London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with a history stretching back to Roman times. At its center stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex and the entire city.
But what makes London and the UK special are the music festivals. To truly experience the complete London, then you must build your trip around a music festival. Our first annual London Music Festival Travel Guide will help you with a hotel, restaurant, and attraction recommendations.
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Head to west London’s leafy Gunnersbury Park for a two-day celebration of dance, hip-hop, and pop music. Lovebox festival was founded by British electronic music duo Groove Armada in 2002 and has since seen music stars such as Duran Duran, Goldfrapp, Ed Sheeran and Snoop Dogg walking its many open-air and tented stages.
Join revelers at Wireless Festival in north London’s Finsbury Park for three days of big music hits from a unique mix of hot newcomers and urban music legends. Past editions have seen celebrity headliners such as Depeche Mode, Jay Z, The Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake and Rihanna.
Sounds Like London
Celebrate the city’s incredible grassroots music scene as Sounds Like London takes over the capital in June. Get set for a month packed with a line-up of unique events highlighting emerging artists, cool music venues, women in the music industry and London’s fascinating musical heritage.
Previously held in Victoria Park, London’s Citadel Festival is now entertaining crowds in Gunnersbury Park, where you can expect to see indie stars following in the footsteps of Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Howard, and Sigur Rós. This unique one-day festival also hosts talks by an eclectic array of speakers during the day, as well as soothing yoga sessions.
FestPop’s Pick: Best Hotel
Hilton London Metropole
Discover a revolutionized arrival experience in Europe’s largest conference and events hotel. Following a multi-million pound renovation that expanded the lobby space immensely and modernized the hotel’s entrance, Hilton London Metropole opens its doors to welcome you, your family, and your clients into a functional and stylish new space.
This hotel in London offers bright and spacious guest rooms, all with Wi-Fi (charges apply) and modern comforting amenities. Choose a suite or executive room for complimentary access to the executive lounge, with continental breakfast and refreshments. Superior family rooms, the largest double-double rooms in London, offer adjoining rooms and a separate sitting area.
Dine on international cuisine at Fiamma Restaurant. Savor Asian Fusion favorites and breathtaking views of London at Minako at the Met on the 23rd floor or enjoy exciting broadcasted sporting events in the Sports Bar. Send emails from the Wi-Fi-enabled EDG Bar & Lounge or enjoy a fine Ronnefeldt Tea and gourmet chocolate truffle in our EDG Chocolate Corner shop. Work out in the LivingWell Health Club gym fully equipped for basic workout needs. Take a swim in the 12.5 meters heated indoor pool. Unwind in the sauna or steam room and treat yourself at Contrasti, the beauty salon.
Head to Southbank Centre and enjoy a 10-day celebration of arts and music overlooking the Thames. Meltdown Festival is curated every year by top music artists. Past festival curators have included M.I.A, Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, David Bowie, and David Byrne. Getting up out of your seat for a boogie is definitely encouraged.
Join London’s cool kids for the popular Field Day music festival in Brockwell Park. Listen to a mix of independent and mainstream artists as they perform across various stages, including the spectacular The Barn stage. Village Mentality’s twist on a traditional village fete also features fun entertainment and games such as a tug-of-war, three-legged races, and an eating contest.
South West Four
Catch the best of the world’s electronic music scene at South West Four on Clapham Common. For one summer weekend, some of the world’s top DJs perform across five stages. Past festivals have boasted big names such as Alesso, Deadmau5 and Fatboy Slim.
FestPop’s Pick” Best Lunch or Dinner By the London Bridge
The Coal Shed Restaurant London is located at One Tower Bridge on the banks of the River Thames born from Executive Chef Dave Mothersill’s love of cooking the finest meat and seafood over a fire. Coal Shed is not just for meat-lovers with big appetites. Surprisingly, a pleasant smell of seafood that wafts from the kitchen when you first walk in. Chef Dave now splits his time between The Coal Shed in Brighton and his fish restaurant The Salt Rooms. Open seven days a week, the restaurant uses the highest quality ingredients, sourced as locally as possible. Try the 35-day aged sharing steaks or the South Coast sharing fish for a dining experience to remember. The result is melt-in-your-mouth meat and fish, that really pushes the flavor of the star ingredient.
All Points East
Grab tickets for one of the biggest newcomers to London’s music festival calendar: All Points East. Held in Victoria Park, this 10-day event begins with a three-day music festival featuring megastars and emerging artists. Then, enjoy a midweek programme of comedy, food and outdoor cinema showings, before the next wave of headliners performs on the final three nights.
