Greenwich & Docklands International Festival


Jason Allen 27/02/22

Pop Up Events This Month

What’s On In London | September 2022

Totally Thames

Totally Thames

Totally Thames is a celebration of, well, the Thames. How exactly does one celebrate a river? Well, apparently with dozens of events ranging from 500-person choirs, to highly creative art shows, fetes, river races, talks, walks, gigs, and an illuminated flotilla of over a hundred and fifty boats…

Details1st-30th September | Across London | Free

Big London Tattoo Show

Here’s something to ink into your diary: the Big London Tattoo show will feature some of the finest needle-based artistic talent on the face of the earth, along with free fairground rides, art exhibitions, sideshows, vaudeville experiences, markets, and more.

Details: 3rd & 4th September | ExCeL London, One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL | £25-£45

The Interesting Conference

Honestly, as names go, this one’s particularly interesting. Mostly because is shows off the sheer broadness of the topics that are under discussion, which can only really be bound together by their sheer interestingness. You’ll get 16 short talks about curiously engaging things, ranging from “Detroit on Thames”, to “Why you too should become a ballet dancer”…

Details: 3rd September | Conway Hall, 25 Red Lions Square, WC1R 4RL | £30

Camden Brewery Tank Party

Yes, the folks at Camden Town are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their tank parties with… drumroll… a tank party. Expect live music, tours, workshops, and plenty of unfiltered beer straight from the vast brewery vessels themselves.

Details: 2rd & 4th September | Camden Town Brewery, Wilkin Street Mews, NW5 3NN | £20

Tim Peake – My Journey to Space

Tim Peake was the first British man to set foot in space. Well, he sort of floated his foot there, whatever. Point is, he’ll be talking about the experience of getting there, and the awe-inspiring spectacles he witnessed while he was in orbit…

Details: 4th September | The London Palladium, 8 Argyll St, London W1F 7TF | £29

Musicals By Candlelight

Musicals by candlelight

Musicals by Candlelight? It’s guaranteed that something will be wick-ed. And it’s a guarantee you’ll probably have a rousing, entertaining, and occasionally moving time, too – at least if the idea of a string quartet playing iconic compositions from some of the most legendary songwriters in the game (Sondheim, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lloyd Webber, etc) in a 400 yer old church, all while bathed in the warm, yellow light of hundreds of flickering candles sounds good to you…

Details: From 7th September | The Actor’s Church, Bedford St, WC2E 9ED | £15

Soho Live Jazz Week

Rather ironically, Soho Jazz Week won’t give you the blues. And sure, this particular event only takes place over the course of four days. But the ‘Soho’ and ‘jazz’ parts of the name are completely accurate: a collection of the neighbourhood’s legendary music venues will play host to more than 100 jazz artists across 20 shows. It’s not too shabby…

Details: 7th-10th September | Across Soho | Free-£20

Unlimited Festival

Unlimited Festival

The Southbank Centre’s new festival is all about giving a platform for disabled artists to show off their extraordinary creative talents. And just to make it even more inclusive, they’re also making most of the events completely free.

Details7th-11th September | Southbank Centre | Free (some events ticketed) 

Open House London

Crossness pumping station

For nearly three decades, Open House Weekend has provided the public with legitimate ways to be nosy by throwing open the doors to houses, mansions, libraries, clock towers, factories and other buildings of particular architectural interest, to all and sundry. And this year, it’s taking place over almost two full weeks…

Details8th-21st September | Across London | Free

Whistle Punks Oxford Circus Opening Party

Whistle Punks

This month sees the opening of the new Whistle Punks venue in Oxford Circus, which is going to be the largest axe throwing venue in the whole of Europe. And yes, it’ll have a fully licensed bar. And yes, the owners apparently managed to get insurance for this enterprise. And yes, you’re getting in for an exclusive preview night on Friday 9th September, with 50% off axe throwing, and a welcome drink on the house…

Details: 9th September | Whistle Punks Oxford Circus, 52-53 Eastcastle St, W1W 8ED | £14.50

The Classic Boat Festival

St. Katharine Docks Classic Boat Festival. © Lucy Young 2017

St. Katharine Docks Classic Boat Festival. © Lucy Young 2017

St Katharine Docks is typically quite nice at any time of year – but when it’s filled with 40 beautifully preserved vintage boats, it hits peak loveliness. You’ll get to see some truly magnificent vessels (including some of the heroic Dunkirk little boats), and they’ll throw in some talks, activities, and live music too, just for good measure.

