Beautiful parks and squares
Summertime is the best time to head to London’s parks and squares. Trafalgar Square is always a center point of the city’s action, and in the summer it’s the place to be for free open-air events. Covent Garden also attracts visitors with its shopping, dining, and theater offerings, and in the summer you’ll be treated to an array of jugglers and musicians performing live in the Piazza. Wander around the South Bank cultural district and you’ll come across plenty of great outdoor events, music and performances. If you prefer the quiet of nature without all the commotion, London’s parks have a plethora of serene green spots to chill out and escape the city. St. James’s Park has a lovely central lake, views of Buckingham Palace, and pelican sightings! For the kids (and the Princess Diana fans), there’s Kensington Gardens, in which the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground is a favorite among children, and the memorial fountain is a hot spot for devoted fans to swim and have fun.
Outdoor cinema screenings
You’ll want to spend as much time outdoors as you can in the beautiful summer weather, so be sure to catch an outdoor movie screening in a picture-perfect location like Hampstead Heath or the gardens outside Westminster Abbey. Through September, Luna Cinema provides numerous locations for you to spend the perfect movie night. Find your favorite flick and location (just be sure to get tickets early)—and don’t forget to grab a picnic or reserve a blanket and backrest for this awesome opportunity! Or spend your time at The Nomad Cinema, a pop-up roaming cinema with venues in parks, squares, gardens and even cemeteries across the city. 100 percent of all profits go to The Sustainability Institute, an environmental and educational charity in South Africa.
Time Out Live is presenting Movies on the River with City Cruises. Take your outdoor cinema experience to a new level when you take it onto the River Thames! This unique cinematic experience (London’s first cinema sailing on the river) leaves from Tower Pier under the Tower Bridge, and sails up the Thames in the middle of London for an evening of film, food and drink on the river along with fantastic sunset views!
If you long to stay near the Thames, then check out this recently renovated 2-bedroom, 2-bath luxury furnished apartment that is located in Chiswick, an enchanting neighborhood in West London. Enjoy peaceful views of lush greenery, colorful flowers and the famed Thames from the private balcony off the living room, an ideal spot for your morning tea and a scone. This contemporary furnished apartment has a large open kitchen where you can prepare a home-cooked meal. Two bedrooms and two bathrooms provide ample space to comfortably accommodate a family or group. Amenities include a washing machine in the apartment, part-time doorman, and a gym right in the building. You may opt to get your exercise by exploring the neighborhood instead with its beautiful riverside scenery and historic Victorian-era homes. Have lunch at a quaint pub on the banks of the Thames or head to the Royal Botanic Gardens just over the river.
Music festivals are a summertime staple, and London has always been the place to catch the latest bands. Somerset House Summer Series never disappoints, offering top live music in the unique setting of an 18th-century courtyard by the Thames for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. The Underbelly Festival (April 28-September 30) combines the popular London Wonderground and Udderbelly festivals into one event, with a mix of live comedy, circus acts, and burlesque and musical entertainment.
If you enjoy watching a show outdoors but the classics are more your style, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in the borough of Southwark is an educational and historic destination. The Globe is a reconstruction of the original Elizabethan playhouse built in 1599 and is dedicated to Shakespeare’s works. Like the original, it doesn’t use microphones, speakers or amplification of any kind. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, located in beautiful Regent’s Park in central London, is an award-winning theater and London landmark. Pack a picnic and enjoy a day in the park as well as an entertaining show. This year, its lineup includes Jesus Christ Superstar, On The Town, and Oliver Twist.
If you’d like to stay close to all the outdoor theater action, this 1-bedroom apartment in the heart of Camden Town, just north of the River Thames, is only a few blocks from Regent’s Park. This sleek rental is industrial-chic with a white and gray-toned color palette, recessed lighting, wood flooring and loft-style windows flooding the space with light. Modern frosted glass partitions add privacy to the open layout, while the bathroom (with glass-walled shower, slate tiles, and rainfall shower head) adds spa-like serenity. A large open kitchen allows for cooking and entertaining at home, while grocery options like Waitrose, Lidl, and Whole Foods Market nearby provide all the ingredients. If you enjoy going out to bars and restaurants instead, you will love Camden Town! This culturally vibrant neighborhood of London has great nightlife too!
After testing out all the British pubs in your neighborhood, you can burn calories with some thrilling outdoor action. Besides the famous Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, London has many other options for getting your sports fix. Since it’s summer, why not head to one of London’s pools, ponds, or lidos to cool off? Serpentine Lido and Hampstead Heath Ponds are among the local favorites. If you prefer to be a spectator rather than a participant, on August 6th the world’s top marathon runners will compete in the Marathon at IAAF World Championships 2017 in Central London. Meanwhile, on August 26th, the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final will be held at Wembley.
Beaches and London with kids
Craving the beach? While they may not be your typical beaches, London’s urban beaches serve up plenty of sun and fun! Check out Beach East, Stratford’s Beach and Amusement Park, open from July 21st to September 2nd at Queen Elizabeth Amusement Park. You’ll find piles of sand, rides, and a giant paddling pool for the kids, plus beach bar beverages for the adults. Neverland London is an urban beach on the side of the Thames, and for a little island vibe, Brixton Beach will be bringing a bit of Havana to its rooftop urban beach this summer.
The young ones will love Shrek’s Adventure at the Riverside Building beside the London Eye on the South Bank of the Thames. It’s a mix of amusement park and interactive theater the whole family can enjoy! Check out more kid-friendly suggestions on our blog!
Notting Hill Carnival
Get ready to party! Every year, the August Bank Holiday heralds the return of Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival (taking place this year on August 27-28, 2017) in the Notting Hill section of London. This vivid spectacle is something to behold, with an extravaganza of colorful costumes, steel drums, reggae, and revelry (plus some fabulous Caribbean food) in celebration of London’s Caribbean communities.
Just 10 minutes from Notting Hill, Willesden is a cozy, artistic neighborhood with fantastic eateries representing London’s multicultural inhabitants. Treat your taste buds to something different at Arnika for Persian cuisine, or Shish Mangal Restaurant if you want to try Turkish cuisine. This 4-bedroom apartment in Willesden is spacious enough to take the whole family to London. The family-friendly apartment has a modern open kitchen with skylights and a dining table to gather the family around when you prefer a home-cooked meal. Doors open onto a lovely garden complete with seating and a playset for the kids! Two living rooms, four bedrooms, and three bathrooms make this a dream home away from home. Everyone will have plenty of space and privacy, so you’ll be glad you didn’t squeeze into a hotel room! After enjoying your own garden, take the gang to enjoy the summer sunshine in one of the many nearby parks including Roundwood Park, King Edward VII Park and Queen’s Park.
With so many exciting things to do in London this summer, you may not know where to begin, but we hope we’ve given you some fun-filled ideas to get you started! Now head to our website and grab the perfect furnished summer rental for your trip to jolly old England, before someone else does!