73 Summery Things To Do In London This Month: July 2023

London in July: a chef giving a cooking demonstration at National Geographic Traveller Food Festival
Tuck into worldwide cuisine at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival.

PRIDE IN LONDON: July kicks off with Pride in London, the capital's biggest LGBTQ+ party. Some 30,000 participants and 300 floats are expected to take part in the procession from Hyde Park Corner to Trafalgar Square, with stages featuring live performances dotted around the West End. FREE, 1 July

YOUNG V&A: Previously known as the Museum of Childhood, the new Young V&A Museum opens its doors in Bethnal Green with a wealth of interactive elements, centred around three galleries: Play, Imagine and Design. A Kermit the Frog toy from the 1970s/80s is among the new acquisitions, and likely to be very popular. FREE, from 1 July

CANADA DAY: 1 July is Canada Day. If you're a Canadian expat or simply a fan of the North American country, mark the day by visiting these little bits of Canada in London. 1 July

EAT THE SCREEN: Barbican Cinema launches a new series of film screenings, Eat The Screen, which features films, shorts and documentaries focusing on the food industry and issues including farming and food waste. 1 July-24 August

CROYDON FOOD AND MUSIC FESTIVAL: There's loads going on in Croydon this month (it is London Borough of Culture 2023, after all), starting with Croydon Food & Music Festival. It takes places in the 'Restaurant Quarter' in South End, with food stalls dishing up a range of cuisines to chow down on while you enjoy live music by local performers. 2 July

A person in a rainbow-hearted Pride tshirt and shades, holding up a rainbow flag
Pride in London is on 1 July. Image: iStock/coldsnowstorm

HOT AIR BALLOONS: The first Sunday in July is the last chance for the Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta to take place this year. If weather conditions are rights, dozens of balloons in various designs (and shapes) will float across the capital from Battersea Park first thing in the morning — from about 5am in fact, so set your alarm early. FREE, 2 July

THE CALLY FESTIVAL: Islington's Caledonian Road — affectionately known as 'The Cally' — closes to traffic and  puts on its party gear for The Cally Festival. The free-entry celebration of local culture includes live music, storytelling, workshops, kids' activities and more. FREE, 2 July

WILLIAMS RACING FAN ZONE: Coinciding with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, a Williams F1 Fan Zone opens on Regent Street. It's a chance to get a closer look at some of the cars, have a go at driving on professional simulators, test your reflexes against those of an F1 driver, and enjoy Q&A sessions with professional drivers. FREE ENTRY, 3-9 July

WIMBLEDON: As we head into July, the world's greatest tennis players descend on SW19. No Centre Court tickets? No problem — stay up to date with the action at these Wimbledon screenings around town. Many of them are FREE, 3-16 July

London in July 2023: a man sitting in a seat playing a racing driving simulator game at the Williams F1 Fan Zone
Get in the driving seat at the Williams F1 Fan Zone.

AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY: 4 July is Independence Day for the USA. Whether you're an American here in London, or a Londoner wanting to get in on the fun, try one of the best American restaurants in London, or London's best diners... or head further afield to these 6 retro American diners worth leaving London for. There are also plenty of special Independence Day events taking place all over the capital. 4 July

SUMMER SCIENCE EXHIBITION: The Royal Society's annual Summer Science Exhibition is a free interactive experience for anyone curious about the latest advances in science and technology. Take part in drop-in workshops, meet scientists and researchers, and find out about topics such as predicting volcanic eruptions, life on Mars, and how drumming can improve brain plasticity. It begins with a Lates evening, and some events will be made available digitally for anyone who cant be there in person. FREE, 4-9 July

TRUE DATING: If you’re keen to ditch the dating apps but don’t want to give up on searching for that special someone, there is another way: True Dating. These folks run in-person parties and speed dating evenings at some of London's loveliest venues for all sorts of singletons — there are events tailored to different age ranges, those with particular religious preferences, and the LGBTQIA+ community. (sponsor)

GARDEN FESTIVAL: Didn't make it to the Chelsea Flower Show? Head to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival instead. Wander the palace grounds to see specially designed gardens, and enjoy demos on gardening, floristry, design, food, craft and health from experts including gardener Carol Klein and 'Drag Queen Gardener' Tom Leonard. 4-9 July

HOUSEMATES FESTIVAL: South London theatre Brixton House lets young artists take over for three weeks for Housemates Festival. There are 10 productions to choose from, including Before I Go, about a young boy who tragically dies and gets stuck in limbo, and Everything I Own, about a man remembering his father's passion after his death. 4-23 July

London in July 2023: people sitting and standing around drinking in an open-air garden, beneath colourful bunting and fairylights at Cocktails in the City.
This month sees the first Cocktails in the City event of the year.

