Camberwell caters to many kinds of people, and The Hermits Cave is the spot for its real beer and pub lovers. This no-nonsense corner pub is charming and traditional with two tiered standing tables and a large single main room that circles the well-stocked bar.
The Hermit’s Cave is the kind of place the pub lovers of Camberwell ‘pop down for a quick one’ before dinner, a gentle spot for a gentle relationship with alcohol — a pub with the community feel of a small town with just the right vibe.
These kinds of spots are rare in London these days and are a special taste of all the best stereotypes about British boozers, all weathered exposed wood and old beer labels displayed proudly as trophies.
So pop on your coat, hunch your shoulders against the stair-rodding rain, and clip-clop down the narrow streets into the Hermit’s Cave, where the windows are steamed up, the beers tasty and the times good.
August is probably the most eccentric month in the London theatre calendar, with a handful of spectacular large-scale productions balanced against the fact that half of the industry buggers off to the Edinburgh Fringe or on summer hols.
However, what’s left is still pretty cool, from the jaw-dropping spectacle of the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival to a couple of big-name, celeb-driven plays at the National Theatre and Almeida, to some quirky musical fun: finally, London gets ‘The SpongeBob Musical’.
Here are the biggest and best theatre openings in August.
London’s biggest free outdoor theatre festival has been a highlight of the summer calendar for decades, but post-pandemic its canny shift from street theatre to enormous, artist-driven setpieces has really invigorated it. This year goggle in awe at glowing animatronic swans in the Thames (‘Cygnus’, Aug 31-Sep 3), gawp in wonder at dancers on the face of St Paul’s (‘Resurgam’, Aug 31-Sep 2) or for a more intimate, serious experience check out the nightbus-set Stephen Lawrence tribute ‘The Architect’ (Sep 6-10).
Although her heavy involvement in TV masterpiece ‘Succession’ may have somewhat overshadowed Lucy Prebble’s theatre work of late, the plays she has written are pretty much all classics. Eleven years after its original, Billie Piper-starring production, Jamie Lloyd directs Paapa Essiedu and Taylor Russell in the first major London revival of Prebble’s devilishly clever romcom about two young people who fall for each other during a lab trial – but can’t tell if it’s love or just the drugs talking.
A decade or so ago, playwright Sam Holcroft was making a real name for herself with a series of intriguingly sharp, provocative dramas, notably her National Theatre hit ‘Rules for Living’. She’s been absent from stage work for the best part of a decade, but returns with this dark comedy set in an ultra-bureaucratic authoritarian society that marks the stage return of ’90s icon Jonny Lee Miller.
A long-anticipated UK premiere for this cult US musical about a bipolar woman’s struggles to come to terms with the death of her son. Outgoing Donmar boss Michael Longhurst directs a cast headed up by North American musical theatre heavyweights Caissie Levy and Trevor Dion Nicholas.
Harvey Fierstein’s groundbreaking queer musical receives its third ever major London production in a big season closer from outgoing Open Air Theatre boss Timothy Sheader. Carl Mullaney and Billy Carter star as drag performer Albin and his partner Georges – an older gay couple – become farcically entangled with the family of virulently anti-drag politician Edouard.
Super choreographer Bourne’s radically revamped dance take on Shakespeare’s immortal romantic tragedy returns to Sadler’s. Returning for the first time since it premiered in 2019, Bourne’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ transposes the starcross’d lovers to a mental institution in which their families have had them locked away.
The second half of the Globe’s 2023 outdoor season kicks into gear this month, with big revivals for gory supernatural tragedy ‘Macbeth’ and delightful forest-set romantic romp ‘As You Like It’. We don’t know a lot about either production conceptually, but they’re in the safe hands of heavyweights Abigail Graham and Ellen McDougall.
‘Macbeth’ is at Shakespeare’s Globe, Jul 21-Oct 28.
‘As You Like It’ is at Shakespeare’s Globe, Aug 18-Oct 29.
It’s perhaps a tiny bit disappointing that we never got the full bells-and-whistles Broadway production of this musical adaptation of the wildly eccentric Nickelodeon cartoon. But this touring UK production will do just fine for the summer. Gareth Gates will star as the self-centred Squidward, because why not.
