The air has finally cleared, the snow and rain of winter are a distant memory and summer is now firmly upon us. The time of year has come when we replace hunkering down at home and cosy nights in with adventure and the great outdoors. We get out into the world and go off in search of something fun to do; a worthwhile way to take advantage of those glorious summer days and balmy evenings that we love so much.
London is a wonderful place in the summer; you could walk around the city and simply be satisfied and entertained by the vibrancy and colour it gives off when bathed in sunlight. If you are after something extra though, London has hundreds of events, activities and destinations to offer during the summer. Here are our top 10 picks…
1. London Craft Week
London has a Fashion Week, a Design Week and now has its very own Craft Week. London Craft Week returns for its fourth year in 2018 and runs from the 9th – 13th May. The festival was opened in order to cater to the resurgence of the appetite for authenticity, true craftsmanship and beautiful things across the world.
This year the events across the capital bring together over 200 makers, designers, galleries and brands; all outstanding examples of both British and international imagination, skill and creativity. A full list of what is on can be found on the official Craft Week website, allowing you to create your own itinerary and gain access to exclusive events, workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations.
2. London Music Festivals
When you think of a music festival you probably imagine a disposable barbecue, a cheap pop-up tent and a muddy field in the middle of nowhere. Well, if this is not your vibe but you still love music then you are in luck. London is the home of a hoard of celebrated music festivals that take place during the summer months, and they are all just a warm, clean tube ride away. From pubs to parks, warehouses to gardens, there is a venue to cater to every comfort level. And from funk to dance, old legends to the best newcomers, there is a vibe and artist to suit every taste! There is something for everyone.
3. Museums at Night
London is home to some of the best, most famous museums in the world. Sure, going to a museum in the daytime is great, but an after-hours visit is something else! Museums at Night is a countrywide festival, running after-hours events at museums both well-known and obscure all across the country. Venues this summer include The London Canal Museum, The Freud Museum London, The London Transport Museum, Kenwood House and The Chocolate Museum. Check out their website for full listings.
4. Regents Park Summer Season 2018
London is the heart of theatre in the UK. Sure, you can go to the theatre any time of year, but this is not true of the Regents Park Open-Air Theatre. This venue is set right in the middle of the pruned and pristine grounds of Regent’s Park, the stage flanked and dressed by some of the oldest, grandest and most majestic plant life in the park. The 2018 season has something for everyone; a perfect way to end a sunny family day out. The season kicks off with J.M Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ and goes on to include shows such as ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’ and ‘Dinosaur World Live’!
5. Chelsea Flower Show
Arguably the most famous flower show in the world. The Chelsea Flower Show has been running for over a century, and this year it is showing off the wares and projects of around 500 exhibitors. As well as this, the show is packed with extra activities and elements to attract adults and children alike.
The theme this year is very on trend, ‘Health and Wellbeing’. The show includes the ‘Mediterranean Haven’ show garden by Sarah Price, Tom Massey’s ‘The Lemon Tree Trust Garden’ inspired by people in situations of forced migration and displacement and a futuristic Eco-City Garden by Hay-Joung Hwang.
6. London Pride
On the 7th of July London will be handed over to the LGBT community for their annual, city-wide celebration of equality, diversity and acceptance. This celebration shrouds the streets of London with a festival of colour and an atmosphere of pure joy. Although the main event takes place on this day, London Pride events are being run across an entire month, between the 9th June and the big day, July the 7th.
7. Notting Hill Carnival
Another of London’s world-famous annual events. The Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival, is an explosion of music and culture and takes place over the August bank holiday weekend (25th – 27th). West London comes alive with celebration and is chock-full of music events, markets, Caribbean cuisine, and let’s not forget the much-anticipated Notting Hill parade. It has a reputation for being a little crazy over the weekend, and if that is what you are after, then get going! However, remember that Sunday (the 26th) is family day, so if you want to get a more chilled out or family orientated experience, then that is the day to go.
8. Underbelly Festival
The Southbank’s Underbelly Festival grows bigger and more diverse with every year that passes. It brings together the freshest offerings from the best acts in the UK. You can see the latest in comedy, stand-up, satire, circus, cabaret, variety and family entertainment. If you are after something that isn’t a play or musical, something a little more ‘off-road’, or you can’t make it up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, then the Underbelly is the place for you.
9. Live Games and Escape Rooms
Escape Rooms are all the rage right now. They are a fantastic group activity; much more tactile and interactive than going to the theatre, having a meal or walking around an exhibition. They are like a life-sized board game, requiring you to use your intellect, logic and humour (you need the humour sometimes) to succeed. London offers some of the best live game experiences in the country right now, why not give one a go!
10. Rooftop Film Club
If London has a lot of one thing, its rooftops! The Rooftop Film Club has taken over some of the biggest rooftops in London to create a spectacular summer experience. Get yourself over to Peckham, Shoreditch or Stratford on the next balmy summer evening that comes up for an outdoor movie; 2018’s answer to the drive-in. Grab a drink, a snack and a deckchair and relax in front of your favourite film as well as a glorious view over the city.