Still looking to make lots of exciting plans this summer? From the Secret Cinema immersive Bridgerton ball to the Taste Of London food festival, we’ve rounded up some of the best things you can still book tickets for right now.
And even though social distancing restrictions have now been extended to at least 19 July, there’s still plenty going on in the capital, with many events, festivals, performances and exhibitions still expected to take place this summer.
So, who’s up for filling in that diary with lots of brilliant things to look forward to? If you need some inspiration for what to buy tickets for, we’ve rounded up some of London’s best events and re-openings in 2021 and beyond…
Things to do in London 2021
Mother of Mankind
Celebrate beautiful artwork by female Black artists
HOFA Gallery and ADA contemporary art gallery (Accra, Ghana) have joined forces to launch a very special art exhibition of 18 renowned Black female contemporary artists. The show, Mother of Mankind, is the first of its kind to be showcased by both galleries and will be curated by Adora Mba, the founder of ADA.
The exhibition launches on 22 July and will run for six weeks until 31 August at HOFA Gallery. It is also available virtually for all to see.
Step inside the Rio Cinema to experience film in a unique way
Legendary choreographer Tony Adigun, head of contemporary dance collective Avant Garde, presents The Rule of Seven, the first installment of his multi-artwork series, Illegal Dance. Captured at Shoreditch Town Hall, the mesmerising short film explores a dystopian future where artistic expression is forbidden by oppressive regimes around the world.
The Rio’s narrow corridors and stairwells will become home to the secrets of Illegal Dance. You’ll be able to fully immerse your senses as you follow a breadcrumb trail guiding you through mesmerising living installations.
Tickets can be purchased for the full immersive experience over two days: Tue 20 July and Wed 21 July.
Underbelly's London Wonderground Festival
Underbelly’s London Wonderground is a new festival taking place in Earls Court from 15 July to 26 September. Expect comedy, music, circus and cabaret across its spectacular Big Top venue and the iconic upside-down purple cow. There’s also a vintage fair, outdoor bars and street food.
Shows include Dragprov’s Musical Mischief, an improvised drag musical extravaganza, Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho, which sees the Iron Lady in drag, and Austentatious, an entirely improvised comedy play in the style of Jane Austen.
You can find a full lineup and book tickets on the Underbelly’s London Wonderground website.
The Perfect Crime
Play detective in this immersive experience
Love a bit of true crime? The Perfect Crime is the latest immersive escape game from the people behind Heist, The Crystal Maze and Time Run.
In 1990, Rembrandt’s The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee and Vermeer’s The Concert were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. They have remained missing to this day. With the FBI offering a reward of $1 million, and an estimated black market value of $100 million they are the most valuable stolen paintings in the world.
This is where you come in: what would you do if you had 60 minutes to plan and commit the perfect crime?
The Perfect Crime opens at Theatre Deli on 24 June, tickets £120 for a group of two to six people and you can book via the website.
Taste of London
Eat, drink and be merry with friends
Looking for a foodie festival to head to with your pals? Of course you are – and the Taste Of London food festival should be top of your list. Regent’s Park is hosting ten-days of feasting, cooking and cocktail masterclasses, live entertainment and lots of good vibes. Just be sure to turn up really, really hungry. And maybe pray for good weather.
Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition
Enjoy a Butterbeer and get a broom selfie
The Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition opens in Covent Garden this July, promising to take guests on a journey through the memories of the 10 years spent creating the franchise’s filmmaking magic, using a display of behind-the-scenes images that have never been seen before in one place.
Guests will be invited to put on a Hogwarts robe and strike a pose in a number of green screen photo opportunities. This includes riding a broomstick over London and pulling a serious face for a Ministry of Magic Identification Card. The site will also be home to London’s only bottled Butterbeer Bar.
It opens to fans on 12 July. Tickets are available to purchase on the official website now and must be booked in advance.
Secret Cinema presents Bridgerton
Dress up for the immersive Bridgerton ball
Secret Cinema is holding a three-hour long Regency-era ball based on Bridgerton, and you’re all cordially invited.
Guests will enjoy a ballroom with a string quartet playing re-imagined pop classics and The Lumiere Brothers’ Incredible Moving Light Show. There will be lots of dancing and you will get to mingle with your favourite characters from the show. Attendees will also have a dance card to fill with partners of choice, exchanging love tokens on the happy conclusion of a dance.
Sounds like quite the fun evening, eh?
Tickets to the ball go on general sale at 10am on 6 July. Or you can sign up to the waitlist for presale tickets, available from 10am on 5 July. Prices start at £39 plus booking fee.
Wish You Were Here: Postcards from the Past poetry exhibit
Become immersed in poetry
Fancying a cultural girl summer? Visit the multi-sensory poetry exhibition from bestselling poet and mental health activist Charly Cox, which features hernew body of poetry alongside interactive installations by other artists.
