Things to do in London this September
Oof, hello September! Summer may have been a bit of a washout, but with a whole swathe of events and things to do (and an ok weather forecast), this month is looking fun. With the Chelsea Flower Show returning, London Design Week, plus things to do with the kids, here’s our pick of what’s on around the capital…
Photo: The Royal Shakespeare Company
1 Take the Family to Beer by the River Festival, Wandsworth
This festival is fun for all the family, with live music, food from Machi BBQ, Crust Bros and Mai Thai, and free face-painting. There’s also the chance to meet the Dray horses which once delivered beer from the Ram Brewery across Wandsworth. Schooner bar and Sambrook’s Brewery, London’s oldest independent brewer, will serve cider, cocktails, wine and soft drinks as well as beer. There will also be brewery tours and the opportunity to take a look around the newly opened Ram Quarter Heritage Centre.
Saturday, September 4; 11am-8pm; free, however brewery tours start at £5; Ram Quarter, Wandsworth High St, SW18 1TH; sambrooksbrewery.co.uk
2 Educate Your Child While They Have Fun at HORRIBLE HISTORIES – BARMY BRITAIN, Churchill Theatre, Bromley
Following a successful West End run, HORRIBLE HISTORIES – BARMY BRITAIN is on tour and passing through Bromley’s Churchill Theatre. It is a gag-filled historical romp through Britain with all the nasty bits left in. Based on Terry Deary’s smash hit books, the show drops the audience into key moments of Britain’s past – would you be a martyr for the Magna Carta? Will you lose your heart or head to horrible Henry VIII, and will Parliament survive gunpowder Guy? There’s only one way to find out…
Friday, September 3 at 6.30pm; Saturday, September 4 at 11am, 2.30pm and 6.30pm; tickets from £17.50; Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley, BR1 1HA; churchilltheatre.co.uk
3 Be Entertained for Free with Music of the Spheres at the Royal Docks, Newham
Introducing yet another new type of bubble, Music of the Sphere sees dancers and musicians as well as smoke and lighting ensconced in huge transparent bubbles. The performers will move through the audience and then into the water of the docks, where a floating show is performed. This features an aerialist who works with silks to move the sphere around the water to original music based on Debussy’s La Mer.
Saturday, September 4; shows are on at 12pm, 2pm, 4.15pm and run for 45 minutes; performances are free but register your interest here; Royal Docks, E16 2GS; royaldocks.london
4 Have Fun on the Cheap with Free Crazy Golf at Swingers City, City of London
Celebrating its 5th birthday in a very kidult way, Swingers City – one of London’s most extra crazy golf centres – is offering free crazy golf on Tuesday, September 7. Also on offer is a special birthday cocktail and half price Perrier Jouet Champagne. There’s also a special birthday menu with dishes from Breddos Tacos, Patty&Bun, and Pizza Pilgrims.
Tuesday, September 7; free sessions are available between 1pm-11pm on a walk-in, first come first served basis; 8 Brown’s Building, EC3A 8AL; swingers.club
5 Play Shuffleboard at Electric Shuffle, London Bridge
Electric Shuffle arrived in London Bridge this August, bringing the fast-paced game to Bermondsey Street. Shuffleboards have been enhanced by vision technology, so it’s not your traditional game. Don’t feel like playing shuffleboard/are a poor loser/want to take a break? That’s fine too, because there’s a bar area where you can eat salt and pepper squid, arancini balls and buffalo chicken bites while quaffing cocktails or a number of brews. Book a game, try the brunch menu (Thursday to Sunday) or catch a comedian, DJ or band. Shuffleboard sessions tend to book out, so book in advance and early, although you can try your luck with a walk-in. Children are welcome before 5pm, and shuffleboard players must be over 18. There’s also a sister location in Canary Wharf and semi-private shuffleboard playing areas.
Sunday to Thursday 11.30am-10.45pm; Friday 11.30am-11.45pm; Saturday 11am-11.45pm; for 4 people games last for 30-minutes, For 6-10 people it’s 60 minutes and for 11-16 people shuffleboard games last for 90 minutes; price for a 90-minutes game is £10 per person; 10 Bermondsey St, SE1 2ER; electricshuffle.com
6 Take the Kids on a Safari with the Tusk Lion Trail, central London
In support of African conservation and highlighting the plight of the decreasing wild lion population, a pride of 47 life-sized lion sculptures are at large and prowling about in iconic locations across the globe – 27 of them in central London. Lions have been dolled up by the likes of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, Donna Karan, Noel Fielding and John Cleese, and you can follow a trail by a digital or physical maps which allow you to record lions spotted.
