The Smithfield Street Party: A Beastly Adventure


We bet you’re already planning how to best take advantage of the upcoming August Bank Holiday Weekend.

Many of you fine folk will be running away to Europe or around other parts of the UK, but those staying in London should hit up the Culture Mile’s Smithfield Street Party on Sunday 25 August. 

It’s being run by the Museum of London, working hand in hand with their Beasts of London exhibition. The animals of London are taking back the streets for an entire day of beastly events. There’s so much going on at this street party, which is inspired by the original Bartholomew’s Fair.

The Grand Avenue will play host to the Soaring Smithfield Canopy where an exciting lineup of aerialists swing from the rafters, creating a dazzling spectacle in the Victorian iron structures of the central markets. 

Expect performances from brilliant companies such as Extraordinary Bodies and Upswing, with more to be announced soon. Here, audiences can create their own winged creations with Scribble and Smudge and watch giant bird puppets from Artillery. Kids and adults alike can transform themselves into a magical creature with masks, face painting and headdresses, too.

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There is so much planned but even the simplest activities will keeps the kids entertained

The large Rotunda Garden, known during the day as the Beastly Den, is made for the creative souls out there. Be sure to bring your wild ideas to create mythical creatures and habitats and add them to the House of Wayward Plants and watch it grow as the day passes.

Get a wiggle on and do as the bees do with a waggle dance workshop, inspect some of the mini-beasts, including some not-so-mini giant snails and hissing cockroaches from SunTrap, and change your perspectives through a series of interactive wild installations. The West Smithfield Rotunda, known on the day as the Wild Rotunda Plains, offers a whole host of free activities, including London’s Biggest Play Street – where you can go wild, build a den or run through the urban world as never seen before.

Learn to look at the world through the eyes of a cat with beginner’s parkour classes (this will surely be good fun to watch), have a go on The Rig and make the sounds of the beasts around us, and visit the Tall Tails Tent to take some time out from all the fun. This is a space to relax and unwind for the littlest party animals with storytelling and chill-out zones. Sit and devour a book or listen to storytellers tell winding tales. Nap time will be essential during the big day out. 

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Kids and adults alike will have a laugh. Photo by Mark Allan.

A host of other activities for all ages will animate the ancient streets throughout the day, including bands, choirs, craft market stalls, zine-making workshops, history tours with the City Guides, dog shows, fun fair rides, and lots of surprises.

Sharon Ament, director of the Museum of London, said: “This is definitely the year of the beasts. We cannot wait to take over the historic Smithfield streets once again and put on a wild street party like no other. 

“Just down the road from where the new Museum of London will be in a few years, this is a wonderful example of how Culture Mile partners and the Smithfield Markets Tenants’ Association can come together to put on a truly spectacular free show for Londoners and visitors in the heart of the City. Bring your family, friends and your dogs to enjoy free fun, festivities and food for one day only.”

Sunday 25 August at Smithfield Market EC1A 9PS