Whether you are taking a vacation, or a staycation, Summer is definitely the time to recharge your batteries, see some new places and get some new experiences. One city that always looks wonderful in the sun is our capital London. It is one of the busiest, most diverse and historic cities in the world, home to both big business and major corporations, and yet a real favourite with tourists that come from all over to embrace the history and culture, and yet marvel in it’s modernity too. London is a city that has something for all ages to enjoy and do, and yet, amazingly, many people who live in the UK have yet to visit, or have literally passed through on a one day, whistle stop trip. If you are one of those people who have not spent some quality time in London, here are some big ideas for how you can enjoy Summer in the city.
Enjoy a Spectacle
As last weekend’s Royal wedding proved, no-one does a spectacle quite like the UK. Every June London is the setting for the Queen’s Official birthday celebrations aka ‘Trooping the Colour’ and this is something that is definitely worth seeing, especially as all that pomp and circumstance is free for all to see. This year you will be able to get a glimpse of the new Duchess of Suffolk in both the carriage procession and on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as well as enjoying all the Queen’s regiments taking part in the parade Trooping the Colour is a magnificent spectacle not to be missed.
Speaking of the Royal Family, Summer sees the opening to the public of the state rooms and gardens at Buckingham Palace. The Queen is out (either at Sandringham or Balmoral) and this means the public get the chance to see the magnificence of the official London residence. When William and Kate got married, Kate’s dress went on display, so there is a chance that the beautiful Clare Waight Keller dress worn by Meghan could go on display too. (fingers crossed). Booking in advance is advisable due to the short opening period of the palace.
If the splendour of Buckingham Palace is not really your sort of thing, then there are many other forms of magnificent architecture in the capital that should be able to cater for your sightseeing tastes. London is the perfect Instagram city, and you can spend hours walking around the city, or taking an open top bus tour in order to admire the diversity of the buildings. Whether it be Wren’s churches the Medieval magnificence of The Tower of London, or the Victorian Gothic of Westminster Abbey or the Natural History Museum, the architecture of London has so many facets and treasures. That said, I guess I am one of the few people who gets excited about a branch of Tesco, albeit the Art Deco beauty that is the Hoover Building in Perrivale.
Free, Free, Free!
One attraction of visiting London is that so many of the main tourist attractions other free entry. The Natural History Museum (sans Dippy of course, he’s currently on tour), The Victoria and Albert and The British Museum are all free entry although some do have exhibitions that you have to pay for. In addition, some of the paid entry museums offer free entry for those under 16, or offer a free return ticket. With lots of stunning parks that are perfect for picnics on sunny days, you can enjoy your stay without necessarily breaking the bank in the process.
You can’t really go to London without indulging in a little retail therapy. Those Edwardian palaces Selfridges and Harrods are obviously top of most people’s ‘shopping’ lists, but if you are a lover of architecture then Whiteleys, the original department store is beautiful and well worth a visit. The KIngs Road is another favourite. No longer the hangout of the KIng’s of Chelsea football club, or the punks of 1976, it is, nevertheless still a cool place to shop with some great brands (LIz Earle in Duke of York square is fabulous) and also has some great pubs and eateries. If Vintage is your thing, then head to Camden Market with its vintage and retro shops like Rokit.
What are your recommendations for spending some time in London this Summer?