London in bloom
Be dazzled by London’s summer blooms. At the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, lawns and glasshouses are ablaze with orchids, blue poppies and hydrangea. At Royal Horticultural Society’s summer shows, buy plants to take home and get expert gardening advice. Manicured lawns mark Regent’s Park, and at the Geffrye Museum’s gardens, honeysuckle and roses give a summer scent.
Hit the shops
Kit yourself out in fun summer gear like edgy T-shirts and shades from Portobello and Camden markets. By late August you might catch the summer sales among the high-street fashions along Oxford Street. When the sun shines, Covent Garden’s cobbled market comes alive with street acts and buskers.
Refresh yourself on a sunny afternoon in a pub garden with a glass of fruity Pimm’s, a real English summery drink. A riverside pub is even more tranquil – try The Dove Inn in Hammersmith. Local strawberries get the summery taste buds going; sample this fruity delight with double cream and English tea in quaint cafés.
London loves its long summer evenings – it could still be light at 9pm. Choose a vantage point to watch the lingering sunset. From the top of Primrose Hill on the northern edge of Regent’s Park you can savour 360º views of London with landmarks on the horizon like the London Eye. Join kite-flyers at the top of Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath and pick out St Paul’s Cathedral, or just enjoy the sunny courtyard of Somerset House.
During your holiday in London, special summer openings give you a rare glimpse into historic Britain. Marvel at the Queen’s opulent banqueting hall and walls of great paintings at Buckingham Palace. During the MPs’ summer break tour the Houses of Parliament to gaze at the Gothic revival masterpiece with hammerbeam oak ceiling. The Summer Exhibition sees new and established artists at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Leave your hotel to stroll London’s waterways. Along the Thames Path, dazzling white swans owned by the Queen crowd the river at Windsor. Stroll along the tranquil Regent’s Canal, snaking through the heart of the city, where houseboats dot the waterfront at Little Venice. The Capital Ring’s bucolic beauty encircles London, threading together hidden-away open spaces and parks, alongside little-known waterways like the River Lee.