The grand city of London was practically designed for summer travel. The city may have a reputation for overcast skies and rain, but the summer sun still makes frequent appearances, and temperatures are comfortably warm, rarely rising above the mid-80s Fahrenheit (about 30° C). Londoners seize every chance to enjoy the summer weather, frequently taking lunch breaks in local parks and green squares, and children enjoy the summer holidays from school by flocking to neighborhood playgrounds and swimming pools or lidos.
It’s not just locals who get to have all the fun! The city welcomes tourists with plenty of summer-friendly activities like the Changing the Guard and exclusive summer tours of Buckingham Palace, free activities on Regent Street, and the return of favored summer activities like free outdoor film screenings (consult our previous London summer guide to learn about all of them!). Finally, with a furnished apartment rental through New York Habitat, your accommodations will welcome you to London with open arms too—don’t miss your chance to live like a local this summer in London and experience all of the activities in our summer guide!
London’s secluded gardens and hottest summer parks
London may be one of the most populous cities in Europe, but it is possible to find your own private escape! Throughout London’s urban sprawl and its parkland alike, you can find plenty of gardens and hidden oases—if you know where to look! There are mini parks like Postman’s Park near St. Paul’s Cathedral, with its memorial to everyday London heroes, Camley Street Natural Park in King’s Cross, the medicinal Chelsea Physic Garden in Chelsea, and Holland Park’s Kyoto Garden, with its tranquil Japanese influence.
Our favorite hidden garden for the summer is Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola, a landscaped Romanesque garden with reflecting pools, lush hanging plants, and plenty of shaded areas. While in the area of Hampstead, you can enjoy the idyllic Hampstead Heath, take a dip in the ponds, and enjoy some of the best views in London. Don’t hesitate to plan a romantic evening with a stroll in one of these secret gardens, either!
To satisfy your more active side, you can also visit London’s parks for plenty of fun in the sun! In addition to the classic parks like Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and St. James’s Park, London holds many more casual, summery parks that are not as well-known to tourists but are brimming with things to do. First up is Clissold Park in Hackney, a great family-friendly park with an animal enclosure, a shallow paddling pool to cool off, a butterfly greenhouse, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor sports, including a skatepark.
Also in Hackney is London Fields. The laid-back green space is home to London Fields lido, cricket pitches, children’s play areas, and is one of only a few places in London where you can have an outdoor barbecue! Dulwich Park in Southwark is also a great bet for those looking to go boating or play on one of the sports fields.
If the local parks of London and Hackney particularly impress you, you can make Hackney your temporary home with a stay in this 1-bedroom vacation rental! Bring home the memories of your time in London’s natural areas with the contemporary style of this apartment’s light hardwood floors and décor in hues of natural beige and green. You can also extend your time in the fresh air by sitting on your own private balcony. High-end appliances in the full open kitchen make cooking easy, even if you only come home when the sun goes down! Take time to explore the surrounding areas of Shoreditch and Hackney, which are popular for their selection of restaurants and nightlife.
Celebrate arts and culture in ways both traditional and modern
London’s proud, regal history makes it a proper destination for the most cultured travelers, especially in the summertime! First and foremost, summer marks the return of the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, an eight-week season of orchestral concerts considered to be one of the most anticipated events of the year in England. The Last Night of the Proms celebration is the kingpin of the entire event, and commemorates the proud musical tradition of the entire United Kingdom. This is a can’t-miss event if you want to experience British culture!
If you’re looking more in the way of pop culture and a younger crowd, try attending an outdoor film screening, particularly the California-themed LA Nights parties by Backyard Cinema. The screening events (featuring many sing-along musicals) also come decked out with real palm trees and a full beach bar. For more pop-up cinema in London, read our guide!
Natural artwork at the Hampton Court flower show
Of course, London is also a haven for artwork, both traditional and non-traditional. You can visit London’s famous museums (many of which are free!) like the National Gallery and the Tate Modern at any time of year, but why not go for an unexpected, outdoor reinvention of a traditional art show by visiting the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival? You won’t find traditional oil-on-canvas works of art here, as the Garden Festival (July 2-7) is filled with acres of displays and sculptures made out of fresh flowers and plants, all in the shadow of Hampton Court Palace.
