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Things to do and see this summer

If you’ve missed your culture fix in recent months, then now’s the time to visit one of the many indoor and outdoor venues running exciting summer programmes. Before or after taking in a show or exhibition, head to Sloane Street, where there are numerous alfresco dining spots and pop-up bars – and pétanque on Sloane Square.

6 July 2021

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser at the V&A

Lewis Carroll’s tales have captivated readers for generations, and this exhibition takes you down the rabbit hole, bringing together film, performance, fashion, art, music and photography to celebrate this literary phenomenon and some of its best-loved characters. You can even take part in a virtual reality ‘mind-bending’ game of croquet.

On now until 31 December. £20; members and children under 12 free.

Serpentine Pavilion, Hyde Park

The 20th Serpentine Pavilion has been designed by Counterspace and 30-year-old Sumayya Vally – the youngest architect to take part in the project, and is based on ‘past and present places of meeting, organising and belonging’ inspired by London’s culturally diverse communities. The space is also hosting Listening to the City, a programme of workshops and listening sessions.

Open now until 17 October. Free.
Photography: Iwan Baan

JR: Chronicles at Saatchi Gallery

The first solo museum exhibition for acclaimed French artist, filmmaker and storyteller JR. View some of his most celebrated pieces, from his powerful documentation of Parisian graffiti artists to digital collages of different communities and a unique art project undertaken at a California maximum-security prison.

On now until 3 October. From £9; children under 10 free.
Photography: Luke Walker

Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature at the Natural History Museum

A perfect day out for the school summer holidays, this spectacular exhibition brings together the natural world and the wizarding world. Exciting displays celebrate real and mythical beasts in all their forms through the mediums of film, television, literature and science.

On now until 3 January 2022. £22; children £13.25.

Bags: Inside Out at the V&A

If you haven’t yet had a chance to explore the V&A’s wonderful exhibition of the ultimate accessory, then make time to visit when you’re next in the area. Offering a fascinating insight into ateliers and factories, the exhibition celebrates function, style and craftsmanship in everything from designer handbags to military rucksacks.

On now until 16 January 2022. £12; members and children under 12 free.

BBC Proms 2021 at Cadogan Hall

The latest BBC Proms series sees a host of talented musicians perform at Cadogan Hall during August and September. Highlights include the prize-winning young Marmen Quartet celebrating composer Robert Simpson, and an all-French triptych of 20th-century oboe sonatas performed by François Leleux and Eric Le Sage.

Various dates. From £6.

Studio 7 by Cartier at Saatchi Gallery

This stunning portrait exhibition celebrates the seven most acclaimed watch and jewellery collections from revered French house Cartier. A photographic journey through the years takes in Santos, Tank, Trinity, Love, Juste Un Clou, Panthère and Ballon Bleu. You can also share your own Cartier story and have your portrait taken.

23 July to 8 August. Free.
Ramla Ali wearing a Panthère de Cartier watch. Photography: Mary McCartney

Kensington + Chelsea Festival, various locations

This year’s K+C Festival offers a diverse programme of culture and creativity, delivered through public art, curated tours, dance, music, circus acts and more. Taking place in safe and accessible venues and public spaces throughout the area, experiences promise to be ‘fun, inspirational, surprising and extraordinary’.

21 June to 31 August. Many events are free, see website for other pricing.
Artist Lauren Baker with one of her installations on the Public Art Trail around Sloane Street

The Song Project at Royal Court Theatre

Performed by acclaimed Dutch solo artist Wende with a company of musicians, The Song Project was conceived by a group of artists and playwrights, including Royal Court associate designer Chloe Lamford, composer Isobel Waller-Bridge and Wende herself. It explores our hopes and anxieties, covering powerful topics such as motherhood, birth, loss and ageing.

17 to 28 August. From £12.
Photography: Ali Wright

The Wind in the Willows, Chelsea Physic Garden

An immersive performance that takes place throughout London’s oldest botanical garden, this family event blends theatre, interactive storytelling and creative activities in an original adventure for all ages. The experience is being produced entirely from recycled, reclaimed and repurposed materials.

 16 to 26 August. £22.

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