Greenwich is set to sizzle this summer with an incredible line up of festivals. Every corner of the Royal Borough, from Greenwich Peninsula to Woolwich and Charlton, offers some kind of stellar festival action across August and September. From the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival - London’s biggest free celebration of outdoor theatre and art - to the excitement of Greenwich Peninsula Summer Sessions, the architectural treasures of Open House 2023 and the all-star line-up at Greenwich Comedy Festival, there’s sure to be a festival or two you can’t afford to miss!

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival

Open Lines at Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2023

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) is a key component of Royal Greenwich Festivals – the annual series of high-quality events organised by Greenwich to celebrate artistic and cultural vibrancy in the Royal Borough. From the renowned World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich to Woolwich, Charlton, Eltham and beyond, it’s a spectacular celebration of al fresco arts – from theatre to dancing and live music to acrobatics.

GDIF has been hailed by the Guardian for its ‘unrivalled contribution to the happiness of the people of London’. Scan the incredible programme, and you'll quickly see why! The Festival kicks off with French high-wire artist Tatiana Mosio Bongonga, teetering above Woolwich’s General Gordon Square in her performance, Open Lines (25 August), moves through the family-friendly street arts, theatre, circus and dance events of Greenwich Fair (26 August) and includes such spectacles as the dance party-cum-circus, Ancient Futures, in Thamesmead (27 – 28 August) and The Architect, an immersive theatrical journey through time (6 – 10 September).

Greenwich Peninsula Summer Sessions

Greenwich Peninsula Summer Sessions

Overlapping with GDIF are Greenwich Peninsula’s Summer Sessions. Livening up the Design District every Saturday and Sunday throughout August, these wonderful weekenders cycle through dancing, live music, global street food and outdoor cinema. First up is Music to Move To – a series of dance performances, workshops and film run by the internationally renowned Clod Ensemble (5 and 6 August). The second weekend, stretching from 11 to 13 August, is all about the music. The Big Music Weekend kicks off with a ‘Jazz Evening’ on Friday, the ‘Rhythm Section’ on Saturday (headlined by Bradley Zero) and the Caribbean-flavoured ‘Just Vibez’ on Sunday.

Week three (19 and 20 August) is all about great grub, as The Joy of Food descends on the Peninsula. There’s plenty to lap up – whether that’s getting involved in sushi-making and sponge-decorating or snacking on stunning street food in the Canteen Food Hall courtyard. The final weekend (26 and 27 August) sees Pop Up Screens bring Open Air Cinema to the Design District. Matinees of family-friendly favourites like Encanto give way to more grown-up selections like Everything, Everywhere, All at Once in the evening.

Open House Festival 2023

Greenwich opens its doors for Open House Festival 2023

Architecture and history enthusiasts will want to make space in their diaries for London’s Open House Festival 2023, which promises plenty of great openings across Greenwich. Taking place over two weekends (9 and 10 September and 16 and 17 September) this is your annual chance to get behind the scenes of the Royal Borough’s glorious buildings, architecture and neighbourhoods.

Notable buildings to explore include the Old Royal Naval College (an especially hot ticket in 2023, the 300th anniversary of the death of its architect, Sir Christopher Wren) and the Queen’s House, Inigo Jones’s 17th-century masterpiece and England’s first classical building. Alongside openings, there are public events, historical films, walking tours of Woolwich, the Thamesmead Estate and other noteworthy sites and more.

Greenwich Comedy Festival

Greenwich Comedy Festival

Laughter is also set to rain on the Royal Borough this summer, as the annual Greenwich Comedy Festival swings into town. Cracking up the Big Top at the National Maritime Museum from 13 to 17 September, this scintillating celebration of stand up sees UK legends like Stewart Lee and Jack Dee take the stage alongside relative newcomers like Fern Brady and Maisie Adam and viral sensation, Troy Hawke of the ‘Greeters’ Guild’.

