Well, that’s it. Summer is officially over. It’s back-to-school season and time to start thinking about cosy knitwear and your Netflix must-watch list. And, while you may be lamenting the return of colder weather, the changing of the seasons also traditionally heralds a slate of new openings, launches and must-try events in the capital – and this year is no different. From luxurious new hotels to exciting restaurant openings and an array of exhibitions and pop-ups, here’s our guide to the best things to do in London in September 2023.
The hotels: The Peninsula London and The BoTree
One of the most highly-anticipated openings for London’s hotel scene, The Peninsula London is preparing to open its doors on 12 September. The newly-built property is situated at one of the city’s grandest junctures – where Hyde Park Corner meets Wellington Arch – and features Peter Marino-designed interiors in 25 opulent residences, 190 luxury bedrooms, a retail arcade and three new restaurants. Inside the rooms, discover mahogany-panelled dressing rooms, honey-hued bathrooms and custom fittings crafted by British artisans – including fashion designer Jenny Packham and more than 40 artists from the Royal Drawing School – many with floor-to ceiling-windows boasting unparalleled views over historic Belgravia.
World-class dining and drinks can be enjoyed at The Peninsula London’s signature rooftop restaurant, Brooklands, offering modern British cuisine from Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi, as well as top-flight libations, a tasting lounge and cigar storage helmed by Manu Harit, certified ‘Master of Havana Cigars’. Canton Blue and its adjacent bar, Little Blue, celebrate the spice trade union of Asian and British cultures with innovative Chinese cuisine and cocktails, while The Lobby is the place to be for traditional afternoon tea. Elsewhere, those in need of a shopping spree should visit the hotel’s ground-floor retail arcade featuring nine luxury boutiques, including Asprey London, Mouawad and the first central London location for supercar specialist Topaz Detailing. Monumental ballrooms and wellness centres are scheduled to open later this year.
Another exciting opening over in Marylebone is The BoTree. Featuring 199 rooms and 30 contemporary suites, available to book from 15 September, the luxury hotel aims to capture the spirit of Marylebone’s village life with interiors by multi-award-winning EPR Architects, and Amsterdam-based designer, Concrete. Food and beverage offerings will include destination Italian restaurant Lavo and The BoTree Bar. Throughout the hotel, guests will notice mindful choices have been made to balance luxury and sustainability. These include partnerships with like-minded brands that are a catalyst for positive change, such as vegan and natural products packaged in OceanBound Plastic from Jo Loves, The BoTree’s official bathroom amenity partner.
The bars: The Hawk’s Nest, Forza Wine and Finch
West Londoners will no doubt flock to neighbourhood hangout The Hawk’s Nest when it reopens on 1 September. Following a huge revamp, the al fresco hotspot in Shepherd’s Bush has been fitted with a retractable glass roof – the largest of its kind in the UK – over the plant-filled garden, allowing for up to 300 drinkers to stay warm and dry come rain or shine. Decorated with ferns, greenery and festoon lighting, The Hawk’s Nest offers a selection of draft and bottled beers, wines, gins and spritzes, as well as cocktails such as pink grapefruit margarita, passionfruit mezcalita or a classic negroni. On the menu, begin with bruschetta or garlic pizzette, before tucking into stone-baked sourdough pizzas, including the spicy nduja and chilli, funghi with balsamic glaze, and the indulgent four cheese.
Next up, those heading to the National Theatre this month must pay a visit to Forza Wine, which opens its second London site on the 7 September on the north-west terrace of the famous Brutalist landmark. Boasting a natural wine list, changing seasonal house cocktail list – think cherry negroni, limonata bianca and a frozen peach margarita – and an Italian snack menu, the interior features banquette seating and high-top tables perfect for a quick lunch, pre-theatre dinner, post-show drinks or a gathering with friends. A private dining terrace is tucked away on the balcony surrounded by greenery for more intimate occasions, with seating at one long table for up to 24.
