Things to Do in London in August 2019

Get ready for a month of breathtaking events, thrilling openings and dazzling debuts as August lands in London.

There is no better time to explore London than August. With a dazzling array of festivals, parades and carnivals, this is the month when the city moves outside, with Londoners eager to soak up some well deserved sunshine.

The spectacular Notting Hill Carnival brings a riot of colour, music and energy to the city’s streets, Ride London provides thrills and spills for cycling enthusiasts, and a glut of festivals (Meltdown, South West Four, Barclaycard Present British Summer Time) ensure that Londoners have a sizzling soundtrack to chill out to.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s fun in the sun at London’s rooftop bars, a season of free events at the Southbank Centre, and an intriguing programme of outdoor cinema in some of the capital’s most breathtaking locations.

If you’re stuck for ideas about what to do, or overwhelmed by the diversity of what’s on offer, here’s City Countdown’s definitive guide to the best things to do in London in August 2019.

1. Notting Hill Carnival

10 steel bands, 40 static sound systems, 70 performance stages, 15,000 costumes and 40,000 volunteers mark the Notting Hill Carnival out as one of London biggest and best events. For breadth and depth, the carnival is certainly impressive, but to really understand it, you need to get out there and feel it.

There is nothing quite like experiencing Notting Hill for the very first time. The riot of colour, the wall of sound, those dazzling costumes and the furious dancing, it all comes together to make the event truly unique. It’s certainly an intoxicating brew, and that’s you even get to necking the west Indian spirit. If you’re free over the August Bank Holiday weekend, do yourself a favour: go discover Europe’s largest street party. You won’t regret it.

When: 24/25/26 August 2019
Where: Notting Hill. See map of event here.
Read City Countdown’s guide to the carnival here


2. Meltdown Festival

A performer at the Meltdown festival

The Meltdown Festival is a perennial London favourite with a consistently top notch line up of musical acts. Each year, the festival’s organisers appoint a well known musician festival director, and this year Meltdown have outdone themselves with the appointment of Mr Funk himself, Nile Rodgers.

The Chic legend has an incredible musical CV and an impressive track record working with artists from across the musical spectrum. Rodgers has wasted little time in putting together a truly breathtaking show. Despacio, Anitta, Thundercat, Songhoy Blues, Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein are all on the bill, and if that wasn’t enough, the man himself will be performing, alongside his Chic pals.

To top it all off, Meltdown have announced that will recreate legendary New York nightclub Studio 54, the place Rodgers once described as the hippest venue on the planet, for one unforgettable night. The festival’s production team have managed to track down several of the club’s legendary DJs, and all of them have agreed to helm the wheels of steel on the night. It all adds up to one totally unmissable event by the banks of the river Thames.

When: 3rd-11th August 2019
Where: Southbank Centre
Read City Countdown’s guide to the event here


3. South West Four Festival

If you love dance music, then this just might be the festival for you. The event has grown from a humble backyard party to one of the UK’s biggest music festivals with an increasingly stellar line up of artists.

Since the event began, the South West Four Festival has played host to a of musical heavyweights, including the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Fatboy Slim and Pete Tong.The festival is showing no sign of slowing down, either.

When: 24th-25th August 2019
Where: Clapham Common
Read City Countdown’s guide to the event here


4. 51st State Festival

A DJ at the 51st State Festival

House music is dead, they said. Well, clearly no one told the organisers of this incredible event. The 51st State Festival is one of the biggest and best house music events with a line up that reads like a who’s who of the genre. Kerri Chandler, Louie Vega, Ellie Cocks, Matt Jam Lamont, Melba Moore, Joey Negro and Todd Edwards are all scheduled to perform on what has all the makings of an incredible night.

When: 3rd August 2019
Where: Trent Park, London
Read City Countdown’s guide to the event here


5. BBC Proms

No list of the best things to do in London in August could possibly ignore this musical extravaganza. The BBC Proms are a British institution. The festival has been taking place for over one hundred years with the first concerts taking place in 1895!

The 2019 event will be the 125th season of the event with the festival still holding to its original aim of presenting the widest range of music, performed to the highest standard, to the largest audiences.

The Proms (short for Promenade concert) regularly attract the biggest and best names in classical music with this year’s festival set to carry on the tradition with the likes of cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, West African singer Angélique Kidjo and American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton lined up to perform.

