Things to do in London this September

Oof, hello September! Summer may have been a bit of a washout, but with a whole swathe of events and things to do (and an ok weather forecast), this month is looking fun. With the Chelsea Flower Show returning, London Design Week, plus things to do with the kids, here’s our pick of what’s on around the capital…

Photo: The Royal Shakespeare Company

1 Take the Family to Beer by the River Festival, Wandsworth

This festival is fun for all the family, with live music, food from Machi BBQ, Crust Bros and Mai Thai, and free face-painting. There’s also the chance to meet the Dray horses which once delivered beer from the Ram Brewery across Wandsworth. Schooner bar and Sambrook’s Brewery, London’s oldest independent brewer, will serve cider, cocktails, wine and soft drinks as well as beer. There will also be brewery tours and the opportunity to take a look around the newly opened Ram Quarter Heritage Centre.

Saturday, September 4; 11am-8pm; free, however brewery tours start at £5; Ram Quarter, Wandsworth High St, SW18 1TH; sambrooksbrewery.co.uk

2 Educate Your Child While They Have Fun at HORRIBLE HISTORIES – BARMY BRITAIN, Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Following a successful West End run, HORRIBLE HISTORIES – BARMY BRITAIN is on tour and passing through Bromley’s Churchill Theatre. It is a gag-filled historical romp through Britain with all the nasty bits left in. Based on Terry Deary’s smash hit books, the show drops the audience into key moments of Britain’s past – would you be a martyr for the Magna Carta? Will you lose your heart or head to horrible Henry VIII, and will Parliament survive gunpowder Guy? There’s only one way to find out…

Friday, September 3 at 6.30pm; Saturday, September 4 at 11am, 2.30pm and 6.30pm; tickets from £17.50; Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley, BR1 1HA; churchilltheatre.co.uk

3 Be Entertained for Free with Music of the Spheres at the Royal Docks, Newham

Introducing yet another new type of bubble, Music of the Sphere sees dancers and musicians as well as smoke and lighting ensconced in huge transparent bubbles. The performers will move through the audience and then into the water of the docks, where a floating show is performed. This features an aerialist who works with silks to move the sphere around the water to original music based on Debussy’s La Mer.

Saturday, September 4; shows are on at 12pm, 2pm, 4.15pm and run for 45 minutes; performances are free but register your interest here; Royal Docks, E16 2GS; royaldocks.london


5 Play Shuffleboard at Electric Shuffle, London Bridge

Electric Shuffle arrived in London Bridge this August, bringing the fast-paced game to Bermondsey Street. Shuffleboards have been enhanced by vision technology, so it’s not your traditional game. Don’t feel like playing shuffleboard/are a poor loser/want to take a break? That’s fine too, because there’s a bar area where you can eat salt and pepper squid, arancini balls and buffalo chicken bites while quaffing cocktails or a number of brews. Book a game, try the brunch menu (Thursday to Sunday) or catch a comedian, DJ or band. Shuffleboard sessions tend to book out, so book in advance and early, although you can try your luck with a walk-in. Children are welcome before 5pm, and shuffleboard players must be over 18. There’s also a sister location in Canary Wharf and semi-private shuffleboard playing areas.

Sunday to Thursday 11.30am-10.45pm; Friday 11.30am-11.45pm; Saturday 11am-11.45pm; for 4 people games last for 30-minutes, For 6-10 people it’s 60 minutes and for 11-16 people shuffleboard games last for 90 minutes; price for a 90-minutes game is £10 per person; 10 Bermondsey St, SE1 2ER; electricshuffle.com

6 Take the Kids on a Safari with the Tusk Lion Trail, central London

In support of African conservation and highlighting the plight of the decreasing wild lion population, a pride of 47 life-sized lion sculptures are at large and prowling about in iconic locations across the globe – 27 of them in central London. Lions have been dolled up by the likes of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, Donna Karan, Noel Fielding and John Cleese, and you can follow a trail by a digital or physical maps which allow you to record lions spotted.

