Alexandra Palace

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Hattie Lloyd 06/06/24


70 Things To Do Outdoors in London

If there’s ever an outside chance of sun in London, you’re going to want to be outside.

And thankfully our capital duly provides when the good weather hits: going for a dip in natural ponds, sipping cider at an urban rooftop farm and racing swan pedalos across a lake is all but a mere taster of all the things you can do outdoors in London.

This, on the other hand, is a very comprehensive list. Here’s what to do in the city when the weather heats up:

 

1. HIT THE LIDOS

swimming outdoors london

Entry to most of the city’s open-air pools is usually under a tenner – so you can splash out without splashing out.

2. LISTEN TO JAZZ BY THE CANAL AT GROW

But don’t wade in the water.

Details: Thursday evenings Grow, Main Yard, Hackney Wick, E9 5LN £5/6

3. GO ON A PUB CRAWL OF LONDON’S FINEST BEER GARDENS

And drink up the sunshine.

4. GO BOATING

Alexandra Palace

Upthrust. It’s what floats everyone’s boat. And you can row, power along in pedalos or just drive your own electric boat at all these great boating spots in London.

5. DINE AL FRESCO

lighterman outdoor terrace london

Treat yourself to breakfast, lunch or dinner on one of London’s outdoor dining terraces, gardens or rooftops.

6. TOP UP YOUR T-SHIRT TAN BY GRANARY SQUARE

Take a boat drip down the canal, run through the fountains, grill your own dinner on the terrace at Parrillan, or catch a free film screening by the canal with an ice cream from Ruby Violet.

7. LISTEN TO LIVE GIGS BY THE RIVER

London’s Bridge’s totally free festival, Summer By The River, gives you plenty of good reasons to er, spend summer by the river.

Details: Until 3rd September | The Scoop, London Bridge, SE1 2AA Free

8. TAKE A HIKE

box hill hike

Dmitry Djouce/Flickr

Get out the city for one of these scenic hikes near London – or take a more leisurely stroll with these great London walks.

9. JOIN PELICAN FEEDING TIME AT ST JAMES’S PARK

Then see how many London landmarks you can tick off from the Blue Bridge.

Details: St James’s Park, London SW1H 9AP

10. DO EVERYTHING AT THE HORNIMAN MUSEUM GARDENS

horniman museum gardens

Views over the South Downs? Check. Alpaca pens? Check. Grown-up and not remotely amusing name? Check.

Details: Open daily | Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, SE23 3PQ | Free

11. INVITE YOUR FRIENDS OVER FOR A BBQ

Skuna BBQ Boats

On a private BBQ boat that sails around Canary Wharf.

Details: Available daily | Skuna BBQ Boats, Off Hertsmere Road, West India Quay, E14 4AL | £90+

12. PRACTISE ARCHERY ON AN EAST LONDON ROOFTOP

The ultimate hub of outdoor activities in London, Roof East also has open-air crazy golf… and batting cages… and glitter lawn bowls.

Details: Open Tues-Sun | Roof East, Stratford Multi-Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Way, E15 1XE

13. WATCH A MOVIE BENEATH THE STARS

outdoor cinema london

Adventure Cinema, Picturehouse and Rooftop Film Club are just a few of the screens popping up outside in London this summer.

14. TAKE PART IN A HIGH OCTANE PETANQUE CONTEST

boulebar outdoor activity bars london

Boulebar makes other bowls pop-ups look like boulesh*t.

Details: Daily | 101 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PP | £10pp

15. WATCH COMEDY, MUSICALS AND MORE IN REGENT’S PARK

regents park outdoor theatre

David Jensen

 

This year, the Open Air Theatre is staging Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, classic musical Fiddler On The Roof, and more.

Details: Until 21st SeptemberRegent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 4NU£15+

16. WALK THROUGH THE TREETOPS AT KEW GARDENS

Take a stroll 18m in the air, scale the heights of the pagoda, explore the Victorian glasshouses… then spread out on the grass until closing time.

Details: Open daily | Kew Gardens, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE | £12-20

17. SEE LIONS, TIGERS, AND KOMODO DRAGONS AT THE LONDON ZOO

Even better, see them with a cocktail in hand at the Zoo’s twilight lates.

