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Before I start, I just want to say that these things to do in London in August are not something to take lightly.
Any Brit will tell you.
It is serious business.
After living in a cold, damp climate for half of the year, everyone gets a bit stir crazy and crabby.
But August in London is (usually) different.
The sun comes out (occasionally), temperatures skyrocket (and then come back down pretty quickly, let’s be honest), and men of all shapes and sizes start wandering through the park with their shirt off because they can.
And I do mean all.
A London August is like a pass from God himself for everyone to let loose, pull out the barbecue, speak to their neighbors for the first time all year, ironically root against their own country in various sports, and enjoy the little things.
Whether you’re coming as a visitor or thinking of making a move to the UK, here’s my ultimate list of the best things to do in London in August.
The Absolute Must-Knows (from a Londoner)
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1. Buckingham Palace
Not only can you press your face up against the Buckingham Palace gate, but the royal family always escapes London in the summer, leaving their digs open for you to explore.
Of course, it’s not free, and you will hardly be sifting through their medicine cabinets, but still: worth it.
Why not visit the grounds of Buckingham Palace as one of your top things to do in London in August?
2. Regent’s Open Air Theatre
Regent’s Park is my favorite London park and deserves to have a spot all of its own, but they also have a special offering in the summer with the Open Air Theatre.
You can see what’s currently on and get tickets at their website here.
It’s on my list of things to do in London in August for families who want to get a bit of culture and nature in at the same time.
3. Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens are botanical gardens, but unlike what I thought when I first visited, it’s not just a greenhouse.
I mean, I knew there would be some grass, but I didn’t really imagine the absolute massive space it is.
It’s like Disney World for people who like flowers and generally being outdoors, and one of the best things to do in London in August.
I don’t even like flowers that much, but I could definitely spend days and days here.
4. Borough Market
Borough Market is London’s most famous food market year-round, but there’s no better time than the summer to stuff your face with as much food as possible.
They’ve also got special pop-up restaurants and cooking demonstrations going on frequently, making them one of the best street food markets in London.
Better yet, you have to walk around from stall to stall to get the flavors you’re after, which basically means you burn all those calories off while enjoying one of the best things to do in London Bridge.
Someone please say yes.
5. London Lidos
For a city that’s covered in rain a good portion of the time, it’s surprising how many outdoor swimming pools can be found in August in London.
It might not be on the top of every tourist’s list, but if you’re in London for awhile or a study abroad student in London here for the summer, it’s something to take advantage of.
6. London Zoo
Aside from the London Zoo being a generally fun way to spend a warm summer day, they have some really adorable sloths that are way too cute to miss.
There’s even a baby who spends the day hanging onto his mom and I’m going to start tearing up if I even talk about it.
Seeing baby sloths is basically one of the best London things to do in August for anyone who has a soul.
This is also one of the best things to do in London with kids.
7. Visit the Olympic Park
In 2012, London hosted the Olympic games in the Olympic Park in East London.
Today, you can take advantage of the facilities and even swim in the Olympic swimming pool, as well as relaxing in the gardens built for the athletes.
The Olympic Park is also right next to a major shopping center with plenty of restaurants, so you can use it as a place to shop or eat lunch or dinner.
8. Notting Hill Carnival
Visit London in August to see the famous Notting Hill Carnival.
I haven’t been purposefully, but instead walked through on accident once.
There are parades, there are people dressed up in every type of outfit you can imagine, there are food stalls, and there is celebration.
A lot of celebration.
It’s basically a huge street party where (mostly) anything goes, and if that’s your thing, it’s not to be missed.
9. Hyde Park
As the biggest park in all of London, Hyde Park is the perfect place to spend an August day in London.
Wander the paths to see what you might find, or pick a spot next to a fountain to do some people-watching.
There will be plenty of people spreading out their picnic blankets and soaking in the sunshine as it’s one of London’s best parks for a picnic, and lots of dogs playing too if you’re an animal lover.
