London celebrations

Why London is the hottest travel destination this summer

  • Major music festivals and sporting events return to the city’s summer schedule
  • Get outdoors at London’s best rooftop bars, restaurants and outdoor cinemas
  • New theater performances, arts trails and cultural festivals light up London’s summer season

The Royal Platinum Jubilee celebrations were just the start of London’s countless world-class events not to be missed this summer. From star-studded music festivals and outdoor theater performances to green spaces and rooftop bars and restaurants, there’s no shortage of things to do in Britain’s capital this summer. Visit London, the city’s official tourist guide, reveals some of the hottest things to do in London this summer.


A musical and sporting summer in the spotlight


July marks the 10e anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games which will see the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park host a free two-week cultural festival “Celebrating 10 years” (Summer at the park) with fitness workshops, food, DJs and live screenings of sports action from the 2022 Commonwealth Games (24e from July 8 to 8e August). For a lasting sporting event, motorsport fans need look no further than the Formula E London E-Prix at ExCeL London this month of July. As well as thrilling races, attendees can expect live music from top artists and a chance to try their hand at a racing simulator with exciting prizes up for grabs. London is also set to host the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final.


There’s no better time than summer for music lovers – with top festivals such as All points is in London’s Victoria Park and love box at Gunnersbury Park offering titles like no other. Notting Hill Carnival, a staple of the London events calendar since 1966, returns to the streets of west London after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. Named Europe’s biggest street party, Carnival is a celebration of Caribbean culture in London, with typically around 50,000 performers in the parade and over a million people in attendance over the weekend.


Visit London’s famous green spaces


London was the first city in the world to receive National Park City status and has plenty of parks and green spaces to enjoy. Hyde Park, The London equivalent of New York’s Central Park and the largest royal park, is also the largest park in the chain of parks leading to Kensington Palace. A perfect spot for people-watching after a busy day in London’s West End, Hyde Park is a popular spot for picnics, sports and daily walks. Also, be sure to check Regents Parkwhich includes ZSL London Zoo and an outdoor theater which offers a summer program packed with exciting shows including Revenge of a Blonde, Antigone and 101 Dalmatians.


Overall, London is covered in natural landscapes of Kew Gardens at London Wetlands Center, both landscaped and naturally cultivated. This summer alone, visitors to the famous Tower of London can walk among an impressive ‘superflower’ of naturally grown flowers in the tower’s famous moat. Discover the capital from a new angle with some of the best cycle routes in londonmost of which take cycling enthusiasts to a park or two, as well as London’s lesser-known spots, Saturday markets and secret gardens.


Take summer nights to new heights


For other outdoor entertaining options, check out Bar Elba’s Rooftop Movie Nights in Waterloo, offering ‘cinema in the clouds’ or visit the iconic Shakespeare’s Globe and watch classic outdoor plays such as A lot of noise for nothing, Henry VIII, Storm and more. For cinephiles, do not hesitate to consult Scenes in the squarean interactive statue walk in Leicester Square where travelers can take a photo with Paddington Bear, say hello to Harry Potter or sing the famous refrain from Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelly.


Immerse yourself in London’s bustling art scene


Art fanatics can follow Line Sculpture Trail in a scenic walk from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the O2. Along the way you can spot works of art by famous names such as Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Abigail Fallis. Alternatively, visitors can wander around the city at their own pace with a London Mural Festival Map in hand and spot works that first appeared as part of the festival in 2020. Another option is to head to Shoreditch to see its large-scale murals as well as Camden for its artwork at the edge of the canal. Be sure to stop at the graffiti-filled Leake Street Tunnel, the only place in town where graffiti is 100% legal.


Check out the hottest new openings


Visitors to London this summer are spoiled for choice with endless new openings, launches and events to see. The groundbreaking new ABBA Arena has opened its doors just in time for summer, home to an amazing virtual music experience not to be missed by family favorite pop group, ABBA. For theatre, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe opens July 18 in the West End, adding to a long list of other family options including The Lion King, Wicked, Matilda, Harry Potter and The Child cursed, Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia and Dear Evan. Hansen. In addition, London offers several new exhibitions that will inspire you. There are Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Halls at the Tate Modern, a summer lights exhibit at Canary Wharf, Tiffany & Co. Vision & Virtuosity exhibition at the Saatchi gallery. and Picasso Ingres: Face to Face at the National Gallery. Opening later this summer, the Victoria and Albert Museum will feature both Africa Fashion and Hallyu! the korean wave. Plus, for Peaky Blinders fans, Peaky Blinders: The Rise in The Camden Garrison will open in late June at Stables Market, allowing you to step into the 1920s and the world of the Shelby family in this immersive theatrical experience full of action.


Al fresco dining in style


London is home to a number of rooftop restaurants offering stunning views of the skyline paired with delicious bites and cocktails that are sure to beat the summer heat. Ascend to the 14th floor of the Hoxton, Southwark Hotel and take in stunning views from Seabird, a seafood restaurant with one of London’s longest oyster lists. Additionally, Le Coq d’Argent and its No. 1 Poultry Summit Penthouse boast beautifully manicured gardens that make it an ideal upscale outdoor destination. For another option, sit on one of the highest outdoor terraces in Europe and enjoy fusion cuisine that combines flavors from Japan, Brazil and Peru at Sushisamba. After a day of browsing the boutiques of Spitalfields and the vintage shops of Brick Lane, head to the rooftop of the One Hundred Shoreditch hotel where palm trees, cacti and pink colors will make you feel like you’ve landed in summer paradise.


For other al fresco dining options, head to Whitcomb’s at The Londoner Hotel with its stylish al fresco dining space that offers a French Mediterranean menu, superb wine list and views of iconic Leicester Square from London. Or, settle in for all-day seasonal specials surrounded by flowers and foliage at the Bloomsbury Dalloway Terrace hangout, an Instagrammer’s paradise due to the eye-catching displays on its outdoor terrace. Alternatively, for a waterside meal, try London’s most authentic Michelin-starred Italian cuisine at the River Cafe – this Hammersmith icon’s menu changes daily, but don’t miss the decadent chocolate cake here to stay. Another waterside option is to feast on fish and chips or summer salads at The Summerhouse in Little Venice.


The desire to travel is back in force


According to the latest flight bookings data from Forward Keys, summer travel to London is already in full swing, with arrivals from the US reported to have risen sharply in the final weeks of May.[1]. London attractions also saw an increase in admissions, with the last week of May seeing 92% of 2019 fares.[2].


Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, which manages Visit London, said: “London is at its most vibrant and colorful during the summer months. Whether you want to relax alfresco at a rooftop bar, experience live music and theater in London’s Royal Parks, or a trail outdoor arts scene, there’s something for everyone to experience in London this summer, whatever the budget.With a range of new openings and the return of some of our biggest and most popular festivals and sporting events. popular venues such as the Notting Hill Carnival, the UEFA EURO 2022 Women’s Final and the incredible ABBA Voyage concert series – there’s never been a better time to visit London for your summer city break.”


For more suggestions on all the great things to do in London this summer, check out our guide to summer in London on Visit London: https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/whats-on/summer -in- London


[1] Source: ForwardKeys


[2] Source: London and partners

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