On until September 24; tuskliontrail.com
7 Fall in Love with Nature at Kew Gardens, Richmond
As always, Kew Gardens has lots to do, whether as a family, with a child or as an adult. The garden’s Treetop Walkway has reopened following the relaxation of restrictions. At 18 metres above ground, it offers a great and different view of Kew’s arboretum. Families can catch the last shows of The Wind in the Willows and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both of which are performed in the gardens by the Australian Shakespeare Company. There’s also a host of adult learning sessions – the Botanical Beauty Workshop and the Gin Discover and Tasting Experience sound pretty good to me.
Prices and times varies; Richmond, TW9 3AE; kew.org
8 Eat Great Food and Dance at Pub in the Park, Chiswick
Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park returns to Chiswick this September. One of the ultimate foodie events on the calendar, the festival features a line up of some of the UK’s finest chefs including Michelin starred Atul Kochhar, Rick Stein, Michel Roux Jr of Le Gavroche, celebrity chef Marcus Wearing and Chantelle Nicolson, the New Zealand chef behind Hackney pop up All’s Well and the plant-based cookbook Planted. Music includes Basement Jaxx, The Feeling, Kaiser Chiefs and Marc Almond.
September 3-5, tickets from £37.28/£21.30 adult/child; Burlington Lane, Chiswick, W4 2RP; pubintheparkuk.com
9 Belly Laugh at Comedy Line-up Headlined by Dara Ó Briain at The Globe, Bankside
Mock The Week presenter and funny man Dara Ó Briain headlines a night of comedy at the spectacular Globe Theatre. He will be joined by British Comedy Award winning and BAFTA nominated filmmaker and ventriloquist Nina Conti, regular The Guilty Feminist co-host Athena Kugblenu, BBC4 regular and Live at the Apollo performer Suzi Ruffell
Monday, September 13, 7pm; tickets from £5 for standing; 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside; SE1 9DT; shakespearesglobe.com
10 Whish You Were a Better Photographer at Photo London, Somerset House
More than 90 galleries from 17 countries come together for this fair. In addition to world class photography, it has an extensive programme of events, curated in partnership with the Met and Whitney Museum, Photographic Arts Council in LA, the Barbican Centre, V&A and the Tate, just to name a few. Within the fair, there’s a multitude of exhibitions, including a collection of portraitures by fashion photographer David Bailey, Iranian artist and winner of the Master of Photography Award, Shirin Neshat presents ‘Land of Dreams’ for the first time in full in the UK. The Emerging Photography Award continues too. There’s also free resources for photographers, and a digital fair will run alongside the event, until September 28.
September 9-12; times vary; tickets from £29/£19 adult/concession; Strand, WC2R 1LA; photolondon.org
11 Be Dazzled by Neon Brightness at Chila Burman’s Light Installation at Covent Garden
British artist Chila Burman, who lit up the Tate Britain’s facade for Diwali last year, now lights up Covent Garden’s Market Building with her colourful installation, Do You See Words In Rainbows? Designed to bring joy and positivity to the viewer, the large-scale installation is a mix of uplifting messages and neon sculptures inspired by her family history, Indian heritage and her feminist perspective. As Chila’s project is a celebration of love and identity, for Pride, Covent Garden will donate £1 to the LGBTQI+ charity Albert Kennedy Trust for each person who Instagrams a picture of themselves with the installation using #CoventGardenInRainbows. So head down and get snapping!
On until October; coventgarden.london
12 Chair Dance at The Len Philips Swing Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, Chelsea
Celebrating 100 years of big bands, the Len Philips Swing Orchestra is on tour and coming to Chelsea. They will be joined by singers Matthew Ford (The Proms, the John Wilson Orchestra) and Nicola Emmanuelle (The Rat Pack). The orchestra are regulars on BBC Radio 2 and play regularly at The Ritz, and members have worked with some of the world’s greats including Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles, Bing Crosby, Freddie Mercury, Tom Jones, Burt Bacharach and Robbie Williams.
