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15 Things To Do In London During The Summer

Kirthana
Published Jul 07, 2016

One of the less desirable attributes of London is the frequently gloomy weather and dark skies. That’s why, when summertime comes, London might just be one of the best places to visit. The sun is shining, there’s something happening around every corner, and there’s plenty to do, from swimming in the middle of the bustling city, to feeding pelicans, or even sitting back to watch a film outdoors. Grab an ice cream cone and get exploring! Here are 15 things to do in London this summer:

Fun and Frolics

These are some activities to amp up the fun factor in your trip, to really get you in a light-hearted mood. These have been picked especially because they are perfect for the sunny weather.

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1. Have a splashing good time at at the King's Cross Pond Club

The King’s Cross Pond was initially an art idea, but then it evolved into something more interesting: an art installation that you can swim in! It’s situated right in the middle of a busy street, with tall modern buildings in the background. The main idea behind this one-of-a-kind pond is to allow people to have this very intriguing and unusual perspective on a rapidly changing part of London, a place where the old juxtaposes with the new. The pond is completely natural and unheated, so while it may be only for the brave in regular London weather, it’s the perfect thing to do in the summer, to just cool off.

King's Cross Pond

Address: 20 Canal Reach (entrance on Tapper walk) London N1C 4BE

Price: 5 GBP (6.50 USD) per session

Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm. Closed on public holidays

Duration: 2 hours

Contact: +44 20 3818 6500

Website: King’s Cross Pond

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2. Walk up The Monument

This historically significant monument stands at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill in the City of London, built to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the city. In the summertime, the weather is perfect for people to climb this beautiful piece of history. The walk up comprises a grand total of 311 steps. Even though that might sound quite arduous, it’s worth it when you reach the top. You will be rewarded with breath-taking panoramic views of the city. And as if that weren’t enough, you get a certificate of achievement as a souvenir to remember this experience by.

Monument to the Great Fire of London

Address: Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH, United Kingdom (At the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill)

Price: Adults 4 GBP (5.20 USD); Children 2.70 GBP (3.50 USD)

Opening Hours: 9:30 am - 6 pm. Closed on public holidays

Duration: around 2 hours required

Access: By bus use numbers 17, 521, 21, 43, 133, 141, 48, 149 (all routes through London Bridge) By train use London Bridge, Fenchurch Street or Tower Gateway DLR stations By tube use Monument on the District and Circle lines or London Bridge on the Northern and Jubilee lines

Nearby Food: There are many coffee shops​ and places to eat

Website: Monument to the Great Fire of London

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3. Explore the royal Hyde Park

Hyde Park is one of the prestigious Royal Parks in London, and it is one of the largest as well. In the summer, this park truly comes alive, with so many activities and events happening all over. You can ride a pony, sit by the pond, or just sit on the green pastures with a good book. If you’re lucky, there might be a peaceful rally going on at Speaker’s Corner within the park. You can really immerse yourself in some culture and politics. Hyde Park is also a prime location for summer concerts, so be sure to look out for those as well!

Hyde Park

Address: The Old Police House - Hyde Park - London - W2 2UH

Opening Hours: 5 am - 12 midnight

Access: The nearest station is the Lancaster Gate (Central Line) tube station

Contact: +44 (0)300 061 2000

Website: Hyde Park

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4. Go on a London treasure hunt

These immersive, real-world scavenger hunt games are becoming exceedingly popular and the craze has hit London. These games are basically built on a story or a treasure hunt, and you have to team up with your friends and find clues all around the city. There are many such games, but some are more popular than the others. One popular game is called The Generation of Z, which is based on the story of a zombie apocalypse! People clad in torn clothes and faces covered in blood literally chase after you! It’s cool, and it’s fun, and it’s a great way to spend a summer’s afternoon.

Fire Hazard Games

Price: from 20USD

Duration: around 1 to 2 hours required.

Contact: +44 20 3322 7086

Website: Fire Hazard

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5. Find some funnies at the Angel Comedy Club

The British love their humour, and the Angel Comedy Club is a stand-up club where emerging and established comedians perform nightly. There is a huge spectrum of comedy out there, both old and new. Some of the best comedy acts might be overlooked, and that’s where the Angel Comedy Club comes in. They open their stages to everyone, and some of the acts are really some of the best people have seen. The best part: entry is completely free.

Angel Comedy Club

Address: 2 Islington high St, London N1 8DY, United Kingdom

Opening Hours: 7 pm - 10:30 pm. Closed on public holidays

Contact: +44 7500 104816

Website: Angel Comedy Club

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Weird and wonderful

These are the unusual, quirky things that come with London’s dynamic culture. Step out of your comfort zone and experience them for yourself to get a true taste of this city.

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6. Have a sarnie at an authentic cabman's shelter

A cabman’s shelter is something that is quite unique to London. It’s basically a shuttered green shed, usually by a main road, that acts as a pit stop for cab drivers. These things popped up first in the 19th century, and as of now, only about 13 shelters remain in London. The draw of these shelters is that they are so authentically London, and they give you the best bang for your buck. You can get a quintessentially English cup of tea for about 0.50 GBP (0.65 USD), and a range of the best sausage and bacon sandwiches, or sarnies, as many cabbies would call them. It’s hard to anticipate where you’ll find a shelter, although the most famous ones include one outside Temple tube station and another in Russell Square.

Tip: it’s always polite to let any cab drivers in the shelter order first.

