The coolest things to do in London in July 2021

Zoe Gunn

30 June 2021

Holidaying at home? Get out and enjoy the city at this month's top events, exhibitions and openings

30 June 2021 | Zoe Gunn

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ot quick enough to get yourself a space on a plane heading to Ibiza this summer? Don’t panic – there’s plenty happening in the capital to keep social butterflies busy this month. And, with the sunshine promising a tentative return, there’s never been a better time to get out and enjoy the best that London has to offer. From events and exhibitions to fitness classes and festivals, here are the best things to do in London in July 2021.

The staycation: The Cadogan Wimbledon package

To celebrate the return of the UK’s premier tennis tournament, The Cadogan hotel in Chelsea has put together a special package for guests looking to perfect their forehand (and treat themselves to a little indulgence). Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a Grand Slam cocktail – a limited-edition serve inspired by strawberries and cream, which blends Redbreast whisky, Chambord, strawberry and saffron foam. Then it’s time to check in to your room and get your tennis whites on before hitting the hotel’s exclusive-use courts in the surrounds of Cadogan Place Gardens. Choose between a private lesson with a professional or a tournament with friends before retiring for a classic British afternoon tea whipped up by The Cadogan’s Adam Handling restaurant. Game, set and match.

Available until 11 July, from £530 per night, belmond.com

The exhibition: Villainy by Jerkface at Maddox Gallery

If you’re a Mayfair regular you’ll probably have noticed the enormous doughnut currently hanging over the Maddox Gallery. Inspired by The Simpsons emblem, the doughnut is the signature motif of Jerkface, the hugely popular New York-based street artist whose debut UK solo show is taking place at the Maddox Gallery this month. The selling show draws on the cartoon characters and cinematic universes which informed the anonymous artist’s childhood, as well as his moniker as the ‘cartoon villain’, employing repetition, negative space and conflating shapes and characters to create a vibrant collection full of whimsy and nostalgia. Featuring characters from The Flintstones, Peanuts and Winnie the Pooh, a limited-edition print of Tripleback, a piece showcasing the classic Mickey Mouse character, will also be made available following the show.

Until 15 July, maddoxgallery.com

The bar: Pergola on the Wharf

The latest instalment from the Incipio Group, creators of rooftop bar empire Pergola, Lost In Brixton and The Prince, Pergola on the Wharf is bringing al fresco fun to Canary Wharf. Perched atop the Crossrail Place development, and offering private event spaces for up to 150 people, the new permanent terrace will be open year round, boasting panoramic views of the city and a botanical ambience perfect for upgrading your Instagram feed. As well as three bars and a decadent in-house dining offering, Pergola on the Wharf will play host to a rotating roster of guest chefs, serving up innovative street food dishes spanning cuisines from around the globe.

Open now, pergolacanarywharf.co.uk

The shopping: Rixo Archive

Rixo needs no introduction. Since its foundation in 2015, it’s taken the capital’s cool crowds by storm, with its feminine prints the only thing to be seen in at a summer wedding or garden party. Well, we have some good news for those of you still searching for the perfect seasonal party outfit. Recently opened at Boxpark in Shoreditch, the Rixo Archive pop-up shop will be offering the brand’s archive collections at up to 50 per cent off. Expect easy-to-wear, vintage-inspired designs in timeless silhouettes that you’ll treasure for seasons to come.

Open now, rixo.co.uk

The charity dinner: Not For Sale at M Restaurant

What’s better than a five-course fine-dining tasting menu? One that helps vulnerable people across the globe. Throughout the month of July, M Victoria Street will be offering diners the chance to enjoy a pop-up dining experience designed to support the work of Not For Sale, an organisation founded to end human trafficking and create opportunities for those who have been exploited. Created by executive chef Michael Reid, 100 per cent of the profits from each menu will be donated to the charity, while diners will enjoy a glass of champagne on arrival, followed by dishes including Peruvian tuna tacos, XO beef tartare, and lamb with artichokes.

