Top 10 outdoor activities in London this summer
With red-hot outdoor events happening in the capital over the summer, there's no excuse to stay inside
© Rooftop film club: Peckham
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 more than few fantastic outdoor activities to take part in.
Fun in the sun: 10 great things to do outdoors
Enjoy some of cinema's biggest classics atop of Shoreditch's Queen of Hoxton or Peckham's Bussey Building this summer. Showing all things from 'Mean Girls' and 'The Devil Wears Prada' to 'Casablanca' and 'Blue Valentine', Rooftop Film Club are the masters of oudoor screenings: expect comfy director chairs, blankets, knock-out cocktails and wireless headphones (cinema rustling is not an issue). See the latest film screenings for Rooftop Film Club here.
- Queen of Hoxton and Bussey Building
- Tue Jun 25 - Wed Jul 31
This year Kew’s summer festival highlights the extraordinary diversity of edible plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens. The centrepiece – ‘Tutti Frutti’ – is the work of architectural foodsmiths Bompas & Parr. The pair have come up with another of their trademark bonkers concepts: a giant ‘fruit salad’ boating lake complete with a floating pineapple island. Tickets are available from the kiosk by the pond and all the boats have been designed to look like slices of papaya, melon, durian or pear.
The summer-long festival of arts at the sunken riverside amphitheatre offers a packed programme of events in handy bite-sized festivals covering the different arts. From June 5-28 it's fringe, incorporating dance, meditation and Kit Hesketh-Harvey's new production of The Magic Flute for the Merry Opera Company. Then it's the turn of choirs, drummers, singers and musicians in the music festival (July 3-26), followed by a month of theatre (Aug 7-Sept 8) and finally film, running from Sept 11-27.
A new family music festival in the former Olympic Park, Open East has a great international music line-up which belies the cheap-as-chips ticket price. Familiar names at the festival include Jamaican ska icon Toots Hibbert and his band, and epic Celtic rock group The Waterboys. Beside the music, there'll also be plenty of participatory performance art, a Cockney knees-up, bingo and maple dancing, performers and puppets from the National Theatre's War Horse, a food festival (and a local brewery exposition for grown-ups only), a floating cinema, markets (a design bazaar and an art car boot fair), and London-centric talks by speakers including musician Bob Stanley and historian Travis Elborough. Wow,
London Zoo's late-night openings return, with events taking place every Friday during June and July. Zoo Lates offers a chance to visit with the animals after-hours (including the Sumatran tigers in the zoo's new Tiger Territory enclosure), as well as enjoy a programme of entertainment covering talks, comedy, cabaret, roving performances, adult-sized playrooms (complete with ball ponds) and a silent disco. There's also a bar and some 21 street food vendors serving global cuisine.
A verdant setting lends itself perfectly to the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre's typical combination of serious drama, summery Shakespeare romps and the big end of season musical. This summer, 'A Winter's Tale' is on offer for those looking for that Shakespeare fix, whereas revellers after something a little more 'modern' can enjoy 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'The Sound of Music' from late June and throughout July.
- Inner Circle, Regent's Park, NW1 4NR
- Jun 25–Sept 1
The Festival of Neighbourhood (until September 8) sees the Southbank Centre recreate the best bits of neighbourhood living, with pop-up allotments tended by volunteers, a sandy urban beach, community-spirited art installations and family friendly areas including Beanotown and the Appearing Rooms Fountain. See our festival highlight here.
Since Notting Hill Carnival debuted in 1964, the event has undoubtedly grown and morphed, attracting ever more revellers with its spectacle of floats featuring calypso, mas and pan bands as well as a series of soundsystems for alfresco dancing. You can be sure of dense crowds and a vibrant celebration of music, movement and masquerade together with Caribbean food stalls serving up jerk chicken and fried plantain.
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