10. Kensington Gardens
While Kensington Gardens used to be considered an official part of Hyde Park, it’s now its own section.
Within, you’ll find beautiful blooms and also the stunningly beautiful Kensington Palace.
Kensington Gardens is also on my list of things to do in London in September, so if you miss it this month, there’s still time!
11. Take a Walking Tour
Taking a walking tour in London when the sun is shining is one of the best things to do in London in August.
Whether you’re interested in history, art, culture, or something completely off the wall, there’s probably going to be a walking tour for you, and you can find my best tours in London to narrow down your list.
Choose from paid-for walking tours that let you buy tickets up front, or you can go on a “free”, tips-only walking tour where you pay at the end what you think the tour was worth.
12. See a Show at Shakespeare’s Globe
If London is your only stop in August and you’re not making plans to go to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birth home, you’ve got to make a show at Shakespeare’s Globe part of your itinerary.
The reason it’s one of the must do things to do in London in August in particular is that Shakespeare’s Globe is an open-air event with no roof in the center where the “groundlings” (standing guests) are, so the weather really impacts your experience there.
You can buy these standing-only tickets for just 5 pounds, so it’s also one of the best theatre bargains in the whole city.
13. Kayak in Camden
Take a leisurely kayak around Camden lock to experience a different side to London – maybe even a London date idea!
See the houseboats bob up and down, find a bit of shade to stop and relax under, or take a guided kayak tour with an expert guide who will make sure that you’re safe and happy.
You’ll often see lots of colorful kayaks going up and down this area in the summer, and August is a great time to take part before the weather starts to turn in the fall.
Try the Pirate Castle for some great boating opportunities.
14. Picnic in Green Park
Green Park, right outside Buckingham Palace, is one of the best underrated parks in all of London.
It’s right next to some of the most popular attractions, there is plenty of shade to be found, and there are some touching memorials.
Go to a shop like Sainsbury’s Local ahead of time to buy up some premade sandwiches and chips and dessert, and then spread out on the Green Park lawn and enjoy your afternoon.
15. Find an Urban Beach
London doesn’t have a coastline of its own, but it does have the Thames!
In August, there are lots of pop-up urban beaches where companies quite literally transform a bank on the river into a happening retreat filled with drink stands, sand beneath your feet, umbrellas, and music pumping.
No, you can’t go in the Thames (nor should you want to), but you can still pretend you’re at the seaside without needing to leave the city.
16. Open-Top Bus Tour
I don’t always advise taking an open-top bus tour of London because it’s not that great if it’s cloudy and raining, but if you’re going to have an opportunity to take one in good weather, August is it!
Sit on the top deck with your sunglasses, tourist map wide open, and embrace the experience of being driven around London and shown all of the sites.
I would highly recommend London’s Big Bus tours for your open-top experience.
17. BBC Proms
If you’re American like me, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “prom” is basically getting dressed up in an awkwardly glittery dress and going to a dance with one of your friends because no one asked you to be their prom date (oh wait, maybe that’s just me).
BBC Proms can involve glittery dresses and friend dates, but it’s actually the biggest classical musical festival in the world.
No Top 40 hits here!
The concerts take place in Royal Albert Hall, just across the street from Hyde Park, and you’ll want to buy your tickets in advance due to the popularity of the event.
It’s a must-do if you’ve never been and want to experience London life.
18. Underbelly Festival
The Underbelly Festival at Southbank runs all summer long until September, so it’s in full swing in August and one of my top choices of what to do in London in August.
This family-friendly festival has plenty of comedy, circus, and acrobatic entertainment.
Many of the festivities take place outdoors, so you can simply walk along the river and take in everything.
There are also food carts and stands so you can grab a bit to eat as you go.
19. Outdoor Movie Screening
London LOVES its outdoor movie screenings in August.
The kids are out of school, parents are looking for something to do with them, and it’s a popular tourist month for the city.
Outdoor movie screenings are some of the best cinemas in London and often require that you bring your own chair or blanket, they hold way more people than a regular movie screening, and they often reshow the great classics or family-favorites that you’ve always wanted to see on the big screen again.
