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Where to go when London's just too hot

James FitzGerald

Phew. London's hotting up again, and you’re melting faster than a banker’s car parked in the glare of the Walkie Talkie. Where to go? A park or a rooftop bar won’t do it, because this just isn’t fun anymore and it’s creative thinking that’s needed. But don’t sweat it: we’ve got some ideas. 


Just chill out! 

Ice skating might be about staying on your feet, but you won’t mind slipping over too much at Queens Ice and Bowl in Bayswater, where the surface temperature is, of course, freezing all year round. Off-peak sessions start at £8.50. Or make a beeline for the capital’s ‘coolest’ drinkery, Icebar London, which even serves up cocktails in blocks of ice. Booking recommended.    

Find a very old building 

While there’s no definitive answer to the question of which is London’s chilliest building, older generally means colder. If you can handle the Central line – officially the hottest on the tube network – then go tick St Paul’s Cathedral off your (ice) bucket list. Admission isn’t cheap, but the crypt will be blissful. It should be likewise at the draughty Tower of London. Even some of the City’s newer buildings could be a help, though: the area around Canary Wharf is a notorious wind tunnel.   

Wallace Collection

Remember the museums 

Don’t forget that London’s museums and galleries have to regulate air temperature and humidity to preserve their exhibits. And who’s to say you shouldn’t be the accidental beneficiary of some true air-con artistry at say, Tate Britain or the Wallace Collection? In the summer months, these slightly quieter institutions are a better bet than the tourist-traps – but still free-entry treasure troves. 

Turn the landscape to your advantage 

Why not journey down the famous Chislehurst Caves near Bromley for just £6? Even in high summer, you can sometimes see your breath as you navigate that 30m-deep network of passageways. The inner city boasts its own natural oases too; there's a surprising number of peaceful and shady spots in north London like Highgate and Queens Woods.  

Serpentine Lido

Make today the day you finally swim in a London lake 

There’s no doubting the cool-factor of the lidos at Brockwell Park and London Fields. Consider also finding a bit of room to splash around in open water, in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, or the ponds at Hampstead Heath. Go on – take the plunge!

Keep cool with the best ice cream in London

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