diamond geezer

 Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shh, don't mention it, but it won't be August forever. 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.

Weekend 1: August 30/September 1
» Brentford Festival (Sun, from 12): Funfair, stalls and a dog show, in Blondin Park W5. Harry will be slacklining. And you can arrive by free Routemaster bus from Brentford or Hanwell.
» London Mela (Sun, 1-9): A celebration of South Asian culture, especially live music and food, in Gunnersbury Park.
» Angel Canal Festival (Sun, 11-5): Waterside gaiety beside City Road Lock.

Weekend 2: September 7/8
» National Paralympic Day (Sat, 12-8): Or 'National Paralympic Day featuring Liberty Festival' to give the event its excessively full name. A celebration of disability sport and arts, this year relocated to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. (Damn, all the sports in the Copper Box are already sold out)
» Thames Festival (starts Fri 6 Sep): Rather than the usual one-weekend extravaganza, this year's Thames Festival spreads itself over ten days. There isn't a riverside mega-fair this year, which is an austerity touch, but there is a much smaller samba/soca festival by the Oxo Tower this weekend. Many events are free, but several you'll need to buy tickets for.
» The Great River Race (Sat, 12.10-15.10): 300 craft engage in a spectacular paddle up the Thames from Docklands to Richmond. (This year's the 25th anniversary)
» The Cally Festival (Sun, 12-6): Community event on the Caledonian Road, featuring music, art and creative workshops.

Weekend 3: September 14/15
» Heritage Open Days (Thu-Sun): 100s of buildings that aren't usually open, are open. Most of them are outside London, but there are plenty open in Kingston (which is spending the weekend pretending it's in Surrey). (See also Berks, Bucks, Essex, Herts, Kent)
» Thames Festival (ends Sunday): It's the final weekend of the Mayor's annual riverside extravaganza. Highlights include the Blue Ribbon Village by Potters Fields, and the amazing-looking 1513: A Ship's Opera in the Pool of London on Saturday evening. (But no fireworks finale this year, sorry)
» London Design Festival (continues until next weekend): Hundreds of design-er events will be taking place across the capital. Watch out for Endless Stair beside Tate Modern.
» Kings Place Festival (Thu-Sun): Head to King's Cross for 100+ performances of spoken word, comedy, dance, jazz and classical music (Here's a list of the free events)

Weekend 4: September 21/22
» 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. Most of the really special events are fully booked, but you're not too late to sign up for the this four-property 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 next 52 weeks. (the app rises in price from 69p to £2.99 this Saturday)
» 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, 11-7): Dance, Designers and a Dog Show, plus food and stalls (will Zandra be there again this year?)
» Hidden River Festival (Sun, 12-5): Celebrating the 400th anniversary of the New River (one week early), this one-off fete pops up beside the waterway in Finsbury Park.
» Tour of Britain (Sun, 3.30-5.30): The final stage of this cross-country bike race is a ten-lap lycra-tastic sprinty circuit starting and finishing on Whitehall.

Weekend 5: September 28/29
» Autumn Ambles (Sat, Sun): 30 free guided walks around London's strategic footpath network. Most are in the centre of town, but a handful will take you out to the periphery for a proper ramble. Smaller than previous events, but praise be that Walk London's budget survives. Recommended. (See the full list of events here)
» Abbey Gardens Harvest Festival (Sat, 2-5): Calling all would-be gardeners, chutneymakers, tea drinkers and veggie chefs. (alongside Abbey Road DLR)

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