Enjoy the perfect August bank holiday with our guide to the best events in the city.
This is it: the last free day off between now and Christmas! Embrace three days of shimmering summer (weather permitting, of course) with our sparkling guide of things to do in London during the August bank holiday. Especially since it’s the first bank holiday of the year since the post-“Freedom Day” restrictions have been lifted. Expect festivals, days out and much more to come on this lively August bank holiday weekend – here’s our pick of the best events coming up!
1. Take in the stunning tones of the English National Opera (ENO) at South Facing Festival (August 27 & 29)
This shiny new festival arrived in London this summer and has wowed audiences over the last month with performances from the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Sleaford Mods and more. On the bank holiday weekend, why not be treated to the moving sounds of the English National Orchestra in a very special performance at the Crystal Palace ball? Exactly, that’s a no-brainer. Grab your tickets here.
2. Toast the August bank holiday weekend at the brand new Electric Shuffle bar
Opening up at their all-new London Bridge home, Electric Shuffle promises a fine drinking experience at the top of Bermondsey Street. Slurp down a cocktail, grab some bottomless pizza with a bottle of prosecco and, if you’re brave enough, take on a challenge of their reimagined electric version of the classic shuffleboard game. It’s set to be one of the liveliest new spots in the city and will quickly become a favourite among new neighbourhood bars. Find out more information and book your space here. ⭐️ Sponsored ⭐️
3. Drink bottomless rum punch at this Jamaican brunch (August 28-29)
Ma Petite Jamaica‘s bottomless brunch is truly unlike any other and thanks to their authentic Jamaican food, wonderfully welcoming staff, and all the Reggae hits you could ever hope for, you’ll instantly forget you’re in the middle of Camden Town. Book your tickets here.
Even more fab brunches to check out:
4. 🧁 Drag Queen Cupcake Bottomless Brunch (August 28)
5. 🥂 Saturday Bottomless Brunch at Aeronaut (August 28)
6. 🍹 Rooftop Bottomless Brunch at Bar Elba (August 28)
7. 💪 Buff Bingo Bottomless Brunch! (August 28)
8. 🎶 Go Gaga Bottomless Brunch Show (August 30)
9. Party in Victoria Park at All Points East Festival (August 27, 28, 30)
Usually a huge ten-day festival in late May, the bill has been trimmed to three days in August for 2021, with a day off in the middle for Field Day (more on that in a moment). Still, it’ll offer huge names and a massive variety of acts in terms of both era and genre. Expect music from the likes of Jamie XX, Kano, Tom Misch, Slowthai, Arlo Parks, Little Simz, Foals, Bombay Bicycle Club, Caribou, Jade Bird, Nadine Shah, London Grammar, Jorja Smith, Loyle Carner, Mura Masa, Floating Points, Kojey Radical, and Lapsley. Not bad, eh? Get tickets and information here.
The festival has returned from the Tottenham Marshes to its previous home in Victoria Park – on the same weekend as All Points East, no less. It’s going to get loud and lineup highlights include a headline set from BICEP, plus support from Floating Points, Ross From Friends, Josey Rebelle, and plenty more. Get more info here.
The Espresso Martini Society are back with another one-day tribute to London’s favourite drink, and best of all, it’s bottomless. Whether you tackle The Usual Suspect, or a salted caramel, Ferrero Rocher, or citrus twist on the classic, you’re going to be very merry here. Tickets can be found here.
12-13. Immerse yourself in a moving candlelight concert at Freemason’s Hall (August 27, 28, 30)
London’s spectacular Freemasons’ Hall is a seriously impressive venue, even more so when it’s filled with candles and the best compositions from Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi. Across two concerts over the August bank holiday weekend, you’ll experience the greatest classical hits of all time, whether it’s a concert dedicated to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (August 28), or a multi-composer celebration with music provided by the Belmont Ensemble of London (August 27 & 30).
14. Attend a carnival on Clapham Common (August 28)
YAM Carnival is an incredible “immersive experience of Black culture, food, music and more,” taking place on Clapham Common this bank holiday. Hear tunes from artists including Davido, Femi Kuti, Kehlani, and Honey Dijon who will take over three stages. Great food and powerful art will make it a must-visit. Find tickets and information here.
