Londons Summer Open Air Events
Planning a trip to the capital this summer? There are heaps of events to attend this year (especially thanks to the crammed sporting calendar), which you can either make the focus of your break or simply use a way to bulk out your current itinerary.
Open air events come in all shapes and sizes – after all, they could cover pretty much any kind of outdoor attractions, like film screenings and even music festivals. So, I’ve tried to keep the below focused on London’s unique outdoor events, rather than just give you a list of gigs to check out.
Before you start cementing the details of your trip, you should double check the availability of any event you want to attend, since a lot of these things are really popular and will sell out before they start. Once you’ve got your tickets, get yourself online to search for cheap accommodation in London - snap up the best deals while you see them, because you never know when they’re going to be taken off the menu.
One of the loveliest things about London in the summertime is that everyone gets so excited about actually seeing some sun that we do as much as possible outdoors! Open air theatre in the capital can be a pretty amazing experience and it’s a nice cultural excursion to add to your itinerary.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is definitely one of the best options. The quality of the plays here is outstanding, plus the auditorium is beautiful and, since it’s also fairly steep, you generally get a good view of the action too. This summer you can see Ragtime the Musical (running until September 8th) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which finishes on September 5th.
It’s not just plays that get brought outside during the summer; outdoor film screenings are massively popular, and for good reason. If you’re lucky enough to get some good weather, sitting in the warm open air watching a good film with a glass of wine in hand is an experience you’re not likely to forget.
Probably the best-known outdoor screening series is Film4 Summer Screen, which is held annually at Somerset House. This year, you can see the usual mix of premieres and classics, including the UK premiere of On the Road – the big screen adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s famous book – and Apocalypse Now.
If you had something livelier in mind, the Notting Hill Carnival might be just what you’re after. This absolutely huge event is something people come from all over the world to experience. Pretty much taking over west London during the August bank holiday, it debuted way back in 1964 and has been growing and growing ever since.
Colourful parades, amazing Caribbean tunes and incredible music are what the festivities are all about. Expect to see loads of people playing authentic music like calypso and soca, while there are also live stages where all kinds of acts are scheduled to play, from local bands to outfits of international fame. Jamiroquai, Burning Spear and Wyclef Jean are among the lineup in 2012.
This year, the festival will take place on Sunday 26th and Monday 27th, with Sunday being the more child-friendly of the two. Anyone hoping for some more serious partying might find Monday a better option. On both days, carnival bands will start making their way through the streets from 9:00.