Adding to Brixton’s well-established roster of wine bars is Finch, set within Brixton Village and opening on 18 September. The second bar from Grays & Feather, the team behind Plume in Covent Garden, Finch is the next step in wider expansion plans which include a third avian-themed wine bar, Peregrine, at Leadenhall Market later this year. Inside, the 178 square foot venue aims to be a pocket-size ‘cabinet of curiosities’, inspired by the plumage of a finch and featuring a monochrome bar and a rotating selection of artwork from local Brixton artists that will form part of the Brixton Art Trail.
Ranging from crisp sparkling wine to complex orange wines, Finch’s theatrical team will be on hand to guide guests through an array of English bottles. The drinks menu will also include cocktails, such as classic wine barrel-aged negronis, margaritas and old fashioneds, as well as seasonal Brixton-inspired cocktails and Grays and Feather’s house beer, Feral. Snack on sharing plates of artichoke pesto burrata and toast, duck and cognac mousse paté with pickles and sourdough and the signature Claw and Craw Roll featuring both lobster and crawfish.
The Hawk’s Nest is open now at Goldhawk Road, Shepherd's Bush Market, W12 8DF, visit the-hawks-nest.co.uk; Forza Wine opens on 7 September at the National Theatre, SE1 9PX, visit nationaltheatre.org.uk; Finch opens on 18 September at Granville Arcade, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PS, visit finchwinebar.com
The events: Embassy Gardens Feel Good Festival, Chelsea Dog Day, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s The Golden Ratio Musical Show
Nine Elms’ vibrant Embassy Gardens neighbourhood will come to life on 2 September for its Feel Good Festival. Hosting a holistic programme of workshops and classes delivered by its own community of health and wellness businesses – including World Heart Beat Music Academy and Remedi – there’s an array of sessions, activities and pop-ups to get involved in. Highlights include outdoor mat Pilates with Ten Health and Fitness, skincare and grooming consultations with Neon Black, mental health talks with The Soke, baby yoga with Babble and Zen, and mocktails from The Alchemist.
West Londoners, mark your calendars for a ‘pawsome’ day to celebrate our four-legged friends as Chelsea Dog Day returns in support of charity Pets As Therapy on 9 September. With a dog-themed market, a host of live entertainment and over 55 brands, from Colbert, Daniella Draper, Hermès and Hackett, to Peter Jones, The Cadogan Hotel, Bluebird and Trotters, there’s plenty for pups and their owners to sink their teeth into.
Duke of York Square will play host to a dog-themed market from 10am to 4pm while Chelsea Canines will be offering behaviourist talks and sharing advice on dog handling and training. Elsewhere, Wagworks has created a pop-up scent den, designed to boost stimulation in dogs with sights and smells, and the expert team from Pets As Therapy will also be on hand. Highlights include ‘pawtrait’ artists and photographers, floral dog collars from florist Moyses Stevens, a doggy tarot card reader at Beaverbrook Town House, and ‘Strutz’ fashion show taking place at Dovehouse Green and coordinated by modern pet boutique, Love My Human.
From 14-17 September, fine watch house Jaeger-LeCoultre will be welcoming guests to The Golden Ratio Musical Show: a unique sound-and-light show celebrating the mathematical formula that defines the aesthetic harmony that humans are instinctively drawn to. Hosted at the 1931 Cinema, a specially created venue at Battersea Power Station, Jaeger-LeCoultre uses the show to expand the cultural conversation around watchmaking, exploring elemental links through the lens of the Reverso watch – widely acknowledged as an icon of 20th-century design. Inside, guests can watch a 10-minute show, impressively projected onto a giant screen of falling water, all set to a specially commissioned soundtrack by British musician Tokio Myers.
