london in june

London in June: Everything You Need to Know

London is an amazing city to visit at any time of year. However, June is a month that has everything on offer, with (mostly) great weather and long evenings to enjoy. Whether you’re into foodie events, the natural or art worlds, or if you want to see some of London’s famous pomp and ceremony, June has got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting London in June.

Important Dates in June

The last Monday in May is a bank holiday, leading into the summer half term. It’s worth bearing this in mind when booking a June holiday to London, as accommodation may be more expensive and events and attractions will book up quickly.

British Father’s Day also falls in June, making it a great reason to enjoy a special treat if you’re visiting with your family. You may see specific events or set menus on this day and, as with any special date, places will be busier and restaurant reservations may be necessary.

A benefit of visiting in June is that you should enjoy some summer weather without the summer crowds.

London’s Weather in June

As you may be aware, England is famed for its temperamental weather and inconsistent weather trends. While London isn’t known for having endless days of summer, you’ve still got a good chance of catching some rays in June and enjoying the outdoors lifestyle of pavement cafes and parks for which London is renowned.

June marks the start of the summer months, meteorologically, so you should expect long, mostly sunny days – but pack an umbrella, just in case! Temperatures average around 16° Celsius, although it can be much warmer during the day, sometimes peaking in the high twenties.

June 21 is Midsummer’s Day. With sunset occurring around 9.20pm, the long evenings are a great excuse for a leisurely evening stroll, picnic dinner in the park, or late-night beer garden visit. Temperatures tend to dip around sundown, so make sure you have a light jacket or wrap to keep cosy if you’re expecting a late night or two!

Festivals and Events

For festivals and special events, June has got you covered. With the weather warming up, it’s a great time to spend your days outdoors at some of London’s famous events, with the option of finding indoors entertainment if the weather doesn’t quite go to plan.

Whatever the weather, London’s social calendar is jam-packed for June. Here are our top picks for your visit to London this summer.

Royal Ascot

Whether it’s the dream of placing the right bet and watching horses thundering around the track or simply the excuse to put on a fancy frock, Royal Ascot is world famous as the place to be seen.

Royal Ascot races attract some major celebs, so if people-watching is more your thing you’ll be kept interested too. If you don’t fancy the races, you can enjoy the horse-drawn procession that travels from Windsor Castle to Ascot Racecourse daily – a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors in the sunshine and soak up the atmosphere and anticipation.

royal ascot

Household Division’s Beating Retreat at Horse Guards Parade

If you want to observe a bit of traditional pomp and ceremony mixed with music and fireworks, this is for you. Traditionally held in Whitehall before the Queen’s birthday, this evening ceremony is fun for all the family and a great introduction to royal celebrations.

Including a military precision drill, cannons and horses, this event has a long history, dating back to the 1690s. Originally the drum beating signalled the end of fighting for the day, before the troops were to retreat into the safety of camp for the night. These days, of course, it’s purely symbolic and ends with the lowering of the regimental flag at sunset.

horse guards parade

Trooping the Colour: The Queen’s Birthday Parade

June is a great month to visit London if you are a Royal Family fan, with the Queen’s official birthday on the 8 June. If the Household Division’s Beating Retreat isn’t enough, you can watch the special parade of over 1,400 officers, 200 horses and marching bands on this special day.

Tickets in the dedicated seating areas sell out fast, but without tickets thousands of spectators still line The Mall and edge of St James’s Park to catch a glimpse of the action, as the Queen travels past in her carriage.

London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

With previous years’ attendance topping 10,000 people, this unusual celebration of Chinese culture is a great day out. Based at the Royal Docks in East London, you can expect races of all different calibres, from professional right down to first timers, whilst enjoying traditional dance and music performances.

With an abundance of tasty Asian food to try, this free festival is as family friendly as it gets. Just pack up a picnic blanket and enjoy a wonderful day of Far Eastern delights.

