The whirlwind of colour
With flower displays covering every street railing, store window and park bench, London is definitely at its most beautiful during the summer. It’s not uncommon to see pristine gardens, floral arrangements and wildflowers being sold across the city – and of course, there are high profile events like the Chelsea Flower Show each May to keep the flower-lovers of London happy. But the blooms at Columbia Road Flower Market are what we’re admiring the most this summer – open every Sunday, it has been a firm favourite with Londoners since it first opened in 1869.
Rooftop bars and outdoor pubs
London pubs are some of the most stunning buildings in the UK and many have literary connections – Shakespeare, Dickens and Samuel Johnson, to name a few. Amble through the streets and you’ll be spoilt for choice with options for that post-work pint. You can even enjoy a drink on a pedal powered pub or boat along the Thames, embracing the iconic scenery London has to offer. Throughout the summer, the boating lakes commonly used for pedal pubs and public rowing are open to the community – the biggest and best being the Serpentine Lake at Hyde Park, but alternative locations can be found at Regent’s Park, Alexandra Park and Greenwich Park.
But as London buildings get taller, our love for rooftop bars gets stronger – especially when London is blessed with some rare good weather. So you might find us at the Aviary, a roomy open-air terrace perched on floor ten. Aviary has a beautiful panoramic view across Finsbury Square, even in the cold weather you can cuddle up on the modernist furniture under blankets and heaters.
With warmer weather, London’s street markets are booming, offering fresh food, flowers and novelty gifts. And if you like your fresh fruit and veg, Notting Hill market is not to be missed. It has been around since the 1800s and is particularly famous not only for its range of fresh local produce, but also for the antiques on offer.
Meanwhile, other summer market favourites include Borough Market for quality regional goods, stacked with fresh organic, veg, meat and cheese as well as baked treats. And finally, Camden Market for fashion, food and oddities – Camden has an extensive range of designer clothes, accessories, one off art pieces and upmarket workshops.
Outdoor swimming pools
When the city heats up (and yes, there are one or two days a year that this is relevant) there is nothing better than cooling yourself off with a swim. From Charlton Lido to Tooting Bec, London has a fine collection of outdoor swimming pools, most of which are open all year round – although understandably they’re not so popular during winter. Tooting Bec Lido is the largest outdoor fresh-water pool in the UK, perfect for a refreshing dip and a relaxing sunbathe. The pool is open every day from 6am to 7:30pm until the 30th September. And after an extensive refurbishment, Charlton Lido is now always open – water games and sunbathing are hugely encouraged and it’s perfect for family fun.
Relaxing in parks
The Thames Path is perfect for a summer walk but some of the most scenic stretches of walkway in London can be found in Richmond, Putney and Southbank. After a relaxing walk, nothing quite says summer like a picnic in a park – blankets, lunch, good company, a glass of prosecco and sunshine. Hyde Park is particularly popular during summer thanks to its rich culture and history, beautiful wildlife, flowers and lakes – find somewhere to perch and admire the views. It’s safe to say London has some of the best public footpaths and is one of the greenest cities in Europe, with an impressive 35,000 acres of public land, woodlands and gardens – perfect to escape the crazy city life.