20 Things To Do In Summer In London

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London, the capital of the United Kingdom, welcomes visitors from all over the world 12 months a year. The high season is the summer, traditionally the peak season for holidays. The summer months are generally warm, if never entirely predictable, but it does mean that this is the ideal time for open-air events and to enjoy the green areas of this great city.

London has many attractions as the city holds an important place in history and is the former centre of a vast worldwide empire. You’ll see evidence of its history and cultural importance at every turn. London is also a centre for fashion, a fabulous place for shopping and offers a complete range of entertainment in the arts and sport.

When visiting London, you should plan your itinerary if your time is limited or simply because to experience the major attractions, you will likely have to queue. You’ll need to book some events in advance anyway because of their popularity and demand for tickets.

The good news is that London’s transport infrastructure allows visitors to get around this huge city relatively easily, and the London Underground, with overland extensions, reach all parts of the capital. Here are some of the popular things to do in summer in London. Enjoy!

Summer In London

Tickets and Tours

things to do in london in summer
Looking for things to do in summer in London? Check out these top tours.

The Hop-on Hop-off Bus is one of the most flexible ways to explore London at your own pace. You can choose one, two or three-day passes to get you to the city’s landmarks. Combine the hop-on hop-off bus ticket with a London Pass for entry to over 80 top attractions. 

20 Things To Do In London In Summer

1- Walk In Harry Potter’s Footsteps

what to wear in london summer 2022
One of the fun things to do in summer in London is to go on a Harry Potter walking tour. On Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross Station, London, there’s a trolly stuck in the wall.

Everyone has heard of Harry Potter, even those who have not read the books or seen the films.

Keen fans should set aside some time for a day trip to explore behind-the-scenes of the Harry Potter film sets and at Warner Brothers Studio.

You’ll be magically whisked away into this enchanted world where you can climb aboard the Hogwarts Express, explore the cobblestoned Diagon Alley and meet your favourite characters.

In summer, one popular way to explore London, which was the setting for this world-famous series, is a Harry Potter-themed walking tour.

There are choices within the tour to travel on the London Underground or the Thames. Either way, you will start at Southwark Cathedral before proceeding to Borough Market, the London Eye, Great Scotland Yard, and Trafalgar Square.

At every turn, your guide will provide all the information as you go.

Even if you have not read the books or enjoyed the films, take the Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour, and you may just become a fan.

2- Marvel At Kew Gardens

summer in london
Sitting on a bench under a tree at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew is a lovely way to spend some time in London in summer.

The Royal Botanic Gardens is a hugely important research site where visitors can see the most exotic flora from every corner of the Earth.

You will realise its size if you understand it employs more than 1,000 people.

Its partnership with almost 100 countries worldwide is a good illustration of the scope of its work.

Well over two million visitors walk through its door each year, so getting a ticket in advance of your visit makes sense.

It isn’t only botanists who enjoy Kew Gardens.

It is a place where you can see species that flourish in different parts of the world and may, just for a second, transport you and your imagination there. Order your admission ticket to Kew Gardens here.

3- Climb To The Roof Of The 02 Arena

when is summer in london
Climbing the roof of the O2 Arena is a fun thing to do in London in summer, especially, when the weather is warm.

The O2 Arena hosts numerous events annually, but it also offers the chance to get an outstanding view of London, stretching many miles on a clear day.

Summer is the best season to experience this adventure if you are up to the challenge of a climb under controlled conditions.

All the equipment needed is on site, and the harness ensures your safety.

Once you have reached just over 50 metres, cross the walkway and just look around.

There are several excellent vantage points for a good view of London and if you climb to the roof of the O2 Arena, you’ll be in one of the best spots and will have time to take in all the surrounding area.

4- Go On A Thames Cruise

london in the summer boat and blue sky
If you’re visiting London in summer, you may want to go on a cruise along the River Thames.

The Thames flows through the city’s heart and is the main waterway with many landmarks and attractions.

You can join it on a cruise heading east towards the sea, passing many of London’s highlights on both banks.

A commentary in a few languages provides information as you pass by, describing the Parliament buildings, Tower Bridge and the Tate Modern.

In summer, you can expect good weather, allowing you to stand or sit on the open deck.

Seeing a city from the river gives you a new perspective, and if you join the Westminster to Greenwich cruise, you will understand how different it is to explore ashore.

5- Get A Bird’s-Eye View From The London Eye

summer months in london london eye blue sky
Riding the London Eye is a fun way to see the best views in London in summer.

The London Eye on the Thames is the highest observation wheel in the world, at 135 metres (almost 450 feet) and offers fantastic views of London.

The wheel turns slowly, and while you are at the apex, your views in all directions are stunning.

Pick out everything from St. Paul’s Cathedral to Windsor Castle in the distance.

You will enjoy trying to spot the many iconic sites of the capital.

