Too many of us think that a ‘real’ holiday means going abroad. Staying at home during the holidays is a unique opportunity for Londoners to learn to enjoy the city they once fell in love with all over again: by seeing the city through new eyes, like a tourist. Rediscovering the delights of London as a couple, as a family or with friends has never been more rewarding, with London’s summers packed with things to do, see, eat and drink, whatever takes your fancy. So whether you’re a Londoner looking to spend a week in a luxury hotel to get away from it all, or a visitor to the Big Smoke looking to see London in style from five-star accommodation, read on for a guide to the ultimate city stay cation.
First, check Time Out for a timetable of free outdoor events in the London sunshine. In addition to live entertainment, theatre screenings, comedy shows and concerts, you can also find dance, opera and even all sorts of classes taking place right alongside the Thames. Visitors can do yoga, learn modern dance, play chess or ping pong, and even learn to mix smoothies by day and cocktails by night.
Wind down in the afternoon or start your day with a bracing city walk, ending up at once of the less crowded but still breathtaking viewpoints scattered around the city. If Primrose Hill is full of tourists or doesn’t feel like the right spot for a romantic picnic, head south to the enchanting One Tree Hill, tucked away in Greenwich Park. The Park is also home to a deer pen and some unusual wildlife. Another of London’s best-kept secrets is the ecological park in Rotherhithe, which has the best views of Canary Wharf you’ve ever seen. While you’re at it, try the West Heath at Hampstead Heath for miles of wandering paths around the Italian Pergola and the Hill garden. Queen Mary’s Gardens at Regent’s Park boasts a sculpture park, an ornamental lake and diverse wildlife as well as an astonishing rose garden.
Spend a day digging into London’s history by taking a tour, or if you’d prefer to go solo, look out for historical attractions: family days at one of London’s many museums are a good place to start. The Parkland Walk along the Capital Ring follows an old railway line, a magical walk into London’s past as it crumbles and is overtaken by wildlife: look out for beautiful old stations and the Green Man. If that’s whetted your appetite, visit the remains of Roman London: Emperor Trajan is memorialised in a statue not far from the Tower of London, and there is a section of the old roman walls still standing on Cooper’s Row and along the London Wall road.
London’s most famous cemeteries are known as the ‘Magnificent Seven’, a group of glorious Victorian cemeteries stuffed with strange and wonderful monuments and rambling walks. The most famous is Highgate, but Brompton has the most unusual and striking tombs and sculptures, and Kensal Green offers a quirky and polished tour.
The albert is a lifestyle blogger, born and bred in London and writing about hobbies, holidays and family trips out. She regularly visits the website for London’s Landmark Hotel for activities and events.