With countless unique experiences and unforgettable activities, there is truly no better place to celebrate the summer than in London. From rooftop bars and outdoor cinemas to music festivals and picnics in the park, discover 101 ways to make the most of the summer with this ultimate guide.
Get ready for days filled with sunshine and all things alfresco. Find the best outdoor activities and things to do from open-air tours and attractions to iconic summer events throughout June, July and August.
Summer school holidays 2023
- School's out! Discover plenty of fun things to do in London for families: Top Tip: Sightsee and save at top attractions with The London Pass or the Go City London Explorer Pass.
- Find the the best family attractions in the capital: Take your pick of cool museums for kids and action-packed adventures.
- Tick off the capital's top 10 attractions: Enjoy family favourites Shrek's Adventure! London, SEA LIFE London Aquarium and the London Eye.
- Or see top sights on The Total London Experience: The popular day-long tour takes in key sights and includes a river trip to Greenwich.
- Experience Harry Potter's London: Relive the magic at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter or be spellbound by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre.
- Hop on the IFS Cloud Cable Car for a selfie with a backdrop: Travel through the London sky at sunset for perfect snaps.
- Inspire the little ones at KidZania: Keep the kids entertained as they take part in immersive play and try out different careers.
- Whizz down The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit: Feel the wind in your hair as you experience the world's longest and tallest tunnel slide.
- Enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers: See iconic landmarks as you hop on and off London's river bus. Make sure to snap a selfie in front of Tower Bridge!
- History buffs can get their fix at the Tower of London: Hear tales of torture and treachery from the Yeoman Warden's and their raven companions.
- Take on the terrifying London Dungeons: Discover London's scary history and meet some of the city's most gruesome character's, from Jack the Ripper to Sweeney Todd.
- Stand with a foot in each hemisphere at the Royal Observatory Greenwich: Visit the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the world-famous Meridian Line.
- Climb the rigging on the Cutty Sark in Greenwich: Bring out your inner adventurer as you plot your way to the top of the tea clipper.
- Test your Tube driving skills at the London Transport Museum: Explore real life buses and trains as you discover the history of London's public transport network.
- Play Monopoly Lifesized: Get on your feet and roll the giant dice as you travel around the high tech, interactive game board.
- Try something new in London: Grab your mates and enjoy these thrilling immersive experiences.
- Plan a London break: Stay in London's best hotels for families.
- Make London memories that last forever: Work your way through these 101 things to do with the little and not-so-little ones.
What's on in London's theatre during summer 2023?
- Book ahead for London's top musicals: Enjoy must-see shows such as The Lion King, Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera.
- Discover the best shows for kids: Take your seat for family favourites.
- Laugh out loud at the best comedy shows: Be amused by chucklesome antics in hilarious shows such as The Play That Goes Wrong.
- Feel summer vibes at Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre: Get into holiday mode with this summertastic musical featuring all of your favourite ABBA songs.
- Fall in love with Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre: Witness this heart-wrenching tale of sacrifice and redemption.
- Sing along at TINA - The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre: Revel in rock 'n' roll at this much-loved musical.
- Be intrigued by Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap at St Martin's Theatre: Expect twists and turns in this suspense-packed murder mystery play.
- See inspiring on-stage divas at Six The Musical at the Vaudeville Theatre: Meet six Tudor queens that are ready to tell their side of the story.
- Witness a never-before-seen version of Oklahoma! at Wyndham's Theatre: See a community band together against an outsider during a time that shaped America.
- Enjoy an unforgettable night at Magic Mike Live at the London Hippodrome: Let your hair down, laugh out loud and enjoy the magic.
- Follow the remarkable journey of THE TEMPTATIONS in Ain't Too Proud at the Prince Edward Theatre: Hear the thrilling story of brotherhood and betrayal.
What are the best exhibitions in London this summer?
