As London prepares for tennis fever, I’m sticking to the non-sporty side of the city where you’ll see me hanging out in our cool museums and theatres or sitting lawnside, but with a Pimms in hand and listening to jazzy tunes. Here are some of the best things to do in London this July. Stay cool, London!
- Pick of the Month
- Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre – Blenheim Palace
- Carmen – Royal Opera House Free BP Screens
- Frieze Sculpture
- Love is Only Love, The Other Palace
- Mr Handel’s Vauxhall Pleasures
- Whodunit – Park Theatre
- The Moon
- Victoria’s Palace, Buckingham Palace
- Where is Peter Rabbit – Theatre Royal
- 325 years, 325 objects – Bank of England
- The Worst Witch, Vaudeville Theatre
- Jazz on the Lawn
- Kew Palace – Cook like a Georgian
Pick of the Month
Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre – Blenheim Palace
OK, I know this is supposed to be about the best things to do in London this July , but I think the Bard would agree that Blenheim is worth the small trek. Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, a 13-sided Elizabethan-style playhouse complete with an Elizabethan village, will be constructed over a three-week period and located next to Bleinheim Palace. Inspired by the famous London Rose Playhouse built in 1587, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre will house an audience of 900, with 560 seated on three tiered balconies around an open-roofed courtyard and standing room for 340. This year’s productions include Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Richard III and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 8 July to 7 September.
Carmen – Royal Opera House Free BP Screens
I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Carmen last week at the Royal Opera House with the lovely Louise Loves (you can read her post and my mini review here.) And if you’re looking for free things to do in London, you can watch Carmen for the princely sum of nothing in various locations around the country this July 2. On July 9, you can also catch Mozart’s great comic masterpiece, The Marriage of Figaro. Check here for locations.
Staying with free things to do in London, head out to The Regent’s Park for a free dose of outdoor art with Frieze Sculpture. Artists include Tracey Emin, Huma Bhabha and Robert Indiana. 3 July to 6 October.
Love is Only Love, The Other Palace
It’s not every day Stephen Fry endorses you on Twitter, but so he did with Love is Only Love, written by and starring the absolutely brilliant Sam Harrison. After a sold-out run at the Other Palace in 2018, the play returns in time for Pride. Be quick, as it’s only on from the 1 to 6 July.
Mr Handel’s Vauxhall Pleasures
Join the Foundling Museum in Coram’s Fields for an outdoor spectacular of music from Vauxhall Gardens, the first great pleasure garden of Georgian London. Lars Tharp introduces a family-friendly concert of music by Handel and his contemporaries, performed in eighteenth-century style. 7 July.
Whodunit – Park Theatre
Whodunnit [Unrehearsed] features the voices of Ian McKellen, Judi Dench and Miriam Margolyes, as well as a different celebrity in each performance stepping in as the Inspector (without any rehearsal and without ever having seen the script). Guests including Clive Anderson, Gillian Anderson, Jim Broadbent, Damian Lewis, Maureen Lipman, Joanna Lumley, and Catherine Tate. They will have their lines fed to them live onstage via an earpiece as they attempt to crack the case. After the show hear from our celebrity in a ‘behind the scenes’ conversation when it’s your turn to do the interrogation. 15 to 27 July.
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing at a major new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Highlights include lunar samples collected from NASA’s Apollo missions and the Soviet Union’s Luna programme; a Mesopotamian Tablet from 172 BCE showing how lunar eclipses were considered to be bad omens; and The Hasselblad camera equipment that captured some of the most recognisable and iconic space photos.
Victoria’s Palace, Buckingham Palace
To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria, a special exhibition at this year’s Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace will tell the story of how the young monarch turned an unloved royal residence into the centre of the social, cultural and official life of the country. Through objects from the Royal Collection and an immersive experience in the Palace’s Ballroom, visitors will learn how Victoria made Buckingham Palace what it remains today – the headquarters of the Monarchy, a rallying point for national celebrations and a family home. A waltz danced at the Crimean Ball and the Ballroom’s original decorative scheme will be recreated as part of the exhibition. A Victorian illusion technique, known as Pepper’s Ghost, and projections around the room will enable visitors to imagine the Ballroom as Victoria and Albert would have known it. Queen Victoria’s Palace is on from 20 July to 29 September.
Where is Peter Rabbit – Theatre Royal
The critically acclaimed musical adventure returns to the West End for a limited summer season of performances at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Stories and characters are brought to life in this theatrical spectacular, with beautifully handcrafted puppets, enchanting original songs and a sprinkle of magic. Shake your tail to 15 songs with lyrics by Sir Alan Ayckbourn. From 20 July.
325 years, 325 objects – Bank of England
The Bank of England turns 325 years old this July and to celebrate, the bank launches a new exhibition, 325 years, 325 objects. Items have been selected from the vast collections amassed since the Bank was founded in 1694. Highlights include the first banknotes, with an early note dated 26th June 1702; Roman relics found during archaeological digs on the Threadneedle Street site; artwork sketches and test plates for banknote designs; and a woodblock design for the first postal order from 1880. 22 July to 15 June 2020
The Worst Witch, Vaudeville Theatre
My girls loved Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch, but sadly, they are a little too grown-up to don their broomsticks and zoom over to the Vaudeville Theatre for this action-packed play opening on 24 July. I might just have to cackle in the audience on my lonesome.
Jazz on the Lawn
606 Club London joins with historic house and garden Fulham Palace to present Jazz on the Lawn, an outdoor live concert series taking place over two successive evenings this month. The lineup includes soul singer Wayne Hernandez & his seven-piece band on Friday 26 July and the internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist Claire Martin on Saturday 27 July. Remember to pack a picnic.
Kew Palace – Cook like a Georgian
Take a jaunter down to Kew Palace, once home to George III (yes, the mad one) and his queen, Charlotte. Join the history cooks as they whip up some tasty Georgian treats in The Royal Kitchens. Learn how to make dishes such as ‘Mutton Chops in Disguise’ and ‘Apple Dumplings’ and find out what life was like working in King George III’s kitchens over two hundred years ago. Various dates throughout the summer.