Charly Cox: Wish You Were Here: Postcards from the Past runs from 30 June to 7 July at 59 Greek Street, Soho. Tickets are available on the door.
Live comedy shows at Soho Theatre
Laugh your head off at a Soho Theatre comedy show
After the 18 months we’ve just had, a big night of belly laughing is in order. Luckily, there are loads of shows taking place at Soho Theatre. Highlights include Hot Gay Time Machine, Sarah Keyworth’s Dark Horse, Desiree Burch’s Unf*ckable, Queens of Sheba, Catherine Bohart’s Immaculate and Mae Martin’s Sap.
Openaire Float-In Cinema in Paddington
Fancy watching a film on the big screen while floating around in a boat? At Openaire Float-In Cinema, movies are shown on a six-by-three-metre LED screen at Merchant Square in Paddington Basin. The 16 boats – which you pick up from Little Venice – seat up to eight people each, and cost £248 to hire. Alternatively, you can book a deckchair for £19.25.
Films showing include Bridget Jones’s Diary, Pulp Fiction, Joker and Mamma Mia! Tickets are on sale now.
Royal Style In The Making at Kensington Palace
Catch a rare IRL glimpse of Princess Diana’s iconic wedding dress
Princess Diana’s wedding dress is on display in Kensington Palace for the first time in 25 years. Diana wore the famous David and Elizabeth Emanuel gown for her wedding to Prince Charles at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1981, sparking a wave of copycat designs. The elaborate embroidery featured 10,000 pearls and it had a record-breaking 25-foot train.
Nick Payne’s Constellations at Vaudeville Theatre
See Line Of Duty’s Anna Maxwell Martin on the stage
Nick Payne’s Constellations will return to the West End this summer, with four different casts taking turns to tell the story of a quantum physicist and a beekeeper who meet at a barbeque.
Anna Maxwell Martin, Chris O’Dowd, Peter Capaldi, Zoe Wanamaker and Russell Tovey are just five of the actors taking part in the runs.
Constellations is at the Vaudeville Theatre from 18 June until 12 September, and you can book tickets now.
Dodge: Drink, Dine and Dodgems at Somerset House
Have all the fun at the fair at Somerset House this summer
Roll up, roll up: it’s time for some fun at the fairground. Somerset House will welcome visitors from 15 July with Dodge, an inventive twist on the traditional fairground in its spectacular open-air courtyard.
Expect live music, dodgems, immersive art installations, street food (including seriously extra sundaes and bougie picnics) and weekend brunches with live DJ sets. Book tickets to Dodge at Somerset House here.
The iconic event space has launched its Summer programme which includes No Comply, a new exhibition celebrating skateboarding culture as the sport makes its debut at this summer’s Olympic Games, and the best in international design and photography with London Design Biennale and Photo London.
Wilton’s Music Hall summer season 2021
Enjoy an evening in London’s oldest music hall
East London’s iconic Wilton’s Music Hall has opened its doors once again for a specially-programmed summer season of theatre, music, opera and spoken word from a number of prestigious production companies.
This includes everything from musical performances such as Apphia Campbell’s stunning solo performance in Black Is The Colour of My Voice, inspired by the life of Nina Simone, to a night of David Bowie-themed cabaret (song, dance, comedy, burlesque) at Ashes to Ashes.
The Woman Who Fell In Love With An Island at Walthamstow Wetlands
Explore an outdoor exhibition dedicated to Moomins creator Tove Jansson
Calling all fans of The Moomins: this is a sweet event that you will not want to miss this summer.
The Woman Who Fell In Love With An Island is a year-long outdoor exhibition being held at Walthamstow Wetlands to celebrate the Finnish artist and Moomins creator Tove Jansson.
It will draw parallels between the nature of the Wetlands and the island of Klovharun in the Gulf of Finland, where Jansson visited every summer for almost 30 years. The exhbition will explore how island life, the weather and an ever-changing landscape informed Jansson’s work.
Hideaway Cinema at Kew Gardens and Hampstead Heath
Watch an al-fresco film at Hampstead Heath or Kew Gardens
Hideaway Cinema has added new London sites including Kew Gardens and Hampstead Heath to the already impressive list of venues including the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in Shoreditch.
Throughout the summer you can grab a deckchair and dig into some popcorn while watching new releases including in-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights and Emma Stone’s Cruella.
Hamilton at The Victoria Palace Theatre
Get a ticket for the hottest show in town (Hamilton, of course!)
Lin Manuel-Miranda came to the rescue in lockdown, when he released the original stage version of his award-winning musical Hamilton on Disney+. But you’ll soon be able to watch a live performance in an actual theatre.
Before the pandemic, this really was the hottest ticket in town. But if you can get your hands on a pair this time, you’re in for some seriously good live entertainment.
Theatres took a massive hit in lockdown, so we’re so excited for them reopen their doors. Performances resume from 19 August and tickets are on sale now.
