August is the time when London's parks fill up with sunbathers, lidos come into their own, the banks of the Thames lend themselves to picnics and pub gardens get packed. Huge music festivals are the mainstay of the month, from the LED Festival to the South West Four Weekender on Clapham Common. The Notting Hill Carnival remains the highlight for many, while comedy lovers have recently enjoyed the rise of the Camden Fringe.
1st August 2011 - 25th September 2011
For two months in the summer, throughout August and September (while the Queen makes her annual jaunt up to Scotland), visitors have the chance to look round Buckingham Palace and admire the interiors of this 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. This is a fascinating opportunity to admire the taste - often wonderful, sometimes comically bad - of Britain's monarchy. For an extra price, visitors can buy a special Royal Day Out ticket (£31) which includes admission to the Royal Mews stables and the Queen's Gallery as well as the State Rooms.
1st August 2011 - 28th August 2011
Bringing together comedy, theatre, poetry, dance and much more, the Camden Fringe boasts 400 performances of 100-odd shows across five venues in north London throughout August. (And there we were thinking a Camden Fringe was some sort of trendy hair coup to rival the Hoxton Mullet...) Whether you want to catch some of the edgiest stand-up around or witness a new twist on Shakespeare or watch a group of OAPs rap, the Camden Fringe has become the metaphorical David, ready "to challenge the Edinburgh Goliath" (The Guardian). Now in its sixth year, this rapidly growing four-week festival is offering fresh opportunity for both new and established acts to get themselves noticed in a creative environment outside Edinburgh. It also gives Londoners the chance to see a huge variety of shows - at £7.50 a pop - without having to trek all the way up to Scotland on a crowded train. Having started out in the Etcetera Theatre, the festival has shed its humble beginnings and now venues also include the Roundhouse and The Camden Head. Stand-out comedy shows in the past include the loveable Simon Amstell, the topical Shazia Mirza and the downright filthy Scott Capurro. The 2011 programme of events will not be announced until the spring so keep an eye on www.camdenfringe.org for the latest. The organisers are always on the look out for exciting new performers so get your application forms in early.
Camden Fringe 2011 - Information
2nd August 2011 - 6th August 2011
More than 66,000 people flock to this massive celebration of our national drink, which features over 700 real ales, ciders, perries and beers from around the world. Although The Great British Beer Festival sounds like a fun event - and it can be - 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. Beer swilling may not be the most glamorous activity but this annual Earls Court event brings it as close to an art form as possible.
7th August 2011
It's the moment most women of the household dread: the return of the football season with the annual FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium. A traditional curtain-raiser for the new season, the Community Shield sees the previous year's Premier League winners take on the winners of the FA Cup. At the time of writing, the two contestants of this year's game are unknown and with the 2010/2011 Premier League title race being one of the most open in recent memory, there's all sorts of teams that could be taking part come August. Last season's game was a clash between Double winners Chelsea and league runners-up Manchester United, with Sir Alex Ferguson's men taking the spoils with a 3-1 win. The match gives fans and coaches a chance to see how their sides are shaping up for the impending season and though it isn't always the most sought after trophy, it's a great way for a team to kick-start a season. It must be said, though, that the managers of both sides will likely be concerned with the state of the Wembley pitch.
8th August 2011 - 14th August 2011
The 2011 Badminton World Championships are at London's Wembley Arena, giving fans the chance to get a look at 400 of the world's top players before they return for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Chinese players have dominated in recent years but expect them to get a run for their money from players from Denmark, Malaysia, Korea and Indonesia. And there's the home-grown talent to keep an eye on as well, with established names such as Nathan Robertson and Andrew Clark in the men's doubles or up and coming talents such as Rajiv Ouseph and Andrew Smith. Each day of the Championships features multiple matches in the men's and women's singles and the doubles matches.
18th August 2011 - 22nd August 2011
The series comes to a climax back in London at The Kia Oval as England host India in the 4th npower Test Match. Depending on how the series has gone up to this point, this could well be a crucial game and one which will have a huge say on the final outcome of the series. It won't just be the series coming to an end, however. Indian batting legends Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman will all likely be making their final Test appearances in England. With around 35,000 career runs between them, they'll certainly leave a void on the world game when they retire and this is an excellent opportunity for English fans to catch one last look at them at their best.
5th & 6th August 2011
British heavy metal veterans Iron Maiden storm The O2 Arena for two nights this August to tie up a 10-city arena tour around the UK which will in turn concludes their year-long The Final Frontier World Tour. Iron Maiden must be the only band in history who can rely on one of their members to fly the group around the world for gigs: lead singer Bruce Dickinson is also a commercial airline pilot and has a plane, Ed Force One, named after Eddie, the group's famous mascot who has appeared on almost all their album and single covers. Last year, Iron Maiden released their 15th studio album, The Final Frontier, which topped the charts in 40 countries worldwide and was praised as "densely-layered and substantial" as well as "beautifully paced and disarmingly complex" by Classic Rock magazine. These back-to-back gigs will see Maiden perform songs from the album as well as a healthy dose of the classics too, plus a spectacular light show and stage set, complete with Eddie himself.
