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What’s on in London – September 2016

As the country takes pride in the achievements of Team GB in Brazil, London can claim some extra credit for making sure that the legacy of 2012 did not go to waste. Go anywhere in the capital and you’ll see Londoners of all ages cycling, swimming and rowing – not necessarily for medals, but for the sheer fun of it. Competitive or not, relaxation in this fine city is all about community and togetherness and that’s why London’s cultural events like music festivals, art exhibitions and fashion shows will always be given the same prominence as winning medals.

Totally Thames Fesitval – River Thames

Totally Thames
An extensive programme of festivals, regattas and art installations is due to take place all along the 42 mile stretch of the London section of the Thames. The aim is to get visitors to regard the river as, not only a scenicbackdrop, but as a transport link, recreation space and conservation area.There will be special offers on dining in selected riverside restaurants, concerts, plays and a mass long-distance bodyboard trip to the estuary. Entry to the Southbank Centre and Syon House will also be discounted. One of the most eye-catching attractions will be a giant lantern installed midstream near the Millenium Bridge by conceptual artist Ik-Joong Kang.

London’s Burning – City of London, E2

It might seem a weird thing to say, but modern London owes a great debt to the fire that all but obliterated it 350 years ago. From the ashes of the blaze that started in a City bakery, geniuses like Christopher Wren were able to reimagine the capital as a majestic metropolis.There will be many events to commemorate the event near Monument which is a more permanent tribute. Artichoke, a well-known guerrilla arts company, is running the festivities, so don’t expect costumed re-enactments or plaqueunveilings. Be prepared, instead, for extremely contemporary reinterpretations from the people who once installed a 35 ft wooden elephant next to Buckingham Palace.

London Design Festival – Venues Londonwide 

With the sad passing of “Starchitect” Zaha Hadid cutting-edge designers will have their chance to gather in tribute to a truly inspired one-off. However, she would be the first to remind us that design concepts in the capital are bigger than one individual and the London Design Festival’s ongoing growth is ample evidence.The festival will divide the city into seven zones, each containing a number of “design trails” that the public can follow on foot as they discover new and varied works of art. All the main disciplines will be on show, from graphics to 3D printing. Sculpture, jewellery, furniture and architecture will all be the subject of viewings, panel discussions and interactive displays. The V&A Museum and Somerset House will be the flagship venues.

Open House London – Various Venues

Anybody with a casual interest in London’s history can browse the big museums and landmarks, but the Open House events take visitors behind the scenes to place seldom seen. Taking place over a select weekend, Open House letspeople into buildings that are usually off-limits and aspiring amateur historians will find plenty to keep them busy.700 walks, tours and exhibitions are available so it’s advisable to plan the weekend carefully and to zone in on your area of interest. The buildings vary in age and size but they all have something interesting about how they are used and what went into building them.

London Fashion Week – Brewer Street, W1

London Fashion Week
LFW sashays back into town just in time to show the world what to wear over the coming months. New designers get the chance to show what they can do and the more established trendsetters are also on hand to add a touch of stardust.One again, Brewer Street Car Park is the ultra-hip Soho venue for a hectic week of catwalk action. Vivienne Westwood will be an enormous draw as always, as will Paul Smith, House of Holland and Bella Freud. Major chains willbe sponsoring shows and eyeing all the indie talent as Gareth Pugh stages yet another catwalk tour-de-force as he seeks to strengthen his reputation as fashion’s hottest rising star.

BBC Proms in the Park – Hyde Park 

Hyde Park
The outdoor extension of a summer of classical, jazz and experimental music takes place right at the end of the festival. Across from the Royal Albert Hall, music fans will gather for a programme that is different from the big indoor Elgar finale, yet still in keeping with its climatic style.The park is where pop sensibilities inform the playing of the BBC Orchestra and also where kids can dip into classical music for the first time. Presented by Michael Ball, the bill will include All Saints, ABC and a performance of the musical Matilda as this year marks the centenary of the birth of children’s author Roald Dahl.

Meatopia – Tobacco Dock, E1

Tobacco Dock is set to be a lentil-free zone at the beginning of September as animal flesh, testosterone and fire collide in a blaze of manly BBQ action. Thankfully this isn’t a collection of beery dads burning things to a cinder but Meatopia, where the professionals show how it’s done.Cooking demonstrations from some of London’s finest steakhouses, together with craft beer selections and downtempo grooves ensure that things go along with a certain rustic indie vibe but the main attraction, of course, is the meat. There’s no gas or electricity allowed as steaks, ribs and wings all get the artisan treatment over wood fires for three days of fun, food and funk.

Bjork Digital (Somerset House)

Sommerset House
Bjork has made the journey from quirky pop siren to avant-garde performance artist with relative ease and continues to push boundaries in the way that music is packaged and presented. Her last album came as an app which fans could use to play along with Bjork’s original compositions.Bjork Digital continues on the interactive route with cutting-edge virtual reality technology to the fore. Virtual Reality is used to construct one-on-one recitals of Bjork’s latest track as well as taking us inside the mouth of the artist as she sings it. Part performance, part installation, Bjork Digital points the way for fringe musicians such as Lady Gaga and Sia, although they may have some catching up to do.

OnBlackheath – Blackheath, SE3

The last major summer music festival in London takes place in the South London urban village of Blackheath. Unsurprisingly, the schedule is full of quality bands, great food and a diverse range of activities for the kids. Three stages will be spaced around the Heath and between them there’ll be a dizzying variety of street food stalls serving dishes from around the globe.Primal Scream will headline together with Belle & Sebastian. Support acts include James, Hot Chip and Squeeze. The upscale department store John Lewis will be running a food tent and local brewer, ‘Meantime’ will supply the craft beer. Kids will love the interactive storytelling stage.

Chelsea v Liverpool – Stamford Bridge

Stamford Bridge
As unfancied Leicester City stormed to the title last season, these premiership giants were busy getting into all kinds of bother which resulted in them placing well behind the leaders. With both sides out of Europe, the stage is set for a serious battle in SW6 as they seek to re-establish their supremacy.Chelsea’s new manager is the emotional Italian, Antonio Conte and he’ll be keen to get a psychological victory under his belt before his team meets champions Leicester and Manchester United in October. Liverpool stunned Arsenal at the start of the season, so manager, Jurgen Klopp will be heading back to London full of optimism.

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.