UK Outdoor Events To Book For 2021

Culture /


From festivals to outdoor theatre, consider this your summer calendar

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The past year has been filled with cancellations – but things are looking up. With most restrictions now lifted across England, large-scale events are able to return, albeit with some differences. Below we highlight the outdoor events primed to go ahead in 2021. And if you’d rather stick to virtual, check out our digital events guide.

UK Outdoor Events 2021

Totally Thames

Totally Thames

The annual festival that celebrates the culture and heritage of the River Thames returns this year for its 25th edition. Learn about the history with The Islanders, see the city’s bridges lit up with Leo Villareal’s Illuminated River installation and explore the mudlarking exhibition at St Paul’s Cathedral – a show of some of the fascinating objects picked up on the river’s shores several decades. 1 – 30 September 2021, thamesfestivaltrust.org

Secret Garden Concerts

Secret Garden Concerts

Following on from a successful summer last year – including nine sold out concerts – Secret Garden Concerts are back with an exciting line-up of events starting Friday 30 July. Secret Garden Concerts came to life during the pandemic, when the arts industry was at its lowest. Artistic Director of London Concertante, Chris Grist, saw the opportunity to transform his home in Streatham into an outdoor classical concert venue for the summer. Hamptons has since stepped in to sponsor the annual garden event, which has also expanded its repertoire to include theatre, comedy, and jazz. 15 new events are now set to take place in 2021. Catering will be provided by the likes of Cue Point BBQ, Nisha Parmar, and Jamie Higgs. Be sure to grab a ticket, as they go quick! 30 July – 12 September 2021, secretgardenconcerts.com

At Home Farm

At Home Farm

Lamenting the loss of last year’s festival season? Make up for lost time with a trip to At Home Farm, a line-up of outdoor events surrounding music, wellbeing and food. Taking place at Home Farm in Elstree, just 13 miles from London, the festival season will run from May to September and feature live music in the woods, open air theatre, circus school, yoga brunch clubs and adventure activities for children. There are also al fresco culinary feasts taking place, hosted by the likes of Thomasina Miers and Olia Hercules. The festival culminates with Slapstick Picnic’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest on 2 September. Make the most of it by booking a stay in the glamping fields, which offer furnished bell tents and yurts. May – September 2021, athomefarm.live

Summer By The River

Summer by the River

The riverside between London Bridge and Tower Bridge is playing host to a three-month festival this summer, featuring a programme of outdoor cinema, live music and family-friendly events. Alongside this, visitors can enjoy pizzas cooked over an open fire from Jimmy Garcia, plus Italian-inspired cocktails at the Riverside Terrace Bar. londonbridgecity.co.uk

Drink, Dine and Dodgems at Somerset House

© Somerset House

© Somerset House

Dodgems are given an artistic twist in the Somerset House courtyard this summer, part of a jazzy immersive installation by Yinka Ilori. Enjoy alongside street food and sundaes from Jimmy Garcia, plus weekend brunches with live DJ sets. 15 July – 22 August 2021, somersethouse.org

London Wonderground

Underbelly London Wonderground

Enjoy live shows, street food, al fresco drinks and vintage rides at London Wonderground, a new ‘festival playground’ coming to London’s Earls Court this summer. Run by Underbelly, the pop-up space offers activities for all ages, with a programme of circus, comedy and family shows championing the spirit and quality of Edinburgh Festival Fridge. 15 July – 26 September 2021, londonwonderground.co.uk

Film & Food Fest 2021

Film and Food Fest

A new festival from outdoor cinema company Adventure Cinema will tour 15 major city parks across the UK this summer, with an eclectic line-up of films, comedy and food. Each Thursday evening of the festival will see a special showcase of short movies from independent filmmakers, while weekend afternoons will be reserved for family films – think The Lion King and The Greatest Showman. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, meanwhile, there’ll be live comedy and blockbuster movies. And on the food side, visitors can expect everything from gourmet burgers to ice-cream, all from local traders curated by Street Food Warehouse, plus a bar serving beers and cocktails. Various dates from 17 June until 26 September 2021, filmandfoodfest.com

Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia

Just when you thought Mamma Mia couldn’t get any more feel-good, it’s now being performed al fresco in the grounds of Harewood House. The line-up includes Sara Poyzer as Donna, Nicky Swift as Rosie, Helen Anker as Tanya and Richard Standing as Sam Carmichael. Bring a picnic and sing along until your heart’s content. 13 – 30 August 2021, mamma-mia.com

Glyndebourne

Glyndebourne

Every summer, East Sussex comes alive thanks to Glyndebourne, the quintessentially British celebration of all things opera. It’s back this May with a whole host of new productions, including Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová, Rossini’s Il turco in Italia and Verdi’s Luisa Miller, alongside a revival of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Also new for 2021 are acclaimed chefs acclaimed chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin (the brothers behind Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle), who will be overseeing Middle and Over Wallop restaurant for the next three years. Off stage, visitors will also have the opportunity to explore an exhibition by sculptor Halima Cassell in the Glyndebourne gardens. 20 May – 29 August 2021, glyndebourne.com

DISCOVER MORE:

UK’s Best Art Exhibitions 2021 / Boutique Festivals Guide