All Points East

Started in 2018, All Points East is a popular newcomer on the live music scene. It’s held in Victoria Park, South Hackney over two weekends and the intervening week, spanning the end of May and beginning of June. Attendees enjoy an eclectic mix of music with past and upcoming artists including Bon Iver, The XX, James Blake and Dizzee Rascal. Alongside the music, there are community art and cinema events, as well as street food stalls to enjoy throughout the week.

Festival of Eid

Celebrating the end of the fasting period of Ramadan, the Muslim festival of Eid is a time for fun – and food! The date of Eid changes each year, as it is based on the lunar cycle as opposed to the calendar date, and can vary by over a week.

With celebrations across the city, including a great get together in the famous Trafalgar Square, expect deliciously tempting food stalls of tasty dishes for the whole family to try. Biryanis and other curries, couscous, meat and vegetarian savoury dishes are popular, as well as an array of traditional sweets, such as Seviyan, similar to rice pudding but with added tastes of India like cardamom and rose water, or Lapis Legit, a spiced cake originally from Indonesia. It’s a colourful, musical and tasty celebration to get involved in, and a great way to spend the day.

Mighty Hoopla

If pop music is more your thing, Mighty Hoopla might be just the ticket for your June visit to London. Held in Brockwell Park near Brixton in South London, it’s an over-18s festival and a pure pop music festival of fun and colourful performances, plus it’s an important part of the LGBT+ calendar held during London Pride, which runs across June and July.

With over 40 street food and drink stalls, and events like Drag Queen Lip Sync Battles, it offers great entertainment value. Splash on the glitter, wear your best sparkles; this event is nothing less than fabulously flamboyant, with past and future headliners including Chaka Khan, Artful Dodger and Lily Allen.

Taste of London in Regent’s Park

June is official London Food Month, and this is an event for the eyes and taste buds. Taste of London spans across four days in the magnificent surroundings of Regent’s Park. Around 40 of London’s top restaurants showcase their best dishes, and with over 200 food and drink stalls to purchase ingredients from, you can go home and recreate their masterpieces – or at least give it a try! There are demonstrations, masterclasses and celeb chefs to entertain you, and with plenty of tastings to sample, you’re sure not to go home uninspired or hungry!

regents park london

Open Garden Squares

Open Garden Squares runs across a June weekend, and offers the general public an opportunity to get some major green-fingered inspiration from the city’s hidden green gems. Private gardens of residential, historic and commercial settings open their doors for a good old nosy around, some providing tours, music and information guides. Don’t just think of typical English gardens either – there are rooftop oases, urban terraces, community gardens and grand formal gardens to delight and intrigue. Visit the Open Squares website for ticket information and to download your map, so you can start planning your route for maximum enjoyment.

London Tech Week

If all things technology is more your thing, London Tech Week is for you! Hosting over 300 industry and consumer events over a four-day period, this is the go-to spot for discussions on how access to the latest technologies means brighter futures for us all. Think artificial intelligence and robotics, to the best systems and processing for businesses. With speakers from companies like British Airways, Twitter and Sony Pictures Network, it’s sure to be an eye opener.

West End LIVE at Trafalgar Square

If you’re ready for some razzmatazz and jazz-hands, West End LIVE is probably where you should be headed. Casts perform snippets of some of the best current shows from London’s West End stages; it’s free to come and go, so is a great family option if your little ones might not make it through an entire musical performance. With past inclusions from smash hits such as The Lion King, Annie and Kinky Boots, you’re sure for an amazing experience. This event is free to attend, so is sure to draw large crowds. Check the listings online ahead of time and make sure you arrive early to get a good spot for your favourite.