24th August 2011 - 4th September 2011
A spectacular live outing for the 'Caped Crusader' which premieres in London in summer 2011. The Batman Live tour is designed for a stadium, so expect it to make full-use of the O2 Arena - with thrilling stunts, eye-popping acrobatics and stunning illusions. The story has been written specifically for the show and will bring to life familiar settings such as Gotham City, Wayne Manor, the Batcave and Arkham Asylum. And expect all the major heroes and villains to make an appearance - including The Joker, The Riddler, Catwoman, Robin, Two Face, Commissioner Gordon and Alfred the Butler. Co-directed by Anthony Van Laast and James Powell.
26th & 27th August 2011
Some of the world's best house and electro DJs gather over the August bank holiday for the return of the London Electronic Dance Festival in Victoria Park. The East London outdoor space is a firm favourite with summertime weekend festivals and it only seems natural when it added the electronic genres to its spiralling portfolio of indie rock, village-y, heavy metal, and underage festivals last year. French DJ David Guetta, the undisputed kind of Euro trash house, headlined the Friday night slot at the inaugural LED Festival, alongside the likes of Soulwax, Calvin Harris, Audio Bullys and Tiga. Saturday's line-up was more indie-infused, with crossover band Friendly Fires, genre-smashing musical pioneers Goldfrapp and BBC Radio One DJ Annie Mac joining headline act Leftfield and the acid house recluse Aphex Twin. LED may run over the same weekend as the Notting Hill Carnival and the Reading and Leeds Festivals, but its debut in 2010 was well received - despite the intermittent rain. This year's festival and its acts have yet to be confirmed so keep checking www.ledfestival.net for the latest ticket and line-up details. TIMES AND DATES TO BE CONFIRMED
27th August 2011 - 28th August 2011
The South West Four Weekender 2011 welcomes revellers to Clapham Common over the August bank holiday weekend for two days of dance-music mayhem. Last year, the UK's premier inner city dance festival was blown apart by stellar sets from Fatboy Slim and Dutch trance master Armin van Buuren. While this year's headline acts have been confirmed by the organisers, they are still yet to be named so keep checking www.southwestfour.com for all the latest line-up and ticket news. Taking place on Saturday and Sunday (leaving you the bank holiday Monday to recover), SW4 has proved a great success over its first seven years, filling Clapham Common with revellers united in the knowledge that they don't have to slum it in a tent and that there's no work the next day - so the party can go on and on. The music may finish at around 9pm both nights but there are after-parties for those keen on all-night revelry.
28th August 2011 - 29th August 2011
Held since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival was originally a local affair for west London's homesick Caribbean community, this has evolved into Europe's biggest street party. Carnival sets London on fire in a blaze of Caribbean spirit as extravagantly costumed dancers, calypso and soca musicians, giant soundsystems and steelbands are joined by over a million revellers of all ages. Sunday is officially Children's Day, but there are loads of kids on both days enjoying the bright colours of the floats and the dancers' feathered costumes. Adults can shake their battys at dozens of stages: our favourites are Channel 1's booming dub, and the jazz-reggae at Gaz's Rockin' Blues, but there are tunes for all tastes, from house to hip-hop. It's a huge area, and can get very crowded, so be prepared for an exhausting day out, but for anyone who loves a party, Carnival remains the absolute highlight of the London summer.
31st August 2011 - TBC
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'. It's 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. The event features live music - in 2010 performers included Polish-Egyptian hip-hop artists Quest-Rah, French-based rappers Akeem and North African Rai band Cheb Nacim among others - as well as stalls and displays about Islam. There will also be other local events happening across London.
London Calendar 2011
Highlights include Cirque du Soleil's new show, Rebecca Hall's National Theatre debut in Twelfth Night and the return of Dutch mus...January 2011
Don't forget it's Valentine's Day on the 14th - but there's plenty more going on this month besides, from the muddy pitch of Six N...February 2011
With winter on the way out, March's Ideal Home Show and the Country Living Fair are great occasions for a spring clean. Elsew...March 2011
We all get an extra bank holiday this year thanks to the much-hyped Royal Wedding on Friday 29th April. Other big d...April 2011
The Chelsea Flower Show and the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park get London's summer season in full swing in a month book-ended b...May 2011
It's all fun runs, flower shows and festivals for July giving Londoners ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Highlights includ...July 2011
Late summer fireworks light up the river at the Mayor's Thames Festival, while Hyde Park and the Royal Albert Hall sing in unison ...September 2011
Ghosts and ghouls come out to play for Halloween at the end of the month but before that in October there are some of&nb...October 2011
Remember, remember the 5th November, when fireworks are set off across the city to celebrate Guy Fawkes' night. The pinnacle ...November 2011