SUMMER PLACE FESTIVAL: The Royal Over-Seas League in St James's hosts its first ever Summer Place Festival, a celebration of food and the arts featuring talks, concerts and workshops. Hear from V&A curator Catherine Haill, take part in chocolate or gin tasting masterclasses, browse a makers market, or immerse yourself in a gong bath, among other events. 5-8 July

FLAMENCO FESTIVAL: Castanets at the ready, as the Flamenco Festival returns to Sadlers Wells. Spanish dancer and choreographer Sara Baras is the headline act, with flamenco guitarist Rafael Riqueni, dancer Mercedes de Córdoba and all-male troupe Gala Flamenca also on the programme. 5-15 July

CITY BEERFEST: Clock off work early and head to Guildhall Yard for City Beerfest. Several breweries are serving their beers, plus there's live music and street food, and the whole event raises money for charity. 6 July

DRAGON BOAT RACE: South Dock in Canary Wharf hosts a day of dragon boat racing in support of Water Aid. It's £350 to enter a team, but if you can't do that, head down on the day to watch and support them. 6 July

London in July 2023: a still from You Hurt My Feelings, of a woman sitting alone at a table or bar with a glass of wine.
Sundance Film Festival opens with You Hurt My Feelings

COCKTAILS IN THE CITY: Boozy festival Cocktails in the City takes place over three weekends this summer, bringing together some of the most popular bars in London to serve up their concoctions in private garden, Bedford Square, with live entertainment thrown in. 6-8 July

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: The 10th London edition of Sundance Film Festival comes to Picturehouse Central, with featurelength fiction and documentary films, as well as a programme of shorts. It opens with the UK premiere of You Hurt My Feelings, about a couple whose marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears his honest reaction to her latest book. 6-9 July

SUMMER SERIES: Alison Goldfrapp, Beabadoobee and Gabzy are among the headliners at this year's Somerset House Summer Series, a programme of open-air gigs taking place in the building's courtyard. Some gigs have sold out, but tickets are still available for others — check the website. 6-16 July. See other music festivals taking place in London this summer.

BALHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL: Ed Byrne, Richard Herring, Tiffany Stevenson, Rob Newman, Milton Jones, Rich Hall, Darran Griffiths and Janey Godley are among the comedians on the bill at the Balham Comedy Festival. Organised by Banana Cabaret and taking place at The Bedford, it features a total of 28 comedians across nine nights. 7-15 July

London in July 2023: comedian Kerry Godliman in a pink dress, looking towards the camera, with her arms raised and fingers of each hand pinched together next to her ears
Kerry Godliman performs at Balham Comedy Festival

THE CROWN JEWELS: New comedy play The Crown Jewels opens at the Garrick Theatre, depicting a riotous plot to steal the crown jewels, based on a true story from the reign of King Charles II. 7 July-16 September

WESTMINSTER ABBEY SUMMER FETE: Head to Dean's Yard alongside Westminster Abbey for a summer fete complete with live performances, an inflatable obstacle course, food and drink stalls, a birds of prey display, morris dancing and more. FREE, 8 July

TURKISH FESTIVAL: Everyone's welcome at the West London Turkish Festival, which celebrates Turkish culture, cuisine and hospitality. Expect live music, stage performances, a football tournament, funfair rides for the kiddies, and food stalls serving mouth-watering dishes including lots of juicy kebab. 9 July

FUSE INTERNATIONAL: FUSE International is a festival that offers an eclectic programme of music, theatre, dance, comedy, visual arts, spoken word, circus and more, at various locations around Kingston. In all, over 80 events are taking place — phew! Until 9 July

London in July 2023: a green and orange monster truck photographed mid-trick in a stadium
Monster Jam comes to the London Stadium.

