How to Make the Most of A London Summer

Today’s guest post is by Kirsty. She blogs at What Kirsty Did Next, and is the London Correspondent for Culture with Travel

Unlike some of our European neighbours, the UK’s summer months can be hit and miss. According to the Met office, Britain’s mean summer temperature last year was 13.9 degrees Celsius – not exactly beach (or even picnic) weather. However, when the weather is good, it’s very, very good! So, how can you make the most of it if you live in or are visiting London?

Al fresco dining

The Summerhouse
The Summerhouse

Whenever the weather is good, you find yourself wanting to spend as much time as possible outside. Here are a few restaurants that have great outdoor seating (or have fabulous windows that open up):

The Summerhouse in Little Venice – a wonderful seafood restaurant situated right on a canal. It’s like being on a luxurious houseboat.

The River Lounge – a really good Italian restaurant in St Katherine’s Dock which has two outdoor balconies that look right over the dock.

St Katherine's Dock
St Katherine’s Dock

Borough Market – one of London’s best food markets. Grab something from one of the many food stalls and eat it on a bench or walk two minutes to the river.

Babylon at Kensington Roof Gardens – enjoy views of London from this 7th floor restaurant and then explore the beautiful gardens which span 1.5 acres.

River boat cruise

London offers many cruises along various parts of the river Thames. My favourite is a boat ride from Richmond to Hampton Court, sitting outside and feeling the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. Once you reach Hampton Court, you can visit Hampton Court Palace (they have a great maze) or walk around the many antique shops. Other interesting cruises include Westminster to Greenwich and Little Venice to Camden.

Picnic in a park

Golder's Green Park
Golder’s Green Park

London has many green spaces and some absolutely fabulous parks. My favourites are Golders Green Park, which has a mini zoo and deer, Hampstead Heath (where you can swim in the ponds) and Regent’s Park where you can hire a paddle boat.

Many of the parks have bandstands where you can hear live music so pack yourself a picnic and enjoy!

Drinks on a rooftop bar

Drinks with friends are always fun but it’s way more fun when the weather is nice and you can find an outdoor bar. Frank’s Café in Peckham only opens in summer and has wonderful views over London. It’s rather unusual too in that it’s on top of a multi-story car park.

The Big Chill House in King’s Cross has a great rooftop bar, but arrive early to grab a table. If you like to partake in a drink at dizzying heights, try the Sushisamba bar, which is on the 38th floor of Heron Tower in the City. And of course if you can’t find a rooftop bar, there are loads of bars and pubs with gardens.

Get on your bike

Granted London’s not the best city for cycling (too much traffic, not enough cycle lanes) but there are lots of parks and places along the Thames where you can cycle. Hire a bike or get on a Santander Cycle – it’s only £2 to hire and your first 30 minutes are free.

What are your favourite things to do in London when the weather is nice?

About the author: Kirsty is originally from South Africa but has lived in London since 2004. She works in digital communications and blogs about travel, food and lifestyle over at What Kirsty Did Next.

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