Indian summer: 7 heavenly things to do in the London sun

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Indian summer 7 heavenly things to do in the London sun

With all its attractions, retail stores and venues attracting people from across the globe, the UK capital is simply teeming with visitors all-year-round. Winter, spring or summer, London’s where you’ll find thousands of peeps enjoying themselves – and in autumn, too, of course; not least if the place is experiencing a spate of unseasonably warm, sunny weather (as it quite often does, nowadays), referred to as an ‘Indian summer’ in the local parlance.

So, on those sunny days (autumnal or not), here are some activities that travellers booked into 4 star hotels Paddington London UK – and elsewhere – may well want to make a priority for their itinerary. 

Go to ZSL London Zoo

Perhaps the perfect London destination for young ones, whether the sun’s shining or not, ZSL London Zoo is one of the most famous and best respected zoos in the world. Its quality as an attraction and its wildlife preservation efforts are renowned across the globe. Having first opened its doors to the public 175 years ago, the zoo’s home to in excess of 700 species and 20,000 individual animals. The Regent’s Park venue also established the first public aquarium, insect house, reptile house and children’s zoo in the UK. 

Imbibe or dine at a rooftop bar or restaurant

Imbibe or dine at a rooftop bar or restaurantSurely, there are few better ways to enjoy some rare autumn sun come the evening than on a rooftop at one of London’s salubrious outdoor restaurants/ bars? Even if you’ll have to throw on a jacket and a scarf, these venues are awesomely stylish environments to enjoy a night out or, alternatively, a stolen, relaxed afternoon of enjoyment. The UK capital’s certainly the city to visit for swanky watering holes and Hyde Park restaurants, and the rooftop versions of them are not to be missed; frankly, whatever the season. 

Watch the Changing of the Guard

Although only open to visitors in the summer, when you can visit its luxurious State Rooms, Buckingham Palace is still a London landmark worth a pilgrimage in the year’s later months. Not only can you bask in the grey-brick glory of its 18th Century architectural splendour and, yes, check whether the new King’s presently in residence (if the Royal Standard flag is flying then he will be), but if you arrive in front the palace’s gates just before 11am, then you’ll also be able to catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place daily.

Basically, a short sequence of marching and music that sees the changing over of squads of the palace’s ceremonial army guards, it’s a fun slice of pageantry to experience, not least if you were impressed by all the traditional pomp and circumstance involved in the recent funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II. 

Dip your toes into London’s market scene

Dip your toes into London’s market sceneRenowned though it may be for world-famous department stores, flagship high street stores and fashion boutiques, London’s also home to some of the best regarded markets on Planet Earth. In particular, the likes of the foodie heaven that’s London Bridge’s Borough Market, the exotic yet down-to-earth Brick Lane Market and the all-round awesomeness of Portobello Road Market certainly have to be experienced – not least if the sun’s shining. That being said, if the weather’s a little gloomier, then, whatever the time of the year, the likes of Old Spitalfields Market and, of course, the sprawling Camden Market are must-visit indoor alternatives. 

Visit Chelsea Physic Garden

For horticultural enthusiasts, this place may well be Central London’s most appealing attraction. And it’s a banger when it’s sunny out, too. Chelsea Physic Garden, a botanical gardens established way back in 1673, lies beside the Thames in the Chelsea/ Kensington area and is home to about 5,000 varieties of plants; many of them exotic and considered throughout history as being of medicinal value. It’s also somewhere that – if you’re staying nearby at the likes of Park Grand London Hyde Park – may well appeal, given it also hosts workshops, gardening courses and family activities, as well as being perennially popular with picnickers. 

Ride the London Eye

Ride the London EyeNothing beats taking in the sunny panorama of all of London while, safely in one of its pods, you complete one revolution of the London Eye. Indeed, from this unique vantage point, you’ll be able to see, practically all at the same time, the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St Pauls Cathedral, the Tower of London and, of course, the River Thames.

Moreover, once you’re done on ‘The Eye’ (it’s an hour-long activity), why not stroll along the tourist-trap that’s the South Bank and experience all it has to offer. It’s packed full of street entertainers, book fayres, eateries and major venues like the South Bank Centre, National Theatre, the British Film Institute (BFI) cinema, the Tate Modern gallery and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. 

Stroll around Hyde Park at your leisure

Comprising, as it does, 350 acres of glorious greenery, 4,000 trees, fabulous flower gardens and a marvellous lake – the Serpentine – which connects it to the perfectly pretty sort-of-extension that’s Kensington Gardens, you’ll discover Hyde Park is a wonderful world of natural beauty to lose yourself in during your stay. And, best of all, it’s slap-bang right in the centre of the city, too – so entirely within walking distance of accommodation Hyde Park London.

Now, although this park is a fine destination for mind, body and soul whatever the season (awesomely full of ‘fall colours’ in autumn, magically melancholic in winter and springing to verdant life in spring), it’s really summer – or, at least, on properly sunny days – when Hyde Park truly comes alive. True, the Serpentine is a lake that’s entirely safe for swimming (sections of it are cordoned off for that purpose in summer), but the most popular activity to be enjoyed on it is boating; you can rent a rowboat or a pedalo by the hour and, within reason, they’re suitable for use by all ages.

So, whatever the season, month or, indeed, week of your London visit, Hyde Park’s the perfect place to escape to for that moment of natural tranquillity. It’s something we all need, now and again.