Kaleidoscope Festival

London Festivals To Plan Ahead For 2023

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From day fests to food fests, the city is alive with festivals in 2023

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It happens every year: you’re bored at the weekend, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram when suddenly you are hit by an influx of posts and stories: seemingly everyone you know is out enjoying themselves at a festival you’ve never even heard of! When did they all plan this? How did they find out about it? It’s a tale as old as time. If you’d like to be a step ahead of the curve in for 2023, read on. These are the best of London festivals 2023 – from music to food, art to literature – for the festival hopefuls looking for fun in the city.

London Festivals 2023: The Best in Music, Food, Art & Culture

The Ultimate London Festival Calendar

  • March: WOW London
  • April: Marylebone Food Festival
  • May: Pub in the Park, Balance Festival, Wide Awake Festival
  • June: Mighty Hoopla, Meltdown, Hampton Court Palace Festival, Fitzrovia Arts Festival
  • July: Wireless Festival, Kaleidoscope Festival
  • August: All Points East, YAM Carnival
  • September: London Design Festival, Meatopia
  • October: London Literature Festival, Queen’s Park Book Festival

WOW – Women of the World

When? 10–12 March 2023

Where? Southbank Centre

What? As London festivals go, WOW is one of the most wholesome. Now in its 13th year, Women of the World celebrates women, girls and non-binary people across three days filled with speakers, activists, musicians and comedians.

DISCOVER MORE: southbankcentre.co.uk

Marylebone Food Festival

Marylebone Food Festival

When? 25 – 30 April 2023

Where? Marylebone, London

What? Hosted by food critic Jay Rayner alongside a handful of top London chefs, the Marylebone Food Festival will see restaurants, bars and food stores across the neighbourhood hosting special events across a five-day period. The kick-off seven course dinner tends to sell out quickly (so prepare yourself), but there will be plenty of masterclasses, supper clubs, tastings and themed nights to enjoy after the fact. Proceeds from the event will go towards charity partner The Food Chain, which supports people living with HIV in London.

BOOK IT: marylebonefoodfestival.com

Pub in the Park

When? 12–14 May 2023

Where? Wimbledon

Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park sees a top line-up of chefs and music artists touring around the country, all with one mission: to celebrate everything there is to love about the glorious British pub. The chef line-up for 2023 is yet to be announced, but you can always guarantee a great turnout – last year featured names like James Martin and Michael Roux Jr, plus pop-ups from numerous UK restaurants. Music is a big part of this one too, with performances from Sam Ryder, Clean Bandit, Tinie Tempah and The Jacksons on the cards for 2023.

BOOK IT: pubintheparkuk.com

Balance Festival

Balance Festival

When? 19–21 May 2023

Where? The Old Truman Brewery, London

What? Work out with global fitness experts, learn from top wellness gurus and sample some of the hottest health foods of the moment at Balance Festival, which returned to The Old Truman Brewery in London this June. As well as classes from London’s top fitness studios (Barry’s, Boomcycle, and KXU), expect a meditation dome, a market and start-up village to see the latest venues in the wellness sector.

BOOK IT: balance-festival.com

Wide Awake Festival

When? 27 May 2023

Where? Brockwell Park

What? With emerging talent front and centre, Wide Awake Festival debuted in 2021 ‘for music fans looking to discover something different’. This year’s line up is headed up by Caroline Polachek, alongside the likes of Ty Segall, Osees, Oneohtrix Point Never, Daniel Avery and Shygirl.

BOOK IT: Tickets from £10. wideawakelondon.co.uk

Mighty Hoopla

When? 3–4 June 2023

Where? Brockwell Park

What? Staying in Brixton’s Brockwell Park, this LGBTQ+ friendly music festival always promises a good time. And 2023’s line-up is a stonker: Kelly Rowland, Years & Years and Aqua are all confirmed, alongside deep-cut Vengaboys and many more.

BOOK IT: Tickets from £69.50. mightyhoopla.com

Christine and the Queens’ Meltdown

When? 9–18 June 2023

Where? Southbank Centre

What? The Southbank Centre’s annual celebration of music, art, performance and film is this year being curated by French phenomenon, Christine and the Queens – following in the footsteps of previous big-name curators, from David Bowie to Patti Smith, Morrissey to Jarvis Cocker. ‘What an honour to be picked by the fantastical teams of the Meltdown festival to be a curator,’ says Chris. ‘I will pick musicians that have some gut-wrenching quality, and I wish for all of us to stroll around in those ten days being rejuvenated by artistic gestures.’

DISCOVER MORE: southbankcentre.co.uk 

Hampton Court Palace Festival

Hampton Court Palace Festival

Hampton Court Palace Festival

When? Throughout June

Where? Hampton Court Palace, Richmond-upon-Thames

What? More low-key than many entries on this list, at Hampton Court Palace Festival, artists perform to a beautiful backdrop in Henry VIII’s open-air Base Court for an intimate audience of 3,000. This year’s line-up includes Grace Jones, Kaiser Chiefs, Björn Again and Rick Astley, with more to still be announced. It’s also the perfect festival if a picnic on the lawn pre-show is on your check-list. We’re very much in.

