2021 London Festivals Guide

2021 London Festivals Guide

Get your fill of top festivals on your doorstep this summer

After the nationwide cancellation of 2020’s festival season, all eyes (and hopes) are on this summer’s array of events. Whether you’re in the mood for an immersive sweet-toothed experience, top names at a book festival, or a riverside knees-up soundtracked by international artists, the 2021 London Festivals Guide has your post-pandemic tastes catered for…

Wandsworth Arts Fringe 

A local celebration of art in all its forms, Wandsworth Arts Fringe is set to feature music, dance, comedy, circus and visual art performances. Highlights include award-winning music academyWorld Heart Beat (pictured top), with its LatinAmerican CongregoFestival on Thursday 1 July.

25 June to 11 July;

Wimbledon BookFest 

London’s leading literary festival returns this summer with not one, but two weekends – the first, Sunrise Festival kicks off on June 9, followed by the Sunset Festival in September, with readings, author discussions and more under the marquees. 

9 to 13 June;

Taste of London Festival 

Gather your fellow foodies and tuck into five full days of al fresco feasting in Regent’s Park this summer when Taste of London returns. Cook along with your favourite chefs, sample new world wines or simply work your way from stall to stall, fork in hand. 

7 – 11 July and 14 to 18 July;

Hampton Court Artisan Festival
Hampton Court Palace, image: Hayley Bray

Hampton Court Palace Artisan Festival 

Gather loved ones for a leisurely roam of the Palace’s East Gardens. Peruse hand-crafted gifts and goods from independent makers. There will be street food to fuel the shopping, plus interviews and talks from specialists in the Ask the Expert Tent. 

18 – 20 June;

Barnes Music Festival

This popular festival will this year celebrate the work of Holst with his mystical opera Savitri . It will also feature Shakespeare-inspired events and festival patron Gyles Brandreth will share his anecdotes.

17 – 30 May;

International Youth Arts Festival

Heading to Kingston, all manner of artists and creative talent will be putting on events and exhibitions all over the town.

2 – 11 July

Happy Days Festival

With The Jackson and Stereo MCs on the line-up, this fun festival in the beautiful grounds of Ember Court, promises to be a summer smash, featuring a mix of motown, disco, soul and dance.

27 – 29 August,

Sandown Fun 

From Ladies’ Day on Friday 2 July at Sandown’s Coral Summer Festival to live music nights, there’s fun to be had at the Esher racecourse. There’s Craig David on 5 Aug.

The Dessert Festival 

Aimed at the sweetest-toothed among us, the London Dessert Festival brings a multi-sensory approach to those after-dinner treats. Dribble over influencer and chef demonstrations, snap your sugary snacks with instagrammable backdrops (a pool filled with marshmallows, anyone?) and leave inspired and ready to recreate the marvels you’ve witnessed at home. 

13 – 15 August;

Yam Carnival 

New to Clapham Common this August Bank Holiday, Yam Carnival is set to celebrate international Black culture, with headliners including Davido, Kehlani and Ms Banks performing over three stages. 

28 August;

Pub in the Park

Sip on cold beers while watching top chefs and bands – Pub in the Park is back for the summer, touring UK venues including Chiswick House (3-5 Sept). The line-up includes Kaiser Chiefs and The Feeling.

Southport Weekender

Describing itself as ‘the world’s friendliest party, the festival heads to Morden Park on Sept 4, with a line-up including Arrested Development.