August 25, 2022
Everyone loves a London festival. From Greenwich to Notting Hill, the celebrations pop up across the city all Summer long, bringing with them a sense of freedom, of something a little out of the ordinary. It makes for a magical holiday, whether you’re crossing an ocean or just motoring down the M25.
To give you an idea of the many and varied festivals on offer in 2022, below is a taster of the highlights. And whether you’ve got your heart set on the Totally Thames Festival, or Notting Hill’s historic Carnival, Blue Orchid Hotels London offers convenient, affordable luxury, from boutique apartments near the Tower of London in the East, to Buckingham Palace and St James’s Park in the West.
51st Festival 2022
From the pioneers of house music to the breakthrough acts of today. Performers from UK, Europe and the Americas. Takes place on Copthall Playing Fields, North London.
Art of London Season 2022: Brighter Future
Various venues across the West End
Comedian Harry Hill will display his artwork alongside three artists who were selected for their eye–catching outdoor installations. The theme is “London’s bright future.” The results are colourful and immersive, and can be found in iconic spaces like Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. One of the city’s biggest and most accessible public art initiatives, with support from Westminster City Council. Work from Zara Hussain (digital art and geometry), Sam Williams (immersive, playful environments) and Fiona Quadri (interactive installation).
BBC Proms Music Festival
July 15 to September 10
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore,
The world famous classical music festival that has embraced increasingly diverse and spectacular programming. More than 40 days of fine orchestras, soloists and magnificent spectacle. Buy tickets or queue on the day. On the doorstep of London’s famous royal parks.
Canary Wharf Summer Lights Festival
Until August 20
Canary Wharf, E14
Free. Artworks celebrating the wonders of natural light: 11 new installations as well as six permanent pieces that are enhanced by natural light on these long Summer days. All are dotted around Canary Wharf, plus there’s an exhibition of hand–blown glass in the lobby of One Canada Square. Download the Summer Lights map.
Cocktails in the City Festival of Drinks
August 20 to 21
Bedford Square Gardens, WC1
London summer cocktail “happening” with cocktail making demonstrations and cocktail tasting. Festive vibes and non-stop live music. The likes of London Cocktail Club, Barrio Bars and Callooh Callay amongst those running the drinks.
Disney on Stage: Magical Covent Garden pop-ups
Until Sept 4
There are five interactive Disney pop–ups in Covent Garden this Summer. Witness a scene from Frozen in Covent Garden’s famous Infinity Chamber, or an interactive Olaf Holiday Postcard on the North Piazza; grab a romantic Insta moment on the Beauty and the Beast swing seat (also in the North Piazza); see a showcase of Disney costumes in the iconic Market Building; take a selfie beside a Lion King sunrise. Join in with the magic: printed maps and stickers available.
Greenwich + Docklands International Festival
August 26 to September 11
London’s free, annual outdoor performing arts festival. Art, theatre, dance, circus and lots of family activities. Greenwich, Docklands and Tower Hamlets join forces. Includes a mesmerising display as Borealis lights up the Greenwich and Woolwich skies. Why not make the most of it and look for the best London hotel booking?
Hampton Court Palace Food Festival
August 27 to 29
An exquisite setting offering lots of eating and drinking (street food, pop-up bars, artisan producers), family fun, a bandstand, the ProCook Pop-up Cookery School, The LU Cafe (French biscuit brand, 176 years in the making), and Bone Idyll Liquid Masterclasses (cocktail time). Also a Lexus chauffeured test drive and Electric Bike test drives.
August 19 to September 4
This has to be the most indulgent festival of all, perfect for the Summer. Also frozen cocktails! Very popular and a great location.
For every adult ticket purchased, one child goes free. To take full advantage of this offer, combine this with a Kids Week package at Blue Orchid’s Rochester Hotel (on Westminster’s leafy Vincent Square). A stay in this central London hotel gives you access to some excellent offers and packages, discounted family rates, family breakfast, dinner included and more.
London Dessert Festival
August 12 to 14
Puddings. The way to everyone’s heart. A celebration of all things sweet. Business Design Centre, Islington.
Notting Hill Carnival
August 27 to 29
Absent for two years, 50,000 performers and 30 sound systems are back. One heck of a street party in West London. After all the excitement, kick off your shoes and relax in one of the posh hotels in London.
From August 2
Russell Square Gardens
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 12pm–3pm
Live music, deck chairs and free picnic blankets, just around the corner from the British Museum and one minute from Russell Square Station. Come and enjoy a picnic in this verdant London Square. It’s also close to Oxford Street and Soho. Or go left down the Charing Cross Road for Theatreland and Covent Garden.
Somerset House Courtyard: This Bright Land Festival
August 1 to 29
This Bright Land Festival: rolling programme of free day and night activities (treasure hunts, outdoor games) and performances, workshops. 35m observation wheel. Promises to be colourful.
Summer in the City of London
Summer in Aldgate: Aldgate Sounds
Aldgate Square, Aldgate High Street, EC3
Musical lunch breaks. Have yourself a mindful musical midday every Tuesday in August, from 12pm–2pm.
