Summer days in London

Things to do in London

Feeling the heat? You’re not the only one. Temperatures are high throughout Europe and the UK has basked in glorious sunshine for over 6 weeks. Earlier in July, a new record high temperature of over 40° was recorded in Lincolnshire and another heatwave is forecast later this week.

Not surprisingly, this intense heat isn’t all good. The elderly and vulnerable are at risk and water restrictions are gradually being introduced across the country. Getting around, particularly by tube, feels hot and sticky – unless, of course, you take advantage of London’s great new Elizabeth line!

But it’s not all bad! Londoners are loving the outdoor lifestyle that the heat brings. Pavement cafés are buzzing, restaurants with outdoor tables are booming, and parks and pools are packed. Here are a few ideas to make the most of the summer sun in London.

Brunch, lunch or dine outdoors

Milk Beach, Queen’s Park, London

Pick a café or restaurant with outdoor tables for the best city vibes. Some of our off-the-beaten track favourites for brunch include Brunswick East in Dalston and Milk Beach in Queen’s Park.

London’s best swimming spots

Cool down in one of London’s large open air lidos or more natural spots. Top lidos include the 90m freshwater pool in Tooting Bec, Brockwell Lido in Dulwich and London Field’s Lido. Hampstead Ponds are a favourite spot for local north Londoners but do get very busy when temperatures rise. The West Reservoir in Hackney is ideal for more serious open water swimming, offering a 400m loop.

Open-water swimming at West Reservoir
Swim at West Reservoir, Hackney
Swim in Hampstead ponds
Outdoor swimming in Hampstead ponds

Explore London from the water

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to exploring London’s waterways. If you like the idea of being behind the wheel, Go Boats offer self-drive boats from their bases in Paddington, Canary Wharf and Kingston. Alternatively, pick up a London Waterbus in Little Venice and enjoy a live spoken guided tour along the Regent’s Canal. You can also choose from a selection of Thames river boat trips and tours.

Explore London's waterways by boat
Keep cool on a London Waterbus tour

Best ice cream in London

Ice-cream bars are springing up all over London and many of them are seriously good. Try the gelato and frozen yoghurt in Gelateria 3bis on the edge of Borough Market, or the mouthwatering gelato produced by Venchi (Hampstead, Covent Garden and Kings Road). Grom (Piccadilly) and Gelateria Danieli in Richmond are also guaranteed to satisfy any ice cream urges.

Paddington Basin

And finally … some ‘hot’ idioms, synonyms and phrases

How many ways do you know to express how hot it is?  We talk about searing or scorching temperatures, sizzling heat and the blazing sun.  We also refer to sweltering when temperatures are very high, and frequently talk about baking, boiling or roasting in intense heat.