BOOK IT: hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com

Fitzrovia Arts Festival poster

Fitzrovia Arts Festival poster, 2022, jesse brown, watercolour on paper courtesy of Rebecca Hossack Art gallery

Fitzrovia Arts Festival

When? TBC June 2023

Where? Fitzrovia

What? The rich and artistic past of Fitzrovia is celebrated in the Fitzrovia Arts Festival, which returned for its sixth edition last summer. Internationally-acclaimed artists, performers and writers who live in the area (and famous residents from the past) were celebrated with a programme of concerts, exhibitions, poetry readings, talks, walks and performances across multiple venues in the area. Keep an eye on the website for updates for the 2023 edition. 

DISCOVER MORE: fitzroviaartsfestival.com

Wireless Festival

When? 7–9 July 2023

Where? Finsbury Park

What? One of the most well-known London festivals, Wireless is a celebration of the newest and best in hip hop, grime and R&B, welcoming the likes of Stormzy, Travis Scott, SZA, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B to the stage in recent years. This year’s line-up is yet to be announced, so watch this space.

BOOK IT: Early bird tickets are on sale now. wirelessfestival.co.uk

Kaleidoscope Festival

Lloyd Winters

Kaleidoscope

When? 15 July 2023

Where? Alexandra Palace

What? The iconic Ally Pally is back with its very own festival, Kaleidoscope, for summer 2023. As if the spectacular backdrop wasn’t enough, Hot Chip is headlining this summery music day festival, with more acts to be announced soon.

BOOK IT: Adult tickets are £59.15. kaleidoscope-festival.com

All Points East

Tom Hancock

All Points East

Where? Victoria Park, London

When? 18–20 & 25–27 August 2023

What? All Points East takes place annually in Victoria Park across two weekends in August. Music traditionally leans towards the alternative genre, though there’s a bit of everything: the 2022 line-up included Gorillaz, The Chemical Brothers, Disclosure and Tame Impala. 2023’s first announced headliner is none other than Stormzy.

BOOK IT: allpointseastfestival.com

Yam Carnival

When? TBD August 2023

Where? Clapham Common

What? One of the newer London festivals, Clapham Common’s YAM Carnival, was designed to celebrate Black culture from around the world, and 2022 was headlined by none other than Wizkid. What better way to spend an August weekend? 2023 details to be announced.

BOOK IT: yamcarnival.com

Designer Sabine Marcelis, has transformed Tottenham Court Road's St Giles Square, where members of the public can swivel in rotating chairs

Sabine Marcelis’ rotating chairs, from London Design Festival 2022. (Image courtesy of London Design Festival)

London Design Festival

When? 16–24 September 2023

Where? South Kensington

What? The London Design Festival will return to the capital this September for its 20th edition, complete with an eclectic mix of events, exhibitions and installations. Highlights will include a landmark outdoor exhibit from Rotterdam-based designer Sabine Marcelis, located in St Giles Square, plus a project at Greenwich Peninsula from Stanton Williams and Webb Yates in collaboration with experimental design, inspired by the Neolithic stone structures that ‘create a space separate from the outside world’. 

DISCOVER MORE: londondesignfestival.com

Meatopia festival

Meatopia

When? TBD September 2023

Where? Tobacco Dock

What? Now over 10 years old, Meatopia is a London festival dedicated to meat, with a focus on quality and sustainability. Taking place in Tobacco Dock each year, the event sees over 60 of the world’s best live-fire chefs gather to cook up exclusive dishes over sustainably-sourced wood and charcoal, with previous names including Ottolenghi, Niklas Ekstedt and Francis Mallmann. All this is to be enjoyed alongside live music from roaming brass brands and DJs, plus craft beers and cocktails. 

DISCOVER MORE: meatopia.co.uk

London Literature Festival

When? TBC October 2023

Where? South Bank Centre

What? There’s always a heavy-weight line-up of the biggest authors and speakers at this London festival, one of the most talked-about literary festivals of the year. Previous speakers have included the likes of Hilary Clinton, Philip Pullman and Tom Hanks take to the stage for individually-ticketed events. The equally sensational programme for 2022 includes Graham Norton, Anne-Marie, Malorie Blackman, plus a panel of climate voices hosted by Greta Thunberg. Keep your eyes peeled for 2023’s announcements.

DISCOVER MORE: southbankcentre.co.uk

Queen's Park Book Festival

Queen’s Park Book Festival

When? TBC October 2023

Where? Queen’s Park, London

What? Queen’s Park Book Festival boasts a wonderful literary history as a home to authors, artists, poets, and actors, carrying on this legacy by creating a platform for other young aspiring writers to be discovered. Visitors this year had the chance to see names like Robert Harris, Clover Stroud and Juliet Rosenfeld, plus Oskar Jensen and Dr John Woolf discussed the hidden stories of marginalized Victorians.

DISCOVER MORE: queensparkbookfestival.co.uk

Featured image: Kaleidoscope Festival (c) Lloyd Winters.

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