grown and diversified and is now one of the most interesting markets in London. There are shops and restaurants and cafes and bars here through the week, but on Sunday you will find street stalls and pop-up stands all over the market place. Even if you aren’t looking to buy anything, it’s a great place to simply wander around, soaking up the atmosphere.

Market

Brick Lane Gallery

Brick Lane Gallery is an art space for contemporary artists to showcase their best work. It’s an exciting place to visit, and you’ll frequently find the gallery hosting excellent exhibitions displaying up-and-coming artists from across the world.

The exhibitions change constantly, so check which events are going on beforehand, but many will be free to enter.

Vintage Markets

The vintage markets are found in the Old Truman Brewery, a part of the wider Brick Lane Market, and they are fantastic places to browse through old retro clothing and vintage wares. The vintage markets attract sellers from across London and are open every day of the week.

It’s great fun looking through and trying on some of the old fashioned costumes, some dating back a century, while the vast collection of retro gear is unbeatable.

Columbia Road Flower Market

The Columbia Road Flower Market is held every Sunday, just off Hackney Road. Columbia Road is a small street, but it becomes absolutely packed with tourists and locals who descend here to soak up the lively atmosphere and admire the market stalls overflowing with colourful flowers.

You’ll find street musicians, boutique shops, great little cafes and food vendors too alongside the masses of flower sellers, making this a great place to spend a Sunday morning.

Flower Market

Hoxton Street Market

Shoreditch is the place in London to visit if you enjoy a good market, and another great one to explore is Hoxton Street Market. This market dates back to the late 17th century, and unlike many of London’s markets which have in recent years grown into more hipster-minded establishments, Hoxton Street Market has stayed true to its humble beginnings and offers you an authentic look at East End life.

Here you’ll find clothing stalls, bakers, fruit and veg stands, second-hand sellers and much more lining Hoxton Street every Saturday.

Hackney Museum

The Hackney District is an integral part of the wider Borough of Shoreditch, and at the local museum you can learn more about the area’s intriguing history.

The Hackney Museum is completely free to enter, and with Hackney being one of the most multicultural parts of London, you’ll be taken on a journey far back to the medieval era, as you discover the many different people from across the world that have emigrated here.

It’s a small museum, but it offers a fascinating insight into the cultural makeup of Shoreditch.

Meet the Animals at Hackney City Farm

You might be surprised to find a farm in the middle of London, but actually, Shoreditch is home to several of these City Farms, that offer a quick escape into the countryside in the heart of the concrete jungle.

One of the best to visit is Hackney City Farm, not only because it’s free – which is always a bonus of course – but because you can find a wonderful array of friendly farmyard animals in a setting that aims to educate both children and adults alike on the virtues of farming.

Chickens

Enjoy Greenery at Haggerston Park

You’ll find Haggerston Park right next to Hackney City Farm, so once you’ve met all the farmyard animals, head into the park to enjoy the peace of this wonderful green space.

This is a real escape from the city, as the large park is home not only to playing fields and football pitches but to a nature reserve too.

Uncover the Hidden History Behind Altab Ali Park

Another great park to visit on the edge of Shoreditch is Altab Ali Park, part of Whitechapel, which is where the chapel that gives the area its name once stood. It’s a nice open area, but the story behind its name is perhaps more interesting to discover when you visit.

Until 1998 the park was known as St Mary’s Park, but the local council decided to rename the space in honour of a local citizen of Bangladeshi origin who was murdered in a racist attack here in the 1970s. Wandering through Shoreditch, you’ll realise that things have changed a lot since then and the area is now a haven of diversity, but a visit here will remind you that it wasn’t always this way.

Find Fashion at Petticoat Lane Market

Petticoat Lane Market has long been a hotbed for fashionistas looking to sell their latest styles. The market dates back to the 17th century, when newly arrived Huguenot refugees from France began to sell petticoats to Londoners here.

The market has remained a clothing market since, and you can find bargain clothing stalls alongside trendy, independent designers and a vast array of other stands and shops too.

