Let’s face it: London isn’t always sunshine and rainbows every day of the year. And nobody wants to stroll around a famous London landmark underneath an umbrella, or worry about getting their camera wet during a torrential downpour. That’s why summer is the best season to visit London; not only because the days are longer and the weather is warmer, but also because a handful of London’s most popular landmarks and attractions are only open during the summer months as well.
So if you plan on visiting London some time this summer, here are some of the many must-see attractions and landmarks that are worth checking out during your holiday.
Walk around the Tower of London complex
From walking past the same area where Anne Boleyn was executed (The Tower Green), to even going on a fascinating Yeoman Warder tour led by actors dressed up in Beefeater costumes, some of the best things to do in the Tower of London complex are in fact, outside.
Because the Tower of London is essentially a “mini-village” with over 21 different buildings sprawled out over 18 acres of land, visitors can wander around from building to building and glance over the Coronation Spoon, a recreation of Prince Edward’s bedchamber and much more. Visitors can even go on one of three self-guided “Wall Walk” tours around the complex, and stroll past several historic locations including the Medieval Palace, the Fighting Platform, the Broad Arrow Tower, and many more.
But don’t worry, if the clouds start coming out you could always peak inside the many different buildings in the complex (like The Museum of Medieval Armoury, The Crown Jewels and The White Tower), if you want to escape the rain, too.
Watch a performance in an open-air theatre
Two of the most popular theatres in London (Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) only host productions during the summer months (they are open-air theatres, after all). So it makes sense to go watch a performance in either of the two venues while you’re in London over the summer.
The Globe Theatre, which focuses more on Shakespearean productions, holds performances from mid-April to mid-October, while the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre puts on countless performances (including stand-up comedies, film screenings, children’s theatre shows, concerts and much more) only between the months of May and September.
Visit Kew Palace and its Botanical Gardens
It’s a bit of a trek heading to the palace as it’s located in Richmond, but with over 400 years of fascinating history – not to mention its picturesque, world-famous gardens – a visit to Kew Palace is a perfect way to spend a warm, summer afternoon in London.
Not only can visitors take a tour inside Kew Palace itself (which was once used as a family retreat for George III, Queen Charlotte and their 15 children), visitors can also visit Queen Charlotte’s Cottage (a 25-minute walk away from the palace), and the massive 300-acre Kew Gardens which contains one of the largest living planet collections on the planet!
Go on a tour inside Buckingham Palace and Clarence House
This only applies if you’re visiting London during the month of August, which is the only month of the year when both Buckingham Palace and Clarence House open their doors to the public. So if you’re lucky enough to be visiting London in August, then going on a tour of either Buckingham Palace and Clarence House (or both!) is a must.
In Clarence House, visitors can go on a one-hour guided tour of the five downstairs rooms; however, the rooms currently occupied by Princes Charles and Camilla are strictly off limits. The Buckingham Palace tours, on the other hand, give visitors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stroll around The State Rooms, The Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews before venturing out to the Buckingham Palace gardens, which boast over 350 different types of wildflowers, nearly 200 trees and even a three-acre lake.
Get out of central London!
It’s a rookie mistake to spend your entire holiday in London in its central areas as there is so much to see and do in Westminster, the City of London and Soho. But if you happen to be visiting London during the summer months, you might as well venture to the other areas outside of London and take advantage of the nicer weather. Plus central London can be incredibly busy during the summer, which means longer queues and cramped exhibits in the museums and attractions, which isn’t fun for anyone.
Thanks to the warmer summer weather, visitors can spend a nice afternoon strolling around the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the Canary Wharf, snapping photos of street art and graffiti in Shoreditch, shopping at the Camden Markets, and even going on a Jack The Ripper tour around East London.
Regardless of where you decide to venture outside of central London, one thing’s for sure – nobody likes being a tourist in the rain. So if you happen to be visiting London during the summer months, you better make the most out of the nicer weather (while it lasts) and explore everything the city has to offer. But don’t forget to bring an umbrella and a raincoat, just in case…this is England, after all!