According to the weather forecast we’ve struck lucky and after a lovely week of sunshine it looks like we have a sunny weekend ahead too. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has spent most of the week looking longingly out of the office window, picturing themselves outside wearing sunglasses with a cold drink in their hands, whilst pondering how best to spend the weekend when it finally arrives.
I’ve been rummaging around the internet for ideas and thought I’d share a mini guide about how to spend a sunny day in London.
Start your day with a good cup of coffee. Spring/summer mornings in the UK can be bright and breezy but it’s rare you’ll find yourself basking in the warm glow of the sun at the early hours of the day. Inject yourself with the warmth of a good drink and a dose of caffeine. White Mulberries is a lovely spot by the Thames, Fernandez & Wells at Somerset House has a lovely outdoor area to name a few examples.
Explore or relax in a green space you’ve not visited before. – One of the best things about London is its surprising amount of green spaces. The Royal Parks is an obvious first pick with Hyde Park, St James Park, and Kensington Gardens (to name a few) at your disposal. Have you seen the Italian Gardens in Hyde Park? It is beautiful spot. You’ll also find a host of private gardens open this weekend for the Open Garden Squares weekend.
Ride a Boris bike. There’s nothing quite like wind in your hair and sunshine on your face. For most Londoners this doesn’t mean an open top car around Chelsea, more like the humble Boris bike. You can find them everywhere and it’s a great way to whizz around the city. Here’s a comprehensive map of where you can pick one up.
Pack a picnic. If you’re going outdoors and plan to be far from the shops you want to pack a good picnic. My first port of call is M&S as they do have the best choice of deli items, but if you want someone else to fill your cool box luckily there are plenty of places that offer ready made picnics. Carluccios (from £45), Fortnum & Mason (from £40), Mount Street Deli (from £25) are the best ones I’ve stumbled across.
Take a dip in your local lido. One of the most surprising things about London is that there is a handful of outdoor pools that actually look safe to swim in. If you haven’t got a membership at Shoreditch House to access their rooftop pool*, this is the average Londoner’s next best thing. Time Out London have put together a list of the best ones here.
Eat ice cream. One of my favourite summer treats. You can often find an ice cream stall in the park, but if you’re looking for high quality flavours and ingredients try Gelupo, Chin Chin Labs, or Gelateria 3 Bis.
Enjoy a chilled drink in a pub garden. After a few hours in the sun you can’t beat the taste of an ice cold drink in a comfy seat outdoors. Time Out London have done it again with this handy list of the best beer gardens.
Take a long walk. If you prefer to keep active in the sunshine you’re in luck as there’s plenty of places to explore by foot in London. Regent’s Canal, New River Walk, the Thames Path and these fitness walks should be a good start.
Watch the sunset across the city. The magical hour of the day when the sun sets below the horizon and the sky falls into a pinkish blue haze. You don’t have to pay to see a spectacular sunset in the city, my picks would be Monument, Primrose Hill, Hampstead Heath, and Greenwich Park.
Drink Pimms. The quintessentially British drink of the summer, there’s nothing quite like Pimms O’clock in the sunshine.
What do you love doing most on a sunny day in London?
*Post update! Apologies, I was convinced Soho House had a rooftop pool! It is in fact over at Shoreditch House. Late night blogging error.