London is a paradise for vintage lovers. The Vintage Festival this weekendhas you covered, whether you're obsessed with the 40s or the 60s. Then read on for the best of London's vinatge scene, from clubs, parties and tearooms to clothes shops and hair salons.

The Vintage Festival, London

Not so long ago, "secondhand" was a dirty word.

It provoked images of musty-smelling shops selling moth-balled clothes with dirty tissues left the pockets.

Today, however, you can't turn a street in London without finding a boutique selling vintage goods. It's no longer the preserve of the too-cool-for-school kids; from music and fashion to art and food, the recycled look is spilling over into our everyday lives.

This week’s Vintage Festival is a celebration of that. The brainchild of Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway, the event scooped the ‘UK’s New Festival’ accolade last year.

The masterminds behind the Red or Dead label have been in the business for 30 years – starting out selling vintage clothes in Camden Market.

Wayne Hemingway says: “Back in 1980, there was hardly anybody doing it. It's been a gradual growth of acceptance. At first, if you wore secondhand clothes, you were classed as being a bit poor or dirty.

“It’s gradually grown. Now, it's not just a few cool people – there's an increasing amount of especially young people who understand conspicuous consumption is crass. You can't keep reinventing the wheel. There is a finite amount of stuff you can do without looking like you've stepped out of Dr Who, which is not good – or you end up like Lady Gaga and making your dress out of meat.”

The three-day event is part of Festival of Britain’s 60th anniversary and boasts a glittering 13-hour-a-day line-up of entertainment. It takes in fashion, music, art and film from the Twenties to the Eighties – and offers the perfect excuse to dress up.

Visitors can learn how to dance the Foxtrot; get made up like a Sixties dolly-bird; gawp at the exclusive catwalk shows; or snap-up bargains at the vintage market.

Then, after munching on food from the past, choose from 150 DJs to boogie along ?to – or opt to dig out those white gloves for the Eighties-style rave.

There's also a busking competition or you can try your hand at umbrella jousting and sandwich tossing at The Chap Olympiad.

The line-up for retro music lovers is impressive and includes Soul Revue with Gwen Dickie of Rose Royce; Electronic Phuture with Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode; and Hit Parade with the likes of Sandie Shaw.

As Hemingway explains, just like fashion, there’s no crime in recycling the sounds of the past either.

“If it's a beat that made you dance in 1977 in a club, there's no reason it won’t move an 18-year-old today," he says. "Because it's still that thing about a beat getting to your brain, making your legs want to move.
"Vintage is just about great ideas that can be great again and deserve never to be forgotten and that new generations can enjoy."

Amid all the quintessentially English frivolity, Hemingway does admit to an ulterior motive for the festival – his "massive" green mission.

"I was brought up in a thrifty household with a religious zeal about using everything. It's more fun being thrifty. It's more intelligent. Overconsumption is what daft, stupid people do." No pressure then.

Vintage Festival, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX
Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX.
July 29-31. From £30 
Tube: Embankment

Best of London's vintage scene

Secret tea room?, Soho

Dine out in style on quintessentially English afternoon teas in ?a haven harking back to ?a bygone era. Choose ?from delicious sweet treats and savory sandwiches, while being served by staff dressed in vintage clothing. A traditional cream tea (£8.95) gets you a pot of tea, two warm scones, Devonshire clotted cream and jam.

Upstairs at the Coach & Horses, 29 Greek St, W1D 5DH
Tube: Tottenham Court Rd

Vivien of holloway, ?Islington

Make like a wartime siren or a rockabilly floozie with the dresses at Vivien of Holloway. There's an outfit for every vintage occasion in your diary at this North London gem, found in the unlikely setting of Holloway Road.

Our pick of the bunch is the range of 1950s halterneck circle dresses that come in all different shades, from £45. The store is serious about vintage – they're bringing back petticoats to keep your circle dress extra poofy, one layer of chiffon at a time.

294 Holloway Road, N7 6NJ
Tube: Holloway Rd.

The Secret Garden Market?, Shoreditch

Escape down Ezra Street – one of Columbia Road's little side streets – when the flower market is in full swing on a Sunday. You'll find a tiny walled garden filled with twee vintage delights including fabrics, prints, jewellery, homeware and handmade trinkets.

For any retro finds that aren't quite your size, market owner and seamstress Charlotte Denn offers clothing alterations, too.

Sundays from 10am-3pm
1 The Garden Market, Ezra Street, E2 7RH
Tube: Hoxton

Mint Vintage, Seven dials

Selling fur hats, cosy printed jumpers, nostalgic sunglasses and embellished 1980s-style tops and dresses, Mint Vintage has pretty much everything lovers ?of fashion's yesteryear ?could dream of.

