My summer 18 hotspots – London
I absolutely love living in London and particularly in the summer time when there is endless amounts to do. And with this year’s heatwave, we’ve had a dreamy couple of months! In between my Central America tour (see Latin America ) and a couple of getaways in July (see Europe ), I managed to check out a few places (mostly food related FYI) below.
Some events and places are still open in September and others can be saved for next year. For the most up to date activities to do all year round, Timeout is an absolute treat.
Summer in London would be nothing without its rooftops! Here are a few of my faves:
Bussey Rooftop – the rival Peckham rooftop to Frank’s cafe (insta pink perfection) which also offers stellar views of London. Their food is simple and decently priced compared to most rooftops (I loved the hotdogs served in a brioche bread) and they often hold great events up here including their rooftop cinema which is still happening this month (and you can buy bottomless popcorn as part of your ticket!!!)
Madison’s Rooftop Terrace – this place wins with its views. It overlooks St Paul’s Cathedral on one side and London Eye to the Shard going around. You have to look smart when you come here (no trainers or sporty looking clothes) but don’t let that put you off as the vibes upstairs are chilled. Mid afternoon is the best time to come for the best seating and shortest bar queues but golden hour is also ideal for pictures. The drinks are Central London prices but really you’re paying for the view.
Bar Elba – this is in Waterloo and has some of the cutest wall art as you climb up to the top. The views aren’t the greatest but the whole place is very picturesque. And it’s next to Tonight Josephine bar if you need a millennial pink fix.
Tip: Join their mailing list for a free cocktail when you go!
John Lewis – for Summer of Sound on the Roof. This is great for some rest bite from the mayhem of Oxford Street. It has a gin bar and chill music with DJs especially on weekends. On until the 30th of September.
Outdoor/open space dining:
Another classically London thing to do. This year was perfect for it and hopefully the next few weeks will allow more of this:
Coppa Club – this restaurant in Tower Bridge is home to these incredible pods! Until Sep 30th, you can hire one (for free, up to 2 hours for max 8 people) and have food and/or drinks with amazing views of Tower Bridge and the Shard. They do split the pods if your group is smaller than 8 and walk ins are possible. The food here is delicious so it’s worth a visit.
Dinerama, Shoreditch – we came here to watch a World Cup match and it was good fun. The bar is outside and then various food stalls within the complex and upstairs if a private event isn’t happening. A less crowded alternative to Boxpark.
Peckham Levels – in this previously abandoned car park behind the cinema, it has been transformed into a dining and bar experience with pop up restaurants. On the weekends, they have a DJ and dance floor which is good fun.
Brixton Market – inside this market place are many quirky shops and stalls plus restaurants. Brixton’s community is traditionally Caribbean so I recommend trying out traditional dishes such as jerk chicken, rice and peas etc.
Pop Brixton – a complex with food stalls, bars, marketplace and even a barbershop! They sell food from around the world (so far I’ve had the steak and chips, bao buns, Venezuelan empañadas and churros) and it’s all delicious! Entry is usually free.
Sassy cidre – a pop up outside St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. This French cider brand teamed up with others during the summer and sold many delicious ciders for a reasonable price. Sadly the pop up is over now but do keep an eye out for them in bars around London (and France!).
Casa do Frango – this Portuguese restaurant near London Bridge has to be one of my favourites this year! It has a lovely light, open space and you’re sat on benches next to fellow diners which is a nice experience. The menu is tapas style and every single item we had was on point. Plus we tried green wine which is quite light and slightly bubbly. 10/10 for their customer service!
Treat yourself dining
Although I am all for finding the best/free deals, sometimes you just have to go an extra mile to treat yourself right!?
Sushi Samba – this gorgeous fusion Brazilian/Japanese/Peruvian restaurant offers an incredible view over the city of London. The combination of flavours are quite unique and everything on the menu looks delicious. Expect Central London prices with a few omg items!
Oblix at the Shard – now this is perfect for celebrating occasions or just a bougie evening in town. It’s only a third of the way up the Shard but the views are exceptional, especially at night.
Brunch at Sanderson’s Hotel – I love this place as the outdoor dining area is surrounded by flamingos, a waterfall and the prettiest floral swing. Brunch is varied and wallet friendly. They also do a Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea which sounds intriguing!
Afternoon tea at Richoux – this restaurant in Piccadilly serves delicious afternoon tea and you can get great deals via groupon! Their scones and cakes are more generously sized than most places and their tea selection is on point.
Treats at Aubaine Selfridges – located on the 2nd floor of Selfridges is this beautiful cafe. Main courses can vary in cost but drinks, tea and cakes are decently priced! The window seats round the corner are the best for your insta shots.
In such a hectic city, it’s nice to be able to enjoy time away from it all and reconnect with nature:
Kew Gardens – home to all kinds of plants and flowers from around the world too. They have many resident displays and often seasonal exhibitions too (the latest one being the Down Under II series (plants from Australia and NZ) which is on until the 16th of September). It is such a big complex that you’ll need to spend most of your day here so bring some snacks and drinks to enjoy!
Parks – London has many parks to escape the city stress. There are often outdoor activities going on into September too. Some of my favourite ones are Primrose Hill (epic views of London from the top), Greenwich Park, Battersea Park and Holland Park (especially the Japanese inspired Kyoto Gardens).
The great thing about living in a city with a river is enjoying all the activities that occur around it!
Southbank – this area is perfect at all times of the year to be honest. It stretches from Waterloo Bridge to Westminster Bridge and is lined with food and drink stalls, restaurants and entertainment. The Queen Elizabeth Centre is great for rooftop drinks and the Southbank Centre hosts arts and cultural events (sign up with them to access limited free tickets if you’re under 30).
King’s Cross – a short walk behind the station is Regents Canal and Granary Square which hosted the Summer of Love outdoor screenings of Wimbledon and various films in July. It’s a chilled area to enjoy a drink and people watch or you can hire a party boat along the canal!
The river bank from Tate Modern to London Bridge and then across to Tower Bridge has always been one of my favourite places. New bars and restaurants pop up all the time plus the views are iconic of course.
For the Culture
Notting Hill Carnival – takes place on the last weekend of August during our summer bank holiday (the Sunday and Monday). It’s a celebration of Caribbean culture and a huge street party which isn’t to be missed! Sunday is perfect for families and not a crazy time as Monday is the bigger party. It’s free to attend as part of the crowd so all you need are your dance moves, good vibes and plenty of liquid to cool yourself down!
Greenwich Painted Hall Ceiling Tour – for those of you interested in art and history. The ceiling (and its art) is being restored so until the end of September, you can take a guided tour (£10 for adults) and get close to enough to appreciate it and learn more about what it all means. It’s mainly related to the Navy (as Greenwich is known for) and is really interesting. Opposite is a gorgeous chapel you can check out, the National Maritime museum is across the road and Greenwich Park nearby too.
And finally, I plan to visit the Michael Jackson On the Wall exhibition this month which is in the National Portrait Gallery. It’s in celebration of his 60th birthday this year…definitely one to check out if you can as it’s on until October 21st.
Did you enjoy summer in London? Or do you plan to next year? Let me know in the comments below!