Bring On The Sunshine!
Nothing beats summer in London, this is when the city truly comes alive. The days are ridiculously long, the evenings are balmy and the general atmosphere 100% festive. During the summer months, there is more to do than ever in London, and there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful day out or an extravagant evening celebrating the season, London has it all. Here are some of my top picks for summer 2019 in London.
See London from the water as you explore one of the most iconic stretches of water in the world, the River Thames. There are day and night tours available for paddlers of all abilities. Most kayak companies along the Thames offer stable kayaks and friendly guides to help keep you safe as you paddle along. Just make sure you bring an extra set of clothes, just in case. It gets chilly on the water if you’re wet, even in the best British summer.
Camden Town Never Gets Dull
There is always something interesting going on in Camden Town. From street performers to art exhibitions, unusual food and even more unusual people. You’ll need to set aside, at last, most of the day to check out the quirky shops, pubs and restaurants, not to mention doing some people watching. Once known as the punk hub of England, this is where some of London’s most colourful residents hang out. Some events to look forward to at Camden this summer are The Birdcage Cabaret and a range of vintage pop-ups on selected evenings where the theme is the 1920s. Dressing up for this is highly encouraged!
Enjoy an Al Fresco Film
Summer nights in London are often enjoyed outside at pop-up cinemas in interesting venues like Brompton Cemetery, Hampton Court Palace, Westminster Abbey and a range of rooftops across the city. One year Luna Cinema even showed ‘Jaws’ on a dinghy in Brockwell Lido. Talk about a thrilling outdoor experience! Films shown range from golden oldies and classics to the latest releases from both Hollywood and Bollywood. And if you’re on a budget, Wembley Park offers free screenings from May until July.
The Notting Hill Carnival
Every summer, the Caribbean comes to London at the Notting Hill Carnival. The streets are transformed by costumed Caribbean dancers moving to the rhythm of calypso, zouk, rumba, and reggae and meringue music. Street vendors sell traditional Caribbean dishes like callaloo, jerk chicken and for the brave: goat stew just like they make it in Jamaica. Who needs a passport to experience the Caribbean?
A Picnic Under the Trees
London has a range of beautiful parks perfect for picnics on a warm summer’s day. Crystal Palace Park is a great venue, especially if you like dinosaurs. There are 33 life-sized models of dinosaurs and extinct mammals dotted around the park which gives great photo opportunities, especially for kids! Greenwich Park overlooks the River Thames and other iconic views. There are beautiful areas to spend time in and ample trees to sit under. It’s also home to a deer park and has its own orchard, herb garden and rose garden.
Make it a Magical Night
While we’d love to think that summer is all about sunshine and picnics in the park, the weather doesn’t always cooperate and it’s a good idea to add some indoor activities to the list, especially in the evening. The Illusionists are coming to London at the Shaftesbury Theatre. The mind-blowing show features seven of the most extraordinary illusionists on earth will run from July to September. Add some magic to your summer and book a ticket for one of the shows.
See Some Art at Night
Every summer, London features a limited range of night-time art exhibitions. This summer, art lovers can see Leonardo da Vinci’s work like never before. The Queen’s Gallery in St James’s Park is showing ‘A Life in Drawing’ where rarely seen studies are shown in an intimate setting. The British Library is also hosting a da Vinci exhibition ‘Leonardo da Vinci: A Mind in Motion’ where some of da Vinci’s most important notebooks covering motion and physics will be on display. For those who prefer contemporary art, artist and activist Faith Ringgold explores art as a weapon at the Serpentine Gallery in Knightsbridge and Iraqi/American artist Michael Rakowitz is showing his striking commission ‘The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist’ in Whitechapel Gallery.
London also has some of the best street art in the world and summer is the best time to explore it. You’ll come across art from Invader, Jimmy C, ROA, Shepherd Fairy, and even the famous Banksy! To get the most out of London’s street art, go on a street art tour. It involves exploring the East End of London for a couple of hours before getting the opportunity to practice free-hand spray-painting with the help of friendly guides in a fun interactive street-art workshop.
Shhh, its Secret Cinema
Fancy yourself as the next 007, or perhaps a mysterious and dangerous Bond girl? Become immersed in a world of secret agent action with the longest running Secret Cinema project to date: Casino Royale. This unique cinematic experience blends film with theatre and special effects. Participants are given an allocated character before arriving at the secret venue for their mission briefing and hours of fun as they enter a world of espionage and high stakes while sipping on martinis (shaken, not stirred!) Make sure you dress to the nines for this one!
Cereal Killer Café
Are you one of those people who can’t understand why it’s not okay to eat cereal for lunch or dinner? Well, at Cereal Killer Cafés you can. From cereal flavoured coffees and cocktails to cereal fried chicken and bran fries – yes, French fries coated in bran flakes are surprisingly delicious. For dessert, try the Choccopotamus which is a mix of the best chocolate cereal with a scoop of Coco Pops ice cream and chocolate-covered Corn Flakes, topped with chocolate milk. Or you can just have some cereal, why not?