15. Slip into the underworld of the 1926 Cockney crime scene (August 27-29)
Get to know the dark underbelly of Elephant and Castle as you are immersed in one family’s brutal battle for supremacy! In COLAB Theatre’s most ambitious production to date, you’ll get to shape the experience. Can you orchestrate the grand territorial takeover of London? Will you broker an alliance with The West End Boys or side with Italian Godfather Sabini? Place bets, or scheme privately with a devious traitor; whatever you do, you are the master of your fate. Book here if you think you’re brave enough.
16. Hit the beach
Yes, we know these technically may not quite be in London. But, if the weather holds up, then what better time is there to take drive down to the sea to these beaches that are close enough for a day trip? After August, we know it’s going to get cooooold, so if you can, taking a dip in the sea on the bank holiday weekend may just be the last time you can do for at least eight months. Here are 22 beautiful beaches near London for a seaside day trip.
17. Boogie up close to the clouds at this lively rooftop party (August 28)
Prince Of Wales is known for its fabulous rooftop parties in Brixton, and the one they’ve got lined up this bank holiday will be no exception. Attendees will be treated to nearly 12 hours (5.30pm-4am) of non-stop tunes on the decks across two covered rooftop terraces, with plenty of street food and cocktails for you to enjoy all evening. Grab your tickets here.
18. Get down to some House and Techno at Eastern Electrics Festival (August 28)
Down at Lee Valley showground you’ll find all the House and Techno live tracks you could ever dream of, with performers including Hannah Wants, Skream, and Steve Lawler B2B Darius Syrossian. Find your tickets here.
19. Go for a dance in a luxury Georgian manor house (August 30)
This beautiful Georgian manor house is playing host to a bank holiday Monday party, and you could head there for a boogie. Walk in to collect your welcome glass of prosecco and bottomless cocktail hour and spend all day cutting shapes inside the gorgeous house to the sound of RnB, Basement and Hip-Hop tunes. Grab your tickets here.
Maybe you want a relaxing bank holiday sippin’ on the good stuff and munching down on some scones. Or maybe you want to take in the flamboyance of a fancy afternoon tea venue in the capital. Hey, this might simply be the perfect hangover cure; we won’t judge. Whatever your reason, be sure to check out our list of the best afternoon tea spots in the city.
21. Listen to live music at this Sunday bottomless brunch (August 29)
All Star Lanes are throwing a Sunday Soul Session Bottomless Brunch accompanied by live music from singer-songwriter Kadija Kamara. Enjoy two scrumptious brunch items of your choice, a free welcome cocktail, and two whole hours of unlimited bottomless mimosas, prosecco and craft beer. Grab your tickets here.
22. Play detective at the official Sherlock live game (August 27-29)
Live out your secret detective dreams at this immersive escape game experience from the creators of the hit BBC TV series. Wander through sets from the show and solve mysteries with the help of the cast who have left you and your group valuable clues. Sherlock: The Official Live Game is a must-visit for fans of the show and suspense-lovers alike! Get your tickets here.
23. Bounce around the warehouse settings of Tobacco Dock at Junction 2 Festival (August 28-29)
This award-winning festival has switched from Boston Manor Park (where summer fields meet stark industrial structures) to head to the warehouses of Tobacco Dock for the August bank holiday this year – on both nights, they’ll then mosey over to fabric for a takeover from 11pm on until 7am the next morning. One thing not changing: the best underground dance music will be delivered to “obsessively high standards”. Find more info here.
24. Chill under a big, beautiful moon (Until August 30)
The Kensington + Chelsea Festival are taking things up a notch for their final month, with August’s biggest arrival being the ‘Museum of the Moon’. Artist Luke Jerram created this gorgeous lunar installation, a seven-metre globe detailed with NASA’s imagery of the moon’s surface. You can find it at St John the Baptist Church on Holland Road until August 30. More here.
For a full-on art attack, London has you covered. Handily, we’ve rounded up all the current and upcoming art exhibitions from London’s major galleries and brilliant museums, from Tate Britain and Tate Modern to Somerset House, the V&A and the National Gallery. These amazing art exhibitions in London encompass everything from classic works to bleeding edge art, but all offer something for the curious. Head to one over the bank holiday weekend to scratch that cultural itch. Here’s the list in full.
