How To Get Your Summer on in London
Rethink what a summer getaway looks like in the U.K. capital city—with the help of Delta Vacations.
London is calling . . . this summer.
London may not be the first place that pops into travelers’ minds when they think summer destination. But really, what London lacks in traditional summer images, like sandy shores and ocean views, it more than makes up for with sunset riverside cocktails, rooftop cinema and outdoor theater under the stars. (And really, let’s not forget: Some of the U.K.’s best beaches are still a mere 90-minute train ride from the city.)
Ultimately, travelers are seeking what they’ve missed during pandemic life: the stimulation of theater and art, sunny beer gardens, vibrant markets, and the joy of concerts and live sports matches. And they can find all this and much more summer fun in the English capital city. And with more Delta Air Lines flights per week to London than in summers past, it’s never been easier to plan a trip to Europe.
And by the end of their visit to Britain’s biggest burg, travelers will no doubt think, Summer London—had me a blast. Here’s why.
Summertime and the living is easy
Summer months offer a slower pace across London, with countless opportunities for lazy days and cool nights. Outdoor locations from parks to palaces to rooftops transform into pop-up cinemas, screening films old and new. Bring a picnic for an outdoor screening at the Rooftop Film Club or The Luna Cinema.
London’s famous pub culture moves outdoors during the summer months. Beer gardens of all sizes become gathering places for locals who crave sunshine to pair with a pint of craft beer. These spaces are also known for street art, food trucks and waterside views. Some fun options include the Hackney craft brewery Crate, the Duke of Edinburgh in Brixton and the Crabtree in Hammersmith, right on the River Thames. Beer fans may want to plan a trip to coincide with the London Craft Beer Festival in mid-August.
The Portobello Road market, occupying a prime stretch of charming Notting Hill, is popular year-round, but summer may be the most pleasant time of year for a stroll and a browse through the many stalls. Saturday is the prime day for the maximum choice of antiques, vintage fashion, gifts and secondhand goods. Cafes, restaurants and bars line the area—ideal for peoplewatching over iced coffee.
The river also provides endless summer entertainment. Go for a riverboat ride along the River Thames or, if you’re feeling adventurous, give paddleboarding a try.
Follow the locals
Let the locals lead the way to the best of seasonal fun in London. True, one beloved annual summer event, Wimbledon (June 27 to July 10), is no secret to anyone around the world. But this Grand Slam tennis tournament transforms the city into one big garden party. You don’t need to attend the tournament or even be a sports fan to indulge in the strawberries and cream and the icy Pimm’s cups—outdoor screenings of the matches bring an infectious revelry to parks and pubs across the city.
A trip to the Farmer’s Market, often followed by a picnic in the park, is part of the weekly routine for many Londoners during the summer. Markets overflow with fresh produce and ready-to-eat fare, providing a variety of picnic options. Bring your appetite to one of the city’s many markets, such as Borough Market, Brick Lane Market, Camden Market or Maltby Street Market.
Summer may be the best time of year to kick back in London’s many parks and gardens. Grab the newspaper and join locals for a picnic in Hyde Park or Richmond Park. Nature lovers may want to explore the colorful blooms of Kew Gardens or the Kyoto Garden at Holland Park. Parks also host big summer events, such as Taste of London, a June food festival in The Regent’s Park.
All about culture
The famous London theater scene spreads outdoors during the summer months. Grab tickets for a show at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, with family-friendly options like 101 Dalmatians and dramatic productions like Antigone, based on Greek mythology. At Shakespeare’s Globe theater, the summer 2022 lineup includes Much Ado About Nothing and King Lear.
Beyond theater, visitors can find more culture under the stars this summer, from stage productions to concerts and music festivals. Opera moves outdoors at Holland Park; popular musicians from James Blunt to Van Morrison will take the stage as part of Kew the Music in Kew Gardens; and electronic music moguls will give crowds a reason to dance at the All Points East festival in Victoria Park.
If you need to cool off indoors, London offers many museums and galleries. This summer at the Tate Modern, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirror Rooms” is making a splash. Besides classic museums like the British Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum, several smaller ones, like the London Film Museum, the Design Museum or the riverside Garden Museum, also merit a visit. For a glimpse into the contemporary art scene, check out the Hayward Gallery, the Saatchi Gallery (reopening June 10) or the Whitechapel Gallery.
Where to stay
Narrowing down hotels in London can be a challenge—but for proximity to attractions plus a commitment to style, check out these four exceptional properties—favorites among Delta SkyMiles® members. Book an airfare and hotel package for an even better deal.
• The May Fair: For almost 100 years, The May Fair has provided a sophisticated landing pad with Baccarat chandeliers in the London Mayfair neighborhood. Spacious rooms and a luxury spa keep guests returning to this high-end hotel near parks, shopping, transportation and attractions like the Royal Academy of Arts.
• The Londoner: Overlooking Leicester Square in the posh Soho neighborhood, The Londoner is a new boutique hotel with a residents-only club. Dining and theater options are on the doorstep, but the hotel also has diverse food offerings, including a rooftop izakaya bar (in the tradition of informal Japanese bars) and Joshua’s Tavern, which hosts live music.
• Rosewood London: The elegant Rosewood London is known for its sense of place, offering a connection to British heritage through its decor, food and hospitality. This five-star hotel in Holborn, near Covent Garden, is set in a striking Edwardian building and offers fun extras like live jazz in its Scarfes Bar and cooking classes for kids in The Pie Room.
• One Aldwych: An independent hotel in Covent Garden, One Aldwych puts you in prime position for exploring London’s best food, theater and shopping. Walk to West End theaters, discover the buzzing bars of Covent Garden or relax in the on-site spa. This is also a special spot in which to experience the British tradition of afternoon tea.
Planning your summer getaway
Delta Air Lines is responding to the spike in demand for European getaways with an increase in routes and destinations across Europe, totaling more than 500 flights per week this summer (that’s 143% more seats available to customers compared to summer 2021). And there are more opportunities than ever before to arrive in style, with a choice of four premium cabins with enhanced amenities.
Be sure to check out Delta FlyReady, a digital dashboard that helps travelers confirm they’ve met destination entry requirements before traveling—for a seamless experience.
Delta is also offering more ways than ever to earn SkyMiles® with Beyond the Flight experiences from Delta Vacations.