What to Do in August in London

This article gives you the best things to do in London during August, including a top 10 list, nighttime activities, free things to do, and family-friendly attractions. 

 

 


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN AUGUST

This section lists our top 10 ideas for things to do in London this month, including tours, concerts, events, and attractions.

For more ideas of popular things to do, check out our posts:

For even more suggestions of activities year-round, make sure to read our master post for London things to do and see!


(1) Sightseeing Tours

London is such a big city with so many things to see – make sure you see the best of it with a sightseeing tour! Of course, we recommend our pay-what-you-like walking tours.

 

 

We have themed tours for street art, the Soho and Chinatown neighborhoods, Harry Potter, and more. Here are some of our most popular:  

Royal Family admirers will also be excited to know that during August you can also tour the state rooms in Buckingham Palace!

If walking tours aren’t your thing, maybe consider a cruise down the River Thames? Hop-On-Hop-Off buses are also very popular and make it easy to get around London.

Several great tour options are included for free or at a discount with the purchase of a London tourist pass.


(2) Enjoy Major Concerts and Festivals

There are several big-name artists coming through London during August for a blast from the past, as well as some newer up-and-coming names.

Below are some of the top artists in town this month. Check out the full list here.

 

 

This part of the summer is also the perfect time to head outdoors and enjoy a music festival. Here we have listed some artists and events to check out in London.

Check out the full list here.


(3) Enjoy a Sporting Event

In August, the Premier League football (soccer) season starts, which means there will be plenty of games to attend!

London is home to 3 of the top football teams within the Premier League and many others outside the League, so you can take your pick of matches.

 

 

Football

What else is on for sports fans in August? The equestrian Longines Global Championship is back in town August 2 – 4, and rugby’s Coral Challenge Cup Final will be held August 24.

Equestrian Competition

Rugby


(4) Attend the Theatre

London is home to West End – the neighborhood of the world’s best plays and musicals – so there’s always something going on that you should see!

There is simply too much to show here. Check out the complete list of what’s playing in London.

 

 

From long-term residencies like Wicked to short runs like Come From Away, here is a list of musicals and plays you can see in August:

Check out the complete list of what’s playing in London.

For ways to get cheap theatre tickets, check out our handy discount ticket guide to London theatre.


(5) Sample All the Food

London has a lot of delicious food on offer. There can be so much to try you might not know which way to go first! That’s why we recommend taking a London Food Tour – and ours are pay-what-you-wish.

 

 

Often times, the food changes with the neighborhood you’re in.

So depending on what you like, you might want some Asian-inspired cuisine in East London or to see all the highlights throughout different parts of the city.

Of course, there are also some great self-guided food tours.


(6) Catch the Changing of the Guard

During the summer months, the Changing of the Guard Ceremony is a great way to spend your late morning.

The ceremony takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays during August.

 

 

This is a great – and free! – activity for families and fans of the royal family. Kids love the parade and horses. For more family-friendly ideas, check out the family-friendly section below.

For a breakdown of the best places to catch the parade or the inspections, check out our full Changing of the Guard Ceremony post. Or, if you’d like to catch the shorter, less well-known Changing of the Queen’s Life Guard at Horseguards Parade, check out this article.

TIP: Our Westminster walking tour includes the ceremony!


(7) See the Notting Hill Carnival

If you’re in London on the last weekend of August, head out to West London for the annual Notting Hill Carnival.

It started in the 1960s as a London branch of the Trinidad Carnival celebrating Caribbean culture.

 

 

This festival is full of bright, Caribbean colors and flashy costumes. For 2019, the festivities will take place on the 24, 25, and 26 of August. 

TIP: If you’re looking for something to do with the kids, go for the slightly quieter day on Sunday with the morning children’s parade!  


(8) Enjoy Some Outdoor Cinema

At Somerset House from August 8 to August 21, 2019, you can enjoy an outdoor film on London’s largest screen.

You’ll be able to find movies from multiple genres, including both classics and recent releases. 

 

 

Some of the 2019 movies include The Princess Bride, Black Panther, Clueless, and The Matrix.

Before the main event begins a DJ entertains the crowd with music on theme with the film of the night.

We suggest arriving early with a picnic – doors open at 18:30 (6:30 pm), the DJ starts playing at 18:45 (6:45 pm), and the movies begin around 21:00 (9:00 pm).

Check the Film4 Summer Screen website for the film schedule. You will need to purchase tickets in advance – the more popular movies will sell out faster.


(9) BBC Proms Affordable Concerts

If you’re a fan of classical concerts but your wallet isn’t, then BBC Proms is the event for you.

