Being in London in August means experiencing opportunities that you wouldn't be able to witness at any other time, as you have outdoor activities of all kinds to enjoy a lively city like no other. These are exclusive ideas for this month, so don't miss out and take note, so your trip will be organised to suit your tastes and to enjoy like a Londoner.
The temperature doesn't vary much from July but it's still warm, allowing you to live outdoors all day and immerse yourself in art, traditional food, drinks and music.
1. Attend the Notting Hill Carnival
This famous and colourful carnival takes place over three consecutive days in August. Each day features a colourful and feathery parade to the sound of Caribbean music. You can see drumming groups, the costume contest (for adults and children) and the big parade with floats.
This carnival has its origins in the 19th century, when slavery was abolished in the former colonies of Trinidad and Tobago. In 1964 it was born in London as a form of expression of the London Afro-Caribbean community.
Today it is an attraction for the general public, citizens and visitors, who come to this event to enjoy the music, the spectacle of their costumes, their food and, of course, their joy. Will you come to see it on your trip? If you do, you'll also enjoy one of London' s most popular neighbourhoods, Nothing Hill.
2. Visit Buckingham Palace
August is a good time to visit Her Majesty's official residence, as in the summer the royal family spend their holidays in Scotland at Balmoral Castle, while the rest of the year they live in Buckingham.
- The Throne Room: perhaps the most important room. Decorated in a theatrical style, the focus is on two chairs, the so-called Chairs of State, which are positioned in front of a red velvet curtain. They are the chairs that were used for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, back in 1953.
- White Drawing Room: the most majestic room in the palace. It is in this room that the royals rest or prepare for the events over which they preside. It is also where the most illustrious guests meet before receptions.
- Picture Gallery: this small gallery contains some of the paintings that make up the collection of Elizabeth II. This room is used for small receptions.
- The Ballroom: the largest room of the entire visit, you will be amazed by its decoration and size. Dances, banquets and receptions are held here throughout the year. The room is presided over by two thrones dating from the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1902.
- The Grand Staircase: this is the first sight you will see when you enter the palace. It is a staircase with a theatre-like appearance, crowned by portraits of the Royal Family.
- The gardens of Buckingham Palace: you can stroll around these gardens for as long as you want after your visit. You can have a coffee to take a break from all the walking and enjoy the spectacular views.
3. Take a cruise on the Thames
London can get very cold in winter, as well as in autumn. That's why you should take advantage of the summer season to do some activities like a cruise on the Thames. It's a way to see the city from a different perspective while learning about the British capital, as this experience usually includes live narration.
The Thames is the second longest river in the UK and I can assure you that you'll love the experience. It's also great to save this activity for the days when you're more tired or as the last activity of the day for those days when you have a lot of walking to do, as you can just sit back and enjoy the views.
4. Enjoy a bike tour of London
As with the previous tour, this activity is perfect for the summer season. In winter you don't feel like cycling with the cold on your face and your body freezing, but when the temperature rises a bit, things change, and London is a very pleasant city to get to know on wheels.
You will find many types of bike tours in London, but I especially recommend the tours that take you through different parks, as I consider them to be the best places in the city to use this transport, and the bike tour along the River Thames, as you can discover the main attractions of the capital in just one day.
Are you up for cycling in London?
5. Get scared to death at London FrightFest Film Festival
This festival was founded in August to provide the city of London with a horror and fantasy film festival on a par with its European counterparts. So far they have succeeded, as since 2000 they have been programming the most terrifying films on the billboard with a great expectation.
This is an internationally recognised festival where the best of horror films are screened. If you like this type of cinema I recommend you go and see a film, you'll love it without a doubt!
And if you're still hungry for more, I have good news for you: among the guided tours of London you'll find several related to Jack the Ripper or to the urban legends of this city; another occasion to feel the terror in every pore of your body.
6. Don't miss the South West Four
The South West Four Festival, also known as SW4, is a weekend-long music festival held in Clapham Commons in the middle of August. It is considered by the famous DJ Carl Cox to be the "crowning glory" of the London pub calendar. If an expert says so, it's sure to be a gem for music lovers.
The world's biggest dance and electronic music producers come together during this festival, which gives this event a cache of unique proportions. A good dinner before the festival will keep you going for as long as it takes... and enjoy!
- This festival is wheelchair accessible.
- There is a wheelchair platform and toilets for disabled people on the site.
- There is a medical tent for emergencies.
- How to get there: Clapham Common tube station on the Northern line (Zone 2).
- Recommended for over 18s.
7. Have a drink at the Great British Beer Festival
This beer festival takes place at London's Olympia Exhibition Centre in early August. It showcases the latest brews from the country's best breweries and even features international companies.
It's not just a beer festival, you can also sample all kinds of world-class spirits. You'll enjoy the delicacies prepared by the city's most prestigious chefs, and you'll have the best live music so you'll have the time of your life.
If you're keen to discover new types of alcoholic beverages, don't miss the opportunity and make this event part of your travel plan.
8. Attend the curious Candem Fringe Festival
This festival is dedicated to the performing arts. It dates back to 2006 and takes place in Candem during the month of August.
Among the shows you'll find many options: opera, musicals, dance, cabaret, sketch comedy, stand-up, mentalism and improvisation. You can always stay there all day, as the performances last a maximum of one hour and you won't get tired of seeing them.
This festival is London's alternative to the Edinburgh Festival. The aim of this event is to give anyone the opportunity to show what their talent is, with some of the most famous companies signing up, but also unknown people with a lot of ambition.
9. Discover Little Creatures Family Festival
This is one of the best things to do in August if you're travelling with children, and if you're not, we all have our inner child. Taking place at London Zoo on the last weekend in August, you'll find children's games, storytelling, live demonstrations, fun workshops and lots more for the whole family to enjoy.
You can explore London's only living rainforest while your children will be glued to the glass watching the penguins being fed; another great experience is watching the beautiful gorillas, who are just as imposing as they are.
As your children are sure to be full of energy, you can take them to the Animal Adventure children's zoo, an activity that will leave them spellbound. This weekend Londoners are paying tribute to a black bear who came to the zoo many years ago, Winnie the Black Bear.
10. Have a great time at the Carnival of the People
This Latino community event in mid-August features a colourful and impressive procession of floats decked out for the occasion. You'll be surprised to see world-renowned Latin artists perform to add the "asssucarrrrr" that every Latin event needs. If you're a dancer you'll be dancing your feet off without even realising it.
The parade features over 19 different nationalities in traditional costume, starting at Elephant and Castle and ending at Burgess Park**. It is in the park that live music will enliven the festival from 10am to 10pm.
It's obvious that a festival without fun games isn't a festival, so you know, you can choose what to do at any time, you're always going to have fun. More than 200 tents to feed and drink the crowds with Latin and Caribbean flavours, as well as traditional crafts from each country. And they don't forget the children, they have prepared games, face painting and various attractions for them. This carnival is another way to visit different cultures while having a great time.
What you need to enter the UK
Remember that, with the arrival of Brexit, it is no longer possible to enter the country with your ID card. Make sure you have your passport in order, check that it has not expired for peace of mind. Once you are in the UK, you can extend your stay for up to six months, after which you must leave the country.
How to organise your suitcase
For your trip in August, you can pack summer clothes, as you normally wear. Add comfortable footwear, and go with the idea that sightseeing is walking, even if you take the metro or bus.
Don't forget a thin jacket or jumper in case the temperatures drop a little in the evening. It's up to you whether or not to bring an umbrella, but if you do, use a small one that doesn't take up too much space in your suitcase.