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Matthew Pearson

Summer in London: Last Chance

We’ve come up with a last-minute article about last-minute things that last-minute you can do to get the most out of summer in London. We’re not big on technicalities here. If it’s sunnier and warmer than the majority of the year, then it’s probably still summer. So here are some ideas to get you going (you’d better get going quick). But first, an appropriate verse from Mr Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row, a perfect depiction of the twilight of the good times. They’re sweeping up the mounds of confetti, They’re taking the bunting down, The bouncy castle’s been deflated, The ice cream man’s left town. But there’s still time to see some of the following Events as you’re about to read, Who are point blank refusing to come inside Like a dog running off from its lead. And if you have any suggestions On stuff to do before the summer goes Just let us know with a comment in the Comment box below.

Get Down by the River

Totally Thames is a festival that encourages you to get outside (whatever the weather) to engage with and celebrate the city’s main water feature, the River Thames. The month-long festival of events kicks off on 1st September and wraps up on the 30th, meaning its perfectly placed to pick you up as the holidays draw to a close. Highlights include nighttime kayak tours on the river, a huge regatta challenge event on the 29th and concerts in the bascule chambers of Tower Bridge. The centrepiece artwork of the festival is The Ship of Tolerance, a boat with a sail made up of illustrations by 100 local schoolchildren. It will be bobbing up to the Tate Modern from the 4th September, but for now it’s at the Royal Docks. Find out more on the Totally Thames website.

Go Royal

Yeah, yeah, not very summery is it. We know. But this is still one the best things to do with your summer in London, particularly as it cools down. September is the last month in which you can enjoy a visit to Buckingham Palace and its wonderful state rooms. The Queen and her family are still on their summer holidays, so take up the chance to see the magnificent Grand Staircase and marvel at the cream and gold fixtures and fittings of the White Drawing Room. Don't forget to take a walk around the sprawling Palace Garden with its grand herbaceous border and rose garden. You can take a tour of Buckingham Palace up until the 29th September, so book now to avoid disappointment. Check availability on their website here.

Stay Outside as Long as You Can

OK, this is more like it. Just because it’s September doesn’t mean the sun’s completely gone and being outside is unbearable. You’re thinking of October. Until October, Summer in London is go. And where better to enjoy Summer in London than on one of the capital’s best rooftop bars. From Shoreditch’s buzzing Queen of Hoxton, to Lost in Brixton’s new jungle-themed roof terrace, there are plenty of above-ground areas where you can drink, eat and wave a long goodbye to the sun. Check out our recommendations for the best rooftop bars in London here. Music-wise, we’re really excited about The Nest Collective’s Campfire Club events taking place in September. They’ve been delighting intimate audiences all summer with folk acts and drinks around the campfire. There’s nothing quite like music round the flames as the nights draw in and these guys know it. Check out all their September events here.

The capital’s excellent set of outdoor cinemas are not willing to give up on summer in London. Pop Up Screens’ enthusiasm for movies alfresco isn’t going anywhere any time soon, with the touring screen heading to Fulham, Holborn, Hammersmith, Greenwich and Parsons Green before September is through. Bohemian Rhapsody, The Incredibles 2, The Greatest Showman and Get Out are among some of the flicks they’re bringing with them. The Luna Cinema is also still going through September, with showings of The Meg, The Favourite and A Star is Born at various London venues. And the always-popular Rooftop Film Club are bringing screenings of Cruel Intentions, Rocketman, The Blair Witch Project and many more to Roof East, the Bussey Building and Queen of Hoxton.

A Different Kind of Festival Season

Well, we’ve already told you about the Totally Thames festival that is totally happening this September, but there are other fantastic to get out and enjoy as summer in London wraps up as slowly as we’ll allow it to. The Udderbelly Festival on the South Bank is enjoying its biggest and most popular year yet. It has plenty of family-friendly arts events, Udderbelly Lates evenings for adults-only and live podcast recordings this year. That’s in addition to its usual packed schedule of fantastic circus, comedy, cabaret and music performances. With tons of street food places available at each performance, this London pop-up has a real festival atmosphere that’ll help you forget that school is back and you’ve got deadlines coming up. Have a look-see here for more info on what to book.

London Design Festival kicks off on 14th September, turning the city into its stage until the 22nd. There’s a ludicrous amount of stuff to see this year, with over 400 large-scale pieces of public art and installations, exhibitions and talks across the city. We’re particularly looking forward to seeing Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s Bamboo Ring outside the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as Please Be Seated by Paul Cocksedge in Finsbury Square. Work out your festival itinerary here. And dovetailing seamlessly with the London Design Festival is Open House London. This annual festival of architecture that sees many of London’s architectural landmarks open their doors for free. This year, it’s taking place on the weekend of 21st-22nd September. Take a look inside the Greek Masonic Temple close to Liverpool Street, explore the iconic Custom House on the north bank of the Thames, or join the ballot to be in with a chance of heading up The Shard. Check out the extensive set of buildings open this year on the Open House London website. So, those are some of the things we’ll be doing to cling onto summer in London. If you’ve got any other ideas, let us know in the comments below.

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