Some of you may know that London is in the grip of a *dun dun dun* anticyclone.
Now given the generally temperate, mild weather we have (excusing the occasional underwhelming tornado) this is exciting news. We have sun! We have heat! And yet we’re still complaining.
That’s the thing with us Brits. We’re never happy. You could serve a full roast dinner when we were starving and we’d still be pissed about the lack of gravy or bread sauce or some other trimming.
I mean, the one thing that I am deeply distressed about, is not the sun – despite feeling distinctly unattractive and sweaty and sleep deprived. No. It’s that I have 5 mosquito bites since coming home from South Africa, all from one night. In the whole 2 weeks I was away, I had 3. HOW DOES THAT WORK?
But enough on my itchiness, fascinating though I am sure it is. Back to London.
I swear the city is baking under it’s own size and weight. I’m lucky enough to have had no long journeys on the tube recently, but I can’t imagine it’s been pleasant.
However despite it’s shortcomings when it comes to the sun – I mean, we’re not used to it so I can hardly blame anyone for being a bit astonished, frankly I’m surprised we even recognise what it is and don’t run for cover whenever it comes out – but yes, despite this, there’s plenty of places to head in London, to bask and bake oneself. The array of parks, being rather an obvious start. The commons – we’re lucky enough to have Streatham Common at the end of the street. Not that I’ve been going out much, I’ve generally spent my time sitting half clothed in front of a fan.
The lidos. There’s one in Tooting, and as I understand it lakes you can swim in on Hampstead Heath (another of my one-day destinations…it’s simply too far away right now, sadly.) I love swimming outdoors, but there’s something a bit more satisfying about swimming in a lake/river/sea. At least for me.
The millions and millions of pub gardens. Queen of Hoxton in east London has a rooftop terrace. The Churchill Arms in South Kensington, for the beautiful Butterfly Conservatory. You can’t swing a cat in London without hitting a pub; or at least, without the cat clawing you to shreds and making off towards a pub to calm it’s nerves. And sometimes, a pint in the sunshine is just the ticket.
Covent Garden is always a hit, with restaurants putting chairs outside for people to enjoy their meals and enjoy their day. It can be a fight for a seat, but it’s worth it when you sit down.
London Zoo, another obvious – but unfortunately expensive – place to go. I would recommend heading there now, before the school holidays are in full swing and you find yourself being swept away by a sea of small children.
If it’s a Sunday, the capital is rife with markets for you to explore. Brick Lane, Colombia Road Flower Market, Spitalfields Market, Brixton Market…so get a wriggle on and go bric-a-brac hunting, or grab some tasty street market food! Or if it’s not a Sunday, head to Camden and get some nibbles from the various street vendors, or puff on some cheap shisha in the sun…or you could head off to Portobello Road (antique and bric a brac stalls only at the latter on a Saturday).
But finally, outdoor concerts. There are bandstands scattered throughout London – one particularly well known one being on Clapham Common. The Horniman Museum however holds concerts every Sunday celebrating South American music, as well as occasional evening concerts as well!
So don’t despair of the heat and sweltering stickiness. Grab your sunglasses, buy yourself an ice cream and go explore!