From 1-31 July, £65 per person, thefork.co.uk

The foodie event: London Restaurant Festival

Usually taking place in October, in order to support the beleaguered food and drink sector, this year the London Restaurant Festival will be hosting its first ever summer edition. Running throughout July at venues across the capital, the festival will see some of London’s top chefs come together to offer unique foodie experiences, special menus and at-home events.

Highlights include the Gourmet Odysseys, which will see diners journey across Mayfair and the City to enjoy a six-course lunch at three different top restaurants, all paired with Moët & Chandon champagnes. Elsewhere, the Tasting Menus series will see the festival take over restaurants, including Silo, Sartoria and Galvin at Windows, for one-off special menus. Hotels, meanwhile, including The Ned and Great Scotland Yard, will be offering Ultimate Gastronomic Weekends packed with chef-led events, masterclasses and even a lunch hosted by Marcus Wareing.

From 1-31 July, tickets from £16, londonrestaurantfestivalsummer.com

The workout: Secret Yoga Club x The London Edition

There are few more wholesome ways to kick off the weekend than with a spot of yoga. Whether you’re a bona fide yogi or have yet to do your first downward dog, combine your flow with a five-star hotel and a live DJ and you’re on to a winner. Taking place bi-weekly from 3 July, The London Edition’s new collaboration with Secret Yoga Club promises all that and more. Each session will see a series of guests teachers, DJs, classical musicians and musical artists work together to create a unique blend of sound and movement. Among the highlights is a class from yoga teacher Huma Jalil, double bassist Ben Hazelton and Cuban drummer Flavio and a collaboration between Secret Yoga Club founder Gabrielle Hales and dance DJ MarchMeLLo.

3 July - 2 October, £30 per person, secretyogaclub.co.uk

The pop-up: Bulgari Serpenti Maestria at Harrods

Didn’t manage to get tickets for Yayoi Kasuma’s Infinity Rooms exhibition at the Tate Modern? Don’t worry – Bulgari has teamed up with Harrods to install one of its own at the iconic department store this summer. Created as part of its Serpenti Maestria pop-up boutique, celebrating the fine jewellery, watches and accessories created in the house’s signature emblem, Bulgari will be creating a show-stopping infinity room projecting the history and heritage of the Serpenti collection. The room will be complemented by a specially curated Bulgari playlist, while the boutique will also play host to a programme of exclusive activities, allowing visitors to meet Bulgari’s craftspeople, create their own Serpenti artwork and be one of the first to see the new limited-edition Serpenti Seduttori watch, which is exclusive to the UK.

From 4-30 July, bulgari.com

The celebration: Moët & Chandon Summer Experiences

We don’t know about you but, with lockdown easing, events returning and parties back on the menu, it feels like there’s a lot to celebrate this summer. Accordingly, Moët & Chandon has partnered with some of the capital’s top venues to offer a series of experiences catering to celebrations big and small. Available at the Laki Kane cocktail bar in Islington, Pergola Paddington and Searcy’s at The Gherkin, the offering includes a Moët & Chandon Slushie Machine creating ‘Frozellini’ cocktails, a classic champagne afternoon tea and the Moët & Chandon Mag’nificent Sunset – a decadent sundowner accompanied by a magnum of champagne. Cheers!

Available throughout the summer, prices vary, moet.com

The family-friendly event: Tate Play

Already wondering how you’re going to entertain the kids during the summer holidays? Allow the Tate Modern to come to the rescue. Beginning on 24 July, handily timed for the end of the school year, Tate Play is a free programme of art-inspired events designed for families. The first major happening of the series is Mega Please Draw Freely, created by contemporary artist Ei Arakawa. Inspired by the work of Japanese artist collective the Gutai group, and in particular Yoshihara Jirō, the project will see the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall covered in a temporary surface to allow people of all ages to doodle, scribble and sketch across its floors and walls. Simultaneously, Yoshihara’s original Please Draw Freely installation will be restaged outside the Tate Modern, with the public invited to draw on a series of open-air boards each day to create an ever-changing artwork.

24 July - 29 August, free, tate.org.uk

Read more: Which London season events are taking place this summer?