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Hampstead Summer Festival

For anyone who’s ever pined for the sea in summer while stuck in the city, we say, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ There’s SO much to do in London without pitching a tent or getting sand between your toes. With festivals a-plenty in every part of town, we’re rather excited to be staying at home while others kill time at the airport or spend hot, sticky hours in traffic on the way to the coast. Follow our festival guide and you’ll see exactly what we mean…

6-12 July,Hampstead Summer Festival,Heath Street, Hampstead
Dubbed the best street party in London, we think it’s one of the strongest community festivals around, with 100 stalls, a fun fair, street circus, donkey and unicorn rides. For your inner intellectual, there’s a chess tournament, fine art competition plus medieval and Renaissance music in Fenton’s orchard.

10-13 July, Streatham Festival, Streatham
Now in its 13th year, this year’s theme is ‘imagination’. Enjoy local musical artists at ten free gigs on 12 July, and follow the art trail along the High Road to discover why this area is developing a growing reputation as a creative hub.

18-19 July,Lovebox, Victoria Park, East London
Just a few tickets left, but if you love to dance, Lovebox is the ultimate family-friendly summer festival set in Victoria Park, nestled between Bethnal Green and Hackney. Condensed into two days this year, with the addition of art installations and circus-style performers, this one’s a party in the making.

19-20 July, Lambeth Country Show, Brockwell Park, Brixton
Hacking jackets aren’t necessary, but if you crave a taste of country life in the capital, this could be your festival. Local musicians and artists meet sheep dog displays, horse jousting and farm animals. Tally-ho!

23-27 July, Ealing Jazz Festival, Walpole Park, Ealing
If jazz is your thang, Ealing’s your hangout. Five days of music from Latin tunes, jazz and funk fusion, contemporary jazz to bebop and hard bop. Jazz maestro Dick Esmond is in charge of proceedings so you know you’re in expert hands for a musical extravaganza.

24 July, Gin Tasting Festival, The Foundling Museum, Brunswick Square
If you like a G&T, come and enjoy an evening festival with a difference. From 6.30pm – or gin’o’clock as we tend to regard it – there’ll be a talk on the history of the tipple with up to six taster shots of artisan gins. It’s nights like these that make us glad to live and play in the city.

27 July, Summer Festival at Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green
Guaranteed to make the kids’ summer sparkle, this year’s festival has rickshaw rides, family activities, fantastic food and the museum’s gardens to explore. Free entry and, of course, the museum’s fabulous exhibits of toys from yesteryear to guarantee wide-eyed wonder.

6-31 August, Free theatre at The Scoop, London Riverside
Brush up on your classics with this month-long run of performances, part of the More London Free Festival. Alongside music, film screenings and exercise classes, there’s the chance to enjoy Oedipus and Antigone, one family’s tragic tale of power, hubris and destruction. It might be ancient, but it’s powerful stuff.

12-16 August, The Great British Beer Festival 2014, Olympia Exhibition Centre, Kensington
Now we’re not suggesting Olympia quite captures the true ‘festival’ spirit (no muddy wellies required), but with 900 craft beers, ciders and perries from 300 British breweries to sample, we reckon you’ll be feeling pretty chilled by the time you leave. The organisers promise ‘fun, food, live music and frolics in a gargantuan carnival atmosphere’ – we’re in!
23-24 August, South West Four Weekender, Clapham Common
Bigger festivals may steal the headlines, but 11 years in the making, we reckon South West Four is one of the best ways to spend a summer’s Bank Holiday weekend. You may have missed Dolly at Glastonbury earlier this summer, but be quick on this one as it’s the only place to see Robert Dietz, Paul Kalkbrenner, Paco Osuna and John Digweed this year.

24-25 August, Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill
Of course no street festival list would be complete without the granddaddy of events, the Notting Hill Carnival. Since 1964, West London has held this Caribbean-inspired festival which boasts around 50,000 performers and an audience of 2.5 million. Sunday is Children’s Day when prizes are awarded for the colourful costumes, but Bank Holiday Monday is when the main parade takes place. Arrive early if you want a premium spot to watch.

31 August, London Mela, Gunnersbury Park, Acton
South Asia’s turn to take to the stage, the London Mela offers an amazing display of music, dance, arts, food, crafts and a huge funfair. Free and family-friendly, we reckon this one is a rising star.

1-30 September, Totally Thames, London Wide
Round out the festival season with a whole month of activities down on the river. Make a pot from Thames clay, marvel at choir performances, watch boats of all shapes and sizes go by, enjoy a midnight guided walk, plus free film screenings.


About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents.  With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 21 prominently located branches and 14 international offices.