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17 must-do things in London this summer

Summer in London is looking seriously hot and we’ve got a list of the events you won’t want to miss

Written by
Phoebe Trimingham

London is heating up at the moment and the capital’s events scene is hitting top gear. 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 in the British capital this summer. Ice creams not included.

  • Theatre
  • Comedy

Noël Coward’s classic comedy is being reimagined at the Old Vic, with Andrew Scott – aka Fleabag’s hot vicar – taking the leading role. Almost a decade after featuring in the grand old theatre’s production of ‘Design for Living’, a now rather more famous Scott anchors this major revival in the shape of self-obsessed Garry Essendine. Matthew Warchus’s production is a modern reflection on fame, desire and loneliness - all framed by the show’s impeccable wit. Lucy Lovell

 Circolo Popolare
© Lateef Okunnu

3.  Circolo Popolare

Sometimes more is more and that’s certainly the case with new opening Circolo Popolare. Brought to you by Big Mama, the same team behind East London’s gloriously OTT Italian trattoria Gloria. The new restaurant will be much like its sister site, a heavily planted Italian paradise bringing a slice of Sicilian sunshine to the heart of London. Food wise: we’re talking metre-long pizzas loaded with San Marzano tomato and creamy burrata from Puglia, Sfoglia Norma (a giant silk handkerchief, pasta alla Norma-style) and show-stopping Sicilian grills like calamari e lemoni and pork skewers al arrabiata. Oh and don’t worry that gigantic insta-famous lemon meringue pie is on this menu too. Angela HuiRathbone Square, Fitzrovia. Opening June 28.

Ruislip Lido
  • Attractions
  • Ruislip

Soak up the last of the summer sun at Ruislip Lido, a 60-acre lake surrounded by a sandy beach and woodland. It’s deceptively named (there’s no swimming allowed), but for the nature-starved Londoner, it has a very important selling point: it‘s reachable by tube. Katie McCabe 

Subterranean Summer Series
  • Restaurants
  • Bars & Pubs

Until Saturday (August 31), five underground spots (including Bar Three, Nine Lives, Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar, Discount Bar & Lounge) will be mixing tequila-based drinks for just a fiver each in their Subterranean Summer Series. All you have to do is go in and ask for their Subterranean Summer serve (we recommend the Cherry Blossom Margarita at Hawksmoor). If you get all five stamped in one of the special ‘passports’, you’ll also get a free cocktail at the end. National Margarita Day isn’t until February 2020. Your training begins here. Katie McCabe

Photograph: Applebee’s

6. Applebee‘s

The summer pop-ups of the South Bank are drawing to a close. Soon we’ll be saying goodbye to Applebee’s, a seafood restaurant import from Borough Market hidden in a pergola beneath Hungerford Bridge (it closes on September 15). Pop by for cocktails, bream and chips or, if you’re brave, raw oysters. Katie McCabe

  • Things to do
  • Wapping

Pretty soon, Skylight’s rooftop at Tobacco Dock will be swapping those jugs of sharing Pimm‘s for spiced cider for its autumn season. But right now, it’s still acceptable to down Daiquiris in sunglasses on the day beds. See the place at its liveliest this Sunday for the Sounds Familiar Music Quiz, which is just an excuse to play bangers outdoors and try to win ‘best team name’. Katie McCabe   

Dalston Roof Park
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Dalston
  • price 3 of 4

The £3 entry fee to this bar from Bootstrap Company that reboots its look every year is worth it for the lurid AstroTurf, real-life flora in hanging baskets and makeshift planters, and bunting flapping in the breeze. This Sunday they’ll be throwing a Strictly Good Times Party. Katie McCabe 

  • Attractions
  • Oxford Street

A massive new food hall is opening its doors in central London this July, but it’s way more exciting than your average street-food-stall set-up. The line-up includes a new branch of ace bakery Pophams, a Mexican-inspired restaurant from the team behind Barrafina and a new concept from Flat Iron focusing on creative dishes using sustainably sourced beef from UK producers. There’s also an outdoor terrace and The Loft: a regularly changing kitchen residency that showcases some of the city’s most exciting up-and-coming restaurateurs. Hungry yet? Charlie Allenby 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama

You binged both series and wept into your G&T tinnie when it was revealed there wouldn’t be a third series of ‘Fleabag’. Then, you cried even more when you missed out on tickets to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s last ever reprisal of the monologue that spawned the hit TV show. But there is a glimmer of hope. Although tickets sold out quicker than you could say ‘hot priest’, there will be a handful of tickets released on the day of each performance. Make sure you don’t miss out this time for fox sake. Charlie Allenby 

Swimming lake at Beckenham Place Park
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Beckenham

Move over Hampstead Heath, there’s a new wild swimming spot in town. Beckenham Place Park, Lewisham’s largest green space, is re-filling its lost Georgian lake and transforming it into an urban oasis where you can (legally) strip down to your cossie and enjoy a cooling dip. Part of a £1.9 million project by the Mayor to make London a National Park City, the brand new open water spot will span 285m by 48m and is 3.5m at its deepest point. Officially opening on July 20, it’ll have a shallow sandy area for paddling, a jetty, a brand new cafe nearby for post-swim snacks and offer kayaking and other water sports. We’re ready to take the plunge! Alexandra Sims. Beckenham Place Park, BR3 5BS. Opens Jul 20.

  • Theatre
  • Drama

Idris Elba is the big draw in this production, even if he doesn’t actually star in ‘Tree’. Seamlessly blending music, dance, and drama, the highly anticipated new show was co-created with Kwame Kwei-Armah - award-winning playwright and artistic director at the Young Vic. The pair’s collaborative work promises an epic journey to the heart of South Africa, following Kaelo (played by Alfred Enoch) as he visits his parent’s homeland. Expect a soundtrack inspired by Elba’s 2014 album ‘Mi Mandela’, and for the audience to be placed at the heart of the action. Lucy Lovell

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Portobello Road
  • price 1 of 4

If the name has the propensity to shock you, you’re probably not a regular on the LA dining scene. After all, gourmet breakfast bap join Eggslut has proved nothing short of a cultural phenomenon in California, which is why it’s such a big deal they’re opening their first European branch in London this summer. They specialise in – you guessed it –eggs. So expect oozing yolks, fluffy buns and, if all goes to plan, a pretty sizeable queue. Bobby Palmer. Opening August 7. 

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