20 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LM
Tube: Leicester Square/Covent Garden

Jive, Hammersmith

Screw those shapes you've been throwing to modern hip-hop, give your dance moves a retro overhaul with a 10-week jive course.

Monday evenings; £92
Paddenswick Road, W6 0UB;
Tube: Ravenscourt Park

The Vintage Emporium, Brick Lane

For quaint elegance, head to The Vintage Emporium. Have tea and cake in the Victorian-style tearooms before heading downstairs to buy some delightfully twee antiques and quality vintage clothing.

14 Bacon Street, Brick Ln, E1 6LF
Tube: Shoreditch High Street

Kettners, Soho

A 100 per cent vintage dining experience, Kettner's was first opened in 1867 by Auguste Kettner, chef to Napoleon III, and retains its classic decor.

29 Romilly Street, W1D 5HP
Tube: Leicester Square

Vintage Furniture flea?. Bethnal Green

Intent on bringing  the public affordable vintage furniture, former stylist and Selfridges personal shopper Judy Berger has created the Vintage Furniture Flea.

Her philosophy is simple: why pay hefty prices for mass-produced faux vintage copies when you can have the real thing.

The Flea focuses on pieces from the 1950s to 1970s, so expect bold prints and fabrics, retro ceramics and glassware from all over Europe. But prepare to use those elbows – bargains get snapped ?up pretty quickly.

September 11
York Hall, Bethnal Green E2 9PJ
Tube: Bethnal Green

The Black Cotton Club, ?The City

Debauchery is the order of the evening at this night of hot house swing, gypsy jazz, race rhythms, viper vibes, bebop rumba, Charleston jump and Cuban cha-cha. Tickets are £10 before 11pm.

Third Saturday of the month
7-9 Norwich Street, EC4A 1EJ
Tube: Chancery Lane

Blitz Party, Shoreditch

It's time to support Blighty. Ladies, don your furs and drape those pearls; gentlemen, dust off your tweed and polish those medals – dress like you've come straight out of the Second World War and ?head to the East End air ?raid shelter for a party in ?a bunker.

The dress code ?is strictly glamorous and guests must make an effort – denim and trainers are strictly banned. With entertainment by live bands, Forties cabaret acts, DJs and swing dancers, this is pure wartime revelry. Book in advance and don't forget ?to take your Union Jack.

3 September, 8pm
54 Holywell Lane, EC2A 3PQ
Tube: Old Street; £20

Vintage Show Room, Sevel Dials

Previously an ironmongers for 174 years, this quaint shop emanates history and legacy. It is now, aptly, a vintage store selling and renting all the retro clothing a man could want. You'll find dapper brogues, well-loved jeans, aviator jackets and some priceless hats – from flatcaps and straw boaters to trappers and motorcycling helmets.

Vintage Show Room was also named as one of Vogue's 20 favourite stores in 20 cities – we'll shop to that.

14 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LN
Tube: Covent Garden

Retromania?, Pimlico

Attracting fashionistas, stylists and vintage dealers, Retromania is a charity shop specialising in the old school so it's the prime place to find a bargain.

13a Warwick Way, SW1V 4QT
Tube: Victoria/Pimlico

The Damned?, South Bank

As part of the BFI's vintage weekend, catch Joseph Losey's Sixties movie in which a psychotic teddy boy gang leader ?falls into a plot involving radioactive children. ?Starring Oliver Reed.

31 July, 4pm
BFI Southbank, SE1 8XT
Tube: Waterloo; £9.50

Nina's retro hair, ?Marylebone

Get the signature hairstyle of the Twenties – fingerwaving, £55 – at the UK's very first vintage hair and beauty specialist. The salon also runs classes to teach you how to style your own retro hair and make-up choices.

Alfie's Antiques Market, 1st Floor, 13 Church Street, NW8 8DT
Tube: Marylebone;

Palm Court?, Regent St.

Palm Court at The Langham is the ?ideal place to wile away ?a Sunday afternoon over ?a traditional tea of cakes, sandwiches and scones.

1c Portland Place, W1B 1JA
Tube: Oxford Circus; £28

Glamour of ?the Gods, Covent Garden

Check out this Hollywood portraiture from the industry's Golden Age, which lasted from 1920 to 1960 and was personified ?by the likes of international movie icons Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.

Many of the collection of more than 70 photographs – now on display at the National Portrait Gallery – are in the public eye for the first time.

Until 23 October
Saint Martin's Place, WC2H 0HE
Tube: Charing Cross; £6

The Diner, ?Across London

Refuel with some hearty all-American diner grub in what looks and feels exactly like an all-American diner, with booth-style seating and red leather seats. Menu highlights are macaroni cheese, blueberry pancakes and the Californian burger with Monterey Jack cheese and guacamole.

Locations across London
Tube: Various