London is one of the biggest, busiest cities in Europe, so if you’re planning on spending any time here this summer, you probably already have a list as long as your arm of things to see and do. But as any local will tell you, when the sun comes out, it’s time to find an outdoor space and bask in its glory. Big Ben and Buckingham Palace will always be there, but with Britain’s famously changeable weather, you never know how long you’re going to be able to enjoy the sunshine.
Thankfully, there are loads of hidden suntraps throughout the city. If you fancy a bit of sunbathing in London this summer, do like the locals do and head to one of these five ace spots for a bit of sun.
Radio Rooftop Bar, 336-337 Strand
Situated on top of the uber posh ME Hotel, this swanky roof terrace offers some spectacular views across the city. As Time Out Magazine says, “what you can’t see from up here isn’t worth its place on the London skyline”. Comfy sofas, sophisticated cocktails, and an array of international tapas are the order of the day at this trendy venue. In the evenings there’s a DJ to keep London’s glitterati entertained while they sip their cosmopolitans.
Postman’s Park, The City
London has no shortage of fabulous parks for picnic lovers, and this patch of green space just north of St Paul’s truly is a great place to escape the crowds. The park is most famous for its Memorial of Heroic Self Sacrifice, which was featured in the play and film Closer. The memorial is dedicated to ordinary people who sacrificed their own lives to save others, and certainly makes for interesting (and sometimes emotional) reading – perfect for a contemplative afternoon.
The Fox, 372 Kingsland Road
This old-school boozer has recently been refurbished as a craft beer heaven – and the new look and style has certainly helped boost its fortune. All the Dalston hipsters who used to walk by the bar on their way to cooler climes now flock to the roof terrace during sunny summer days. The red checked table cloths, fairy lights and flower pots give the terrace a laid-back feel – rather like being in your granny’s back garden (although in fairness your granny probably didn’t make you triple cooked chips with gravy and cheese for lunch).
Edinboro Castle, 57 Mornington Terrace
If you can look past the cringe-worthy spelling of “Edinburgh”, you’ll soon start to enjoy the beer garden in this quirky Camden pub for what it is: a wonderful place to soak up some sun with a crisp glass of sauvignon blanc. With space for 300 people, it’s also probably your best bet for nabbing a seat in a London beer garden – although with their summer barbecues and hog roasts proving immensely popular, nothing’s guaranteed. When it gets dark the patio heaters and fairy lights are turned on, so you can make the balmy London evening last well into the night. There are umbrellas and sheltered areas, too, so you can escape from those pesky summer showers if they arrive to try and spoil the fun.
Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Road
If dining and drinking aren’t what you’re after, cool off in the water at Brockwell Lido – it’s especially refreshing after making the trip to London by bus. The pool is one of the few open-air pools remaining in London, has become a much-loved local landmark known locally as Brixton Beach. Nearby you can find a gym in the grade-2 listed building, plus an award-winning café. Even more exciting, this summer the Lido is playing host to a pop-up cinema with screenings of great classic films. Bring a blanket but leave the picnic basket at home, as a barbecue will be provided.
What are your favourite sunny spots in London?