Sunday, September 12; 3pm; tickets from £19 and available here; 5 Sloane Terrace; SW1X 9DQ; cadoganhall.com; lpswingorchestra.com
13 Marvel at Luminosa at Jacksons Lane, Highgate
Contemporary circus ensemble Lost in Translation bring their circus/cabaret show to London. The show features aerial, acrobatics, Chinese pole, live music, gravity defying dancing, as well as top tier juggling and hoop swirling. The show features performers from Extraordinary Bodies, a circus company comprised of disabled and non-disabled artists, and Upswing, a troupe which works with people from diverse backgrounds. These London-based artists will join the seven core performers, ensuring shows stay fresh and varied.
On September, 21-29; times vary and tickets start from £10; Jacksons Lane, 269a Archway Road, Highgate, N6 5AA; jacksonslane.org.uk
14 Marvel at London Design Festival, various locations
Now in its 19th year, the London Design Festival returns, showcasing the very best of world-class of design-led creativity. And there’s a lot to see. This year’s festival looks at the ‘power of creative and cultural activity to help reignite the capital and kickstart London’s economy’, which is a pretty meaty focus. With architecture, public art, sculpture, furniture, jewellery and fashion, highlights include an initiative by Yinka Ilori that will transform London into an outdoor art gallery and festival hub V&A will host a collection of specially-commissioned installations. There’s also a swathe of projects and events that look at a circular economy and climate justice ahead of November’s COP26.
September 18-26; the festival takes place across London, with hubs in Brompton, Mayfair, Clerkenwell, Park Royal, Greenwich Peninsula, Shoreditch, Islington, Southwark and Kings Cross; londondesignfestival.com
15 Check-Out New Arts Precinct Woolwich Works, Woolwich
Woolwich Works is a new arts hub opening up in the area’s old industrial buildings. It includes theatres, concert venues, dance studios, and a recording studio, as well as spaces to entertain in and hire out. It will also be home to performing arts companies local to Greenwich borough including Punchdrunk, Europe’s first majority black and minority ethnic orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. As part of the launch programme and squeezing into September, Ashley Henry’s holds the first of his quarterly jazz, hip-hop and pop Jam Nights and Beezkat aka Finlay Crowther, a south London keyboard player and composer who has worked with Hans Zimmer, Odyseey and Shabaka Hutchings, will bring his alt-synth pop to the precinct.
Woolwich Works opens on Thursday, September 23; Ashley Henry’s Jam Night and Beezkat are on Thursday, September 30; tickets from £15.50/£10.50 for each event and available here and here; The Fireworks Factory, 11 No. 1 Street, Royal Arsenal, SE18 6HD; woolwich.works
16 Serve Pretty Woman Realness at Art in Mayfair Festival, Bond Street
In partnership with the Royal Academy of Arts, Art in Mayfair is a six week festival celebrating art, fashion and culture, now in its 4th year. Many of Bond Street’s iconic brands including Armani, Bulgari, Loewe, Max Mara, Tiffany and Victoria Beckham will create art-inspired window installations, and there is a programme of fashion and art-led experiences. There will also be large-scale sculptures across Mayfair, and Royal Academician Gary Hume has designed flags to be hung above Bond Street.
September 2 – October 17; Bond Street W1S 1SP; bondstreet.co.uk
17 Get Literary at Wimbledon BookFest: Sunset Festival
Miriam Margolyes, Rick Stein, poet John Cooper Clarke, TV and radio presenter Anita Rani, and Hamilton actor Giles Terera join a stellar line up of people who are great with words and story at Wimbledon BookFest. The festival runs for five days and is loaded with talks, workshops and activities for the public and school groups. This year sees a particular focus on memoir and life writing, alongside fiction, poetry, current affairs, history, science, performing arts, and an expanded programme for young people, including events featuring former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and Sophie Dahl.
September 15-19; tickets to individual sessions are now on sale at varying prices; email the box office with queries; 35 Wimbledon Hill Rd, SW19 7NB; wimbledonbookfest.org
18 Learn Something at HowTheLightGetsIn at Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath
TED Talk alternative HowTheLightGetsIn brings debate, music and comedy to one of London’s most beloved heath. The world’s largest philosophy and music festival, the weekend will host more than 200 events, bringing together internationally respected thinkers and a spectacular medley of musicians, performers and artists. This year’s theme is Dreams and Jeopardy, with headline speakers including human rights
activist Shami Chakrabarti, economics commentator Grace Blakeley, award winning journalist David Aaronovitch, founder of neurophilosophy Patricia Churchland, trailblazing feminist Laurie Penny, Tony Blair’s former speech writer Philip Collins, and economist and broadcaster Linda Yueh. Programme events will also be streamed.
