Families marooned at home through the summer are being promised a staycation theme park complete with a 1,000 seat ‘big top’ circus tent in the heart of west London.
The so-called ‘London Wonderground’ in Earl’s Court will offer outdoor bars, street food, live shows, bandstand performances, vintage fairground rides, family activities and west London’s only ‘city beach’.
It is being constructed on the site of old Earls Court Exhibition Centre and will be free to enter throughout the summer months.
The team behind the event are promising an amazing programme of live shows, including a “Best of the Edinburgh Festival” season of comedy, circus and family performances.
It is the creation of Underbelly, one of the UK’s leading producers of large-scale city centre events and live entertainment, which is working in partnership with The Earls Court Development Company.
Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, directors of Underbelly, said: “London Wonderground is without doubt one of our most exciting and ambitious festival creations to date, and it feels so in the spirit of the heritage of Earl’s Court to be launching it as we come out of the pandemic.
“We’re dancing on toes on hot coals in our excitement to give people that live entertainment experience again, and to play our part in bringing some much-needed fun and socialising back to people’s lives this summer.
“London Wonderground at Earl’s Court will do just that, with something for everyone, free entry to the site and a jam packed programme of live shows to make you smile, laugh and gasp.
“Add to that, outdoor food and drink, vintage rides and even a beach, and we think London Wonderground can truly become London’s staycation destination this summer. Let’s all have some fun.”
Underbelly claim ‘London Wonderground’ will be the ultimate “staycation playground” for Londoners, offering a host of free and ticketed events, a great outdoor atmosphere and something to do for all ages.
Shows will be performed in two indoor venues: Udderbelly, the iconic upside-down purple cow which returns to London for the first time in five years, and a 36m big top.
The initial programme of shows will be announced and go on sale at the end of May.
The opening of London Wonderground at Earls Court is subject to successfully securing planning and licensing permission for temporary events from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
Rob Heasman, CEO of Earls Court Development Company, said: ‘Following a year of being stuck at home, we can’t wait to bring fun to the area, bringing people back to Earl’s Court whilst also supporting existing businesses and creating new jobs and training opportunities – all in a COVID secure way.
“These plans have been shaped by our conversations with the local community, who have told us they want to see the site activated in time for summer, and we will continue to harness the spirit of collaboration and celebration with our neighbours.”
Councillor Stephen Cowan, leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said: “The history of this site is one of exhibitions and festivities, and I am pleased to see plans to build on that legacy by bringing it back into use this summer.
“Fun is a core human need and The London Wonderground at Earls Court will be just the tonic that Londoners need.”
Featured image credit: Underbelly