The only major London kids’ theatre to programme throughout the summer, the Little Angel takes a slightly different tack this August: rather than just staging a single show for the months, it’s instead opting for a multi-show festival features 13 different short-run puppet-based plays over the course of August, plus various workshops for both adults and children.
This looks fun: three big-name Jewish playwrights – Amy Rosenthal, Alexis Zegerman and Ryan Craig – and a very respectable cast – Nigel Planer, Adrian Schiller and Caroline Gruber – join forces for a 70-mine, three-play bill offering very Jewish takes on birth, marriage and death.
Dating back to 1992, BookMongers truly is one of the gems of Brixton, which is in turn one of the gems of London, meaning a trip down to this quirky bookshop is well worth your time.
Nestled amongst the hustle and bustle of one of South London’s most vibrant neighborhoods is a bookshop that ignores the soulless drudgery of modern capitalist life, and instead invites you into a cosy corner out of the rain, out of the noise and into a world of books. The prices are incredible and the selection is both sprawling yet finely tuned.
Expect to find the work of masters for three quid at Bookmongers, which even has the odd nook and cranny to take a moment and read. With fairly lights and books absolutely everywhere this is a veritable den of words and wonder. Just be warned, if you head down to Bookmongers with a busy schedule, be prepared to miss your next appointment.
I LOVE WALES. I LOVE IT. It is where my family are from and where the majority of our childhood holidays were spent; down on our Grandfathers farm in Pembrokeshire. It feels like coming home. But; times change and a place is really only a special place because of the people so it’s been quite … Read more
Running from the east in Upminster to Earl’s Court in the west, the District Line forms one of the oldest London Underground lines in the service’s history. The idea when the line began was that it would connect all of London’s railway termini. Starting off as a separate underground railway, it was integrated with the other underground railways into the London Underground in 1933. Since that time, it has become the busiest of the Tube’s sub-surface railways, and as you can imagine, this means that there are a lot of interesting facts for us to relate.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
The District Line first opened on Christmas Eve, 1868, just in time to get people back home for the holiday.
Busy Busy Busy
As mentioned, the District Line is one of the busiest on the London Underground. It is the fifth-busiest overall and the busiest of the sub-surface lines. In 2011/2012, it saw upwards of 208 million riders. It’s not hard to understand why when you see that the District Line stretches for roughly 40 miles and has 60 stations, the most of any London Underground line.
On December 8, 1954, a tornado actually blew off the roof of the Gunnersbury station on the District Line. Six people were injured as a result.
Sorry for the Convenience
The District Line was the first amongst the Tube lines to get an escalator, which was installed at the Earl’s Court station in 1911. People weren’t quite sure about this new-fangled invention, however, and the Tube reportedly hired a one-legged man to ride up and down the escalators to show people that they were safe.
The Underground Station of Stamford Brook on the District Line was the first to get an automatic ticket barrier installed in 1964.
It’s Not Bigger on the Inside (We Think)
The Earl’s Court station is also home to the last remaining functional Police Public Call Box in the city. Better known to modern people as the TARDIS (due to the original TARDIS taking on the look of a Police Box), it was saved from destruction by dedicated Doctor Who fans long after police boxes were no longer necessary. If you visit it in real life, you won’t be able to get inside, but Google Earth offers a fun surprise to those who use their platform to enter it.
Mister, Can You Spare a Bone?
Laddy, the Airedale Terrier, was a common fixture at Wimbledon station from 1949 to 1956. With a collection box strapped to his back, Laddie collected donations for the Southern Railway Servants Orphanage. After retirement, he went to live at the Southern Railway Home for Old People in Woking until his death in 1960. After that, he was stuffed and returned to Wimbledon station, where he was put on display and still collected money for charity until he was finally removed in 1990.
A River Runs Through It
During construction, the District Line encountered an issue in that the River Westbourne went right through the planned location of the Sloane Square Station. To get around this, the engineers essentially constructed a huge pipe through which the river could flow above the station. The District Line still runs under the River Westbourne, thanks to this piece of engineering.
End of the Line
The District Line has been used twice to transport the remains of famous persons. The first was Prime Minister William Gladstone in 1898 from Westminster Station to his funeral at Westminster Abbey. The second was philanthropist Dr. Thomas Barnardo in 1905. He was the last dead body to be transported in this fashion.
It’s not a Platform; It’s Art
Gloucester Road station has a disused Tube platform that’s used for temporary art installations and can be rented out for special events.