things to do in london this summer

Things to do in London this summer 2018

Bring. On. The. Sunshine.

Nothing beats a crystal clear summer’s day in London. The city really comes alive – though that’s also down to the amazing events calendar that kicks in over the summer months, which includes some of the best music festivals, exhibits and quirky parties in the country. Whether you’re a jaded local looking to keep things interesting or visiting the English capital, here’s some of the best things to do in London this summer 2018 below.

London Summer Events

Swan Lake at The London Coliseum

What could be more magical this bank holiday week than spending an evening watching the highly acclaimed St Petersburg Ballet perform Swan Lake at London’s Coliseum. For a very limited period, the must see
Performers are set to make a welcome return to the London Coliseum this month with their full-length classic production of the ballet. This follows the Company’s incredible 2015 sell-out season with over 25,000 seats sold. Renowned globally not just for its beautiful Vaganova trained dancers, but also for its stunning productions of Giselle, The Nutcracker and Sleeping beauty, it stars Irina Kolesnikova, prima ballerina at the Theatre since the age of 21. Her last Odette/Odile in Swan Lake in London in 2015 was described by The Telegraph as ‘truly a thing of remarkable beauty’ and ‘technically flawless’. This is one not to be missed. But book quickly before it’s gone.
This bank holiday weekend till 2nd September 2018.

Night Tales Bohemia Place

Things to do in London this Summer

Our favourite London pop up since 2013 has finally found a permanent home in Hackney this Summer under two railway arches and we couldn’t be more buzzy about it. Open from 4pm on a Saturday, we are into the vibe, think sun terrace decked out with insta-worthy greenery galore and day beds that you can sink into while chilling out to super cool DJ’s. They have even brought a little bit of Japan to East London with the hole-in-the-wall style grill by Fat Baby, try the Yakitori ( chargrilled skewers of chicken ) you won’t be disappointed, more like obsessed! But if thats not your thing there is pizza too from South London finest Sons of Slice. When the Sun goes down the party continues inside, with everyone from Rudimental to Seb Chew having done their DJ thing for Night Tales in the past you’ll be in good company. Follow @NightTalesLDN for more details .


Secret Cinema Presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet

This is the biggest Secret Cinema project to date and they’ve picked an absolute gem of a film to do it… This secret London location is being turned into a spectacular reimagining of Verona Beach. With an amazing 5000 capacity. The 5 hour open-air festival and immersive film screening is definitely the summer event you do NOT want to miss… Not to spoil all of the surprises, but there’ll be live bands, artists, DJ’s and Gospel choirs, all in a festival type production themed to Baz Luhrmann’s iconic twist on the iconic tale.

When: From 8th – 25th August with show nights running from Wednesday to Sunday

Where: Secret location

How much: £49 – £125 depending on ticket tier and day book online

Movies on the River

things to do in london this summer

Forget your regular movie night, City Cruises and Time Out are teaming up to take outdoor cinema to the Thames. Lounge on the rooftop of a sprawling boat and watch both old and new classics roll on the silver screen as the skyline twinkles in the background. There’s a huge range of movies on offer to cater to all tastes, whether you’re falling in love all over again with The Shape of Water and Dirty Dancing or thrill seeking with Get Out and Back to the Future. If you’re not afraid of tempting fate, Jaws is also going to be screened multiple times. We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

When: 13 June to 21 July

Where: Tower Millennium Pier

How much: £29+, book online

Gir Lion Lodge – Sleepover at the Zoo

Ever wondered what happens at ZSL London Zoo after dark? Sleep over and find out for yourself at one of these quaint Gir Lion Lodges in the heart of one of the world’s most famous zoos.

Pretend you’re on safari for one unique night by going behind the scenes as you sleep within a few paces from the Asiatic lions enclosure (don’t worry, they stay in their enclosure overnight!). You will even hear them roar from your cosy cabins within the Land of the Lions exhibit itself home to the Zoo’s four endangered lions.

Think you’ve done London Zoo before? Not like this. Visiting out of hours  away from the hordes is a totally new experience. You’ll get to discover the Zoo’s secrets during a private tour as dedicated hosts lead you on exclusive evening and morning journey, sharing their incredible knowledge on the species, fascinating facts and superb stories about some of the Zoo’s 18,000 residents.

You’ll also get unique insights into the incredible work ZSL is doing with local communities and wildlife across the world, including in India’s Gir Forest to protect these endangered big cats and other animals.

The Gir Lion Lodge experience includes: an overnight stay in a lodge for two adults, exclusive after-hours tours of the zoo at sunset, after-dark and in the morning, a knowledgeable guide on hand throughout the experience, two days full access to ZSL London Zoo (with the option to visit ZSL Whipsnade Zoo on your second day), and a delicious two-course dinner in a unique building on the grounds. All in all, a truly eye opening and magical experience for any animal lover.

When: Now until December

Where: ZSL London Zoo, Regent’s Park

How to register: Book a stay here

How much: Prices from £378 per lodge (£189 per person) – lodge based on 2 adults sharing

London Festivals

Elrow Town

things to do in london this summer

This lesser known festival packs a real punch and is set to be one of the most exciting events in London’s calendar. With out of this world stages, vibrant performers and a killer line-up for fans in the electro scene, you can expect to see legends like Paco Osuna, Paul Kalkbrenner, Fat Boy Slim and even Idris Elba spinning the decks.

