Come September in London, many of the summer crowds have begun to ebb away – children are back at school and workers have (sadly) returned to their offices. Besides the inescapable rush hour mayhem, the streets and tourist attractions do quiet down for a brief interlude before Christmas preparations descend on the city.
That makes September a wonderful time of year to spend a weekend (or longer!) in London, so take advantage of special offers at the Park Grand Hotel Paddington and score some tickets for Underbelly, which powers on until the end of the month.
Underbelly is a pop-up entertainment festival located on London’s Southbank, in between the Southbank Centre and the London Eye. You can get there on the Bakerloo line easily from hotels near Paddington Station London. They have a food festival on-site where you can tuck into tasty street food alongside a pre-show drink as the sun sets and the cool autumn evenings draw in.
Could it get any better?
London’s answer to Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, this festival has grown exponentially in the past eleven years. The programme of events includes cabaret, music, comedy and immersive activities and, as such, it’s a popular hang-out for Londoners and visitors who want to do something a little bit different with their downtime.
Underbelly puts on world-class live entertainment, but pride themselves as an affordable way to experience London’s theatrical scene. Tickets are generally priced around £20 per person per show and – luckily for parents with little ones – their acts are short. Most do not exceed one hour, which is also ideal for those who have a shorter stay in the city and hope to cram in as much as they can.
You can usually find a few last-minute tickets on the day – more so in September than over the school holidays in fact – but an advance booking is highly recommended if you have your heart set on a particular show.
Not quite sure what’s on offer? We have pulled together 7 of the best shows to help you chose the right one for you this September.
1) Immersive: 80 Days – A Real World Adventure
Now until 29 September. Tickets from £21
If you’re seeking something more immersive and have a strong sense of adventure, let 80 Days – A Real World Adventure take you on a quest through the streets of London!
You have 80 minutes to dash around the Southbank, past the hotels near Paddington Station London raising funds, purchasing your expedition needs and solving clues as you prepare to embark on your adventure. The event is based on Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in 80 Days. Decide who you can trust and take on challenges – all before the train departs, in 80 minutes!
2) Circus: Rouge
28 August – 15 September. Tickets from £16.50. Suitable for ages 18+
Whisk yourself away and indulge in an evocative night at the circus, with one of Underbelly’s headline acts – Rouge. Strictly for adults only, this ‘supremely sexy’ show is a decadent mix of acrobatics, aerial trapeze, operatic cabaret and some tongue in cheek burlesque.
3) Comedy: London Comedy Allstars
31 August – 28 September. Tickets from £20. Suitable for ages 18+
What could be better than a spot of stand-up comedy Saturday night? New to the festival this year, London Comedy Allstars runs every Saturday night during September at Underbelly. The line-up this year includes Rhys Nicholson, Rosie Jones and Pierre Novellie. Check the event schedule for the night you plan to be in town, there’s no better way to keep the winter blues at bay.
Book a hotel package at the Park Grand Hotel Paddington to spend your Sunday recovering in style after a late night.
4) Cabaret: The Cocoa Butter Club
13 September. Tickets from £14. Suitable for ages 16+
Celebrating performers of colour, this enticing cabaret comprises the art of burlesque, vogueing, circus, drag and dance. At this year’s Underbelly, the ensemble is running a series of five shows. The fifth instalment of their series, For the Culture, runs on 13 September. This is the only date in September as well as their finale event. There’s a reason these guys sold out when they made their debut at Underbelly, so don’t be disappointed and make sure your name is on the bill.
5) Music: 007 Voices of Bond
14 – 28 September. Tickets from £17
Slip into the gadget-laden, smooth-talking, shaken not stirred world of Bond, James Bond, with vocalist Phoebe Katis. Phoebe’s show is a 60-minute rendition of the theme tunes from the films including Diamonds Are Forever, Skyfall and Goldfinger. She is accompanied by a live band of leading musicians, to make you feel like you’re in one of the films. Let them show you that ‘Nobody Does it Better.’
6) Music: The Aretha Franklin Story
28 – 29 September. Tickets from £17
Did you know that Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin had a whopping 112 songs hit the music charts? Show a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T and pay homage to her success at The Aretha Franklin Story, performed by another talented musician, British born Cleo Higgins. Cleo has performed at Wembley Arena as the lead singer in her sister act, Cleopatra, and is a household name due to reaching the finals of The Voice UK in 2013.
7) Family: The Showstoppers’ Kids Show
8 September & 29 September. Tickets from £14.50
If you’re bringing the family to London for a weekend, they’ll love this marvellously musical and thoroughly interactive adventure. Children from age 6+ are invited to take part in this event where they’ll devise their dream music show, including the setting, characters and plot. They just need to shout out what they want, and The Showstoppers will do it right there and then on the stage. Adults must stay quiet, and give way to the kids to be as outrageously imaginative as they wish – anything is possible!
Book your tickets and accommodation now to avoid disappointment and we’ll see you in September