What’s on in London for August 2013

sunWe are currently in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures as high as 28c. The sun is shining bright and everyone is spending what free time they have outdoors sun bathing and having barbeques, and that’s great because August has lots of major sporting events to see. There’s competitive Rugby , Football and Cricket matches all taking place throughout the month. Look out for music festivals events and special festival activities at Trafalgar square and around London also don’t miss the world famous Notting Hill Carnival. Listed below are our top 10 events for the month, enjoy the summer and have fun in the sun.

No 1.  3rd August to 29th September “Buckingham Palace Summer Opening”. Every summer inquisitive visitors get the chance to look round Buckingham Palace and admire the interiors of the principal royal residence. Visitors for the Summer Opening tour are permitted access to the nineteen State Rooms which are still used by the Royal Family to receive and entertain guests on state and ceremonial occasions. Decorated in lavish fashion, they include paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto, Sevres porcelain and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. There are also some exquisite royal gifts, including Faberge Eggs, on display. Book tickets to see Buckingham Palace State Rooms this summer. This is a fascinating opportunity to admire the taste – often wonderful, sometimes comically bad – of Britain’s monarchy. PRICES £19 (Adults), £17.50 (Concs), £10.85 (Children Under 17), FREE (Under 5s), £50 (Family)

No 2.  7th August to 22nd September “West Side Story” at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. West Side Story The original Broadway classic returns to Sadler’s Wells after its sell-out 50th anniversary season back in 2008. Set in hot and restless downtown New-York in the 1950s, Tony and Maria are our American Romeo and Juliet who find themselves torn between warring families and rival gangs until the situation inevitably ends in tragedy. The film won ten Academy Awards and featured a remarkable performance from Natalie Wood, whose tragic drowning continues to cause mystery and controversy in the press. Joey McKneely’s revival will feature the original choreography from Jerome Robbins and will see Donald Chan lead the live orchestra to play Leonard Bernstein’s iconic score. Book tickets now for West Side Story at Sadler’s Wells. PRICES £15-£75

No. 3.  8th till 21st August “Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House”. Possibly the most famous of all the open air film events to take place in London, Summer Screen returns to Somerset House in association with Film4 to bring cinema lovers a truly eclectic mix of movies. This year’s programme features comedy, romance, musicals, thrillers and cult classics, kicking off with the world premiere of the new Richard Curtis rom-com About Time, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachal McAdams and Bill Nighy. There are also two UK premieres during the 14-day program – charming comedy The Way Way Back, starring Steve Carell and Toni Collette, and Prince Avalanche, with Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, which brings the season to a close. In between, feast your eyes on an array of films that includes Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Crazy Stupid Love, Kes, Guys and Dolls and The Untouchables. Special multi-film nights include a triple bill of high-school comedy (Mean Girls, Carrie and The Loved Ones), a monster double of Predator and Gremlins 2: The New Batch, and a night celebrating the American outlaw spirit of Badlands and Raising Arizona. Each night DJs lay in the courtyard before the film is shown on a state-of-the-art screen with full surround sound. Beside the Screen talks traditionally provide special insights into the films, with directors, actors and industry insiders giving talks which illuminate the programme. Prices from £14.50.

No.4.  11th August “FA Community Shield Wigan Athletic v Manchester United” at Wembley Stadium. The winners of the FA Cup take on the Premier League champions in the annual season curtain-raiser at Wembley Stadium. Last season’s Community Shield clash saw Manchester City come from behind to beat Chelsea 3-2. The match was played at Villa Park in Birmingham because the usual venue, Wembley, was being used to host the final of the Olympic football tournament, this year its back at its spiritual home WEMBLEY.

