10 great summer activities in London
With beautiful outdoor spaces, and packed schedules of events and festivals there are few better places to spend the summer months than Britain's capital! Here are just a few suggestions for things to enjoy in June, July and August.
1. Enjoy some outdoor cinema
Whether you're into classic films or the newest releases, if you enjoy al fresco film-viewing London has plenty to choose from in the summer months!
The open-air season usually runs from May to September, and options include the Rooftop Film Club, with rooftop venues in Peckham, Shoreditch and Stratford, as well as Luna — a mobile movie theatre which travels all over the country and whose past London venues have included Westminster Abbey, Greenwich Park and Hampton Court Palace. There are often also film screenings in Hyde Park as part of its Open House schedule, and last but definitely not least are the screenings held at beautiful Somerset House — offered throughout two weeks every August.
2. Take a swim in the open air
London has a range of fantastic outdoor pools, and even some lakes to swim in! Hampstead Heath's swimming ponds are wonderfully refreshing in the summer sun, as too is the Serpentine lake in Knightsbridge. However, if you'd rather the more mainstream option of an outdoor swimming pool, some of the most popular include Tooting Bec Lido, Brockwell Lido and Parliament Hill Lido.
3. Enjoy one of the capital's rooftop restaurants
The London skyline is famous the world over, and there is no better way than to soak it in than by spending and afternoon or evening on one of the city's many rooftop venues. Timeout London is a good place to read up on some of the best!
4. Have a picnic in one of the many green spaces
London is known for its parks and outdoor spaces, some of the most famous of which are Hyde Park, Hampstead Heath, Regent's Park and St James' Park. Whilst these are great places to soak up the buzz of the city, among both locals and tourists alike, there are plenty of lesser known places which are just as nice and probably more tranquil! Some of the best in south London, close to Beckenham, include Brockwell Park, Crystal Palace Maze Park and Morden Hall Park.
5. Go to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
Running continuously for 250 years, the Summer Exhibition is an open art exhibition held annually by the Royal Academy in Burlington House, Piccadilly in central London. The exhibition includes paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, architectural designs and models, and is the largest and most popular open exhibition in the UK. It features new and recent art created by everyone, from emerging artists to the biggest names in contemporary art and architecture.
6. Take in London's sights on the Queen's Walk
London's Queen's Walk takes you over Westminster Bridge, along the south bank of the River Thames towards Tate Modern then back over the river on the Millennium footbridge to St Paul's Cathedral. This pedestrian walkway is several miles long and passes some of London's most popular tourist and visitor attractions all of which can be visited throughout the year.
7. See British tradition at its best at Wimbledon
Of the world's four Grand Slam tennis events, it's Wimbledon that has the biggest appeal in terms of history and tradition. It's the only one of the major tournaments still played on the original grass surface, and whether you're a tennis fan or not, a visit to Wimbledon will be a day to remember! Whether you have tickets for the main action court-side, or you take up your spectating position on 'Henman Hill', you'll get to enjoy the compulsory strawberries and cream, and possibly some celebrity-spotting too!
8. Experience Europe's largest street festival
Every August bank holiday, Notting Hill Carnival, comes to west London with a huge Caribbean party. Over one million people flock to the three-day festival, where you'll see colourful floats, parades, music and dance.
9. Get an inside view of Buckingham Palace
Every summer visitors have the chance to glimpse the lavishly furnished rooms of Buckingham Palace, as well as paintings by the like of Rembrandt, during the summer opening of the Queen's official London residence.
10. Kayak on the Thames
Kayaking is a different and exciting way to get up very close to the iconic London river and of course sights such as the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament! You can even kayak at night for a view of the city lights.