KEW THE MUSIC: A stage and large screen is set up in Kew Gardens for live music by the likes of Bastille, The Vamps and Human League. Take your own picnic chair or blanket, pack a picnic or buy food and drink on site — and enjoy live music in a relaxed and (hopefully) sunny setting. 11-16 July

FASHION DISTRICT: Fashion District Festival takes over Spitalfields for 40 different events celebrating fashion, sustainability, innovation, and community. Pick up tips at styling masterclasses and upcycling workshops, and visit pop-ups and swap shops to refresh your wardrobe. 11-16 July

SPITALFIELDS MUSIC: There's more than just music at Spitalfields Music Festival, as the programme includes walking tours of Limehouse and Mile End. Alternatively, soak up live music in stunning venues including All-Hallows-by-the-Tower, and Church of St Peter ad Vincula within the Tower of London. 30 June-12 July

BBC PROMS: We can't even type those words without Land of Hope and Glory firing up on the record player inside our heads — but that's Last Night of the Proms, and there's almost two months' worth of live music to enjoy before that. For all your info on tickets, highlights, promming and the like, peruse our guide to the BBC Proms 2023. 14 July-9 September

London in July 2023: a woman browsing the goods at a stall at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival
Eat your way around the world at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival.

STORIES OF LONDON: Southwark Cathedral hosts a day of talks all about London. Find out about St Paul's Churchyard, painter Turner's links to the Thames, the history of Piccadilly Circus, the Great North Wood and more, with experts in each subject giving the talks. 15 July

KALEIDOSCOPE FESTIVAL: Hot Chip, George Fitzgerald, and comedians Nina Conti and Joe Lycett are all on the eclectic line-up at Kaleidoscope Festival. The one-day event takes over Alexandra Palace with live music, DJ sets, comedy and spoken word performances, plus magicians, games and workshops for families — all with incredible views over London. 15 July

MONSTER JAM: Usually home to football, the London Stadium has some rather different visitors in the form of Monster Jam, featuring 12,000lb behemoths on wheels taking part in stunts (including backflips!) — and there are new Marvel-themed trucks for this year. They're going to ruin that pitch... 15 July

CROYDON PRIDE FEST AND MELA: Central London's isn't the only Pride festival in London — the second-largest is Croydon Pride, taking place in Wandle Park after a parade through the centre of town. Browse stalls and enjoy live performance by acts including Abbalicious and local drag queen Asifa Lahore. The park has a quick turn around for Croydon Mela the following day — a free celebration of the borough's Asian communities. FREE ENTRY, 15-16 July

WHITECROSS STREET PARTY: Though it hosts a lively street food market most week days, Whitecross Street near Barbican really comes alive for the annual Whitecross Street Party. The theme this year is Art Not War, with live painting and street art, a music and words stage, family activities, food stalls and more. FREE, 15-16 July

London in July 2023: a composite image of nine different photos of a Black woman striking different poses, part of Black Venus at Somerset House
Black Venus opens at Somerset House. Image: Amber Pinkerton Photo Booth, Sabah, Girls Next Door, 2020 © Courtesy the artist and Alice Black

FOOD FESTIVAL: Eat your way around the world at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival, at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Hear from cookbook authors, and watch live cooking demos and masterclasses, so you can attempt to recreate your favourite dishes at home. 15-16 July

EEL PIE ISLAND: The annual summer open weekends at Eel Pie Island are this month. It's a chance to set foot on the mysterious and private island in the Thames and visit the artists who live and work there in their studios — and of course, buy artworks straight from the source. FREE, 15-16 and 22-23 July

BUCKINGHAM PALACE: If all the Coronation hullaballoo has piqued your interest in Buckingham Palace, take the opportunity to go inside at the annual summer opening of the State Rooms. The Throne Room, Ballroom Grand Staircase and Palace Gardens are among the areas open to the public for just a few weeks — we've been inside a few times, and it is spectacular. 15 July-24 September

SOHO VILLAGE FETE: A tug of war between the police and fire brigade, a spaghetti-scoffing contest, a best in show where pooches must dress like royalty, and a music stage are all part of the Soho Village Fete. But surely the highlight is the Soho Waiters' Race, which sees serving staff from different restaurants legging it around the area while balancing a bottle of fizz, wine glass and ashtray on their tray. FREE, 16 July

CHESS FEST: Trafalgar Square hosts a free chess festival, open to all, whether you're a seasoned player or want to learn the game. This year's Chess Fest includes a living chess set with 32 actors taking on the role of the pieces. How very Alice in Wonderland. FREE, 16 July

London in July 2023: two women taking part in a craft activity at Hyper Japan.
Hyper Japan returns to London Olympia.

