Things To Do

Jason Allen 22/08/23

Bartholomew Fair

Bartholomew Fair | A thousand year old festival gets revived

The original Bartholomew Fair opened in the year 1133, and was held every year at the end of August for centuries until it was banned in 1855 for being too fun.*

Well, now it’s back.

And frankly, it’s been long enough. For an event with such a storied history (Ben Jonson wrote a play about it, Samuel Pepys went regularly, Daniel Defoe namedrops it in his novels, etc.), its return is well overdue. And of course now they’ve updated some of the acts in ways that Big Sam Peyps could only have dreamt about.

The Bartholomew Fair

It’s going to take place over the course of just over a fortnight from the end of August until the middle of September in & around The City. It’s all free (at least, there are no tickets we could find) and here are a few of the more notable happenings:

  • RESURGAM – this spectacular-sounding show is performed by a troupe of aerial performers called BANDALOOP, and they’re going to dance along the side of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Yes, the side.
  • 1133 – a “punchy and provocative” modern adaptation of Ben Jonson’s play Bartholomew Fair, which sounds super-meta.
  • Primus – an “explosive” acrobatic rollerskating show by a quirky Belgian circus company.
  • The Majorettes – a Guinness World Record holding hula-skate troupe, who’ll bring hoops, high heels, disco, and carnival into one spellbinding package.
  • Illusion, Delusion, Delight, and Glory – a blend of comedy cabaret, escapology, juggling, and speed painting, apparently.

The Bartholomew Fair

And there’s a ton more stuff besides, ranging from Phileas Fogg’s hot air balloons making their way through the streets, to a steampunk style ‘Flycycle’ (that’s flying bicycle to you and me) weaving in and out of traffic, and majestic giant slinky walkabout, all of which sounds very fun indeed.

But hopefully not too fun.

*Seriously. The city authorities shut it down because it encouraged “debauchery”, which as we all know is a synonym for fun.


NOTE: The Bartholomew Fair has now taken place.

The Bartholomew Fair | The City of London

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