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20 reasons why Londoners love summer

The city’s best bloggers on amazing food, lazy strolls, hazy evenings, hot nights and cool things to do in London this summer

Written by
Flo Wales Bonner
Filling up at the market
© Oliver Knight

1. Filling up at the market

‘Perfect Saturday mornings start at Bear + Wolf café by Tufnell Park. The poached eggs and avocado are a breakfast masterpiece. Afterwards, it’s a short bike ride to Parliament Hill Farmers’ Market. If I can resist the cakes at the entrance, I head straight for the Brambletye Organic Apple Juice and then it’s time for lazing on the grass of the sloped green hills. Rinse and repeat for eternal summery contentment.’ 

Andreas Kambanis, 'London Cyclist'

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @LondonCyclist

Balmy nights at the movies
The Luna Cinema

2. Balmy nights at the movies

‘I really enjoy watching a film under the stars on a warm summer’s night. My favourite places in London for outdoor screenings are the pop-up screens that appears in various parks around the city, such as the Luna Cinema (always in a posh setting) and the Rooftop Film Club. There are also lots of free open-air screenings, like those in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens every Tuesday in July and the film festival at More London in September.’ 

Manolis Zografakis, 'Broke in London'

Follow Broke in London on Twitter: @BrokeinLondon1

Waterside wandering
© Ed Marshall

3. Waterside wandering

‘I live by Regent’s Canal in Islington, and I love walking my dogs there any time of the year – but it’s in summer that the place comes into its own. On a sunny Saturday, I’d stop at the Towpath Café for a quick espresso before heading for a spot of vintage shopping at the quirky Dog & Wardrobe on Andrews Road. If I’m feeling energetic, I’ll continue along the canal to Victoria Park and drop in at the lovely Pavilion Café for a caffeine top-up.’ 

Luiz Hara, 'The London Foodie'

Follow The London Foodie on Twitter: @TheLondonFoodie

Amazing grazing
© Rob Greig

4. Amazing grazing

‘For us, the summer is all about taking advantage of the good weather to eat and drink outdoors without risking frostbite or trench foot. So the minute the sun’s out you’ll find us sipping a glass of wine on the terrace at Mission or braving the tourist hordes on the South Bank for one of Bleecker St Burger’s legendary patties. It’s also the perfect time to swing by one of London’s night markets, like Summer Tales or Street Feast.’ 

Catherine and Gavin Hanly, 'Hot Dinners'

Follow Hot Dinners on Twitter: @HotDinners

Outdoor encores
© Somerset House Series 2014

5. Outdoor encores

‘I’m looking forward to some of the outdoor gigs at Somerset House. It’s a fantastic venue for live music, with great acoustics, well-managed bars and, more often than not, a beautiful sunset as a stage backdrop.’

Jane Parker, 'Jane's London'

Follow Jane on Twitter: @JanesLondon

Park life: Kenwood
© Jonathan Perugia

6. Park life: Kenwood

‘London’s parks are a treasure in summer, and Hampstead Heath is possibly my favourite. The rolling parklands around Kenwood House are the perfect surroundings to enjoy a cup of green tea from the outdoor café. I also like to bathe in the sun after a long run, or if I’m feeling more sociable, have a picnic with friends.’

Faya Nilsson, 'Fitness on Toast'

Follow Faya on Twitter: @FitnessOnToast

Filling up at the market: Billingsgate

7. Filling up at the market: Billingsgate

‘There’s nothing more satisfying in summer than eating oysters and drinking bubbles. Nothing. 
If you love them as much as we do, a 4am visit to Billingsgate Market in Canary Wharf is a must. 
You simply haven’t lived until you’ve sunk your teeth into a fresh scallop-and-bacon sandwich 
with sugary tea after picking up a few crates of Essex Emeralds oysters.’

Michael Zee and Mark van Beek, 'Symmetry Breakfast'

Follow Symmetry Breakfast on Instagram:

And Twitter: @symmetry_fast

Splashing out in Brixton

8. Splashing out in Brixton

Brockwell Lido is a fantastic example of 1930s art deco architecture, and a great place to go for a dip on a hot day in London. Get there early for the 
best sunbathing spot. Cool down with 
a fruity cocktail from the Lido Café 
then take a walk over Brockwell Park 
to Herne Hill Farmers’ Market, held every Sunday. You’ll find delicious street food, fresh bread and all sorts of artisan produce. I’d finish the day with dinner in Brixton Village, where you’ll find cuisines from around the world under one roof and 
a fantastic party vibe.’

Lucy McGuire, 'Oh So London'

Follow Lucy on Twitter: @OhSo_London

Picnicking in Peckham

9. Picnicking in Peckham

‘We love setting up an urban picnic on Peckham Rye with a bit of rum and fruit from Rye Lane’s bustling market. There’s nothing like taking turns blasting music from phones while watching people around you do anything from playing rugby to hula-hooping. Long live the English summer!’

InFormed London team, 'InFormed London'

Follow InFormed London on Twitter: @InFormedLondon

Dancing in the streets
© David Tett

10. Dancing in the streets

‘There is one weekend of summer 
I look forward to over any other – the August bank holiday. Not just because it’s a bonus day off work. First and foremost for me, this weekend is about Notting Hill Carnival. Come rain or shine, crowds gather for this huge celebration of culture and diversity, with its colourful floats, scandalous outfits and plentiful booty-shaking. It’s our capital’s version of 
Rio Carnival’

Jacqui Faiman, 'Bite Size Food'

Follow Jacqui on Twitter: @Bitesize_food

Scandi scran and a secret garden

11. Scandi scran and a secret garden

‘Come the summer, living on the edge of the city really comes into its own. I love wandering up Clapton’s Chatsworth Road, stopping for scrambled eggs at my fave Scandi café Cooper & Wolf, and checking out interiors shops Triangle Store and The Hackney Draper before veering off to the canal. I never get tired of walking down to the Middlesex Filter Beds – disused since 1969, it’s a magical haven, overgrown and full of wildlife.’

