Say hello to summer vibes in London. From rooftop parties and outdoor cinemas to picnics in the park, experience the summer months like a real Londoner with our ultimate insider’s guide!
The great outdoors
- Grab a blanket and a bottle of fizz, and join Londoners as they head to the city’s leafy parks when the sun shines. Enjoy a picnic and have a go on a pedalo in Hyde Park, or wander among the resident deer in Richmond Park.
- When the mercury rises, take a dip in one of the city’s azure-blue lidos or venture north for a swim with leafy views in Hampstead Heath.
- Snuggle up during a summer film at one of London’s great outdoor cinemas, from hip hangouts across the city with Rooftop Film Club and The Luna Cinema’s iconic venues, to the grand Somerset House during Film4 Summer Screen.
- Launch from 35 metres (115ft) up in the air and enjoy unique views of the London skyline with Zip Now London, the biggest and fastest city centre zip wire in the world. Until 15 Sep
- Enjoy some of Shakespeare’s most acclaimed plays in the summer sun, as Shakespeare’s Globe theatre hosts its much-loved Summer Season. It’s a bargain, too, with tickets costing as little as a fiver! Until 13 Oct
- See more famous shows performed outdoors on stage at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – this year’s run includes Evita and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Until 21 Sep
Summer food and drink in London
- Feast on tacos and giant frozen Margaritas at one of the hottest themed rooftop bars in town: Las Mexicanas at Queen of Hoxton. Inspired by San Cristóbal in Mexico, this year’s pop-up also includes Mexican (arm) wrestling, quirky events and all-day parties. Until Oct
- For a truly British experience, head to Tobacco Dock’s pop-up rooftop, Skylight, for a game of croquet – complete with top-notch cocktails, street food and panoramic views. Until Aug
- If party vibes are more your thing, head over to Mediterranean-themed rooftop Pergola Paddington for Balearic beats, cocktails and DJ sets, plus summery food treats like poké bowls and wonton dumplings. Until Sep
- Love a good food market? Sink your teeth into street grub and order a glass of Pimm’s at one of the city’s coolest outdoor markets – try locals’ favourites Mercato Metropolitano, Dinerama, Pop Brixton or Maltby Street Market.
- Head to some of the city’s best rooftop bars for sunset drinks with killer views, from laidback Frank’s Cafe atop a multistorey car park in Peckham to classy Sushisamba City in a London skyscraper.
For the 'gram
- Soak up knockout views of the capital from the city’s newest roof terrace: The Garden at 120, filled with picture-pretty wisteria, wildflowers and water features.
- Walk up Primrose Hill for sweeping views of Regent’s Park and the London skyline. For the perfect shot, don’t miss the William Blake quote edged into the stone at the top: “I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill.”
- Ever visited a zoo after hours, with live music, street food and fun activities like crazy golf to keep you entertained into the night? Then don't miss ZSL London Zoo Nights on Friday nights in summer only (adults only). Until 26 Jul
- Bag yourself tickets to some of London’s hottest music festivals to see your favourite bands perform as the sun sets. Check out Elrow in Trent Park (17 Aug) and South West Four on Clapham Common (24-25 Aug).
- Have a boogie, sip a cocktail or three and feast on street food aplenty at one of the coolest summer parties in town: Solomons’ Yard’s 1920s-themed club nights are back in Camden Market. Until 24 Aug
- See one of the prettiest parts of town host Europe’s biggest street party during Notting Hill Carnival. Dance to the sounds of steel bands, tuck into Caribbean jerk chicken and watch the colourful parade make its way through the streets of west London. 24-26 Aug
- Discover the best of London’s music scene this summer: browse for bargains in record shops, find rising talent at iconic venues and visit little-known heritage spots.
Life by the water
- Fill your Instagram feed with snaps of Little Venice’s charming canals. Stroll along the Regent’s Canal towards Camden and Regent’s Park, or float down the waterways on a canal boat.
- Chill out in the sunshine at one of the hip drinking spots close to Camden Lock. If you’re feeling peckish, browse the tasty bites on offer at Camden Market’s food stalls.
- Soak up the sun and wave at passers-by while cruising down some of London’s canals in a hot tub with HotTug. That’s right, a floating hot tub!
- Unleash your adventurous side and explore Hammersmith or Richmond during a stand-up paddleboarding session on the river Thames.
- Sip on a craft beer from Hackney’s trendy canal-side microbrewery Crate, or head to one of the riverside pubs and bars lining the South Bank, including the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden.
- Hop aboard a riverboat for a relaxing ride along the Thames to one of London’s most charming neighbourhoods: Greenwich.
For art and culture buffs
- Mark the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth by visiting Victoria: A Royal Childhood and Victoria: Woman and Crown at Kensington Palace, where you’ll learn all about the famous British monarch’s life. Ongoing
- Explore the Royal Academy of Arts’ huge Summer Exhibition, showcasing works from top artists and academicians – including Tracey Emin and Wim Wenders in 2019. Until 12 Aug
- Feel like royalty while exploring the lavishly furnished rooms of the Queen’s official London residence, during Buckingham Palace’s annual summer opening. 20 Jul-29 Sep
- Get up close to stunning creations from one of the world’s most iconic fashion houses with Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A. Until 1 Sep
- Step inside the world of one of the 20th century’s greatest filmmakers with Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition at the Design Museum. The museum’s futuristic building is one of the coolest spaces in London and worth the trip alone! Until 15 Sep