DOGGETT'S COAT AND BADGE: Yes, it's the name of a pub, but the Doggett's Coat & Badge is also an annual boat race taking place on the Thames between London Bridge and Chelsea. It's been going for over 300 years, with up to six young watermen participating each time — here's the course, so you can pick a viewing point. FREE, 19 July

WOMEN'S WORLD CUP: Following on from their success at the Euros last summer, England's Lionesses head out to Australia and New Zealand to take part in the Women's Football World Cup. You can catch all the action at these screenings all around London — just remember that they take place earlier in the day than most football matches, due to the time difference. 20 July-20 August

BLACK VENUS: The latest exhibition at Somerset House is Black Venus, which aims to examine the historical representation and shifting legacy of Black women in visual culture. The work of 18 Black women and non-binary artists — primarily photographs — is on display, with each piece exploring the othering, fetishisation and reclamation of narratives around Black femininity. 20 July-24 September

HYPER JAPAN FESTIVAL: Love all things Japanese? Get yourself to Hyper Japan, a celebration of Japanese culture at Olympia London. Live performances, a market, food and drink stalls and a sake experience are all part of the fun. 21-23 July

London in July 2023: the promo poster for Macbeth at the Globe, with a photo of a young boy wearing a crown crouched on a tree stump in a barren landscape.
Macbeth opens at Shakespeare's Globe

MACBETH: One of Shakespeare's best-known plays, Macbeth is performed at the Globe Theatre, a traditional theatre laid out as it would have been in the playwright's day. 21 July-28 October

CART MARKING CEREMONY: One of London's quirkier events is the Ceremony of Cart Marking, a 500+ year old tradition by the Worshipful Company of Carmen. See a collection of handcarts, horses and carts, steam-driven vehicles, electric, solar-powered and hydrogen vehicles on display at Guildhall, with Livery Masters and Court Assistants in their official robes, chains and hats. 22 July

ICE WEEKEND: Once a year, the London Canal Museum in King's Cross invites the public down into its Victorian ice well (Sunday only). Descend by ladder into the underground space where ice used to be stored, and take part in all manner of ice-themed activities back above ground. 22-23 July

THEATRE ON KEW: See Alice in Wonderland performed in the open air at Kew Gardens throughout the summer holidays. Theatre on Kew brings together a cast of seven for a 70-minute show for ages 5+. 22 July-28 August

PERFORM IN THE PARK: Alternatively, head to Coram's Fields in Bloomsbury for all your family-friendly theatre needs. Perform in the Park has live performances every day, including The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and Mermaids & Pirates, in a specially-built air-conditioned theatre. 22 July-28 August

London in July 2023: the full cast of The SpongeBob Musical on stage in costume
The SpongeBob Musical comes to Southbank Centre. Photo: Mark Senior

MILKY WAY VR EXPERIENCE: Physicist Brian Cox has lent his voice to a new VR experience at the Royal Institution. Beyond the Milky Way takes visitors on a tour of the Square Kilometre Array telescope being built in the Australian outback, and offers a look at what it will be able to see when it's complete. 24 July-19 August

JULIE THE MUSICAL: Julie D’Aubigny was a 17th-18th century French opera singer, and one of the first public figures to live as an openly bisexual woman. Now, her story is being told in new production Julie: The Musical at The Other Palace. 25-30 July

FESTIVAL14: Music, theatre, dance, comedy and children’s activities are all part of Festival14, which returns to parks and open spaces around Canary Wharf. Head to Canada Square Park for the main stage, or explore the Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Westferry Circus and other areas for alternative entertainment. 26-30 July

SPONGEBOB MUSICAL: Just in time for the school holidays, The SpongeBob Musical opens at Southbank Centre, starring Ru-Paul’s Drag Race legend Divina De Campo. It features the same citizens of Bikini Bottom as the TV show, who find out that their home is in danger of being destroyed by a volcano. Age 6+. 26 July-27 August

POWER UP: Science Museum opens its brand new interactive gallery, Power Up. It's home to 160 consoles where you can play video games dating back over the last 50 years, including Pong, Pacman, Minecraft and MarioKart. Play single or multiplayer, depending how competitive you're feeling. Age 5+. From 27 July

London in July 2023: artworks on display in a temporary gallery set up in Chelsea Town Hall for London Art Biennale
Browse art from all over the world at the London Art Biennale.

