Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the title role in the Barbican's production of what is arguably William Shakespeare's greatest tragedy, Hamlet. A tale of familial conflict set against the backdrop of a country in turmoil, the play is well-known for its high drama, philosophical undertones and prestigious theatrical roles. Alongside the more tangible struggles of power and revenge, Hamlet's personal existentialism has resonated with audiences throughout the centuries. Tickets to see Cumberbatch take on the role are already hard to come by, with fans eager to see the actor take on one of the biggest roles in theatre. At the Barbican Centre until 31st October.
I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS AT THE VAUDEVILLE THEATRE
August in London can be roughly translated as "summer rain and disappointing school holidays," but don't despair just yet; there's a whole lot of child-friendly things happening around the capital over the next month, and the theatre is a great place to start. Head down to the Vaudeville to see Michael Morpurgo's best-selling story, I Believe in Unicorns, bought vividly to life on stage. Set in a charming library filled with books, the play tells the story of a boy who hates reading - until he meets the mysterious Unicorn Lady. At the Vaudeville Theatre until the end of August.
HETTY FEATHER AT DUKE OF YORK'S THEATRE
Another one for the kids, the Duke of York's production of Hetty Feather transforms Jacqueline Wilson's best-selling story of a Victorian foundling-child into a gripping play that makes the most of its circus theatrics and aerial tricks. At the Duke of York's Theatre until 6th September.
In a world of Instagram and street style blogs, photographs of everyday people living everyday lives have become the norm; but it was not always so. Completely unknown until over 30,000 of her negatives were purchased in 2007, Vivian Maier, a reclusive nanny from Chicago, is now considered to be one of the greatest documentary photographers of the 20th Century. She would wander the streets of Chicago and New York with nothing but a Rolleiflex camera around her neck, quietly capturing the urban world around her. This fascinating exhibition explores just some of the 100,000 photographs she took in her life, and is at Beetles + Huxley until 5th September.
JOSEPH CORNELL: WANDERLUST
A unique exhibition for a unique artist, Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust marks the first time in 35 years that the artist's compelling work has been exhibited in Europe. The eccentric Joseph Cornell may never have left the USA, spending most of his life in New York City, but the richness and vibrancy of his inner world more than made up for his lack of physical travel. His art became a portal through which he could explore and experience the world, past and present. Through wandering the streets and shops of New York, he amassed a wide and eclectic collection of ephemera and found objects, which he would famously use to create miniature worlds of the imagination inside wooden boxes, known as his 'shadow boxes'. Due to the delicate nature of Cornell's pieces, they are rarely transported beyond the USA, so for many this will be the first chance to see his shadow boxes, collages and films. At the Royal Academy of Arts until September 27th.
NEW OPENING: OLDROYD
Priding itself on its stylish, relaxed atmosphere, this brand new restaurant serving delicious European dishes in Old Street is the brainchild of Tom Oldroyd, he of Polpo and Boca Di Lupo fame. The daily-changing menu incorporates the best seasonal British ingredients in a variety of small plate dishes, salads and sandwiches. It may have only opened in the last couple of weeks, but Tom Oldroyd's first solo venture is already proving itself to be a much-loved addition to the London restaurant scene.
NEW OPENING: FARM GIRL CAFE
There's been a lot of nutrition-conscious cafes and restaurants popping up across London in recent months, but we must admit - we're particularly excited about Farm Girl. Inspired by life on an Australian farm, this stylishly cozy restaurant offers a range of what they call 'nutritious yet substantial' dishes, including a vegan 'BLT', Farm Girl Porridge, a variety of salads and a whole lot of coconut-based treats. Tucked away in a secluded courtyard off Portobello Road, Farm Girl Cafe seems like the perfect place to relax and enjoy something delicious - we'll be dropping by soon.
It's half way through the summer holidays, so if you're looking to temporarily rid yourself of the kids (in the nicest way possible), then London Zoo have a good solution; a sleepover in their BUG House. A night with giant tarantulas and cockroaches might not be everyone's cup of tea, but this sleepover with an intrepid twist offers the chance to explore the Zoo by torchlight, enjoying various animal-themed games and talks on the way. For 7-11 year olds, the Bedbugs Sleepovers will be taking place throughout August - see the website for more details.
Located on the roof of the former BBC television centre in White City, Storeys falls somewhere between a street food market and a pop-up bar. Foodie favourites such as Crabbieshack, Le Bun, Aji Ceviche and White Men Can't Jerk will all be serving up their delicious wares as part of a rotating line up of food stalls, whilst three different bars offer a place to drink and relax. Aside from the food, there will be a selection of work on display from young London artists, a DJ for the evening and yoga classes for the morning. Storeys will be open until late every weekend throughout August.
NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL
Its one of the biggest events on the London summer calendar, and one that we feel a sort of affinity with, seeing as our brand new hotel in Notting Hill is named after one of its founders, Rhaune Laslett. This year, Notting Hill Carnival will be focused on 'Emergence of Carnival' as part of celebrations leading up to the fiftieth anniversary of the event next year. As always, the Carnival takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, with 'Family Day' on Sunday and the main Parade on Monday. Roll yourself in glitter, feathers and all things colurful, and enjoy the party.
Photo credit: R-L Vivian Maier, Hetty Feather/Dukes Theatre, Joseph Cornell/RA, nottinghillcarnival.com