If you think that a landlocked city isn’t the best place to spend a lovely midsummer day, you’d be wrong. Summer in London can be idyllic. The UK capital has a lot to offer in the outdoors on a warm, sunny day. Here are our top five tips for making the most of it:
1. Picnic in St. James’s Park
Thanks to Sir Christopher Wren’s rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666, there are a huge number of spacious parks in London – and a good few right in the heart of the capital. Of these, the Royal Park of St. James’s maybe has the most on offer: glorious views of Buckingham Palace, large open lawns and shady trees, plus a waterway dotted with exotic wildfowl, ducks and swans. It’s a great spot for a picnic. There’s also the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk: a seven-mile-long stroll in all which is marked by plaques set in the ground which take you within sight of famous locations associated with the Princess during her life.
2. Wander the Regent’s Canal
London isn’t famous for its canals, but the Regent’s Canal is a lovely focal point for a fabulous day out. Stretching across the northern edge of central London, start out by admiring the colourful houseboats of Little Venice before walking – or even better, taking a canal boat ride – towards even more colourful Camden. On the way, you’ll pass London Zoo, the aviaries of which stretch right down to the water bank. Stop in to see the animals close up, or just spot birds from the canal-side. Reaching Camden, spend awhile exploring the quirky market stalls and alternative shops. On a hot day, don’t miss the Gelatorino ice cream parlour!
3. Have afternoon tea on a breezy terrace
There’s nothing as decadent, or as British, as having afternoon tea in one of the upmarket hotels around the centre of the capital. A top choice is to high tea at the gorgeous St. Ermin’s Hotel in glamorous Mayfair. On warmer days, you can choose to enjoy your afternoon tea on the Caxton Terrace overlooking the tree-lined courtyard. If you’ve got kids in tow, there’s even a menu option for them, inspired by famous superheroes!
4. Take an open-top bus ride
The capital has more than one hop-on hop-off bus tours. Many tourists turn their noses up at such modes of transport, but they are actually a great way to see the city – especially in the sunshine. Get a seat on the open top deck and enjoy watching the sights and the sounds of the city from your elevated vantage point.
5. The Notting Hill Carnival
Visit on the right weekend – the August Bank Holiday – and you you’ll be in London at the right time to experience the madness and clamour of the Notting Hill Carnival. The largest festival of this kind in Europe, this is a vibrant celebration of London’s multicultural roots. Expect lots of great food (try the jerk chicken being fried on street stalls), loud music and nubile dancing girls!
Article courtesy of St Ermin’s Hotel, 2 Caxton St, London, SW1H 0QW, 020 7222 7888