On until September 24; tuskliontrail.com


8 Eat Great Food and Dance at Pub in the Park, Chiswick

Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park returns to Chiswick this September. One of the ultimate foodie events on the calendar, the festival features a line up of some of the UK’s finest chefs including Michelin starred Atul Kochhar, Rick Stein, Michel Roux Jr of Le Gavroche, celebrity chef Marcus Wearing and Chantelle Nicolson, the New Zealand chef behind Hackney pop up All’s Well and the plant-based cookbook Planted. Music includes Basement Jaxx, The Feeling, Kaiser Chiefs and Marc Almond.

September 3-5, tickets from £37.28/£21.30 adult/child; Burlington Lane, Chiswick, W4 2RP; pubintheparkuk.com

9 Belly Laugh at Comedy Line-up Headlined by Dara Ó Briain at The Globe, Bankside

Mock The Week presenter and funny man Dara Ó Briain headlines a night of comedy at the spectacular Globe Theatre. He will be joined by British Comedy Award winning and BAFTA nominated filmmaker and ventriloquist Nina Conti, regular The Guilty Feminist co-host Athena Kugblenu, BBC4 regular and Live at the Apollo performer Suzi Ruffell

Monday, September 13, 7pm; tickets from £5 for standing; 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside; SE1 9DT; shakespearesglobe.com

Dara O’Briain headlines at The Globe. Photo: Euan Cherry


11 Be Dazzled by Neon Brightness at Chila Burman’s Light Installation at Covent Garden

British artist Chila Burman, who lit up the Tate Britain’s facade for Diwali last year, now lights up Covent Garden’s Market Building with her colourful installation, Do You See Words In Rainbows? Designed to bring joy and positivity to the viewer, the large-scale installation is a mix of uplifting messages and neon sculptures inspired by her family history, Indian heritage and her feminist perspective. As Chila’s project is a celebration of love and identity, for Pride, Covent Garden will donate £1 to the LGBTQI+ charity Albert Kennedy Trust for each person who Instagrams a picture of themselves with the installation using #CoventGardenInRainbows. So head down and get snapping!

On until October; coventgarden.london

12 Chair Dance at The Len Philips Swing Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, Chelsea

Celebrating 100 years of big bands, the Len Philips Swing Orchestra is on tour and coming to Chelsea. They will be joined by singers Matthew Ford (The Proms, the John Wilson Orchestra) and Nicola Emmanuelle (The Rat Pack). The orchestra are regulars on BBC Radio 2 and play regularly at The Ritz, and members have worked with some of the world’s greats including Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles, Bing Crosby, Freddie Mercury, Tom Jones, Burt Bacharach and Robbie Williams.

Sunday, September 12; 3pm; tickets from £19 and available here; 5 Sloane Terrace; SW1X 9DQ; cadoganhall.com; lpswingorchestra.com


14 at London Design Festival, various locations

Now in its 19th year, the London Design Festival returns, showcasing the very best of world-class of design-led creativity. And there’s a lot to see. This year’s festival looks at the ‘power of creative and cultural activity to help reignite the capital and kickstart London’s economy’, which is a pretty meaty focus. With architecture, public art, sculpture, furniture, jewellery and fashion, highlights include an initiative by Yinka Ilori that will transform London into an outdoor art gallery and festival hub V&A will host a collection of specially-commissioned installations. There’s also a swathe of projects and events that look at a circular economy and climate justice ahead of November’s COP26.

September 18-26; the festival takes place across London, with hubs in Brompton, Mayfair, Clerkenwell, Park Royal, Greenwich Peninsula, Shoreditch, Islington, Southwark and Kings Cross; londondesignfestival.com

15 Check-Out New Arts Precinct Woolwich Works, Woolwich

Woolwich Works is a new arts hub opening up in the area’s old industrial buildings. It includes theatres, concert venues, dance studios, and a recording studio, as well as spaces to entertain in and hire out. It will also be home to performing arts companies local to Greenwich borough including Punchdrunk, Europe’s first majority black and minority ethnic orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. As part of the launch programme and squeezing into September, Ashley Henry’s holds the first of his quarterly jazz, hip-hop and pop Jam Nights and Beezkat aka Finlay Crowther, a south London keyboard player and composer who has worked with Hans Zimmer, Odyseey and Shabaka Hutchings, will bring his alt-synth pop to the precinct.