Box Park

Box Park is one of Shoreditch’s newest market and retail areas, but it well and truly conforms to both the borough’s historic legacy of marketplaces and the alternative hipster scene. Box Park only opened in 2011 but has already become incredibly popular. It’s a pop-up market but is really much more permanent than that suggests, because the shops and market stalls are all found within recycled shipping containers.

It’s a great concept. At Box Park, you’ll find everything from cafes and bars to independent shops and retailers to peruse.

Discover the Roman Ruins of Shoreditch

Despite its modern outlook, Shoreditch can still trace its origins back to the Roman days, when this was the edge of the City of London.

Although little remains today, you can find some sections of preserved Roman walls on Noble Street, just a short walk from Shoreditch by the Museum of London. In Shoreditch itself, you can trace the outline of the Walbrook River along Curtain Road, which was the boundary of Roman London.

Old Spitalfields Market

Yet another fantastic Shoreditch marketplace to visit is the Old Spitalfields Market. It’s hundreds of years old and has long been serving the East End community with local produce, handicrafts and excellent food.

Any day of the week it’s a busy affair and a great place to soak up the Shoreditch atmosphere.

Market

Spitalfields Houses

In the Spitalfields area, head to historic Fournier Street for a historic walk along a historic lane. The street is famed for the large number of 18th century buildings and houses that are still found here.

The Spitalfields Houses, as they’ve become known, are a great collection of colourful Georgian architecture to admire.

Rivington Place

In the heart of Shoreditch, Rivington Place is a public gallery that offers the chance to explore an international array of work by visual artists, including photojournalists and photographers.

It’s a unique space, and it’s totally free to visit the exhibitions.

V & A Museum of Childhood

Although this is technically Bethnal Green, a distinct area next to Shoreditch, the two areas overlap and it’s worth a visit to the excellent V & A Museum of Childhood.

This is for kids and adults, and you can take a trip through childhood and see how different generations grew up in London.

Shoreditch Park

Found in the north of the borough before you reach the canal, Shoreditch Park is a great place to escape city life.

This large green area is perfect for walking or exercising, and you’ll find the open area and the fresh air a great relief from the urban confines of London. Bring a picnic, bring some friends and relax on the green grass in the summertime, or perhaps walk through briskly in the chill of winter to stay warm!

As London experts, we know a thing or two about the hip and creative area of Shoreditch. While you’re in the area, check out Premium Tours’ great range of London tours.

Yorkshire Dales

17 of the Best Train Journeys in the UK Everyone Should Try

The United Kingdom is home to some of the best railway journeys in the world, with beautiful scenic trips that take you through some of the country’s wildest landscapes.

It’s also the most historic place in the world to travel by train, because the UK was the first country to build a public railway line when the famous English engineer George Stephenson designed and built the Stockton and Darlington railway, which although it was only in use from 1825 to 1863, set a precedent for the future of locomotive transport in the UK, a legacy that continues to this day.

From comfortable classic overnight rail journeys on the Caledonian Sleeper journeying from London to Scotland, to restored steam engines taking you through incredible mountain passes in the Highlands, here are 17 of the best train journeys in the UK that everyone should try.

The Caledonian Sleeper

With faster trains and small distances to cover in the UK, sleeper trains these days are few and far between. A classic overnight journey that you can still take today though is the Caledonian Sleeper from London to Scotland.

This train ride sees you leaving London in the evening, and you’ll wake up the following morning far up north in Scotland, with the possibility of alighting the carriage at most major cities, including Edinburgh and Glasgow.

There are comfortable sleeper cabins, including premium first class suites, or much cheaper sleeper chairs. Although you won’t see much in the dark, you’ll get a good night’s sleep and be fresh and ready to explore in the morning.

Edinburgh

The Flying Scotsman

The Flying Scotsman is perhaps the most well-known and historic rail service in the United Kingdom. This fast service whisks passengers between London and Edinburgh in a journey time of just over four hours.

The Flying Scotsman began life far back in 1862 as a steam locomotive, and back then it took over 10 hours to make the journey – still an enormous improvement on other modes of transport in the Victorian era. Today, you’ll find a modern passenger train, but one that tries to live up to its history and reputation for speed.

