diamond geezer

 Monday, August 30, 2021

It's almost September but never fear, London's putting 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): Once again we're presented with a whole month of river-focused events, many of them ticketed, ranging from art to walks to virtual talks to boat trips to a few exhibition boards dumped in a park. The website's events section is easier to scroll through this year, but I'm still not sure I've managed to spot all the one-off treats.
» Lambeth Heritage Festival (Sep 1-30): Dozens of talks, guided walks and openings across the borough (plus a proper week-by-week events list to flick through, bliss).

Weekend 1: September 4/5
» Open House London (this weekend and next): The grand-daddy of architectural festivals, with hundreds of weird and wonderful buildings throwing open their doors across the capital, this year for two weekends. The online list currently includes 629 properties (5 in Harrow but 55 in Westminster) and as ever the outer boroughs have some of the proper treasures. A list of the 140 buildings requiring pre-booking can be found here, although you may already be too late for a slot. As ever there's far too much to choose from, but if you need inspiration here are my reports from 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Be there, or regret it for the subsequent 51 weeks.
» Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (27 Aug - 11 Sep): This significant splurge of spectacular performances is normally a midsummer fixture but this year has been shifted back. These days not much of the festival is north of the river. This weekend sees Canary Wharf's annual day of dance, and GDIF ends next weekend with a dusky firefest in Woolwich (and North Woolwich).
» Lambeth Local History Fair (Sat, from 10.00): A coming-together of local societies, heritage organisations, friends groups and local history publishers.
» St Katharine Docks Classic Boat Festival (Sat, Sun): Annual gathering of small boats near Tower Bridge. Includes paddleboarding and a visit by the Thames Youth Jazz Orchestra.
» Angel Canal Festival (Sun, 11-5): Waterside gaiety beside City Road Lock, now in its fourth decade. Expect the Mayor of Islington to arrive by narrowboat.
» Soho Village Fete (Sun, noon-6pm): Head to St Anne's churchyard for a Waiters' Race, spaghetti eating competition, snail racing and dog show.

Weekend 2: September 11/12
» Open House London: Weekend two
» Heritage Open Days (Thu-Sun): Once again this year, TWO weekends when hundreds of buildings that aren't usually open are open. Most are outside London but 34 are in the capital, including the newly-accessible Willesden Jewish Cemetery, E3's House Mill and tours of Dulwich's British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum.
» Scadbury Open Weekend (Sat, Sun, 2-4.30): Archaeological excavations, and refreshments, at the moated medieval manor house near the Sidcup bypass.
» Mitcham Heritage Day (Sat, 10-4.30): Several buildings around the conservation area will be open including The Canons and the parish church belltower (but alas not the cricket pavilion). I went in 2018, so can recommend. Part of Wandle Fortnight (11th-26th).
» St Margaret's Fair (Sat): The 42nd annual fete, delayed by two months, in Moormead Park TW1.
» 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.
» Hackney Carnival (Sun): Not of Notting Hill proportions, and playing safe this year by streaming live from the stage of the Hackney Empire.

Weekend 3: September 18/19
» Heritage Open Days Weekend two
» London Design Festival (continues next weekend): Hundreds of design-er events (including several landmark projects) are taking place across ten on-trend clusters including the new Design District at North Greenwich. The programme's so vast you'll have to look hard for the best bits.
» West End Live (Sat, Sun, 11-5): Free (but ticketed) cavalcade of dramatic snippets and swinging numbers from stage musicals hosted in Trafalgar Square.
» Bermondsey Street Festival (Sat, 11-7): A designery "village fête", plus the obligatory dog show, plus poetry takeaways, plus food and stalls.
» Thames Barrier Closure (Sun, 6.25-4.25): Annual all-day maintenance closure (peaking around high tide at 1pm). Come and see water piled up on one side only (while it's only a practice).

Weekend 4: September 25/26
» Woolmen’s Sheep Drive and Wool Fair (Sun, 10-5): Amanda Owen (the Yorkshire Shepherdess) 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.
» Chiswick House Dog Show (Sun, 11-4.15): Celebrity judges give the hounds of W4 the runaround.
» Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival (Sun, 2pm): Cockney royalty gathers outside (then inside) St Mary-le-Bow.

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