The Jackal’s Guide to summer festivals in London

London's festivals just keep getting better. Here's our top five for the summer ahead, across music, art, culture and food

The word ‘festival’ may conjure up images of mud, unwashed students and suboptimal sleeping conditions, but as the cream of London’s summer gatherings shows, they can be stimulating for the mind, body and soul. Here’s five to look out for this summer.


1. Taste of London

London’s foodies are a verbal, highly visible breed, which is why Taste of London is such a great idea: a host of the capital’s best restaurants, top chefs and leading food and drink brands, brought together in one place. It’s based in Regent’s Park over a five-day period in June, and promises mouthwatering live cooking demos from celebrity chefs, interactive masterclasses and, of course, as much food as you can possibly fit in from over 200 vendors.

13-17 June,


2. Art Night

If there’s a time of year to stay up all night, it’s mid-summer. Art Night – for one night only – caters for aestival insomniacs, transforming the Thames riverbank into a nocturnal spread of exhibitions, one-off art projects and premières by 12 internationally renowned artists, all curated by the Hayward Gallery. The capital’s largest free contemporary arts festival runs from 6pm to 6am the following day, and will pop up at iconic and off-the-beaten-track venues on a riverside trail that runs from the Southbank Centre to Battersea Power Station.

6pm-6am, 7 July,


3. Robert Smith’s Meltdown at the Southbank Centre

Now in its 25th year, Meltdown is the UK’s longest-running artist-curated music festival. This year, The Cure’s Robert Smith takes control of the line-up, with headliners including Manic Street Preachers, Deftones and The Libertines. Dotted around locations including the Royal Festival Hall and the Purcell Room in the Southbank Centre, this 10-day festival couldn’t be more different from a weekend in a rain-soaked English field.

15-24 June,


4. Ealing Summer Festivals

There’s not one or two, but seven separate festivals taking place in Ealing this summer, making this west London hub a surprising go-to destination over the next few months. From beer, comedy and carnival, to blues and jazz, there’s a festival for everyone on offer, all in the plush green surroundings of Walpole Park. Time to head out west.

Various dates,


5. The London Concours 2018

The London Concours is back for a second year and is still the surprise package in the summer calendar. Not because there’s anything unusual about a showcase of 80 classic and modern supercars, but because it happens right in the heart of the City on the manicured lawns of the Honourable Artillery Company’s gardens, an almost hidden patch of green land in a forest of gleaming skyscrapers. The theme for this year’s event is speed, which should pull in the punters, as will the promise of art specialists, gourmet food, champagne bars and watch experts. Plus, The Jackal readers can get a £35 adult day ticket for £25 with the code JACKALVIP when booking online.

7-8 June,