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The Urban Kitchen’s Guide To The Summer – Top Things To Do In London

Even though I grew up in London and may be a little biased, I still think that it’s one of the best cities in the world, especially when the sun is out and people are full of summer cheer. Everyone becomes more relaxed, the blue skies make the skyline even more stunning and the river and parks become the hub of city life, rather than the offices and pubs!

This year, I’ve picked a few of my favourite summer events and secrets to share with you!

Roof top hidden gem

There are more and more rooftop venues opening up in London, but I’m always looking for those hidden gems rather than the big and flashy. My latest find is the Culpeper rooftop garden in Shoreditch, where they grow many of their own ingredients for their cocktails and food.  I love the ethos behind using home grown and seasonal produce. There is a huge sharing table, grill and bar and the perfect place to catch up with friends or impress a date.

http://www.theculpeper.com/rooftop/

The Culpeper rooftop garden

Night markets

London seems to be opening new food markets at a rate of knots, but I’m partial to this neighbourhood family favourite – the Walthamstow Night Feast. It’s on every Friday night in July and August and not only has delicious street food and drinks, but also lots of entertainment and activities for the kids. Some of the music last year got everybody dancing in the streets! It was founded by Chris Evans, owner of Sticky Bundits, which serves the most delicious rice burgers.

https://www.facebook.com/NightFeast17

Walthamstow Night Feast Market

Open air culture

No summer would be complete without some open air theatre or opera. London is the city of culture with a huge array of productions and art in every corner. Whilst Holland Park is the home of the famous summer opera, my family prefers Regent’s Park with it’s magical, almost woodland, setting for the Open Air Theatre. Productions range from Shakespeare’s finest to classic musicals – it’s especially perfect for Midsummer’s Night Dream with sparkling fairy lights amongst the trees and plants. This year, they are also showing some films too! One of the best things about this venue is that you can take your own food and drink, and eschew over priced snacks and pre or post theatre meals.

http://openairtheatre.com

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Gelato and a walk along South Bank

I must confess that this is something that I often do on my own, although it is certainly more fun with company. During the recent heatwave, I remembered that it didn’t shut until 11pm, so I hot footed it down to Borough Market before embarking on a midnight stroll along the South Bank. All the gelato at Gelateria 3BIS is homemade in store and, along with the more traditional flavours, they have lots of seasonal and unusual twists. Walking along the Thames with a fully laden gelato gave me time to unwind, destress and cool down and was possibly an incredibly romantic date…..albeit by myself!

http://www.gelateria3bis.co.uk

Gelateria 3BIS gelato

Nature in the City

I’m a huge fan of finding nature in hidden corners of the city, and the Midnight Apothecary at Brunel Museum roof gardens in Rotherhithe, encompasses the best of the city and nature in one. It’s a hop away from the river and the centre of London, but feels a million miles away in spirit. Try out the plant based cocktails and toast marshmallows over the fire. Pan Ldn, who I discovered in Druid St Market and at a recent Oliveology cooking class, serves their Greek delights here so you won’t go hungry!

http://www.thecocktailgardener.co.uk/midnight-apothecary/

Midnight Apothecary cocktail

Outdoor swimming

London is home to many outdoor pools and swimming areas that I discovered 10 years ago when training for the London triathlon for the first time. Whilst swimming in the Serpentine or one of the many reservoirs is best for training, swimming in the refurbished Brockwell Lido is far more civilised! With plenty of seating outdoors and cafés serving simple seasonal fare, this is one of the best ways of pretending you’re on holiday, whilst still in London.

http://www.fusion-lifestyle.com/centres/brockwell-lido

Brockwell Lido

Rooftop cinema in Bussey Building

I must confess that I am a huge fan of The Wedding Planner and for me, nothing is more romantic than the outdoor cinema scenes. Whilst sitting on a tree in a park would be lovely, I’m always concerned that I wouldn’t be able to see anything. Fortunately for me, the rooftop cinema club has tiered seating. They also have a bar and food, with the most spectacular view of the London skyline.

http://rooftopfilmclub.com/london/venues/bussey-building/

Rooftop cinema Bussey building

Local delights with the London Riviera

I love the community feel of this summer long event which is right on my doorstep by City Hall. There’s music, theatre, dance, film and fitness, all for free and celebrating the best of London. There really is something for everyone and I’m always impressed by the quality of the performances, especially the children. Plenty of food and drinks stalls to fuel you too.

https://www.thelondonriviera.com

London Riviera