There’s no disputing the fact that the best things in life are free, and London’s summer festivals certainly hold true to that statement. Every summer season, London comes alive with a relaxing, riveting, and eclectic mix of good old fashioned fun in the form of free festivals for all! Let’s take a look at 10 of the best free summer festivals taking place around the capital in 2016.
1. City of London Festival
With more than 100 free events and concerts taking place in some of London’s most historic buildings and iconic landmarks, the annual City of London Festival provides an entertainment programme packed full of music, film, visual arts, performances, and much more. Whether you’re a native or simply a summer visitor to the capital, the City of London Festival has something for everyone and always guarantees a good time.
2. Urban Food Fest
While it may not be a “festival” per se, the Urban Food Festival serves up an intense variety of global fare in its dozens of food trucks and stalls at the Euro Car Parks in Shoreditch every Saturday evening from May 24 to June 21. From jerk chicken and pad thai to burritos and wood-fired pizza, there are endless dishes on offer alongside party-sized cocktails, craft beers, live music, and plenty of fun festivities. Entry is free, but obviously the eats and drinks are not.
3. The Mayor’s Thames Festival
Once again, you can join the fun at the Mayor’s Thames Festival this September and enjoy one of London’s biggest free festivals along the banks of the capital’s famed river. As usual, there will be a huge range of events to enjoy and activities to partake in, but in addition to music, art displays, and educational events, this year’s waterside festival will also feature a floating art fair and a 300-boat race on the Thames.
4. African-Caribbean Street Fair
Taking place in August of each year, the African-Caribbean Street fair draws nearly half a million visitors each year. Visitors to the pulsating fair will have their taste buds tantalised with sizzling meats and their ears captivated by the beautiful melodies of the Caribbean. With live reggae bands and bright, ornate costumes, it’s like being transported to Carnival.
5. Greenwich and Docklands International Festival
If you’re looking for fun and free things to do in London this summer, the annual Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is a must. In 2016, the popular street celebration will feature outdoor music, dance, and theatre performances across South London from Greenwich to Canary Wharf. The festival will take place from June 20 to June 29. With over 80,000 people slated to attend and more than 150 free performances, this summer festival is one of London’s best.
6. Lambeth Country Show
For a different experience, the Lambeth Country Show never disappoints. Featuring all of the attractions one would expect to encounter at a country fair, such as sheep dog shows, owl displays, horticultural shows, and so on, but with a unique urban vibe that only South London emits, the festival is a celebration of both the countryside and the city. With nine different zones featuring an array of eats, music, dance, and much more, it’s easy to see why nearly 200,000 people came out to the Lambeth Country Show last year.
7. Notting Hill Carnival 2016
Each August, the streets of Notting Hill in West London come to life on Bank Holiday weekend for the Notting Hill Carnival. As Europe’s largest festival, the Caribbean-themed Notting Hill Carnival attracts hordes of fun-loving festival goers ready to revel in bliss to the sounds of steel drums and taste endless unique culinary delights. With a sea of colourful costumed performers and floats winding their way through West London, the Notting Hill Carnival is London’s biggest party and you’re definitely invited.
8. Coin Street Festival
Each summer the South Bank overflows with fun loving festival goers and the sounds of music at the Coin Street Festival. People flock to witness artists, musicians, and performers across an array of genres from around the world. With interactive music and dance workshops as well as plenty of entertainment to experience, it’s a fun time for the little ones as well.
9. The Scoop at More London Festival
Another great free London festival takes place this summer at More London and The Scoop amphitheatre in the lively South Bank. Here, you can enjoy a wide range of musical events, theatre performances, and film screenings free of charge. Just make sure to bring a blanket, so you can truly enjoy a day of entertainment and relaxation while taking in the stunning views of the Tower Bridge and surrounding environs.
10. iTunes Festival (unconfirmed)
Although it has yet to be confirmed for 2016, last year’s iTunes Festival included 30 nights of free star-studded concerts throughout September. Some of last year’s notable names included Justin Timberlake, Kings of Leon, and many, many more big stars, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a repeat this year. Be on the lookout, because it’s sure to be a blast!