From July 19 to September 14, 2019, there will be a full schedule of high-quality concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and other venues.

 

 

While most of the events host a classical orchestra or group, some offer contemporary music and family-geared events, so check the Proms schedule to find something you’ll like.

On the last night is Proms in the Park.

Standing room ticket prices start at £6 (500 of which are available at the door if you arrive early enough!) and seated tickets generally start at £9.50.


(10) Purchase a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

August is a great time to spend a few full days seeing the sights and exploring London’s unique attractions.

One cost-effective way to see more attractions, tours, and landmarks is by getting a London tourist pass

 

 

These passes work by bundling together several tourist attractions and tours into one single price and can save you up to 55%.

They also can save you time by allowing you to skip the ticket queue at several locations.

Depending on which pass you get, admission to the following activities and attractions is included:

Make sure to read the full post covering London discount passes.

 


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NIGHTTIME ACTIVITIES

This section lists some activities, attractions, and tours that are available in August.

For even more inspiration on how to spend your evenings in London, take a look at our nighttime activities guide to the city.

 


St. Paul’s Cathedral Summer Lates

St Pauls visiting hours usually end at 16:00 (4:00 pm). However, during August the cathedral opens up for visitors in the evenings on Thursday nights between 19:00 (7:00 pm) and 21:00 (9:30 pm) (the last entry is at 20:30 (8:30 pm)).

Normal ticket pricing applies.

St Pauls is lit with candles, and photography enthusiasts are welcome to take all the non-flash photos they can.

Children will have activities – such as trails to follow and drawing opportunities – as well.

The 2019 Summer Lates Dates:

  • Thursday, August 8
  • Thursday, August 15
  • Thursday, August 22
  • Thursday, August 29

These spots are open to book in July. Please check their website for more details.


London Craft Beer Festival

2019 is London Craft Beer Festival’s seventh year. From August 9 – 11, you can find 80 breweries with almost 500 beers, chefs and excellent food, and DJs at the Tobacco Dock warehouse in Hackney, London.

Tickets start at £49.95, which includes unlimited 100ml pours. Check their website for details and to purchase.

Opening Times:

  • Friday and Saturday from 11:30 am – 16:30 (4:30 pm) and 18:00 (6:00 pm) – 23:00 (11:00 pm)
  • Sunday from 12:00 pm – 17:00 (5:00 pm)

Film4 Summer at Somerset House

Throughout August, Somerset House displays films on the largest cinema screen in London. Enjoy the last of the summer weather as you relax under the stars.

There will be movies for everyone to enjoy, from The Matrix to Black Panther and some older period films thrown in.

Check out the Film4 Summer Screen website to purchase tickets and check the schedule.


Catch a West End Show

Whether you’re looking for a heartfelt, emotional musical like Come from Away or something more lighthearted like 9 to 5 the Musical, you’ll find it in London’s West End. There are always award-winning shows running in one of the various theatres in the neighborhood.

Check out our discount ticket guide to London theatre for cost-effective ways of enjoying your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) show.


Jack the Ripper Tours

The most famous serial killer in the world, Jack the Ripper, terrorized London in the late 1800s. The media has been fascinated with him and his story ever since. Now, of course, there are tours based on Jack the Ripper, his victims, and the streets where the murders took place.

If you’re a fan of true crime and history – we recommend you take our Jack the Ripper tour. No cheesy props or jump-scares here!

We also review other Jack the Ripper tours in London, so there are multiple dates, times, and companies to choose from.


Go on a Pub Crawl

In August, the weather is perfect for a pub crawl! Many of these pub crawls are perfect for younger crowds that enjoy a good party into the early hours of the morning.

However, if you’re into a more laid-back drinking experience and want to learn about London’s historic pubs, we suggest a Historic Pub Crawl.

For even more inspiration on how to spend your evenings in London, take a look at our nighttime activities guide to the city.

 


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FREE ACTIVITIES

There’s always something interesting and free happening in London! This section lists some fun attractions, things to see, and activities to do in August.

 

 

Don’t forget to take a look at our comprehensive guide to free things to do in London.


See the Harry Potter Sites

Who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter? And of course, London is where many of the iconic movie locations were filmed or inspired by places in the city that are easily walkable or reachable by Tube.

We run pay-what-you-like Harry Potter walking tours through Central London!

All you need is a valid Oyster card for the day and our experts will do the rest. Check out all the magical details here. (We also have a self-guided option!)

If you’re looking for another free walking tour, check out our London walking tours page.


