By: Andrea Jane Pearce
Summer in London is well and truly under way! Make the most of it by diving into our guide to the best events June has to offer.
THURSDAY 27 JUNE – WEDNESDAY 3 JULY
Attended by over 150 exhibitors and held at the historic Royal Hospital Chelsea (a short walk from Sloane Square), Masterpiece London is a world-leading international art fair. With an array of extraordinary pieces for sale, from contemporary sculpture to the finest antiques, this is the place to find the perfect addition to your collection.
As well as high-quality artwork, Masterpiece London has partnered up with Urban Caprice to bring you some of the finest restaurants and bars, all under on roof. Step out for a breath of fresh air and a glass of bubbly at the Perrier-Jouët Champagne Terrace or celebrate a purchase with some sensational seafood at Scott’s Seafood and Champagne Bar. Whichever day you visit, you’ll also have the opportunity to attend a number of talks by contemporary artists and industry experts on topics ranging from the role of colour in artwork to the design process behind the Metropolitan Museum’s British Galleries.
Whether you’re looking to buy or just browsing, Masterpiece London is an unmissable event for all art lovers.
Royal Hospital Chelsea | Wesbite
OPEN GARDEN SQUARES WEEKEND
SATURDAY 8 – SUNDAY 9 JUNE
In Open Garden Squares Weekend’s first year it worked with just 43 participating gardens. 20 years later, it is the main fundraiser for The London Parks and Gardens Trust and allows visitors to step through the gates of over 200 elegant walled gardens, community allotments and rooftop oases, many of which are usually closed to the public.
With just one ticket you can visit as many of the gardens as you like, all of which are listed on the OGSW website. Alternatively, sign up for a guided walk or group bike ride and visit gardens in Bloomsbury, Kensington and the City, as well as some of London’s most iconic landmarks. If sport and alcoholic drinks sound like a good combination to you, why not swing by one of the locations offering ‘Croquet and Cocktails’? Learn to play the traditional sport while sipping on a drink prepared by the resident mixologist.
With all this, as well as live music, poetry and refreshments, to enjoy, Open Garden Squares Weekend is sure to be one of this month’s highlights.
Various locations | Website
LONDON FESTIVAL OF ARCHITECTURE
SATURDAY 1 – SUNDAY 30 JUNE
It would be impossible to think of London without conjuring a mental image of some of its incredible buildings; from modern skyscrapers like The Shard to notable landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. It’s therefore no surprise that the capital is home to the world’s largest annual architecture festival, the London Festival of Architecture.
Returning for its 15th year, the LFA offers a programme of exceptional events across London, all of which have a unique take on this year’s theme, ‘boundaries’. With over 400 events throughout June, you don’t have to be an edifice expert to enjoy the festival’s programme. Sign up for a guided walk below the City’s skyscrapers or, if you’re in the mood for something unusual, a tour of London’s loos. If you’d rather go solo, there are plenty of temporary installations scattered around to explore at your own pace. For something more hands-on, why not try a family-friendly workshop? Learn how to make bricks with ‘Build Your Boundary’, engage with the redevelopment of Old Kent Road in the OKR Design Challenge and even experience the streets of London from someone else’s point of view as part of the ‘Empathy Tour’. Last but not least, don’t miss the chance to see what goes on behind closed doors with the ‘Studio Lates’, during which architecture practices invite you in and offer their own take on this ever-popular element of the festival.
Various locations | Website
FRIDAY 21 JUNE
Worried you won’t be able to fit in everything on your itinerary? There’s no better time to try than the summer solstice.
Early birds brave enough to be up at 4:43am (!) should head to Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath where they can sit back and watch the sun rise over London’s skyline. Sixteen hours of daylight allows plenty of time for sightseeing so why not get some breakfast and head to the London Eye or St Paul’s before the crowds? Bask in the summer sun with a stroll through Hyde Park or a trip to a beer garden with a view of the Thames; both the Tattershall Castle by Embankment and The Crabtree near Hammersmith Bridge are great choices. Whether you choose to spend the rest of your day studying museum exhibits, getting in some much-needed retail therapy or trying out as many wine bars as possible (click here for our recommendations), don’t forget to make your way to Bar Elba, Coq d’Argent or a rooftop bar of your choosing to enjoy the sunset at 9:21pm.
UNDERBELLY FESTIVAL SOUTHBANK
UNTIL SUNDAY 29 SEPTEMBER
The Underbelly Festival’s 11th Southbank season is well and truly underway, gracing the banks of the Thames with its most exciting programme yet. Its line-up is packed with live circus, comedy and cabaret shows, plus a newly expanded Kids Festival which promises to be full of family-friendly fun. The shows are short and sweet, giving you plenty of time to explore the festival grounds and even hop on a fairground ride or two. If none of the live shows tickle your fancy, why not make the most of the finger licking food and have a dinner date here instead? Dig into a burrito from Hola Guacamole, grab some sustainable grub from Anata or indulge in a hand-pressed burger from Nanny Bill’s.
If you have a penchant for podcasts don’t miss the debut of Podcast Live Season – two weeks of your favourite podcasters taking to the Belly Theatre and Paradiso Spiegeltent stages to record exclusive live episodes. For a less civilised experience snap up tickets to BLUNDERLAND, a unique variety show straight out of Brooklyn’s most notorious nightclub. Described as ‘an acid trip down the rabbit hole’, this event isn’t for the faint-hearted.
337-338 Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, SE1 7NA | Website