Details: Fri evenings 9th June – 28th JulyZSL London, Regent’s Park, Regent’s Park, North London, NW1 4RY

19. WALK ALONG REGENT’S CANAL

walk regents canal sunny day in london

One of London’s more picturesque spots. And if there’s a table, stop off at Towpath Café en route.

20. HOP ABOARD THE CUTTY SARK

The Cutty Sark

After all that sunshine, make sure you get some liquid refreshment afterwards at this Cutty Sark.

Details: Open daily | Cutty Sark, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9HT | £20+

21. GET LOST IN THE WALTHAMSTOW WETLANDS

No, seriously, it’s over 200 hectares. You could actually get lost.

Details: Open daily | Walthamstow Wetlands, 2 Forest Road, N17 9NH | Free

22. TAKE YOUR DRINKING UP A NOTCH

seabird rooftop

At one of London’s many rooftop bars.

23. TALK WITH THE ANIMALS AT LONDON’S CITY FARMS

Hounslow Urban Farm

See goats and pigs in Hounslow, Islington, Battersea and more…

24. GO KAYAKING AROUND HACKNEY WICK

crate brewery outdoors in london

Then reward yourself with a canalside pizza and a brew at CRATE.

Details: Kayak hire available every weekend | Sweetwater Mooring, White Post Lane, E9 5EN | £38

25. TRAVEL THE WORLD THROUGH LONDON’S FOOD MARKETS

outside food markets london

Build the picnic basket to end all picnic baskets, and take it to one of London’s lovely parks and hidden gardens.

26. BREAK OUT A SWEAT ON A CRAZY GOLF COURSE

crazy golf outdoors london

Remember, in golf being sub-par is a good thing.

27. STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS IN HAM HOUSE GARDENS

ham house & gardens

Then go for lunch at Petersham Nurseries.

Details: Open daily | Ham House and Garden, Ham Street, Richmond-Upon-Thames, TW10 7RS | £16.50+

28. GO ANTIQUE HUNTING AT PORTOBELLO MARKET

portobello outdoor market

Then grab a bite at Portobello Schoolyard market.

Details: Open Mon-Sat, main day Saturday, Schoolyard market open Saturdays | Portobello Road, London, W10 5TY

29. BRAVE A DIP IN THE PONDS AT HAMPSTEAD HEATH

hampstead heath ponds

If you want to cool down, this is where to do it.

Details: Open daily | Hampstead Heath, London, NW3 1AS | £4.70, book ahead

30. TAKE A TRIP TO KYOTO

Kyoto garden sunny day london

Without leaving West London. Pick up coffee and a sākuro pastry from Kuro Coffee, then walk down to the Japanese gardens in Holland Park.

Details: Open daily | Kyoto Garden, Holland Park, Holland Park Avenue, London W11 4UA | Free

31. TAKE A CRUISE… IN A HOT TUB

hot tub boats london outdoor things to do

You can bring booze on-board – just try not to get steaming drunk.

Details: Open daily | Off Hertsmere Road, West India Quay, E14 4AL | £130-180

32. DANCE TO BRASS BANDS & MASSAOKE ON THE SOUTHBANK

between the bridges

At al fresco playground, Between The Bridges.

Details: Open Tues – Sun | Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1 7PB | Free entry

33. GET £5 GROUNDLING TICKETS AT THE GLOBE

Shakespeare, as Elizabethan peasants would have seen it. And it’s open-air, so you can top up your tan at the same time.

Details: Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DT£5+

34. LISTEN TO LIVE MUSIC IN A TWINKLING GARDEN

woodburner outdoor gigs london

If it gets chilly, don’t worry – the bar sells beer jackets.

Details: Tuesday nights until 24th September | Dalston Curve Garden, 13 Dalston Lane, London E8 3DF | £11+

35. WATCH DRAG, DANCE & MUSIC BY THE RIVER

The National Theatre‘s pop-up river stage is in full flow again, with free events curated by The Glory, GDIF and Rambert. Plus, the KERB food market and The Understudy are both right there for crucial dancing fuel.