West Highland Line

The Scottish Highlands are one of the most spectacular locations in England, and they are still as wild and untamed as they have always been. A great way to explore the western highlands and the rugged coastline of Scotland is on the West Highland Line.

The line connects Glasgow in the south, with the ports of Oban and Mallaig, and plenty of rural stops in the Highlands in between. While there are countless opportunities to explore this part of Scotland, the best portion of the line to ride is the Glenfinnan Viaduct, a marvellous feat of engineering that gives you incredible views over the surrounding areas from the carriage.

The viaduct was most famously featured in the Harry Potter movies, and in the summer you can even take The Jacobite, a classic steam-powered engine complete with antique carriages, for a unique experience.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway

Not to be outdone by the Scots, the Welsh also have their own classic, scenic railway line, one that since 1896 has been making the journey to the summit of Mount Snowdon much, much easier.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway takes thousands of tourists up this iconic mountain each year, but given the harsh weather conditions of Snowdonia, it doesn’t operate in winter. Locomotives – some of them still steam powered – power single carriages up a five-mile track, offering incredible panoramic views on the way.

Mount Snowdon

The Welsh Highland Railway

Another spectacular train ride to try in Wales is the Welsh Highland Railway. This is one for the tourists, as the line uses a restored rail track that links the two coastal towns of Caernarfon and Porthmadog using a heritage steam engine.

The route is just 25 miles long, but it will take you through spectacular Welsh scenery, including the Aberglaslyn Pass, and many tunnels hewn from the rock. Caernarfon is home to an iconic medieval castle built by the English to subdue the Welsh, while Porthmadog has wonderful coastal scenery to enjoy.

The Cotswold Line

The Cotswolds is one of southern England’s most charming areas, comprising the beautiful rural surrounds of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and other nearby counties. It’s a place of quaint, scenic villages, idyllic country pastures, rolling hills and sandstone rocks.

The Cotswold Line connects Hereford to Oxford and passes through much of the spectacular landscapes on its 86-and-a-half mile journey. You can stop off in towns and villages, or enjoy the sights of historic locations such as Worcester and eventually Oxford, or simply sit back and enjoy views over the River Severn and the Malvern Hills as you ride on through.

The Night Riviera Sleeper Train

The Night Riviera is the second of the United Kingdom’s two remaining sleeper services – the other being the Caledonian Sleeper of course – and this modern train takes passengers from London all the way to Penzance in Cornwall.

Great Western Railway recently gave this classic overnighter a massive makeover, and today its carriages truly live up to its fancy title. The journey takes around eight hours if you are travelling all the way from London Paddington to Penzance (or vice versa of course), but you’ll be travelling in new carriages and in incredibly comfortable surroundings.

There are large seats in economy class with plenty of space and room to recline, but the real highlights are the sleeping cabins, which even give you access to the on-board lounge, where you can eat and drink the night away or rise early for a gourmet breakfast before your arrival.

St Ives Bay Line

Although it’s short, at just four miles in length and lasting for just 15 minutes of total travel time, the St Ives Bay Line is one of the most spectacular short distance rail lines in the United Kingdom.

This rail route takes you from the charming coastal village of St Erth to the larger seaside town of St Ives, both found along the beautiful shores of Western Cornwall.

You’ll pass right along the coast with magnificent views out over the St Ives Bay and the white-sand beaches the area is known for. Make sure to get a window seat facing out towards the coast for the best chance to enjoy the scenery. To truly appreciate the seaside lifestyle of Cornwall, you’re best travelling along the St Ives Bay Line in summer, so you can enjoy the sunny Cornish weather and the beaches.

St Ives

The Dawlish Coast

Part of the so-called Riviera Line that stretches from London to Cornwall along England’s beautiful southern coastline, the Dawlish Coast is one of the most impressive parts of the rail network in this part of the country.

Here you will find classic seaside towns such as Torquay and Dartmouth, which in summer have beaches that are heaving with holidaymakers and covered in colourful parasols – a strange sight to see anywhere in England! You can ride the trains between scenic coastal towns and villages, stopping off all along the Dawlish Coast to experience the best of the English Riviera.