20. Take a Tour of Wimbledon
Wimbledon’s famous tennis tournament takes place in July (you can see my guide on queuing for Wimbledon to learn how I stood in line for like 5 hours), which means that by August there is the opportunity to start taking tours again so you can see where the action took place.
Whether you’ve grown up seeing Wimbledon on your television screen or have always dreamed of walking in the footsteps of legends like Serena Williams and Andre Agassi, the walking tour takes you throughout the player’s rooms, into the courts, and behind-the-scenes to discover what it’s like to play tennis here.
21. Lord’s Cricket Ground
If you’ve never heard of cricket, the best place to go to take a tour and learn more about the sport is Lord’s Cricket Ground.
This is the most famous cricket ground in London, and knowledgeable guides will take you through the viewing areas and into the main areas so you can get a feel for life as a cricket player and spectator.
I still don’t quite understand how it’s played, but one day I’ll get the hang of it.
22. Brick Lane Market
This network of covered stalls and market streets is popular for its international cuisine and vintage and second-hand furniture.
Don’t miss the curry houses or the Jewish bagel shops on your visit to London in August, as these are the most popular eating options when touring Brick Lane.
It can take a couple of hours to really see Brick Lane Market thoroughly, so set aside some time if you’re truly hunting for bargains and not just wanting to pass through.
23. Rooftop Bars
Sure, London has plenty of green space, but that green space is usually reserved for relaxing and isn’t to be filled with pop-up shops.
So what do you do if you want to get a drink at one of London’s unique summer pop-ups?
Seriously, find a rooftop bar and enjoy some snacks and drinks while overlooking the city skyline.
There are some great options on Oxford Street and some hidden gems spread throughout the city if you know where to look.
24. The British Museum
Now, the British Museum is an indoors space, and I know that a lot of these things to do in London have been outdoors to take advantage of the (hopefully good) August weather, but trust me on this one!
The British museum’s glass ceiling in the main area is best enjoyed when the sky is blue and the sun is shining.
It just streams in and fills the space like nothing I’ve ever seen, and there are plenty of tables to sit at and enjoy the atmosphere.
This is a great option if you want to get out of the heat for a little bit and also see some of Britain’s most amazing treasures at the same time, including the Rosetta Stone and Cleopatra herself.
Overall, August is a fantastic time to visit London and is a month typically enjoyed by many tourists.
Often, Londoners will use August to go on holiday, which means a bit more space for you to enjoy the city.
Even if you don’t get the weather you’re expecting, try out the British way of thinking which is to carry on despite the rain!
Come armed with some waterproof shoes and an umbrella just in case things take a turn, and take advantage of everything London has to offer in August.
25. Regent’s Park
Near Baker Street Station in the north of London is this fantastic park which features beautifully manicured gardens, a lake complete with the option to go for a romantic paddling boat ride, one of the most romantic things to do in London, and one of the most impressive views in all of London from Primrose Hill.
Within Regents Park you’ll also find the London zoo, running and walking trails, and lots of sports taking place.
This is one of my favorite London things to do in August, but is one that many visitors would need to specifically seek out as you may not automatically walk past or through it based on your London travel plans.
26. Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill is one of the best places to visit in London in August.
This beautiful part of Regent’s Park is not too tough to climb if you take your time (it is a relatively steep incline, but we’re not talking real hiking here, just a bit of huffing and puffing if you’re out of shape!)
It’s common to take a blanket to sit out on the hill and watch the sunset over London.
Of course, since it’s in a park, it’s completely free!
From here, you can a stunning view of the London skyline featuring the BT Tower, the Shard, and the London Eye.
Afterwards, head to the London Zoo in Regent’s Park or nearby Camden for some of London’s best markets.
27. Exhibitions at the Serpentine
Located in the picturesque area of Kensington gardens, Serpentine Gallery is actually two art galleries that are within a short walk of each other.
