7 awesome festivals happening this month

September is buzzing with some fantastic festivals, virtual and physical…


Wimbledon BookFest

Wimbledon BookFest will be holding its ‘Last Days of Summer’ Live Festival Weekend on Wimbledon Common, 11-13 September. The literary festival will take place in an open marquee hosting a range of speakers and bestselling authors for adults and children. Matthew Syed has been confirmed as a keynote speaker, with the full programme to be announced soon. Events will also be digitally streamed. Read our interview with Andy Hamilton, who’ll be talking about his new novel at the festival.


Kingston Heritage Festival

Celebrating the borough’s history, there will be open-air talks around the town, walking and cycling trails, virtual film tours of places such as Dorich House and the new Kingston University building, as well as a podcast on the history of Seething Wells. Kingston Museum and Kingston University have created heritage trails too, from a 30 minute jaunt to a 2 hour walk, with video clips to bring history to life. Kingston Tour Guides will also offer socially-distanced talks where you can learn more about the areas fascinating past. 11-20 September


Chelsea History Festival

The Chelsea History Festival (pictured top) is returning for a second year, from 17-27 September, both online and with in-person events. The National Army Museum, and the Royal Hospital Chelsea will be taking part, with the Chelsea Physic Garden which will opening for free on 26 and 27 September. Events will cover everything from military to art history and social to natural history. Highlights include a spotlight on the role of Bletchley Park, spies, and events for families with Horrible Histories.


Thames Festival

Totally Thames 2020 will feature a mix of virtual and in-person events over the month, celebrating everything to do with our river. There’s paddlesports, boat trips, London’s biggest angling competition at Chiswick and Barnes foreshores as well as talks by London Mudlark and best selling author Lara Maiklem hosted by The Battersea Society and Nine Elms. 1-20 September


London Open House

This hugely popular cultural event across the capital sees hundreds of quirky and fascinating spaces open for public perusal. This year’s festival will have some 800 buildings, walks and tours on offer. Take a virtual tour of Wandsworth, Merton and Richmond with a Blue Badge Guide and go on a guided walk around Clapham Old Town. Festival fortnight begins Wednesday 14 September Main event: 19 and 20 September


Heritage Open Days

With a mix of in-person and online events, you can explore your local history in greater depth. Check the website for the latest updates, but this year’s theme is Hidden Nature, where you can discover the nature on our doorsteps, with areas of the countryside that aren’t normally accessible to the public opened up. There’s also a streamed tour of the fascinating 575 Wandsworth Road, a work of art in itself featuring fretwork and paintings on nearly every surface. 11-20 September


London Design Festival

Celebrating design right across the capital, this diverse festival will this year include in-person and virtual events. Highlights include Design Centre Chelsea Harbour’s new collection, Kingston University’s School of Art graduate show online and a community project in Walthamstow inspired by William Morris. 12-20 September