Summer in London: 40 top things to do in London

Pack your shades and get ready to rock your summer wardrobe. Sunny days are coming and it's time to get planning!

Say hello to summer vibes in London. From rooftop bars and outdoor cinemas to music festivals and picnics in the park, discover 40 ways to make the most of the summer with this ultimate guide.

The great outdoors

  1. Grab a blanket and a bottle of fizz, and head to the city’s leafy parks when the sun shines. Enjoy a picnic and have a go on a pedalo in Hyde Park, or spot the resident deer in Richmond Park.
  2. See the variety of exotic animals and hang out with penguins at the famous ZSL London Zoo by Regent's Park.
  3. When the mercury rises, take a dip in one of the city’s azure-blue lidos or venture north for a swim with leafy views in Hampstead Heath.
  4. Snuggle up during a summer film at one of London’s great outdoor cinemas, including The Luna Cinema’s iconic venues, or hop in the car for a drive-in cinema experience. 
  5. Hop on your bike and ride some of London's best cycle paths
  6. Get some of the best uninterrupted views in London and scale The O2 with the Up at The O2 climb.
  7. Sing along to new musical 101 Dalmatians or enjoy Shakespeare's acclaimed Romeo and Juliet under the stars at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre this summer. 15 May-5 Sep
  8. Go for a quintessentially British game of lawn bowling, as Festibowl returns to Finsbury Square – complete with scrumptious street food, delicious cocktails and DJs. May-Sep

Summer food and drink in London

  1. Head to Lost in Brixton and satisfy all your cravings with food from downstairs Brixton Village. Chill with a local beer or a colourful spritzer, while waiting for your food to be brought straight to your table. Who said you couldn't have it all? 
  2. Love a good food market? Sink your teeth into street grub and order a glass of Pimm’s at one of the city’s coolest outdoor markets – try locals’ favourites Mercato Metropolitano, Dinerama, Pop Brixton or Maltby Street Market.
  3. Discover some of the city’s best rooftop bars for sunset drinks with killer views, including laidback Frank’s Cafe atop a multistorey car park in Peckham, or catch a Waterloo sunset at Bar Elba with views of the London Eye and The Shard
  4. Sit outside and enjoy a meal in the summer sunshine at some of London's best alfresco restaurants.
  5. Work your way around as many of the food and drink stalls and cooking demonstrations as you can at Taste of London in Regent's Park, the capital’s ultimate alfresco feast. Jun, dates TBC
  6. Feast on all things Italian at new food hall Eataly in Broadgate – featuring a huge market area, three restaurants, a winery and a cooking school. Summer 2021, dates TBC

London music

  1. Celebrate iconic Royal Albert Hall’s 150th anniversary with performances from multi-award-winning composers from the likes of David Arnold, musical icons including Patti Smith and Jon Hopkins, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and more. From 29 Mar
  2. Sing along to reggae’s most famous tunes including ‘No Woman No Cry’ and ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ at Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical at the Lyric Theatre. 28 May-19 Dec
  3. Bag yourself tickets to some of London's hottest music festivals to see your favourite bands perform as the sun sets over incredible venues, from Hampton Court Palace Festival (8-19 Jun) to Kew the Music (6-11 Jul) to BST Hyde Park (9-11 Jul).
  4. Or see Groove Armada perform high up on a hill, at Alexandra Palace’s one-day Kaleidoscope Festival, also featuring comedy, immersive theatre and more. 24 Jul
  5. Celebrate London's LGBT+ community at the colourful Pride in London parade. Sing and dance along, as more than 300 floats wind their way through central London. Jun, date TBC
  6. Experience the magic of some of the most popular Studio Ghibli films, including ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘My Neighbor Totoro’, with Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki, live at Wembley’s SSE Arena this summer. 6-7 Aug
  7. See one of the prettiest parts of town transform into Europe's biggest street party during the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival. 29-30 Aug
  8. Discover more of London’s smash-hit musicals this summer, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Back to the Future: The Musical and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

For the 'gram

Summer in the city

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  1. Snap colourful floral displays and see impressive garden designs at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show (18-23 May) and RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival (6-11 Jul).
  2. Watch the Queen's annual birthday parade, Trooping the Colour, a brilliant display of British military pomp and pageantry. Try and catch a glimpse of the honouree on The Mall if you can. 12 Jun
  3. Get the perfect shot of the city at Sky Pod, more than 500ft above the streets in Sky Garden atop The Walkie Talkie building. You can also enjoy the show-stopping views alongside summer dishes at Sky Garden’s beautiful restaurant Darwin Brasserie
  4. Soak up knockout views of the capital from high up at the classy Sushisamba City, located on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower.
  5. Walk up Primrose Hill for sweeping views of Regent’s Park and the London skyline. For the perfect shot, don’t miss the William Blake quote edged into the stone at the top: “I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill.”
  6. Get creative with your snaps for the 'gram at Somerset House, and make sure to check out the latest exhibitions on display. 

Life by the water

  1. Fill your Instagram feed with snaps of Little Venice’s charming canals. Stroll along the Regent’s Canal towards Camden and Regent’s Park, or float down the waterways on a canal boat.
  2. Chill out in the sunshine at one of the hip drinking spots close to Camden Market. If you’re feeling peckish, browse the tasty bites on offer at the market's food stalls.
  3. Soak up the sun and wave at passers-by while cruising down some of London’s canals in a hot tub with Skuna Boats. That’s right, a floating hot tub!
  4. Unleash your adventurous side and explore Hammersmith or Richmond during a stand-up paddleboarding session with Active 360 on the river Thames.
  5. Sip on a craft beer from Hackney’s trendy canal-side microbrewery Crate, or head to one of the riverside pubs and bars lining South Bank for a socially distanced drink, including the BFI Riverfront.
  6. Hop aboard a riverboat for a relaxing ride along the Thames to one of London’s most charming neighbourhoods: Greenwich.

For art and culture buffs

  1. Don’t miss the Royal Academy of Arts’ excellent Summer Exhibition, an annual celebration of art and creativity showcasing works from up-and-coming artists and academicians. 15 Jun-17 Aug
  2. See Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser at the V&A, an immersive and theatrical show retracing the history and cultural impact of beloved global phenomenon Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From 27 Mar
  3. Step into acclaimed Japanese artist Yakoi Kusama’s Infinite Mirror Rooms at Tate Modern, two immersive installations that will transport you into a physical world of endless reflections. From 29 Mar
  4. Are you a fan of true crime? Then head over to CrimeCon UK to hear documentary makers, podcasters, detectives, forensics experts and law enforcement professionals discuss real-life cases and the cultural impact of the true crime genre. 12-13 Jun
  5. Explore stories of the incredible scientific and technological advances that have shaped the world at the Science Museum.
  6. Climb aboard the last-surviving tea clipper in the world, the fastest ship of its era, the famous Cutty Sark in Greenwich.
Find out what's open and when across the city, or check out Visit London app for more London inspiration.