The deckchairs are out, sunglasses are firmly covering the eyes rather than sitting on the head and waiting for some action, and weather channels are talking about record breakers. It can all mean one thing and one thing only: summer is here.
It’s the scorching season, and not many places look better than London when they’re basking under the hot sun. Locate your local lido, take picnics to the park, or head to the nearest rooftop bar for some serious cocktailing to enjoy the warm temperatures.
With more than eight million people to keep happy, you can be sure that the city of London has more than enough fun things to do in the summer. Which is why we’re bringing you our pick of the bunch - no scratching your head while trying to find the best summer activities for you.
These events are sure to ramp the temperature up even further.
Presented by Time Out Live, Movies on the River is London’s cinema on the Thames. Throughout June, July and August, you can hop on a river cruise and watch a film under the stars - and at sea… well, on the river. As well as top-notch cinema, the movie boat offers food and drink, along with historical sights from the top deck.
Theatre, dancing, comedy, circus, art activities and even a designers’ market are on the agenda at Walthamstow Garden Party. Waltham Forest Council has partnered with the Barbican and Create London to offer a garden that will delight the whole family. From Colombian salsa to jazz singers and everything in between, this free two-day festival on the 13th and 14th of July is well worth a visit.
One of London’s most attractive green spaces, Hampstead Heath covers 320 hectares of sprawling meadows and scenic trails. During the summer months, visitors head to the heath to enjoy the ponds, where they can take a dip and cool off from the heat. There are three different swimming pools on the heath: mixed, men’s and women only.
Summer is even better when you’ve got a tasty treat in your hand. Where do you get these treats, you ask? The London Dessert Festival at Spitalfields, that’s where. The organisers say it’s a place where ‘creativity, innovation and originality collide’. But all you need to worry about is making sure that the 17th and 18th of August are free so that you can indulge in a sugary delight… or 10.
The 25th and 26th of August see the Notting Hill Carnival come to town. Arguably London’s best street party, the carnival has been going on for more than 50 years and is the place to be for soca street parties, steel pan delights and some of the most vibrant carnival costumes you can find. Oh, and did we mention the tantalising Caribbean food?
During the summer months, the southwest London area of Fulham offers a 20-metre white sandy beach where you can relax or take part in activities. Along with the beach, you will find palm trees, beach huts, daybeds, and street food that includes pizza and BBQ. For those looking to kick it up a notch, there are cocktails, beer pong and even a spot of croquet.
World-class tennis comes to Wimbledon between the 1st and 14th of July. See the stars such as Andy Murray and Serena Williams compete in doubles action - and don’t forget the strawberries. There is also plenty of venues around London showing the matches on a big screen just in case you can’t get a ticket to Centre Court.
A game of shuffle is only a small component of the London Shuffle Club. Beers, pizza and cocktails are on the agenda at the UK’s first floor-based shuffleboard club. There are six indoor lanes, an outdoor terrace and two lanes with a dedicated Airstream cocktail bar. No longer is the game of Shuffleboard rooted to cruise ships and the 1930s.
Keeping with the tradition of games that you wouldn’t play today unless alcohol is involved brings us to Festibowl. With locations in Finsbury Square, London Bridge and Canary Wharf, Festibowl is the place to be for a quick game of bowls and, more importantly, great cocktails and street food. After last year's success, the pop-up is back in a big way for summer 2019.
Step into the world of peculiar with the art of the Weimar Republic. Exploring the art of the war years in Germany, experience a range of rare artworks that aren’t typically available to the public. The exhibition is on at the Tate Modern and is free to visit. Discover the diverse practices of many artists, including Otto Dix, George Grosz, Jeanne Mammen and Albert Birkle, who all played a part turning art from the expressionist era towards kooky and sometimes unsettling imagery that reflected the times they lived in.
Designed by Japenese architect, Junya Ishigami, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion offers displays that feature 61 tonnes of slate and 106 steel columns - Ishigami has created a sweeping roof that interprets traditional architectural conventions and reflects natural phenomena. It really does need to be seen first hand.
If you’re having withdrawal symptoms for The Great British Bake Off, head over to the Big London Bake in Tooting. Perfect for baking beginners, guests are set challenges to find out who is the best amateur baker in London. There are 10 cooking stations, 10 teams of two and it all takes place under one large marquee.
If the sizzling summer temperatures aren’t enough for you, turn the heat up by visiting Magic Mike Live at the Hippodrome in Charing Cross. Based on the popular movie featuring Channing Tatum, the show is co-directed by the star and features plenty of toned abs, dance moves and, you guessed it, stripping.
You’ve tried dinner on a rooftop, and have likely had dinner on the Thames - but have you had dinner on a bus? No, we don’t mean a Meal Deal from Tesco at 2 am on the Night Bus after an evening of partying; we’re talking about a gastronomic meal on a double decker. See some of London’s most famous sites while you chow down on fine dining, all from the location of one of London’s iconic double-decker buses.
Due to high demand, the world’s largest and fastest inner-city zip line is making its way back to the capital. Enjoy sweeping views across London as you travel 225m to the bottom of the line. Don’t fancy doing it on your own? No problem: up to four people can ride at the same time so that you can experience it with friends and family.
Summer Lovin’ in London
There’s so much happening in London that you could have something to do every day of the summer. Will you be taking part in any of the events we mentioned? Have we misses any from the list that you think are worth a mention? Let us know in the comments below, and have a great summer in the capital.