Things to See and Do

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

What can be more classically British than taking in a day’s cricket match, while enjoying the sunshine, light evenings and perhaps a cold beverage or two? While the ICC Cricket World Cup is not held in London every year, it is in 2019, with matches taking place at the iconic Lords and The Oval. Tickets sell out way in advance, but there is an official resale website for tickets to be sold at face value, so you might still be lucky. If you can’t make it to see a match live or on the years when London is a host city, there are still plenty of places to watch the action across the city and soak up some of that match-day atmosphere.

cricket world cup 2019

Masterpiece London Arts Fair at Royal Hospital Chelsea

Held every year, this is a world-renowned gathering of over 150 global dealers of the finest furniture, sculpture, art and jewellery, from antiques to the modern day. Set in the stunning Royal Hospital in Chelsea, this event makes sure London is at the forefront of elegance and design. With talks and discussions from industry experts it’s the perfect way to spend the day, whether you’re looking for a new piece to add to your home or collection or just a lover of all things beautiful. Tickets need to be purchased in advance and can be bought online.

The Sky Garden

While it might sound like the name of a children’s book, the Sky Garden is pretty incredible for the whole family! Located at 20 Fenchurch Street in the city of London, you might find it more easily if you go by the building’s local name – the walkie talkie. Book free tickets and you can visit the highest public garden in London for incredible views and enjoy the bright colours and blue skies of June. There’s also a restaurant at the top; bookings are essential but would make a memorable meal, whatever the occasion.

Open Top Bus Tour

To do some major sightseeing, tick off a classic London experience, and make the most of the summer weather, why not choose an open top bus tour? Take in the sights while being guided through the characterful streets of London by a knowledgeable guide – it’s a great opportunity to see the city and take some instaworthy snaps!

open top bus tour london

Queen Mary’s Garden

Located within Regent’s Park, Queen Mary’s Garden is a great spot to visit if you’re a keen gardener. June is the best month to see and smell the plethora of stunning roses on display, while the well-kept and beautifully designed gardens are the perfect place to stop and have a peaceful moment or two amongst the busy rush of city life. The whole of Regent’s Park is free to visit, so you can easily while away the hours and bask in the early summer sun, surrounded by grassy knolls, mighty trees and floral displays – bliss!

Anniversary of D-Day

The 6 June marks the anniversary of the Normandy landing operation of World War II, known as D-Day. 2019 marks 75 years since the war, so special events are planned right across the city. Whichever year you visit, the Imperial War Museum – a family of five museums across England with three located in London – is a great place to view some thought provoking displays, artefacts and stories. With interactive sections to keep the kids entertained too, this is an interesting day out for all the family.

Why not add one of our amazing London tours to your June trip to London? Contact Premium Tours to book your spot.

Everything You Need To Know About Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is one of the most historic and important places of worship in London, because for centuries this has been the site of the coronation of the country’s monarchs.

The dramatic abbey has long held pride of place in Westminster, and every English King or Queen has been crowned inside its walls since William the Conqueror. Westminster Abbey has gone through many changes throughout its long and at times turbulent life, and the history surrounding the church is as long as its spires are tall.

Few other sights in the city have such a prestigious heritage. The abbey has survived for hundreds of years, through Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries and even through the ravages of the Blitz.

It’s a grandiose London attraction to visit, and you can walk where Kings and Queens have stood, explore ancient crypts, marvel at glorious artwork and pay your respects to some of the country’s most historical figures in the cemetery.

It’s a must-visit London attraction. To help you to plan your trip, here’s everything you need to know about Westminster Abbey.

How to Travel to Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is found in central London, in the City of Westminster for which it’s named. This prominent location gave rise to the church’s importance to the British monarchy and public through history, as just over the road is Westminster Palace, which for centuries was a royal residence until it eventually became home to the Houses of Parliament.

The abbey can be reached easily using public transport – it’s inadvisable to drive into this part of London, due to lack of parking and congestion charges, to name just a few of the obstacles – with nearby bus and tube stops that are within easy walking distance.

The closest tube stations are St James’s Park or Westminster. St James’s Park is located on both the District and Circle lines, while Westminster is found on the District, Circle and Jubilee lines.

