Top 10 outdoor activities in London this summer

Staying inside just isn't an option when there's this lot on offer over summer

Yes, British Summer Time has officially begun, and, despite no guaranteed sun, it's time for Londoners to step outside. Whilst the capital's museums still offer some of the world's best exhibitions (and are perfect respite from the inevitable summer rain), London's offering a whole heap of fantastic outdoor activities to take part in.

CHECK THIS OUT: 18 must-do things in London this summer

Outdoor events in London this summer

1

Spices at Kew

This summer's events at Kew are themed around the spice trade – source of rumours, foundation of historic wealth and the starting point for great adventures. The focus of activities is plants that were at one time literally worth their weight in gold. Visitors will be ferried around the gardens in rickshaw-inspired contraptions to discover why saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and how turmeric is used to dye ceremonial robes. They'll be able to create their own spice and to learn about the medicinal power of cloves too. Spiced delicacies will also be available from street food vans around the gardens.

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Kew Gardens Saturday May 30 2015 - Saturday September 12 2015
2

The Color Run

Participants in 'the happiest 5k on the planet' aren't expected to break any world records – having a brilliant time is so much higher on the agenda. Having started off in white clothes, runners will be pelted with neon (all-natural) powders at each kilometre marker with the end result somewhat reminiscent of a primary school art cupboard. The 20,000-odd runners won't even be timed – the finishing line simply marks the start of the Colour Festival, where the party continues with live DJs and dancing. All fitness levels are welcome – as are kids of all ages – as walking and dancing around the course are deemed perfectly acceptable alternatives to the traditional running option.

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Wembley Park Sunday June 7 2015
3

Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Whether you're a legitimate tennis fan or just in it for the Pimm's and oh-so-toned players, Wimbledon Tennis Championships are once again upon us and it's time to get excited. From queueing for tickets to London's outdoor screenings, find all the info you need on this year's tournament in our guide to Wimbledon 2015.

Mon Jun 29–Sun Jul 12. Church Rd, SW19 5AE

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By: Elizabeth Darke
4

RideLondon

This weekend-long feast of cycling sees an eight mile loop of road around central London closed to regular traffic so that bike-enthusiasts can get a clear run at it. The Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle takes place on August 1 and enables cyclists of all ages and abilities to take a safe spin around town. It costs nothing to join in, but do register in advance on the RideLondon website. And on Sunday August 2, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 will send thousands of amateur cyclists on a 100-mile route similar to that of the London 2012 Olympics' cycling races. Many participants are raising money for charity, so help to make their final metres along Pall Mall feel even more victorious by cheering them on.

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Various Venues Saturday August 1 2015 - Sunday August 2 2015 Free
5

Notting Hill Carnival guide

Europe’s biggest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival is a vivid spectacle representing London's multicultural past and present. Since 1964 the capital's Caribbean communities have celebrated their culture and traditions at this two-day festival of fantastic live music, which ranges from reggae to dub to salsa. The celebrations also include soca floats, steel bands, and a whole lot of jerk chicken and fried plantain.

Sun Aug 30–Mon Aug 31. Various Notting Hill locations, W11 1HT 

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By: Elizabeth Darke
6

Flamingo Pier

One of the finest and most fun pop-up parties of last summer, Flamingo Pier is back for 2015, which is great news for anyone who likes their pop-ups with a big dose of tropical indulgence. The action takes place both inside Hackney Wick's Counter Cafe and on the venue's floating pontoon, as well as Counter's moored canalside boat. As before, there'll be DJs spinning deep disco and hip house soundtracks, street food, bespoke cocktails and craft beer, but for 2015 the Flamingo Pier crew have stepped things up: each night the party will be themed around a different exotic location.

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Counter Café Friday June 5 2015 - Friday September 4 2015
7

Urban Ninja

Inspired by the cult Japanese TV show 'Ninja Warrior' (ITV is currently showing the UK version), the Urban Ninja obstacle course sounds seriously hairy. With obstacles including the 'Insane Pipe Scrambler', the 'Monkey Press' and 'Core Crunch' it's not for the faint-hearted. The organisers reckon only 1 percent of competitors will actually finish and, frankly, although organiser Rob Maule promises 'no mud and no electric shocks, cold water or nasty surprises', to anyone who thinks taking the stairs constitutes a gruelling workout, it looks more like self-inflicted torture than a fun day out. Still, it takes all sorts and Londoners love a challenge.

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Russell Square Gardens Saturday June 6 2015 - Friday November 13 2015
8

Open Garden Squares Weekend

This June, more than 200 gardens not ordinarily open to the public will unlock their gates for a weekend to take part in this annual event, held in association with the National Trust. Spanning 27 boroughs, the gardens take in all sorts of spaces, from traditional squares to roof terraces and allotments, as well as gardens belonging to historic buildings, schools, shops and cafes. There are 23 gardens taking part for the first time this year, including the churchyard of grade I-listed medieval church St Olave, the All Saints Vicarage Garden which was part of Fulham Palace until 1935 and The Arvon Road Allotments, which are terraced along the railway freight line near Finsbury Park. 

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Various Saturday June 13 2015 - Sunday June 14 2015
9

World Naked Bike Ride

This protest against oil dependency and the domination of car culture is also an unfettered celebration of the individuality of the human body. Many of the thousands of people expected to take part will opt to bike in the buff, though full nudity is optional; the dress code is 'as bare as you dare'. And if you, too, long to through caution and clothes to the wind but feel a bit bashful, you can always take something along that’s easy to put on when the procession gets held up by traffic, as it inevitably will.

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Various London locations Saturday June 13 2015 Free
10

Red Bull Soapbox Race

Ever watched 'Cool Runnings' and thought that flinging yourself down a hill in a colourful wagon looks like total fun? Find a team and get planning, because this is your chance to fulfil your need for speed in a real soapbox race in the hilly grounds of Alexandra Palace. Your application had better be creative – only 70 teams of the 1,000 who applied were chosen to compete at the last London event and designs included a VW Camper, a full bathroom suite and a giant Usain Bolt. If you'd rather not risk being a part of north London's most spectacular pile-up, keep an eye on the Red Bull Soapbox website; thousands of spectator tickets will be available nearer the event.

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Alexandra Palace Sunday July 12 2015

Looking for more outdoor fun?

Outdoor London

Whether you want to catch an open-air film or a show at an outdoor theatre, take swim in one of London’s outdoor pools or just get good and squiffy on a rooftop bar, it’s all in our guide to London’s great outdoors

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By: David Clack

Comments

1 comments
bigsands
bigsands

2014 will be remembered as one of the warmest summers in recent years and will probably last until the end of September. I have been to more summer garden parties with my band this year, than ever before.  Have a look at the images on Twitter/bigsands Hope you also enjoyed this summer.