Words: Chris Zacharia

City breaks have never been so popular. Thanks to the likes of easyJet, Airbnb and TripAdvisor, cities across the continent have found themselves catering to more and more visitors.

But they’re not just waiting for you to visit. Cities are coming. This year, Hamburg on Tour is bringing the best of the city to London for a two-day festival.

But how will Hamburg win over Londoners, who live in a metropolis that seems to have it all?


On Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd September, Hamburg on Tour is taking over Brick Lane’s iconic Boiler House, an ex-industrial site which chimes nicely with Hamburg’s rough and ready vibe.

If you’re going to take a city on the road, you need to be put on a show. After all, there’s plenty going in London, so you better have something special.

For a city of its size, Hamburg packs a big punch. Berlin might be more famous, and Munich more steeped in history, but Hamburg on Tour proves that this northern port city has a distinct personality that’s well worth getting to know.

As the place where The Beatles became a true band, and a hotbed of festivals, Hamburg’s music heritage is disproportionately large. Stefanie Hempel, who runs the city’s St. Pauli Beatles Tour, will be in London during the Hamburg festival performing the Fab Four’s hits on ukelele.

The two-day festival will also host a variety of bands playing at some of Hamburg’s popular festivals, from ELBJAZZ to Wacken Open Air. As Germany’s musical Mecca, and home to the spectacular Elbphilharmonie concert house, Hamburg has the kind of artistic diversity that far outstrips its neighbours.

German food might be under-represented in London, but Hamburg on Tour will redress the balance for a couple of days at least. The Cook UP culinary gallery will showcase some of Hamburg’s most creative cuisine, with bottles of the city’s home-brewed, Breton-striped lager, Lutte Hoog, as a refreshingly zesty accompaniment.

There are coffee masterclasses from Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterei, one of Hamburg’s most popular cafes and roasteries; craft chocolate from Chocoversum, who’ll teach you to make your own; and a shrine devoted to St. Pauli, German football’s famously anarchic cult club and proud flyers of the Jolly Roger.

Admission is free, meaning that you can pop in to The Boiler Room and enjoy a taste of one of Germany’s most intriguing communities – without having to go on a city break…

Hamburg on Tour is open from 10am – 11pm on Saturday 1 and 10am – 6pm Sunday 2 September at The Boiler House, 152 Brick Lane (part of the Old Truman Brewery). And no need to register – entry is free of charge.


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