For something extra special, why not snap up tickets for the legendary Last Night of the Proms? The concert is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the London classical music season and the atmosphere is incomparable.

When: 19th July to the 14th September 2019
Where: The Royal Albert Hall and other venues
Read City Countdown’s guide to the event here


6. The Underbelly Festival

Londoners enjoy the sunshine at the Underbelly Festival

From April to September, there really are few better places to be than at this annual cultural extravaganza. The Underbelly Festival brings a world of quality entertainment to Londoners from its distinct auditorium on the Southbank.

The festival has something for everyone, with live circus, cabaret, comedy and music all squeezed into one jam packed events calendar. This year’s highlights include a homage to the music of the 20s, 30s and 40s (Swing Out), Marcel Lucont’s Cabaret Fantastique, the multi award winning comedy troupe Police Cops in Space, and a new show from the team behind Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare.

When: 5th April until the 29th September 2019
Where: The Southbank, just off Belvedere Road
Read City Countdown’s guide to the event here


7. The Buckingham Palace State Rooms: Summer Opening

You don’t get many opportunities to see a working palace at close quarters – so grab the opportunity while you still can! Buckingham Palace has been opening to the public since 1993, and while the whole palace might not be on show, the State Rooms are, and they are an absolutely magnificient.

Highlights of the tour include architect John Nash’s magnificent Grand Staircase and an impressive collection of old masters, including work by Canaletto, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin and Van Dyck.

When:20th July 2019 until the 29th September 2019
Where: Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Road, Westminister
Read City Countdown’s preview of the event here


8. Prudential RideLondon

Cyclists at Ride London

For one glorious weekend every year, the city’s busiest streets close to traffic and cyclists of all levels and abilities descend on London for a feast of cycling.The Prudential Ride London event is basically Christmas for cyclists. There are a series races, several shows and even a World Championship Final (the Brompton World Championship Race).

It’s the opportunity to cycle through car free streets that most come for however, and with a route taking in such landmarks as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and St Paul’s Cathedral, the event is definitely not to be missed.

When: 3rd-4th August 2019
Where: The route map can be found here
Read City Countdown’s preview of the event here


9. Film4 Summer Screen

There are few better ways to spend a  summer evening in London than watching your favourite movies under the stars. Outdoor cinema has been gaining in popularity in recent years which means that there are now countless opportunities to catch a flick. However, if you want something truly special, why not treat yourself to tickets for the Film4 Summer Screen at the Strand’s elegant Somerset House?

The event, which will celebrate its 200th screening this summer, takes place in the breathtaking surroundings of the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court. Over fourteen summer evenings, London’s largest outdoor screen will show a series of blockbusters including The Matrix, Black Panther, Wild at Heart, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, Clueless and Reservoir Dogs.

When: 8th-21st August 2019
Where: Somerset House, The Strand, London
Read City Countdown’s preview of this summer’s open air cinema season here


10. Secret Cinema Presents Casino Royale

Secret Cinema presents Casino Royale

This event is guaranteed to leave Bond fans both shaken and stirred. Secret Cinema have gained a reputation over the last few years for their ability to bring popular movies back to life.The company don’t just show a movie, they recreate the world of that movie, so moviegoers can literally step into the action.

For instance, when the company screened Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, fans of the movie were assigned to a family (Capulet or Montague), forced to attend a “Truce Day” before watching the film at a special screening in Verona Beach.

If this sounds cool, then just imagine what awaits movie goers when they enter the set of Secret Cinema’s latest production. Very little has been announced about the but going on previous productions, we should expect something mindblowing at the very least. Tickets will be harder to find than a bond villain off course, but if you can snag some – well, you’re in for the time of your life.

When: 5th June-22nd September 2019
Where: If we knew that, we’d have to kill you
Read City Countdown’s preview of the event here


August in London is a magical time, with the capital’s year round attractions supplemented by a dazzling array of summer special events. Music festivals, parades and carnivals fill the streets and al fresco socialising, dining and movie going is the norm.

If you’re stuck for ideas about what to do, or you’ve been left dazzled by what’s on offer, then we hope our guide to the best things to do in London for August 2019 can help. However, if you really want to find the best events and attractions in London, you’ve got to hurry: the clock is ticking.

close

The city:countdown Newsletter

Sign up for London news, previews, exclusives and weekly prizes.

-London's Best Events-
What: monthly event guide
When: August
Where: London
Website: No Record