Tête à Tête Opera festival

The Tête à Tête opera festival aims to push the boundaries of the genre with productions such as Mike The Headless Chicken, based on the story of a US chicken who lived for 18 months after his head was chopped off. If you take the plunge and decide you still aren’t an opera fan, at least you’ll be in a pleasant riverside location with a bar. Dress as a princess or frog to get in free.

Aug 2-19. Times vary, £6
Riverside Studios, W6 9RL
Tube | Hammersmith


The Trojan Horse, Armageddon, Orestes

Greek tragedies The Trojan Horse, Agamemnon and Orestes have been turned into three one-hour plays as part of The Scoop’s ‘10 years of free theatre’ celebrations. If you think Greek tragedy is over your head, be heartened that these performances include musical numbers, dancing and lots of bad puns.

July 5-Aug 5. From 6.30pm, free
More London, SE1 2DB
Tube | London Bridge, Tower Hill

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Notting Hill Carnival

Europe’s biggest street festival is a hectic, noisy celebration of Caribbean culture and is something every Londoner should experience. The streets will be transformed as steel-drum bands, befeathered dancers and colourful floats wind their way from Great Western Road to Ladbroke Grove. In addition, there are more than 40 static sound systems and food and drink stands galore.

Aug 26-27. 9am-7pm
Through Notting Hill, Westbourne Grove and Ladbroke Grove



What better way to avoid the Games than by taking up a non-Olympic sport? Rollerskiing is like cross-country skiing, except you don’t need snow, and your skis have wheels. Be warned, though, it’s hard work – be prepared to sweat.

Thurs 6.15pm, Sat 11.30am, £24
Hyde Park, Battersea Park
Tube | Richmond Park


Indian Summer Pop-Up Garden

Escape the dismal weather in this exotic indoor garden in the middle of Soho. Sip cocktails and try Indian snacks amid flowers, floating candles and jewel-toned drapes.

Until Aug 31, free
carom, soho, W1F ODN
 Tottenham Court Road

Rooftop Crazy Golf

If the sun shines, head to Selfridge’s roof for an eccentric British tea party, complete with a cake-based nine-hole golf course designed by Bompas and Parr. Each jelly, icing and fondant-clad hole represents a London landmark.

Until Sept 2. 12pm-7pm, £6
Selfridges, W1A 1AB
Tube | Bond St


Not all fun and games: there’s plenty more to do in London outside the Olympics

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Animal Inside Outnatural History Museum

Satisfyingly gory, but impressively educational, the latest offering from the team behind Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds gives animals the under-the-skin treatment.

One hundred specimens, including giraffes, octopuses, elephants and ostriches, allow you to explore the biology and physiology of some of the world’s most spectacular creatures. Exhibits are real carcasses, their fluids replaced with a hard polymer.

April 6-Sept 16. 10am-5.30pm
Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD
Tube | South Kensington

South West Four Festival

The giant electronic music festival is this year headlined by Chase & Status, Carl Cox, Skrillex and Public Enemy. It’s now a two-dayer and sound systems will be turned off at 10pm instead of 9pm. Recently awarded DJ Magazine’s ‘Best British Festival’ award, SW4 is promising a messy party, come rain or shine.

Aug 25-26. 12pm-10pm, £24
Tube | Clapham Common

Spitalfields International Food Festival

A showcase of the market’s diverse restaurants, bars and cafes. It’s all part of a wider series of events put on by Alternative Arts, also behind Spitalfield’s Alternative Fashion Week and puppet festival.

July 21-Sept 9. Times vary, free
Spitalfields, Brushfield St, E1 6AA
Tube | Liverpool St

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POP! Fashion and Textile Museum

The Pop! Design, Culture And Fashion exhibition examines the impact of music, art and personality on fashion. Take a style journey from the poodle skirts and embellished leathers of the Fifties through to Seventies kitsch and the punk era. Highlights include items from Elton John’s wardrobe and originals from Vivienne Westwood’s and Malcolm McLaren’s Sex store.

July 6-Oct 27. Tues-Sat, 11am-6pm, £7
83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF
Tube | London Bridge


Yoko Ono: To The Light

This is Ono’s first London exhibition for 10 years and will include installations, performances and film. Some pieces require undertaking physical or mental tasks. Trippy, man.

Until Sept 9. 10am-6pm. free
serpentine gallery Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA
Tube | Knightsbridge

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Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style

It’s 50 years since James Bond seduced his first femme fatale and saved the world. This exhibition explores the processes behind his iconic image, including costumes, set and production design, cars, motion graphics, exotic locations, stunts and props.

A highlight will undoubtedly be the gadgets and weapons made for Bond and his assorted opponents by special effects experts.

July 6-Sept 5. 11am–8pm (Thurs until 10pm), £12
Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS 
Tube | Barbican 


Salsa Lessons

Maria, a professional dancer from Brazil, guides even novices through the basics of salsa in the open air. The lesson is followed by free-style dancing. For the unselfconscious only!

Selected Thursdays until Aug 31, free
Spitalfields, E1 6AA
Tube | Liverpool St


Abigail’s Party Wyndham Theatre

Mike Leigh’s play about the pretensions of the British middle class achieved cult status with the 1977 screen version. However, Abigail’s Party is equally enjoyable, in an awkward way, on stage.

Until Sept 1. 7.45pm  Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DA, £39
Tube | Leicester Square


Snorkel With Sharks

Neither sand tiger, black-tip reef nor Browns sharks have any interest in the Olympics, so you will be spared such conversation when you encounter these creatures at London’s aquarium.

Ongoing. 6.30pm-8.30pm, £125
County Hall, SE1 7PB
Tube | Westminster, Waterloo


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London Mela Festival

This celebration of Asia marks its 10th year as a London festival with a carnival, mechanical menagerie, a concert by the Philharmonia Orchestra and a fireworks finale.

Also expect DJs, street art, dance, comedy, food and a massive funfair, all spread across nine zones. Mela is very family-friendly, so don’t plan too much debauchery, though.

Sun, Aug 19. 1pm-9pm, free
Gunnersbury Park, W3 ELQ
Tube | Acton Town


Superhuman Wellcome Collection

This exhibition looks at how we take for granted human enhancements, such as glasses, lipstick, false teeth and the contraceptive pill.

It explores how, in the future, cognitive enhancers and medical nanorobots may be commonly used to increase our beauty, intelligence and health.

Items on display include an ancient Egyptian prosthetic toe and there are contributions from those working at the cutting edge of this often-feared area of modern science.

July 19-Oct 16. Mon to Sat. free
10am-6pm; Sun 12pm-6pm
183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE
Tube | Euston



‘Lovingly ripped off’ from Monty Python And The Holy Grail, Spamalot is a new version of the musical that tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

July 25-Sept 9. Tues-Sat 7.30pm; Wed and Sat 2.30pm; Sun 5pm, £15
harold pinter theatre Panton Street, SW1Y 4DN
Tube | Piccadilly Circus


Not all fun and games: there’s plenty more to do in London outside the Olympics

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