It's all fun runs, flower shows and festivals for July giving Londoners ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Highlights include a Pulp reunion in Hyde Park, the start of England's cricket test series against India, and a joint performance from two of the world's most famous opera singers. Oh, and there's the small matter of The Proms, which get underway at the Royal Albert Hall.
1st July 2011 - 3rd July 2011
Do you remember the first time? Celebrating its seventh consecutive year, Wireless with Barclaycard returns with a bang in 2011, with Britpop legends Pulp taking once again to the stage for a headline slot. Jarvis Cocker and his Different Class pioneers split up back in 2002 after the release of their seventh studio album, We Love Life. But now the Sheffield septet have decided to reform for a handful of summer festivals, including the top-of-the-billing slot on the Wireless' final night on Sunday 3rd July - and fans of one of the biggest bands of the 90s will no doubt flock to Hyde Park to hear the likes of Disco 2000 and Common People performed live for the first time in almost a decade. Wireless has firmly established itself as one of London's major outdoor live music events, attracting crowds of over 20,000 for each of the three days. It may lack the atmosphere of a traditional camping festival such as Glastonbury - the weirdoes in costumes, stalls, tepees, organic cafes and strange entertainments have been replaced by blandly corporate fare and giant logos - but while there's definitely less of a community feel, the line-ups are consistently excellent, with Jay-Z, Pink, Kanye West and Daft Punk all featuring in recent years.
2nd July 2011
For the past few years London's Pride Parade has been growing in scale and ambition. They've got something even bigger to aim for with London chosen as the city to host WorldPride in 2012. While this year's details have yet to be confirmed you can expect a huge turnout for one of Britain's biggest street parties. Gay or straight, you can join in the heady mix of fun, fabulous costumes, live concerts and politics. Around half a million gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and straight people are expected to fill the streets, making their way down Oxford Street and Regent Street for the parade. Entertainment is provided by floats and costume groups and walking bands. The serious stuff takes place in Trafalgar Square, where community stalls and music support a rally, with major speakers celebrating a year of successes for the Gay Rights movement. Soho and Leicester Square usually host more frivolous activities, with DJs, cabaret and bands in the square. There's usually an official afterparty but there are also hundreds of lesbian and gay bars and clubs in the area who'll be keeping the celebrations going all night long.
5th July 2011 - 10th July 2011
Henry VIII built one of the finest gardens in the world at Hampton Court Palace, so it is only fitting that one of the world's largest horticultural show should take place there. The Royal Horticultural Society organised Hampton Court Palace Flower Show includes displays from over 150 specialist nurseries. Among the blooming sights, some are beautiful, complex works of living art, filled with rare flowers and water features. However, many are on a smaller scale, and should give you ideas for improving your own garden. The Festival of Roses is Britain's largest annual display of roses in full bloom; the sweet scent is overwhelming, as is the sight of thousands of stunning roses blooming all under one roof. During the final afternoon many of the exhibitors sell off their plants at bargain prices - you can bet the gardening gloves come off for this free-for-all.
10th July 2011
Celebrating its 11th anniversary, the 2011 ASICS British 10K London Run takes place on the second Sunday of July with nearly 30,000 runners expected to take to the streets of the capital. Starting at Hyde Park Corner, the course heads down Piccadilly and Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square, along the Embankment to the City, taking in St Paul's and Tower Bridge, and finally back to Whitehall, looping past the London Eye on the way. The runners are joined by a bunch of celebrities and athletics champions. Both Steve Cram and Haile Gebrselassie have participated in previous races. Last year, the men's event was won by Ruben Lindigo while Getenesh Tamirat took the women's race, both athletes logging impressive times just over the half-hour mark. Ten kilometres is a fair old way for newcomers to running but by no means impossible. If you fancy the challenge of racing against fellow Londoners, then visit www.theBritish10klondon.co.uk but do it soon as history proves this will be a sell out event.
