After returning from the best WedFest ever, we were delighted to find that it was still summer in London town. There was some doubt in my mind that summer would hang around this year until we were treated to a glorious “heat wave” – a day where temperatures reached the mid-thirties (36.7°C at Heathrow).
The British media went crazy – the “heatwave” was reported everywhere and people were genuinely surprised and shocked at the heat. The Guardian even ran a very amusing blog update throughout the day, complete with helpful tips and pictures. Rail lines shut down and transport delays were experienced across the city as temperatures surpassed the month’s average to the hottest day in July ever recorded.
Other than my commute on the London Underground being hot, smelly and sweaty, it wasn’t much different to a warm day in Brisbane during late spring.
But as someone else’s sweat rolled down the side of my face during the evening commute I realised that I was one of ‘them’ now. How was I going to survive the summer heat when I eventually returned home to Brisbane?
Quickly deciding this was a question “Future Jacqui” would have to deal with, I detoured to Argos (an online department warehouse) to pick up a children’s paddling pool. That evening we enjoyed standing in the cool shallow water with a beer in hand before a yummy BBQ dinner. (Perhaps that is how we will survive summer in Brisbane)
I can’t say enough how great summer is in London. With all the pop-up restaurants, fun activities in the sun and general shinanigans, how could you not love it?
Here are some tried and tested (by me) awesome things you can do in London in July:
1. Get a paddling pool for your garden.
The paddling pool made a fantastic addition to our back garden – recently mowed with our new electric lawnmower (another Argos purchase) and littered with a variety of apples that were starting to fall from our trees.
2. Drink cocktails at a themed bar.
We had cocktails with a mischievous band of scoundrels keeping the Blitz spirit alive in a post-war London Underground station complete with tube carriage and sandbags. Cahoots is new edition to London’s funky bar scene and bookings are required.
3. See historic sites by hanging out in a beer garden.
We had a delicious pub lunch with the Hinchy’s and James at The Spaniards Inn. The lovely historic pub near Hampstead Heath featured in Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers and Bram Stoker’s Dracula and said to have been built in 1585.
4. Go to a European music festival.
We went to BBK Live in Bilbao, (Basque Country) Spain, with friends Ala, Amber, Luke, Steve and Tracey.
The Counting Crows, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, the Cat Empire and Muse were my highlights – as was all the pintxo (tapas)!
5. Catch up with people visiting the capital and take them to your favourite restaurants.
We caught up with family passing through London and enjoyed some delicious curries at Clapham Tandoori.
6. Be a tourist for a day and visit all the sites.
Cousin Izzy and I spent the day bus hopping past famous London landmarks before wandering through the historic sites in the City of London, sampling Pimms and cheese at Borough Market and completing our lovely day with afternoon tea at Ting on the 35th floor of The Shard.
7. Have a party.
We hosted a “British Garden Party Vs Australian BBQ” for Jane and Simon’s housewarming and Simons’ 30th birthday.
8. See what is on offer in your local area.
Amber and I checked out local roots music, potent cider and crazy food statues at the Lambeth Country Show.
9. Have a quintessential British day out at Ascot Racecourse – and try to spot the Queen!
Dan and I caught up with our old house family, Rekha and Franky, and got all dressed up for the races on King George Day.
(Find out how to get there and what you can take in my post: Five day trips and weekend escapes from London.)
10. Go to a foodies festival – because food.
We then ate and drank our way through the spoils and free samples at the Foodies Festival on Clapham Common – a great activity on a miserable wet and grey day in London… it seems as if summer was just a dream!
What an exhausting month! Can’t wait to see what is installed for August…