Spending summer in London? From what to pack to things to do and everything in between, here’s how to spend summer in London for 2022 — from a Londoner.
London transforms come summer. Hot England winters are replaced with warm silky days, museums traded for festivals and mulled wine in Hyde Park for dining al fresco on a sunny day in Soho.
If you’re spending any time at all in summer in London, you’re a lucky one my friend. Here’s how to spend it right.
How to Spend Summer in London
Pros of Visiting London in the Summer
London’s not particularly known for being a swimming hotspot. But come summer in London the city is swarming in pool and lakeside opportunities to cool yourself down for the season, and it’s a great way to spend a day in London.
Buckingham palace is open
Every summer Buckingham Palace opens to the public for one season and one season only. I got the opportunity to visit myself last year (the gardens in particular) and it’s well well worth it.
Pub culture any time of year is great in London. But there’s nothing quite like sipping down a pint on a warm day in London, especially when it’s a riverside pub. Summer pub crawl anyone?
Okay, admittedly this is a bit biased (and in the same breathe, totally accurate) but I’ve noticed London is generally a more friendly place in the summertime. There’s definitely some science somewhere to back this up, but the sun does wonders for people’s happiness levels — including Londoners!
P.S – Speaking on that note, here’s my thoughts on ‘are British people negative?’
Cons of Visiting London in the Summer
We haven’t had one yet (fingers crossed) but being in London during a heatwave isn’t fun.
With that said, we’re talking 32C (89.6F) to 38.1 °C (100.6 °F) max, which is the highest recorded in history by the way. So if you’re coming from a warm country already, it won’t make much of a difference .
Supply and demand baby. For better or worse a lot of tourists have caught up on the ‘London’s great in summer’ train, which means prices for flights and hotels inevitably go up. There’s not really much of a way to bypass this unless you’re booking way in advance, but even then, prices can be higher in anticipation for the season.
So be prepared to either suck up the price points or save your visit for autumn in London (another great season to visit London!).
Crowded with tourists
Like I said you’ll get a lot of tourists come summertime, which can come with lots of crowds. To bypass this, consider visiting the tourist attractions and London neighbourhoods (like Hampstead or Greenwich) early on weekdays.
What’s the Weather Like for Summer in London?
London weather is a funny one, even in summer. Average temperatures float around 12°C to 21°C (53°F to 70°F) but as you’ll soon see, you’ll need to pack more than just summer attire for your trip as the weather really can change on a dime (for example, the time last week we had sun, a hail storm, rain and sun again all within 3 hours…yes, really).
What to Pack for Summer in London
Like spending summer anywhere in Europe, a cute sundress is a must (especially if you’re taking any pictures for the gram).
Perfect for a day of brunching in Kensington or exploring Covent Garden or Notting Hill, you’ll definitely want to pack a few for your summer in London. Just make sure to always have a jacket of some sort, speaking of…
No matter how hot the weather app says it’ll be, you never and I repeat never want to leave your flat without layers. Luckily for summer in London you can ditch the heavy coat, but a light jacket is always necessary.
I find it really funny here how Londoners will where sunglasses at the very hint of some sunshine (I think we like the cool factor), so prepare to bring some sunnies.
Quite a random thing to bring for summer I know, but summer scarfs are perfect for when your summer in London day feels more like a summer in autumn day. Plus they’re stylish too!
If you’re exploring London in summer, leave the fancy summer pumps and home and always have comfortable flats. Trust me, you won’t regret it. If they work with your outfit don’t be afraid to go for sneakers too. As long as they’re fashionable.
Best Things to Do for Summer in London
Celebrate the Jubilee
If you’re in London for summer 2022 you’ll no doubt want to celebrate the Jubilee. Check out my reel below for my recommendations on how to celebrate the Jubilee or the official Platinum Jubilee sight here.
Get The London Pass
If you’re coming to London in summer as a tourist you need to get The London Pass. Not only will you get access to over 80+ attractions, but you’ll get discounts on restaurants cruises and more!
Of course, one of the biggest USPs of coming to London in the summer is all the swimming opportunities. Hampstead Heath Ponds, London Fields Lido, Richmond Pools in the Park, the Serpentine Lido, and the Parliament Hill Lido are all great places to get a summer dip in.
Tour Buckingham Palace Gardens
From July 22nd to October 2nd you can take a tour of the Queen’s official residence — Buckingham Palace! This includes the States Rooms and as of last year, the Buckingham Palace Gardens too (be sure to get your tickets early for this one, it books up fast!)
Explore London’s Parks
Exploring London’s green space is one of my favourite things to do in the city anytime of year, but London parks are especially magical in the summer. Make sure you pack a picnic for the full experience.
P.S – Here’s 50+ beautiful London parks to choose from (separated by area for less overwhelm).
Looking for picnic in London gear?
Visit Kew Gardens
There’s nothing quite like spending a summer day in Kew Gardens. With over 500 acres of award-winning botanic gardens to explore, you could easily spend an entire summer’s day here.
Plus there’s always a new exhibition going on, so even if you’ve been before there’ll be something new to see.
Spend a Day in Hampstead (and Hampstead Heath)
Similar to Kew you could make a whole day just enjoying summer in Hampstead.
