Things to do in London this August 2021

So, now that summer is in full swing, what to do? A festival? An exhibition? Maybe a masterclass or something to get you outdoors? Whatever you feel like doing, let us help you navigate these (hopefully) sunny days, with our round up of things to do this month…

Photo: Van Gogh Alive

1 Summer at Kew Gardens
There are many excuses to head down to Kew Gardens this summer, other than just enjoying the grounds. For families, the Australian Shakespeare Company are performing child-friendly shows of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Wind in the Willows. Naturally Brilliant Colour continues at the Shirley Sherwood gallery of Botanical Art which includes an immersive kaleidoscope that replicates’s natures boldest colours. There’s also cycling, yoga in the Temperate House, Pilates in the Nash Conservatory and forest bathing in the Arboretum, which sounds like one of the nicest things you could do for yourself this August.
Prices and times varies; Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE; theatreonkew.co.uk

2 ST-GERMAIN and McQueens Flowers cocktails and floral arrangement workshops
Looking for an activity? ST-GERMAIN has teamed up with luxe florists, McQueens Flowers to run a series of Bouquet & Spritz Workshops, as part of the spirit’s summer terrace takeovers at the Great Northern Hotel and Radio Rooftop, although the actual workshops are held in McQueens Flower’s central studio. Attendees will learn how to concoct the Paris-inspired ST-GERMAIN Spritz and then how to create a bouquet of flowers so lush, you’ll probably want to keep them for yourself.
Workshops run Thursday, August 5,12,19, 26; £85 which includes a cocktail kit to take home; McQueens Flowers Mayfair, 29 North Audley Street,W1K 6WY; tickets on sale through eventbrite.co.uk

3 Rooftop Film Club’s Cinema Therapy, Bussey Building and Roof East
Feeling fragile? You’re not alone. After such a long, weird period of isolation, the social summer season is a bit of a mind melt. This month-long series is designed to boost your mood, empower you or just help you defrag a bit through magical cinema, talks and events that make you feel nice inside. Features cinematic delights such as Amelie, Moonrise Kingdom, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Bridesmaids, free snacks (always a mood booster) and a relaxation station offering mini head and hand massages by Secret Spa. The Guilty Feminist Deborah Frances-White and actor Jessica Regan will weigh in on cult classic Thelma and Louise.
Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 4ST; Roof East, Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Rd, E15 1BB; rooftopfilmclub.com

4 Wellness Weekenders at Eccleston Yards
Held in the suntrap courtyard of Eccleston Yards, Wellness Weekenders is a new fitness and wellness festival that takes place over two weekends in August. The festival has tapped into some of the fitness trends that have emerged out of lockdown, including hula hooping with HulaFit, al-fresco exercise and puppy yoga with Pets Yoga. Barry’s will hold an outdoor lift class, and Re:Mind will lead a crystal bowl sound healing session. You can even take a yoga class alongside a live orchestra. With a fitness and brunch ticket you can reward yourself with something yummy from Morena or Wild by Tart or from your choice of the various artisan eateries that has set up shop in the courtyard.
21 Eccleston Pl, SW1W 9AZ; belgravialdn.com

5 Kensington + Chelsea Festival, various venues
An array of performing arts, comedy and theatre are set to take place throughout Kensington and Chelsea. The festival, which has been going since July, is designed to help performers and communities bounce back from the lockdowns; the programming is free or affordable, and the happenings take place in the area’s theatres, parks and streets. August highlights include the Young People’s Takeover Stages and the fringe and comedy nights held in Chelsea Theatre. There are plenty of family and young person’s theatre, as well as stuff for adults too.
Running until August 31; kcfestival.co.uk

6 Amy In The Light, Brownsword Hepworth Gallery
Marking the 10-year anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s death, exhibition Amy In The Light celebrates the life of the iconic singer with never-seen-before photographs. The photos were taken by her pal, music video director and photographer Phil Griffin when making Back to Black together in 2006.
On until September 14, online and in gallery; free entry, Brownsword Hepworth Gallery; 15-17 Walton St, Knightsbridge, SW3 2HX; brownswordhepworth.co.uk

7 Foodies Festival, Syon Park
Got a hankering for gourmet nosh and libations as well as some tunes and some festival vibes? Foodies Festival might hit the spot. MasterChef competitors join chefs from some of London’s top restaurants, including Sameer Taneja from Michelin starred Benares, Micheal Carr from Sky Garden and Dayashanka Sharma from Heritage. Visitors can enjoy the Chefs Theatre, Cake & Bake Theatre, Drinks Theatre as well as masterclasses in champagne, beer and cocktail making. There’s also the chili eating competition too, if you dare. For music, Sophie Ellis-Bextor will swap her live-streamed kitchen discos for the main stage.
Friday, August 20  – Sunday, August 22; Syon Park Brentford; tickets from £19; foodiesfestival.com