If you are exploring more of London, you can also consider purchasing a ticket for the hop-on hop-off buses that stop close to Westminster Abbey, as you’ll be able to travel easily between London’s best attractions, while learning more about the city while on board.

getting to westminster abbey

The Best Time to Visit Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London and, unfortunately, it’s always going to be busy. The queues at the entrance can be long, so always ensure you plan your day accordingly, leaving enough time to allow you to explore the inside fully and to avoid any disappointment. You can purchase priority tickets beforehand to allow you to skip the worst of the lines.

It’s best to arrive here early to be first in line, rather than later in the day when there may be the chance that you are turned away at closing time. There’s not a particularly best time of the year to visit Westminster Abbey, as you can explore no matter the season, however, be aware that summer is peak season in London and all the attractions across the city are always busiest between June and September.

Westminster Abbey is open to tourists from 9.30 am until 3.30 pm Monday to Saturday. On Wednesdays, there are also late afternoon openings when the abbey stays open until 6 pm. Services are held Sundays, when the church is only open to worshippers.

Tickets can be bought in advance online for £21 per adult, or on the door for £23, although prices are subject to change. There are discounts available for children and senior citizens. There are also separate tickets available for special events, which are often held on select evenings during the week.

A Brief History of Westminster Abbey

The location where Westminster Abbey is found has long been the site of important places of worship through London’s history. Archaeological excavations and research have revealed that there has been a Christian church here since at least 960 AD when the Saxon King Edgar ordered the construction of the first abbey.

The abbey was originally built for Benedictine monks, before Edward the Confessor built St Peter’s Abbey on the same site, which was to serve as his burial chapel in 1066. That same year, the Normans would invade England and take over the country after defeating Edward’s successor, Harold, at the infamous Battle of Hastings.

William the Conqueror was the first monarch to be crowned in the abbey when he held his coronation here in 1066. Little of these first religious sites remain however, as in the 13th century a new abbey was built in the Gothic style that you see today. The church continued to be the location of coronations, however, and every monarch since William the Conqueror has been crowned inside, while many have also been buried here.

Over the following centuries, additions were made and the abbey grew, even surviving the dissolution of the monasteries enforced by Henry VIII, when the king gave it official status as a ‘cathedral’ rather than an abbey.

World War II proved to be the biggest threat to Westminster Abbey, when German bombs ravaged the capital and the Blitz caused extensive damage to the historic church. Again though, it survived, and today it continues to be both a popular tourist attraction and an important place of worship.

westminster abbey london

Coronations, Weddings and Burials at Westminster 

Since William the Conqueror, the abbey has held coronations for kings and queens through British history, making this the most important church for the royal family in the country. The last coronation to be held here was that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, which to date is the only coronation that has ever been televised.

While coronations have been rare in recent years, the abbey has also proven to be a popular location for royal weddings. Countless marriage ceremonies have been performed here for the Royal Family, with many in recent years attracting huge crowds in the city and also being shown live on TV. The last royal wedding was between Prince William and Kate Middleton, held in 2011.

As well as celebrating coronations and weddings, Westminster Abbey has hosted many more sombre occasions, as royalty and important national figures are buried here. Within the grounds, you can find the tombs and the graves of many of the country’s most iconic historical characters.

visit westminster abbey

Things to See and Do at Westminster Abbey

The Nave

The central hallway of Westminster Abbey is known, as in most cathedrals, as the nave. As you enter from the western entrance, you’ll have the sight of this long, elegant hallway laid out before you, and you’ll be treading in the footsteps of the kings and queens who walked along the Nave to be crowned.

Tall pillars stretch high to the ceiling, and you are free to stroll through the nave and to admire the ambitious architecture of Westminster Abbey as you do so.

Westminster abbey

The Coronation Chair

In the nave you’ll encounter one of the most iconic sights within Westminster Abbey and one of the most important artefacts in royal history. The coronation chair is where monarchs sit as they are crowned, and it’s an incredibly historic piece of furniture.

