A nine day festival at the start of August celebrating sport, food and culture and offering entertaining family activities for those who were unfortunate not to get their hands on any Olympic tickets. Half an hour outside of central London and far enough away from the busy Olympic Park, The People's Fringe features multiples villages, stalls, chef demonstrations and gaming areas, with the overall theme being health, wellness and creativity. The VIP section is where you really get your money's worth - enjoy touch screen gaming pads, hot tubs, splash pools, virtual reality gaming and even a helicopter ride over London.
August in London 2012
A nine day festival celebrating sport, food and culture
Netherhouse Farm, Sewardstone Road, Waltham Abbey, London, E4 7RJ
Tube: Loughton Station
Dates: 03rd - 12th August 2012
Underage Festival 2012
The best under 19s music event of its type sets up shop in Shoreditch Park
Underage Festival (which moves to Shoreditch Park this year) claims to be the world's first and best under 19s music event of its type - and this one has a twist, for not only are the crowd all musical savvy youngsters of the MySpace and iPod generations aged 14 to 18, but many of the lesser-known performers are themselves teenagers, giving young bands a huge leg-up in the industry. The 2011 festival went down a storm with names such as Bombay Bicycle Club, Devlin, Wolf Gang, Janelle Monae and Rizzle Kicks all taking to the stage. Now in its sixth year, the Underage Festival is the brainchild of teenager Sam Kilcoyne who felt compelled to stand up and represent his fellow music loving peers after being refused admission to a gig at the tender age of fourteen. Along with the Underage Club, the concept has been critically acclaimed by the media and the enthusiastic adolescent audience it benefits. Note: this is an alcohol-free event with an 8pm curfew.
Real ales, ciders, perries and beers from around the world
Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London, W14 8UX
Dates: 12th to 16th Aug 2014
Over 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.
The grand finale of the Games and handover to next host city, Rio
Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST
Dates: 12th August 2012
The grand finale of the London 2012 Games takes place at the Olympic Stadium on 12 August 2012 and includes a handover to the next host city, Rio. For the elaborate closing ceremony at Beijing 2008, media estimates put the global television audience at anything from one to four billion people - so it's safe to say all eyes will be on London as the 30th Olympiad comes to an end. Leading choreographer and creative director Kim Gavin, the inspirational force behind many Take That shows and performances, has been appointed Artistic Director for the Closing Ceremony, which traditionally features a march of the athletes, the hoisting of the flags, speeches and the poignant extinguishing of the Olympic Flame - as well as one final cultural spectacle, plus a look ahead at the 2016 Games and the next host city, Rio. If the handover at Beijing 2008 is anything to go by - it included a red London bus and an appearance by David Beckham - then the global audience will be treated with a mini Rio Carnival and a cameo by Pele.
The carnival themed musical tells the ill-fated tale of bad boy Billy Bigelow
Situated on Silk Street in central London, the Barbican centre is located close to a number of attractions. For hotels near the Barbican and all the best deals, take a look at our London Hotels page.
Barbican Centre, Silk Street, City, London, EC2Y 8DS
Dates: 15th August - 15th September 2012
Bursting onto the Broadway stage back in 1945, Carousel is one of the great American musicals. Performance producers Opera North now breath fresh life into the much loved Rodgers and Hammerstein original as it arrives at London's Barbican in August. This carnival themed romance tells the ill-fated tale of bad boy Billy Bigelow and his sweetheart Julie Jordan. The show will run for five weeks with its brand new cast and live orchestra, giving a whole new generation of theatre-goers a chance to enjoy classic love songs like, 'You'll never walk alone' and 'If I loved you.'
England take on South Africa in the final Test match of the English summer
Lord's Cricket Ground , St. John's Wood Road, St John's Wood, London, NW8 8QN
Tube: St John's Wood Station
Dates: 16th - 20th August 2012
England take on South Africa in the final Test match of the English summer as these two formidable sides square off to perhaps decide the series and the number one ranking in Test match cricket. The final Test of the summer is always a show-piece occasion for the English game - over the past few years, the last game of the year has seen the Ashes regained (2009), a spot-fixing scandal that would engulf the sport (2010) and a comprehensive win over India that saw England crowned as the best team in the world (2011). The touring South Africans pose perhaps the biggest threat to England's new found status as the leaders of the world. In Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, they possess arguably the most dangerous fast bowling pair in the world and the batting excellence of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers will ensure a stern challenge for England's all-conquering bowling attack. On their last visit to the UK, South Africa took the spoils 2-1 and ended both the captaincy of the Test career of Michael Vaughan. This final Test should be a thrilling contest between two evenly matched sides, even if fans might be left feeling a bit short changed by the staging of only three Tests in such a high profile series.
