London is melting around us, the heat is everywhere, there’s no respite or escape, we’re all dooooomed! Oh, hello Ice Bar. Cocktail? Don’t mind if I do. Hat, gloves and a fur-lined cloak? Sure. A largely mediaeval city with a Victorian infrastructure is not designed for record temperatures, but there are ways that you can mitigate the pain. Obviously follow our helpful ‘How to keep cool in the heat’ guide, but also head to some of these places…
If you’re looking for sandy shores to go along with the blue London skies, you might manage a bit of tidal mud. Unless you head to one of London’s urban beaches. Our current fave is is Fulham Beach; decked out with day beds, beach huts and cabanas, you might as well be in Ibiza. Get your best bikini on, grab a cocktail and get ready for the ultimate beach party!
Where: Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham, SW6 2TY
Catch An Al Fresco Cinema
Whoever said cinemas are just for rainy days were wrong! Say hello to the open air cinema! We’ve handpicked our favourite open air cinemas across the city just for you. We’re guessing they’re not showing The Snowman, though…
Wander around Battersea Power Station and discover the first chapter of its regeneration. Bear with us. The new riverside neighbourhood is strewn with a real mix of independent and design-led restos, bars, shops and exciting things to do. Meander around the site discovering its powerful history (pun intended) and stop off for a bite to eat at one of their many restaurants, or refresh with an ice cold bevvy at one of the many bars.
Where: Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station, London, SW11 8AH
Nearest station: Battersea Park (0.4 miles)
Swim, Swim, Swim
Sure, the mercury can nudge up against 40 degrees, but a lido will will leave you going ‘brrrrr’ (shivering, I mean, you’re not going to become an alarm clock). Ditch the deflating paddling pool and cool down by splashing about in one of London’s open air Lidos. Whether you’re after a kid-infested splash pool or you’re wanting to go chlorine-free, you can find it all in the city.
Remember Beast From The East? No, of course you don’t, it was in another, more innocent age. Now we’re living in a Mad Max dystopia, Boris is PM and the entire scorched earth is melting. Oooh, but there’s also boat barbecues, so maybe everything’s going to be alright? The same guys that brought us hot tubs in a boat, have now brought us barbecues on a boat. You bring the meat, they supply the bbq. It couldn’t be simpler. Unless, perhaps, they got rid of the boat bit. Still, it couldn’t be funner!
Where: Off Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf, E14 4AL
Explore the wilderness whilst still in the city thanks at Kew Gardens. Whether you’re wanting to seek some shade from the sun or be transported in their very own indoor tropical rainforest, it’s a great spot for all the family. Especially now that they’ve just launched their immersive children’s garden.
Take shelter from the heat by exploring the hidden royal home, Kew Palace, home to George III and Queen Charlotte. If you’re after a showstopper view, head over to the Great Pagoda. Prepare yourself for the 253 step climb first though!
Where: Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE
Immerse yourself in the world of art at the Serpentine gallery and explore their summer pavilion exhibition. Each year the garden is taken over to showcase some of the world’s greatest architects, allowing visitors to see an extraordinary piece of architecture created by a different architect each year. Seek some shade up these immense architectural structures and revel in their beauty.
Where: Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA
Sunbathe In A Park
Despite being filled with skyscrapers and tower blocks, London is filled with natural beauty too with their numerous parks. Pack yourself up a picnic and head down to your favourite green spot. A favourite of ours is Richmond Park and, of course, you can’t go wrong with London’s very own Central Park – Hyde Park.
Cycle Around The City
For a cheap fix, cycle around the city on a Santander bike, commonly known as a Boris bike. The city is filled with pathways and cycle routes just awaiting your discovery. Cycle along the canal towards London Fields or, circle around Richmond Park on the Tasmin Trail. It’s time to saddle up and feel the breeze against your skin, weeeee!
Relax In London's Best Terraces And Rooftops
I mean, who isn’t always on the lookout for a new bevvy spot? At The Handbook we’re known for our love of terraces and rooftop bars, which is why we’ve created two guides for you. So whether you’re a terrace kind of gal or more of a rooftop fan, we’ve got you sorted!
Go On An Ice Cream Crawl
You scream, we scream, we all scream for… In the brunt of the heat, all you want to do it devour a bucket load of ice cream, and with so many independent ice cream shops popping up left, right and centre across the city, you can do just so! Whether you’re a vanilla guy or a candyfloss fiend, you’ll be spoilt for choice this heatwave! Cool down with a scoop of the finest vanilla, or if you’re a candyfloss fiend grab a cone with a scattering of sprinkles.
We’ve hand-selected a few of our favourites just for you… Or if you’re more a gelato kind of gal, check out our favourite gelato haunts around the city too…
They see me pedaloing…
Pedaloing isn’t just something you can do while you’re in the Med. Oh no, there’s tonnes of spots you can head to around the city so you can truly live up your childhood fantasies and make a splash with your pals. Although a bit of a faff to get to, our favourite spot to head is Alexandra Palace purely down to the groovy pedalos on offer. Fulfil your kiddie dreams of driving a car on the water, only this time you’ll have to use your pedal power instead of being va-voomed across by an engine!
Discover a different side of London with The O2 climb. Although descending down The O2 might not seem like the best thing to do on the hottest day of the year, it’s the perfect place to head as it’ll be extra breezy up above the London smog! Just don’t get too nervy as you’ll break out in even more of a sweat…
Where: Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0DX
There’s nothing like feeling a warm summer’s breeze running through your hair especially when you’re sticky from humidity, which is why a boat ride along the thames is perfect on a sunny day. See some of London’s best sites while cruising along The Thames without the hassle of the clambering on and off the crammed tube!
If you’re looking for something a little different, hop on board the Glass Room and wine and dine the day away.
Meander around the gardens of Kensington Palace and follow in the footsteps of royalty as you explore the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria. It’s the perfect spot to soak up the summer heat and feel like royalty as you wander the grounds.
Where: Kensington Palace Gardens, London, W8 4PX, United Kingdom
Nearest station: High Street Kensington (0.5 miles)
Row, row, row your kayak, gently down the Thames… Prepare to get wet as you embark on a water-logged journey discovering some of London’s best sites by water! Be the Captain Jack Sparrow of your team as you rally through the heat courtesy of the London Kayak Company. Whether you fancy an afternoon in the sun or a sunset tour kayak style along The Thames, let the race against your friends commence! Three, two, one, go!
Make A Furry Friend
Whether you’re a cat fan, dog lover, pig fanatic or even goat enthusiast, everyone needs a furry friend. While living in London has its benefits, one downfall is that most landlords won’t allow pets. When the sun shines, head down to one of London’s city farms, because who wants to go to a farm in the van, eh? Try out Hackney City Farm, or hit up Kentish Town City Farm to get your animal intact in.
Spark Up A Summer Romance
With the sun comes long summer dates, we’ve created the ultimate list of things to spark up a little romance in the heat.
Most of the year round, to be honest, we’re not huge fans of ICEBAR, it’s a bit gimmicky and something of a tourist trap. But right now there’s almost nowhere you’d want to be. As you descend into the Heddon Street bar, the temperature immediately plummets, and for a brief half hour it’ll be like you’re back in normal London (apart from the ice sculptures and the American tourists).
Where: 31-33 Heddon Street, Mayfair, London, W1B 4BN, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.4 miles)