What's on in London this month

By Melissa Lawford 

Editorial assistant, British Airways’ High Life magazine.

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September 2018

A musical jacket, some Karl Lagerfeld originals and a dinosaur concert – we round up the best the capital has to offer in September.

Only have a few hours?

Things to do

Opening this month: Fortnum and Mason’s is collaborating once more with art collector Frank Cohen to present an exhibition of previously unseen works by British painter John Virtue at the luxury store’s Piccadilly flagship from 10 September to 20 October. If you’re stopping for a spot of afternoon tea, don’t miss the spectacular silhouettes of St Paul’s and The Gherkin in the landscapes.

Many of the 20th century fashion illustrations in the Drawing on Style exhibition at Mayfair’s Gallery 8 will be on public view for the first time too. Look for original work by the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Vogue illustrator René Bouché before catching a masterclass with Dior’s fashion illustrator Bil Donovan. From 13-21 September.

Head to the London Fashion Week Festival at The Store Studios for catwalk shows, trend talks and a shopping gallery filled with 150 British and international labels, from 20-23 September. Make sure to visit the Discovery LAB, a section that explores the intersection of fashion, tech, art and performance.


Last chance to visit: The BP Portrait Award exhibition will run at the National Portrait Gallery until 23 September. Look out for “David” – a stunning portrait of a man who artist Robert Siedel met on a San Francisco pier and winner of the awards’ travel prize.

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Sate your craving for cocktails at Nine Lives bar, tucked away in a Victorian basement where minimalist, Tiki furnishings and a spectacular spread of cocktails make it one of London Bridge’s few great bars

Where to eat

Take a culinary tour of Shoreditch with Alternative London – three hours, six stops, and the best of Burmese, Indian, Taiwanese, Jewish and French cuisine from the streets of Brick Lane, Spitalfields and the East End, interspersed with local street art and stories of the area’s history.

Celebrate the last of the summer with chickpea crêpes and miniature veal burgers on focaccia at L’Azur,  a yacht-themed takeover at the Four Seasons Park Lane.

Head to the world’s largest celebration of sake outside Japan for a tipple – The Joy of Sake tasting programme is coming to Europe for the first time on 28 September, held at the Barbican Centre. Sample more than 400 sakes from 192 Japanese breweries, plus small plates from the likes of SushiSamba and Sake no Hana by Hakkasan.

  • Sup on your choice of tea from nearly 1,000 varieties from 36 countries at Mariage Frères

    Time for tea

    From iced and scented teas to acres of paraphernalia, this sublime tea shop is a treasure trove if you’re after the perfect souvenir. £65 return

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  • Stay in style at The Kensington
  • Visit the London Design Festival’s interactive installations at Trafalgar Square, Fortnum and Mason and on Regent Street


    Explore MultiPly - a modular maze-like pavilion made by Waugh Thistleton Architects in the V&A’s Sackler Courtyard.

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Making a day of it?

Things to do

Head to this year’s London Design Festival, which runs from 15-23 September. Kellenberger-White will be transforming a bespoke typeface into multi-coloured street furniture in Broadgate, while innovator Beatie Wolfe’s The Art of Music in the Digital Age exhibition at the V&A will feature a musical jacket designed by Mr Fish, the tailor who dressed David Bowie.

Head to the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival, which runs from 10 September to 6 November, to see writer Nikesh Shukla in conversation with comedian Nish Kumar about Asian identity, plus Mishal Husain, Insta-poet Nikita Gill and Denmark’s first female imam.

The team behind the ping-pong extravaganza that is Bounce in Shoreditch has opened a high-tech crazy golf course in Westfield shopping centre. Alas, there’s no cheating at Puttshack – your golf ball is smarter than you are thanks to in-built tracking technology. Winner buys the next round of Jazz Do It cocktails, made with vodka, Aperol, almond milk syrup and soda.

It’s been 25 years since they first graced the silver screen roaming Isla Nublar but now, the dinosaurs are back – and the original remains the best in the series. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park will be projected in HD at the Royal Albert Hall while the Czech National Symphony Orchestra performs John Williams’ score live. From 29 to 30 September.

Where to eat

Grab a cuppa at Covent Garden’s Mariage Frères – France’s oldest tea house – which has opened the first British tea emporium in Covent Garden featuring the world’s longest ‘tea wall’, a restaurant for cuisine au thé (try Thai-style seared beef tartar with coriander and Lune Rouge Tea) and a tea museum.

French-born chef Laurent Tourondel has opened his first venue in Europe – Laurent at Café Royal. Expect prime grilled meat cuts and Japanese cuisine with a twist – the delectable yellowtail jalapeño-ginger sushi features zingy yuzu guacamole.

Dine at Helix the new restaurant by Searcys on The Gherkin’s 39th floor, which celebrates quality British produce. Go for the English asparagus with Dorset crab, grapefruit, soy and sesame followed by Goosenargh duck with chicory, gooseberries and honeyed-walnuts.

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On a stopover?

Things to do

Some 35 countries will be taking over Somerset House from 4-23 September responding to the London Design Biennale’s theme, “emotional states”. Meet Norwegian robots, get lost in Argentina’s jungle-like installation made using chaguar, a textile technique of the native Wichi community, and don’t miss Hong Kong’s pavilion of scent.

Hay’s philosophy and music festival, HowTheLightGetsIn, is coming to Hampstead Heath’s Kenwood House for the first time. Be inspired by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gerard ‘t Hooft, philosopher Rebecca Goldstein, post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha and Andre Aciman (author of Call Me By Your Name), before joining a debate about democracy, post-truth, and whether reality is an illusion.

Head to Charlton House to spot what is thought to be the oldest mulberry tree in Britain, planted by King James I who built the Jacobean mansion for his son’s tutor. Wander the walled gardens, before retiring to the grand wood-panelled tea room for a well-deserved refreshment.

Celebrating the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary, the Festival of Ideas will include speakers ranging from artistic director of English National Ballet Tamara Rojo, Man Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson and the designer Es Devlin. From 7-16 September.

  • Time to get FROW at the London Fashion Week Festival.

    Project runway

    The festival’s Shopping Galleries is one of London’s biggest fashion pop-ups, featuring over 150 brands.£133 pp

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Where to eat

For a beach-inspired lunch overlooking East London’s rooftops, Chiringuito in Bethnal Green offers fresh and moreish sharing plates of swordfish tacos and roast pork belly doused in pisco and beer sauce, cooked up by Peruvian head chef Marco Padilla. Order a refreshing El Dorado mojito at dusk for a sundowner to remember.

Head to Murger HanHan for hand-pulled eight-foot-long noodles and a glass of Tsingtao No 9 beer (named because it should be served at nine degrees Celsius) – the only restaurant in Europe to serve traditional drinks from Xian in China.

Don’t miss the seasonal small plates and spectacularly fresh pasta at rustic Italian bistro, Osteria at the Barbican. Start with the pickled mackerel with Sicilian plums before moving onto the sensational wild boar ragu with pappardelle. If you’re theatre bound, the restaurant will keep your table and have your buttermilk panna cotta ready for the interval.

Where to stay

Shoppers overwhelmed by London vast fashion landscape, don’t fret. The Kensington hotel has partnered with CityUnscripted, matching guests with local hosts to guide them on tours of West London’s designer stores.

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