11th July 2011
Founded in 1996 by Betty Boothroyd, the former Speaker of the House of Commons, the Port of London Challenge showcases the growing sport of Waterman's Cutter racing. Traditionally, Thames Waterman's Cutters are 34 feet long and 4ft 6inc wide, have fixed seats for up to six rowers and a canopy at the back with room for a cox and passengers. Often, races require for the cutters to be decked out in ceremonial livery, complete with historical regalia and flags. Starting at 7pm, the Port of London Challenge is raced over a 4.4-mile course from HQS Wellington on the Embankment to Chelsea Harbour. The cutters are crewed by six rowers and a cox and, in keeping with tradition, a passenger must be carried - although in this event the boats are not fitted with canopies. The first race back in 1996 featured just five crews but the growing popularity of the event means the race now has to have staggered starts where cutters are set off in waves, meaning each crew is racing both against those in their starting rank, but also against the clock. For more information please visit www.traditionalrowing.com.
14th & 15th July 2011
There can't be many bedraggled Irish stand-ups who have been named "the greatest comedian, living or dead" by French newspaper Le Monde so Dylan Moran, so scornful of the Perrier Award he won years ago as a 24-year-old newcomer, should take it as a compliment. Best known for his turn as the misanthropic curmudgeon bookseller Bernard Black in his Bafta-winning Channel 4 sitcom Black Books, Moran has a delightful capacity to meander and a sumptuous imagery to match. Following his previous sell-out tour, the star of Shaun of the Dead and Run Fayboy Run - whose film breakthrough came as Rufus the book thief in Notting Hill - returns to London stage with his new show Yeah, Yeah for two nights at the Hammersmith Apollo. The former florist (for a week) mulls over life's joys and disappointments in a wonderful display of observation which The Scotsman recently describes as having "more comic gems in one performance than most comedians on the Fringe will produce in their entire run." Ageing, religion, kids, and relationships intertwine with the general absurdities of life in a show of searing observations and dark humour, delivered no doubt in Moran's trademark cutting and haggard style.
15th July 2011 - 17th July 2011
The Lovebox Weekender returns to Tower Hamlets' Victoria Park this July for three days of festival fun. The line-ups are yet to be confirmed but last year's event, billed as the biggest and most ambitious to date, featured the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Roxy Music, Mark Ronson, Empire of the Sun, Wild Beasts, Hot Chip, Ellie Goulding and Noisettes. Set up by Groove Armada and inspired by Glastonbury, Lovebox is the park party that comes closest to capturing the vibe of a proper festival, with a huge range of musical styles across multiple stages, and a friendly, music-loving crowd. Victoria Park is a great festival venue, with loads of space and a sympathetic council who let them turn the music up really loud. Running from Friday afternoon through until Sunday evening, each day will have its own distinct musical identity. "Lovebox is not just one of the most authentic festivals of the summer, but an annual love letter to the capital," says The Guardian. Please visit www.lovebox.net for more information.
15th July 2011 - 10th September 2011
All eyes return to the Royal Albert Hall for the 2011 Proms as the most popular season of classical music in England continues to go from strength to strength. A varied but accessible programme regularly draws huge audiences, concluding on the last night with seas of Union Jack-waving Brits belting out their national anthem. The aim, for the past 100 years, has been to mix the popular and familiar with the surprising and innovative, so if you go to a concert to hear some favourite piece, you may leave having discovered a whole new composer. Five hundred standing tickets for each concert are available on the door for just five pounds, so top international orchestras and soloists, programmes that mix the adventurous and the accessible, and a real sense of fun can all be had for half the price of a central London cinema ticket. There are also chamber music concerts and Saturday matinees in Cadogan Hall and outdoor events throughout the country. You should turn up early for the biggest stars - and queue overnight if you want to get into the fabled Last Night of the Proms. Alternatively, join Terry Wogan and thousands of revellers in the annual Proms in the Park closing party in Hyde Park.
21st July 2011 - 25th July 2011
England host the world's number one ranked side in a fascinating four Test series that gets underway at the world famous Lord's Cricket Ground. English cricket has rarely been on such a high: the comprehensive thrashing of the Australians to retain the Ashes over the winter has fanned the flames of optimism surrounding the team and many now believe they can go on to become the world's best. To do that, however, they'll have to overcome a formidable India side, with batting lynchpin and all-time legend of the game Sachin Tendulkar surely making his last playing appearance on English soil. Expect a gripping series as England's talented young bowlers attempt to topple the mighty Indian batting line-up.
