When the summer months hit from June to September, a large number of Londoners may opt to pack their bags and jet off to enjoy the holidays abroad. In my opinion, there are few things more beautiful than summer in the City. I’ve spent a couple of full summers in London myself and there is so much to do. Longer days and warmer weather mean that you spend a lot more time outdoors and get to see the Capital in all its glory bathed in sunshine, experience a range of festivals and events, and find creative ways to stay cool.
If you’re in London this summer, here’s 7 things to cross off your list to make the most of your holidays.
1. Music Festivals – BST Hyde Park, Lovebox, Wireless
If you like your live music, what better way is there to spend your summer than attending one (or more) of the many big festivals happening during this season? These will take place across a number of outdoor venues in London.
There’s something for everyone. General lovers of music can look forward to British Summer Time in Hyde Park, which features the biggest names in the industry, including: Roger Waters, Eric Clapton, Bruno Mars, Santana, Paul Simon, The Cure, and many more. Wireless in Finsbury Park operates on a similar scale and headlining this year are J.Cole, Stormzy & DJ Khaled. For electronic/dance/indie/hip-hop fans, the two-day Lovebox festival held at Gunnersbury Park (for the first time this year, it used to be held in Victoria Park) features a star-studded lineup including Childish Gambino, Skepta, Wu-Tang Clan, Anderson Paak, and others.
BST Hyde Park
6th-15th July 2018
Hyde Park, W2 2UH, London
Tickets and info: bst-hydepark.com
13th-14th July 2018
Gunnersbury Park, W3 8LQ, London
Tickets and info: loveboxfestival.com
6th-8th July 2018
Finsbury Park, N4 2DE, London
Tickets and info: wirelessfestival.co.uk
2. Get ice cream
Cool off and treat yourself to an ice cream at these fine establishments.
Chin Chin Labs in Camden Lock/Soho offers fun and innovative flavours and the novelty of churning its ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Pop in store to see these ice cream scientists hard at work making your delicious treat (Burnt Butter Caramel is my favourite flavour).
Hit up Gelateria 3BIS in Borough Market for fresh, in-store made gelato, and a whole range of flavours. Or Amorino in Soho, where they serve their trademark gelato in the shape of a rose. Add a macaron topping for extra decadence. Both are tourist and local favourites.
3. Enjoy London’s many parks and gardens
Summertime is when London’s green spaces and historic parks really benefit from the pleasant weather and extra sunshine.
There are parks and gardens everywhere around London.
Some of my favourites include; Finsbury Park (North), Hyde Park and Regents Park (Central), Victoria Park and London Fields (East), Holland Park (West), and Clapham Common (South). Have a picnic or a leisurely stroll, explore, rent a Boris bike and cruise around, and just take a breather from the quick pace of city life while getting a dose of Vitamin D. Don’t forget your suncream.
4. Beer gardens and roof terraces
Londoners love drinking, and summer’s the time when we take our boozing outdoors. Grab a cold pint (or any other refreshing summer drink of your choice) and chill at one of these beer gardens.
- The Castle in Islington – great little gastro pub with a cosy roof terrace
- The Old Brewery in Greenwich – pub and dining room with spacious outdoor seating and located near the historical Cutty Sark
- Also in Greenwich, check out Trafalgar Tavern for some great river views with your bevs
- The Duke of Edinburgh in Brixton – large and busy beer garden south of the river
5. Have a dip in the Hampstead Ponds
For those who enjoy a combination of swimming and nature, grab your kit and head to Hampstead Heath in North London for a leisurely paddle with the ducks. The ponds are segregated by gender but there is also a mixed pond. For more outdoor swimming options – there are various lidos and pools scattered around town. Click here for details on charges and opening times.
6. Notting Hill Carnival
A massive street party and festival dedicated to celebrating West Indian and Caribbean culture and traditions, Notting Hill Carnival is an annual affair which takes place throughout West London on the last weekend of August. Two million people attend each year, making it the largest street festival in Europe. The Carnival is definitely a summer highlight for tourists and locals alike – head to W10 on 26 August to enjoy the vibrant colours, and tantalising sounds and smells. There is plenty on offer on the day, including Afro-Caribbean food stalls, steel band and calypso music, and the main attraction, the procession which features some 50,000 performers decked out in a plethora of colourful costumes.
Notting Hill Carnival
Various locations throughout W10
7. Neverland – Urban Beach in Fulham
Stuck in London but longing for sand and waves? Not to worry, the good people at Neverland London are bringing back their urban beach concept to Fulham. Enjoy the full beach experience right by the Thames, complete with deck chairs, river views, and actual sand – not too far off from an actual seaside experience. Unfortunately there is no BYOB policy this year so you won’t be able to bring in your own bevs from the Tesco nearby, but you can still enjoy drinks from pop-up bars and restaurants in the venue, as well as a range of other activities including beer pong and ping pong. You can even book your own exclusive beach hut or cabana.
Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6 2TY
neverlandlondon.com for more info