- Don’t miss the Royal Academy of Arts’ Summer Exhibition: Experience an annual celebration of art and creativity, with works on show from up-and-coming artists. 21 Jun-21 Aug
- Delve into a vibrant world at Yika Ilori: Parables for Happiness at the Design Museum: The artist and designer celebrates a mix of cultural influences from growing up in North London. Until 25 Jun
- Discover Korea's colourful popular culture at Hallyu! The Korean Wave at the Victoria and Albert Museum: From academy award-winning films, and global musical icons to forward-thinking fashion. Until 25 Jun
- Encounter Hilma AF Klint & Piet Mondrian at Tate Modern: Explore the relationship between abstract art and the natural world. 20 Apr-3 Sep
- See The Rossettis at Tate Britain: Observe works of the revolutionary Rossetti generation at this immersive show of poetry, paintings and more. 6 Apr-24 Sep
- Journey to outer space at the Astronomy Photographer of the Year at the National Maritime Museum: Galaxies, suns and silver moons - see incredible photos of our universe and beyond. Until 13 Aug
- Immerse yourself in the Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts: Admire works of art of talented black artists from the Southeastern United States. Until 18 Jun
- Be mesmerised at Re:Imagining Musicals at the Victoria and Albert Museum: See how the world's most beloved musicals have been adapted, revived and retold. Until 27 Nov
- Marvel at Paula Rego: Crivelli's Garden at the National Gallery: See depictions of the courageous strong women from Rego's life portrayed in this impressive painting. From 20 Jul
Summer days out in London
- Spot roses in bloom at Kew Gardens: Wander the Great Broad Walk Borders and seek out colourful flower gardens.
- Marvel at pretty city views on one of London’s best bus tours: Climb aboard an iconic double-decker bus and take in the sights.
- Explore the city on foot with a guide on a walking tour of London: Uncover incredible spots, from hidden gems, and movie filming locations to royal hotspots.
- Or head out on a treasure hunt with The Secret City tour: Work together or go head-to-head, solving clues, riddles and puzzles on an urban adventure across London.
- See the variety of exotic animals at ZSL London Zoo by Regent's Park: Hang out with meerkats, penguins, lions and more.
- Get some of the best uninterrupted views in London: Get your adrenaline fix as you scale new heights with the Up at The O2 climb.
- Explore the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park: Relax in the picturesque Japanese garden with its vibrant plants and soothing water features.
- Grab a blanket and a bottle of fizz, and 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 spot the resident deer in Richmond Park.
- Make a splash 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: Check out Rooftop Film Club’s iconic venues, or hop in the car for a drive-in cinema experience.
- Hop on your bike and ride some of London's best cycle paths: Discover the hidden corners of London as you explore on two wheels.
- 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 etched into the stone at the top: “I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill.”
Summer food and drink in London
- Make the most of the long summer evenings at The View from The Shard: Sip on champagne cocktails and late-night drinks at London's tallest attraction.
- Discover some of the city’s best rooftop bars for sunset drinks: Experience killer views from The Nest at Treehouse London Hotel, or catch a sunset at Bar Elba with views of the London Eye.
- Or head to the Sky Garden, more than 500ft (152m) above the streets: Experience show-stopping views alongside summer dishes at its restaurant Darwin Brasserie.
- Sit outside and enjoy a meal in the summer sunshine: Experience some of London's best alfresco restaurants.
- Hop aboard a boat and indulge in a London Dinner Cruise: Savour a four course meal as you take in the sights from the Thames.
- Experience high-dining in a literal sense: Have a meal 100ft (30m) above ground at The O2, with London in the Sky. TBC
- Soak up knockout views of the capital from high up at the classy Sushisamba City: Enjoy colourful Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian-fusion fare from the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower.
- Feast on all things Italian at Eataly in Broadgate: Find authentic foodie treats, a huge market area, three restaurants, a winery and a cooking school.
- Get your summer foodie fix: Devour heavenly treats in the surrounds of a former church at Mercato Mayfair, enjoy street food bites from KERB traders at Seven Dials Market, or hang out near the Thames at the Southbank Centre Food Market.
- Head to Lost in Brixton and satisfy all your cravings with food from downstairs Brixton Village: Chill with a local beer or a colourful spritzer, while waiting for your food to be brought straight to your table. Who said you couldn't have it all?
- Or, try locals’ favourite food markets: Tempt your taste buds at Mercato Metropolitano, lively Pop Brixton and foodie haven Maltby Street Market.