On a clear summer’s day, you will see for miles.

If time is short, skip the lines by booking your ticket to London Eye here and get on board without wasting hours of waiting.

6- See The Crown Jewels At The Tower Of London

summer in london months
The Tower of London in summmer on a beautiful sunny day.

The Tower of London is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an 11th Century construction built by William the Conqueror.

The Crown Jewels are safe within the Tower, and you can view them during your visit.

The resident Yeoman can explain everything about the Tower.

They and the famous ravens are seen as the guardians of the Tower.

So many important historical events involve the Tower of London, with the Tudor period especially important when Henry VIII ruled the country.

The London Pass will get you into the Tower of London, but you’ll need to book a separate ticket to see the Crown Jewels.

7- Explore Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms

London in Summer buckingham palace
Visiting Buckingham Palace is one of the iconic things to do in London in summer, winter, autumn or spring.

If anything can give you a real understanding of the wealth amassed by the British Empire, the treasures in Buckingham Palace are compelling evidence.

The building is impressive and the art collection inside this immaculately furnished palace speaks for itself.

The Palace is still the main place where the monarchy entertains important foreign visitors, and you can tour many of the rooms that are used to welcome dignitaries and VIPs.

The monarchy in the UK continues to be a major attraction and the royal family’s home in London is Buckingham Palace, where crowds gather even just to see the impressive building.

8- Cruise The Regent’s Canal To Camden

London in Summer little venice
The summer temperature in London is perfect for cruising the Regent’s Canal and wandering around Little Venice.

In former times, waterways were significant for commerce, and England’s extensive canal played an important role.

A canal boat cruise along Regent’s Canal will allow you to discover more about London’s development while enjoying the peaceful setting of Little Venice.

Luxurious mansions line the banks, in some cases the homes of famous UK personalities and entertainers.

Most have equally impressive gardens.

The trip is a world away from the hectic life on London’s streets.

Slowly travelling along the Regent’s Canal on a boat trip to Camden and perhaps visiting its famous market is a relaxing way to enjoy summer in London.

9- Visit SEA LIFE London

The United Kingdom is an island nation, so the sea is never far away.

Within the heart of London, you can get a reminder of the sea, and not just the cold North Sea waters or the English Channel.

A huge number of species are on view at SEA LIFE, including tropical fish as well as turtles, octopus and sharks.

You can walk above a range of sharks beneath your feet.

The world’s rainforests also feature in this three-storey attraction. But it’s not all warm weather as penguins live in the polar feature.

A day at SEA LIFE London provides a great contrast to some of the top London attractions and is an educational attraction in London for kids.

10- Explore Richmond Park

Richmond Park was once the hunting land of the monarchy back in the 17th century.

It contains a few historic buildings and the prey the monarchy sought – deer.

A top way to get some exercise while covering a good area is to take a cycle tour around the park.

Summer is the time to do it as that is the season when you will be able to enjoy a picnic with full-day tours offering one in the afternoon.

Richmond Park is vast, far too big to walk around. So cycle at a leisurely pace and see what it has to offer.

11- See The World’s Best At Wimbledon

summer activities in london Low angle view tennis scene with yellow ball near racquet and white line in a sports and healthy lifestyle concept.
Attending a Wimbledon match is one of the popular things to do in London this summer.

There are four “majors” in tennis, and the third one in the year is Wimbledon, held in late June or early July.

While tickets to the two main courts are at a premium, there are 18 courts at Wimbledon and viewing areas with huge TV screens covering the two main show courts.

Some tickets are available for public sale, but that usually involves standing in line overnight.

Late in the day, when some ticket holders may have seen all the tennis they want for the day, there is also a chance of getting onto the Centre or No. 1 court.

Strawberries and cream are almost compulsory for visitors to enjoy. Another must-do for tennis fans is to visit the Wimbledon Museum, which you can do as part of a walking tour of landmarks in Westminster.

12- Enjoy The Street Performers In Covent Garden

events in london this summer
Wandering around Covent Garden is a pleasant way to spend some time in London in the summer.

Covent Garden’s notoriety arose because of the daily market where retailers and wholesalers traditionally bought fruit and vegetables.

Times have changed with today’s market selling most things.

However, it has been home to street performers since the days of the famous diarist Samuel Pepys in the 17th century.

Not just anyone is allowed to perform on the streets, and aspiring artists need to pass an audition to become part of the scene.

Auditions take place regularly, with successful acts given three minutes to pass the test to join the association that manages Covent Gardens’ entertainment.

A few hours, even a whole day and night in Covent Garden, is great fun, especially on a warm summer’s night.

Book your ticket on the open-top Big Bus here.

13- Listen To Music At Somerset House

London in Summer somerset house
If you go on a cruise, you’ll see Somerset House seen from the Thames.

July is festival time and there are several nights in July where artists perform in the open air at Somerset House on the south side of the Strand.

