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11 amazing things to do in London parks this summer

Park yourself on some nice-looking grass and get ready for some outdoor action this summer

By Time Out London Things To Do
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1. Whizz down a water slide at Alexandra Palace Summer Festival

Things to do Festivals

What could be better than gazing across London from its best vantage point on a hot summer’s day? A water slide, of course. Back for a second year, this 100-metre attraction offers everyone who’s seven and over the chance to enjoy ten seconds of screaming hilarity. Booking is essential, needless to say.

Field Day
© Carolina Faruolo

2. Shutdown with Skepta at Field Day

Music Music festivals

E2’s summer smasher is back. On Saturday London’s stratospheric grime star dominates a line-up that also features Dean Blunt, Kelela, Novelist and Sleaford Mods. On Sunday, Goat and Fat White Family grace the stage before PJ Harvey plays her first UK live show with a full band since 2011. Rare gigs from Doug Hream Blunt galvanise the programme. 

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Jamie XX
© Ben Stas

3. Dance to DMZ at Sunfall Festival

Music Music festivals

Digital Mystikz, Shackleton, Om Unit, Omar-S and Boxed DJs lead a packed line-up for a new festival down south. DJs play from noon to 10pm before Brixton, Vauxhall, Peckham and Elephant & Castle’s best venues take the party indoors until 5am.

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
© David Jensen

4. See ‘Henry V’ at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Theatre Shakespeare

It won’t be British summertime giving you the shivers this month. Hear the ‘band of brothers’ and ‘once more unto the breach’ speeches performed by Olivier Award-winning thesp Michelle Terry at one of London’s great open-air theatres. The upcoming referendum makes this story about England’s place in Europe all the more relevant. 

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William Morris Gallery
© William Morris Gallery

5. Party at William Morris's at Walthamstow Garden Party

Things to do Festivals

East London’s favourite homegrown hip hop crew Asian Dub Foundation will be in William Morris’s backyard next month, performing their soundtrack to Mathieu Kassowitz’s ‘La Haine’ as part of a Barbican-programmed bill of international artists and MCs. If your tastes are more paisley, Create is running workshops on Morris’s artistic techniques.  

6. Revive the Olympic spirit with the London Anniversary Games

Things to do Sport events

Catch star athletes for the last time before they step on to the world stage in Rio. Usain Bolt channels the spirit of 2012 in London’s Olympic Stadium as he opens the events on Friday night, while David Weir, Jonnie Peacock and Hannah Cockroft stir up some serious national pride on the track. (I’m fine, thanks, I’ve just got something in my eye).

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7. Cheer on the joust during the Lambeth Country Show

Things to do

Sheepdog shows, falconry and jousting make the Lambeth Country Show a million times better than your average village fête – but don’t miss the vegetable sculptures and Kate Bush tribute act, either. Local caterers run a mean barbecue all day and live bands keep the party going in the evening while you pick the hay out of your hair. 

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG); Photo © Iwan Baan

8. Unzip a wall in the Serpentine Pavilion

Art Galleries Hyde Park

The Serpentine Pavilion this year is a futuristic, translucent ‘unzipped wall’ joined by four summer houses. Each of the modern designs is inspired by Hyde Park’s 300-year-old Queen Caroline’s Temple. Dance, live radio and poetry events (£5) in the gallery’s Park Nights programme are a great way to see the pavilion when the crowds drift home.

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9. Watch a movie under the stars with Luna Cinema

Cinemas London

Use the summer evenings to see cult classics or new flicks with the ever-inventive outdoor film funsters Luna Cinema. Highlights include a screening of the Leo + Claire ‘Romeo + Juliet’ in the moat at the Tower of London, and the witty programming of splashy disaster movie ‘Titanic’ at Brockwell Lido. Top tip: most events are BYOB.

10. Feel the sand between your toes at Beach East

Things to do

Skip the sticky train ride to the coast and grab a sun lounger on Beach East. There’s a ton of sand and not a crab in sight. The venue, open 10am-10pm, also lays on a paddling pool, ‘beach bars’, a funfair and a Rio-related events programme that includes Brazilian dance classes and sports tasters for kids – all within spitting distance of a tube station.

Find more fun in the capital

17 must-do things in London this summer

Things to do

London during the summer is the best place on earth. Fact. From new art blockbusters and fresh faces in the West End, to London music festivals and a beachload of fun things to do, here’s 17 events you don't want to miss this summer. Ice creams not included.

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