The best things to do in London this summer

Written by Mae Bristow - 17 May 2024

Summer in London – Long days, a steady temperature of twenty-something, beer garden haunts, alfresco dining, and sessions in the park. Summer easily competes with December for the busiest time of year, between the parties, gigs, festivals, impromptu park picnics, and events, your calendar in summer fills up from May to August in the blink of an eye. If you still have space in your calendar and are looking for more things to do in London this summer, we’ve got you covered.

things to do in london this summer


From the best beer gardens and rooftops with screens to catch all the action of the 2024 Euros and Wimbledon to London Pride to festivals and beyond – let’s take a look at the major events in London this summer.

The Last Word Festival

Throughout June, from the 6th to the 30th, head to the iconic Roundhouse in Chalk Farm to experience an impressive lineup of spoken word, slam poetry, conversations, music, films, and workshops for the 11th year of The Last Word Festival.

the last word festival

UEFA Euro 2024

The 2024 Euros will be held from the 14th of June to the 14th of July with three England fixtures taking place on the 16th, 20th, and 25th of June. Catch these fixtures and the rest in beer gardens, rooftops, and bars across London – check out our recommendation of the best pubs and bars in London to watch the 2024 Euros.

big penny social euros 2024

Notting Hill Carnival

We can think of a couple of events that turn London – or neighbourhoods in London – into massive street parties, one of them being Notting Hill Carnival. Taking place this year between the 24th and 25th of August, expect all the things Londoners love about Carnival again this year: amazing cultural events, the steel pan, music, spectacular costumes, the street food and the party, party, party to the beat, beat, beat. There’s only one other festival as colourful and celebratory as Carnival…

notting hill carnival

Pride in London

Another indisputable highlight of London summer with its activism and awareness taking the form of community celebration, Pride in London takes place on the 29th of June this year – when activism takes the most fabulous, colourful, and glittery form and nearly all of London turns into a massive street party.

london pride


Wimbledon is taking place from the 1st – 14th of July and if you weren’t lucky enough to grab Debenture tickets you can watch on screens across London bars and pubs with the rest of London and international sporting fans.


Also on

Music & festivals

If you’re still bitter about missing out on Glasto tickets and the Glast-home-bury house parties just don’t cut it for you, let’s run down the usual suspects when it comes to London’s day and weekend festivals so you can scratch that itch.

Meltdown Festival

The one and only Chaka Khan – yep, the ten-time Grammy award-winner and recent inductee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Chaka Khan – has curated this year’s Meltdown Festival at Southbank Centre, now in its 29th year. From the 14th to the 23rd of June experience Chaka Khan’s fantastic lineup of jazz, soul, R&B, and more.

chaka khan meltdown festival

South Facing Festival

With several day festivals and a roster of performances from artists spanning many genres, taking place between the 6th of July and the 10th of August, the collective South Facing Festival is again taking over the Crystal Palace Bowl. From Grace Jones and Rósín Murphy to The Roots, De La Soul and The Pharcyde to Unruly Fest and Cloud X Festival, it’s a lineup for audiophiles far and wide.


Junction 2

On the weekend of the 26th – 28th of July, the rave to end all raves is happening with Junction 2 under the underpass in Boston Manor Park. Actually, it’s a collection of raves taking place with multiple stages set up across the park with the main stage beneath the underpass. The London music festival for people well and truly deep into all things electronic, with a lineup that reads longer than a table of contents with the likes of Paul Kalkbrenner, Adam Beyer, HAAI, Jon Hopkins and more – so, so much more.


All Points East

All Points East in Victoria Park has outdone itself with this year’s lineup that speaks heavily to the popular genres of the millennial generation. In hip-hop and rap you’ve got Nas and André 3000; in indie and indie rock you’ve got both Ben Gibbard outfits – Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service, then The Decemberists, Pixies, and LCD Soundsystem.

There are also contemporary favourites like Loyle Carner, Mitski, Thundercat, and Arlo Parks. All in all, ten whole days (16th of August – 25th of August) of music that many of us were listening to on Limewire. Let’s just hope they’ve sorted the speaker system out.


Boiler Room London

Boiler Room’s World Tour is making a stop in London on the 25th of August. The super popular music broadcaster and club promoter focusing on underground genres still has a London location TBA but we’ve confirmation of the following stage takeovers: Club Heartbroken, Teletech, and Switchyard alongside the main Boiler Room stage and a super-duper secret stage.


Also on

Food & drink

We’re dishing up our top picks for the latest and greatest in the London culinary scene, specifically highlighting eateries that won’t break the bank, although we’ve thrown in a few fancy-schmancy places as well because of balance or some such.