23rd & 24th July 2011
Dust off your black jeans, leather jacket and bandana... Following a successful debut last year, High Voltage returns to Victoria Park this July for a weekend of classic rock, progressive rock and metal from 40 acts handpicked by the UK's fastest-growing music magazine, Classic Rock. Topping the bill are legendary British heavy metal outfit Judas Priest, who have been putting on spectacular stage shows and thrilling audiences worldwide for the past three decades. Joining the veteran rockers is arguably the world's leading progressive metal band, Dream Theater. Having notched more than 10 million album sales in a 25-year career, the critically acclaimed American group is renowned for the technical proficiency of its instrumentalists - and High Voltage 2011 will mark the first UK performance of their new line-up following the departure of drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy. Support acts have yet to be named so keep an eye on www.highvoltagefestival.com for full line-up details and ticket information.
29th July 2011
Two of the opera world's leading lights join forces for a spectacular Friday night bonanza at The O2 Arena this July, as Placido Domingo and Angela Gheorghiu perform alongside one another for the first time ever in the UK. Spanish tenor Domingo has had a career spanning half a century and is one of the most revered names in classical music, having sung in more operas than any other tenor in history. Best known as one of the legendary Three Tenors, Domingo was forced to cancel concerts in London last year after undergoing surgery to treat colon cancer. But now back in good health, Domingo continues to cement his reputation to audiences worldwide, both as an outstanding singer and more recently as a conductor. Romanian soprano Gheorghiu is a global superstar whose agile vocals and glamorous looks have taken her to major opera venues around the globe. Together, Domingo and Gheorghiu will form an alluring partnership that no classical musical lover would dare miss.
30th July 2011
Classical music and nature lovers should flock to The O2 Arena like migrating Siberian swans this summer for the UK debut of Planet Earth Live. This spectacular musical event, which sees the Emmy Award-winning composer George Fenton conduct the 84-piece BBC Concert Orchestra twice in one day, stars the mezzo-soprano Haley Glennie-Smith and is accompanied by awe-inspiring HD-filmed scenes from the groundbreaking BBC series projected upon a whopping 100-foot hemispherical screen. Using pioneering production techniques this live cinematic event will take you on a journey of our planet, its habitats and life on a scale never seen before. Planet Earth Live show has been designed to create a fantastic family experience, as well as appeal to fans of great orchestral music. Having dazzled crowds in the US last summer, the world's most popular natural history series is now being transported to the stage for the first time in Europe with this ground-breaking event at The O2 Arena.
30th & 31st July 2011
The triathlon is fast replacing the marathon as the event of choice for testing your body to the limit and the London Triathlon is the world's largest event of its kind. Over 13,000 confirmed entrants are set to participate in a punishing programme of running, swimming and cycling, while 55,000 are expected to line the streets and visit the Triathlon Expo. There is a strong focus on raising money for charity, with £1 million usually donated each year and media celebrities, major sporting figures and some of the world's best triathletes all expected to take part. Starting at the ExCel Centre in Docklands and making its way past major London landmarks such as Big Ben, the London Eye and Tower Bridge, the setting is idyllic for all those involved, and the Thames hopefully not too cold for the brave athletes. It's a great spectator event too, with the chance to see some of the fittest sports people do battle across three gruelling disciplines in the heart of London. For more information, head to www.thelondontriathlon.co.uk.
31st July 2011
The Underage Festival in Victoria Park 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 line up for the 2011 festival, which takes place on the last Sunday of July, has yet to be announced but last year's highlights included M.I.A., Tinchy Stryder, Ellie Goulding, Daisy Dares You, Gold Panda and Hadouken!. Now in its fifth year, the Underage Festival is the brainchild of Sam Kilkoyne (now 18) and, 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.
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
August is the time when London's parks fill up with sunbathers, lidos come into their own, the banks of the Thames lend themselves...August 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
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