By Meaghan de Wolf
London is an amazing city any time of the year with an endless amount of things to do and see, but something about London in the summer almost makes you forget about the stereotypical bad English weather. Listed below are some fun summer.
SEE LONDON FROM ABOVE
This is a perfect summertime activity because paying for an aerial view of London Shard can be an expensive letdown if the weather isn’t nice. There are several options for this, with the Shard and the London Eye being the most popular but there are rooftop restaurants, bars and even a movie theater, the Rooftop Film Club, that can provide a similar experience.
TOUR THE PALACES
Most palaces are open year round including Kensington and Windsor but Buckingham is only open to the public for a few months in the Summer from July to October. Several tours of the state rooms are offered and are relatively inexpensive for the experience. The Palace of Westminster, which now serves as the Parliament building, can also be toured year-round.
VISIT THE ROYAL PARKS
London has amazing parks, with the most famous being Hyde Park. Many events and concerts can take place in the area throughout the summer so be sure to look online for specific dates. Regent’s Park is a great option and includes football pitches, the London Zoo, and Queen Mary’s rose garden. Paddle boats can also be rented in the summer at lakes in both parks. Watching the sunset from Primrose Hill is also a local favorite. Personally, one of my favorite things to do every once in a while to treat myself is to head over to Harrods in Knightsbridge, buy a cupcake or some lunch from the food halls, make the short walk to Hyde Park and sit and eat on a park bench.
VISIT A MUSEUM OR TWO
There are many amazing museums in London, specializing in many different subjects. While they are all amazing, chances are you won’t be able to visit them all. The British Museum has an amazing collection for history lovers that can be viewed for free and also has seasonal exhibitions (but entry to those do have to be paid for). The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square is also another free museum and has art from Monet, Claude, van Gogh, and so many more. The Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, the Museum of London and the Natural History Museum are also good options.
TAKE A WALK
The most amazing experiences that I have had in London were completely unplanned. By taking public transportation you can miss out on seeing amazing sites. Keep in mind that London is quite big so if you’re on a tight schedule this might not be the best option for you and taking a double-decker bus can provide somewhat similar experience. London is much more than the popular destinations, it’s a living breathing city with many stories to tell. My personal favorite places to walk are along the Thames in the Southwark area (where Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is located), in the Theatre district, and along the Serpentine in Hyde Park.
GO TO A MARKET
Going to markets in London is one of the most popular activities for locals and visitors alike, especially on weekends. The Covent Garden Market and the Camden Market are some of the more popular options but there are many more options that are known for antiques and art. Opening times for markets vary so make sure to look up your preferred market before going.
TAKE A DAY TRIP
The UK is a great country and there are many places besides London to see. Trains and busses run all over the country and cities like Brighton, Dover, Cardiff, Bath, Cambridge, and Oxford are all possible day trip options that can provide exciting opportunities and history. A weekend trip up to northern England or Scotland are also an amazing option for those with more time to explore the UK.
SEE A WEST-END SHOW
This is a must-see no matter what time of the year it is. Tickets can be bought online or at stands in the Piccadilly Circus area and there are always a wide variety of shows on including musicals and plays.
Being out and about in London on a rainy day can be a bit miserable, but in the summertime taking a stroll down popular shopping streets can be an experience in itself, even if you don’t buy anything. Oxford Street is by far the most popular destination but Marylebone High Street and Kensington High Street are some of my personal favorites as well and boast a variety of great restaurants.
About the author: Meaghan de Wolf is from Washington State and is currently studying at Regents University London. You can follow her on Twitter here.