Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right Twelve ways to pretend it's still summer

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Twelve ways to pretend it's still summer

The rain's set in and you daren't leave the house without a jumper, but these 12 London outings will help you feel sunny inside

By Ashleigh Arnott
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© Barbican Centre

1. Warm up in central London's biggest conservatory

Cinemas Barbican

The Barbican Centre hides a most exotic secret spot – its lovely conservatory is home to 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees as well as finches, quails and exotic fish. It's open on Sundays and Mondays but check the Barbican website before you visit as it's occasionally closed for private functions.

AT_lidos_londonfieldslido_CREDIT_Jonathan Perugia.jpg
© Jonathan Perugia

2. Dive into the warm waters of London Fields Lido

Sport and fitness London Fields

When does it truly not matter that it's raining? When you intend to get wet anyway. The London Fields Lido is heated, so even if there are grey clouds looming you can swim in comfort. And the café serves hot drinks for afterwards.

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3. Play pétanque at Balls Brothers

Bars and pubs Wine bars London Bridge

You may have assumed that your park sport days were over as soon as the drizzle set in, but you can still be a baller at the London Bridge branch of Balls Brothers. They have a pétanque court in Hay's Galleria that's at once covered and outdoor so you can enjoy fresh air as you roll without risk of rain stopping play. You'll need a team of ten to play, with a minimum spend of £15 each for 90 minutes. Booking is recommended (you'll need to pay a deposit).

4. See the world lit up at God's Own Junkyard

Art Galleries Walthamstow

Nobody could feel dreary when faced with the bright lights of God's Own Junkyard, which showcases neon artist Chris Bracey's personal collection of work in a salvage yard in Walthamstow. It contains everything from his signage for Soho sex clubs in the '60s to his work for the movie industry, including pieces that were used in 'Captain America', 'Eyes Wide Shut', 'Byzantium' and more.

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5. Join the tropical party at Ridley Road Market Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Dalston

Fake-wood wall veneers clash gloriously with homemade cymbal lightshades, a checquered dancefloor, mirrorballs, a bar made of offcuts, cheapo seating and piles of exotic fruit. DJs play and sometimes there are bands. Ridley Road Market Bar is like a Club Tropicana where strangers don’t take you by the hand and drinks aren’t free – but they’re pretty cheap. Grab yourself a cocktail and get into the holiday spirit.

6. Admire the historical planting at Crossrail Place Gardens

Attractions Parks and gardens Canary Wharf

These roof gardens are covered almost entirely by a lattice of timber and air-filled plastic cushions which will protect your from any inclement conditions. In the nineteenth century trading ships which had travelled all over the world would use the area's docks, and the planting has been chosen to reflect this exotic bit of history; many of the species chosen are indigenous to countries the traders would have visited.

Find more things to do in London

Seek shelter in a lovely London museum

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