London is great all year round, but for some, summer is when it truly comes alive. Especially with record temperatures in recent years, more people than ever are flocking to the capital to soak up the culture and sun.
There are a million and one things to do in London during the summer months, with countless great places to hang out, whether you want to kick back and watch a film, maybe do something a little more active, or do nothing except watch the world go by.
Whatever you choose, here’s a round-up of some of our favourites.
The Luna Cinema
From Fulham Palace to Crystal Palace, the UK’s first open-air cinema – the Luna Cinema – is taking over some of the greatest outdoor spaces in the capital to bring you a line-up of some of the best films ever, from The Favourite to The Big Lebowski. Their screenings follow a ‘simple formula’: a classic film on a big screen in a beautiful or prestigious setting – ideal for those dreamy and lazy summer evenings.
If you’re staying west, Park Grand London Kensington is a great hotel choice, too.
Whether you’re a long-time lover of this west London hotspot or still haven’t checked it out, this summer is the perfect time to hit up Fulham Beach. Think indoor pergolas, pop-up restaurants, live music, yoga classes on the beach, bottomless brunch and many more fun events to get stuck into.
This is one of the best ways to get some sand in your toes in the capital.
A foodie favourite, Borough Market is glorious whatever the weather, but in the summer it really comes alive thanks to the tropical feel of its glass home. Pick up some of the city’s finest meats, cheese, wine and more, as you wander around this sunny paradise a stone’s throw away from London Bridge Station. It’s also a great spot to nab a stay in London Budget Hotels, too.
A must for those wanting to make a day of getting away from city life, Kew Gardens is a plant and nature lover’s paradise, with over 50,000 different plant species calling this west London favourite their home. Also, be sure to check out the recently added Hive – an impressive light and sound installation which is stimulated by the activity of bees in a nearby hive.
The Globe Theatre
Arguably the greatest place in the world to watch a Shakespeare play, the Globe is the place to be in the summer, for fans of the bard and budding thespians. The Globe Theatre is open-air, with performances happening throughout the year, despite whatever the elements may bring. The temperature is dependent upon the weather, so go prepared for typically-unpredictable British summer! There are both standing and seating ticket options. Keep the class and culture going with a stay at The Shaftesbury Hotel afterwards.
Hampstead Heath swimming ponds
The city has a surprisingly large amount of places to take a dip, from ponds and pools to lidos. Hampstead Heath’s swimming ponds are one of the most popular with the locals, thanks to the relaxing surroundings and cheap entry fee (it’s just £2 for a single day ticket). Its three pools are open, to ladies, men, and mixed groups. It’s worth noting, however, that even in the summer, the water is chilly.
London Fields Lido
If you fancy something warmer, the London Fields Lido is one of the best in the city, thanks to its big refurb back in 2006. With this unusual summer heatwave upon us, it appears all of London sets out for open water at any available opportunity, so prepare for the place to be packed on a hot weekend. There are also lots of different lanes for different levels of swimmers, too, making it easy to navigate for a range of visitors.
Vauxhall City Farm
Fancy a brief but fun escape from the city’s hustle and bustle? Then look no further than this conveniently located little farm, just off the busy main Vauxhall junction.
There’s a decent range of different animals to visit, a duck pond and an ecology garden (complete with bog, wormery and stag beetle nursery). There’s also a community allotment (perhaps not that surprising considering the number of flats and sky rises nearby), which grows plants used as dyes for the wool spinning classes that take place on the farm.
Prices are donation-based, with the suggested amount being about £5.
The Royal Parks
London is a surprisingly green city, with major parks or simple and nice green spaces to be found and enjoyed all over the capital. From the famous Hyde Park (a stone’s throw away from our own Hyde Park Hotel) to Victoria Park (repeatedly voted as the city’s best) you’re sure to be near one wherever you’re staying.
Access to the parks is free to the public, too. And if it’s history and architecture you’re after, in the Royal Parks you can find hundreds of buildings, statues and memorials, giving a fascinating insight into London’s heritage.
The Canals of Little Venice
Home to a community of Londoners living in boats, Little Venice is a special spot in Maida Vale that not many people know about.
Meander through Rembrandt Gardens, feast on seafood with a view of the water, or peruse the plants and have a cuppa in the Quince Tree Café. Then climb aboard a cruise travelling between Little Venice and Camden Lock, or wander east along the canal towpath to the London Zoo (another great place to enjoy in the summer) or Primrose Hill.
Climb up the roof of the O2
Discover a different side of London including historic Greenwich, Olympic Park and Canary Wharf – all visible from the stunning 360° view atop the O2. In fact, when it’s clear, you can see landmarks up to 15 miles away. As well as ‘the original climb’, there are a number of other options available too. The sunset climb is a great choice – go on up as the sun goes down. Pure romance as you experience London against the backdrop of an auburn sky.