6 All-Summer Long Things to Do in London
Our pick of the 6 best, non-date-specific things to do in London this Summer.
One of the best bits about coming to London is planning your trip full of places to go and experiences to have (that, and staying in a cool, minimalist hotel in one of the city’s most lively neighbourhoods, of course). When it comes to finding things to do, London is the city that never sleeps – there’s an event guide for every single day (and night) of the year. The only thing with these guides is that every event is date-specific, which means they often move fast, fill up quick and you sometimes find yourself just missing out on something cool by the matter of a few days. So, for all you forward-planners out there – we’ve got you. Check out our list of all-summer long, non-date specific things to do in London…
Games at Roof East
Nothing says summer like a bit of friendly competition, right? Roof East is a rooftop bar with extras in Stratford, decked out with 6 action packed games to choose from, including mini-golf, batting cages, virtual-reality foosball, lawn bowls, shuffleboard and curling. Up to 8 people can play per lane, so it’s a winner for big groups. With all these games lasting up to an hour each, plus street food and ice cold drinks behind the bar, you can spend all day here, basking in the sun and celebrating your victory. We went to Roof East for our team Christmas night out, which was amazing – it’s even better with a summer vibe. The best bit? You can book tickets online ahead of time, so whether you’re visiting or in a few months, you’re guaranteed a slot whenever you arrive.
When: Tues-Fri: 5pm – 11pm | Sat-Sun: 12pm -11pm
Hackney City Farm
Yeah, you read it right. Right in the heart of Hackney (and just a short walk from our front door) you’ll find east London’s very own city farm.
“We offer children and grown-ups the opportunity to get up close to a range of farmyard animals. See, smell and plant vegetables and other food plants. Learn new skills to live a healthier, happier life with a lower environmental impact.” – Hackney City Farm
It’s open all year round, every Tuesday to Sunday and it’s a go-to for a weekend stroll around the neighbourhood. They have a squad of farmyard animals including goats, sheep, chickens, donkeys and rabbits, as well as a new, organic, packaging-free store on site.
When: Tues-Sun: 10am-4:30pm
Dive in to London’s Lidos
London might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about sitting poolside, but with a hot day in one of London’s many historic lidos, you’d think you were in Barcelona. There’s a great guide here by Secret London, with over 11 lidos to dive in to, but our favourite has to be the great, London Fields Lido. It has been an icon in our neighbourhood since 1932 and was reopened in 2006, after being closed since the late 80s, thanks to the local community here in East London.
The opening of London Fields Lido marks the start of summer around here and awakens bright and early from 6:30am for a morning swim, and stays open until a balmy 9pm for an all-day dip in Costa Del Hackney. For something more au natural, head to Hampstead Heath Ponds, which have been cleaned and repurposed for swimming. Grab something ice-cold, then lay back and soak it all in – you’ll feel like you’re in summer camp all over again.
When: 6:30am – 9pm (London Fields Lido)
Columbia Road Flower Market
Another London institution – no trip this side of the city feels complete without a browse through Columbia Road Flower Market. Just off Hackney Road in Bethnal Green, it’s a short walk from our hotel and a post-Sunday-brunch ritual around this neighbourhood. As said on their site, “everything from bedding plants to 10 foot banana trees are up for grabs” but even if you’re not looking to turn your apartment into a jungle, there’s plenty of variety in this little Victorian street. In fact, they’re one of the few streets in the entire country with 60 independent shops, including Italian delis, vintage clothes, antiques, art galleries and great cafes and pubs if you’re looking to spend the day. They’ve been open come rain, hail or shine pretty much every Sunday since 1869 and well worth a visit, even just to stop and smell the roses.
Where: Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG
When: Every Sunday, 8am-3pm-ish
Rooftop Film Club
What if you could watch your favourite movies as the sun sets behind the big screen high above the streets of London? Well, Rooftop Film Club are serving that experience all summer long, with this year’s theme ‘Summer of Love’. They have screens in Los Angeles, New York, San Diego and in three venues across London. You can find them at Bussey Building in Peckham, at Roof East (after you’ve smashed a game of lawn bowls) and nestled at Queen of Hoxton – all three just a short distance from your room here at Kip.
On the line up, expect cult classics like Ferris Buellers Day Off, Baz Lhurman’s 90s take on Romeo & Juliet and Fight Club, to name a few. Again, you can book tickets ahead of time to guarantee your perch and get comfortable with warm sun on your skin and popcorn in your hands. Our advice? Keep this one under your hat and surprise your date (or mates) for some serious cool-points.
Where: Various Locations
When: Check out programme
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens
Kew Gardens is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site and takes keeping plants alive to a whole new level. Only half an hour outside central London, it’s the perfect escape from the noise of the city. Spanning over 300 acres, it features the iconic Palm House (which reminds us of our penthouse) and an exotic indoor rainforest. There’s also the Princess of Wales Conservatory where you can explore 10 of the world’s climatic zones (although, we’d argue you could experience at least 5 of them during a changeable summer’s day here in London anyway) and of course, the Waterlily House with its amazing giant lily pads. Grab your kicks, and some snacks – you can easily spend all day here.
Where: Richmond TW9 3AB
When: Mon-Thurs: 10am-6:30pm | Sat-Sun: 10am-8:30pm
From markets to movie, that’s 6 of our top things to do in London all-summer long. The best thing about them is that a) they’re non-date-specific so they’ll work around your trip and b) you’re able to book them in advance. For us, we think it’s good to have a mix during your trip to London – book some experiences you definitely want to have and then spend the rest of your time accidentally stumbling across those hidden gems that make great stories when you head home (trust us, London’s full of them).