Summer in the city is anything but restful and relaxing.
On the contrary, the fleeting sunshine seems to send everyone into a frenzy of energy and excitement, and London kicks into high gear.
July felt like a whirlwind, but the main event was that my dad came back to London for his first visit since he and the rest of my family were here over New Year’s. We packed his ten days to the gills with London excitement. I’ve been wanting to share the details of his visit with the fam, as well as the best parts of London summers with my fellow Anglophiles out there – luckily, they line up pretty perfectly!
1. Concerts, Events, & Entertainment
You are positively spoilt for choice when it comes to music in this town. If there’s an act playing anywhere in the world, you can pretty much bet they’ll have dates in London.
Due to a slight scheduling miscommunication, I ended up abandoning my dad in my flat for his first evening back in London while I trekked over to the O2 in Greenwich for the show of a lifetime:
The five remaining members of Monty Python put on a once-in-a-lifetime reunion tour cheekily titled Monty Python Live (Mostly), or One Down, Five To Go. It was a hilarious evening, and seeing the dead parrot sketch and The Lumberjack Song performed live was an opportunity that won’t ever come round again!
There are plenty of incredible but fleeting entertainment events like this in London, so be sure to jump on them if you have the chance!
2. Street Food
Food trucks. Festivals. Pop-ups. Traveling markets. There is no lack of good eats come summertime in London. Some of my favorites are Street Feast (weekends in Dalston) and KERB (Saturdays at Kings Cross and the first weekend of every month at Southbank). I’ve followed KERB to Southbank a fair few times to stalk Batch Bakery for the delicious brownies of my dreams.
Speaking of Southbank… I am in love with it. You already know this. My dad’s first full day in London brought us there to enjoy the gorgeously sunny afternoon and one of my favorite of all London food trucks: BOB’s Lobster.
They have a pop-up as BOB’s & co. above a pub near St. Paul’s which I’ve gone to a few times (once when Kate was visiting in March), but the summer months find them under the bridge at Southbank in an old red and white VW bus, serving up the same amazing lobster rolls and ahi tuna tacos that we all know and love. Also, their only beverage offering is prosecco, so you know they’ve got respectable priorities.
There are plenty of tasty options in the city that I never even got to – check TimeOut London for what’s on any given day!
3. Summer Sport
Without hockey or much of a ski culture, there’s a bit of a lull in the British athletic calendar during the winter, but there is no shortage during the summer.
One of the main reasons for my dad’s visit was to see the Tour de France race through London, which we did on a beautiful day along Victoria Embankment (much like the Tour of Britain in the fall).
Later in the week, my dad and I camped out in a pub in South Kensington for an entire afternoon, watching the Wimbledon men’s final on their TV while simultaneously keeping up with the Tour de France stage and the Formula One qualifiers on our phones (when I said goodbye to him at Heathrow, he told me I was a great son).
This summer was even sportier than usual with the World Cup going on – and let me tell you, there is no better place to watch World Cup match than in an English pub. None.
4. The Great Outdoors
The weather in London is magnificent during June, July, and August. To be honest, I’m a fan of it the whole year round (What a weirdo! I hear you shout), but nobody can argue with sunshine and mid-70s (low-20s if you’re in Celsius). Aside from the occasional summer shower and even more occasional thunderstorm (which I love), it’s simply lovely.
My dad and I hopped the District Line west one day to check out the more adventuresome side of Kew Gardens. When I visited with the Higgins’ in April, the flowers were at peak bloom – we were a little past that in July, but I knew my dad would be even more in to the Treetop Walkway.
The walkway is 18m/60ft high and lets you walk through the canopy with a bird’s eye view of the gardens and greenhouses.
Everything was green and lush, and we spent the next few hours wandering through the half of the gardens that I hadn’t gotten to previously.
London is the greenest city of its size in the world, and there’s no better time to take advantage of this than the summer. Other beautiful outdoor spaces include Regent’s Park, Hampstead Heath, the awesomely wild Richmond Park (I’ve not gone myself, but apparently wild deer sightings are commonplace!), and, of course, Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park… among many, many others!
It’s hard to go wrong if you’re in London during the summer. It’s just so spectacular. Catch a show, find some great street food, watch a match in a pub, and get outside – this is just a start for making the most of it! My dad and I had a few more adventures, posts still to come (hint: we skipped out of Great Britain but not the British Isles…) but our time within old London town couldn’t have been better.