Start by getting off at Hampstead Underground station, have a coffee and pop around the town, have an al fresco pint at The Holly Bush and a visit to the Hill Garden & Pergola, then walk around Hampstead Heath and consider taking a dip in the Hampstead Heath swimming ponds. That’s your whole day right there!
P.S – Read my blog on the best things to do in Hampstead for more recommendations!
Have a Primrose Hill Picnic
Picnics in any London green space are fabulous, but there’s something extra special about a picnic in Primrose Hill.
P.S – Read my blog on things to do in Primrose Hill for more things to get up to in the area!
Take a London Walk
Go Market Hopping
Summer markets in London are lovely. Stalls are bursting with seasonal goods and it’s a beautiful place to see the city come to life.
You’re certainly spoiled for options when it comes to markets in London, but I particularly love Greenwich Market, Maltby Street Market, Borough Market, Camden Market and Columbia Road Flower Market in summer.
Dine Al Fresco
Outdoor dining is pretty much a summer in London hobby in itself. Dine al fresco and enjoy all the Aperol Spritz you can handle at London’s best outdoor dining spots. To name a few:
- The Ivy in Soho
- Tapas Brindisa in Soho
- Petersham Nurseries in Covent Garden
- Pantechnicon in Belgravia
- Pergola Paddington
- Tavolino in London Bridge
- Dalloway Terrace on Tottenham Court Road
- The Madison in City of London
- Crate Brewery in Hackney
- Boisdale in Canary Wharf
and loads more!
Test Out London’s Rooftop Bars
You know summer in London’s in full swing when the rooftop bars are back again. Make a point to visit at least one rooftop bar this summer in London and make the experience for yourself. Here’s a few to choose from:
- Roof East in Stratford
- Radio Rooftop in Covent Garden
- Sushisamba in Liverpool Street
- Netil 360 in Hackney
- Skylight in Wapping
- Seabird in Southwark
- Bar Elba in Waterloo
- Bokan in Canary Wharf
- Upper 5th in Shoreditch
P.S – Many of the al fresco dining spots mentioned above double as rooftop bars too!
Lick Some London Ice cream
When long hot summer days arrive in London, ice cream is all the remedy you need. Here’s my 5 favourite ice cream spots in the city.
- Oddono’s (across London)
- Mamason’s Dirty Ice Cream (across London)
- Amorino Gelato (across London)
- Chin Chin Ice Cream (across London)
- Gelatorino (Covent Garden)
But when in doubt, most London parks will be dotted with eager ice cream vans too, waiting to give you your fix.
Visit Outdoor Bookshops
Do the Bermondsey Beer Mile
Summer and cold pints go together like fish and chips in London, time to do the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
The stretch of independent pubs and breweries lines up nicely along a mile (closer to two miles now) railway.
Spend the day bar hopping and taking in the London Bridge area for the day.
Catch a Sports Game
If you’re a sports fan, you may want to spend your summer in London at a game or two.
I must admit, my expertise does not lie here (but if you’re looking for the best brunches in London before your game…I got you!).
However Sports Tourism News is a great resource with loads of info on all the sports matches taking place in London this summer.
Take the Emirates Cable Car
Embrace summer in London with a sunset ride on the Emirates Cable Car.
Crossing the River Thames between Greenwich and the Royal Docks, you’ll float over 90 metres in the air for a brisk 10 minute journey in the sky (13 minutes after 19:00).
P.S – You can pay with your Oyster Card too!
Whizz Through London on the Uber Boat
If you want to see London from a new perspective this summer, why not travel by Uber Boat?
London’s favourite river bus service can be used quite practically during your summer in London. Taking you to all your bucket list destinations during your trip, but with a view of Thames instead of a tube sign.
Take a Summer Cruise Across London
Take in a London summer evening with a Sparkling 2-Hour Cruise across the River Thames, fit with bubbly, tasty canapés and live jazz; deliciously timed for sunset. Plus you’ll get to see tons of major London sights along the way!
Have a Cheeky Night in the West End
Covent Garden comes to life come summertime, especially in the theatre district. Grab a last-minute ticket from Today Tix or TKTS and treat yourself to a summer show (and more lovely things to Covent Garden beforehand).
P.S – If you want something a bit more low-key, consider going to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre!
See a Summer Exhibition
London’s art scene is amazing all year-round, but of course summer in London brings something totally different.
Go to a Summer Festivals
Summertime in London means…festival season! Here are a few of my favourites going on:
- Hampton Court Palace Festival (June 9th – June 25th)
- BST Hyde Park (June 24-July 10)
- Wireless (July 1-3 and July 8-10)
- Somerset House Summer Series (July 7-17)
- Community Festival (July 16th)
and tons more!
Take a Day Trip out of London
I know it sounds like a bit of an oxymoron to celebrate summer in London by leaving London. But the UK is too scenic all-round come summertime, so we’ve got to share the love!
Consider taking a day trip Windsor, Cambridge or Oxford (or Brighton if you want a quick beach time escape).
If you have more time (like a weekend) I would take a beach trip to Cornwall, Hastings or Whitstable.
Final Tips for Spending Summer in London
- Always bring a water bottle when you’re out during summer in London — the dehydration is real!
- Have a small umbrella with you while you’r exploring, you never know with London!
- Like I said before summer in London can get quite crowded. Try to go to all the most touristy hotspots during weekday mornings to beat (at lease some) of the crowds
I hope you have an amazing summer! As always…