London can be described in many different ways, but never as boring. There are dozens of great things to do in the British capital no matter when you might be in town, although the offering changes from month to month.
Summertime is generally a period of intense activity in London, especially considering the number of open-air events you can visit. In fact, if you arrive in London over the next few months, you will face a tough choice between many appealing activities, some of them available only for a short time. It’s prudent to study your options in advance and come with a good plan, or otherwise, you might be forced to miss a key event that you learned about too late.
Since every visitor has different priorities, we try to cover as much ground as possible and recommend a range of different activities. Here are some of the areas to pay attention to:
Attending music festivals
One of the best things you can do in London this summer is to go dancing with hordes of smiling strangers at one of the high-level festivals taking place in various locations.
British Summer Time in Hyde Park is probably the biggest event scheduled for the summer of 2019, but it’s hardly the only option available. Jam on Rye, Wireless festival and South West Four might be worth a look, depending on your music taste and the period you intend to spend in London. If you enjoy meeting new people and discovering amazing music, you should seriously consider getting tickets for one of those events. It’s a great way to bypass the tourist agenda and mix with locals who can show you a more authentic side of London.
Watching high-level sports
Sports fans have plenty to look forward to this summer, as London is hosting several high-level athletic events that are sure to draw large international crowds.
Wimbledon Championships and London Triathlon are among the most high-profile events taking place soon, and both have a very strong association with British culture and are fun to be a part of. Cricket and rugby are another two disciplines that Britain is crazy about, and there are good international matches coming up over the next couple of months. RideLondon cycling tour and Great River Race may not be as visible internationally as Wimbledon, but don’t underestimate how much interest they might generate locally. While the offer is strong, be aware that a lot of fans might be using their Premier Rewards to visit London and attend, so make sure to secure the tickets before you book accommodation in London.
Spending time outside
London is fantastic when the weather is fair, so visitors lucky enough to catch a sunny day should make the most of it. You can simply visit the most famous squares in London or stroll along the banks of the Thames, soaking in the atmosphere and getting familiar with the city.
Green surfaces in the urban area, such as Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, or Regent’s Park, offer a nice getaway from the traffic and noise and give visitors a chance to see a different face of London. A great idea is to mix in a few artistic events, like a visit to Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park or one of the open-air cinemas around the city. It’s even possible to visit a beach inside the city or attend an authentic country show in Brockwell Park, so the range of activities you can engage in is tremendous. There is simply no excuse for spending your London trip barricaded in your hotel room with so many exciting things happening outside.
Enjoying traditional British food
Tasting local food and drinks is a very direct way to experience British culture.
It goes without saying that you have nearly unlimited choice in this regard when you are staying in London, with hundreds of restaurants and pubs available in all areas in London. For example, if you are staying in Grand Royale London Hyde Park, you have an excellent choice of options in the immediate vicinity ranging from street food stalls to high-end restaurants. Rooftop bars and beer gardens are very popular during the summer nights, so you don’t have to be hungry to have a reason to head outside. Of course, you can find food and drinks at most public events, and you should be on the lookout for chances to try authentic dishes no matter where you go.
Touring museums and galleries
Yes, it may sound nerdy to spend your summer holiday in London in such a serious way, but there’s just so much to see that it’s worth sacrificing some fun activities to visit as many museums and art galleries as you can.
The British Museum alone is so large that you would need months to fully explore it, while Natural History Museum, Science Museum, National Maritime Museum and Museum of London have more narrowly focused, but equally impressive collections. The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are must-see destinations for every true art lover, in addition to the legendary Tate Britain gallery that displays perhaps even more priceless works. Admission to all public exhibitions in the aforementioned institutions is free, allowing all visitors to London to witness its vast cultural treasure.
If you are travelling with your family, you may want to stay away from crowded attractions and try to find less stressful activities that kids will like. Depending on the age of your children, you can consider park cafes or ice cream parlours sprinkled around the city centre, or perhaps a visit to an amusement park like Boating Lake Alexandra Palace. If you are visiting in August, you can take advantage of Kids week and score free tickets for a variety of appropriate West End shows. As you can see, London can be quite family-friendly if you know which type of activities to look for and where to look for them.