KISSTORY on the Common
Join thousands on Streatham Common this summer for London’s biggest old-school hits and top anthems multi-stage festival, KISSTORY on the Common. Featuring DJs from KISS FM and special guests this one-day event is guaranteed to satisfy your need for live R&B, hip-hop, dance, house, and drum N bass music.
Open-Air Music Festivals
Catch one of these music festivals in fantastic London locations, from parks to royal palaces.
Kew the Music
Enter the haven of Kew Gardens as Kew the Music festival brings international indie, pop, and even flamenco music artists to the open-air stage over five summer evenings. Bring your own picnic and blanket and soak up the atmosphere.
Greenwich Music Time
Enjoy international musical legends playing against the backdrop of the magnificent Old Royal Naval College, overlooking the river Thames, at the Greenwich Music Time festival. Past performers at this family-friendly event have included Seal, David Gray, and Little Mix.
Summer Series at Somerset House
The splendid Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House plays host every year to an exciting line-up of emerging and established musical artists right in the center of the city during Summer Series. Past years have seen Amy Winehouse, Adele, Sam Smith and Everything Everything step on the iconic festival’s stage.
FestPop’s Pick” Best Dinner for Couples
Omar’s Place, an intimate restaurant and bar serving Mediterranean cuisine and exotic cocktails. occupying the ground floor and basement of a grade II-listed Victorian corner block in London’s Pimlico neighborhood. Through a collaboration between design studio, Sella Concept and architects Wilson Holloway, the interior of the 40-seater restaurant has been transformed with terracotta, emerald green, and sky blues alongside marble table tops and brass-rimmed mirrors. The overall look is clean, chic and welcoming – completely in line with the menu: a selection of tapas and dishes from the grill, inspired by the coastal towns of the Med.
We had the pleasure to have our dinner curated by the proprietor Egyptian-born Omar (his family has been running some of Egypt’s most famous bars for over 60 years). Mallorca-born menu-designer Vincente Fortea (previously of three Michelin-starred Arzak in San Sebastian) and Head Chef Rosanna Vitorria.
Admittedly, all the dishes ordered were both presented and cooked well, but a handful was truly flawless. I’d recommend a visit to Omar’s Place just on the basis of the octopus dish. And – of course, ask Omar about his specialty drink he calls the “Omar”. It was delicious…
13 Cambridge St, Pimlico, London SW1V 4PR
TUESDAY – SATURDAY
12.00PM – 11.00PM
LUNCH 12.00PM – 2.30PM
DINNER 6.00PM – 10.15PM
SUNDAY – MONDAY CLOSED
The Butterfly Effect Festival
Head to Croydon’s Lloyd Park for two days of house and urban music at the very first The Butterfly Effect Festival. Artists performing at the 2018 event include Cooly G, DJ Luck, Shola Ama, and Kele Le Roc, plus a host of up-and-coming music talent. You can easily get to Croydon in south London by tram, train or bus.
Lambeth Country Show
Get a taste of rural fun as the Lambeth Country Show returns to Brockwell Park. Catch sheepdog and owl displays, homegrown flower and vegetable competitions, cool craft stalls and tuck into some delicious organic food, while the best live afrobeat, ska, reggae and folk music performers keep you entertained.
Global 12 Festival
Find fresh sounds from global artists during the Global 12 Festival at Cargo London. Housed on the nightclub’s open-air dance floor, this one-day festival showcases emerging artists from the worlds of house, hip-hop, R&B, and Afrobeats. In between sets, refuel with summer cocktails and BBQ bites.
Experience Kaleidoscope, a new music, and arts festival, featuring top bands and musicians, comedy, spoken word, theatre and more. Enjoy a unique festival setting in both the beautiful surrounds of Alexandra Park and the more-than-100-year-old Alexandra Palace.
FestPop’s Pick” Best Tapas
5 – 6 Down StreetMayfair London W1J 7AQ
Mon – Fri: 12.00pm – 11.30pm
Saturday: 6.00pm – 11.30pm
Sunday & Bank Holidays: Closed
For nearly a quarter of a century, El Pirata has been serving tapas to customers including local office workers, South American oilmen, Japanese diplomats, Mayfair hedge fund managers – and the occasional celebrity, like Queen guitarist Brian May and that most famous of modern pirates, film star Johnny Depp.
Spanish tapas restaurant El Pirata is helping guests escape the summer blues with their new offering of bottomless paella. Adding their own Mediterranean twist to the bottomless brunch trend sweeping the nation, El Pirata’s latest deal is available exclusively on Mondays throughout October. The restaurant may be a train trip into London away, however, if you love paella it is certainly worth the journey. Hungry customers will be able to order as many rounds as they can handle the traditional Paella Valenciana – Span’s iconic dish – made up of rice, shellfish, and chicken.
