8 Must Visit Festivals in London

London is almost too iconic. Major landmarks like Big Ben and Tower Bridge lure sightseers like moths to a flame, warping the most well-intentioned itineraries into a whirlwind highlights tour. Visitors so often leave seeing so much but feeling so little. The sprawling British capital deserves more time.

Modern London is a paradoxical adventure; international yet unabashedly British; ancient but aggressively modern; bustling yet charming underneath. Its storied history plays out along the River Thames, while its ever-evolving skyline fuses sooty Victorian chimney tops with grand cathedrals and skyscrapers. The Old Smoke’s never smelt sweeter. Take a deep breath and come on in. This is London.

Standing tall on the river Thames, London, the capital of England is the largest city of both England and the UK. London is home to some of the most famous attractions of the world such as the iconic timeless national timepiece - Big Ben and the Coca-Cola London eye. 40% of the city is covered in lush greenery, making it the greenest city of its size in the world. And the list goes on.

Considering that London is about 2000 years old, it isn't doing exactly terribly in the modern world. In one of the world’s fashion, culinary and artistic hubs, the British food isn't really as bad as everyone makes it out to be! From the outside, everything is beautiful.

London has always got something new to offer and see. The world is your oyster. And of course, London is a marvelous city. Big cities like London are amazing and exciting places. It is a world city rivaled only by New York in its connectedness and cosmopolitan international vibrancy. All the iconography is there. They really do say mind the gap as you get on and off the tube.

The museums are great (and mainly free). The parks are lovely. The architecture is impressive. And - mainly - the buzz of the place - it may be a cliche, but it is one that rings true to many residents: when one is tired of London, one is tired of life.

But, one of the biggest deal-maker to visit London is the fact that it is one of the major music capitals of the world. It hosts the major music corporations- Universal Music Group International and Warner Music Group, as well as the countless bands and musicians.

One of the best cities in Europe for first time travelers, London has it all. A rich history, an eye on the future, a vibrant atmosphere and a list of attractions as long as the longest arm. The biggest city in the UK (and one of the biggest in Europe), London is a cultural melting pot. One of the major reasons to go to London is its museums – they are arguably the best in the world (thanks colonialism) and are totally, entirely, magnificently free.

Make your London bucket list if you love museums and galleries, you have a thing for the royals, you want to visit a city that never sleeps.

The trickiest thing is getting from the airport to your hotel. If you fly into Heathrow, you’re in luck, the underground goes there. From the other airports, it’s not so easy. Gatwick used to have an express train, but that’s not there any more. Taxis are really expensive. Make sure you check out your options before you arrive.

So, before you arrive, you should get an Oyster Card. Now, many public transport services will take contactless credit cards, but it’s much easier to pre-load your Oyster with money because you can check how much you’re using. Also, remember almost all fares in the Greater London area are based on distance so you have to tap your card on a reader at the beginning AND END of each trip. The other reason to get your Oyster card in advance - it’s cheaper.

Next, plan ahead. London is huge and there are attractions everywhere, not just in the central part of the city. One of the worst things about London is that there’s no street plan, so Google Maps is your friend. Don’t trust the tube map too much because it’s made for ease of trip planning, not for accuracy of position. Some tube stations that are within a couple of hundred yards of each other look a mile apart on the tube map.

You will see these kiosks everywhere which are really important for getting around. They’re actually there to encourage you to walk because transit can be really crowded and you may actually be very close to your destination. Oh, and never take the Central Line during rush hour. You’ve been warned.

The best thing about transit in London is it’s all on the same Oyster card system AND fare system - buses, the underground, the overgrown, the light railway, regional rail, trams, all of it. As for food, look for smaller independent places, even pubs. Food there is usually pretty inexpensive compared to chain restaurants. You can get decent fish & chips everywhere with a generous portion of cod and spectacular fried potatoes for about what a small meal at McDonald’s cost.

Festivals You Must Visit in London

Here are some of the best festivals you must visit in London.

1. All Points East

All Points East is a music festival held over two weekends once a year in London's Victoria Park, run by AEG Presents. As of 2019, it consisted of 6 headline shows and 4 days of free activities during the week. All Points East may be a new addition but has clearly become a reputed festival. The ticket price is approximate £60 plus booking fee and line-up featured The Strokes, The Raconteurs, Bon Iver, Christine & the Queens, The Chemical Brothers, Kate Tempest and Fat White Family.

2. Field Day

First held in Victoria Park in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on 11 August 2007, Field Day is a yearly festival in London celebrated outdoors. It has a legacy of showcasing the best alternative and hip-hop acts. The ticket price is approximate £67.50. Skepta, Jorja Smith, Diplo, The Black Madonna and Pusha T all featured on the 2019 line-up which carried on long until 3 am.

3. Bushstock Festival

If you are looking for fresh faces and sound, then The Bushstock Festival is the one you should be visiting. This one-day festival showcases both well known and new artist who are un-mainstream. Bushstock has a low ticket price comparatively. This year it started from £30 plus booking fee. Bushstock has a good track record as it sold out in advance once again in 2018 which consisted of 1750 music fans in the event. The capacity has grown steadily since 2011 when the event hosted just 700. It sure has come a long way.

4. Wireless Festival

The Wireless Festival is an urban music festival which celebrates the new and best of hip-pop and R&B. This year it is going to be celebrated at Finsbury Park. This year’s line-up features the big ones from the US including Cardi B, Migos, and Tyga alongside British stars Ella Mai and Bugzy Malone with a ticket prices starting from £65.

5. British Summer Time

Presented by Barclaycard, British Summer Time is a 10-day event which consists of six days of world-class music events and four days of free midweek community-focussed activities. Since 2013, BST has seen headliners such as The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Lionel Richie, Kylie Minogue, Black Sabbath, Neil Young, The Libertines, Arcade Fire, The Who, Blur, The Strokes and Taylor Swift. This year Celine Dion, Robbie Williams, Florence + The Machine are there to own the stage.

6. Lovebox

This festival was founded 16 years ago by DJs Groove Armada. It is particularly famous for dance-music. But there's more to this festival with surprises of performance art, unique food, boutiques and much more. Tickets start from £58.50 plus booking fee for the weekend. Definitely not a bad deal for surprises.

7. Southport Weekender Festival

Want to go to something old-school? Well, these guys have been doing it for 29 years. Now it one of the well-established one-day outdoor London festivals which includes a celebration of house, disco, garage and R&B. Last year's included Sister Sledge ft. Kathy Sledge, David Morales, Hector Romero and Joey Negro. And, this year’s is bound to be better.

8. Citadel

Who doesn't love Sundays? To make your Sunday even better do visit this ultimate summer Sunday event which is a one-day festival which brings great music from independent artists, folksy variety, amazing food and lots of side events plus mass yoga and dance workshops.

The fun doesn't stop here. There are many more festivals to discover. Come live in London and experience these amazing festivals. But, accommodation in London can get quite confusing as there are so many options to choose from.
Kalyan Panja