With the sun in the sky and the holiday season upon us, there’s never been a better time to explore all the amazing things to do in London. From stylish exhibitions to the hottest lunch spots, we’ve rounded up the best things to keep you occupied across August when you find yourself out and about in the capital.
Start planning your weekends with our favourite events below.
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
Shoe addicts, your dream exhibition has arrived. Setting up residency at the Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington, until next year, this unique display brings together footwear from all over the world, including the most extreme and elaborate designs imaginable.
You can ever get a peek at iconic designer shoes by the likes of Vivienne Westwood.
Victoria & Albert Museum, throughout August – £12
Notting Hill Carnival
The infamous street carnival returns for yet another year, holding down its ongoing run since the 1960s. You can expect floats, live music, street food and plenty of fun, all with an authentic Caribbean vibe in the heart of West London.
If you’re heading down with kids, try the more family friendly Sunday event, with exciting a colourful parades for all to enjoy.
Westbourne Park, 29-31 August – free
Pop Up Screens
This cheap and cheerful travelling outdoor cinema costs pretty much the same as a trip to your average picture house, with the added pleasure of interesting and unique settings. August highlights include a screening of classic rom com Pretty Woman in Fulham’s Bishop’s Park, cult movie Dirty Dancing in Hammersmith’s Ravenscourt Park and Brit flick Four Weddings and a Funeral at Coram’s Fields, Holborn.
Locations vary, until 26 September – £10 for adults
Buckingham Palace Summer Opening
Ever wanted to see how our monarchy really live? Now’s your chance. The gilded doors to Buckingham Palace are open to the public this August, allowing access to some of the State Rooms while the royals are off on their summer getaway.
Take a walk through the palace gardens, Grand Hall and Music Room, amongst others, and prepare to feel major house envy.
Buckingham Palace, until 27 September – £20.50
South West Four
Get ready, Clapham Common. Some of the world’s top DJs and dance music masters are coming your way. South London dance music festival SW4 returns for another year this August, bringing revellers live sets from the likes of Fatboy Slim, Faithless, Skrillex and Basement Jaxx. Prepare to throw your hands up in the air, shout a lot and get up close and personal with sweaty festival goers, whether you want to or not.
Clapham Common, 29-30 August – day tickets start at £52.50
If you don’t get a chance to escape the capital for the coast this summer, do not fear – a 2200 square metre stretch of sand has landed at the Olympic Park, Stratford. The faux beach also hosts a paddling pool, fun fair rides, two bars and lots of fun activities for the little ones, perfect for a lazy and hazy weekend.
Plus, it’s free entry, so take your own picnic for a super fun and low-cost day out.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, open daily until 31 August – free
Taberna do Mercado
Nuno Mendes, the man behind the food at celeb-filled haunt Chiltern Firehouse, has branched out on his own to open a new restaurant in the heart of Spitalfields Market. With an intimate and rustic market feel, this new eatery serves the very best in Portuguese cuisine in a cool and contemporary setting.
Expect queues out the door as this joint doesn’t accept dinner reservations yet, but you can reserve a space for a lunchtime treat.
Spitalfields Market, open daily – prices vary
Riviera Style: Resort and Swimwear Since 1990
Get well and truly stuck into the swimsuit season with this intriguing exhibition at London Bridge’s Fashion and Textile Museum. From classics of the British seaside to the glamour of the Côte d’Azur, you’ll get to see some of the most striking swimsuit designs from the past 100 years in the flesh, including vintage bikinis and beach pyjamas (yep, they were a thing).
You can also stop by after work on a Thursday, when the exhibition remains open until 8pm.
Fashion and Textile Museum, Tuesdays to Sundays until 13 September – £8.80 for adults
As classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland turns 150 this year, innovative theatre group Les Enfants Terribles has created an immersive experience like no other. Take a trip down the rabbit hole, join the world’s craziest tea party with the Mad Hatter and let the Cheshire Cat guide you through the maze, all contained in disused vaults under Waterloo station. Prepare to be amazed and a little freaked out.
Waterloo, Tuesday to Sunday – prices start at £35
Camden Lock Summer Night Markets
North London’s Camden will turn up the lights every Thursday night across August, welcoming a range of market stalls, street food venders and live musicians to its infamous lock. Shop into the night with a vast range of local sellers keeping their stalls open later than usual, pick up culinary delights from around the world and enjoy the electric atmosphere from DJs and artists as they provide the soundtrack to your evening.
Camden, Thursdays until 3 September – free