Some say that summer in London doesn’t begin until July 21st. You may wonder why this particular date has been selected? Well, that is the day when Buckingham Palace officially opens its doors and staterooms for guests to visit and view the splendor while the Royal Family is “summering” at Balmoral in Scotland. Of course, the weather gets warm beginning in May and lasts until September. What other activities do Londoners and visitors to England enjoy during these warm summer months? We spoke with the experts at London Connection and found the top 11 things they like to do. You may find that summer and early fall may be a perfect time to visit the Royal City.
1. Summer Tours of Buckingham Palace
Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to rule from Buckingham Palace shortly after she ascended to the throne in 1837. The building, erected in the early 1700s, was purchased by King George III in 1761. Most of the year Buckingham Palace is the residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The queen carries out most of her official ceremonial and diplomatic duties as head of state in the palace. From 21 July to 30 September, while the queen is in Scotland, the public is invited to visit the palace through several tour options. You can see the state rooms, the gardens, the Queen’s Art Gallery, and even a tour at night is available. This is the only time of the year that the inside of the palace is open to view. Not only do Londoners and citizens from all over England come to visit the palace, but people from all over the world. When you stand in line, you hear every language imaginable. The palace will be undergoing renovations for the next decade, and public access may not be the same for some time. Take advantage of this opportunity!
2. Visit the Museums: Day or Night
Of course, enjoying the many free museums in London is always a good idea during a hot summer day. When it is warm outside, being inside an air-conditioned environment is both refreshing and educational. What Londoners know, there will usually be evening hours at some of the best museums including the Victoria & Albert, the British Library, and the Museum of London. Be sure to check their websites ahead of time for current exhibitions and hours.
3. Summer Concerts
Hyde Park concerts are so popular, and you can see why when you review the line-up of planned performances. Well known musicians: The Cure, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Michael Bublé, and more are the reason that these events are often sold out well in advance. But there is hope. At times there are tickets turned back in, and you might score a couple of those. You may also be able to hear the concert from the perimeter of the venue, since it is outside. Plan ahead for 2019 by getting tickets as soon as they become available. Other summer concerts and festivals are held at Somerset House, Victoria Park, Finsbury Park, and even Wembley Stadium.
4. Street Food and Vendor Markets
There are so many options for finding fresh produce and prepared foods in London. Berries fresh from the farm, green beans galore, and those vine-ripened tomatoes — delicious! Begin the week with Jubilee Market every Monday. Borough Market is in full swing Wednesday through Saturday each week, except holidays. There you will find amazing foods from around the world. You’ll be salivating as you stroll past all the delectable and exotic aromas. And Saturday morning at Portobello Road Market is a must! These exciting markets are also filled with antiques, lace, silver, hats, and all kinds of other vendors.
5. Riverboat on the Thames
What could be more refreshing than feeling the breeze on your face atop a river boat? Traveling up the Thames from London to Greenwich can be as easy as using your Oyster Card from Tower Bridge or Westminster Pier.
There are plentiful opportunities to improve your wellness while in London. Studies have shown that people who spend time in nature are happier, healthier, and nicer. Visit one of the 15 London Gardens that will stir your senses, sit on the lawns of Kenwood House overlooking the city, stroll along the Millenium Bridge, or ride your bike through Hyde Park. Just get outside and smell the roses — literally!
7. Eat Outside
Grab the yogurt from your vacation rental fridge and head for the nearest park, have a BBQ where allowed one evening, choose a restaurant with outdoor seating, or pack a picnic to enjoy while spending the day at Kensal Green.
8. Get Active
How about getting fit while enjoying the summer weather? Bicycling in London is easy. Bike rentals are available, and city tours are an adventure from two wheels. Take a walk down the South bank and see all the graffiti walls and skateboarders. Keep cool by getting some activity involving the water. Swimming in the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, sailing from Canary Wharf, or paddle boating in Regents Park are all a fun way to enjoy London and burn some calories at the same time. And don’t forget horse riding or tennis. There are plentiful opportunities for these, as well. Londoners are active people, and you will fit right into their culture if you want to stay active while visiting there.
9. Outdoor Theatre
Everyone knows about the high quality of London theatre. During the summer, think outside the box and see a play under the stars at Regents Park. Their line-up is diverse and well reviewed. And where better to view fine dramas such as the passion of “Romeo and Juliet” than at the open-air Shakespeare Globe? Tickets can be purchased online well in advance or the day before. The perfect summer memory.
10. Gather Outdoors
Do you like people watching? London is the perfect place because there are some many beautiful parks and historical squares where crowds gather. Head to Covent Garden and be entertained by all the street performers. Sit in Trafalgar Square and take pictures — you will notice young couples hugging and kissing. Soho Square is a small oasis tucked behind Oxford Street. Each neighborhood has a similar place where people walk arm-in-arm each summer evening.
11. Relax in Your Vacation Rental
One of the great benefits of a London Connection vacation rental is how conveniently located they are. No matter what your morning activities entailed, you can get on the tube and be back at your flat in minutes. Get out of the heat and enjoy an afternoon nap. AHHHHHH. You will be refreshed and ready for a fabulous summer evening in London.