The chair is wooden and was carved from English Oak in the late 13th century on the orders of King Edward I. As well as being one of the oldest items in Westminster Abbey, the chair is one of the oldest pieces of wooden furniture in the entire country that’s been in continual use since its creation. It appears a rather simple chair when you first lay eyes upon it, but the wooden structure hides a wealth of history in its cracks. Most notably, the chair was designed to hold the Stone of Scone, the famous stone upon which Scottish kings were crowned. In recent years, it was returned though to Scotland, after being held here for hundreds of years.

The Quire

Found right in the middle of Westminster Abbey, is the archaically spelt quire. This is the area reserved for the choir and for certain members of clergy during services and ceremonies, and it’s an important part of the church’s layout.

You’ll find the quire after the nave and before the high altar at the far end of the church. Westminster Abbey has its own resident chorus of choirboys who study and train at the Westminster Abbey Choir School, located within the grounds.

The Organ

To accompany the dulcet tones of the choirboys, Westminster Abbey is also home to an extravagant organ piece that is played during recitals. The pipes stretch high towards the grand ceiling of the abbey, and if you are here during a church service you’ll hear them in action.

The organ is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, as it was specially designed and built for the coronation of King George VI in 1937.

The Royal Tombs

One of the original intentions of Westminster Abbey was that it would serve as the burial grounds for English kings, with Edward the Confessor being the first to be entombed here in 1066.

Edward the Confessor’s tomb is still found behind the high altar, on display for all who visit Westminster Abbey to see, and his burial chamber became somewhat of a shrine when the English king was canonised. His effigy is found adorning the outside of the tomb and, as he was the first monarch to be interned here, he has pride of place in the abbey.

Many more royals were buried here in later years too. Behind the high altar surrounding Edward the Confessor’s Shrine, you can find several tombs holding the remains of famous English kings, including Henry V, who won the Battle of Agincourt.

The Lady Chapel

The Lady Chapel is an integral addition to the central area of Westminster Abbey, as it was built by Henry VII at the eastern end of the church to serve as his final resting place. The Tudor king built what was at the time one of the most lavish chapels in Europe and today you’ll be mesmerised by the glorious 16th-century architecture that’s been preserved here through the centuries since its construction.

There are over 30 royals and nobles buried under the chapel, with Henry VII having the most visible tomb and effigy. After he was interred here, many monarchs that followed his reign were also buried here, including Elizabeth I, James I and William III to name just a few. Oliver Cromwell was buried here for a time until his body was taken out after the monarchy was reinstated after the English Civil War.

lady chapel westminster abbey

Poets’ Corner

Westminster Abbey is not just the resting place of monarchs, because as early as the 1400s, poets and writers began to be given lasting memorials in the church, and many were buried here in recognition of their work.

Found just off the nave, Poets’ Corner is a microcosm of British literature, as you’ll see some of the country’s most iconic wordsmiths commemorated here. Chaucer was the first English writer to be buried at Westminster Abbey, but the tradition still continues today.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

To remember all those who fell fighting for Britain in wars across the world, you can pay your respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. During World War I, many soldiers fell in battle and were never identified, and many more were lost forever with no known graves or final resting places.

In 1920 an unknown soldier who was killed in France was buried in Westminster Abbey, on equal footing with the country’s kings and queens, to represent the huge sacrifice made by people from all classes and walks of life. It’s a moving tribute to loss and conflict.

The grave and plaque, found in the nave of Westminster Abbey, have since been the scene of many a commemoration, as memorial services led by royalty are held to mark important anniversaries, particularly those related to the First World War.

To find out more about visiting Westminster Abbey or to book one of our fantastic London tours, contact Premium Tours today.

london in october

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.

visit london in october

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 cocktail week october

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.

diwali festival london october

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.

oktoberfest in london

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!

ice skating london october

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.

visit kensington palace

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.

visit kensington palace

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.

kensington palace

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

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.

visit london in september

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.

london in september

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.

london boat festival in september

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.

london fashion week in september

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.

visit buckingham palace

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.