For a whole month this summer (23rd June to 26th July), London is being taken over by a vast festival of culture. The event, which is already in its 51st year, promises a wealth of things to see and do in the most iconic venues all over the city. They’ll be dancing, singing, theatre, art, music, films and family activities, so make sure you book a room in one of our London hotels early, to be a part of the summer festivities. This year the festival has three themes: City Walls, Conflict Resolution, and Trees. Here’s what that means and how to make the most of each theme:
In London this summer, a pop-up orchard, made up of real and artificial trees, will be erected in various outside spaces. The special venues will play host to informal concerts, street theatre, dance shows and all sorts of other events. Spending one week in each location, the orchard will be an ideal place to enjoy a lunch break escape from city life, especially as, at the beginning of each week, the branches of the trees will be laden with 500 apples ripe for the picking. Other tree-based events include an installation imagining the landscape of London had humans never settled there, painted blue trees on the steps of St Paul’s, a Tree Trail which you can follow to discover the finest specimens in the city, lectures on the importance of trees and all sorts of tree themed theatre.
Conflict and Resolution
Much of the music and theatre involved in the festival will be focused on the theme of conflict and resolution. Think concerts from the Royal Artillery band, readings of war poetry and lectures on the history of conflict in London. But if you are looking for something a bit more light-hearted, why not go and see one of the circus performances that will be happening throughout the month of July? Mattress, an acrobatics show put on by just three people, is all about slapstick conflict and some humorous characters’ attempt at resolution. Whatever you decide to see, you can be sure any family conflicts over what to do will be resolved, as there’s something for everyone.
This theme is all about urban development as well as connecting London with Derry and other historic walled cities. Many events have a Northern Irish theme, and there is a whole day dedicated to all things Northern Irish to be held on Hampstead Heath. The family day entitled Irish Roots will include the Gaelic Games, a communal reel around Parliament Hill and the opportunity to get involved in artistic activities inspired by Northern Irish born C. S. Lewis. For a more literal take on the walls theme, don’t miss the chance to see The Urban Playground team put on an impressive show on 26th June. If you have never seen parkour before, this is your chance – you won’t see a more imaginative use of city walls.
With so many events going on, it is impossible for them all to fit in with the themes. But there are some that you absolutely should not miss. Ever fancied a nose around the Bank of England? Now is your chance, as the bank will open its doors to visitors for one day during the festival. And if you’re bringing children along, make sure you are in Guildhall Yard at lunchtime on Friday, 28th June, as the Children’s Festival Parade promises to be a highlight.
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