Details9th September | St Katharine Docks | Free

Bearpit Karaoke

Bearpit karaoke: not just home to Super Furry Animals, apparently. It’s a Berlin tradition that’s been transported over to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in recent years, and now makes its return. The idea is simple: you get up, belt out your best karaoke song, and hope that the crowd joins in before you need to hit the high notes.

Details: 10th September Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, Vauxhall Walk, London, SE11 5HL | Free


Fancy doing a little prism time? Head down to Clapham Common to check out the welcome return of Colourscape – it’s basically a huge labyrinth of inflatable vinyl tunnels, the walls of which are all saturated in vibrant, ever-changing colours that seem to glow in the daylight. It spans an entire acre of ground, with 70 interlocking segments that range from vast domes to teeny pods. It’s been popping up in the capital for a few years now, to pretty solid approval. You know, hence the fact that it keeps returning…

Details: 10th-18th September | Clapham Common (by the Windmill Pub) | £11

The Greenwich & Docklands International Festival

The Greenwich & Docklands International Festival (or ‘GDIF’ to anyone who wants to save precious syllables) is a completely free showcase of outdoor theatre and performing arts, and this year’s lineup is looking like an absolute corker – you can expect mountains of rainbow coloured foam, a sky filled with an extraordinary array of artificial fireflies, and what can only be described as a 32ft high Ferris wheel of skeletons…

Details: Until 11th September | Across Greenwich | Free

Frieze Sculpture 2022


Pepper, Curvae in Curvae, 2012, edition 2 of 3 – George Tatge

For the 10th year now Frieze Sculpture is turning the English Gardens in Regent’s Park into “a museum without walls” by filling the place with sculptures from 19 of the biggest names in modern art. This year, the display features large-scale works by artists including John Giorno, Ro Robertson and Ugo Rondinone (in the sculpture world, they’re like the Beatles), and it’s all completely free to explore.

Details14th September to 13th November | Regent’s Park | Free

DEBUT at the Brunel Museum

debut at the brunel museum

DEBUT first debuted back in 2015. They’re a group of extremely talented classical musicians who decided to band together in order to play accessible, fun concerts in interesting & unusual spaces. And the Thames Tunnel Shaft at the Brunel Museum is both very interesting and highly unusual… hence the fact that they’re now playing a series of monthly concerts there. You’ll get cocktails in the rooftop botanical garden, then a spine-tingling concert in the underwater chamber down below…

Details: 15th September | The Brunel Museum | Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF | £25

London Design Festival

This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the London Design Festival, so they’re throwing out the stops and putting on a ton of free events including surreal art shows, chances to explore unseen spaces, interesting workshops, stunning installations, and a lot more…

Details17th–25th September | Across London | Free

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Depending on what kind of stars you like seeing photos of, you should either A) buy a copy of Hello!, or B) go to the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Maritime Museum, where you can see shimmering constellations, vast galaxies, mesmerising eclipses, and feel a sense of genuine awe wash over you as you’re confronted with the sheer vastness of the universe we live in.

We recommend the latter.

Details: Opens 17th September | National Maritime Museum, Romney Rd, SE10 9NF | £10

ANAM Quartetthaus

ANAM Quartetthaus

The quirkily named ANAM Quartetthaus will take place at The Royal Albert Hall… but not in it. Rather, it’ll be inside a specially created timber box, roughly 11 meters on each side, sitting in the shadow of the iconic building. Inside that box you’ll find 52 seats dotted along a pair of concentric circles, both wrapped around a small central stage where a string quartet will do that they do…

Details: 18th-28th September | 1851 Place, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP | £16.50 – £25

Crazy Golf at Merchant’s Square

Not mini golf – crazy golf. For two days this September, Merchant’s Square will be home to the kind of  Lilliputian links that has loop-de-loops, ramps, slides, and apparently tennis racquets. It’s all free to play, and there’s no booking – just show up, and grab a putter.

