Special things happen in summer, especially in London. Make sure you don’t miss out on all these big events and openings.
Buckingham Palace State Rooms
This is your chance to nosey around Queen Betty’s house. While it’s unlikely you’ll run into Prince William having tea with his grandma, you will be able to openly ogle the opulence of the State Rooms – the heart of the working palace.
They’re open for just eight weeks a year during summer and are lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto.
This year’s special exhibition is The Queen’s Year, which highlights some significant events on HRH’s calendar, such as the State Opening of Parliament and Trooping the Colour.
An hour-and-a-half tour takes in 19 state rooms, the exhibition and the Palace Garden – home to 30 bird species and more than 350 wild flowers, some extremely rare.
» Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA St James’s Park
020 7766 7300
Jul 27-Sep 29
Taste of London
A food lover’s wet dream, the four-day festival brings together 40 of London’s best restaurants, countless food obsessives and 150 food and drink producers.
The setting for this epicurean delight is lovely Regent’s Park, so you can (hopefully) get a dash of sunshine with your gluttony. There will also be cooking demonstrations, tastings and the opportunity to upgrade yourself to a VIP, darling.
» Regent’s Park, The Storeyard, Inner Circle, NW1 4NR (Tube: Regent’s Park)
Royal Academy of Arts exhibition
The big kahuna of the summer art calendar is the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, now in its 242nd year of showcasing work by both emerging and established artists in all media, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.
This year the theme of the exhibition is ‘Raw’, and the majority of works will be on sale.
» Burlington House, W1J 0BD (Tube: Green Park)
Jun 14- Aug 22
City of London festival
Get some “kulcha” into your life this summer at the celebrated annual City of London Festival. The three-week programme brings the City’s unique buildings and outdoor spaces to life with an extensive artistic programme of music, visual arts, film, walks and talks (much of it free).
“It’s a really great opportunity to see amazing international art performed in London,” says festival producer Lindsey Dear. And all the action takes place within the Square Mile.
While a lot of the festival involves music, there are plenty of other activities, including a project in which 21 pianos are placed around the City for anyone to play. To mark the International Year of Biodiversity, the festival will also set up beehives throughout the City.
» See cofl.org for events, locations
Jun 21-Aug 9
Parliament summer tour
If the expenses scandal has made you think you could do a better job than the MPs, don’t miss this opportunity to scope out a new office.
The Parliament Summer Tours get you inside the Palace of Westminster during its summer recess, and provide the only opportunity for non-UK residents to see inside the Palace of Westminster (residents normally have to apply for entry through their local MP).
The tours run for about 75 minutes and follow the route taken by the Queen when she performs the State Opening of Parliament. It also includes the Lords and Commons Chambers, Westminster Hall, the Queen’s Robing Room, the Royal Gallery, Peers’ Lobby, Central Lobby, Members’ Lobby and St Stephen’s Hall.
» Palace of Westminster, SW1A 0AA (Tube: Westminster)
July 3-Aug 27. From £14
Tickets must be pre-purchased
Summer Of Science festival
Channel your inner geek at See Further: The Festival of Science and Arts, which celebrates the 350th anniversary of the world renowned Royal Society. This 10-day festival at Southbank Centre will explore the relationship between science and art.
Nerdy but cool band They Might Be Giants perform as part of the festival at Royal Festival Hall, but there’s also the chance to get involved in loads of other events inspired by science.
» Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd,
SE1 8XX (Tube: Waterloo)
Jun 25-Jul 4