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The Best Summertime Activities in London

Planning a trip to Europe this summer? If so, it’s likely London is on your itinerary. As one of the world’s most significant cities, this is the sort of place you can visit throughout your life and never run out of things to see and do.

As a budget traveller, however, there’s one aspect of London of which you need to be acutely aware of: it can seem expensive compared to some other cities in the world. From restaurant meals to accommodation, it is easy to shell out lots of money if you don’t know how to save money during your visit here.

Don’t resign yourself to paying too much for an underwhelming hotel or an overpriced hostel when there are plenty of empty student halls to sleep in during the summer months.

With thousands of single and double rooms (some with en suite bathrooms) available at a fair price to those looking for summer accommodation in London, you’ll save money, which can be used for other things such as nice meals and fun activities.

Summer accommodation in London

eastside-night

If you want to save money on accommodation, Imperial College London opens up its halls of residence to the public during the summer months. From 2nd July to 23rd September 2018 you’ll be able to book from a wide range of affordable accommodation in areas such as Paddington, Hyde Park, South Kensington and Notting Hill. The university has more than 1,600 single, twin and double standard and en-suite bedroom next to attractions including London’s museums and the Royal Albert Hall, with prices starting at £50 per night. The accommodation has a reception to check you in, help with anything during your stay and there are breakfast options available.

For example, you could stay in Beit Hall, which is a grade II listed building located right next to the Royal Albert Hall! Alternatively you could check into Pembridge Gardens, which is located just steps from London’s famous Portobello Road and Kensington Gardens.

Prince’s gardens
single £82 double £108

princes-gardens-double-room

Beit Hall
single standard £58
twin en-suite £83

Beit Hall exterior

Pembridge Gardens

Single standard £38
Twin en-suite £71

There are lots of options available, just visit http://www.imperial.ac.uk/visit/summer-accommodation/ to book!

With that sorted, let’s talk about some of the best things you can do whilst in London this summer.

1) Sunbathing in Hyde Park

Tweed Run London

Sun tends to be in short supply through most of the year in London, so be sure to make the most of our glorious but brief summers by soaking it up in Hyde Park. Situated in Central London near Buckingham Palace, London’s most famous park has no shortage of open lawns where you can roll out a blanket and enjoy the brilliant sunshine.

Tube: Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly line)

2) The Palace Gardens, Kensington Palace

Love landscaped gardens? The Kensington Palace gardens are completely free to enter and offer a tranquil oasis where you can enjoy the summer sunshine. A highlight is the Sunken Garden, which was planted in 1908 and features an ornamental pond with fountains, as well as beautiful flower displays.

Tube: Notting Hill Gate (Central/Circle/District lines)

3) Southbank

Southbank

Fancy yourself a fan of culture? You’ll find plenty of arts and entertainment venues in Southbank. Named for its location on the southern bank of the Thames opposite the city of Westminster, the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall are found here, as well as numerous expensive restaurants, which make for a great place to eat after a show. This neighbourhood is also home to the London Eye, which offers an unrivalled view of this city’s skyline.

Tube: Waterloo (Bakerloo/Jubilee/Northern/Waterloo & City lines)

4) State Rooms at Buckingham Palace

Home to Queen Elizabeth II, the interior of Buckingham Palace is off limits to visitors most of the year. However, for a period of ten weeks every summer, its State Rooms are opened to the public – it would be a shame if you missed your chance to see them on your upcoming trip.

Once inside, you’ll be treated to a series of ornate rooms, which feature paintings by Rembrandt and Peter Paul Reubens, sculptures by famed Italian carver Antonio Canova, and countless examples of English and French antique furniture.

Buying tickets in advance is recommended, as queues to buy them at the gate can be rather long. If you do the former, you’ll gain access to a much shorter line, so be sure to jump online before heading down to the palace.

Tube: St James’ Park (Circle/District lines)

5) Portobello Road and Notting Hill Carnival

Located in Notting Hill, Portobello Road is home to the largest antique market in the world. Here, you’ll find over 1,000 dealers that trade items ranging from jewellery to rare books. Keep your eyes open for some gems – and be sure to carry some cash.

If you’re visiting London during August then make sure you check out Notting Hill Carnival – a two-day party celebrating London’s Caribbean community. It’s a loud but colourful affair with parades and partying in the streets.

Tube: Notting Hill Gate (Central/Circle/District lines)

6) BST Hyde Park Festival

BST Hyde Park

If you’re an avid music fan then you will want to plan their trip to London to coincide with the BST Hyde Park Festival. Running from July 6th to the 14th this year, it features some of the best bands on the face of the planet.

In the past, acts have included the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Arcade Fire, and Mumford and Sons, so if you love the atmosphere that big band concerts offer, get your tickets before booking your flight to London.

Tube: Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly line)

7) Aqua Spirit Rooftop Bar

As exciting as London can be by day, the action only gets hotter after dark. My favourite place to enjoy sundowners is Aqua Spirit, which is a rooftop bar and restaurant located just steps from Oxford Street. This is the ideal place to quench your thirst with friends after a day of shopping on Britain’s busiest shopping street.

Tube: Oxford Circus (Bakerloo/Central/Victoria lines)    

8) Madison Rooftop

Seeking somewhere a bit more dignified to admire London from above? Make a reservation for a rooftop table at Madison restaurant. This restaurant is a great place to visit for cocktails with friends and incredible views of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Although this establishment can be on the pricey side, it’s worth splashing out for the atmosphere alone!

Tube: St Paul’s (Central)

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Victoria Brewood
victoria@pommietravels.com

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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