Details: 21st & 22nd September, 11am – 4pm | West Plaza Steps, Merchant’s Square | Free

The Anatomy of the Orchestra

This event at the Southbank is described as “part installation, part concert”, and it sounds uniquely interesting – an entire orchestra is going to be spread out across the Royal Festival Hall foyer, with the conductor in the centre. As the musicians play, you’ll be invited to wander throughout, hearing each individual instrument up close, and seeing how they weave into the greater sound of the concert itself.

Details24th September (2pm, 3.15pm & 4.30pm) | The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall | Free, but tickets are required

Comedy on the Cutty Sark

Whoever first suggested a Victorian-era tea clipper as a good venue for comedy was probably just being Sark-astic. But, here we are, and the lineup actually looks pretty decent – you’ll get to see three up-and-comers, including Esther Manito (as seen on Live at the Apollo), Paddy Young (who specialises in witty one-liners), and Alexandra Haddow who has won “absolutely zero awards”, but who does have a nice quote from Frankie Boyle, who seems to think she’s the next big thing.

Details: 25th September | The Cutty Sark, King William Walk, SE10 9HT | £15

Capital Crime

To the average person, being placed in a room surrounded by hundreds of the country’s most ardent murder enthusiasts might not sound completely appealing. But to the average literary thriller buff, Capital Crime sounds like one of the best festivals of the year. You’ll get to see over 130 authors, presenters, and publishers including Richard Osman, Paula Hawkins, Jeffry Deaver, Kate Mosse, Lisa Jewell and dozens more iconic names. And it doesn’t take a detective to figure out if it’s going to be any good…

Details: 29th September – 1st October | The Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ | £52.00 – £185.00

Summer Sessions at Greenwich Peninsula

Despite it not technically being summer anymore, Greenwich Peninsula is running its Summer Sessions right now, including live jazz; the aforementioned minigolf & ping pong; community carnivals; sports screenings and more – all for free.

DetailsUntil 25th September | Greenwich Peninsula | Free

Only An Octave Apart

Only An Octave Apart combines the vocal talents of Justin Vivian Bond (an acclaimed singer-songwriter, actor, and cabaret artiste par excellence) and Anthony Roth Costanzo, who is a globally revered countertenor (that’s right, amongst the rarest of all the operatic ranges – the one with the hiiiiiigh notes). Together, the pair have an easy rapport, clearly revelling in one another’s company, as they take their audience on a musical journey combining the theatricality of cabaret with the power of opera…

Details: 28th September – 22nd October | Wilton’s Music Hall, Graces Alley, E1 8JB | £21 – £40

Tiger Is Coming

Fan of South Korean culture? Well, you’ll be happy to know that Tiger Is Coming has, well, come. It’s here to showcase a whole spectrum of South Korean cultural goings-on, from traditional Korean storytelling, to bleeding-edge algorithmically generated music, to ice-inspired dance shows, award-winning K-pop, and art installations that wrap around the entire building…

Details: Until 1st October | The Coronet Theatre, 103 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3LB

Free Minigolf at Canary Wharf and Greenwich Peninsula

Turns out, technicoloured, artist-designed, free pop-up minigolf courses are like buses – this summer you can find a nine-holer designed by Craig Redman & Karl Maier in Canary Wharf, and a six-holer by Yinka Ilori in Greenwich. You don’t need to book either in advance, just turn up and they’ll furnish you with clubs & balls – and in Greenwich, Camille Walala’s equally colourful free ping pong tables are just nearby.

Details: Greenwich Peninsula | Montgomery Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 | Greenwich weekends, Canary Wharf daily, 12-6pm until October 2nd

Between the Bridges

between the bridges

Between the Bridges is London’s 4,000 sq ft festival of fun – which can most boringly be described as a “really big beer garden” but should more accurately be described as “a massive, mostly free to enter al fresco adult playground which fuses a smorgasbord of bars, street food, DJs, live music and crazy golf with themed markets, drag brunches, and more.”

