August sees London host Europe's biggest street party, cultural communities take centre stage and child-friendly attractions keep the kids amused.
The sizzling party season begins in style with Carnaval del Pueblo, a one-day feast of Latin American dance and music, food and drink. Meanwhile, the Meltdown Festival at Southbank Centre offers a 12-day programme of special events with a host of international stars. Its guest curator changes yearly, ensuring original performances and unique collaborations in music, dance, drama and performance. Another cultural institution – Somerset House – offers its elegant neoclassical court as a backdrop to Film4 Summer Screen. This open-air cinema shows UK premieres of new releases, classic films, and current blockbusters. Parents will welcome Kids Week, an initiative that offers children under 16 a free ticket to a selection of West End shows with a paying adult. Of course, August is also the month that Europe's largest street party comes to west London's streets and squares. The Notting Hill Carnival showcases West Indian culture with two days of floats, parades, music, and dance as more than one million people join in the celebration.
With temperatures rising, the city's streets transform into pavement cafes, and restaurants invite patrons into their gardens as alfresco dining makes the most of the merry weather. Or cool down with some outdoor swimming thanks to the capital's selection of open-air pools, lidos and lakes. The summer months are also perfect for an open-top bus tour around the city's major landmarks and attractions. It's a great way to explore the capital quickly and easily, and the commentary is informative and engaging. And while The Queen's away on her summer holidays, Buckingham Palace welcomes visitors into its 19 magnificent State Rooms. Other royal properties not to miss include Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and the Tower of London. And for visitors with children in tow, London offers family-friendly attractions with all ages in mind.
WEATHER: For average seasonal temperatures and rainfall, see our London Weather page.