This post is part of Viator’s coverage of the London Olympics. Leading up to the Games and every day during the Games, we’ll be posting tips from our London-based blogger, Philippa. Be sure to check back often for the latest updates on happenings around London, news on special events and tips for what to see and do in London and the surrounding area while you’re visiting!
Only a couple more weeks of the official English summer before kids go back to school, the openair cinema screens come down and the deckchairs in the parks are packed away for another year.
It’s been a mixed bag of weather, but that hasn’t stopped the festivities and events from livening up the city of London, especially in this year of Olympics and Paralympics, and there’s still plenty more to come.
The Paralympics starts on August 29th with an Opening Ceremony entitled Enlightenment, designed by another of the UK’s award-winning film directors, Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot). There’s a cast of over 3,000 volunteers, rehabilitating soldiers, children, professionals and 4,000 athletes from 162 nations. The games then begin and continue until September 10th. Tickets are virtually sold out, but you can catch the action on the big screen at Trafalgar Square.
You’ve still got time to wander through the State Rooms of the Queen at the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening, which runs until October 7th. Or head to the recently revamped Kensington Palace and learn about the life of Queen Victoria who reigned from 1837-1901, the longest reigning British monarch, outdoing the current queen by 3 years – so far!
If you want to experience art at its best, head to the Tate Modern where the famous bad boy of British art Damien Hirst’s controversial exhibition closes on September 9th. Similarly, Tracey Emin, the bad girl of British art, has a show at Turner Contemporary in Margate until September 23rd – the perfect way to combine culture and a day at the seaside.
The new attraction wowing London is the Tate Modern’s “The Tanks” with their ever changing live events and performances, until October 28th, and also the storytelling performances by Tino Sehgal in the Turbine Hall. For art which was controversial 150 years ago, the Tate Britain has a Pre-Raphaelites exhibition opening on September 12th.
For kids’ theater, you can’t miss The Tiger Who Came To Tea at the Lyric Theatre until September 2nd, or The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe at Threesixty Theatre in Kensington Gardens until September 9th. Matilda the Musical continues at Cambridge Theatre in the West End until February 2013. If you want to combine sports and theater, go to Chariots of Fire on stage at Gielgud Theatre until November 10th.
To end the summer, there’s the annual Mayor’s Thames Festival on September 8th and 9th, a huge weekend of fun which has events on and off the water from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge and beyond. There are film screenings for kids, circus acts, musical performances including a performance using ships’ horns and on the night of September 9th a night carnival with fireworks.
Read more about the Olympics.