The house is a 16th-century palace rich in history and has a magnificent courtyard where performers show off their skills.

For the last two decades, other than when Covid was rampant, it has been a musical venue that attracts significant numbers each year.

Book well in advance with some tickets providing access to refreshment areas within the house or cruise past it on this River Thames hop-on hop-off sightseeing cruise.

14- Swim In The Serpentine

summer in london 2022
A lone deck chair early in the morning by the Serpentine in Hyde Park in London in summer.

While there is a traditional swimming event in the Serpentine every New Year, the water is cold at that time of year.

The Serpentine in Hyde Park is where you will find one of the oldest swimming clubs in the world.

There’s no need to become a member to dive into its waters, which are open to all from very early in the morning for four hours. So why not take a dip before breakfast?

The two things combined can energise you for another busy day in London.

Save money and time with this London pass that gets you to over 80 attractions.

15- Swing At Jazz In Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park offers plenty to do throughout the year.

One Midsummer Jazz Concert sees the South London Jazz Orchestra playing in the Observatory Gardens from lunchtime.

Refreshments are available; if you bring a rug, you can sit on the grass and enjoy the music.

Greenwich is known for its jazz clubs, with the Summer Jazz Weekender programme in August usually involving three groups, each playing for a couple of hours on the Greenwich Peninsula.

Greenwich Park is at Blackheath Gate, Charlton Way, Greenwich, London.

16- Enjoy Shakespeare At The Globe

london summer
Visiting the Shakespeare Globe Theatre is another classic thing to do in summer in London.

The Globe Theatre is on the banks of the Thames and was where Shakespeare wrote several of his most famous plays: Othello, Macbeth, Anthony and Cleopatra, King Lear and Hamlet.

The first play at the Globe was Julius Caesar, way back in 1599 and today, you can book tickets to enjoy one of many performances there each summer.

Today’s theatre is not the original, which was made of wood and burnt down early in the 17th century, purely accidentally.

The rebuild is half a century old and is very close to the original. Save time and money by ordering a London Pass, offering access to Shakespeare’s Globe and other attractions.

17- Go To Test Cricket

Lords in St. John’s Wood in North London is the “home of cricket” and a famous ground where all the best cricketers in the world want to play.

England’s home test series each summer always has a game at Lord’s, and south of the river, the Kia Oval (book a tour of the oval here) in Kennington is similarly blessed.

Demand for tickets is high but other than when England plays Australia for the Ashes, you should be able to buy tickets, especially for the fourth and fifth days.

However, be warned that games do not always last until the fifth.

18- Mingle At Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event over a long weekend in August. It originated in 1966 and is essentially a Caribbean celebration.

Expect to enjoy plenty of music with reggae to the fore.

It is a street event with plenty of stalls selling different things, and refreshments are available everywhere you go.

Jerk Chicken, Guyanese Pepper Pot and Jamaican Roti are popular options.

The Steel Band Competition is fun and usually held on the first evening.

You do need a ticket for that particular event, but most other events in the carnival are free, so your only spending is on food, drink and shopping.

Check out this Notting Hill walking tour for an insider’s peek into the area’s top spots.

19- Enjoy The Opera In Holland Park

what to wear in london summer
Going to an operan in Holland Park is another fantastic London event in summer.

The open-air auditorium in Holland Park is a lovely setting surrounded by greenery and formal gardens.

What a place to enjoy an operatic performance.

The temporary canopy dates back to 1988, with the audience capacity increased to around 1,000 in 2007.

Opera Holland Park is the company that produces a summer programme.

The Woody Allen film, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”, starring Anthony Hopkins and Josh Brolin, included a piece from one of its operas.

20- Enjoy Outdoor Theatre At Regent’s Park

The first performance at this open-air theatre dates back to 1932.

Queen Mary’s Gardens is the venue within the extensive Regent’s Park, and it has a capacity of over 1,250.

The season lasts for 18 weeks in all, including each of the main weeks of summer.

Many household names have appeared here over the years.

Vivien Leigh was an early contributor, while in more recent times, audiences have seen Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Damien Lewis, Ralph Fiennes, and Hugh Bonneville perform.

Its list of awards is extensive, and the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed a performance there during the Queen’s Jubilee.

london in summer Back view of traveler girl enjoying sight of Westminster bridge and palace on River Thames with famous Big Ben tower in London, UK.
One of the top things to do in summer in London is to wander around and see the iconic sights, such as Westminster bridge, palace and Big Ben.

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Steve Smith is a widely travelled man who has lived on the South West Coast of Turkey since 2008. He hails from North East England where he lived most of his life but has been to every continent of the world, with a particular love for Southern Africa and its wildlife. He lists Argentina, India, and Vietnam as other favourite places that he enjoyed greatly while sport is also a passion, cricket and golf as a participant, rugby union and soccer as a spectator.