If you’re in town for the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, you can opt to stay in posh luxury in South Kensington with this 1-bedroom vacation rental. Bring the artistic inspiration of the flower show home with the contemporary design aesthetic, bright hardwood floors, and cheery potted plants in this apartment rental. The rental is located in a luxury building designed to bring you the utmost comfort and convenience, with amenities like a concierge and maid service. No need to worry about cleaning on vacation! The convenience continues with the open kitchen that welcomes you to cook, the queen-sized bed that offers a restful place to retire at the end of the day, and the super-convenient South Kensington location, a central neighborhood for both regulars and those new to London.
It’s the biggest party of the summer! Dance your way to Notting Hill Carnival
Ask anyone to name the most popular summer events in London, and they’re almost guaranteed to mention the Notting Hill Carnival. Since 1966, this raucous celebration has taken to the streets of the musical Notting Hill neighborhood to celebration London’s West Indian and Caribbean community with dancing, parades, street food, and of course music. What really brings this celebration to life, though, is the brilliantly-colored costumes! Join an annual crowd of over one million spectators and participants from Notting Hill and beyond on August 24-26 and dance your way through one of the biggest celebrations in London.
At the end of the day, you can also keep the party going at your vacation rental! This 1-bedroom in Notting Hill is ready to host your ultimate summer getaway thanks to its open layout with plenty of floor space to mingle, a kitchen alcove that gives you full view of the party, and an ultra-cool private outdoor patio. The relaxing modern décor and secluded bedroom with double bed will be music to your ears too after a full day of celebrating in Notting Hill or sightseeing at London’s most famous attractions!
Experience the full ‘flavor’ of London!
There’s even more to do in London in August! From August 9 thru 11, you can experience the London Craft Beer Festival at Tobacco Dock in London’s East End. The festival will feature over 80 breweries from the UK and beyond, as well as surprise musical acts and entertainment. Then, on August 17 and 18, you can visit the London Dessert Festival at Old Truman Brewery, just outside of the City of London. The festival promises to be an absolute sugar rush celebrating the art of sweets and indulging all 5 senses with displays, performances, art, and of course treats to sample.
Other summer events include the ever-popular Underbelly Festival, running from April thru September and hosting amusement rides, food stalls, performers, theater, dance, and more, and Zee London Mela, an annual festival in Southall Park celebrating East Asian culture through art, music, and food.
Explore London’s vibrant cultural enclaves and mini-neighborhoods
Don’t miss the chance to explore the cultural roots of London during some of the most pleasant weather of the year! The summer season is a perfect time to walk around London’s cultural enclaves and “little” neighborhoods; after all, what better way is there to get acquainted with a city than by hitting the streets? And if you’re a foodie, you’ll be in heaven! Sample some of London’s most famous ethnic dishes like chicken tikka masala and curry. Here are some great places to start!
- Chinatown, Westminster: Don’t miss Gerrard Street, the must-see part of this ethnic enclave.
- Banglatown, Brick Lane, the East End: This home of the city’s British-Bangladeshi community has some of the best curry restaurants in London.
- Little Portugal, Stockwell, South London: Try a treat from the delectable Portuguese bakeries in this area!
- Brixton: This neighborhood of London is home to a thriving community of people of Afro-Caribbean descent and is known as one of the best foodie destinations in London.
Have a smashing time at Wimbledon
As one of the top annual events in London, you can’t miss the Wimbledon grand slam tennis tournament if you’re in London for the summer! The tournament draws the top tennis stars from around the world to England’s capital from July 1 thru 14, and is considered the most prestigious championship in the tennis world. In fact, the royal family has even been spotted in attendance in the past! Pack your sunscreen, keep your eyes open for celebrity sightings, and prepare to enjoy an exhilarating match.
If you’re a tennis fan, you look forward to Wimbledon all year. Be sure that your accommodations are squared away in time for the big event! We suggest this 2-bedroom vacation rental in West Kensington, a convenient and stylishly modern flat in the West End of London that puts you close to all the action. The modern, minimalist apartment makes use of space with its open floor plan, inviting you to gather and watch a match on the mounted television while you chat from the contemporary kitchen. If you’re traveling in a group, the apartment sleeps three people thanks to a double and single bed in the two bedrooms. The apartment is also just 32 m from West Kensington Station on the District line, and from there it’s a straight 20-minute journey to Wimbledon Park!
Looking for a different sort of apartment or London experience? We can help! New York Habitat has dozens of furnished flats in London that are available for monthly rentals, so you can plan the London summer of your dreams and see everything on your must-list. Forgo the trepidations of planning a summer holiday and bet on London: from the comfort of a proper furnished apartment, it’s sure to be a trip you’ll never forget.