Things to do in London this Summer

Things to do in London this Summer

Thursday, 16 May 2024
Summer is just around the corner, and if you're planning a trip to London, you're in for a treat! The city comes alive during the summer months, offering various exciting activities and events for visitors of all ages. From outdoor festivals and captivating exhibitions, to exploring the city's hidden gems, there's no shortage of London attractions to discover this summer.  So grab your sun cream, and let's dive into the incredible experiences that await you in the capital city of England. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, this guide will help you uncover the very best things to do this summer in London

A white picnic blanket on green grass with a basket, an open book, flowers, and pears in the afternoon shade.

1. ENJOY A RELAXING PICNIC IN THE PARK

​As the summer heat sets in, it's time to embrace the great outdoors. What better way to do this than by enjoying a relaxing picnic in one of London's picturesque parks? Whether you're a Londoner or just visiting the city, picnicking in one of the beautiful parks is a must-do activity. It offers a chance to bask in the sunshine, unwind, and enjoy quality time with family and friends.

London is known for its stunning green spaces, including Regent's Park, Russell Square Gardens, and Richmond Park, offering ample choices for your picnic spot. Pack some delicious snacks, a bottle of your favourite wine, and find a cosy spot under the shade of a tree. 

There are a variety of activities you can enjoy while picnicking in the park like taking a leisurely stroll to admire the park's beautiful landscapes and vibrant flowers. If you're staying at the Tavistock Hotel, you're just steps away from the tranquil Tavistock Square Gardens, adding even more convenience and charm to your visit. 

A group of young boys, friends, laughing and jumping into a lake, swimming and enjoying a carefree summer day together.

2. OUTDOOR SWIMMING AT THE PONDS IN LONDON

If you love swimming or simply want to escape the summer heat, the Hampstead Heath Ponds offer an idyllic retreat. These ponds provide a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature. The waters surrounded by lush greenery create a unique oasis where you can rejuvenate and unwind. For guests of the Royal National Hotel, exploring these beautiful spots is made easy due to the hotel's central location.

Hampstead Heath Ponds: A Premier Destination for Outdoor Swimming

Nestled within the expansive and scenic Hampstead Heath, these ponds are a haven for outdoor swimming enthusiasts. You’ll find three separate ponds here, each catering to different preferences: one for men, one for women, and a mixed bathing pond. As you glide through the water, enjoy the stunning vistas of London’s skyline—a rare blend of urban and natural beauty.

The mixed bathing pond is exclusive to members, offering a tranquil and undisturbed swimming experience. However, the men’s and women’s ponds at Hampstead Heath are open to everyone aged eight and older, making them a fantastic option for family outings. These welcoming waters provide a perfect blend of relaxation and recreation for families looking to enjoy the outdoors.

Pro tip: If you don't fancy pond swimming, you can still have some fun and try one of our favourite Lidos instead: London Fields or Tooting Bec.

If you're planning a family vacation in the city, consider staying at one of our superbly located family hotels in London, Bloomsbury. These hotels are not only located in a vibrant, family-friendly Central London neighbourhood, filled with leafy parks, shops, and museums, but we also offer spacious family rooms. These rooms are designed to give your family comfort and convenience, ensuring a relaxing stay after a day of adventure.

A bustling Camden Market bathed in the warm glow of the afternoon sun, with the Camden Coffee Shop visible among the crowd of shoppers. 

3. EXPERIENCE SUMMER MARKETS IN LONDON 

London's summer markets are a vibrant and exhilarating way to immerse yourself in the city's local culture. From the lively streets of Camden to the Hipster Haven of Shoreditch, these markets provide a unique chance to shop, dine, and explore the diverse flavours and fashions of London.

Camden Market: A Cultural Melting 

At the heart of Camden Town lies the iconic Camden Market, a bustling hub known for its eclectic mix of vintage clothing, quirky accessories, and diverse street food. As you wander through the maze of stalls, you'll encounter everything from retro garments and handmade jewellery to international cuisines that fill the air with delicious aromas. Camden Market is not just a place to shop; it's an experience that reflects the spirited and artistic nature of the area.

Borough Market: A Foodie's Paradise

In Southwark, you'll find the famous Borough Market, a haven for foodies. This historic market tempts your senses with freshly baked bread, artisanal cheeses, and a wide array of international dishes. The tantalising smells and mouth-watering flavours are truly overwhelming. Take your time to stroll through the market, sample various treats, and talk to local vendors about their craft. Don't forget to pick up some gourmet goodies to enjoy later – the perfect souvenir from a food lover’s paradise.

Brick Lane Market: The Heart of Shoreditch’s Alternative Scene

If you're looking for a more alternative experience, head over to Shoreditch and discover the vibrant atmosphere of the Brick Lane Market. Known for its eclectic mix of vintage clothing, record stores, and street art, this market is a haven for hipsters and art enthusiasts. Dive into an array of mouth-watering street food from around the globe, and enjoy the energetic atmosphere that makes this market a cornerstone of Shoreditch’s identity.

The outdoor terrace at Madison, featuring comfortable seating areas. 

