London is a great city at any time of year, but during the summer it really does come into its own. Don’t believe the many tales you might have heard about the British weather, because we really do have some great summers.
Sure, there might be the odd downpour here and there, but as long as you take such eventualities in your stride, you’ll soon become an expert at surviving the oddities of the UK climate.
So pack up a picnic, be sure to take your sunscreen and sunglasses, and head out to enjoy the best of what London has to offer.
1. Horse Riding in Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of London’s largest green spaces and one of the Royal Parks. It covers 350 acres of perfect tranquility right in the centre of London, and also contains many famous landmarks, such as Speaker’s Corner, The Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain and The Serpentine.
It is also a fantastic place to go horse riding, boasting a specialist horse riding arena and two designated routes around the park.
There are a couple of options if you wish to ride a horse in this iconic location. Ross Nye Stables offer group riding within the park from £75 per hour, and have a great variety of horses and ponies to suit all standards, from complete beginners to advanced riders.
Hyde Park Stables also offer similar options, with an hours group ride starting from £85 per hour. Both stables can offer private rides in the park at around £125 per hour.
2. Watch an Open Air Theatre Show at The Globe
From April to October, the Shakespeare Globe Theatre stages iconic Shakespearian classics in the open air. And if you don’t fancy sitting through a complete production, take advantage of the daily tours and exhibitions that take place here.
These tours run every half an hour in the mornings, from 09:30-11:30 or 12:30. On Mondays the tours are conducted through until 17:00.
Tickets for the tours can be bought on arrival.
3. Kayak London’s Famous Water Thoroughfares
London Kayak Tours offers the opportunity to see the city from a unique perspective: paddling yourself along London’s iconic waterways.
4. Get down with Nature at Kew Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew is perhaps the world’s most famous garden. It covers an area of 130 hectares, has a treetop walkway, beautiful lake and water lily ponds, tropical greenhouses, restaurants, cafes and exhibitions…. The list goes on.
Day tickets start from £3.50 for a child and £15.00 for an adult. The gardens are open from 10:00 daily.
5. Take a Street Art Tour
East London boasts a vibrant and eclectic display of street art. And don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s simply a bunch of hooded kids with aerosol cans spraying graffiti on the walls, because street art features some of the hippest of artists on a worldwide scale. Banksy, Blu and ROA all started out this way.
Street Art Tours offer a fascination insight into this world, with tours that delve deep into the street art scene. These walking tours run on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and cost from £12 per person.
6. Go for a Swim
Not in a pool, but in one of London’s natural water spots or lidos. The Serpentine Lido, in Hyde Park, is the oldest swimming club in Britain. It’s open from June through to August (and in May at weekends and Bank Holidays) from 10:00 to 18:00 daily.
There’s also a sun terrace, sun bathing area, children’s play area and café bar, so it’s a great place to spend a whole day. Prices start from £1.80 for children and £4.80 for adults. Other great places to swim outdoors include Tooting Bec Lido and Hampstead Ponds.
7. Play Outdoor Chess
It’s a unique location in which to challenge your friends to a match, or introduce the kids to the wonders of the game. After that you can enjoy the excellent tennis courts, table tennis tables, childrens playground or simply take a walk along the river and enjoy the sublime surroundings.
8. Walk the Thames Path
This National Trail is 180 miles in length, but don’t worry, there’s no need to walk it in its entirety. There are some wonderful smaller chunks of the trail that can be walked in the centre of the city, making for a wonderful short (or longer) walk that take in some of the city’s greatest landmarks.
Or perhaps you’d like to stroll the eight miles between The London Eye and Putney, enjoying tranquil Wandsworth Park along the way.
Whatever way you decide to enjoy London in the summer you’ll be spoilt for choice. From outdoor dining, rooftop clubs, delightfully peaceful open spaces, picnics in the park, tranquil waterways right through to the jumping atmosphere of London’s many summer festivals, there’s something to suit every taste and age.
So head out and enjoy, because London really is one of the best cities on the planet when it comes to ways to have fun in the sun.