On September 18-19; tickets from £26 and concessions available; times vary; Hampstead Lane, NW3 7JR; howthelightgetsin.org
19 Enjoy World-Class Musical Theatre at Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre, West End
One of the most loved stories is back on stage when Matilda resumes performances at the Cambridge Theatre. A tonic for audiences of all ages, this anarchic, award-winning production about a strong and determined young girl with a vivid imagination celebrates 10 years since it opened in London. An iconic British musical, Matilda has won 99 international awards including 24 for Best Musical and has been seen by more than 10 million people across more than 90 cities worldwide. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favour.
On from Thursday, September 16; tickets from £20; Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, WC2H 9HU; uk.matildathemusical.com
20 Pick up Something Nice at the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair at Battersea Park, Battersea
Featuring more than 150 exhibitors, the event attracts many decorators and interior designers including Rita Konig, Flora Soames, Olga and Alex Polizzi, Robert Kime and Veere Grenney. The fair is full of antiques, unexpected treasures and specialist dealers offering a wide variety of objects, furniture, art and accessories dating from the 17th century to the 1970s. With so many things, there is something for all tastes and budgets.
Tuesday, September 28 to Sunday October 3; tickets are £20 per person on opening day and £10 pp on subsequent days, advanced bookings are essential; times vary; Evolution London (The Marquee),Queenstown Road, Battersea Park, SW8 4NW; decorativefair.com
21 See Joker Accompanied by a Live Orchestra at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith
Watch Joaquin Phoenix give an Academy Award winning performance in Todd Phillips’ acclaimed film, Joker when it is screened at the Apollo accompanied by a full, live orchestra playing the film’s award-winning score. Composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir, the film’s melancholic score, which is made from a fusion of industrial soundscapes and emotive string-led melodies, won an Academy, BAFTA, Golden Globe and a Grammy, and here’s your chance to listen to it live, adding a new dimension to the dark and haunting film.
Sunday, September 26; 6.30pm; tickets from £34; 45 Queen Caroline Street, W6 9QH; joker.movie; eventimapollo.com
22 Listen to Music While You Eat at Sumosan Twiga, Knightsbridge
Whether you went to Sumosan Twiga for the Italian cuisine, Japanese food or for a cocktail or two, you can now go for the music as well. Kicking off a weekly music night is French-Moroccan performer Najwa and The Funk. Listen to dulcet tones while you feast on dishes such as home-made black truffle ravioli from the Italian menu or Alaskan marinated miso black cod from the Japanese menu.
Every Wednesday from September 8; 8pm-10pm; 165 Sloan Street, SW1X 9QB; sumosantwigalondon.com
23 Listen to Bach’s St John Passion at St Bartholomew-the-Great, Barbican
New historical performance ensemble, Figure, perform Bach’s St John Passion for their first concert. The orchestra is led by Gabriella Jones and singers include Richard Robbins and Rowan Pierce. Aiming to introduce a new generation of musicians to the classical scene, Figure brings compositions to life in the way their composers intended, while championing talented young British musicians from all backgrounds.
Friday, September 17; 7pm, tickets £18/£12, full/concession; St Bartholomew-the-Great, Cloth Fair, Barbican, EC1A 7JQ; figureensemble.co.uk
24 Climb The O2 and Enjoy a Performance with a View at Drag Up at The O2, Greenwich
Perhaps slightly different to your regular drag show, the Drag Up series, hosted by glamazon queen Herr, involves a climb up to the roof of The O2. Once there, you are rewarded with a glass of Champagne Lanson at the summit, while you watch Herr’s show. Herr, winner of Not Another Drag Competition: All Stars, also hosts an Amy Winehouse tribute night and stars in Gals Aloud, a Girls Aloud tribute band.
Thursday, September 2,9,16 and 23 September; 7pm and 7.30pm; Tickets £40; Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX; theo2.co.uk