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7. Visit God's Own Junkyard

God’s Own Junkyard is the ‘heaven’ for neon signs. The story behind this place is as incredible as the place itself. The owner, Chris, personally went on a hunt for old, abandoned neon signs and other props, and he gave them new life. Some of these signs were props in famous Hollywood movies. After the movie was done filming, they were discarded, and somehow made their way to God’s Own Junkyard, repaired and resurrected. At God’s Own Junkyard, neon never dies. It​ all just goes to Instagram heaven.

God's Own Junkyard

Address: God’s Own Junkyard, Unit 12 Ravenswood Ind Estate, Shernhall Street, London E17 9HQ

Opening Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 11 am - 9 pm

Contact: 020 8521 8066

Website: God’s Own Junkyard

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8. Try taxidermy

Whip your scalpels out, it’s time to learn taxidermy! It may sound awful and somewhat off-putting, but truly nothing makes you appreciate the skill involved in taxidermy, unless you have a go yourself. Taxidermy is, in fact, an art, and there have been a lot of new one-day quick beginner’s guides on taxidermy. Most courses will introduce students to the process and techniques behind basic taxidermy, and they will have a go at trying things like skinning, prepping, preserving, and finally mounting and positioning the animal. It’s not for everyone, but it’s something cool and interesting to try out!

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9. Marvel at London's street art

London has one of the biggest and best collections of uncommissioned street art in the world. The streets of London have been decorated by local and international artists alike. Be sure to check out some Banksy art, if you can spot them. Some are politically hard-hitting, others are funny. But they all are very Instagram-worthy, and give you a good taste of local culture.

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10. Watch a film outdoors

From June to September, the season of outdoor movie screenings begin. To truly encapsulate the spirit of summer, parks and rooftops open up and hoist up inflatable movie screens for people to enjoy old and new films along with the summer sunshine. These movie ‘theatres’ pop up in many nooks and crannies all over the city, but rest assured that they can also be found in the well-known parks. Just be sure to book in advance, because they are in high demand.

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Free

By this time, if you’ve done all these wonderful things and realise you’re running low on cash, fret not. The remaining things left to do are completely free. Enjoy!

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11. Watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace

The Changing of the Guard ceremony is one of the most famous, iconic things about London. Turned out guards go through the drill with such precision, playing uplifting music throughout. It really captures the London spirit, and the best part is, it happens every day and it’s free for all to watch. When in London, it would be a waste to not witness this grand sight, so be sure to head down to Buckingham Palace to see this event in all its glory for yourself.

Tip: be sure to reach the palace no later than 10:30 am if you want to have a good view.

Changing of the Guard Ceremony

Address: Buckingham Palace, London, SW1A 1AA

Time: No later than 10:30 am

Duration: around 1.5 hours required

Access: The nearest tube stations are: Victoria, Green Park, St James’s Park

Website: Changing of the Guard Ceremony

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12. Feed pelicans at St James's Park

St James’s Park is situated in the centre of ceremonial London, and it is a definite must-see when you’re in the vicinity. One of the major attractions within the park are the pelicans. They were first introduced to the park in 1664 as a gift from the Russian Ambassador. Ever since then, these pelicans have been world-famous. These creatures are so mischievous and they are very open to sitting down next to visitors on the park benches.

St James Park

Address: London SW1A 2BJ, United Kingdom

Opening Hours: 5 am - 12 midnight

Contact: +44 300 061 2350

Website: St James Park

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13. Take a selfie in front of Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is one of London’s most popular tourist destinations, with all the bright lights and buzz of the city. There is the famous statue of Eros, and the iconic lights that really make this place seem like the Times Square of London. The best part about this place is that it’s so well connected to everything. You can easily walk to Regent’s Street, Piccadilly, or Soho and explore the city further.

Piccadilly Circus

Address: St James London W1D 7DH

Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm. Closed on public holidays

Access: 1-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus

Contact: +44 (0)20 7434 9396

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14. Push a trolley through to the magical world of Harry Potter

Source: Flickr

Attention all Potterheads! This is where the world of Harry Potter comes alive. It’s where it all begins. It’s the opening to the magical world. In the iconic book series, the wizards ram their trolleys into the wall between 9 and 10, into Platform 9 and ¾. That moment is forever embedded into King’s Cross Station, and you can go there to just get a little taste of magic. And put it on your Instagram of course.

Platform 9 3/4 in King's Cross Station

Address: 1, Kings Cross Station, Euston Rd, London N1 9AP, United Kingdom

Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm. Closed on public holidays

Contact: +44 20 7803 0500

Website: Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station

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15. Soak up the colour at Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road transforms into an oasis of flora and foliage every Sunday, and it’s even more beautiful in the summer. The streets are lined with every type of flower or plant, from cacti to 10-foot-tall (3-metre-tall) banana trees. The best part is that the storekeepers are open to haggling, and they are more than willing to share some tips with you on how to have green fingers for each specific plant.

Colombia Rd Flower Market

Address: Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG, United Kingdom

Opening Hours: 8 am - 3 pm

Contact: +44 20 7613 0876

Website: Columbia Road

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London's calling!

With so many amazing things to do, whether you’re on a budget, or on the lookout for something really unique, London has something to offer to everyone. Enjoy London in the summertime and have a blast!

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Kirthana is currently studying at the National University of Singapore, pursuing a degree in Political Science. In her free time, she enjoys writing for leisure and loves to travel whenever the...Read more

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