For all the moaning Londoners might do during the wet Winters that the UK is infamous for, there is no denying that when the sun comes out, everyone knows just how to make the most of it. This year’s glorious Summer is coming to an end, so here are some things you have got to do before you run out of sunshine.
There is nothing that shouts “London Summer” like sipping on a clinking gin and tonic, filled with fresh Summer fruits, whilst basking in the sunshine alongside the winding River Thames. Whether it is a fish and chips pub-lunch you are after or just some evening drinks with a view while catching the last of the late-night light, these places are armed with the equipment to make that happen perfectly every time.
The Ship in Wandsworth has mastered the art of relishing the casual joy and fun of Summer. They have got their inside pub, serving delicious gastropub-style food, then they have got an outside area with bar snacks and plenty Pimms to go around. Sit on their deck and look out over the river, crunching on their curly fries with pulled pork and lavishly sipping on your ice-cold Aperol Spritz.
Open: Thursday – Saturday: 11am – 12pm
Sunday – Wednesday: 11am – 11pm
Address: 41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, London SW18 1TB
Tamesis Dock in Vauxhall takes “riverside” drinks to a whole new level, given that it is actually a dock on the water. The barge is unique, quirky and bustling with life, good music and a fully stocked bar. Not only do you have the sun shining on your face and a view of the river, but you have also got the clearest of views of the Houses of Parliament across the way. A London Summer view at its finest.
Open: Monday – Friday: 11.30am – 1am
Saturday – Sunday: 11am – 1am
Address: Albert Embankment, Lambeth, London SE1 7TP
The Bell & Crown in Chiswick is another perfect place to absorb some rays with a delicious cocktail or platter of nibbles. The river runs lazily past you as you admire views of Kew Pier and Kew Bridge. The only thing set to disrupt the Summer-y tranquillity of your evening is the ripples of a boat jetting past or dogs and children merrily playing along the river.
Open: Monday – Friday: 8am – 11pm
Saturday: 9am – 11pm
Sunday: 9am – 10.30pm
Address: 11-13 Thames Rd, Strand-On-The-Green, Chiswick, London W4 3PL
London is brimful of lovely cafés that are well-worth your time, whether it is afternoon tea at Shaftesbury London or the famously floral Peggy Porschen for cake. But what is really unique to the Summer months are the cafés in the middle of a park – especially as the Summer winds to a close. They are perfect because you can’t get to them without strolling through the green parks, with brightly coloured flowers shimmering in the light that reminds you what a refreshing place parks such as Hyde Park can be when the day is warm but breezy.
Serpentine Bar & Kitchen in Hyde Park is a very special experience. You are lakeside in the largest park in London, there are rows of deck chairs to lounge in while you sip on your coffee and sink your teeth into a slice of velvety chocolate cake and people are using the lake to its full potential.
Open: 8am – 8pm
Address: Hyde Park, Serpentine Rd, London W2 2UH
Pavilion Café in Victoria Park (also known as Vicky or “The People’s” Park) is also lakeside, overlooking Erno Bartha’s Save The Hay statues looming from the water, which were once intended to be temporary art installations but are now permanent fixtures. Get yourself an ice cream and relish in the greenery and light filling this east London green space.
Open: Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday: 8am – 6pm
Address: Victoria Park, Old Ford Rd, London E9 7DE
Head to The Boathouse Café in Regent’s Park for some waterside Italian food and snacks. Whether you just fancy a bite of their renowned flatbread pizza on the waterside terrace, or a coffee whilst admiring the sheer beauty of Regent’s Park, this café has got you covered.
Open: 9am – 6.30pm
Address: The Regent’s Park, Hanover Gate, London NW1 4NU
London is a built-up, metropolitan city, so unless you are at Shaftesbury Premier London Paddington, you are not likely to have a pool. Even if you are, London is bustling with lidos, which are the UK’s outdoor swimming facilities – sometimes they are pools and sometimes they are sectioned off parts of a lake or river.
Probably the most popular lido in London is the London Fields Lido. London Fields, a park in Hackney, is home to this lido that is an actual swimming pool. It is sectioned off in a way that people wanting to do a bit of exercise and a few lengths can do so without interruption by swimmers playing or floating about.
Open: 6.30am – 9pm
Address: London Fields West Side, London E8 3EU
Hampstead Heath swimming ponds are one of the many incredible features of this green space in North West London. There is a ladies pond, a men’s pond and a mixed pond.
Open: Men’s and Ladies’ Ponds: 7am – 8.30pm
Mixed Ponds: 7am – 6.30pm
Address: Hampstead, London NW3 1BP
If swimming in the Heath’s ponds is not quite your style, then walk right to the bottom of the Heath and you will find Parliament Hill, and the busy lido that has been there since 1983.
Open: Monday: 7am- 8.30pm
Tuesday: 7am – 6pm
Wednesday – Friday: 7am – 8.30pm
Saturday – Sunday: 7am – 6pm
Address: Parliament Hill Fields, Gospel Oak, London NW5 1LT
Not far from the Paddington Court Executive Rooms is Hyde Park. Once you have finished up your coffee and a slice of cake from Serpentine Café, head over to Serpentine Lido and bathe in the last of the Summer glory on the terrace, in the sun chairs, sipping on a cold ice tea.
Open: Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm
Address: Hyde Park, London