Embassy Gardens Feel Good Festival takes place on 2 September at 3 Viaduct Gardens, Nine Elms, SW11 7AY, visit eventbrite.co.uk; Chelsea Dog Day takes place on 9 September at King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5ES, visit kingsroad.co.uk; Jaeger-LeCoultre’s The Golden Ratio Musical Show runs from 14-17 September at Battersea Power Station, SW8 5BN, visit online-booking.jaeger-lecoultre.com
The supper clubs: Outcrop’s Lost Giants and Norma’s Birthday
Fancy a foodie collaboration? There’s no better way to get your fix than with one of the capital’s supper clubs. Outcrop, the restaurant, bar and arts space at 180 The Strand, has partnered with leading UK-based art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast to host a series of dinners with leading London chefs to pay homage to the UK’s ancient trees. Inspired by Marshmallow Laser Feast’s ‘Sanctuary of the Unseen Forest’ – a nine-metre video installation of a giant Ceiba Pentandra tree from the Columbian Amazon, currently planted at Outcrop – the series will run from 10-17 September.
Featuring chefs John Chantarasak of AngloThai, Brad Carter from Carters of Moseley, Apricity’s Chantelle Nicholson and Spring’s Skye Gyngell, The Lost Giants project aims to explore the relationship between the food that we eat and the regeneration of the UK’s ecosystems. Menus will be available for one night only, and will spotlight produce from suppliers local to each tree, as well as making use of ingredients foraged from the surrounding areas. For example, Nicholson has designed a menu inspired by the Great Yew of Kingley Vale in Sussex, whereas Gyngell has curated a menu inspired by the Escley Oak, a gargantuan, ancient oak tree located next to Fern Varrow, the biodynamic farm from which Skye’s restaurant, Spring, sources the majority of its produce. Expect a three-course set menu as well as snacks and a welcome drink.
To celebrate its fourth birthday, Sicilian-inspired restaurant Norma will host four guest chef dinners across four consecutive evenings from 26-29 September. Giovann Attard, Norma’s executive head chef, has collaborated with The Stafford’s Lisa Goodwin-Allen and Jozef Rogulski, vegan chef Giuseppe Federici, pasta supremo Danilo Cortellini and food author Olivia Cavalli to create four different menus that showcase each chef's individual cooking styles while also taking inspiration from Norma’s Sicilian style. From fine dining twists to plant-based Italian comfort food, expect dishes such as octopus carpaccio, leek and truffle agnolotti, vegan Biscoff tiramisu and an irresistible pasta dish of raviolo San Domenico with seasonal truffle.
The Lost Giants guest chef series runs from 10-17 September at Outcrop at 180 The Strand, 1 Surrey Street, Temple, WC2R 2ND, visit outcrop.social; Norma runs from 26-29 September at 8 Charlotte Street, W1T 2LS, visit normalondon.com
The festival: Chelsea History Festival
Chelsea History Festival returns for its fifth year from 26 September to 1 October. This year’s programme will highlight some of the most intriguing legends, historical events, and architectural gems of the Chelsea Heritage Quarter. Expect talks by world-class speakers, including Rolling Stones rock star Bill Wyman, who will share his experience of living in the area and its transformation into a hub for music, art and fashion from the 1960s-90s, as well as travel documentary star Sir Michael Palin, who will discuss the fascinating life and death of his great uncle Harry. They will be joined by Alison Weir, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, Helen Fry and many more. Held in partnership with the National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Chelsea and Chelsea Physic Garden, there will be plenty to entertain young and old.
Chelsea History Festival runs from 26 September - 1 October at Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4AL, visit chelseahistoryfestival.com
The pop-ups: Conscious Citizen x SoulCycle, Lacoste 90th anniversary vintage pop-up and Krug Studio x Selfridges
The sustainable fashion and lifestyle brand Conscious Citizen has partnered with spinning studio SoulCycle for two exclusive events this month which are bound to be good for the mind, body, and soul. Collaborating for a two-day pop-up across two weekends in September, challenge your body and recharge your mind with a 45-minute ride at SoulCycle to get those weekend endorphins pumping. West Londoners can get their fix at SoulCycle Notting Hill on 9-10 September between 9am-2pm before the pop-up makes its way to Soho from 16-17 September. All riders will receive a Conscious Citizen tote bag and Mockingbird Raw Press too. What better way to start a weekend?
