Travel inspiration and insider tips

3 years, 1 month ago

Top places to go in August

August is packed with stuff to do this year. There are festivals worth travelling for, week long Spanish parties and some cities are just being themselves – only much, much better. So where’s good to go now that the last few weeks of summer are here and we need a stockpile of great times to take us through into autumn.

London – beaches, late-night markets, grown-up nights at the museum

London might not have the sun (most of the time) but what it lacks in weather, it’s making up for in effort this August. It even has beaches. Okay they aren’t the city spreads of La Concha or Barceloneta but they’re pretty good considering you’ve got London too. Try Beach East at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for 2200m² of sand, a kids’ play pool, beach bars and a funfair. It’s open from 10am-10pm until August 31st and it’s free.

Camden Lock Summer Market Night is every Thursday this month from 6pm with DJs, street food and shopping on the sweet, cobbledy, canal-side bit of Camden. The Royal Family goes on holiday in August, so the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to the public until the start of September. And, for the polar opposite of sedate but still on royal territory, Ascot is the venue for this year’s Red Bull Air Race on August 15th and 16th. The Victoria & Albert Museum has Friday Late on 28th August for exhibitions and art backed by DJs, food, bars and crowds – it’s free, so go early. And the Science Museum is strictly grown-ups only on August 26th for a late night 70s, 80s, 90s fancy dress party and a delve into some deep and meaningful topics – all for fun and free too.

On the 29th and 30th Notting Hill has carnival cornered. But Clapham’s bringing South West 4 to the Common on the 29th and 30th so there’s plenty of competition. This is the 12th year for the massive SW4 music weekender and there’s a brilliant line-up plus the infamously sensational South West More after party.

Valencia – La Tomatina isn’t the only reason

Valencia

Tempted by tomato throwing on August 26? The little town of Bunol, home to La Tomatina, is just 38km from Valencia. This is where Costa Blanca beaches behave beautifully minutes from a major European city. Night life works all ways here, from sea views along the prom at Las Arenas and Malvarossa to old town quaint in Barrio del Carmen and interesting indie bars in Ruzafa. Long hours are the rule, bars stay open until 2 – 3am and clubs pick up about 3am. During the day, Valencia’s World Heritage Sites fight with water sports and surrounding sierra for your attention. And the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) can eat a week without you even noticing – ‘Pixar: 25 Years of Animation’ is on and incredible until August 31st.

Paris – Saint Cloud rocks

Paris

We’ve stopped wondering about Johnny Halliday’s mystifying popularity. He’s clearly a cunning Gallic ruse to distract the rest of the world from what’s really going on in French music. From St. Malo to Perpignan, France has been music festival to its core this summer. And you can still catch the mighty Positiv in Marseilles on August 21st and 22nd. But it’s the capital that’s really stepping up with Rock en Seine on 28th, 29th and 30th. The three day festival has an incredible international line-up, brave new indie talent (home-grown and beyond), there’s a Mini-Rock event for kids, the weather will be late summer marvellous and it’s in Parc de St. Cloud. Which may be the most exclusive Parisian suburb, but it’s also a gorgeous venue and not shy about making some very inelegant noise when it wants to.

Milan – still plenty of Expo Milano for August

Milan

Expo Milano 2015 is powering through an amazing programme of events, exhibitions and experiences until October 31st. It’s been incredible so far and, incredibly busy. But August is when the Milanese traditionally go on holiday, so if ever there was a time to visit this is it. The weather will be hot, but the museums and galleries are cool and less crowded. And, if it gets too much, the Italian Lakes are just over an hour’s drive from the city centre.

Bilbao – Aste Nagusia

Bilbao

Missed Pamplona and Bayonne? Thought the chance to party insanely for an entire week in the name of Basque culture had passed you by for another year? Fear not, Aste Nagusia is just around the corner. Starting on August 22nd and ending at Midnight on the 30th, Aste Nagusia is a huge party of an event that covers every corner of beautiful Bilbao 24/7. There are fireworks every night, the Parade of the Giants and the Big Heads, Basque music, dancing, eating and drinking, dozens of family and kids’ events, sport and games, concerts, exhibitions and crowds of 1000s. It’s pretty much the last feria of the season and, once experienced, truly never forgotten. And don’t worry if you aren’t a relentless partyer, there are plenty of calm moments too and Bilbao is famously family friendly, you just have to pick the right events.

As they say, summer isn’t over till it’s over. Happy August! For more inspiration have a look at our “Best places to travel to in August” page.

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