You can continue onwards to the city of Exeter, or cross the narrow strait that connects Dawlish to Exmouth by boat to visit another historic English city.

Crewe to Holyhead on the North Wales Coast Line

Holyhead is found at the end of the North Wales Coast Line, situated on the Isle of Anglesey overlooking the Irish Sea. Your journey will start in Crewe, the beginning of one of the oldest lines in the United Kingdom, which dates back to 1840 and connects England to North Wales.

Along the route, you’ll follow the coast, crossing over spectacular gorges and rivers spanned by Victorian feats of engineering like no other, including the Britannia Bridge. This huge structure connects the Isle of Anglesey to mainland Wales, across the Menai Strait, and was conceived by none other than Robert Stephenson, the same engineer who opened Britain’s first public railway line.

The Settle-Carlisle Railway

Found in England’s North West, the Settle-Carlisle Railway takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in the country. The line takes you from Settle, in Yorkshire, across the Yorkshire Dales and through the Pennines, on a 73-mile journey across beautiful landscapes and past many iconic sights.

You can stop off in small towns and rural idylls in the Yorkshire Dales, cross the daunting Ribblehead Viaduct, and then explore the scenery of the Pennines on your way through to Carlisle. You can do it all in one trip – they even have heritage steam engines running the route periodically – or you can turn the trip into a multi-day excursion through God’s Own Country.

Railway

Newcastle to Edinburgh

Travel between England and Scotland on the classic East Coast Mainline, and journey from the city of Newcastle to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, while enjoying blissful views along the way. The whole East Coast Mainline actually connects Edinburgh all the way south to London, but the portion from Newcastle to Edinburgh is perhaps the best section of the route.

You’ll be taken along the dramatic coastline of Northumbria, before crossing the border to Scotland at Berwick-upon-Tweed, one of the most historic places in the United Kingdom, and a place that changed hands between the warring Scots and English many a time in the medieval era. You’ll even get to see Lindisfarne from the window, the infamous isle that was raided by the Vikings, which marked the start of the Norse ravaging of Europe.

The Whitby and Pickering Railway

The Whitby and Pickering Railway was built in 1836 and is recognised as one of the first railways to be constructed in Yorkshire. It closed when it fell into disuse, but its unique heritage was preserved when it was reopened again as a tourist attraction in the late 2000s, allowing travellers to ride the line on historic carriages pulled by steam engines.

The railway takes you through spectacular scenery, from Pickering, near the city of York, through moors and dales, until you reach the famous coastal town of Whitby, purported home of English Fish and Chips. Enjoy the sea breezes, eat some deep fried fish, and explore a town famous for being the home of the navigator, Captain Cook.

Inverness to Wick

This four-hour train ride will take you along the United Kingdom’s most northerly line, as you travel from the Scottish city of Inverness to the small, coastal town of Wick, which looks out over the North Sea.

The journey takes you past rugged coastline, and from Wick you can travel a little further north by road to reach John O’Groats, the last piece of land on the British mainland.

Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh

Also found in the north of Scotland, this route takes you from Dingwall, just north of Inverness, to the Kyle of Lochalsh, which is located on the far western coast.

The train line is impressive, taking you through the real heart of the Scottish Highlands, past incredible mountain scenery and overdramatic passes, until you reach the equally compelling coastline.

The Royal Scotsman

A journey on The Royal Scotsman is a rail journey like no other in the UK. Making use of vintage, heritage carriages that have been redesigned and modernised, The Royal Scotsman takes passengers in luxury through the Scottish Highlands on multi-day trips that offer fine dining and even spa facilities while on board.

The London Underground

Although not exactly an overground train ride through spectacular scenery, the London Underground is nevertheless an integral part of the British Rail Network. When you’re in the capital, riding the Underground is unavoidable, but make the most of it by learning a little of its history and by visiting classic stations.

This is the oldest underground rail system in the world, and there are plenty of heritage-listed tube stations, such as Baker Street or Aldwych.

London Underground

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