No.5.   13th to 17th August “The Great British Beer Festival” at Olympia. Over 66,000 people flock to this massive celebration of our national drink,  features over 700 real ales, ciders, perries and beers from around the world. Although the Great British Beer Festival sounds like a fun event, don’t be surprised to see a lot of very serious faces and concentration; some real ale experts are genuinely obsessive – and for them this isn’t merely an occasion to get sozzled. Tutored tastings are on offer for anyone who wants to learn the subtleties of what makes a great beer. For the rest of us, though, this is a jolly day out with some delicious brewed drinks. Besides the amber nectar, there’s a load of activities to keep you interested, including traditional pub games, live music and, to soak it all up, some hearty traditional pub snacks. Prices from £8.00

No.6.   14th August “International Friendly: England v Scotland” at Wembley Stadium. One of international football’s oldest rivalries is rekindled as England take on Scotland at Wembley Stadium in a friendly match in celebration of the FA’s 150th anniversary. The two sides met in the first official international football match ever played back in 1872 at Partick, near Glasgow. England playing Scotland is now, according to England manager Roy Hodgson, “one of the finest fixtures in international football”, and a game which means the world to both sets of supporters. Both sides have not met since 1999 when Scotland won 1-0 in the second leg of a Euro 2000 qualifying play-off at Wembley (England had won the first leg 2-0 at Hampden Park and so secured passage to the knock-out phases). This mid-week match should be a classic.

No.7.   17th August  “Eid in the Square”. Eid al-Fitr is the global Muslim celebration which marks the end of the holy fasting  month of Ramadan. Eid is the Arabic word meaning festivity, while al-Fitr means conclusion of the fast. Where Christians have Christmas, Muslims have Eid – which gives you an idea of how big the celebrations are. It’s certainly a major event in London – and since 2006 there has been a mass gathering in Trafalgar Square organised by the Mayor of London and Muslim groups in the capital (although last year’s event was cancelled because of the Olympics). The event features live music – past performers have included Polish-Egyptian hip-hop artists Quest-Rah, French-based rappers Akeem and North African Rai band Cheb Nacim among others – as well as food stalls, exhibitions and displays about Islam. There will also be other local events happening across London in what should prove to be a vibrant and uplifting occasion for everyone involved.

N0. 8 .   21st to 25th August “5th Investec Ashes Test: England v Australia” at The Kia Oval Cricket Ground. The fifth, final and potentially most crucial Ashes Test takes place at the Kia Oval more than a month after the opening Test at Trent Bridge , when England won the first Test England have, of course, beaten fierce rivals Australia in the past two Ashes series and only time will tell if Alastair Cook’s side can make it a triumphant treble. There were scenes of jubilation four years ago when a man-of-the-match performance by pace bowler Stuart Broad (not to mention a game-changing direct hit from Andy Flintoff to run out Ricky Ponting when the game was in the balance) helped England regain the Ashes with a 197-run win over Australia in the Fifth Test at the Oval in 2009. The victory gave England a 2-1 series win and started this current mini era of domination that the visitors will be only too keen to overturn.

No.9.   24th August “RFL Challenge Cup Final” at Wembley Stadium. Believe it or not rugby league is the second most popular team sport in Britain and this, the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, is one of the most prestigious matches in world rugby league. While the game’s roots are in firmly in the north of England, this knock-out cup competition is now open to a few teams from France and Russia, as well as teams from the Army, Navy and RAF, and some amateur and university sides. Last year saw Super League giants Warrington Wolves beat Leeds Rhinos 35-18 to net their third win in four years.

No.10.   25th  to 26th  August “The Notting Hill Carnival”. The streets of West London come alive every August Bank Holiday weekend as London celebrates Europe’s biggest street festival – the Notting Hill Carnival. With a Caribbean theme that sees the streets packed with steel bands, Calypso music and tempting food stalls, the Notting Hill Carnival is a huge party. And everyone is invited! Expect a sea of colour as amazing floats and costumed performers wind their way through the streets of London. Whether you want to join in the fun or simply watch the crowds go by, don’t miss the chance to be part of one of London’s biggest and best annual events. Sunday at The Notting Hill Carnival is Children’s Day, with a shorter parade route. It’s also the day that the costume prizes are awarded. Bank Holiday Monday sees the main parade. In the evening, the floats leave the streets in procession and people continue the festivities at the many Notting Hill Carnival after-parties.

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