London summer festivals
- Soak up the atmosphere at the iconic Royal Albert Hall: Enjoy stunning summer performances from musical concerts to the world-famous proms.
- Don't miss show-stopping performances at BST Festival in Hyde Park: See the likes of Blackpink, Tate That, P!nk and Billy Joel. 24 Jun-8 Jul
- See one of the prettiest parts of town at the 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. 27-28 Aug
- Celebrate London's LGBTQ+ community at the colourful Pride in London parade: Sing and dance along, as more than 300 floats wind their way through central London. Jul
- Snap colourful floral displays at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival: See impressive garden designs in the prestigious grounds of the palace. 4-9 Jul
- Head to Somerset House for an exciting program of summer events: Attend day and night performances, inspiring exhibitions and family-friendly activities. TBC
- Enjoy a summer spectacular at the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 2023: From street art and circus acts to light installations and dance performances, immerse yourself in London's diverse culture at this free family-friendly festival. TBC
London life by the water
- Hop aboard a riverboat for a relaxing ride along the Thames: Sail to one of London’s most charming neighbourhoods: Greenwich.
- Fill your Instagram feed with snaps of Little Venice’s charming canal: 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 Market: If you’re feeling peckish, browse the tasty bites on offer at the market's food stalls.
- Soak up the sun in a floating hot tub with Skuna Boats: Wave at passers-by while cruising down some of London’s canals from West India Quay.
- Unleash your adventurous side: Explore Hammersmith or Richmond during a stand-up paddle boarding session with Active 360 on the river Thames.
- Enjoy drinks by the river: Sip on a craft beer from Hackney’s trendy canal-side microbrewery Crate, or head to one of the riverside pubs and bars lining South Bank.
Summer shopping in London
- Spend a day perusing the 160 luxury-brand boutique outlets of Bicester Village: Enjoy some retail therapy just a short train ride away from London.
- Head to elegant Regent Street for world-class dining, lifestyle and shopping: Discover high-street fashion brands like Burberry, Kate Spade and Mango, plus there are plenty of independent shops to discover on the side streets.
- Browse Oxford Street, the world’s biggest high street: Find fashion, beauty and tech items at iconic brands and department stores, including John Lewis and Microsoft.
- And don't miss Bond Street in Mayfair: Head to the home to ultra luxury fashion just around the corner from Oxford Street.
- Hop around artisan shops and boutiques in St James's: Explore the historic area known for high-end fashion and numerous stores with the Royal Warrant.
- Explore vibrant Carnaby Street: Ideal for fashion lovers looking for concept stores, designer clothes, trendy footwear and colourful shop fronts. If you’re not in a retail-therapy mood, there is also plenty of food to enjoy from Carnaby’s restaurants.
- Take a wander the Piazza at Covent Garden: A foodie paradise and one of the best shopping destinations in London's West End. Look for classy items in the market while soothed by the sound of opera singers performing.
- Stroll around Seven Dials: Where independent boutiques, classy cafes and picturesque courtyards collide.
- Stop by Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross: Shop for niche brands and enjoy a latte and cakes at its many cafes.
- Peruse London’s top markets: Find food, flowers, modern art, clothes and more.
- Rummage through charity shops and the city’s best vintage fashion shops: London is a temple for second-hand fashion and one-of-a-kind items.
- Find something different at hidden shopping gems in London: Once you’ve hit the big shopping destinations, take a look at the many art and antique shops.
Enjoy a summer of sport in London
- Don't miss The Wimbledon Championship where the world's Tennis icon's take to centre court: Experience incredible matches and entertainment at this action-packed event. 3 Jul-16 Jul
- Watch the English FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium: Cheer on your favourite team as two teams compete to be crowned champions of English football. 3 Jun
- Be thrilled by the 2023 London E-Prix: See teams go wheel-to-wheel when the ABB FIA Formula E Championship comes ExCeL London and the Royal Docks this summer. 29-30 Jul
- Head to the Kia Oval and Lord's Cricket Ground: Enjoy a season of incredible local and international cricket.
If you’re still hungry for more things to do this summer, find top tips for things to do in London this weekend and things to do today. Or find on-the-go ideas by downloading the Visit London app.