Finally, the temperatures in London are on the rise, and not a second too soon. Whether it’s a fluke or whether it’s finally time to start putting away the big winter coats and woolen hats remains to be seen, but for now, it’s time to jump in the door and go to the other side, in the sun.
From summery bars and alfresco restaurants, to music festivals and outdoor pools, London is back and bustling, ready for spring and summer. Here’s where to bask in the sun.
Ice Cream 2.0
Instead of a Mr Whippy, refresh yourself with malai kulfi on a stick – a traditional Indian ice cream at Vivek Singh’s modern restaurant.indian restaurant Cinnamon Bazaar at Covent Garden. Alternately, Greedy goat at neighborhood market offers frozen products made from, you guessed it, goat’s milk. Grab a scoop and mooch around the market or cut your back for a stroll along the Thames. For an Instagrammable pud, try the Milk train cafe in Covent Garden, where ice cream is served on a bed of cotton candy – although it doesn’t stop there. Gourmet toppings come in the form of popcorn, Oreos and more.
A bigger splash
The capital has a number of outdoor swimming pools and lido pools to cool off in when the mild weather sets in.
London Fields Lido is heated, making it a great choice on sunny but windy days, while the serpentine in Hyde Park is famous for a reason, and wonderful for fun; usually it is only open to members, but from this summer until September (exact dates to be confirmed) it will be open to the public.
For a good swim, try Brockwell Park Olympic-sized outdoor pool – the rated poolside cafe is also lovely.
If you are in North London and enjoying the glorious sunshine, drop by parliament hill — the 60m lido always has a good atmosphere. Proximity Hampstead Heath ponds are also popular and often less crowded.
Read our guide to outdoor pools and lidos in London here.
Summer in London wouldn’t be complete without music festivals. And after successfully returning from lockdown in 2021, the capital’s calendar is jam-packed this time too.
There are the heavy hitters – the likes of Wireless, taking over both Crystal Palace Park and Finsbury Park, hosting Cardi B, A$AP Rocky, Nicki Minaj and more; and All points isback to Victoria Park with Tame Impala, Gorillaz and Disclosure among the headliners – and more intimate events, like Inauguration trip and Naked city.
Brockwell Park will be a South London hub, hosting the LGBTQ+ favorite Mighty Huplaa reggae-dancehall-afrobeats extravaganza featuring city splasha moving selection Cross the tracksand avant-garde bands and DJs at Awake.
Take your dancing shoes with you Gala, Junction 2, We are FSTVL, Aqueduct Where London deserted if you need a rave, and don’t forget the concert series. BST Hyde Park claims Adele as one of its headliners, while South exposure at the Crystal Palace Bowl booked London Grammar, Bombay Bicycle Club, Becky Hill and others.
head here for our complete festival guide.
With plenty of picnic-friendly parks across the capital, there’s more than enough space to spread out your sausage rolls.
All royal parks allow picnics; head toward Richmond Park for floral fun and deer spotting, scale parliament hill on Hampstead Heath for breathtaking views, or stroll after lunch around Kyoto Garden at Holland Park. Head toward Victoria Park if you feel like lounging under the pagoda.
When the Sun emerges from its winter hibernation, join the rest of the capital and head to one of the city’s many rooftop bars to soak up the rays. You’ll find a slice of the Amalfi Coast at Alto, the bar at the top of Selfridges on Oxford Street; pints upon pints of Guinness on the Irish Boozer’s massively misleading rooftop terrace the failing rear at Finsbury Park; a rustic and bucolic place in the heart of Shoreditch at The Culpeper; a view of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Madison; or any of the others in our guide to the best rooftops here.
There’s also plenty going on closer to sea level, at one of London’s best beer gardens, from People’s Park Tavern next to Victoria Park and the huge Truman’s Social Club in Walthamstow, Brixton’s favorite The Duke of Edinburgh and the veranda on the Thames side at Twickenham The white swan. Check out our full selection of choices here.
Sunbathe while enjoying a bit of culture in Regent’s Park, where open air theater the season kicks off May 13 with a production of Legally Blonde.
Shakespeare’s Globe will begin its spring and summer seasons on April 22 with a new version of Much Ado About Nothing, while Holland Opera Park returns with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin from May 31. Chiswick House July 6.
Food always tastes better when the sun is shining and the capital is full of outdoor favorites.
Pop Brixton is a treasure trove of food stalls, serving all kinds: pizza, sushi, churros, burgers, souvlaki, and more. In fact, there are open-air markets everywhere: from culinary delights to neighborhood market, Buck Street Market in Camden, Holborn’s leather market or Bermondsey’s Maltby Street Market.
For a more sophisticated touch, discover the garden at The Ivy Chelsea Gardenor if you really feel like splashing, head to the river cafe in Hammersmith for unpretentious and really, really good Italian food. Discover the best of the rest when it comes to outdoor dining here.
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