Notting Hill Carnival

The Notting Hill Carnival arrives in London during the long public holiday weekend from August 24 to August 26, 2019.

The carnival celebrates Caribbean culture with parades, dancing, music, costumes, and other activities.

It is said to be the largest street carnival in Europe, and as such, you’ll need to plan ahead with your transportation around the Notting Hill area, whether or not you go.

And don’t leave the kids at home, either! Sunday is Children’s Day with children’s groups on parade and other activities.

Best of all, it is absolutely free to show up and participate!  


Brixton Windmill’s Open Weekend

One weekend most months, London’s last surviving inner-city windmill opens up for free tours. It was originally built in 1816 and was in operation until the early 1900s.

Tours are free and available between 10:00 am and 16:00 (4:00 pm) on August 10 – 11, 2019.

Tours book up very vast since they are free and limited in size, but you can check their website for more information on how they deal with no-shows and last-minute cancellations.

NOTE: Tickets are released one month prior to the tour date. We suggest you book then.  


Take a Picnic to Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill is a popular lookout spot for locals and visitors. On a sunny day, you’ll see many people out with their dogs or friends to soak up the sunshine.

From the top of the hill on a clear day, you can see all of London, with its impressive skyscrapers and the London Eye.

 

Panoramic View from Primrose Hill
This photo of Primrose Hill is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

We suggest taking a picnic to enjoy after the short walk to the top of the hill.


Visit a Free Museum

London is home to a host of free museums all over the city.

If you’re interested in world history, why not go to the Victoria & Albert Museum? Archaeology buffs can visit the Natural History Museum.

For a full list of the free museums, you can visit in London, check out our full free museum post.


See the Street Art

London’s East End is covered in graffiti and interesting street art. Some of it is beautiful, other bits are political, and several are shocking.

August is the perfect time to enjoy a summer day and take yourself on a walk around the neighborhood to find the different artwork.

If you prefer to be led by an expert, feel free to join us on one of our free London Street Art and Graffiti Tours.

Don’t forget to take a look at our comprehensive guide to free things to do in London.

 


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FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

With summer holidays almost over, August is the perfect time to enjoy a few more family-friendly activities with the kids. Here is a list of attractions, museums, and things to do with the kids in London.

 

 

Don’t forget to read our full post on visiting London with the whole family.


Kids Week Theatre Tickets

While the name says Kids Week, it really is Kids Weeks. During the month of August, there will be specific theatre shows that give children 16 or younger a free ticket if they’re accompanied by a full-price adult.

Additional children’s tickets can be bought at half price without booking fees.

Check out the Kids Week website to find participating shows, operas, and other productions.


Madame Tussauds

The London branch of Madame Tussauds is one of the most popular locations – and for good reason. If you’re a fan of the famous and noteworthy, you’ll probably find your favorite celebrity here.

 

Madame Tussauds Royal Family
This photo of Madame Tussauds is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

Kids can take their picture with the Queen or their favorite Marvel hero. And guests of all ages tend to be delighted with Shrek and noteworthy sports stars.


The London Eye

Kids will love getting a birds-eye view from this massive Ferris-wheel-style observation pod. You’ll get a close-up view of the Parliament buildings and the entire financial district with its skyscrapers.

On board the pod there are interactive touch screens that will explain what you’re seeing. August is the perfect time to go since there is so much daylight – you won’t ever have a bad view.


The London Zoo

The weather in London might be the most stable and summery during August, which makes it a perfect time to go to the Zoo!

The Zoo is near Primrose Hill in a lovely green park. There is space for the kids to run around and let off some steam, as well as a host of different habitats and animal species to marvel at.

 

Giraffes at the London Zoo
This photo of London Zoo is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

Interested in reptiles? Visit the same Reptile House as Harry Potter (but please don’t set any loose!). They also have 70 species of mammals and over 100 types of birds.

Check out our post on getting discounted London Zoo tickets.


London Speed Boat Tours

Enjoy the summer weather out on the River Thames with an exhilirating speed boat tour! This tour gives you a unique perspective of the city as well as an adrenaline rush. Who doesn’t enjoy going as fast as you can down a river?

Of course, there are other great – and calm – boat tours available. Check them all out on our London boat tour comparison post.


Kew Gardens

For families who love the outdoors, Kew Gardens is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. It sits in one of the outer zones of London and covers 121 hectares with open grassy space, walking paths, flower gardens, and other beautiful landscaping.

You can take a picnic or run around the grounds. There’s even a tree walk that gives you the opportunity to climb high above the ground.

 


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