LONDON ART BIENNALE: The London Art Biennale at Chelsea Town Hall presents work by over 350 artists from all around the world, emerging and established, in a celebration of contemporary art. FREE, 27-30 July

GENESIS: New audiovisual immersive experience Aurorium: Genesis comes to the Swiss Church in Seven Dials, telling the story of the beginnings of the world as we know it through a 360º spectacle of sound, light and colour. It's a 30-minute experience that's previously taken place in mainland Europe. 28 July-22 October

BODY MOVEMENTS: Body Movements is a multi-venue dance music festival, celebrating the full spectrum of Queer club culture. Several artists take over multiple east London venues (full programme TBC at time of writing) for a fully inclusive night of clubbing. 29 July

FERIA DE LONDRES: Celebration of Spanish food and culture Feria de Londres comes to Wembley Park for two days of Spanish music and flamenco performances — plus workshops, food and drink stalls and other family fun. 29-30 July

LONDON E-PRIX: For the final weekend of the month, all-electric vehicles take over the area around Royal Docks and ExCeL for the London E-Prix. The track partially goes inside the ExCeL Centre itself, as well as using the local roads, and there's a fan village, live music and kids' area for spectators. 29-30 July

London in July 2023: the interior of a church or cathedral, dark except for green and yellow projections on the ceiling
Light and sound combine at Aurorium: Genesis.

CAMP YA: A book festival celebrating the YA (young adult) genre comes to east London — as well as online — for two days. Camp YA includes author talks and signings, a book swap and a marketplace. 29-30 July

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES: The season's well underway at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, which gallops into its fourth production of the year, La Cage aux Folles. For the uninitiated, it's a musical set in St Tropez about a gay couple and an ultra-conservative couple who meet when their children get engaged. 29 July-16 September

CROYDON CARNIVAL: Yet another reason to visit Party Central (AKA Croydon) this month. Croydon Carnival parades through town, closing London Road to traffic for a series of stages which will host — among others — garage legend Artful Dodger. FREE, 30 July

CAMDEN FRINGE: Who needs Edinburgh when you've got Camden Fringe? The festival offers new and experimental theatre and comedy performances by emerging artists across North London, with almost 300 different productions on the 2023 programme. The bulk of the festival is in August, but at least 20 shows have their first airing on the last day of July — see the programme for what's on when, and get booking. 31 July-27 August

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS: Most schools in London break up for summer towards the end of July. Browse our school holiday event listings, for ideas of how to keep the family occupied, including plenty of free things to do in London.

London in July 2023: the interior of the new Arcade at Battersea, featuring a bar area with different types of seating
A new Arcade Food Hall opens in Battersea

ARCADE BATTERSEA: Sometime in July (date TBC) Arcade Food Hall launches its second venue, at Battersea Power Station. It'll have 500 seats, two bars, three restaurants, and a private dining room, with 13 different cuisines available from food counters, including Thai, Italian and Indian. See the website for further details and to sign up to dine there during the soft launch period.

OUTDOOR CULTURE: Cross your fingers for decent weather this month, then make the most of it with London's al fresco culture options. Theatre, films, art and live music can all be enjoyed in the open-air if you know where to look and what to book... which we do, naturally.

OUTDOOR CINEMA: As an extension to the above, London's awash with outdoor cinemas, from ones on rooftops to those in palace grounds, and alongside canals. Get booking to watch cult classic and new release films in the open-air this summer.

DAY TRIPS FROM LONDON: Need to get out of the city for a day or two? We hear you. Check out our Beyond London section, for day trip inspo, weekends away in the UK, and city breaks further afield. At the moment, we're loving these Sussex seaside towns, relaxed weekends in Southwold, and this gorgeous country house with links to Harry Potter and Henry VIII.

LAST CHANCE: A few things are closing this month too. It's your last chance to see:

London in July 2023: a photograph of a row of old-fashioned, pastel-coloured vending machines -part of the Wes Anderson Asteroid City exhibtion.
Immerse yourself in Wes Anderson's world at Asteroid City.
  • WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY: The Natural History Museum's legendary Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition displays photographs from all over the world, depicting animals, ecosystems, and our relationship with nature. Until 2 July
  • WES ANDERSON: Step into the pastel world of Wes Anderson at Asteroid City, an exhibition linked to his new film of the same name. Sets, props and costumes from the quirky film are on display at 180 Strand. Until 7 July
  • LANDSCAPE GARDENING: Learn about 1920s-30s American landscape designer Beatrix Farrand at the Garden Museum. She was the first woman to be inducted in the American Society of Landscape Architects, and designed gardens for the White House and Yale University. Until 12 July
  • STONE AGE HACKNEY: The Neanderthals and the Stone Age are the subject of the current exhibition at Hackney Museum, which explores what the local area was like during this period, and why Hackney is one of the most important archaeological sites from the era. FREE, until 22 July
  • AI WEIWEI: Last chance to see Design Museum's exhibition, Ai Weiwei: Making Sense, which brings together several of the Chinese artist's works as a commentary on design. Until 30 July

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