Hamptead Heath view London
CITY guide:

Summer in London

It may not be renowned for its sunny weather, but London comes into its own during the warmer months of the year, offering vivacity and variety in equal measure. As the city’s inhabitants travel to pastures new, there is plenty to enjoy in their absence — and slightly more room to do so. Eager to take a dip in the famed Hampstead ponds (and perhaps spot a famous face whilst you do)? Or soak up the cultural highlights that pepper the Southbank? Whichever serving of summer you are after on your city break, you're going to want our guide by your side.


THE RIVER CAFE // // rivercafe.co.uk
It is the ultimate classic dish in the culinary delights of London’s restaurant scene and it has every reason to be — the River Cafe is the vital ingredient to many a summer evening enjoyed by locals. From the light Italian delights on its menu, to the riverside setting, with a kitchen where the likes of Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall earned their stripes, it's sure not to disappoint. Perfect for a special occasion.

OXO TOWER BRASSERIE // // oxobrasserie.co.uk
If you are lucky enough to enjoy a window seat here, you can look out to the most iconic view of the city. The aspect includes St Paul’s Cathedral across the River Thames, ideal for watching the sun descend. The menu, concocted by Head Chef Keir Barry, includes seasonal delights, with plenty of delicate fish and up-to-the-minute plant-based options on offer.  

THE SUMMERHOUSE // summerhouse.co.uk
What is summer without enjoying the perfect seafood? The aptly named the Summerhouse restaurant in North West London offers great views of the canals of Little Venice to accompany its delicate menu. Enjoy a post-dinner stroll along the waterways adorned with pretty barge boats to complete the experience.

Art & Design

In London’s museum hub in South Kensington, the V&A (as its commonly known) is sure to captivate fashion lovers. From the permanent textile collections to its celebrated temporary exhibitions, including the current summer show ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear’; the curators here know how to create an experience that will transport you. For those who are not so captivated by style, the building’s architecture and history is just as impressive.

SERPENTINE GALLERY //serpentinegalleries.org
Nestled on the edge of Hyde Park are two contemporary art galleries, linked by a bridge over the idyllic Serpentine Lake. Here you can also find the Serpentine Pavilion, which is constructed annually. This year it was designed by artist Theaster Gates (with the architectural support of Adjaye Associates) — a must see for architecture buffs.

Absorb a whirlwind of creative output by visiting the annual show at the RA in Piccadilly. One of the longest running art shows in London, it was first displayed in 1769. Previous years have been curated by art-world heavy-weights including Grayson Perry and included the work of David Hockney — it’s safe to say the show rarely disappoints. The theme of this year’s exhibition is ‘Climate’, coordinated by Alison Wilding.

THE HAYWARD GALLERY // haywardgallery.co.uk
Nestled between the Southbank Centre, the BFI and the Royal Festival Hall, there is a whole host of culture to soak in before you even step through the brutalist Hayward Gallery doors. Yet the gallery stands strong in its own right — focusing on ‘presenting a wide range of adventurous and influential artists from across the world’. The latest show ‘In the Black Fantastic’ does just that, exploring the ‘myth, science fiction and legacies of Afrofuturism’.

Our Summer in London favourites

Brockwell Lido London Summer
Brockwell Lido / Hampstead Heath

Open Air

HAMPSTEAD HEATH //hampsteadheath.net
North London’s ultimate expanse of greenery, much loved by the poets and artists which called the area home over the last hundred years, Hampstead Heath is the ideal destination to walk the dog, enjoy a picnic and drink in views of London from Parliament Hill. What’s more, the natural bathing ponds offer a great spot to cool down when the temperatures rise. You might even spot a famous face or two here, as many celebrities enjoy residences bordering the Heath.

BROCKWELL PARK AND LIDO // brockwelllido.com
With the Lido dating back to 1937, Brockwell’s outdoor swimming pool transports you back in time, with its art deco styling and poolside restaurant. Post-swim, explore the park itself- with ample space, tennis courts and a miniature railway. Complete the day with dinner and drinks at the Prince Regent gastropub across the road from the Lido, or dine at food critic Jay Rayner’s favourite, Llywelyn's.

VICTORIA PARK //victoriapark.com
Whether you are after a great date destination or somewhere to entertain the family, Victoria Park’s boating lake and pedalos, as well as the Pavilion cafe, provide the perfect location for a summer’s day of activities. The nearby ‘village’ is conveniently located when hunger hits, awash with a selection of bohemian delis, cafes and designer gift shops.

BATTERSEA PARK //instagram.com/batterseapark
An oasis in the city, Battersea Park’s Old English garden is perfect as a retreat from the hustle and noise. For the little ones, the park’s Children’s Zoo will keep them entertained, with a wide variety of animals such as ponies, rabbits, monkeys and meerkats.

Song & Dance

London hosts many great day and weekend festivals and British Summer Time is an ideal one for all the family. Spread across three weekends throughout June and July, get ready to dance along to the likes of the Rolling Stones, Adele and Elton John as they take to the stage.

Heralded as the ‘world’s greatest classical music festival’, the annual Proms is a British institution, hosted within the suitably grand Royal Albert Hall. An odyssey of concerts which take place over 8 weeks from July, culminating on 10th September for the beloved last night at the proms.

Picnic Perfect

This East London hub comes alive most Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes. Wander along market and peruse the various food stalls that line Broadway, then take your findings to nearby London Fields to admire stylish locals and taste the delicious commodities. An added bonus? The vast variety of dogs you’ll see around the park.

Visit Melrose & Morgan Delicatessen for artisanal delights including award-winning British cheeses and delicious sandwiches. They even offer pre-made hampers to suit a variety of tastes, for a stress-free experience. Once you have gathered the goods, picnic on the wonderful Primrose Hill for an afternoon well spent.