Julia Rebaudo, 'Stylonylon'

Follow Julia on Twitter: @JuliaRebaudo

 Park life: Primrose Hill
© Belinda Lawley

12.  Park life: Primrose Hill

‘Ah, summer! You can tell it’s upon us when the mercury inches over 18C and the armpit situation on the tube starts to reach critical. The urge is to hightail it to the nearest rooftop garden, but I think that London’s best outdoorsy bits are down on the ground. Regent’s Park is my favourite: in the warmer months it’s home to a flying trapeze school and the beautiful open-air theatre, while for picnics, there isn’t a prettier spot than Primrose Hill. The view is as fabulous as any you’d get from the best rooftop bars, but you don’t have to pay £15 for a drink and can wear whatever damn shoes you like.’

Emily Gibson, 'Curious London'

Follow Emily on Twitter: @CuriouslyEmily

Refusing to grow up
© Tristram Kenton

13. Refusing to grow up

‘London is wonderful in summer because we have so many green spaces. I’d like to suggest a little “Peter Pan” tour: go see the grave of the man, Peter Llewelyn Davies, who the character was named after – it’s opposite St John-at-Hampstead. You’ll often see copies of the book on his grave. Then I’d take a picnic to the open-air theatre in Regent’s Park where they’re showing a revival of JM Barrie’s play. Magical.’

Kerstin Rodgers, 'MsMarmiteLover'

Follow Kerstin Rodgers on Twitter: @MsMarmiteLover

Not escaping to the country
© David Axelbank

14. Not escaping to the country

‘When the weather’s nice and I’ve got the time, I love exploring Walthamstow Marshes. The area is ace for photographers, and offers a great break from the urban grind with wide open spaces and the River Lea with its bobbing houseboats, birds and butterflies. All the stuff I crave in a visit to the countryside can be had without having to make a trip out of town.’

Chris Osburn, ''

Follow Chris on Twitter: @TikiChris

Bermondsey boozing
© Kernel Brewery / Scissorhands Productions

15. Bermondsey boozing

‘My ideal summer activity is a day out around the railway arches in Bermondsey, starting early at Coleman Coffee before dropping into The London Honey Company, Little Bread Pedlar and La Grotta Ices for more treats. Then it’s on to the beer with Kernel and Anspach & Hobday breweries both nearby. Chuck in some gin from Jensen’s distillery on Maltby Street Market, and soak it all up with St John’s doughnuts and/or a messy African Volcano burger.’

Take a look at our guide to Maltby Street, SE1

Matt Hickman, 'Matt The List'

Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattTheList

Exploring East London

16. Exploring East London

‘I love spending a Saturday strolling around Broadway Market and London Fields. I kick things off with a bacon butty from Le Swine in the schoolyard market, before picking up Vietnamese coffee, organic apple juice and some organic meat from my favourite butchers Hill & Szrok. Then I head to Netil Market to pick up a cheeky vintage record or two before stopping off at Noble Fine Liquor for a bottle of something nice to enjoy on London Fields. Bliss.’

Jules Pearson, 'London on the Inside'

Follow London on the Inside on Twitter: @LondONtheinside

Cool new coffees

17. Cool new coffees

‘I’m really enjoying the proliferation of creative signature drinks in London’s speciality coffee shops at the moment. The Shakerato at Workshop Fitzrovia is a refreshing alternative to an espresso 
as the weather gets warmer – or try a Sandow’s Nitro Cold Brew at one of the London Grind cafés.’

Chloe Callow, 'Faerie Tale Foodie'

Follow Chloe on Twitter: @faerietalefoody

The alternative boat race

18. The alternative boat race

‘Summer in London can be sticky, so I always enjoy getting down to the river for a cooling breeze. Everyone knows about Henley Royal Regatta (July 1-5), but I also love Doggett’s Coat & Badge (August 1), the world’s oldest rowing race, run by six apprentice Thames watermen. This year is its 300th anniversary, so why not show your support for these local London lads? The best spot to see it is Battersea Park, the Doggett’s Coat & Badge pub, or a boat on the river.’

Kieran Meeke, 'Secret London'

Follow Kieran on Twitter: @SecretLDN

Eel Pie Island and Petersham Nurseries
Petersham Nurseries

19. Eel Pie Island and Petersham Nurseries

‘One of my favourite ways to while away a warm summer’s afternoon is to head to bohemian Eel Pie Island (a short walk from Twickenham station) during their open-studios weekend when all the resident makers are selling their arty, crafty wares. From there, meander along the river towards Marble Hill House, where a little boat will take you across the river for a quid. Once on the other side, you’re a hop, skip and jump from the delightful Petersham Nurseries where you can enjoy afternoon tea in the garden or treat yourself to some posh nosh in their fabulous Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s a summery oasis of floral, 
fragrant heaven!’

Imogen Parson, 'Miss Immy's London'

Follow Imogen on Twitter: @MissImmo

Come rain or shine

20. Come rain or shine

‘During the few weeks of summer that England allows us, you might find me sipping a negroni or three atop Frank’s Café in Peckham. Or when the weather’s predictably unpredictable, I’ll get lost in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, or disappear into a plate of superb Swedish meatballs in the glass-roofed, Scandinavian haven of Lisa’s in Notting Hill.’

Ella Paskett, 'The Little Brown Book'

Follow Ella on Twitter: @EllaPaskett

  • Things to do

If you're gagging to explore the great outdoors, here's where to go to catch an open-air film, take a dip in a local lido or simply wander through one of London's many pretty parks.

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