Details: Weekends from 5th-28th July Outside The National, South Bank Free

36. GO FORAGING ON HACKNEY MARSHES

foraging walks with Fred

Preferably with someone who knows what they’re doing. Like this guy.

Details: Various dates throughout summer | Hackney Marshes, Parkland Walk & Hampstead Heath £40+

37. STRETCH OUT AT A PANORAMIC BEER GARDEN

Alexandra Palace beer garden

Ally Pally’s terrace is vast. And it also makes a pretty spectacular setting for their annual Kaleidoscope festival

Details: Open daily | Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY

38. GO TO TRAPEZE SCHOOL IN REGENT’S PARK

quirky things to do outdoors

It’s a great place to hang out.

Details: Until 15th September Regent’s Park & Kensington Gardens From £37

39. KICK BACK AT LIMIN’ SOUTHBANK

limin southbank

Tyler Zielinski

A glorious Caribbean bar complete with jerk chicken, jugs of rum punch, and actual sand.

Details: Open daily Gabriel’s Wharf, 56 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PP

40. EXPLORE LONDON’S BACKSTREETS ON A CRYPTIC HUNT

hiddencity london date ideas

Follow in the footsteps of Bond, hunt down the Cheshire Cat or try to outwit Moriarty. It’s like an escape room, but in the sunshine.

Details: Runs daily Across London | From £20pp

41. GO OTTER SPOTTING AT THE LONDON WETLAND CENTRE

things to do outdoors london

Yeah, so this is just casually tucked away in Barnes.

Details: Open daily WWT London, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Barnes, London, SW13 9WT | £18.20+

42. GO ON AN ICE CREAM CRAWL

best ice cream london

Because crawling is really the only way you’ll be able to do it.

43. GO ON A DEER SAFARI IN RICHMOND PARK

richmond park outdoors in london

Ian Thompson/Unsplash

Then go on pub safari through all of Richmond’s great beer gardens.

Details: Open daily Richmond Park, TW10 5HS Free

44. RUN THROUGH LAVENDER FIELDS IN VAUXHALL

Luise and Nic/Unsplash

Just be prepared to feel very, very sleepy afterwards.

Details: June – August Vauxhall Park, 12 Lawn Lane, London SW8 1UA Free

45. WALK THE LINE (SCULPTURE TRAIL)

Rana Begum

Stretch your legs and expand your mind, with outdoor artwork by Rana Begum, Anthony Gormley, Tracey Emin and more…

Details: Open daily Between Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The O2 Free

46. EXPLORE A HIDDEN, 350 YEAR-OLD APOTHECARIES’ GARDEN

chelsea physic garden

And sip rosé on the lawn. Just as the apothecaries would have done.

Details: Open Sunday – Friday | 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS | £15

47. WITNESS CHAKA KHAN’S MELTDOWN

southbank centre outdoors terrace stage

The 80s powerhouse is guest curator for the Southbank Centre’s annual festival this year. And in between all the big ticket shows, there are free al fresco parties, classes and more.

Details: 14th-23rd June 2024 Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX Free

48. ESCAPE TO EPPING FOREST

You can go on long walks, hire rowboats and spot deer – but you may not, according to local bylaws, chase commoners’ cattle.

Details: Open daily Epping Forest, Loughton Free

49. TAKE SOMEONE SWINGING AT GO APE

The views from Ally Pally are pretttty spectacular.

Details: Tues-Sun | Alexandra Palace, Battersea & Cockfosters | £32+

50. GO STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING

And try not to go swimming while you’re at it.

Details: Open year round Across London | £45+

51. STORM SEVERNDROOG CASTLE

It’s an 18th century folly plonked in the middle of the woods, with insane views from the top. And from here you can carry on along the Green Chain Walk to…

Details: Open Sundays Severndroog Castle, Castle Wood, Shooters Hill, London SE18 3RT£4

52. CHECK OUT THE CRYSTAL PALACE PARK DINOSAURS

And if you’re not left feeling terrorised to the core, go boating afterwards.

Details: Open daily Crystal Palace Park Free

53. HIT THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN CEMETERIES

Less creepy, and probably more Ancient Egyptian, than you’d expect. Check out our guides to Abney Park Cemetery, Highgate Cemetery, Kensal Green Cemetery, Nunhead Cemetery and Brompton Cemetery.

