London is at its best during the summer months: our parks are in full bloom, there’s a full programme of inclusive and exclusive festivals and events, music and sport all organised to make the most of the light evenings and warm weather. However, if we’re talking about the summer we have to mention the weather. During the summer months temperatures range from 13-22.5°C / 56-73°F with an average of 7 rainy days per month but, as ever, it can be unpredictable. So, it’s a good idea to check the forecast and, if necessary, be prepared to adapt your plans. Below is Part I of what’s happening in the capital in June and July – enjoy the sunshine!
GLORIOUS GEORGES FESTIVAL AT KENSINGTON PALACE: 28th – 29th June
To mark the 300 year anniversary of George I’s accession to the British throne, The Glorious Georges season of events explore the lives of the Hanoverian monarchs. You can experience the latest Georgian fashions, take part in family games and meet characters from the royal court – or even picnic with King George II himself. The event is included in the cost of a Palace entry ticket and Children under 16 go free when accompanied by an adult (to a maximum of 6 children per paying adult).
Nearest Station: Kensington High Street (District Line)
FESTIVAL OF LOVE: Southbank Centre28th June – 31st August
Running over two months, the Festival is an exploration and celebration of human relationships, and all the complexities. The Thames-side site is being transformed by large-scale indoor and outdoor installations and artworks and there’s an exciting programme of events, differently themed weekends, performances and talks. Don’t be put off if it all sounds a bit too serious, all the events are free so you can decide on the day. And if not, you can continue strolling along the Thames.
Nearest station: Waterloo (Northern/Bakerloo Line, National Rail)
UDDERBELLY & WONDERGROUND FESTIVALS: both on the Southbank until the 13th July
Designed to excite, amaze and, make your jaw drop! Udderbelly, as the title may suggest, is hosted within an inflatable upside-down cow, it’s an 8-week extravaganza of laughs and smiles with comedy, dance, juggling, live music and featuring one of Australia’s hottest circus acts, Gravity & Other Myths, a captivating show of physicality, skill and daring. Tickets for each show can be bought from the website. Nearest station: Waterloo (Northern/Bakerloo Line, National Rail)
WIMBLEDON TENNIS: 23rd June – 6th July
This year everyone is talking about the World Cup, but for two weeks the world of tennis will descend upon South West London. The tournament, synonymous with summer, strawberries and cream, Pimms and good-natured queuing, is the world’s oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament and always exciting to watch. Centre Court tickets are a very rare thing, but Murray Mound can be as good a place to watch the key matches. Ground admission tickets from £5 are sold each day on a first come first basis.
Nearest Station: Southfields (District Line), or Wimbledon (District Line, National Rail)
BRITISH SUMMER TIME, HYDE PARK: from 3rd July
An eclectic selection of popular music and concerts in one of London’s biggest park. If you want to guarantee a seat to enjoy the atmosphere buy a ticket, or take a picnic and sit on the other side of the park to enjoy the music from a distance. Nearest Stations: Hyde Park Corner (Picadilly Line), Knightsbridge (Picadilly Line), and Marble Arch (Jubilee Line).
HAMPTON COURT PALACE FLOWER SHOW: 8-13th July
The world’s largest annual flower show attracts thousands of gardening fans and there’s plenty of room to explore the beautiful gardens, view the winning show gardens and seemingly endless floral displays. Nearest Station: Hampton Court (National Rail)
ZOO LATES until the 25th July
Every Friday night, plus a bonus night in August, London Zoo opens its gate to lots of animal related fun. Comedy, music, a Silent Dance Off, food from around the world and the chance to see incredible wildlife after hours with keeper talks and animal feeds. Tickets from £15, 6pm-10pm. Nearest Stations: Baker St (Bakerloo & Metropolitan lines), Regent’s Park (Bakerloo line), and Great Portland Street (Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines)
BUCKINGHAM PALACESummer Opening: 26th July – 28th September
While the Queen’s away on her summer holidays the doors of Buckingham Palace open to the public. The tour includes 19 lavishly furnished State Rooms and the special annual exhibition, which this year is the Royal Childhood which features objects from the Royal Archives and private collections of members of the Royal Family, spanning 250 years of life as a young royal. Tickets from £35. Nearest Stations: Victoria (Victoria Line, National Rail), Hyde Park Corner (Picadilly Line), and St James’s Park (Circle & District Lines)
REGENT’S PARK OPEN AIR THEATRE
The show must go on, come rain or shine. Award-winning Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has become a firm fixture of summer in the city. Nearest Stations: Baker St (Bakerloo & Metropolitan lines), Regent’s Park (Bakerloo line), and Great Portland Street (Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines)
QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK (Stratford)
Stop by the 2012 Olympics Stadium for a tour of the grounds, soak up the atmosphere, or even play sport in the fields. Or, if sport isn’t really your thing, but shopping is, Westfield Stratford, the UK’s third largest shopping centre, is just around the corner. Nearest Station: Stratford International (London Overground, DLR, Central Line, National Rail)