10 Best Outdoor Activities in London during Summer
London is one of the best capital cities to visit any time of the year. In the winter, you have holiday lights spread around the city, sprawled across Regent Street buildings and the outdoor ice skating rinks. In the Fall, the weather is ideal, and you can enjoy walks through Hyde Park. In the spring, the rain begins to slow down, and the outdoor markets are filled with locals and tourists.
In the summer, the city comes alive. Arguably the BEST time of the year to visit London, the beer gardens are filled with people, the parks are alive with ball games and picnics, the pubs open their outdoor areas, and the sunshine brings everyone out of their homes.
Let’s check out the best things to do during the summer months in England’s bustling capital city.
10. Catch Up On Some Films
For those movie buffs, you can enjoy watching an outdoor film at the Somerset House. Enjoy the scenery of one of London’s most magnificent and aesthetic buildings without being stuck indoors on a warm summer night. The Somerset House courtyard is a hotspot, with open-air music, comedy skits, and films.
Bring a blanket, some snacks, and a bottle of vino and enjoy the perfect picnic ambiance – you won’t be alone.
Location: Strand WC2
9. Listen to an Aria in Holland Park
For those who enjoy a bit of the high life, opera is as good as it gets. Without having to spend a fortune on a theatre ticket, attending the open-air opera in Holland Park combines London nightlife’s ambiance with the luxury of the theatre.
Every summer, Holland Park is home to the opera under a tent that can seat 1,000 lucky people. Although it is not completely outdoors, since the tent has a roof, it still has an open-air feel with picnic decks, blankets, and terraces for outdoor viewing.
With tickets from around £46-£63, this isn’t necessarily a budget option, but the informal opera is the best you can get for this price.
Location: Holland Park Theatre W8
8. Go For A Hole-in-One at Alexandra Palace
This 10-hole pitch is a treat outing for children, families, and adults alike. Work up a sweat trying to putt a hole-in-one on this beautiful course, trying to avoid a bogey at all costs. Once you are parched from all of the exertion, head to the nearby Sunday farmer’s market while looking out at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Location: Alexandra Palace Way, N22
7. Channel Your Inner Michael Phelps
You don’t have to be a competitive swimmer to cool off at Brockwell Lido. This swimming hole was restored to a modern kid’s/adult’s paradise back in 2007, now complete with a poolside cafe and Olympic-sized pool. Open from April to October, this is a great place to cool down from the hot sun – at just £2.70 per person.
Location: Dulwich Road, SE24
6. Paddle Your Way Around London
To avoid the hustle and bustle of London’s city streets – an always-crowded endeavor that gets even more so during the summer holidays – escape to Green Lanes in northeast London.
Head to West Reservoir, a fairly unknown and obsolete watersports center that is the ideal spot to cool off after a day of walking around the city. Sign up for a sailing or kayaking course, or try a free kayak session with the Castle Canoe Club if you’re a local that wants to meet some new athletic pals.
After trying kayaking for the first time, you can head on foot to Clissold Park or Abney Park to take in the sights of the water.
Location: Green Lanes, N4
5. Get in Touch with Nature
Many Londoners have never been to London Wetland Centre – and they really should. However, let’s leave this place a bit of a secret to keep the tranquil and serene atmosphere. For those who want to relax or go bird-watching, this is the best little-known hideout.
If you want to try bird-watching but don’t know where to start, there are free guided tours every day at 11 am and 2 pm – a perfect pre-lunch activity.
Location: Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, SW13
4. Play Some Footy in Hyde Park
Hyde Park is a sprawling green space that forms the entrance of Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace. With beautiful plants, architecture, monuments, and playing fields, this area is no stranger to ball games, picnics, and adventurous joggers who want to burn off some of the weekend’s grub.
Location: Hyde Park Pl, W2
3. Have a Pint at a Local Beer Garden
No matter what London neighborhood you frequent, there are no shortages of beer gardens close to your flat. When the summer sun comes out, so does the beer – it is just a fact of life in English culture.
For those in SW London, check out The Magic Garden. If you live in the northern quarter, head to The Garden Gate. For those in NW, head to Pub on the Park. Grab a pint of Smithwick’s and munch on some crisps while working on your tan.
2. Buy a souvenir at one of the many markets
London has dozens of open-air markets, selling various trinkets ranging from vintage clothes to special produce. We recommend checking out the Borough Market for some fresh food, The Truman Brewery Markets for unique souvenirs, the Greenwich Market for – well, everything, the Maltby Street Market, Old Spitalfields Market for hand-made items, and the well-known and ever-busy Camden Market for electric items, fashion clothes, unique accessories, and old-school music.
1. Cool Off on the Lake
Which lake? Luckily, London has many lakes that offer a great respite from the hot and muggy summer air. Located in various parks around the city, this is a great escape from the crowds, queues, and screaming children who really really want ice cream. The most famous lake is the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, with paddle boats and pedal boats to rent for you and your partner.
Location: Hyde Park Pl, W2