8 Advena Island Experience, W London
We might not get an overseas holiday this summer, still, it doesn’t mean we can’t go on a trip. Artist Georgia Tucker as created a VR island getaway in the heart of the city as part of a technicolour installation in one of the W London suites. A good one for a bunch of friends looking for something arty and interactive, pop the headset on and away you go to a tropical, neon island dreamscape. There’s also a there’s a ball-pit bath to sink into and scan the QR code to confuse your reality with colour-drenched palms and things that take you away from where you are. Try it as part of the hotel’s Advena Island Escape stay package or on its own. The ‘holiday’ lasts for 30 minutes and has a six person capacity.
On until August 22, Free, hotel package from £300 per night; 10 Wardour Street, W1D 6QF; book package here, or as a standalone activity through eventbrite.co.uk

9 Sonic Bloom, Mayfair
This one sounds like good, lovely, wholesome fun. The multi-sensory installation designed by artist Yuri Suzuki and curated by Alter-Projects opens London Design Festival. It’s also invites Londoners to re-kindle and reflect on how we communicate with each other and interact with our city. And should you want to interact with the sculpture, chances are, you’ll be interacting with a human too. It’s kind of like a trumpet tree, that amplifies sound at a street level – traffic, natter, nature – and travels the sound through its stems. While social distancing, people can speak into the sculpture on one side, while on the other, you can listen to what is being said. Oh, so nice!
Opens August 23, Brown Hart Gardens, W1K 6WP; mayfairldn.com

10 The Last Supper at The Tramshed Project, Shoreditch
So this one isn’t a pop-up, rather a final farewell of a year long enterprise that was engendered by the pandemic and the need to find new ways to connect yet stay well away from each other too. A reprieve from the forced working from home, as well as a bang-up kitchen, The Tramshed Project  is now closing its doors with a flame-grilled send off. Chefs Andrew Clarke – who was at the helm of the dynamite London Fields Courtyard BBQ pop-up – and Kirk Haworth have a cook off of sorts – meat vs veg; Clarke vs Haworth. Diners choose from a three-course meal which is either meaty or plant-based.
Sunday August 8, although the restaurant is open for regular service until then; tramshedproject.com

11 Skuna Boats, West India Quay
Based at London’s West India Quay, Skuna Boats offers you the chance to float in a hot tub or try out a drive electric BBQ boat, which could be either really cool or totally not your jam. Based on a Dutch floating hot tub, Skuna Boats are heated to a toasty 38C and the water is refreshed regularly.
Available now until October; Hot Tub boats fit up to 7 people, BBQ boats fit up to 9 and is currently BYO food; Sunday-Friday £225, Saturday £250 for 75 minutes of Thames time; heated changing facilities and lockers are on site; West India Quay, Off Hertsmere Rd, Canary Wharf, E14 4AL; skunaboats.com

12 Immerse yourself in van Gogh, various locations
Confusingly, there are two exhibitions on van Gogh at the moment, and confusingly, they similar but not the same. One is Van Gogh Alive and the other is Van Gogh The Immersive Experience. Both exhibitions have projections and installations of some of the troubled artist’s most famous works, and have whimsical soundtracks to go with them. Creative interpretations of said works tap into van Gogh’s psyche, and The Immersive Experience as an optional VR section that takes you into and through van Gogh’s world. It’s superb but also a little squeamish. Give yourself at least an hour to get through either exhibition. Want more van Gogh? Head to the Hotel Cafe Royal for the Van Gogh Afternoon Tea. Taken in the exquisite Oscar Wilde Lounge which is still in its original 1800s glory (including wine stains on the ceiling’s paintings from raucous nights back in the day) the tea is appropriately indulgent and decadent, and hefty as well.
Van Gogh Alive; East Albert Lawn, Kensington Gardens, SW7 2AP; on now until September 26, tickets from £14; book them here; vangoghaliveuk.com
Van Gogh The Immersive Experience; 106 Commercial Street, E1 6LZ (opposite Spitalfields); on now until February 2022 tickets from £22.90; book them here; vangoghexpo.com
Van Gogh Afternoon Tea at Hotel Cafe Royal, from £65 per person, dietary requirements can be accommodated; available until January 5, 2022; hotelcaferoyal.com

13 Drummond Streatery Summer Street Party 
Just a stone’s throw from Euston Square Station, Great Portland Street and Warren Street, the Drummond Streatery Summer Street Party will see Drummond Street closed to traffic, so that families and partiers can celebrate the revival of one of London’s oldest food hubs. Try delicious and fragrant dishes from the street’s food traders (some of which are the oldest South Asian eateries in London)  including Masala King, African Kitchen Gallery and Gupta’s. There will also be music from DJ and BBC Asian Network presenter, AJD, rising contemporary crossover artist RIKA and Bhangra star H Dhami. 
Thursday August 5, 6:30pm-9:30pm; Drummond Street, NW1 2HL

14 London Craft Beer Festival
One for the over-18s, and also one for lovers of boutique brews, dishes with heft and good time tunes. More than 100 breweries from Europe and beyond will be tapping up kegs for this event – Australia’s Stone & Wood, Swedish Nerdbrewing, and local brewers Hackney Church Brew Co. and Brixton Brewery. Luckily, the likes of 10 Greek Street, Big Apple Hot Dog and Hackney Chinese joint Lucky & Joy will plate up comfort food so you can line your stomach accordingly. Django Django and Craig Charles will both be play DJ sets.
Friday, August 13 & Saturday, August14; tickets from £53 which includes your beer; Tobacco Dock, Wapping Lane, E1W 2SF; londoncraftbeerfestival.co.uk