Nothing beats British Summertime, when it’s ACTUALLY sunny and the weather is beautiful! For once, I’m finally here for the most part to enjoy summertime so rounding up some of my favorite places and fun summer activities to enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!
WHITE CITY HOUSE – Rooftop Pools
White City House or really any SOHO House with a rooftop pool, is 10/10 for summer. Downside is, you do have to be a member to come for the day, and members can only bring one guest, but you can work your way around by booking a hotel room here if you’re visiting. On really sunny days, prepare to get there bright and early to grab a bed at the pool. We had to que starting at 7:30am (8am opening time) and the line was already wrapped out the door. Once on the roof with the rays hitting you, it’s worth it! On weekends they have the most amazing buffet breakfasts/lunches and usually have a DJ or at least really good music to complete the summery scene.
Piggybacking off of the SOHO House thing, I 1000% recommend a getaway to Soho Farmhouse in the summer if you can manage. It truly is one of the most fairytale/relaxing/ cool places I’ve ever been. The vibe in the summer is really ideal, especially for Bank Holidays — They have a rosé cart, indoor/outdoor pool, the comfiest loungers in the lawn. If you’re a member just going for the day/weekend, you can easily rent a car with DRIVY and drive 1.5 hours like my friend Jennie and I have done twice, otherwise the train is super easy from Paddington to Charlbury (which I’ve done as well – it just does get a bit hot/crowded in the summertime) and you can pre-book a taxi through SOHO to take you to Farmhouse 15-ish minutes from the station.
To book, give yourself a month or two out. Non-members can visit Mondays-Thursdays dependent upon availability and under 27 members get 50% off rooms Monday nights + 50% off all food Sundays starting at 4pm and Mondays.
I love Hyde Park all year round, but in the summertime, especially, it comes alive! During the summer, I definitely recommend stopping by the High Street Kensington Whole Foods, grabbing things for a picnic, and hanging out all day when the weather’s nice. If you need picnic blankets – HEMA on High Street next to Whole Foods sells inexpensive ones or Tiger is always an Ikea-like go-to. If sitting in the grass isn’t your thing there are tons of sun chairs to hire all around the park (near the Round Pond by Kensington Palace, by the Italian Gardens just off Lancaster Gate Station, on both sides of the far East side of the Serpentine, just North of Knightsbridges station)
** Full disclosure, Hyde Park does get REALLYYYY busy in the summer. So if the crowds are overwhelming or you want something a little more local, Regent’s Park is another summertime favorite, Battersea Park on the other side of the River, or Hampstead Heath – my #1 outside the city favorite.
Kicking off July, Barclays does an amazing summertime concert series in Hyde Park! Last year I got back to London the day Bruno Mars was performing and you can hear the music even if you’re just walking within the park. For the full summer experience I’d recommend getting tickets! This year they have Celine Dion (July 5), Stevie Wonder (July 6), Barbara Streisand (July 7), Florence and the Machine (July 13), and Robbie Williams (July 14). It’s kind of the equivalent to concerts at the Hollywood Bowl in LA?!… A fun thing to do.. I’ll be there this month with a bunch of friends!
This week, the big “to-do” is the Henley Royal Regatta. Similar to Ascot and Polo on the Park, a big group of us are heading West for the rowing event. It’s another excuse to dress up, drink pimms and champagne, and enjoy British Summertime. This will be my first year going, so I’ll be able to say more after, but all of my friends have loved going in the past — save the date for if you’re in London and looking for something fun to do this week/weekend!
I love the cinema but can’t be stuck indoors when the suns out. During the summertime, Britain does an amazing job with their outdoor cinemas. Luna Cinema travels around quite a few areas in the UK — top showings sell out quickly so book in advanced. Some of the best ones are Hyde Park, Regents Park, and Westminster Abbey. Otherwise Rooftop Cinema is also cute and really fun! I went last year to see Murder on the Orient Express — they have chairs, popcorn, snacks, etc.
LUNA CINEMA | HERE
ROOFTOP FILM CLUB | HERE
7. Rooftop Restaurants/ Bars
Rooftop season is officially here! If I can’t be by the beach, I want to be on a roof — here are some solid options for summer in London:
OXO Tower | Request a Table outdoors. They have a couple restaurants, more casual or nicer. The food is good, the views even better. I like this spot because you have views of the city skyline. If you’re really feeling it, you can bike here – there’s the Bike “Highway” all along the Thames.Super easy to navigate and Satander has bikes all around London (Download the app HERE)
St. James Trafalgar | I came here during Fashion Week. The food isn’t my favorite necessarily, but theres a nice view of Trafalgar Square and it’s pretty central.