Sculpture in the City.
Until April 2023.
Free, city–wide public art exhibition of contemporary artworks among iconic architecture (e.g. the Gherkin).
Until September 19
Barbican Music Library, EC2
Jazz roots to the Rolling Stones. Free. The rise of British blues from US and African roots to today’s artists. Features items donated by John Mayall and the late Chris Barber.
City of London Visitor Trail
Ongoing. Free. A 90 minute self-guided tour of the Square Mile. World famous attractions and hidden gems, as well a shopping, eating and drinking guide. Free City Trail map from City Information Centre or download.
City of London Children’s Visitor Trail.
Ongoing. Free. Follow one of three children’s trails across the Square Mile: City stories, Towers on the Thames, or Skyscrapers. Free map with stickers and activities from City Information Centre opposite St Paul’s Cathedral.
From August 10
Roman London Family Quest. Free. 3 Locations. Roman London through Hadrian’s eyes. London Mithreaeum Bloomberg SPACE, London’s Roman Amphitheatre and the Bank of England Museum invite you to follow the map provided and perhaps win a prize.
Drawing Challenge: Family Activity at Tower Bridge, included in admission fee. Doodle the view from the Walkway. Artists love this stunning panorama.
Blue Orchid Tower Suites’ Family Time
100 Minories, EC3
Kids Eat for Free this August
Tower Suites’ fully equipped boutique apartments are a stone’s throw from the Tower of London and Tower Bridge and offer an excellent vacation/staycation for all the family. This August the kids eat for free at the in–house, Italian–inspired Cento Alla Torre restaurant. There is also a Harry Potter themed staycation (potions class, walking tour and themed afternoon tea plus movie night, also special discounts).
Tower of London: Gunpowder Plot
The Tower Vaults, Tower of London
The famous plot to blow up Parliament, just two years after the death of Elizabeth I: an immersive experience, taking you back to 1605, with Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter) starring as Guy Fawkes. Tickets available.
Jubilee at the Tower
100 Minories, EC3
Overnight luxury stay for two in Tower Suites’ boutique apartments, plus two adult tickets to Superbloom and the Tower of London, that ocean of wildflowers now planted in the Tower’s extensive moat. Complementary in-room breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner at in–house Italian inspired restaurant Cento Alla Torre.
Royal Time at the Tower
Another royal offer from Tower Suites: an overnight stay for two, plus a private walking tour of local landmarks, and a private tour of the Tower of London.
Superbloom at the Tower of London
Until September 18
A beautiful, thoughtful eco show, conceived as a homage to HRH during this year’s Platinum Jubilee. Millions of carefully selected seeds were planted and grown in the Tower’s huge moat. Despite an unseasonably cold and dry start to the year, a sea of wildflowers has bloomed and will renew itself year after year. Tickets available to walk through the moat, or you can survey this oasis of pleasure from the public viewing area for free. Sculptures and sound installations, too. To be maintained as a natural resource beyond the Jubilee.
Superbloom update for children and the young at heart: there is an extra-large slide that provides a speedy entrance into the flower meadow. Tower Suites London is a stone’s throw away, and perfect for an independent family staycation.
Traditional Afternoon Tea and Two Adult Superbloom Tickets
A day with the flowers at the Tower.
Totally Thames Festival
Across London (various venues)
Free activities along the Thames riverbank: an annual celebration of our famous river. Close to the centre of town, a night time flotilla of 150 boats decorated with white lights will glide from Chelsea to Tower Bridge at dusk (on September 24). Also for night owls: nine bridges lit up by Leo Villarreal’s Illuminated River installation. Plus a mudlarking exhibition at St Paul’s Cathedral and Rivers of the World artworks outside Tate Modern; watch 330 boats compete in the Great London River Race and more.
West End Summer
The West End is back in business. Including Bond Street, Carnaby, Chinatown, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Mayfair, Oxford Street, Piccadilly, Regent Street, St James’s, Seven Dials, Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, and all the highways and byways between.
Oxford Street Clean Power Aerial Art
From August 10
Oxford Street, W1
Oxford Street’s flags are going green. Curator/artist Morag Myerscough’s bold installation promotes a low carbon future for businesses and individuals, and the 105 colourful, recycled banners will raise funds for zero carbon initiatives. Made of recycled plastic from marine environments, the installation will span from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road, before it moves around the globe. Spectators can get involved by purchasing digital artwork by Morag for £3, and through this, the campaign will fund new community rooftop solar energy in Central London, as well as planting woodland in Greater London. Clean Power, was founded by #TOGETHERBAND to support the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7.
Carnaby Summer Festival: Until August 21. Bars, restaurants and shops celebrate 2022 with creative workshops, giveaways – and live music on Thursday evenings.
Seven Dials Market: Excellent London food hall and DJ’s every weekend.
The Crystal Maze Live Experience, Shaftesbury Avenue.
The Toy Soldier Marching Parade at Hamleys on Regent Street, the oldest toy shop in the world. Make the magic last a little longer with a booking with Blue Orchid London.