Summer Guide 2017 – London
London shines brightest under the midsummer sun. From sports events and concerts to open gardens and theatre, the sheer range of attractions across the British capital is exhilarating. Stroll down Piccadilly to see world-class art, through Holland Park for live opera, or down the Mall for a splash of royal pageantry. Wherever you go, be sure to use this guide to see the best of London in summer.
Tristan & Yseult at The Globe
Set in the Dark Ages, when Cornish King Mark is at war, the story of medieval lovers Tristan and Yseult grows greater with each telling. Contributing to the drama of the tale, the new production will take place in London’s atmospheric Globe Theatre. Hosting a critically acclaimed production of the Shakespearian romance this summer, the theatre promises to delight audiences and break a few hearts, too.
June 13-24, 2017
Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT
London Food Month
A month-long celebration of food that comprises 400 events including interviews with celebrated chefs like Angela Hartnett and Claude Bosi, London Food Month is curated to please your palate. Its centrepiece is the bustling Night Market near Kensington Gardens, but the whole programme (including The Dorchester’s own behind the scenes kitchen party) is beloved by visitors and locals alike.
June 1-30, 2017
Various locations across London
A Tale of Two Cities at The Open Air Theatre
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Almost everyone knows the famous opening of Dickens’ masterpiece set in the run-up to the French Revolution. Yet, this play is no dusting of old material. Set in heart of Regent’s Park, Matthew Dunster’s scorching polemic questions how much the poor are willing to take from Western politicians, before they say, “enough is enough”.
July 7 – August 5, 2017
Open Air Theatre, Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4NU
La Rondine at Holland Park Opera
Staged inside the evocative remains of Holland House, La Rondine (The Swallow) tells the love story of Magda and Ruggero as they fall for one another, before a long, harsh and painful separation. One of Puccini’s best-loved works, La Rondine treads the perfect line between the gravity of traditional opera and the light-hearted nature of operetta, with a charming score and gorgeous costumes.
June 1-23, 2017
The Stable Yard, Ilchester Place, London, W8 6LU
Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace
The London residence of Her Majesty the Queen, Buckingham Palace is one of the capital’s most famous attractions. However, it’s only during the summer months that visitors can walk its hallways and browse the 19 lavishly furnished State Rooms, countless treasures of the Royal Collection (including Rubens and Poussin), or observe the Changing of the Guard – from behind a window, like royalty.
July 22 – October 1, 2017
Buckingham Palace, Westminster, London, SW1A 1AA
The oldest tennis tournament in the world kicks off this summer, with everything to play for from international status to £31.6 million prize money. See the best players in the game (including Andy Murray and Serena Williams) battle it out on the grass courts, or catch up with friends over Pimm’s and strawberries and cream while watching a match on the big screen. An unmissable fixture of the summer season in London.
July 3–16, 2017
All England Lawn Tennis Club, Church Rd, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5AE
Kew the Music
A week-long festival of summer concerts set within the gorgeous grounds of The Royal Botanic Gardens, this year’s Kew the Music will include everyone from rock-pop idols Razorlight to the “classical-meets-club” sounds of Haçienda Classiçal. Known for its magical atmosphere, guests can bring their own food and drink and picnic on the lawns, or hit one of the food stalls on site, before partying the long days away beneath a beating sun.
July 11-16, 2017
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE
Open Garden Squares
For much of the year, London’s most appealing gardens and squares are hidden away behind tall walls and black, iron gates. However, for one weekend each summer over 230 of these private spaces are opened to the public, letting visitors peep inside places like Ennismore Gardens in Kensington. Highlights include community allotments and the once-derelict King Henry’s Walk Garden in Islington.
June 17-18, 2017
Various locations across London
Summer Exhibition at The Royal Academy
A stunning panorama of art in all media, from painting to sculpture, the Summer Exhibition was first conceived almost 250 years ago as a place to exhibit living artists with exceptional talent. Always occupying prime territory in the Royal Academy’s Palladian mansion, Burlington House, this year’s line-up includes Eileen Cooper and Gilbert & George, as well as David Adjaye and Farshid Moussavi.
June 13 – August 20, 2017
Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, London, W1J 0BD
BBC Proms 2017
Kicking off with the American minimalism of John Adams and ending on the flag-waving antics of the “Last Night”, the BBC Proms is a glorious celebration of music in all its forms. Each year, a roundabout of seminal works such as Liszt’s concertos, Wagner’s cycles, and Elgar’s symphonies whizzes round, enrapturing the crowds in the iconic Royal Albert Hall. 2017 promises to be no different, with classics from Beethoven to Purcell on the agenda.
July 14 – September 9, 2017
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP
Hyde Park Stables
Horses and riders have long been a common sight on the bridleways of Hyde Park. The perfect day excursion for equestrians, a trip on horseback affords a novel and exhilarating way to experience the natural beauty and iconic sights of the area, including the Diana Memorial Fountain and the Serpentine.
A 19th century luxury shopping arcade in the heart of Mayfair, Burlington Arcade is a space for distinguished shoppers. Myriad boutiques dedicated to fashion and accessories line the covered walkway, where a special focus is on fine jewellery. Highlights among the jewellers’ offerings include Tessier and Plukka.
Since its founding by the English jazz tenor in 1959, Ronnie Scott’s has remained one of the best places to watch live music in London. The legendary Soho venue once hosted the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, and today welcomes top jazz, soul, blues and folk artists from around the world.
A traditional Georgian pub on a discreet side street in Mayfair, the Punchbowl is one of the area’s oldest pubs. With a selection of real ales on tap and hearty pub classics on the menu, the establishment manages to balance a quintessentially British pub atmosphere with something a little more upmarket.
Sir John Soane's Museum
The Sir John Soane Museum may have a reputation for being one of London’s more unusual museums, but it can also be one of its most romantic. Once home to architect Sir John Soane, the venue is filled with artworks, antiquities, and unusual decorative touches. However, it’s at its most atmospheric during the candlelit tours, held on the first Tuesday of each month.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road is a charming stretch in London’s East End, lined with boutiques, restaurants and independent galleries. Every Sunday morning the road blossoms into life with the arrival of its resident flower market. From freshly cut flowers to orchids, ferns and fruit trees, the selection is vast, and the scene lively until late afternoon.
A shopping park with a distinctive East London twist, Shoreditch’s Boxpark has turned retail therapy into an art form, with over 60 innovative stores built out of industrial shipping containers. The brands and restaurants on offer here are far from your typical high street chains and have turned the once derelict area into a buzzing retail destination.
Advertised as a live escape game, ClueQuest sees small teams of three to five solve various logic-based riddles in a bid to release themselves from a locked room. An unusual premise it may be, but the experience is exhilarating and allows a rare bonding opportunity between family members of all ages.
Chin Chin Labs
Chin Chin Labs is located in the centre of Camden Town and offers an alternative to traditional ice cream with imaginative flavours like Pondicherry vanilla and melon salted almond. The ice cream is prepared using liquid nitrogen in a shop that is designed to look like a science lab, which adds to its idiosyncratic charm.