The secret to El Pirata’s long success is simple: a vast choice of good Spanish food and wine served quickly by friendly waiters in an informal restaurant that feels more Madrid than Mayfair.
Hampton Court Palace Festival
Soak up the historic atmosphere during a summer night of music at Hampton Court Palace Festival. Music stars such as Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, and Van Morrison have all performed in the royal palace’s stunning courtyards. Enjoy a picnic in the East Front Gardens and grab a glass of champagne before the show.
Free Music Festivals
Catching great music in London doesn’t have to cost a thing. Take a look at some of the free music festivals happening around the city.
Walthamstow Garden Party
Celebrate Waltham Forest’s creative community with Walthamstow Garden Party, a free festival of music, theatre, crafts and family activities run by the Barbican and Create London. Gigs, film screenings, and performances showcase the area’s local talent over two fun-filled days.
Crystal Palace Festival
Enjoy great food, music, and arts as the Crystal Palace Festival returns to Crystal Palace Park with an array of exciting free entertainment. This family-friendly feast showcases south London’s local artists and musicians, as well as arts and crafts from all over the world.
StrEATlife at Alexandra Palace
Expect open-air DJ sets, jazz performances, brass bands and more live music performances as StrEATlife returns to Alexandra Palace. Foodie treats, craft beer, cocktails, and live street art demonstrations give you plenty of reasons to stay all day at this free festival in London.
FestPop’s Pick” Best Brunch in London
Florentine Restaurant & Bar
6 Hercules Road, London SE1 7DU
Monday – Friday 11:30am – 10:30pm
Saturday 8.30am – 10:30pm
Sunday 8.30am – 10pm
+44 (0)203 146 5800
Florentine is an all-day dining restaurant and bar in Waterloo. Serving a fresh and innovative brasserie-style menu, and with a bar featuring the best of British bubbles, Florentine is a relaxed setting to stop and refresh.
Florentine is an all-day dining restaurant and bar minutes from London South Bank’s trendy Lower Marsh and Waterloo, opposite Lambeth North tube station. Florentine serves a Brasserie-style menu and a bar featuring the best of British bubbles and craft beers as well as a range of signature cocktails, with DJ sessions throughout the evenings and weekends for a refreshing, relaxed vibe.
Uniquely, Florentine’s is serving a massive breakfast with an ostrich egg. Eggs can weigh up to 2 kg and are sourced from a farm in Lincolnshire, which makes the dish subject to availability as ostriches hatch on good weather. The Ostrich Egg Full English costs £65 and serves 4-6 people. It comes with fried tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, streaky bacon, baked beans, sourdough bread, and Cumberland sausages. Ostrich eggs are the largest laid by any bird. One egg is the equivalent of 24 chicken eggs and contains around 2,000 calories. An entire egg also contains around 144g of protein, which is almost three times the adult’s daily protein intake recommended by the NHS.
Summer by the River
Enjoy free theatre, film screenings, street food and music in an al fresco setting at London Bridge City’s Summer by the River festival. An eclectic music programme featuring incredible songwriters, singers and bands keep you entertained as you soak up amazing views of Tower Bridge.
Boogie on down to some of the biggest names in blues, rock and soul music at Bluesfest. A three-day festival held at London’s iconic The O2, Bluesfest has seen Jamie Cullum, Tom Jones, Imelda May, Van Morrison, and other legends walk its renowned stage.
London Saxophone Festival
Tap your feet along to the sounds of jazz, funk, and soul at the first London Saxophone Festival. The saxophone-filled celebration takes over some of the capital’s most exciting venues for a cool line-up of events, including world-class performances, family activities, and fun workshops.
EFG London Jazz Festival
Enjoy up-and-coming artists and world-class musicians as the EFG London Jazz Festival takes over London with a host of concerts scattered around the city. International jazz stars such as Paolo Conte, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Hugh Masekela have featured in the latest editions, alongside Harlem Gospel Choir.
Discover emerging artists at Bushstock festival during a day of live music across various venues in Shepherd’s Bush, including unusual spots such as intimate wine bars and a church. Catch the best up-and-coming talent on the international music scene, which have included big names in the past such as Bastille, Hozier and George Ezra.
Be dazzled by the greatest classical music festival in the world as the BBC Proms bring amazing concerts to the Royal Albert Hall and other venues in the capital. Enjoy two months of brilliant performances at affordable prices with this British institution, and don’t miss the BBC Proms in the Park‘s grand finale in Hyde Park.
London International SKA Festival
Discover the best of the capital’s ska music scene with the London International SKA Festival. Taking place across several London venues, the festival boasts big names in the industry, plus fringe events including street ska orchestras, film screenings, and DJ sets.