Completely free to enter, in the Serpentine Gallery you’ll find contemporary art, including some permanent installations and rotating temporary exhibitions that have featured everyone from Anish Kapoor to Jeff Koons.
There have even been installations in nearby Serpentine Lake, as well as incredible outdoor contemporary art that use the setting of Hyde Park and the help of Serpentine Gallery to make an impact on the visiting public.
28. Sunflower Fields
August is a great month to see sunflowers in London, and if you want to stay closer to the city center, you can see them in Kew Gardens.
However, if you have a little bit more time, head out to one of the sunflower gardens within striking distance of a day trip from London!
Popular options include:
- Garsons Farm
- Hitchin Lavender
- Meopham PYO
- The Pop-Up Farm
29. London’s beer gardens
In August, London is awash with beer gardens, ranging from dedicated options to pop-up outdoor areas set up outside pubs around the city.
Grab a beer with friends and sit back and enjoy the London August weather.
It’s fun, it’s casual, and it’s a fun way to connect and make new friends.
30. Greenwich+Docklands International Festival
Outdoor performing arts is the name of the game at the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, happening each August in outdoor venues across Greenwich.
From dance to acrobatics to theatre, there’s something for everyone and the festival is spread across 15+ days so you can be sure to catch multiple events that suit your artistic taste.
Branch out and do something unique in London this August.
31. Hampton Court Palace Food Festival
From fresh wood fire pizza to chicken burgers to bao buns, you’ll find tons of great street food options at the Hampton Court Palace food festival, happening in August.
With plenty of green spaces and vendors, this is a wonderful way to soak in the sun and try new cuisine at this iconic attraction in London.
32. London Craft Beer Festival
Held in Tobacco Dock, the London Craft Beer Festival is a great way for beer lovers to connect and try out new breweries in August in London.
Wander your way around the stalls, bring a group of friends and stake out a place to sit back and enjoy the food stalls, or just go to people watch and soak in the electric vibes.
There are also alcohol-free beer options and other drink options if you want to check it out and find something to suit everyone’s tastes.
33. Carnaby Summer Festival
From live performances of jazz, hip hop, rock, and everything in between, the Carnaby Summer Festival brings live music and art to London every single August, filling the streets of this Soho area with fun and vibes.
There’s also a great line-up of free workshops and masterclasses from pottery painting to candle making that are totally family-friendly.
34. Music festivals
August is one of the best months for music festivals in London, as many festival organizers choose the weather and happiness of London’s summer months.
From BST Hyde Park to All Points East to Eastern Electrics Festival, music lovers of almost any genre will easily find plenty of great festival options in the city.
35. The Play that Goes Wrong
An iconic London play, running since 2012, The Play that Goes Wrong follows a bunch of accident prone thespians as they attempt to put on a play.
It’s beloved within the London theater scene and a great option for visitors.
While it does run year-round, August is a great time to check out the West End and enjoy a meal before seeing a show.
36. RIB Boat tour on the Thames
If you want an awesome experience for families and those with a need for speed, check out the River Thames Speedboat tour.
This is a London tour like no other, seeing the sights from a (perfectly safe and licensed) speedboat.
You’re still getting to see the sights, but you truly feel like you’re on the set of James Bond or some other action film as you’re bouncing along down the river.
37. London Cable Car
The London Cable Car that sails over London is a great thing to do in London in August, and not too expensive either!
You’ll get great views of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin, Greenwich, and so much more from 90 meters above the Thames.
It’s typically used as transportation, but it’s also a great sightseeing option, and it can take you to Greenwich for the day where you explore the Maritime Museum and other fun things for the kids.
38. The ArcelorMittal Orbit
Head to the East of London to the Olympic Park where you can send the kids (and you can do it too, if you’re brave enough!) down the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the longest tunnel slide in the world!
It’s a great place to visit in August, and the area surrounding the slide and Olympic Park is a nice place for a picnic in the summer.
39. Kew Gardens
London’s botanical gardens are a must-see in August when the grass is green and the sun is still high in the sky.