The outdoor food festival comes to Battersea Park in August
The festival will take place at Marble Hill House over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend from Saturday 24th to Monday 26th May, Kenwood House from Friday 30th to Sunday 1st June, Clapham Common from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th June, and Battersea Park on Friday 15th, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th August 2014.
Battersea Park, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea Park, Battersea, London, SW11 4NJ
Tube: Sloane Square Station
Dates: 15th, 16th and 17th August 2014
Meet Michelin star chefs, see live demonstrations and sample food from London's top restaurants at the Foodies Festival, taking place at both Hampton Court Palace and London Battersea Park. Cooking is made to look easy thanks to demos from top chefs and if the mere thought of all that makes you hungry then you can head to the restaurant tents where you can sample signature dishes from well known restaurants. Wash it all down with posh fizz from Veuve Clicquot and you can guarantee an atmosphere of bon viveur. Around 25,000 people are expected to attend which just goes to show the popularity of London's restaurants. Much like the 'Taste of London', these 'Foodies' events - which also take place in Bristol, Oxford and Edinburgh (coinciding with the Festival) - offer a winning combination of sampling, slurping and learning, all in the open air. A foodie's treat. The festival will take place at Hampton Court Palace on 5th-6th May then in London Battersea Park on 17th-19th August.
The big festival for little people aged 10 and under
Regent's Park, Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4NR
Tube: Regent's Park Station
Dates: 17th - 19th August 2012
A festival especially for the under-10s, LolliBop - "the big bash for little people" - returns to Regent's Park this summer. You can expect live music on the bandstand and circus fun in the Big Top, as well as plenty of activities where you can get involved with workshops on hula hooping, bodypopping and creating a carnival costume. In fact, dressing up is positively encouraged - you're advised to come in your best fancy dress. There's something for all the family including fairground rides for the kids and a dedicated baby change tent for parents. If that's not enough you can always run away to the LolliBop circus and be entertained by the talented troupe of performers.
A wonderful celebration of Asian music and culture in Gunnersbury Park
Gunnersbury Park, Popes Lane, London, W3 8LQ
Tube: Acton Town Station
Dates: Sunday 31st August 2014
The London Mela in Gunnersbury Park is a wonderful celebration of Asian music and culture which always draws a big crowd of 55,000 visitors with its line-up of British Asian music, Bollywood figures and traditional and classical performances. One of the biggest celebrations of Asian music and culture outside the Indian subcontinent, this year's festival is still in the planning stages but previous years have seen nine different zones, all showcasing different types of music with urban, classical and experimental music, DJs, circus and comedy as well as dance, arts and a children's play area. We're expecting a similar funfair atmosphere this year with music and dance supplemented by hundreds of stalls selling food and handicrafts, all of which makes the London Mela a magnet for a multitude of Londoners out for a good time.
Carnaval del Pueblo
Loud, colourful fiesta celebrating all things Latin American
This loud, colourful Carnaval del Pueblo fiesta of all things Latin American, now in its 13th year, is a celebration of their roots for expat communities in the capital, and a massive party for the rest of us. In 2011 the festival had to be cancelled due to work on Burgess Park, so this long awaited event has the potential to be a seriously good party. Proceedings kick off at midday when a procession of brightly-coloured floats are paraded down the streets of Southwark, admired by over 100,000 people. The route usually sees them wind their way from Elephant Street near London City Hall down to Burgess Park, taking in Tooley Street, Borough High Street and Elephant and Castle along the way. Once at Burgess Park, revellers can enjoy regionally-themed food, drink, live music and, of course, dance late into the night. There are a number of different stages offering everything from traditional music to the freshest reggaeton and Latin hip-hop.
