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6 strange ways to stay cool in London during a never-ending heatwave

Samantha Willis

It’s bloody hot out there, in case you hadn’t noticed.

The media and Met Office are in a state of perpetual panic, as they urge people to stay out of the sun and keep an eye out for melting roads and buckling rail tracks in temperatures up to 35C.

Great advice, thanks lads, but when you live and work in London it’s not as easy as jumping in the car and switching on the air-con. Inside the M25, we’re going to need to think outside the box. So, after a brainstorm, the Time Out team has come up with a few places you can go – some silly and some (relatively) serious. 


1. Go ice-climbing, Covent Garden

Ah, the perfect lunch break activity. Vertical Chill is a great place to... chill, for anyone ranging from beginner to mountaineer. They ship in ice from nearby snow dome complexes and house it in what is essentially a giant fridge, and the temperature inside is kept between -5°C to -12°C. What the hell are you waiting for? Pick up an ice pick and start scaling that giant slab!

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Today we got high on ice 🤤 #iceclimbing

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2. Cool off in a bougie cryo chamber, Knightsbridge

Speaking of refrigerators, there’s a giant one you can physically walk into at Harvey Nichols – it’ll cool you down and help you beat that summer bloat. Double win! You’re submerged in -80C for three (no doubt, very long) minutes before emerging completely revitalised. Only downside? A single session is £95.

3. Join a hen do at the Ice Bar, Mayfair

‘Not until hell freezes over,’ we hear you cry! Well, guess what, we’re in hell right now — it’s THTF (too hot to function) in this city so drastic measures are required. Here’s the deal, you wait until you see a hen do tottering towards the Ice Bar entrance, grab a sash and tag onto the end of their posse, ensuring entry and some drinking buddies while you’re inside. Don’t forget your penis straw!


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4. Loiter in the freezer section at an Iceland, multiple London locations

Take that bit longer to decide between a Magnum and a Twister while you bask in the glorious sub-zero temperatures of the industrial freezer section. It’ll only cost you a couple of quid and there’s a sweet treat at the end of this mission. This is why mums go to Iceland – not for the prawn ring or forest gateau, as was previously thought.

Photo: Iceland Foods

 5. Cool down Victorian-style in an ice well, King’s Cross

In Victorian Britain, this ice chamber in King’s Cross was used to store dairy products and to anaesthetise any poor sod waiting for an operation. These days it’s located inside the London Canal Museum and you lot can go down there for a history lesson while enjoying the ice-cold temperatures. The tour only happens once a year though, so get in there quick!  

Photo: Darmon Richter

 6. Stroll through the fountains outside the Southbank Centre, Waterloo

If you work in the area, this is super handy. A little lunch break diversion to the fountains outside the Southbank Centre will have you cooled down in no time! You might want to bring your swimming attire though, or at least a change of clothes, otherwise you may have a hard time explaining your soggy office chair.

SUMMAH II 🌞 #แม่ชีเอวโอ

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If this all seems a bit extreme, just lower your temperature at one of London’s coolest ice-cream joints

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