Madison | This one is super popular or was in its time, with beautiful views of St. Pauls Cathedral. Good for post-work drinks.
Aqua Bar | Another sceney rooftop place. The restaurant is nice but I’d go more for a rooftop drink
Pergola on the Roof | This is like the beer Garden of summertime. Lots of picnic tables, lots of food stands, LOTS of drinks. There are two locations Kensington & Olympia or Paddington. They’re always showing some sort of sporting event, offer bottomless drinks, and are good go-tos for summertime when you need a space to accommodate a big group of friends!
Netil360 | If you’re venturing East, Netil360 always draws a crowd with their Rooftop space and Aperol Spritz! The vibe is super laid back and casual. Think artificial grass, floor cushions, indoor/outdoor bar, pizza stands, string lights… It’s a fun chilled place for a big group of friends.
Sea Containers – 12th Knot | Another spot on the Thames with views of London’s skyline
The Ned | Plugging Soho again, but I do love this rooftop bar! They have really good drinks, amazing burgers/haloumi burgers. The roof is for members only, but hotel guests can also enjoy the rooftop!
OUTDOOR BRUNCH W/ PATIOS
The Ivy Chelsea Garden | Out of all the Ivy’s in London, the Chelsea location is still my favorite. They always have the prettiest floral displays, and their back garden makes the nicest scenery for any summertime breakfast, brunch, or lunch! They have really good Bellinis and surprisingly the Tuna Tar Tar is my favorite that I’ve had in all of London! Make a booking in advance requesting the Garden just in case! Good way to start the day before some afternoon shopping on King’s Road.
Bluebird | Bluebird in the summertime is always crowded, but still one of my go-to brunch spots in London. They have a really cute patio area tucked on King’s road, with umbrellas, abundant brunch options, etc. Great place to grab food/drinks. White City recently opened a Bluebird as well for another casual option.
The Phene | Outdoor seating is first come, first serve. It’s a quaint little space tucked in Chelsea, but they have nice brunch options of you want somewhere to start the day, then hit a few pubs in the area.
Harry’s | There is always a scene at Harry’s but they have nice outdoor seating just behind Harrods. I’ve been for both breakfast and lunch and always leave reallly full!
Chiltern Firehouse | This is pretty much THE patio to be at when it’s nice out — Breakfast, lunch, drinks, dinner. You’ll probably need a booking but it’s definitely a must on every summer list. My favorite is probably the acai bowl OR a nice drink around 5 during weekends or early evening after work.
Now that the weather is amazing I really look forward to Tennis Lessons every week! There are a lot of amazing members clubs in London, but if you’re hesitant to commit, Hyde Park has really great Tennis facilities where you can take lessons. I do privates every week with a group of friends, but you can also book courts for yourself, join group classes, or sign up with an instructor.
Going to the Wimbledon Finals last year was an experience of a lifetime I’ll never forget. My Dad surprised me with tickets when he came to town, but you can also que starting super early in the morning to get tickets and block out a day to watch several matches. Sponsored by Evian and Pimms, you’ll definitely stay hydrated. Little Tip, be sure to wear a straw hat and sunglasses. Depending on where your seats are, the sun can be quite intense and hot. I wore a cotton poplin midi dress which was perfect! Basically there are several courts, so depending on the day you can pop in and watch a few matches (again depending on where your tickets are for). There are lots of little food stands and upper level restaurants so I’d plan to enjoy the full experience and not eat beforehand. If you ever get the opportunity, I’d really recommend going!
Just outside of London is my favorite restaurant, Petersham Nurseries. I took my Dad and Roomate here when he was in town… it’s everything you’d want from a summertime space— Garden seating, delicious food, tucked away down a storybook pathway. Book far in advanced to enjoy the sit down restaurant – This menu was 20 our of 10 for sure. SO fresh, so delicious. Otherwise you can show up on the day of and que for their little Teahouse. They have soups, salads, quiche, sandwiches, coffee, cakes etc, and you can grab a free seat in their open-garden space. We went for lunch and just walked around Richmond after, but you can also make a day and venture to Richmond Park or Kew Gardens!