Alice: Curiouser And Curiouser at The V&A
Feed your curiosity at this Alice In Wonderland exhibition
Alice In Wonderland fans have been impatiently waiting for this exhibition since the V&A announced it last year.
Alice: Curiouser And Curiouser will take visitors all the way back to the classic book’s publication in 1865, with Lewis Carroll’s handwritten manuscript and John Tenniel’s original illustrations for the first edition, then trace the different interpretations of the story that have emerged since.
The Comedy Store, around the city
Have a (much needed) laugh watching a live comedy show
Comedy has had to find new ways to make audiences laugh over the last year, mostly over Zoom shows. But nothing beats watching a live performance IRL. The Comedy Store is currently taking its funniest acts around the capital at venues such as Tobacco Docks and Kentish Town’s o2 Forum. It will reopen its iconic Soho doors on 8 July.
Backyard Cinema at Capital Studios, Wandsworth
Immerse yourself in film at the Backyard Cinema (that is also a beach!)
Backyard Cinema has transformed its home at Wandsworth’s Capital Studios into the UK’s biggest ever indoor beach – because why not, eh? It has two immersive destination experiences: Miami Beach and L.A. Nights. You can catch new releases including In the Heights, Wonder Woman 1984 and Judas And The Black Messiah.
The Big London Bake, Tooting
Take to the tent for The Big London Bake
Will you make a masterpiece or a mess? If you’ve ever fancied trying The Great British Bake Off for yourself, get a team together and head to The Big London Bake. They provide the ingredients, you bring the creativity.
That's So Fetch Afternoon Tea, Duo Camden
Have a Mean Girls moment at That’s So Fetch Afternoon Tea
Head to Duo Camden to relive the noughties nostalgia alongside Instagrammable desserts and delicious cocktails. Make fetch finally happen when enjoying a “You can’t Cake with us” slice or “Full of secrets” giant meringue lollipop.
Skylight, Tobacco Dock
Take in the scenery at Skylight
There’s nothing Londoner’s love more than a rooftop. Make your way to Tobacco Dock, where Skylight is back for the summer. Enjoy lawn games like croquet and petanque with your cocktail as you take in the breathtaking views.
All Points East, Victoria Park
Spend the August Bank Holiday at All Points East
Hope for sunshine. The Victoria Park festival is back for 2021 over the August Bank Holiday weekend, 27 - 30 August. Headliners include the likes of Jorja Smith, Jamie XX and Bombay Bicycle Club.
Barbican summer events programme 2021
Book an event or walk around the conservatory at Barbican
Barbican has released its events programme, which includes Jean Dubuffet’s Brutal Beauty exhibition, Claudia Andujar’s The Yanomami Struggle exhibition, the theatre production of Flight and various live music events. Alternatively, you can pay a visit to its famous conservatory or cinema.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
Van Gogh like you’ve never seen him before
Arriving at a yet-to-be-confirmed location in October, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience promises 20,000 square feet of giant projections of the artist’s most famous works. Light and sound installations will also span two storeys for a unique experience. Bookings are being taken for October 2021 and beyond.
Les Misérables: The Staged Concert, The Sondheim Theatre
Sit in the audience for Les Misérables: The Staged Concert
Do you hear the people sing? Les Misérables: The Staged Concert is now live at the Sondheim Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, featuring stars of the full London cast, including Jon Robyns, Bradley Jaden and Lucie Jones. The return of the fully staged show is planned for the Sondheim from 25 September.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Rooms at The Tate Modern
The exhibition of the year is finally coming to London
Tate Modern’s Infinity Rooms will feature two immersive mirror room installations created by renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, whose work has spanned more than half a century. They will be exhibited alongside “photos and footage of early performance works and studio happenings”.
The Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square
Reacquaint yourself with The Prince Charles Cinema
Iconic venue The Prince Charles Cinema has reopened its doors. You can already pre-book tickets for classics such as 10 Things I Hate About You and Pulp Fiction, as well as new releases such as Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar and Ammonite.
The Terrace at Alexandra Palace
Enjoy a drink in London’s biggest beer garden at Ally Pally
Already dreaming of a cold glass of white wine with your pals? Alexandra Palace has you covered with some of the best views in the city. The Terrace, which is London’s largest beer garden, opened in April and it taking bookings throughout summer. Cheers to that!
Royal Opera House performances for 2021
Dress up for a trip to Royal Opera House
Get ready to put on your glad rags and act all fancy with a trip to the opera. Full details of the new programme, including ticket booking dates have now been released.
Confirmed productions include Mozart opera, La Clemenza di Tito, Christopher Wheeldon’s shimmering ballet, Within the Golden Hour, and two works by Crystal Pite. The ROH has also announced the reopening of the world’s first opera set in hyperreality: Current, Rising.
We”ll be keeping this list updated, so come back to check what else London has in store for us in 2021.
Images: provided by various PR agencies and organisations