26. Spoil yourself with this royal bottomless champagne afternoon tea (August 27-30)
Feel like a royal as you sip on bottomless champagne and tea while overlooking the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace. The Rubens at the Palace is an award-winning afternoon tea lounge, where you can currently enjoy a chic afternoon tea that comes with a selection of mouth-watering pastries. Get your tickets here.
As we all remember, bars and restaurants were shut for a hefty chunk of this year, so what better way to show your love for those that are just getting on their feet than to try a brand new London spot? Our city’s award-winning drinking and dining scene is wonderfully diverse and ever-expanding, with new bars and restaurants arriving nearly every week. So whether you’re looking for a cool dive bar to check out or a high-end restaurant to add to your foodie bucket list, there’s always something new to discover. Here’s a list of some new spots in London that opened this year.
A wholesome bank holiday weekend activity for any literature lovers. Cecil court is packed with twenty-odd secondhand bookshops and antiquarian booksellers, and is just moments away from the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square, you’ll be surprised to stumble across such a peaceful gem. The shop fronts haven’t changed for over a century, so a walk through Cecil Court is like a trip back in time. Read more about it here.
Hollywood’s cream of the crop have arriving at outdoor cinemas across London this summer, bringing the magic of film to rooftops, parks, and even canals. With a massive range of blockbusters, cult classics, and family-friendly films on offer, you’ll find something for everyone at any of London’s best outdoor cinemas. Fingers crossed we can get some of that LA weather during the bank holiday weekend! Read about London’s outdoor cinemas here.
30. Conquer your pals at a bottomless brunch with hi-tech beer pong (August 27-30)
31. Watch Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty, Architects, Bob Vylan and more at ALT LDN
Finish off your bank holiday in style at a debut festival with one of the most eclectic lineups going, featuring everything from Trap to Metalcore. Get more information here.
During the long dark of the winter lockdown, one could spot a glimmer of light at Tate Britain, where artist Chila Burman festooned the exterior of the art gallery with colourful neon lights, in a celebration of Diwali. It was a welcome mercy during a pretty tough time, and proved so popular with passers-by that it was extended by a month. Now, Burman will bring her electric neons to another famous canvas: Covent Garden. From August 26, the artist will fill the South Hall of Covent Garden’s central Market Building with dazzling neon sculptures. A dreamy bank holiday walk under the lights sounds pretty damn alright to us.
33. Gather your diva friends for this fab ‘It’s Britney Brunch’ (August 30)
The past year has been pretty Toxic for our social lives, so the heat is on to make this summer an unforgettable one as quickly as possible. Helpfully, everyone’s favourite hot pink bar, Tonight Josephine, has brought back the Britney Spears-themed bottomless brunch for a prosecco-fuelled event that’ll have you screaming Gimme More by the end. Find your tickets here.
While we can’t give you the legitimate Hogwarts acceptance letter you’ve dreamed of since you can remember, we can point you to a pretty magical wizarding experience. The Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition will whisk you faster than a portkey into a world of rare and exclusive from 10 years of filming the mammoth film franchise. It’s the first time the photo collection has ever been shown together in one place, and you’ll even be able to hit the Butterbeer bar straight after! Find all the information you need right here.
35. Sip on a cocktail at one of London’s beautiful summer terraces
September can be unpredictable in London when it comes to weather, so the last few days of August may be your best bet for enjoying one of the capital’s stunning summer terraces. From cosy heated gardens to vibrant street set-ups, we’ve rounded up 125 of the best terraces for outdoor dining and drinking in London this summer.
36. Dance until the stars come out at this Thames boat party (August 28)
Is there a better way to ring in the summer than a party on a boat? Now that the weather is better and nightclubs are back, the London Boat Party will take you on a four hour cruise past our city’s beautiful sights, where you’ll be dancing until the stars come out on two party decks. If you don’t want the night to end, head straight to a free after-party at Ministry of Sound or POPworld and party until dawn. Find your tickets for Saturday, August 28, here.
Once the August bank holiday is done, find more brilliant ideas in our ultimate roundup of 500 of the best things to do in London.
All our events are recommended by editors. Tickets purchased through Fever may earn Secret London commission. Words by Alex Landon, Julie Freeman and Jack Saddler.
Also published on Medium.