diamond geezer

 Thursday, August 30, 2018

Try not to think about it, but it's almost September. 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. Alas the events section of the website remains as unhelpfully designed as ever, 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 National Theatre (and a proper brochure to flick through, bliss).

Weekend 1: September 1/2
» Lambeth Local History Fair (Sat, from 10.15): 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, 12-5): Featuring the London Fire Brigade, a fairground and the Clapham Mutts dog show.
» Camberwell Fair (Sat, 12-9): Music and food, squished into Camberwell Green. Expect queueing.
» 50 Years of the Victoria Line (Sat & Sun, 11-4): Newly restored carriages are the special attraction on this anniversary weekend at the E17 Pump House Museum.
» Thames Tidefest (Sun, 9.30-5.30): River-based activities scattered between Brentford and Chiswick, with a particular marquee-focus at Strand-on-the-Green, W4.
» Streatham Kite Day (Sun, 11-5): Postponed from May, pray the wind picks up across Streatham Common
» Angel Canal Festival (Sun, 11-5): Waterside gaiety beside City Road Lock, now in its 33rd year. Expect the Mayor of Islington to arrive by narrowboat.
» Brentford Festival (Sun, 12-6): Live tunes, stalls and another dog show, for the 14th consecutive year, in Blondin Park W5.
» Palmers Green Festival (Sun, 12-7): All the fun of music on the green, yet another dog show and dozens of community stalls, in Broomfield Park N13.

Weekend 2: September 8/9
» Heritage Open Days (Thu-Sun): This year, TWO weekends! Hundreds of buildings that aren't usually open, are open. Most of them are outside London, but there'll be 51 in London, including the Crystal Palace Subway (Sat), the newly-restored Battersea Arts Centre, a Mary Wollstonecraft trail at St Pancras Old Church, and a look round Mitcham Cricket Club Pavilion.
» St Katharine Docks Classic Boat Festival (Sat, Sun, 11-6): Annual gathering of small boats near Tower Bridge. Includes a visit by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.
» The Great River Race (Sat, 9.45-1.00): 300 craft engage in a spectacular paddle up the Thames from Docklands to Richmond.
» Hackney Carnival (Sun, noon-8): Not of Notting Hill proportions, but follow the feathers and sound systems from Ridley Road to the Town Hall (and back).
» Tour of Britain (Sun, 3.30-5.30): Eight day national cycling marathon terminates with 14 laps of a 3-pronged circuit focused on Trafalgar Square.

Weekend 3: September 15/16
» Heritage Open Days (Thu-Sun): Weekend two.
» 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 eleven on-trend clusters. The programme's so vast you'll have to look hard for the best bits.
» Scadbury Open Weekend (Sat, Sun, 2-4.30): Archaeological excavations, and refreshments, at the moated medieval manor house near the Sidcup bypass.
» Bermondsey Street Festival (Sat, 11-6): A designery "village fête", plus the obligatory dog show, plus city farm, plus food and stalls.
» Hidden River Festival (Sat, 12-6): In its sixth year, a music festival and family funday on the banks of the New River at Woodberry Down.
» Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival (Sun, from 1pm): Cockney royalty circles the City from Guildhall Yard to St Mary-le-Bow.

Weekend 4: September 22/23
» 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. For the first time, hurrah, the organisers have provided a list of all the buildings which require pre-booking. Some of the really special events are already taken, but it's not too late to sign up for the Downing Street raffle. 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.
» Deptford X (from Friday 21 until next weekend): Emerging contemporary artists make merry in SE8.
» Thames Barrier Closure (Sun, 6.25-4.25): Annual all-day maintenance closure (peaking around high tide at 1.30pm). Come and see water piled up on one side only... while it's only a practice.
» Great Gorilla Run (Sun, 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).
» 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 usual 'craft' refreshments.

Weekend 5: September 29/30
» Autumn Ambles (Sat, Sun): Nah, sorry... "the walking weekend project has now drawn to a close". It seems funding for the triannual TfL/Walk London extravaganza has run out.
» Woolmen’s Sheep Drive and Wool Fair (Sun, 10-5): Alan Titchmarsh is the celeb leading this year's first tranche over London Bridge. Come too for wool-related trade stalls, lamb burgers and a bar on a bus.
» Japan Matsuri (Sun, 10-8): Music, martial arts and dance, a bit of origami, and the best of Japanese gastronomy, in Trafalgar Square.

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