DetailsOpen Tues-Sun | Queen’s Walk South Bank SE1

Jurassic World: The Exhibition

The movie studio behind Jurassic World: The Exhibition have spared no expense bringing the show to life – it’s going to be a 20,000 square-foot immersive experience in which you’ll get to freely wander around a fern-filled, immersive jungle (or park, if you will) and go snout-to-snout with dozens of life-sized, moving, snarling, booming, and impressively realistic dinos, ripped straight out of the movies/your childhood. It’s geared towards younger audiences, but the results are genuinely impressive…

Details: Until 3rd November | ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, E16 1XL | £26+

Hidden Figures

hidden figures

Fancy seeing some Hidden Figures in a crypt? Not in a creepy way – it’s the return of 2018’s hit immersive show celebrating the unsung heroes of WW2. For its second run, it’s made its home in a brand new dedicated immersive space based in the crypt of an 18th century church in Bethnal Green, which the creators have converted into a Blitz-era bar and wartime bunker where you’ll solve puzzles, interact with performers and uncover your character’s true story as the night unfolds. Combining entertainment with real history, it’s unlike anything else you’ll have encountered…

Details: Until the end of 2022 | St. Peter’s Church Crypt, St Peter’s Close, Bethnal Green, E2 7AE £30

Peaky Blinders: The Rise

The people behind everyone’s favourite WWI-era Birmingham gangster show – including Steve Knight, the man who created it to begin with – have opened on an official Peaky Blinders immersive experience. And no, it’s not in Birmingham. You’ll find it in Camden Market. Which will be dressed up just like Birmingham, complete with its own version of the betting shop in Small Heath, The Garrison pub, and the bakery too. Read our full review of Peaky Blinders: The Rise

Details: Throughout September | Horse Tunnel Market, Stables Market, NW1 8AH | £52-£72

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Open air theatre always brings the house down. Especially when it’s got a line-up like this amphitheatre hidden in a pocket of Regent’s Park, which this month is staging a brand new, completely modern production of the ancient play Antigone…

Details: Until September 24th Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 4NU

Black Chapel

serpentine pavilion

Design critics have been singing the praises of Black Chapel, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion commission by artist Theaster Gates. Drawing inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome, the Musgum mud huts of Cameroon and the pottery kilns of Stoke-On-Trent, it’s a vast, dark cylinder filled with seven new paintings made with roof tar. It’s open til October, and while it’s up there’s a host of events taking place in there, from Japanese tea ceremonies and Gregorian chanting to evening jazz.

Details: Throughout September Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA Free to visit, some events ticketed

Carpark Concerts at Bold Tendencies

Unlike at a super-fancy concert hall, there are no barriers to enjoying the music at Bold Tendencies’ concerts. Apart from the very literal barriers on the ground floor that is, but they’re mainly there to keep the cars out. This Peckham multi-storey car park transforms every summer into an open-air arts venue with a difference, inviting artists like the resident Multi-Storey Orchestra and, this year, The National Youth Dance Company and South African cellist Abel Selaocoe, to perform against a brutalist-framed sunset. Tickets start at £6, and Frank’s is quite conveniently upstairs for a pre-show drink…

Details: Until 10th September Multi Storey Car Park, 95A Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4ST £6+

Sculpture in the City

sculpture in the city

If there’s one thing you can be sure of at Sculpture in the City, it’s that nothing in the show will be a bust. After all, it’s a completely free sculpture trail, with works dotted around between Liverpool Street & Aldgate from artists like Eva Rothschild, Victor Seaward, and Jocelyn McGregor. And if none of those names mean anything to you, it’s because you just haven’t been to a sculpture show yet. Which makes this one all the more convenient.

Details: Until Spring 2023 | Across The City | Free

Roof East

East London’s finest pop-up activity complex on a carpark rooftop has returned for the summer, bringing with it old favourites like batting cages, crazy golf, outdoor cinema, and bringing in newness in the form of ‘car-aoke’ and archery. Plus, there are street food stalls and pop up bars, who make a great shot – even if you don’t.

Details: Throughout September Floors 7 & 8, Stratford Multi-Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Way, E15 1XE | Free entry, pre-book activities here

Take In An Exhibition

milton avery exhibition

This month London’s art galleries and museums are awash with treats for the eyes, ears and mind, including gigantic diamonds; a Munch retrospective (turns out he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder); squashed tubas and a very interactive jaunt into the world of ASMR. See London’s Best Exhibitions

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