When: August 18-19

Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

How much: £54.70+, book online

Red Bull Music Odyssey

things to do in london this summer

Clearly, we can’t get enough of boat-themed fun. Red Bull will be giving the London festival scene a run for its money with the Red Bull Music Odyssey, a musical experience you’re not likely to forget. They’ll be taking over six boats, each captained by stalwarts in the music scene and with a distinctly different vibe to each. Grime artist Julie Adenuga will be helming The Transmission, where she’ll be joined by fellow underground radio and grime artists included the Heartless Crew and AJ Tracey & MTP, while Dennis Sulta will keep the party jumping over on The Forever Dancer with house, disco and techno artists including Larry Heard and Jocelyn Brown. We’re personally super keen on Jubilee’s The Wine Up cruise, a waterborne dancehall extravaganza.

When: 30 June

Where: The Thames

How much: £16.59 for after party tickets online, boat ticket announcements to be released soon

Notting Hill Carnival

things to do in london this summer

Mark Thomas/REX/Shutterstock

It’s back! This gigantic Caribbean street party takes over the streets of Notting Hill, transforming it into a spectacle of colourful costumes, amazing live music and piles of delicious food that’ll put the spice back into your life. The parade is undoubtedly the main event when humongous trucks peel through the streets with huge ten foot speakers strapped to the back of them, blasting music as performers decked out in traditional vibrant costumes cut a rug through the streets. It tends to get quite crowded and can be daunting if you’ve never been before, check out our Notting Hill Carnival guide for our best tips.

When: 26-27 August

Where: Notting Hill

Lovebox Festival

things to do in london this summer

PJP photos/REX/Shutterstock

The coolest festival on the block is back with a better lineup than ever. Childish Gambino is riding the wave of his This Is America success and headlining alongside Skepta, N.E.R.D., SZA, Wu-Tang Clan, Bonobo, Diplo, Annie Mac and Anderson Paak. If those names didn’t excite you, the endless string of indie food stalls, intimate stages and quirky pop-ups like a very-Lovebox wedding chapel where you can marry your best friend. Lovebox is also without a shadow of a doubt the most fashionable festival in London – get ready for some major style inspo to upgrade your festival fashion wardrobe.

When: 13-14 July

Where: Gunnersbury Park

How much: £64.50+, book online

London Food Events

Hawker Union

things to do in london this summer

Street Feast are continuing their London takeover with a brand new venue over in Wood Green. They opened their doors at the beginning of July and they’ve been going strong ever since, making it one of the coolest hang out spots in the area with several street food traders and bars. Whether you’re tucking into a decadent cheesy burger at Black Bear Burger or having a vegetarian feast at Root and Coal, one thing’s for certain – you’ll need an icy cold beer or tropical cocktail to wash it all down in this crazy heat.

Where: Hawker Union, London, N22 6TZ

Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea

Our favourite nanny might not make her return to the big screen for another five months, but the Mary Poppins madness has begun. HarperCollins is relaunching the five original P. L. Travers books and sky-high restaurant Aqua at The Shard is now organising a unique Mary Poppins-themed afternoon tea. Think gilt gold framed menus, speciality tea, champagne and a delicious selection of finger sandwiches served on umbrella topped tea stands. That’s not to mention the exquisite cakes and scones selection delivered in an iconic Mary Poppins’ carpet bag – all while overlooking some of London’s finest views. Currently our fave afternoon tea in town.

When: now until April 2019

Where: aqua shard, The Shard

How much: from £49 per person, book online

Sister Act Bottomless Brunch

things to do in london this summer

There’s no shortage of quirky bottomless brunches in London, though this musical-themed one at 100 Wardour St really stood out to us. Based on the musical and movie of the same name, brunch gets a major upgrade with an actual West End choir serenading you throughout all three courses and bubbles with musical’s iconic numbers. With two sessions, you’ll have to move quick to get a booking as it’s only running for a day.

When: 28th July, 12pm or 2pm session

Where: 100 Wardour St

How much: £20-35, book online

London Exhibitions

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up

Frida Kahlo Exhibition


After fifty years, a rare Frida Kahlo exhibition is finally venturing beyond Mexico’s borders to visit London’s V&A Museum. The rich collection will closely follow Frida’s incredible and sometimes harrowing life story, combining both her personal items and artworks including her prosthetic leg, self-portraits, cosmetics and more.

When: Opens 16 June – 4 November

Where: V&A Museum

How much: £15, book online

London Pride


Tolga Akmen/LNP/REX/Shutterstock

London’s Pride celebrations are some of the biggest and longest in the country, starting June 9 and running for nearly an entire month. Besides the famous parade on July 7, there’s a whole range of events going on all over the city including nude life drawing classes, no end of theatre, speed dating. film festivals and parties galore. If you can’t make it to the capital to celebrate, we’ve also done a roundup of the best pride events in the UK to celebrate love.

When: June 9 – July 7

Where: All across London

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