Kew Gardens is a wonderful place for a long walk on a weekend afternoon, or you can take the train ride around the gardens to see it all from a different vantage point.
Stunning greenhouses give you the chance to step out of any unexpected weather if you need to, or you can take a picnic and enjoy a relaxing day out on the grass.
Kew is a truly spectacular destination in London, and August is a great time to visit.
40. National Gallery
Standing high above Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is London’s premier art museum and, guess what – it’s completely free!
This is a must-do for art lovers and anyone wanting to experience original works by famous artists like Van Gogh.
41. Afternoon Tea with outdoor seating
Afternoon tea is a must-do in London, but when the summer rolls around, there’s nothing better than enjoying afternoon tea outdoors!
One of the best places to do this is at St. Ermin’s, a hotel featuring one of the best afternoon teas in London, but with an outdoor terrace area!
Enjoy the stunning décor around the terrace as you sip on tea and enjoy the finger sandwiches.
42. Tate Modern Viewpoint
Combine world-leading art collections with glorious views of London’s city center.
The viewing area is on the top floor of the Blavatnik Building and is free to center via an elevator.
There is a bar to give you something to sip or snack on while you look out from this riverside spot, offering great views along the Thames as well as being directly opposite St Paul’s Cathedral.
Looking down the river, you can even see the financial district of Canary Wharf and the world-famous Wembley Stadium.
It’s an amazing place to catch a sunset, as the historic buildings over the water are painted fading-orange by the setting sun and the city’s light start to come to life.
If you want a completely free view of London without paying a ton of money to go up in the Shard or the London Eye, book a spot at the Sky Garden, one of the most unique things to do in London.
This awesome lounge and viewing platform is free to visitors, though you need to book in advance to ensure you get a spot.
44. Lunch at Duck & Waffle
A great view should be enjoyed with some great food and great drinks, and there are few places in the world where the three come together as well as at Duck & Waffle.
Nestled high up on the 40th floor, this sleek modern dining space offers panoramic views of the London skyline, particularly an up-close shot of the famous ‘Gherkin’, a twisting tower of carved glass reflecting the light, with all the comforts you could ask for.
Even better, it’s open 24 hours a day.
Grab a window-side table at sunset and watch the daylight wash over the city as the sun goes down, seeing street after bustling street fill with the lights of the capital’s thriving nightlife.
45. Diana Memorial Fountain
If the weather in August in London is hot (and it often is), check out the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
It’s perfectly acceptable in the summer months to put your feet in or let the kids splash in this fountain, and you’ll find many people doing the same.
It’s a great way to cool off in London in August, situated within the gorgeous Hyde Park.
46. Walk along the Southbank
The Southbank is a great place to walk around in August when it’s still warm enough to not be in your winter boots and the sun is glistening off the water.
In addition to some famous attractions like the London Eye (though you’ll want to check out my article on whether the London Eye is Worth it) and the London Aquarium (again, see my take on what to avoid in London), there are loads of places to sit and enjoy a picnic on a bench or little patches of greenery to soak up some nature.
The best part is that it’s completely free, so when it comes to choosing from the things to do in August in London, it gets high marks for not emptying your wallet and also getting you out and about.
47. See the street performers in Covent Garden
Covent Garden, one of the best markets in London, is filled with street performers in August.
You can walk around, take in the shops and restaurants, and enjoy musicians, acrobats, and comedians as they entertain the London crowds.
It’s free, it’s right in the heart of the city, and it’s one of my favorite things to do in London in August.
48. Royal Observatory Greenwich
From viewing outer space at the planetarium to being able to stand on the Prime Meridian, there are tons of things to do at the Royal Observatory Greenwich along with interactive galleries and kid-friendly options in the café if you need a bite to eat.
49. Tate Britain
Another one of the Tate’s, Tate Britain is perhaps the complete opposite of Tate Modern, as here you’ll find more traditional art.
It is the oldest of the Tate galleries and used to be known as the “National Gallery of British Art” due to what it houses inside.
