Whether you are a Londoner born and bred or visiting the Big Smoke for a long weekend, London has so much to offer a tourist, traveller and commuter alike! Time goes by so quickly that it’s all too easy to let the days, weeks and months fly by before realising that summer has been and gone and all those things you had on your list to do this summer are still right there on your list, unticked.
The last month or so I’ve made the effort to do this and have seen more of London than ever before – and thoroughly enjoyed it! Whether it’s venturing to a different borough for the afternoon, attending a local event, or just walking instead of hopping on the tube at the nearest possible station – which gives you a chance to actually see the landscape and also get your bearings around London rather than just knowing it by the TFL tube map…
If you’re keen to get out the house and explore on your next weekend off, after a few ideas for when friends or family next come to visit, or just fancy doing something different, here is my rundown of great ways to fill your free time in London this summer (some weather permitting – although judging by the last couple of weeks, we might just have to embrace the typical British summer, rain and all…)
1. Climb Primrose Hill for panoramic skyline views of London
2. Head to the north eastern borough of Shoreditch, a quirky neighbourhood to explore for the day, making sure to stop off for a bite to eat at the pop-up open-air food market Boxpark.
3. Browse the quirky antique markets and iconic brightly coloured houses along Portobello Road, Notting Hill
4. Get out of the hustle and bustle of central London and venture out to Zone 4 (yes, your trusty Oyster card can still be used even out here) and explore beautiful Richmond. Take a walk along the banks of the river, or see it from the water and rent a rowing boat by the hour, enjoy a pint in one of the traditional English country pubs and do a spot of shopping along Richmond high street.
5. Grab a bite to eat from the multi-cultural food market stalls and go for a stroll along the canal in edgy Camden
6. Apply for free tickets to go and watch a TV show: so many are filmed in London and they’re pretty easy to get hold of online
7. Head south west to the borough of Kensington and Chelsea and get your nature fix with a stroll through beautiful Kensington Gardens, home of the royal Kensington Palace, Diana’s fountain memorial, sculptures, birds, wildlife and beautiful lake views!
8. Spend a Saturday morning at Borough Market – browse the hundreds of stalls, sample the free food and stop off for a pint at one of the bars to finish it off
9. Check out TimeOut London for local festivities, art events, films, theatre, gigs and more. The other weekend I stumbled into Udderbelly festival just off Southbank, a free weekend festival with live music and family entertainment, Pimms shacks and food galore!
10. And one final one which I am ticking off my bucket list this week (and not to jinx it, but one which the weather is looking ideal for), if you weren’t one of the lucky ones to get hold of ballot tickets for Wimbledon this summer, head on over to the grounds anyway and with a bit of polite British queuing to get in, spend the afternoon enjoying the tennis from the top of Henman Hill with a glass of bubbles and a punnet of strawberries, in typical British fashion!
Have a good one this summer, fellow Londoners!