Running to popular and critical acclaim since 2009, Greenwich Comedy Festival is London’s largest and longest-running comedy extravaganza. Firmly established as an essential element of the Royal Borough’s summer festival programme, it’s still run by its founders, Greenwich-raised siblings Will Briggs and Cass Randolph.

Woolwich Carnival

Woolwich Carnival, Greenwich

If you like nothing better than a free party, head down to Woolwich on Saturday, 16 September for Woolwich Carnival. This flamboyant, Brazilian style carnaval is set to light up General Gordon Square and Royal Arsenal Riverside from noon. Expect free face painting, live music and arts and crafts throughout the afternoon and into the evening with Woolwich Lates, alongside a spectacular parade of foliões (revellers including dancers, musicians, local people and schoolchildren) running from Woolwich Front Room to General Gordon Square.

Woolwich Carnival is the fruit of a partnership between TARU Arts, Royal Arsenal Riverside, Tramshed, Greenwich Inclusion Project and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Woolwich Words & Sounds

Woolwich Words and Sounds at Woolwich Works

Over three weeks in September, Friday 8 to Sunday 24 September, Woolwich Works is hosting the second Woolwich Words & Sounds. A season of live music and stand-up comedy, alongside cocktails and street food at the pop-up beach bar. The incredible line-up has just been announced including comedians Suzi Ruffell, Ivo Graham and Dane Baptiste. Book a ticket and enjoy some brilliant summer entertainment by the river.

Totally Thames 

Totally Thames in Greenwich

This annual pan-London festival celebrates the River Thames for the whole of September. The programme is full of arts events, active adventures, environmental initiatives, heritage and education programmes. In Greenwich, special events include talk a walk along The Line to discover public art installations; take a trip on Uber Boat by Thames Clippers for Wren 300: Wren by River, an introduction to Wren’s London legacy, from the perspective of the river Thames; and Hands on History at the National Maritime Museum.

Turning Tides

Turning Tides Festival on Greenwich Peninsula

Wrapping up Greenwich’s heaving holiday hamper of festival action is Turning Tides at Greenwich Peninsula. A free celebration of music, food and good summer times, Turning Tides hits Tide Square from 1-8pm on 23 and 24 September. Revellers can expect an entire weekend of soulful summer sounds including headliners Afriquoi and Los Bitchos, plus lip-smacking street food and a friendly pop-up bar.

There are even more festivals still to come as the summer goes on, so stay tuned for the latest updates!

By Hugh McNaughtan


Greenwich+Docklands International Festival
Summer highlights
Experience something magical as London's free, annual outdoor theatre and performing arts festival is coming to Greenwich!

London’s leading festival of free outdoor theatre and performing arts.

Summer Sessions
Summer highlights
Greenwich Peninsula presents a Summer season celebrating the spirit of community, the outdoors, and the River

Celebrate the best in dance, music, food and film every weekend in August.

Open House Festival 2023
Design District and Greenwich Peninsula

The Open House Festival is a two week city-wide celebration of London’s housing, architecture and neighbourhoods that make London special.

Greenwich Comedy Festival 2023
Live entertainment
Greenwich Comedy Festival 2023

Greenwich Comedy Festival returns with incredible acts plus craft beer, street eats and more at the National Maritime Museum.

Woolwich Carnival
Woolwich Carnival

Get lost in the sights and sounds of Woolwich Carnival, with a spectacular parade of dancers, musicians, local people and schools in colourful costumes.

Woolwich Words & Sounds 2023
Summer highlights
A season of live music and stand-up comedy

Woolwich Works is hosting the second Woolwich Words & Sounds. A season of live music, stand-up comedy and spoken word, with some family events thrown in for good measure.

Totally Thames 2023
Summer highlights
Totally Thames bings the Thames to life with river-related art, education and heritage programmes and events

Celebrating the River Thames with arts events, active adventures, environmental initiatives, heritage and education programmes.

Turning Tides Festival 2023
Summer highlights
A weekend of soulful summer sounds, with a wide range of brilliant musicians

A weekend of soulful summer sounds, with a wide range of brilliant musicians, street food, a pop-up bar and loads of spaces to explore.



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