It’s hard to compete with London in June. The city’s social calendar is packed with fantastic festivals, arts events, and other must-dos — and the weather is, with any luck, finally inclined towards sunshine. If you’re planning to visit the Big Smoke during the start of summer, don’t miss the seven following events. From delicious food festivals to inspiring musical performances, they offer a glimpse of London at its best.
London Food Month
It’s fitting that this year marks the inaugural London Food Month: after all, the capital’s dining scene has never been more exciting or diverse. Curated by food writers Grace Dent and Tom Parker Bowles, the festival will comprise more than 400 events, from intimate dinners with Michelin-starred chefs to brunches, masterclasses, and a Night Market featuring delectable street food and cocktails on tap.
1st – 30th June
Meltdown at the Southbank Centre
Each year, a different artist takes charge of the Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival, curating a unique line-up of performances, screenings, and exhibitions over the course of 10 days. This year, boundary-pushing rapper, visual artist, and activist M.I.A. is at the helm, and she’s brought together a thrilling roster of events, from gigs by Crystal Castles and Afrikan Boy to the Meltdown Mela, an outdoor, day-long fete celebrating the UK’s South Asian communities.
9th – 18th June
Trooping the Colour
Since the Queen officially became the longest-reigning English monarch in 2015, there’s more reason than ever to celebrate her birthday with pomp and ceremony. Trooping the Colour is one of London’s iconic summertime events, and is an incredible spectacle to behold. Watch the parade as it wends its way from Buckingham Palace down the Mall, bringing 200 horses, 1,400 soldiers, and 400 musicians along with it. After the Queen performs an inspection of her troops, the parade returns to Buckingham Palace for a 41-gun salute and Royal Air Force fly-past.
Open Garden Squares Weekend
Take advantage of London in June — and cross your fingers for sunny weather and warm temperatures — with the Open Garden Squares Weekend. The event gives you the chance to discover 230 of London’s secret, private, and otherwise hidden-away gardens, from rooftop patches of greenery to gardens belonging to historic buildings. You can even enter a ballot to discover the garden at 10 Downing Street.
17th – 18th June
Perfume at Somerset House
You’ve probably never experienced an art exhibition quite like Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent. For starters, the exhibits are multi-sensory, including visual, auditory, and tactile aspects — not to mention olfactory. Explore the work of 10 contemporary perfumers, who take inspiration for their aromatic creations from the Texan desert, water park rides, and other surprising sources. If you’re feeling especially inspired, you can even experiment in the on-site perfume laboratory.
21st June – 17th September
Greenwich + Docklands International Festival
Every summer, locals and visitors flock east for this lively, outdoor performing arts festival. The Greenwich + Docklands International Festival has grown at a steady clip since its debut in 1996; last year was the biggest event ever, with more than 100 events and 100,000 attendees over the course of 10 days. This year, look forward to highlights ranging from a new theatrical adaptation of A View from the Bridge to FierS à Cheval, a performance put on by a French street theatre company featuring large, illuminated horses.
23rd June – 8th July
Pride in London
A vibrant and inclusive celebration of London’s LGBT+ community, Pride is another of the city’s most anticipated summer events. After 40,000 people attended 2016’s edition of the festival — the largest number in its history — this year’s Pride, under the theme of “Love Happens Here,” should be bigger, brighter, and more festive than ever. Look forward to a range of arts events and activities, all of which culminate in a spectacular parade.
24th June – 9th July
Complement your summertime outings around the Big Smoke with one of Evan Evans’s inspiring London sightseeing tours.
Images courtesy of London Food Month, Vic Frankowski, oversnap/iStock, Diana Jarvis, Kim Keever, Courtesy Waterhouse & Dodd, Marc Van Canneyt, and Matias Altbach