While many visitors envision London as a city of perpetual drizzle and fog, in summer the capital often experiences spells of glorious weather that rival warmer climes. Locals and tourists alike are lured outside to bask in the sun and enjoy the many summertime delights London has to offer, from outdoor cinema, concerts and cultural events, to bustling vintage and food markets.
As temperatures rise, London’s outdoor bars, cafés and restaurants come into their own, especially those located on rooftops or along the banks of the Thames, such as The Lawn, the brand-new pop-up bar at The Tower Hotel. Street food vans do a booming business on every corner, and many residents take to the city’s stunning parks and gardens to enjoy a picnic, game of tennis or simply to relax in the sun.
It’s these simple joys that make locals love London in the summer, despite the heat and crowds that can sometimes make city life a challenge during hotter months. To inspire you in planning your next visit, we asked some top London bloggers to tell us what they love about London in the summer. Here is what they said:
Ferne Arfin, About.com United Kingdom Travel
“On a sunny summer day, I like to walk the South Bank from Hungerford Bridge to Tower Bridge, about two miles in all. There’s always something going on around the South Bank Centre and Shakespeare’s Globe – street entertainers, markets, music – and great views of St Paul’s, the City, the Tower of London and the Shard. There are several decent pubs for sustenance or, on weekends, you can nosh your way around Borough Market.”
Poi and Kirsty, No Place to Be
“London in the summertime is fantastic and I was lucky enough to live right next to one of the best parks the city has to offer, Hampstead Heath – a gorgeous large green space just a short walk away, known as the green lung of London, complete with swimming ponds (the only ponds manned by a lifeguard left in the UK), making it the perfect place to chill out in the sun.”
Brenna Holeman, This Battered Suitcase
“My favourite part of London in the summer is where I live: East London. The markets and parks really come alive in the summer months, and on a sunny day you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in a bad mood. My favourite way to spend a Saturday is to head to Broadway Market and picnic in London Fields with the food I’ve bought; after that, a walk down the canal to Victoria Park for some drinks in the sunshine is the perfect way to relax.”
Vanessa Jackman, VanessaJackman.blogspot.co.uk
“One of the things I love to do in London each summer on a beautiful evening is to take a walk past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben just as the sun is setting. The buildings glow in the soft light and even now, seven years after I first moved here from Australia, it never fails to give me goosebumps. It is a unique London experience.”
Becky, Global Grasshopper
“If you’re a bit of a foodie but want to relax somewhere a little more chilled than Borough Market, then try Maltby Market. Tucked down a quiet Bermondsey backwater surrounded by a sea of silent grey streets and the odd railway arch turned antique shop, this gastronomic haven offers everything from homemade artisan foods to fancy pop-up eateries. Munch on some delicious St John’s Bakery doughnuts and then sit down with a gin cocktail and take in the dulcet tones of the mellow live band – a perfect way to spend a sunny weekend afternoon.”
Emyr Thomas, Bon Vivant
“One of my favourite places in London is Waterloo Bridge – standing there you can see the most beautiful sights London has to offer in both directions. You can see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard – it’s the perfect vantage point for these iconic figures of the London skyline. In the summer when the sun is shining, the view is even better with the Thames sparkling underneath. I could stand there all day mesmerised by the beauty of our city.”
What are your favourite things about London in the summer? Please share in the comments below.