The days are getting longer and brighter, and the Tube is becoming positively stifling… that’s right, London – summer is finally on its way!
I love London in the summertime. It’s a much happier place, and there’s just so much happening around the city. To butcher that old line by Samuel Johnson: when you’re tired of London in the summer, you’re tired of life.
So with that in mind, this is a list of the top 10 things to do in London during the summer.
1. Picnics in the park
London doesn’t have any beaches (no proper ones anyway), so many of the locals treat their parks like beaches. Expect to see beach chairs, girls sunbathing in bikinis, and some almighty barbecues and picnics in the park.
2. Ice cream/gelato/frozen yoghurt
London has some awesome ice cream/gelato/frozen yoghurt shops. Reward your taste buds and support these businesses which somehow managed to survive the dire winter months when no-one wanted to buy their products.
3. Drinking on the footpath
London pub patrons couldn’t possibly be expected to sit indoors and drink when it’s sunny outside! It’s summer in London, so grab a pint indoors and join the throngs of people standing around on the footpath outside the pub.
4. Drinking at a riverside pub
Even better, go to a pub by the Thames that actually has outdoor seating. Want to know where the best pubs are? Check out my great (even if I say so myself) new ebook – London’s Best Riverside Pubs.
Richmond is probably my favourite place to visit on a sunny summer’s day in London. If you can’t get a good table at one of its awesome pubs, then grab a take-away pint and drink it down by the riverbank. It’s a tremendous way to spend an afternoon.
5. Go to the cricket
Watch a match at The Oval or the world famous Lord’s Cricket Ground. It just so happens that the New Zealand national team – the Black Caps – will be heading over to England in May for a two-test series and a handful of ODIs.
In the three years I lived in London, I never once missed an opportunity to get along to the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. Everything you need to know about the Wimbledon Championships.
7. Explore South Bank
London South Bank is awesome in summer, because there’s always something fun and interesting happening – whether it’s the book market, a food market, street performances by quirky buskers, or the annual Udderbelly Festival of comedy.
8. Notting Hill Carnival
I’d say Europe’s biggest street party is a very good reason to love summer in London. Check out why London’s Notting Hill Carnival is one of my favourite events in the world.
9. Outdoor cinema
I’m a huge movie buff, so I love the opportunity to watch classic and cult cinema outdoors on the big screen with a bunch of like-minded fans. Bring a blanket, pack a picnic or grab some food and drink from the vendors on site – and don’t forget to bring an umbrella just in case (this is London we’re talking about)!
Check out what’s showing at Somerset House, the Rooftop Film Club, or Backyard Cinema at Camden Lock Market.
10. Visit Brighton
Is it cheating to round off my list of the top ten things to do in London this summer with a day trip out of town?
Seriously though, I highly recommend you jump on the train at the weekend and head over to Brighton. Frankly, as a well-travelled Kiwi, I think I’m qualified to say it’s not the nicest beach in the world, but it’s still a very fun place to visit on a sunny day.
Also check out these sweet London day trips.