Summertime has officially arrived. Most schools break up, and it’s time to relax and enjoy the long hot days.
Hit The Beach
The Southbank Centre has opened its urban beach on the walkway beside the Thames. It’s a grand day out for everyone, where little ones can build sand castles while adults watch a busker or an outdoor show.
If you want to keep it local, try the cafe and water garden in Wimbledon Park, or take toddlers to paddle in the stream in the Rose Garden at Morden Hall Park.
Head further afield to the great beaches on the south coast; get an urban vibe in Brighton, or rural relaxation at West Wittering.
Have you dared to try The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park? It’s the world’s highest slide and at 178m also the world’s longest, taking 40 seconds to weave its way through and 12 times around Anish Kapoor’s monumental sculpture to reach the ground. You must be aged at least 8 and be at least 1.3m tall. Mon-Fri 11-5pm, Sat/Sun 10-6pm. Tickets to the Orbit and the Slide £16.50 adults, £13.50 concessions, £10.50 kids; family of 4 £52.
My biggest regret of last week is not being able to use the ticket I’d bought for Girl from the North Country, which is previewing at the Old Vic. Of course the show is being raved over on social media – “about as close to theatre perfection as you can get”, said one audience member – and I’m going to have to rebook. Set in Minnesota in the 1930s, it’s written and directed by Conor [The Weir] McPherson, inspired by and featuring music by Bob Dylan. Get in before it sells out.
Tonight, July 20, at 7pm the first part of the National Theatre’s stunning Angels In America two-part play, starring Andrew [Hacksaw Ridge] Garfield and Nathan [The Producers] Lane, is screened in cinemas through the NT Live programme. Catch it at the Odeon Wimbledon and the HMV Curzon. Part 2 is the same time next week.
Dreading the task of keeping the kids occupied? Just for you, I have compiled more than 30 local art, dance, and drama workshops to keep the kids creative over the summer, ranging from painting for toddlers to one week’s intensive coaching for aspiring actors. They run from now until the start of September, so there’s bound to be something that fits your timetable.
If you have a course or activity you want to add to the list, direct message me on Twitter @culturevult.
Coming up in the next few weeks: the five best summer films, top theatre shows to book now for the autumn, and an interview with Jerry Gunn, executive producer at Rose Theatre, Kingston.