You know it’s summer in London when…
Summer is the perfect time to take a couple’s break in London. Open-air attractions lead to a wonderful sense of fun and spontaneity. British food is at its best when the sun shines and there is an electric atmosphere in the city. So, what are the common signs that it is the most temperate season of the year in the English capital?
Everybody is drinking Pimm’s
Drinks menus all over London suddenly featuring Pimm’s can only mean one thing – summer is here. The ubiquitous fruit cup originated in The City of London in 1823 and has been a seasonal favourite ever since. With all the freshness of cucumber, strawberries and mint, some establishments create a Pimm’s cup better than others. Enjoy a pitcher of Pimm’s at the Lido Café Bar in Hyde Park or a classic version at the Crown and Shuttle.
The whole of London is talking about Wimbledon
Speaking of Pimm’s, it is the perfect accompaniment to the world’s greatest tennis tournament. Wimbledon kicks off on 25 June and will be the talk of London right up until the games are played on 15 July. Whether you are lucky enough to be going to see the action at the All England Club or are just keeping up with the results during your stay, it is certain that everyone you meet will have an opinion on who will win and the surprises that are served up at this year’s championships.
Outdoor spaces are full of people eating street food
When the weather is good in London it seems a shame to eat lunch indoors. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious food trucks serving up world-class dishes that can be eaten in any available outdoor space. Try a rack of outdoor-reared ribs, with homemade hot sauce from The Ribman at Brick Lane Market on a Sunday or head to one of the Guildhall Yard’s monthly lunch markets.
Rooftop bars and terraces are buzzing
It is hard to beat a balmy evening on a rooftop terrace in London, glass in hand and great views spreading out in front of you. Madison Terrace Bar and Lounge offers a close-up look at the famous dome of St Paul’s Cathedral and a Hummingbird cocktail that is the embodiment of summer. Alternatively, you can enjoy an Aperol Twist in the small but charming roof terrace at Bird of Smithfield. And if you find yourself in Fitzrovia, then the Prince of Wales Feathers is home to a brightly-decorated outdoor space and a good selection of craft beer.
Open-air swimming pools are the place to be
From pools and lidos to lakes and ponds, London is home to a wide range of outdoor swimming spots. Once the summer comes, you and your other half will want to join the Londoners and visitors to the capital cooling off in these charming places to take a dip. The Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park could not be more convenient for the Royal Garden Hotel and consists of an area of the lake specially cordoned off for swimming.
A river cruise seems like a good idea
Even if you do not want to plunge head first into a lake or lido, being around water has a wonderfully cooling effect. The Thames flows right through London and offers a great opportunity to see many of the city’s most common sights from the river. Bateaux London runs lunch, afternoon tea and dinner cruises, while Kayaking London allows you to paddle past the Houses of Parliament under your own steam.
You crave an ice cream from Kensington Palace
Summer and ice cream go hand-in-hand and it is not surprising that there are many places in London where you can pick up the frozen treat. It is always best to go for a recommendation, however, and the hotel’s staff are particularly partial to the ice cream sold by Colicci at Kensington Palace. Head to the Italian Gardens where a battery-operated vintage van will serve you your favourite flavour.
There’s British summer produce on all the menus
The British asparagus season may have officially come to an end on 21 June, but there is still a lot of delicious produce that is at its best during the summer. London’s restaurants will be serving up dishes bursting with colour and featuring seasonal ingredients like beetroot, broad beans and tomatoes. For those with a sweet tooth, apricots, blackcurrants and strawberries are at their most flavoursome during the summer months. To try seasonal produce cooked to perfection, let the Gladwin Brothers at Rabbit on the Kings Road take care of you.
Photo credit: pawopa3336 via iStock