Summer is an amazing time to be in London. There is so much to see and celebrate in this beautiful city, and there are many locations just waiting to be explored. So if you find yourself with a bit of spare time in the next few months, why not check out some of these suggestions:
Culture al Fresco
When the weather’s good, why should culture be kept indoors?
Jennie Pollock writes: “Going to cinemas and concert halls is soooo last century. Why sit in a warm, dry, suitably darkened room on a comfortable seat when you could shiver on a blanket on a patch of concrete? Well, because the latter is fun, less formal, and more conducive to picnics and conversation!”
Check out free films in Vauxhall Village, including Slumdog Millionaire (8 Jul), This is Spinal Tap (15 Jul) and The Big Lebowski (22 Jul). Or for some paid alternatives, try the Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, or the Backyard Cinema at Camden Lock.
There is also plenty of free music and dance to enjoy. Check out The Scoop at More London, or watch performances from the Royal Opera House, broadcast on the BP Big Screens in various locations, including Trafalgar Square, Canary Wharf, City Hall and Hammersmith.
The City of London Festival runs from 22 June – 17 July and offers an eclectic mix of comedy, music, circus, lectures and plenty of family-friendly events in various locations across the City of London, including (believe it or not!) an inflatable bowler hat in Paternoster Square near St Paul’s.
Sun, Sea and Sparkling Wine
If you want to visit beaches and vineyards you’re more likely to think of France, Spain or Italy than North London! Think again…
From 26 July to 23 August, the Roundhouse in Camden will be bringing in 150 tonnes of sand and creating 900 square metres of beach. Complete with deckchairs, arcade games, popup restaurants and an ice-cream van, the Camden Beach is a great haven in which to chill out when the weather is good.
And as for the vineyards, why not visit the newly opened Forty Hall Vineyard in Enfield; a community project seeking to create high quality sparkling wines from their 10 acres of vines. Visitors and volunteers are welcome.
Messing about on the river
David Howard writes, “There are lots of things to do along the river: regattas all the way from Putney to Henley and beyond – Kingston, Molsey, Hampton Court etc. You can also hire a rowing boat in Richmond which is good fun, or simply talk a walk along the tow-path from Putney to… well, it depends how much time you have.”
If you enjoy cycling, walking, running, picnics with the family or photography, Richmond Park is a stunning location. And why not end up with tea at the Pembroke Lodge.
That Part Beyond the Tower
If you’re a foodie, check out the Street Feast in Dalston Yard every Friday or Saturday from 17.00 to midnight. If you get there before 19.00 entry is free.
Or if you fancy going a little off-the-beaten-track, why not take a Street Art Tour in Shoreditch, guiding you around some of the best stencil art, freehand paintings and sculptures that the East End has to offer.
Elan Mottley writes, “I love the fact that Walthamstow has a lot of history and a lot of peacefulness hidden away. You just have to find it! Walthamstow Marsh is an unknown spot for those who aren’t from the area; beautiful canal lots of fields and even cows! Perfect for cycling, chilling out in a field, or foraging for berries and elderflowers.
The William Morris Gallery, E17 is great if you’re interested in design, fabric, printing, politics or poetry. William Morris did it all! This gallery is about his life and has lots of his beautiful fabric, wallpaper designs and even a replica of his old shop in Oxford Street. A lovely spot for a day trip surrounded by a stunning park with lovely planted wild flower beds.”
There are some amazing hidden gems to be found in the more rundown parts of town too. Lost rivers you never knew existed; disused tube stations, where countless films have been shot; bomb shelters and famous buildings still bearing the scars of war. Each has its own story to tell. Check out Derelict London to find some examples, and if you’re lucky you may be able to get a place on one of the popular walking tours.
Dance the Summer Away
If dancing is your thing, you’re in luck, for it seems to be undergoing a bit of a revival at the moment. There are Swing Patrol classes all over London many of which are free. And there are beautiful, quirky venues such as the Rivoli Ballrooms or Wilton’s Music Hall where you can attend classes, watch shows, and enjoy the amazing architecture.
Hopefully that’s enough to get you started. Check out last year’s list for some more suggestions, and let us know your own top ideas for Summer in London, via Twitter, Facebook, or the comments below.
Image: Green Park, London on a Sunny Afternoon, by Neil Howard. Used under CC