England, and specifically London, tends to be high up on a lot of people’s lists of places to travel. The only problem, for a lot of tourists, is the perception that London is often rainy and a little bit chilly. This can be true, but all it really means is that people concerned with the weather ought to plan a visit during the summer – when passing rainstorms are somewhat normal but clear weather comes as well and the temperatures are lovely for outdoor activity.
As to what that activity actually entails, here are some of our recommendations for things to do in London in the summer.
Notting Hill Carnival
Held in August every year in the Notting Hill area, this is one of the biggest street festivals in Europe, and one of the few with a distinctly Caribbean theme. This is an area a lot of people visiting London want to explore anyway, and though you won’t get a feel for what it’s usually like, it does make a lovely place for an outdoor party. The carnival itself amounts to one gigantic festival where you can be sure to meet a culturally diverse crowd, dressed up in themed clothing and dancing along to live music. It’s certainly not to be missed if you’re in town when it’s on.
Somerset House Films
Somerset House is one of London’s most impressive buildings outside the world famous landmarks. Located on the southern side of the Strand by the river, it’s a magnificent neoclassical building with a massive courtyard that’s become something of an outdoor event center. In the summer, this often means the chance to catch an outdoor screening of a film, and while it’s a fairly calm activity there’s something almost inexplicably special about it.
For non-tennis fans Wimbledon is almost hard to explain. It’s the world’s most prestigious tournament, taking place in London every July, and it presents one of the most unique atmospheres in world sport. The lawn courts, required white uniforms of the players, and general sense of prestige elevates it to something almost combining sport and theater. And as one guide to the tournament points out, the high stakes nature of the tournament can lead to copious amounts of pressure for players, which tends to lead to some really exciting (and often surprising) tennis. It’s not cheap to attend, but it’s a quintessential London summer experience.
River Thames Kayaking
Who wouldn’t want to kayak on one of the most famous rivers in the world, and past one of the most beautiful cities? Much is made of the various opportunities to ride on a cruise down the river, and that’s certainly the more luxurious way to enjoy the water in London. But taking your time on a kayak and exploring as you please is a wonderfully hands-on way to experience the Thames.
Hang Out At Skylight
Here we’re not talking about a special landmark, a famous river, or a scheduled event. Skylight is simply an outdoor bar on a rooftop from which you can see a nice chunk of the city. It’s a very popular spot however and one that makes for a perfect stop during a summer trip to London. You can book croquet and pétanque courts in addition to a table for you and your friends, and otherwise generally enjoy a terrific outdoor atmosphere.
Explore Regent’s Park
London is actually home to a lot of spectacular parks and gardens, and any of them can be wonderful places to spend time during the summer. Regent’s Park is one of the biggest and best however, and while there’s no specific attraction that should draw you there, the park in general ought to be experienced.