September Songs (And More): Family-Friendly Festivals in London


So you’ve heard how, in recent years, the UK capital’s become the summer festival world capital – but you’re looking to visit in September, right at the close of summer; there surely won’t be any festival action for the family going on then, right? Well, hold your horses because London, being the place that has something for everyone, is bursting with festival fabulousness this September – much of it perfectly suited to families too (not just the grown-ups). Here are three examples…

 Totally Thames

(1st-30th September; at multiple venues on the Thameside, including Brentford, Hammersmith, Imperial Wharf, the Isle of Dogs, Kew, Richmond, South Bank, St. Katharine Docks, Vauxhall and Wandsworth)

Starting out nearly a decade ago as a standard weekend-long event, this monster festival now runs throughout the month of September – and here, there and everywhere throughout London (meaning that wherever you’re staying – whether it’s the Chiswell Dining Rooms or anywhere else – there’ll be something going on near you). The idea behind it all is its welter of arts and cultural events combine to celebrate the river that runs through the centre of the city and, in many ways, remains its heartbeat. Highlights this year look set to include the likes of ‘Estuary 2016’ (which offers more than two weeks of art, music, film and literature dedicated to all things Thames-related) and London’s Burning, a mini-festival commemorating the Great Fire of London’s 350th anniversary.

Price: varies from event to event, but many are totally free

Times: Things will be happening daily, but times vary

 On Blackheath Festival

(10th-11th September; Blackheath Common SE3 0UA)

This event’s been graced by some truly stellar names in past years (Massive Attack, Manic Street Preachers and Madness among them) and this year’ll be no exception with the likes of Primal Scream, Belle & Sebastian, James and Squeeze all on the bill. Yet it’s not just about the bands, with a fantastic food village, crafts and dance floor workshops as well as the wonderfully kid-friendly ‘Puffin World of Stories’ coming together to make this one of the best London family festivals.

Dates and times: 12noon-10.30pm on Saturday and 12noon-10pm on Sunday

Nearest train stations: Lewisham, Blackheath and Greenwich stations or North Greenwich (Tube)


End of the Road Festival

(1st-4th September; Larmer Tree Gardens, Blandford, Dorset SP7 0PP)

All right, yes, this festival doesn’t actually take place in London, but who’s counting? Especially as it makes for a terrific end to the family festival season. Headliners promised this summer include Bats for Lashes and Scritti Politti, while a cracking concoction of music, film, food, comedy, interactive workshops and an excellent games area for the children (we’re talking table tennis, bowling and more) isn’t to be missed.

Times: 12pm on Thursday 1st Sept-12pm on Monday 4th Sept

Nearest train station: Salisbury station (or take a Big Green Coach direct from Victoria Coach Station)