London comes alive in August, offering up a plethora of events for people of all ages – but especially families – to dive into. From carnivals to festivals, the attractions are over-spilling this month. Here are four of the very best…
(1st-31st August/ various venues)
Don’t be fooled by its name; this annual West End event, that’s been going for nearly two decades, lasts for far more than just a week – basically the whole of the month – which is great news when you learn what it actually is. Kids’ Week enables those aged between five and 16 to see a London show entirely free, so long as an adult pays full whack, while (as part of the same deal) two further kids can go half-price. Other treats include backstage access to several theatres, make-up and dance workshops and writing classes for budding young playwrights.
(1st-28th August/ Camden People’s Theatre, 58-60 Hampstead Road NW1 2PY)
Take your pick… showcasing 250 theatre, dance, comedy and poetry productions at 25 separate venues, the Camden Fringe really has something for everyone. Edgy stand-up? Check. A new take on Shakespeare? Check. Old aged pensioners rapping? Check. It’s all in Camden this August. A sort of alternative to the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival that also takes place in august every year, this fest is a terrifically diverse and eye-opening chance to catch both new and established acts – all in one London borough that’s so easy to reach if you’re staying at the Shaftesbury Metropolis London Hyde Park hotel.
The Great British Beer Festival
(9th-13th August/ Olympia London, Hammersmith Road W14 8UX)
This is the place where real ale gets real – thanks to featuring 900 different global varieties of this and other beer types, ciders and perries and representation from 350 different British breweries, it’s no wonder it attracts more than 66,000 punters every year. Be warned, though, if you think this highlight of London August attractions sounds like a bright and breezy boozy evening, you may be in for a surprise; being the UK’s biggest festival devoted to its favourite tipple, it’s beloved by genuine beer enthusiasts. However, don’t let that put you off; real ale experts will be on hand to offer tutored tastings, while they’ll also be the likes of traditional pub games, great snacks and live music to keep your metaphorical glass topped up.
Notting Hill Carnival
(28th-29th August/ Notting Hill W11)
Finally, it’s the big one… yes, Europe’s biggest street party celebrates its 50th anniversary this August Bank Holiday, so expect a cornucopia of Caribbean colour, vivacity and spirit provided by fantastic floats, delightfully costumed dancers, soca and calypso musicians, huge sound-systems and brilliant steel bands, as well as more than a million revellers of all ages attend across the carnival’s two days. Although Sunday’s the traditional ‘Children’s Day’, both days are aimed squarely at families, while there’ll be various stages for adults to dance away to beats generated by everything from hip-hop to house. An urban celebration like no other!