The home of horror, hosted by London's Empire Leicester Square
Vue West End, 3 Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, Soho, London, WC2H 7AL
Dates: 21st to 25th Aug 2014
The Empire Cinema in Leicester Square will once again host the Film4 FrightFest this August. The home of horror, the festival has been running since 2009 and has rapidly grown in popularity. With four days of screenings, audiences can expect to be scared witless with a devilishly delightful line up of premieres, previews and special screenings of fantasy and horror films. FrightFest organiser Paul McEvoy chose the following as his top picks from the 2011 festival: Kill List, Dedheads, The Theatre Bizarre and Inbred, as well as the annual interactive event, FrightFest International Short Film Showcase/Andy Nyman's Quiz from Hell. With previous year's events welcoming a number of esteemed visitors, including Danny Boyle, 2012 is set to see even more cushion grabbing movies and an array of celebrity guests and talks.
One of the most eagerly anticipated dates in the rugby league calendar
Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London, HA9 0WS
Tube: Wembley Park Station
Dates: 25th August 2012
The Carnegie Challenge Cup Final returns to Wembley Stadium for one of the most eagerly anticipated dates in the rugby league calendar. Wigan Warriors saw off Leeds Rhinos in last year's final, their first visit to Wembley in 13 years. Their 28-18 victory brought them an 18th Challenge Cup crown, a record in rugby league. Though it gets less media coverage than rugby union (or cricket for that matter), rugby league is the second most popular team sport in Britain, and the only thing apart from football that fills big stadiums every week with noisy, passionate fans. In spite of the game's roots in the North, the Carnegie Challenge Cup is now open to a few teams from France and Russia, and the Final, the showpiece of the domestic calendar, takes place in London. Ticket prices are very reasonable indeed for an event with such a fantastic atmosphere.
Two days of dance-music mayhem on Clapham Common on August bank holiday weekend
Clapham Common, Windmill Drive, London, SW4 9DE
Tube: Clapham South Station
Dates: Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August 2014
The South West Four Weekender welcomes revellers to Clapham Common over the August bank holiday weekend for two days of dance-music mayhem. The UK's premier inner city dance festival has attracted big names Chase and Status, Carl Cox, Foreign Beggars and Skrillex to the bill this year. Taking place on Saturday and Sunday (leaving you the bank holiday Monday to recover), SW4 has proved a great success over its first eight years, filling Clapham Common with party people 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 merriment can continue as long as those dancing feet will hold up.
Notting Hill Carnival
This year's show is set to be even more extravagant than usual
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; and with 2012 being the year to be in London there are rumours that this year's show is set to be even more extravagant than usual. 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 bootys 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.
The Paralympics get underway with a grand opening on 29th August
Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST
Dates: 29th August 2012
Just over a month after the start of the London 2012 Olympics, the London 2012 Paralympics get underway with the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium. Leading British creative talents Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey MBE are the Artistic Directors of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony, which will showcase some of the UK's best creative performers as well as run through a raft of traditions, such as the raising of the Paralympic and Host Nation's flag, the Athletes' Parade, the speeches, the arrival of the Paralympic Torch and the lighting of the Paralympic Flame.
Richard Pryce takes on the title role in Shakespeare's greatest tragedy at the Almeida Theatre
Almeida Theatre, Almeida Street, Islington, London, N1 1TA
Tube: Angel Station
Dates: 31st August - 03rd November 2012
Michael Attenborough, son of actor Richard, brings Shakespeare's greatest tragedy to life at the Almeida Theatre, with award-winning actor Richard Pryce playing the title role in King Lear. Forming part of the World Shakespeare Festival, the show runs for 14 performances at the end of the summer (there is a longer production run until November 3rd, available only for Almeida members) and is brought lovingly to the intimate stage at the Almeida. Pryce takes on the complex role of King Lear, as he asks each of his three daughters to profess their love for him but is not satisfied by the honest answer of his youngest child and banishes her from his kingdom. Once he realises his mistake, it is too late and he descends into a madness.
29th August 2014
IN THIS ARTICLE
The People's Fringe
Underage Festival 2012
The Great British Beer Festival
London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony
Rodgers And Hammerstein's Carousel
Investec 3rd Test: England v South Africa
Carnaval del Pueblo
Carnegie Challenge Cup Final
South West Four Weekender 2012
Notting Hill Carnival
London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony
London Events Calendar 2012
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