54. TAKE A STROLL ALONG CHISWICK FLOWER MARKET

chiswick outdoor flower market

Then hit High Road Brasserie‘s terrace before you wilt.

Details: First Sunday of the month | Old Market Place, Chiswick High Road, W4 2DR

55. LISTEN TO LIVE MUSIC IN THE PARK

Regent’s Park and Greenwich Park bandstands have live bands every weekend throughout the summer. Bring a few tinnies and it’s basically a free mini festival.

56. PERUSE POP BRIXTON

pop brixton

Join a pub quiz, stock up on street food, or dance till the wee hours.

Details: Open daily | 53 Brixton Station Road, London, SW9 8PQFree entry

57. SEE THE SIGHTS BY BOAT

Get a load of the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and Greenwich, without any of the crowds.

Details: Daily | Departs from 24 piers along the Thames | £9+

58. RACE THROUGH THE HAMPTON COURT HEDGE MAZE

hampton court palace

See if you can beat the average time of 20 minutes…

Details: Open daily Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court Way, East Molesey KT8 9AU Inc. with palace admission (£27.20+)

59. GO UP THE MONUMENT

monument outdoor viewing platform

311 steps, but the views are totally worth it. Plus, you can recover at Tacos Padre afterwards.

Details: Open daily Fish St. Hill, London, EC3R 8AH £6

60. TACKLE THE BERMONDSEY BEER MILE

bermondsey beer mile

Over a dozen craft beer breweries (and one sake brewery) to check out, most of which have outdoor seating.

Details: Saturdays Check the route for the Bermondsey Beer Mile here

61. THEN TACKLE THE BLACKHORSE BEER MILE

blackhorse beer mile outside taprooms

Probably not on the same day, though.

Details: Across Walthamstow – recommended route here

62. PLAY THE ULTIMATE GAME OF HIDE & SEEK BY GOING GEOCACHING

Tiny little boxes and messages hidden around the city, which you can track down with your phone.

Details: Whenever, wherever

63. LISTEN TO JAZZ ON A PALACE LAWN

fulham palace garden

606 Club pops up at Fulham Palace for Champagne-laced jazz nights every summer, and they’re excellent.

Details: 2nd & 3rd August | Fulham Palace, Bishop’s Avenue, London SW6 6EA | £22

64. TOAST MARSHMALLOWS IN A ROOFTOP GARDEN

midnight apothecary outdoor bar

And sip botanical concoctions from the Cocktail Gardener.

Details: Fridays & Saturdays | The Midnight Apothecary, Brunel Museum Rooftop Garden, Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF | £8

65. TAKE A BEACH DAY (IN WALTHAMSTOW)

big penny social walthamstow on sea

Walthamstow-on-Sea is returning for another summer. Because as it turns out, plonking an enormous sandy beach in the middle of Walthamstow – complete with beach huts for hire, frozen cocktails, ice cream and a postcard box – was actually quite a popular idea.

Details: Open Fridays, Saturdays and some Sundays | Big Penny Social, 1 Priestley Way, London, E17 6AL | Free entry

66. ENJOY A WINE TASTING… WHERE IT’S MADE

Best Vineyards in the UK: Nyetimber

There’s a surprising number of vineyards near London, where the owners will take you on a stroll through the vines… then let you taste the fruits of their labour.

67. GO ON A MEWS CRAWL

Window shop for dream houses along London’s prettiest mews streets.

68. GO HORSE RIDING IN HYDE PARK

It’s a thing you can do! And they’re conveniently based in a mews, too.

Details: Rides daily Hyde Park Stables, 63 Bathurst Mews, London W2 2SBFrom £115

69. LEARN TO TANGO OUTDOORS

spitalfields tango

Free beginners classes, followed by a couple of hours of dancing in the open air.

Details: Various Sundays throughout summer | Amphitheatre Canopy, Bishops Square, Spitalfields Market, 37 Brushfield Street, London E1 6AA Free

70. PICK YOUR OWN PICNIC

Harvest your own strawberries, sweetcorn, and sunflowers at these PYO farms near London.

 


Like discovering the best things to do in London? Check out our 101 London Date Ideas