Jones & Sons, South Woodford

Following on the heels of success with Jones & Sons Dalston, Andy Jones is opening a second location in South Woodford in June. Jones & Sons E18, like its sibling, will focus on modern British fare, drawing influence and inspiration from flavours from across Europe and Asia. The South Woodford location will open its doors as a restaurant, cocktail bar, and large events space.


Wood St Bear, Walthamstow

Taking over the former Wood Street Deli, DJ Simon Bear is offering his local community of Walthamstow a new listening bar this June in the form of Wood St Bear. We can expect Borough wines, Pillars’ lager, and locals spinning vinyl. As for fare, expect similar local offerings with toasties made from a local cheese supplier and Melton Mowbray’s pork pies.


Tollington’s, Finsbury Park

A North London chippy is getting an Iberian fish bar makeover in the form of Tollington’s in Finsbury Park. Opening in June, Tollington’s will be the latest offering from the Four Legs team – Ed McIlroy and Jamie Allan – who first came to North London’s attention with their residency at The Compton Arms, followed by the opening of their own Finsbury Park pub, The Plimsoll. We can expect lovely Spanish flavours and the fine handling of top-quality seafood.


Akira Back at the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair

This July, Chef Akira Back will open an all-day dining restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair. Akira Back’s cooking focuses on modern interpretations of Korean and Japanese flavours, ingredients, and techniques. The all-day restaurant will serve Asian and international dishes for breakfast, Bento boxes at lunch, and sharing plates in the evening, all made with the highest-quality seasonal ingredients.


More food & drink openings

Rooftops, rooftops, rooftops

A selection of our favourite rooftop bars across Central, North, South, East, and West London, so you can soak up the sunshine no matter where you are.

West London – The Broadcaster, White City

The Broadcaster has everything you want in a rooftop bar and everything West London needs more of – views, sun, canopy cover, potted plants, drinks, food, music – all the check boxes ticked.

rooftop bar of the broadcaster shepherds bush london bar

Other rooftop bars in the west and southwest

  • JOIA Rooftop Bar, Battersea – Brand new, super stylish, and crackin’ views of Battersea.
  • The Prince, West Brompton – Multi-storey pub with an expansive roof garden.

South London – Forza Wine, Peckham

Wine bar with cocktails, small plates, and stunning views across the South East. Good wine, good ambience, and good music. Forza Wine is one for when you want something laidback.


Other rooftop bars in the south

  • Frank’s Cafe, Peckham – An absolute classic, you know summer has arrived when Frank’s opens.
  • London Bridge Rooftop Bar, London Bridge – Great for the midweek post-work pints and Aperols if you’re based around the City.

East London – TT Liquor, Shoreditch

TT Liquor’s roof terrace is complete with wooden decking and deck furniture, booths, lanterns, and views, but we rate it for more than just its views; its food and drink are top-notch as well.


Other rooftop bars in the east

  • Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch – Indisputable Shoreditch classic.
  • NT’s Loft, London Fields – All the greenery you expect from an East End haunt, great DJ sets and always a popular choice.
  • Netil360, London Fields – Views, views, views. Pizza and DJ sets are good too.
  • Dalston Roofpark, Dalston – The original rooftop bar in Dalston. Party, party, yeah.
  • Kraft Dalston, Dalston – The new kid on the block in Dalston. Stunning views, relaxed ambience.

North London – The Cross, Kings Cross

Brought to you by London’s favourite ‘90s ravers, the rooftop at The Cross caps a multi-storey events venue. Expect class DJ sets late into the night and epic views from the rooftop.


Other rooftop bars in the north

  • Big Chill, Kings Cross – If you like things packed and loud this one’s for you.
  • The Castle, Angel – Lovely little roof terrace above the pub, one for an afternoon session.
  • The Lucky Club, Camden – One to head to after a session in Regent’s Park or Primrose Hill.

Central London – The Nest at Treehouse London, Fitzrovia

Evoking a bird’s nest, albeit a stylish bird’s nest with its panoramic views and abundance of potted plants everywhere. The Nest in the Treehouse Hotel looks out over Fitzrovia and Soho, allowing you to enjoy being above the chaos that is Central London.


Other rooftop bars in central

Want more? Check out our full list of the best rooftop bars in London and the best rooftop bars in the City of London.

Art & culture

These exhibitions aren’t just for the occasional rainy summer day. Thought-provoking, powerful, and striking, these are London’s newest exhibitions and exhibitions ending this summer you should experience.

Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron: Portraits to Dream In

Portraits to Dream In is an exhibition of work from photography’s two most influential women. The photography of Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron is separated by a century and yet the portraits of both feel relevant today. Cameron’s 19th-century portraits feel beyond their time; Woodman’s mid-twentieth-century portraits feel timeless, and the works of both photographers explore beauty, symbolism, transformation, and storytelling.

On until the 16th of June at the National Portrait Gallery


Expressionists: Kandinsky, Münter and The Blue Rider

Experimenting with colour, sound and light in art during the explosive and rapidly changing early 20th century, The Blue Rider was a circle of artists and friends helmed by Expressionist greats Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter. The exhibition focuses on the story of these friendships viewed through the lens of the artists’ work.

On until the 20th of October at the Tate Modern


Zanele Muholi

Documenting and celebrating the lives of South Africa’s Black lesbian, gay, trans, queer and intersex communities, the exhibition of photographer Zanele Muholi explores their body of work – over 260 powerful, reflective, challenging, and striking photographs that explore themes including labour, racism, Eurocentrism and sexual politics.

Opening on the 6th of June at the Tate Modern


The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition

This year’s RA exhibition will explore the idea of making space, whether giving space or taking space, coordinated by sculptor Ann Christopher RA. Experience a mix of art by household names and emerging talent at the world’s largest open submission exhibition.

On from the 18th of June – 18th of August at The Royal Academy of Arts


Also on

Walks & nature

When the full shine of summer is upon us most head outdoors with the best of intentions – to walk, hike, or canoe along the canal, and whilst many of us get waylaid by friends and end up having picnics in the park and enjoying a session in a beer garden, some of us are disciplined enough to get in our bucolic adventure time.

Here are our top walking recommendations in and around London, our favourite parks for a picnic or a solitary read and catnap in the sun, and the odd overgrown Victorian cemetery if you need a break from it all.

Capital Ring Walk – Section 6: Wimbledon Common to Richmond Bridge

Arguably the prettiest section of the Capital Ring Walk, the walk is seven miles (eleven kilometres) which takes a couple of hours but you won’t feel like you’re in London as you meander through Wimbledon Common and on into Richmond Park. Take some picnic items with you and stop off at a pub or two along the way. There's no need to walk the full length, stop anywhere for a picnic or a read and a bit of sunbathing.


Epping Forest

One every Londoner knows but still, so few have visited, it would be a shame not to include Epping Forest in a list like this because it is an actual forest – with ancient trees and ponds and wildlife – right on London’s doorstep. The forest is easily accessible by the Underground, the Overground, and buses. When the temperature starts flirting with 30 and above we escape to the coolness of Epping’s canopy for a walk or a picnic. And there are a couple of pubs to stop by as well.


Nunhead Cemetery

You may or may not know of The Magnificent Seven – no, it’s not a popular band. London’s Magnificent Seven refers to seven Victorian cemeteries across the city, the most famous being Highgate Cemetery. Highgate is such a busy tourist trap that they charge you to see parts of it. One of our top green spaces in London is the lesser-known Nunhead Cemetery in the South East, not too far from Peckham. It’s old, overgrown with wild greenery, and is a beautiful place to walk on a sunny day when you need peace and quiet.



New theatre openings and shows ending in summer.

Bluets, Royal Court Theatre

Bluets, directed by Katie Mitchell and starring Emma D’Arcy, Kayla Meikle, and Ben Whishaw, is based on the book of the same name by Maggie Nelson. Bluets is an electrifying story about a grieving person possessed by a lifelong obsession with the colour blue.

On until the 29th of June


Passing Strange, Young Vic

The Tony Award-winning rock musical Passing Strange has had its European premiere at the Young Vic. The story of a middle-class L.A. suburbanite who sets out on a journey to find themself in punk rock and protest in 1980s Amsterdam and Berlin.

On until the 6th of July


People, Places and Things, Trafalgar Theatre

Starring Denise Gough, written by Duncan Macmillan and directed by Jeremy Herrin, People, Places and Things follows the story of actress and addict Emma as she embarks on the challenging journey of sobriety, but the larger story is one of what it feels like to be alive in the modern world, and how we are driven to seek intoxication, and the challenges of facing the truth rather than one’s constructed reality.

On until the 10th of August


Romeo & Juliet, Duke of York Theatre

Jamie Lloyd’s riveting version of Romeo & Juliet starring Tom Holland and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers. Sources report Jamie Lloyd intends to open his new show with Tom Holland performing on the roof of the theatre, using cameras and drones to capture the footage before moving inside. All in all, Lloyd’s version is set to be telling of the Shakespearean classic we’ve never seen before.

On until the 3rd of August