Park Life: Six Ways to Make the Most of Summer in London
Get those sunglasses on – London is set to shine this summer with an awesome line-up of outdoor events in parks, gardens and green spaces across the city. See the city in a whole new light (and work on your tan) with these six open-air suggestions…
Crash A Party in a Rooftop Park
Dalston’s Rooftop Park started out as a collection of high-rise allotments, tended to by volunteers and loosely based on New York’s High Line. Since these humble beginnings, the quirky rooftop park has cultivated an impressive schedule of events. By day, yoga mats give way to local artists and designers who use the space to showcase their work, while the likes of Rudimental, Jessie Ware and Basement Jaxx have all taken to its astroturf stage by night – not bad for a club that charges just £5 for membership all summer long. Check their website for the latest events and ticket information.
Dalston Roof Park, The Print House, 18-22 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL, +44 20 7275 0825, Monday -Friday 9am-3pm (Tuesday – Friday 5pm -11pm), Saturday (3pm -midnight), Sunday 3pm-10pm
Catch A Movie Under the Stars
Ghostbusters in Battersea Park? Casablanca in Kew Gardens or how about Notting Hill in Kensington Palace? The Luna Cinema is bringing the inside out this summer at parks, gardens and stately homes across London and beyond. Forget online streaming and boring multiplexes and let some of London’s most beautiful outdoor surroundings provide the backdrop to your favourite classic movies. Not only do you get to enjoy a cool cinematic experience but there’s a bit of a side-show too. Look out for the converted black London cab serving up wood-fired pizza and international street food.
Screenings usually kick-off at around 8.45pm but times can vary depending on weather. For details on the latest London venues and screenings, visit the Luna Cinema website.
Take A Dip in an Art Installation
London’s newest outdoor attraction has opened this summer as part of an art installation in the heart of King’s Cross. The outdoor piece called “Of Soil and Water: King’s Cross Pond Club” is exactly that, a natural, chemical-free swimming pond open to local swimmers and visitors. A first for the UK, the public swimming pond is managed by lifeguards from Fusion Lifestyle and is set to remain on site in King’s Cross for the next two years. Designers have done their best to make the new pond look at home by surrounding it with wild flowers and grasses that change with the season. Measuring 40 metres in length at its widest point, organisers say there’s room for around 40 swimmers at a time. Tickets are limited though – book online in advance to secure your spot!
Kings Cross Pond Club, 20 Canal Reach, (entrance on Tapper Walk), London NIC 4BE
Nearest Tube station: King’s Cross St Pancras
See Richmond Park on Horseback
In an outdoor space that’s three-times the size of New York’s Central Park, two feet will only get you so far. Enter: Stag Lodge Stables, a local equestrian centre offering visitors the chance to see Richmond Park from a whole new perspective, whether you’re an absolute beginner or looking to get back in the saddle with a trot through the leafy London countryside. The stables offer hourly rates, but advanced booking is advised, especially at weekends. Tip: Weekdays and early mornings are usually much quieter so you’re more likely to find last-minute availability.
Stag Lodge Stables, Robin Hood Gate, Richmond Park, London SW15 3RS
Nearest Tube Station: Richmond
Spot Victorian Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park
Way before Stephen Spielberg played around with fancy CGI technology, English sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins was given the task of creating the world’s first full-scale three-dimensional dinosaurs. Dating from 1852, his Crystal Palace Dinosaurs are a collection of over 30 statues as well as models of other prehistoric creatures dotted throughout Crystal Palace Park. Part of the charm is that most of the dinosaurs aren’t anatomically correct. The sculptures were created pre-Darwin, meaning Hawkins had to draw on his own imagination – expect wonky limbs and weird proportions, not exactly sophisticated by today’s standards but bizarre enough to thrill Victorian day- trippers. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were said to be fascinated by the statues and visited several times. These days, the statues are included on the National Heritage List for England as Grade 1 monuments, in recognition of their contribution to the history of science.
Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, Thicket Road, London, Crystal Palace SE19 2GA
Nearest Railway Station: Crystal Palace Railway Station
Run Away to the Circus
Head for heights? Gorilla Circus School has set up camp in Regent’s Park, offering trapeze lessons throughout the summer. During two-hour classes, the school welcomes students aged 8 and above to learn simple tricks on a low bar before graduating to the Flying Trapeze. A novel way to see the London skyline…
Gorilla Circus, north-west corner of Regent’s Park, west of Avenue Road, London NW1 4NR
Nearest Tube Station: St John’s Wood
Plan your trip now – check out flights to London