Head to Tate Britain and you’ll find a permanent collection of British art that spans back to 1500.
You’ll find art from artists like William Blake, David Hockney, and Francis Bacon.
The entrance to this stunning gallery is picture perfect in and of itself, and inside you’ll find that the interior architecture of the galleries really adds to the pomp and circumstance of one of the best art galleries in London.
50. Climb the O2
If you want to get a bit more extreme, why not climb the O2 arena?
That’s right, climb it!
It’s one of the more unique things to do in London, and August presents the perfect opportunity for clearer skies and better weather conditions.
Just make sure to pack water to stay hydrated!
51. Hampstead Heath
Where can you go in London to find ancient woodlands, tons of grassy areas, tranquil ponds and an entire world that feels more like you’re stepping into a Jane Austen novel rather than 21st century London?
This massive green area is almost 800 acres and includes everything from bridges to fields to flower gardens.
You’ll find people going on walks, flying kites, running through the numerous jogging trails, and swimming in one of the natural swimming ponds.
This London landmark has also made its way into film and literary history, including being featured in the movie Notting Hill, the iconic Dracula by Bram Stoker and being mentioned in Stephen King’s “IT.”
52. Go Cycling on Boris Bikes
Known as “Boris bikes” or “Santander bikes,” these bikes can be rented from one of the many bike racks around London by simply using a credit card.
While I wouldn’t recommend cycling on the main streets in London as a visitor, these are great for cycling within the London parks.
53. Eat Outdoors
There is so much outdoor dining to find in London in August.
Plenty of restaurants and pubs have outdoor dining areas. Simply walk down any street and you’ll find them.
You’ve also got plenty of outdoor street food markets like Borough Market where you have opportunities to sit and eat outdoors.
54. Seven Dials Market
Seven Dials Market, within Covent Garden, is a great place to visit in London in August.
Check out the independent street food and awesome food hall before checking out the Covent Garden shops and entertainers.
The open air atmosphere is perfect for the August weather, and the options range from Mexican to vegan to classic British to bao buns to desserts and milkshakes.
55. Columbia Road Flower Market
There’s nothing in London quite like the Columbia Road Flower Market, which fills the street with blooms every Sunday when you can buy foliage of all kinds, whether you want flowers for your girlfriend, some new plants for your house, or just a waft of nature’s finest creations!
There are also other shops along this road that sell all types of things, so you can come along even if you’re not just in the market for flowers.
What else should I not miss in London?
If you’re visiting London soon, here’s a very brief rundown of a few of my other favorites to make sure you don’t miss anything!
- Hidden London Walking Tour – this tour is the absolute best if you want to see London in a different light and uncover hidden nooks, crannies, and histories that you won’t get on your normal, run-of-the-mill London walking tour. Click here to check prices and book.
- Historical Westminster Walking Tour with Churchill War Rooms – if you’re a history buff or even mildly interested in all of the insane things that have happened in London, particular during the wars, you have to book this tour which is an absolute bargain for the tour + entry to the Churchill War Rooms (basically two must-dos in one). Click here to check prices and book.
- Cutest London Afternoon Tea on a Bus – want to see the sights and enjoy afternoon tea at the same time on the upper deck? Yes, absolutely you do. This afternoon tea is a real delight and helps you get out and about while also putting your pinkies up. Click here to check prices and book.
Hey! Want to learn more about what’s going on in London each month? Check these out!
4 thoughts on “55+ Incredible Things to Do in London in August 2023”
Nice list! The Regent’s Open Air Theatre and the Notting Hill Carnival look pretty interesting 😀
Glad you enjoyed! They are definitely must-dos. I could spend days and days and days in Regent’s Park..that would be the life!
Ha the only time I went to the open air theatre in Regents Park, it rained and they absndoned the performance half way through!!! A v typical British experience! I did like London in the summer thiugh, we used to play rounders in the parks after work. Miss those days!
Totally agree with your list. Enjoy London!