4. EXPLORE CHARMING ROOFTOP BARS WITH STUNNING VIEWS

London's skyline is an iconic symbol of the city, and there’s no better way to experience its breathtaking beauty than from one of the many rooftop bars. This summer, make sure to add some of the city's finest sky-high bars to your list of things to do in London. 

Madison: A Panoramic View of St. Paul’s Cathedral

One of the premier rooftop bars in London is Madison, located in the heart of the city. Situated on the top floor of One New Change, guests are treated to an unobstructed view of St. Paul's Cathedral, one of London's most famous historical sites. As you sip on innovative and refreshing cocktails, take in the sprawling cityscape that stretches out beneath you. The atmosphere here is electric, especially as the sun sets and the area around St. Paul's is bathed in a golden glow.

Sky Garden: London’s Sky-High Oasis

Another must-visit spot is the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, known as the "Walkie-Talkie" building. This spot isn't just a bar; it's an urban oasis with a lush, landscaped garden, complete with sweeping views of the city. The Sky Garden offers three stylish bars, each providing a unique ambience where you can relax with a drink in hand. The experience is one of elevation in every sense surrounded by greenery and overlooking London’s vast expanse.

Aqua Shard: A 360-Degree Panorama

For a truly immersive view, head to the Aqua Shard, located on the 31st floor of The Shard, one of London’s most iconic buildings. This venue offers a 360-degree view of the city skyline, allowing you to see the capital from a bird's eye view. The Aqua Shard’s bar serves a range of expertly crafted cocktails and has a sophisticated vibe that makes it a perfect spot for evening drinks. Sip on a specially curated cocktail while marvelling at the breathtaking vistas of London's most famous landmarks.

Atrium Bar & Restaurant London's Ground-Level Gem 

As you explore London's top bars, be sure to visit the Atrium Bar & Restaurant at the President Hotel. While it may not be a rooftop bar, the Atrium is bathed in natural light, thanks to the impressive glass atrium above the central bar. With its Art Deco-style interiors, this venue provides the perfect backdrop for a pre-theatre meal or cocktails before dinner. By day, it serves as a cosy coffee spot, and by night, it transforms into a wine jazz bar. This transition creates an elegant yet casual atmosphere, ideal for an afternoon catch-up or a relaxed evening out with friends. 

A man sitting on a bench in Bloomsbury Square Garden, enjoying the afternoon sun, with the elegant architectural buildings of the area forming a striking backdrop. 

5. DISCOVER LONDON’S GEMS: BLOOMSBURY

London is a vibrant city, jam-packed with iconic landmarks and popular tourist attractions. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll find hidden gems that are often overlooked by visitors. Bloomsbury is one such neighbourhood, brimming with charm and offering a plethora of unique experiences to explore.

Tranquil Retreats: Bloomsbury Square Gardens

If you're looking for a spot to relax amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, make sure to visit the Bloomsbury Square Gardens. This beautifully maintained park is an ideal spot to relax, whether you're enjoying a leisurely picnic or simply basking in the sunshine. With its elegantly landscaped gardens, charming tree-lined pathways, and picturesque fountain, it's the perfect place to unwind on a summer's day.

Culinary Delights: Explore Bloomsbury’s Food Scene

Bloomsbury's food scene is a hidden treasure, featuring an array of dining options from cosy cafes to excellent affordable restaurants.  For a taste of the best pastries in town, head to Fortitude Bakery, where the aroma of freshly baked goods fills the air. Botanica at Bedford Hotel is another must-visit, offering wholesome British cuisine with the option of al fresco dining in the summer—perfect for enjoying the pleasant weather. 

For those who crave flavours from the East, Poppadom Indian Kitchen serves up authentic Indian dishes that are sure to delight. These eateries provide a wonderful opportunity to savour excellent meals while enjoying the local ambience.

Literary History: The Charles Dickens Museum

Another hidden gem in Bloomsbury is the Charles Dickens Museum. Tucked away in the author's former home, this museum. Visitors can wander through the rooms where he penned classics like "Oliver Twist" and "A Tale of Two Cities," experiencing the environment that inspired his timeless novels. It’s an essential destination for both literature enthusiasts and those interested in Victorian history.
Plan Your Visit: Discover Bloomsbury’s Unique Charm

When planning your trip to London this summer, be sure to include Bloomsbury in your itinerary. With its hidden gems waiting to be discovered, this neighbourhood offers a unique and authentic taste of the city that you won't want to miss. From world-class museums to tranquil gardens, there's plenty to see and do in this enchanting part of London.

A man and a woman playing tug of war in a park, laughing and smiling as they energetically pull on the rope, surrounded by lush greenery.

6. STAY ACTIVE WITH OUTDOOR SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES IN THE CITY 

​As summer arrives, it's the perfect opportunity to stay active and immerse yourself in the great outdoors. London, while renowned for its vibrant urban life, also boasts a diverse array of outdoor sports and activities that cater to everyone's interests.

