I love London. Always have, always will. And in summer, it is one of my most favourite places to be. From rooftop cinemas to floating your way across boating lakes, these are the capitals very best offerings this summer. Grab a pen and paper and take note because these are my favourite things to fill up your social calendar that you will not want to miss (ice cream is not included – obviously).
Pick Your Own:
What screams summer more than strawberries? Pick your own strawberries.
While London is home to some truly top-notch farmer’s markets (some of my favourite include Borough Market, Broadway Market and Brixton Farmer’s Market), when the weather brightens, it is far more exciting to head straight to the source. Queue: the pick your own farm. Right on the city’s fringes are some P.Y.O. farms including Parkside Farm. Set in the countryside just North of Enfield, this farm will offer you a variety of 20 different crops, both fruit and vegetables, to choose from. Personally, I always find myself gravitating towards the fruit but don’t completely rule out the veg – beetroot is key to a red velvet cake (trust me to think about cake whilst picking fresh vegetables). However, this is not the time or place to wear a pretty white dress (note to self) nor is it acceptable to almost eat an entire punnet of strawberries whilst picking – self-restraint is key here.
From quirky rooftop bars to charming open air cinemas, there is nothing like nabbing an al fresco spot to relax and enjoy a summers evening. One that I need to tick off my never ending bucket list is Neverland; Fulham’s first Thameside urban beach spot. If you’re in search of golden sands, palm trees and colourful beach huts then look no further. And for those with food intolerances (I feel you all), do not stress. While they offer a popular alfresco street food dining experience featuring a 20 metre beach strip lined with many street food stalls and traders, Neverland also encourage a bring your own booze and food experience!
Eating and drinking on rooftops is just better than eating and drinking not on rooftops. Enter: Pergola on the Roof. This summer, inspired by The Hamptons – oh how dreamy – London is a vision of Long Island Living. With palm trees, restaurants, street food, bars, sunshine and pure escapism, this is guaranteed to be a popular spot over summer. And I can’t help but be a little excited that Raw Press (don’t get me started on their amazing gluten free and vegan options) is now available at Paddington’s Pergola on the Roof.
Another rooftop experience that is a must this summer is an open-air cinema. Nothing beats watching a movie under the stars, and it is the perfect excuse to come armed with sweets and treats. There are so many options in so many locations so I have narrowed down a list to two of my personal favourites:
- Movies on the River: picture yourself sailing along the river Thames, popcorn in hand, watching a movie on a giant screen. Does that just not sound amazing? Yes is the answer.
- The Rooftop Film Club: with a few different locations (Stratford, Peckham and Queen of Hoxton), pick your favourite and settle back into comfy deckchairs and enjoy those city views under the stars (oh and the movie of course).
Lose an afternoon, evening or night and take a stroll along Southbank. The rest of London will be doing exactly the same thing, but it is the place to see the many iconic sites of London including the London Eye, Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament. Buzzing with street performers, book markets, food markets and of course many yummy places to eat (yes I am always thinking of food), no wonder so many people make a beeline for this spot.
Activities. Yes that’s right, you heard me. Activities. I am not talking about a sweaty boxing session leaving you breathless, unable to speak for an hour afterwards and looking like you are part of the beetroot family (see my Instagram stories for photo evidence). I am talking about boating in London. Now there is a lot to be said about drifting along one of London’s many pretty lakes aboard a giant plastic swan – cute Instagram opportunity. As long as you spend your time on the water and preferably not in the water, boating in London always makes for a fun filled afternoon.
If boating is not your thing, then maybe give Boris biking a go. With docking stations in many central London parks, this is definitely a summer go to activity – and you can work on that tan while cycling around (win-win situation). My top choice: Hyde Park. Not only is it central and huge, it has some of the prettiest spots that you can stop and picnic at.
Which brings me to my final and probably most exciting thing to do in London during summer. PICNICS. If you have followed me for a while, it will come as no surprise that I love a good picnic. Any excuse to bring food, make food and especially eat food; I am there. The practicalities of having a picnic in your garden are great, but popping everything into a hamper and exploring London’s finest parks might lead to stumbling across your perfect picnic destination. So fill up those hampers with savoury and sweet (emphasis on sweet) and unpack and unwind in some of my favourite picnic destinations: Primrose Hill, Richmond and Hampstead Heath. And of course, not that having your friends or family there isn’t entertaining enough, but a game of Boggle wouldn’t harm.