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London’s a must-do any time of year but there’s no denying that the city really comes into its own in summer. From park parties to rooftop cinema, pop up events and cultural exhibitions, here are just a few of the many reasons to hit the British capital.
New for this year is City Cruises’ Movies on the Thames. Every night during June and July there will be a movie classic shown on board after dark. Board at Tower Pier and grab beers and snacks and settle in. There’s 1990s classics (Clueless), romantic comedies (Love Actually) and watery themed films (Jaws) too.
Seminal London festival Lovebox is 15 years old this year and to celebrate they’ve pulled in one of the best line ups yet. Head to Victoria Park on 14-15 July for headline sets from Frank Ocean, Jamie XX, and Chase and Status and tents from Fabric, Corona, Noisey and Kopparberg. Oh and don’t miss our favourite, the hip hop karaoke.
Over in West London, the banks of the Thames are littered with old fashioned London boozers with the best views of the river. There’s the City Barge in Kew or the Crabtree in Hammersmith: both have big gardens and decks where you can sip a local pint on the (probably only) sunny day of the year.
London is famed for its lidos — Victorian-era outside swimming baths. Many have been restored to their former glory and are insanely popular every time the sun shines. Head to London Fields lido to watch hipsters get wet or pop down to Tooting Bec for a larger, proper length swimming pool.
London has more green space than many other cities — 47% in fact — so there’s always room for one more barbie come summer. Many parks allow you to bring disposable barbecues and get grilling; London Fields has an area as does Burgess Park and Highbury Fields. Throw in some G&T in a can and you’ve got your quintessential London summer evening.
Forget Venice or Paris and hire a pedalo in Hyde Park or Victoria Park to romance your loved one. Hyde Park’s Serpentine lake is one of the largest and you can marvel at the swimmers slogging it out in the unheated lido. Victoria Park’s lake has a couple of islands that you can explore too.
Yup, even rainy London loves a rooftop bar. Try Dalston Roof Park for astro-turfed, street food slingin’ East London vibes or watch the Oxford Street shoppers from above at Sisu, which has a bespoke, coin-op cocktail tap where you can pour your own Negronis.
Urban beaches tend to pop up in an unused space in London in May, so there’s no need to leave the capital to feel the sand between your toes. The Brick Lane beach is handy if you’re in zone 1 for a cocktail and a sit down or, if you’re feeling more Caribbean, then the Brixton Beach pop up has a Havana theme this year, where you can build sandcastles and sip mojitos. No guarantee on Caribbean style weather though.
Yup, Londoners like to take it outside once the summer hits. From Ministry of Sound fitness classes at Brixton Beach to bootcamps in just about every park, there’s no shortage of alfresco options for getting fit. And if it that sounds too serious, try Morning Gloryville — the sober, morning rave’s rooftop parties this summer.
Primrose Hill is one of those iconic London spots which features in pretty much every film about London ever. For good reason, too: it’s one of the best places to get a skyline view, which is even protected by law. In summer, it’s practically mandatory for every Londoner to slog up the hill at least once with a bottle of wine and toast the sunset.