As part of Lacoste’s global 90th anniversary celebrations, the fashion-sport brand will open a pop-up space in Shoreditch’s Truman Brewery from 14-26 September housing more than 400 vintage pieces, including tracksuits, polos and runway pieces priced from £50 to £350, courtesy of Wavey Garms. Inspired by the brand’s former signature neon green, the space will be reimagined with bespoke graffiti by Tox, Petro and Henry Hotrocc who have co-created 30 limited-edition polo shirts. Alongside the vintage haul, visitors can also use the dubplate cutting machine, listen to DJs from Rinse FM and enjoy a workshop day with women’s DJ collective EQ50. In a nod to Lacoste’s close affinity with rave and music subcultures, musicians Working Alewya, Josh Caffé, Nightmares on Wax and re:ni will tell their stories through a new film series and showcase their creative process, their impact on the UK music scene and what Lacoste signifies to them.
The House of Krug is inviting all champagne lovers to travel into the creation of Krug’s latest champagne release via an immersive multisensory experience at Krug Studio in Selfridges. From 15 September until 11 October, guests will experience a creative encounter in which a range of artists have translated the taste of Krug champagnes into musical compositions. The artist collective includes Japanese violinist Emiri Miyamoto, British drummer Moses Boyd, American harpist Mary Lattimore and French composer and electronic music artist, Erwan Castex, professionally known as Rone. The ticketed music and champagne pairing experience in Selfridges begins with cellar master Julie Cavil, who explains the parallel between Krug’s craftsmanship and music, before describing the creation of the two new editions: Grande Cuvée 171ème and Krug Rosé 27ème. The second part of the experience is a complete sensory immersion with surround sound calling upon all the senses as guests discover the Krug Echoes composition while tasting the champagne for which it was created.
Conscious Citizen x SoulCycle runs from 9-10 and 16-17 September, visit soul-cycle.com; Lacoste 90th anniversary vintage pop-up runs from 14-26 September at Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QR; Krug Studio x Selfridges runs from 15 September-11 October at 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB, visit selfridges.com
The art: Charlie Gray: Performance at Leica Gallery and British Art Fair
Leica Gallery has announced its latest exhibition, Performance, showcasing 12 epic portraits by Charlie Gray between 14 September and 29 October. Gray’s inaugural exhibition offers portraits that illustrate the stories of actors, artists, great entertainers and rock music royalty in his signature narrative style – some of which will be available to purchase. Gray honed his technical and people skills at university, before his first commercial assignment for BAFTA enabled him to encounter incredible people from film studios and the entertainment industry, leading to portrait commissions and blue-chip magazine shoots. All works in the exhibition were shot on Leica cameras, including the Q, S-System and the SL-System, which Gray cites as giving him the freedom to produce the work he always wanted due to the way it captures light.
The 32nd edition of the British Art Fair takes place from 28 September to 1 October, presenting its annual showcase of the very best modern and contemporary British art, elegantly installed throughout Chelsea’s Saatchi Gallery. Since 1988, the British Art Fair has been the flagship fair for modern British art, representing celebrated artists including Bridget Riley, Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Terry Frost, and many more, with fine and rare works released to the art market specially for the event.
A highlight this year is the wide-ranging exhibition, Crossing Borders: Internationalism in Modern British Art. Spanning from India and Pakistan to Taiwan and China, and Indonesia to Australia, paintings, prints and sculptures feature works by Rasheed Araeen, Richard Lin, Hans Coper, Edith Tudor Hart, and Susan Hiller. Works are being supplied by past and present exhibitors of the fair and will be for sale with prices ranging from four to six figures.
Charlie Gray: Performance will be shown from 14 September - 29 October at Leica Gallery London, 64-66 Duke Street, W1K 6JD, visit leica-camera.com; British Art Fair will run from 28 September - 1 October at Saatchi Gallery, King's Road, SW3 4RY, visit britishartfair.co.uk