diamond geezer

 Friday, September 01, 2017

Yes, it's September already. Then next month the clocks go back, then it's Fireworks Night and before you know where you are Christmas will be rolling round again. Never fear, London always puts on a last flurry of events and activities and happenings before the nights draw in, and we're all invited. Here's my weekend by weekend guide to free September delights.

All month
» Totally Thames (Sep 1-30): There was a time when the Mayor's Thames Festival filled the South Bank and lit up the sky for one weekend in September. No more. Now we get a whole month of events, many of them ticketed, ranging from walks to art to boat trips. In previous years it used to be possible to search for free events, but no longer, and I lost patience scrolling through the frustratingly atomised programme in search of one-off treats.
» Lambeth Heritage Festival (Sep 1-30): Dozens of talks, walks and openings across the borough, notably featuring Lambeth Palace, Brixton Windmill and the River Effra (and a proper brochure to flick through, bliss).

Weekend 1: September 2/3
» Lambeth Local History Fair (Sat, from 10.30): A coming-together of local societies, heritage organisations, friends groups and local history publishers.
» Griffin Brewery Open Day (Sat, 11-4): Street party and general piss-up, including free brewery tours.
» Clapham Old Town Fair (Sat, 12-6): Attempted nostalgia, including fairground and the Clapham Mutts dog show.
» Angel Canal Festival (Sun, 11-5): Waterside gaiety beside City Road Lock, now in its 32nd year. Expect the Mayor of Islington to arrive by narrowboat.
» Palmers Green Festival (Sun, 12-7): All the fun of music on the green, Salstricity and dozens of community stalls, in Broomfield Park N13.
» Brentford Festival (Sun, from 12): Live tunes, stalls and a dog show, plus 18 ales via CAMRA, in Blondin Park W5.
» London Mela (Sun, 1-9.30): Major festival celebrating South Asian culture in Gunnersbury Park, with a particular emphasis on music, dance and food.

Weekend 2: September 9/10
» Heritage Open Days (Thu-Sun): Hundreds of buildings that aren't usually open, are open. Most of them are outside London, but there'll be 38 in London, including the Crystal Palace Subway, the belfry at St Anne's in Limehouse, a Joe Meek trail down the Holloway Road, and a link up with Mitcham Heritage Day (Sat).
» St Katharine Docks Classic Boat Festival (Sat, Sun, 11-5): Annual gathering of small boats near Tower Bridge. Includes a visit by The Barnet Hill Lifeboat Crew Shanty Singers.
» Fire Engine Festival (Sat, 10-3): A display of historical fire engines at the London Fire Brigade Pop-up Museum in Lambeth High Street.
» Hidden River Festival (Sat, 12-6.30): In its fifth year, a music festival and family funday on the banks of the New River at Woodberry Down.
» The Great River Race (Sat, 12.45-3.45): 300 craft engage in a spectacular paddle up the Thames from Docklands to Richmond.
» Scadbury Open Weekend (Sat, Sun, 2-4.30): Archaeological excavations, and refreshments, at the moated medieval manor house near the Sidcup bypass.
» Thames Tidefest (Sun): River-based activities scattered between Kempton and Chiswick, with a particular marquee-focus at Strand-on-the-Green, W4.
» Thames Barrier Closure (Sun, 10.20-7.30): Annual all-day maintenance closure (peaking around high tide at 4pm). Come and see water piled up on one side only... while it's only a practice.
» Hackney Carnival (Sun, 2-5): Not of Notting Hill proportions, but follow the feathers and sound systems from Ridley Road to the Town Hall (and back).

Weekend 3: September 16/17
» Open House London (Sat, Sun): The grand-daddy of architectural festivals, with hundreds of weird and wonderful buildings throwing open their doors across the capital. Alasdair's excellent summary list is here. Some of the really special events are fully booked, and you're now too late to sign up for the Downing Street raffle. However, today's the day to grab tickets for the seven Crossrail building site tours (last year they went live at 1pm). There'll be tons to see over the weekend, in fact far too much to choose from. Be there, or regret it for the subsequent 52 weeks.
» Thamesmead Festival (Fri-Sun): Creative waterside happenings, various buildings to explore, and (on Saturday) a fete by Southmere Lake.
» ThamesFest (Sat, 3-8): Circus workshops, dance and actual culture on the new estate at Barking Riverside.
» Great Gorilla Run (Sat, from 10.30): Dress up as a gorilla and run 7km to raise money for charity (or just come along and watch sweaty knackered apes).
» Bermondsey Street Festival (Sat, 11-6): A designery "village fête", plus dog show, plus city farm, plus food and stalls.
» London Design Festival (continues until next weekend): Hundreds of design-er events will be taking place across the capital, including several landmark projects, and based in nine on-trend clusters. The programme's so vast you'll have to look hard for the best bits.

Weekend 4: September 23/24
» Autumn Ambles (Sat, Sun): 39 free guided walks from Walk London... but no turning up on spec, you now have to book ahead.
» Deptford X (from Friday 22 until next weekend): Emerging contemporary artists make merry in SE8.
» Japan Matsuri (Sun, 10-6): Music, martial arts and dance, a bit of origami, and the best of Japanese gastronomy.
» Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival (Sun, from 1pm): Cockney royalty circles the City from Guildhall Yard to St Mary-le-Bow.
» The Harvest Stomp (Sun, noon-6pm): The northern half of the Olympic Park pretends to be rural by importing live music, barn dancing, farm animals and the obligatory craft food and drink.

Weekend 5: September 30/October 1
» There must be something on this weekend, surely.

Special mention
Folkestone Triennial
(Sep 2 - Nov 5):
Every three years this Kent seaside town celebrates history and place with a world-class set of art installations. One of my favourite days out.

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