A new festival playground with outdoor bars, street food, live shows, vintage fairground rides and a beach is headed for west London this summer
Lead image courtesy of London Wonderground and Underbelly
The unexpected benefit of London’s constant cycle of development is strips of temporarily vacated land prime for exciting pop ups.
London Wonderground, previously sited on the South Bank, is one such pop-up, and this summer it is upping sticks and moving to Earl’s Court to offer a new and improved ‘summer festival playground’, complete with a city beach.
Underbelly’s famous upside-down purple cow tent will also take up residency at the new west London hotspot, returning to London for the first time in five years and joined on site by a 36m Big Top with capacity for 1,000 people.
Located on the site of the former Earls Court 2 Exhibition Centre, just off Lillie Road near West Brompton station, the free-to-enter site will be Covid-secure and run throughout the summer from 15 July to 26 September.
As well as alfresco bars, street food, vintage rides, live music and DJs on the Wonderground bandstand and Earls Court City Beach, a programme of live shows (remember those?!) will be announced in May, including a Best of the Edinburgh Festival season of comedy, circus and family performances.
There will also be a new temporary public space opposite Earl’s Court Underground Station on Warwick Road, where the entrance to the former exhibition centre was, curated by the Kensington + Chelsea Festival alongside Underbelly.
‘Fun is a core human need and The London Wonderground at Earls Court will be just the tonic that Londoners need’
Earls Court has a rich history of live events and entertainment. From the site’s inaugural use as a showground in 1887, to the Great Ferris Wheel of 1895, to the Earls Court 1 and Earls Court 2 Exhibition Halls of more recent years, the site has hosted some of London’s most iconic events, concerts and attractions for over 100 years.
‘The history of this site is one of exhibitions and festivities, and I am pleased to see plans to build on that legacy by bringing it back into use this summer,’ said the Leader of London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Councillor Stephen Cowan.
‘Fun is a core human need and The London Wonderground at Earls Court will be just the tonic that Londoners need.’
The festival is a unique collaboration and partnership between live events pros Underbelly and The Earls Court Development Company, formed of a partnership between developer Delancey, Transport for London and APG.
Empress Place, Earl’s Court SW6 1TT; londonwonderground.co.uk