To 5 Aug
It’s billed as the most watched women’s sporting event in UK history, so no wonder all of England’s matches sold out within weeks of going on sale. The Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, reaches its final knockout stages this month. This is the first time that the world’s biggest hockey event has been hosted in the UK. England, currently ranked second in the world, will be hoping for their first World Cup title.
To 19 Aug
One hundred years ago this summer, Nelson Mandela was born in Mvezo village in South Africa. This month, the Southbank Centre commemorates his life and legacy with a free display: The Centenary Exhibition. On show in the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer, it’s a collaboration with the Apartheid Museum and the Anti-Apartheid Movement Archives. Britain was a key player in the deep segregation of Mandela’s homeland, but the former South African president was a true peacemaker. On a visit to Britain in 1996, he said, "The response of the people of this country exceeded my wildest expectations. I love every one of you." Now that’s how you do diplomacy.
Don’t let the name mislead you: Kids Week has now extended to an entire month throughout August. This annual event sees more than 30 West End shows, including Aladdin and The Phantom of the Opera, offering free tickets to under 16s with each full-paying adult. Look out also for special activities and workshops.
Are you itching to indulge your fascination with the British royal family, but convinced that the kids might get bored? Don’t worry, because three of London’s most regal destinations have the answer: Buckingham Palace, The Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery are joining forces to host a Family Festival Weekend, with a programme of activities including workshops, trails and DIY crafts, with a colourful troupe of performers, storytellers and musicians to entertain all ages. All events will run from 11 am to 3 pm and are included in the admission prices–get booking before it’s too late.
Pack a picnic and cuddle up at sunset for a romantic evening, as Film4 Summer Screen returns to Somerset House. Since 2005, more than 2,000 film fans every night have gathered in the courtyard of the arts venue to watch classic and contemporary films on London’s largest outdoor screen. Watch comedies, musicals, thrillers and foreign-language flicks, plus Behind the Screen, a series of special events, talks and DJ sets inspired by the films.
22 August–2 September
The classical ballet Swan Lake returns to the London Coliseum, where the love story, with Tchaikovsky’s score, is performed by St Petersburg Ballet Theatre. Ballet fans can lament the fate of Prince Siegfried, who falls in love with Odette, a princess who was turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. Prima ballerina Irina Kolesnikova (Odette) is joined on stage by Denis Rodkin (the prince), a principal dancer from the Bolshoi Ballet.
If a show is good enough for the likes of pop royalty Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry to watch, then it’s good enough for us. Britney Spears’ four-year Las Vegas residency with Piece of Me is now on tour, and it’s coming to The O2. Expect circus performers, falling petals and the star dressed up as an angel.
It’s not only football matches that fill Wembley Stadium. The Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final, the tub-thumping climax to a historic rugby league knockout tournament that’s been going since 1896, promises to entertain 80,000 fans. We don’t know yet who the finalists are, but we can be sure that the full-capacity crowd will make the stadium’s ground shake.