Cycling Through the City's Heart

For cycling enthusiasts, London offers numerous trails and paths that provide a unique way to explore the city on two wheels. 
Cycle along the iconic Tower Bridge, through the stunning landscapes of Regent's Park, and along the picturesque River Thames, experiencing the best of London by bike. Whether you prefer a leisurely ride or a more challenging route, there’s something for everyone. You can rent a bike and join one of the city’s cycling groups for a guided tour, or simply explore the diverse sights and sounds of London at your own pace.

Water Sports on the Thames

If you prefer a more adventurous outdoor activity, why not try kayaking or paddle boarding on the River Thames? It's a great way to experience the city from a different perspective and get a workout at the same time. Numerous companies offer rentals, guided tours, and lessons, making it accessible even for beginners. Imagine paddling past the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, and other iconic landmarks — it’s an unforgettable way to experience the city’s famous sights.

So, step outside and embrace all the exciting opportunities that this vibrant city has to offer!

7. INDULGE IN AL FRESCO DINING AT LONDON'S BEST EATERIES

Summer in London is the perfect time to indulge in al fresco dining. With an abundance of outdoor eateries, there is no shortage of options for soaking up the sun while savouring delicious food. 

Southbank Centre’s Riverside Terrace: A Vibrant Culinary Hub

One of the top spots for al fresco dining in London is Southbank Centre's riverside terrace. Here, you can savour breathtaking views of the River Thames while exploring a diverse array of street food stalls and pop-up cafes. Grab a bite to eat and take a leisurely stroll along the riverbank, immersed in the lively atmosphere of ongoing entertainment and cultural events at the Southbank Centre.
 
Hampstead Heath: A Serene Picnic Paradise

For a more tranquil setting, head to Hampstead Heath, a large park in North London. Here, This idyllic locale offers numerous charming picnic spots where you can lay out a blanket and enjoy a homemade meal amidst the lush greenery. It's a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city while remaining conveniently close to central London. The serene surroundings and natural beauty provide a perfect backdrop for a relaxing picnic day. For those looking to enhance their picnic experience with a touch of local tradition, consider visiting our Morton Hotel to enjoy a quintessential British tradition with our Afternoon Tea

Roof East: Panoramic Views and Urban Vibes

Another must-visit outdoor dining venue is Roof East in Stratford. This rooftop bar and restaurant presents stunning panoramic views of London’s skyline, offering an unforgettable setting to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Indulge in delicious street food, sip on refreshing cocktails, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this urban oasis.

Enjoy Al Fresco Dining with a Slice in Hand at Blooms Pizza Cafe

For another delightful al fresco dining experience, visit Blooms Pizza Cafe, where you can relax with a freshly made pizza in a charming outdoor setting. With ample seating available on both the ground floor and the upper mezzanine level, and even outdoors on warmer days, why not enjoy a delicious pizza and a good glass of red wine in the sunshine! 

A group of girls, enjoying themselves at an outdoor music festival, dancing together in a lively and colourful setting.

8. UNWIND WITH OUTDOOR CONCERTS AND MUSIC FESTIVALS

​When the sun is shining and the days are longer, what better way to unwind than attending outdoor concerts and music festivals? London’s dynamic music scene comes alive in the summer, offering an array of live performances in the open air. From world-renowned bands to emerging artists, the city provides a diverse mix of genres and styles to suit every musical taste. 

Hyde Park’s British Summer Time Festival: A Must-See Musical Extravaganza 

One of the most iconic outdoor music events in London is Hyde Park's British Summer Time Festival. This multi-day festival features a lineup of top international acts, attracting massive crowds eager to enjoy live music in one of the city’s most scenic settings. With its iconic stage and memorable performances, the British Summer Time Festival has become a cornerstone of London's summer music scene.
Intimate Park Performances: Music in the Heart of Nature

Across London's parks, the summer months are filled with the sound of music, offering both free and ticketed events. You can relax on a picnic blanket and enjoy an array of live performances set against the backdrop of lush greenery. Regent's Park's Open Air Theatre hosts a series of vibrant musical productions, while Brockwell Park's Cross The Tracks Festival offers a fusion of jazz, soul, and hip-hop.

All Points East Festival: East London’s Edgy Musical Feast

For a taste of something more alternative, make your way to Victoria Park in East London for the annual All Points East Festival. Known for its eclectic lineup, this festival draws those who love exploring underground and experimental music scenes. 
From indie rock to electronic beats, there's something for everyone at this eclectic festival.

For festival-goers seeking convenience and comfort close to these vibrant events, the City Sleeper Hotel in Bloomsbury is your perfect base. Located just a 2-minute walk from Russell Square tube station on the Piccadilly line, you can easily travel to and from the city’s top music venues! 

Whether you’re soaking up the sun at a lively event, exploring historical sites, or enjoying a leisurely stroll through picturesque neighbourhoods, London in summer is an experience not to be missed. Make the most of your summer adventure with a memorable London stay with us. Located in the heart of the city, our hotels provide the perfect base to explore all the exciting activities London has to offer. Book your stay at Imperial London Hotels now and turn your summer visit into a series of cherished memories!


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