Woolwich Works opens on Thursday, September 23; Ashley Henry’s Jam Night and Beezkat are on Thursday, September 30; tickets from £15.50/£10.50 for each event and available here and here; The Fireworks Factory, 11 No. 1 Street, Royal Arsenal, SE18 6HD; woolwich.works


17 Get Literary at Wimbledon BookFest: Sunset Festival

Miriam Margolyes, Rick Stein, poet John Cooper Clarke, TV and radio presenter Anita Rani, and Hamilton actor Giles Terera join a stellar line up of people who are great with words and story at Wimbledon BookFest. The festival runs for five days and is loaded with talks, workshops and activities for the public and school groups. This year sees a particular focus on memoir and life writing, alongside fiction, poetry, current affairs, history, science, performing arts, and an expanded programme for young people, including events featuring former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and Sophie Dahl.

September 15-19; tickets to individual sessions are now on sale at varying prices; email the box office with queries; 35 Wimbledon Hill Rd, SW19 7NB; wimbledonbookfest.org

18 HowTheLightGetsIn at Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath

TED Talk alternative HowTheLightGetsIn brings debate, music and comedy to one of  London’s most beloved heath. The world’s largest philosophy and music festival, the weekend will host more than 200 events, bringing together internationally respected thinkers and a spectacular medley of musicians, performers and artists. This year’s theme is Dreams and Jeopardy, with headline speakers including human rights

activist Shami Chakrabarti, economics commentator Grace Blakeley, award winning journalist David Aaronovitch, founder of neurophilosophy Patricia Churchland, trailblazing feminist Laurie Penny, Tony Blair’s former speech writer Philip Collins, and  economist and broadcaster Linda Yueh. Programme events will also be streamed.

On September 18-19; tickets from £26 and concessions available; times vary; Hampstead Lane, NW3 7JR; howthelightgetsin.org


20 Pick up Something Nice at the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair at Battersea Park, Battersea 

Featuring more than 150 exhibitors, the event attracts many decorators and interior designers including Rita Konig, Flora Soames, Olga and Alex Polizzi, Robert Kime and  Veere Grenney. The fair is full of antiques, unexpected treasures and specialist dealers offering a wide variety of objects, furniture, art and accessories dating from the 17th century to the 1970s. With so many things, there is something for all tastes and budgets.

Tuesday, September 28 to Sunday October 3; tickets are £20 per person on opening day and £10 pp on subsequent days, advanced bookings are essential; times vary; Evolution London (The Marquee),Queenstown Road, Battersea Park, SW8 4NW;  decorativefair.com

21 See Joker Accompanied by a Live Orchestra at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith

Watch Joaquin Phoenix give an Academy Award winning performance in Todd Phillips’ acclaimed film, Joker when it is screened at the Apollo accompanied by a full, live orchestra playing the film’s award-winning score. Composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir, the film’s melancholic score, which is made from a fusion of industrial soundscapes and emotive string-led melodies, won an Academy, BAFTA, Golden Globe and a Grammy, and here’s your chance to listen to it live, adding a new dimension to the dark and haunting film.

Sunday, September 26; 6.30pm; tickets from £34; 45 Queen Caroline Street, W6 9QH; joker.movie; eventimapollo.com


23 Listen to Bach’s St John Passion at St Bartholomew-the-Great, Barbican 

New historical performance ensemble, Figure, perform Bach’s St John Passion for their first concert. The orchestra is led by Gabriella Jones and singers include Richard Robbins and Rowan Pierce. Aiming to introduce a new generation of musicians to the classical scene, Figure brings compositions to life in the way their composers intended, while championing talented young British musicians from all backgrounds.

Friday, September 17; 7pm, tickets £18/£12, full/concession; St Bartholomew-the-Great, Cloth Fair, Barbican, EC1A 7JQ; figureensemble.co.uk


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