Well, July is here and since quite a bit of June turned out to be a real scorcher, prepare for some hot days in the capital. It’s also a busy time for London because children in Europe are already on their ‘long holidays’, the days are long, and Covid seems to be behind us. Yes, the UK, as always, is a popular destination, both for families, groups and solo travellers.
Here are a few of our thoughts for things to do in London in July, whether you like art, food, museums, shopping or just wandering. Finally, whilst London doesn’t have air con in all public places, it is an incredibly green city so if you’re out exploring and desperate for some respite, our tip is to head to one of the parks and sit under a tree, watching the world go by.
Enjoy our capital, whatever you do.
1. Hyper Japan - 21st to 23rd July
Back for its 13th year, this ‘All-things-Japanese’ festival is perfect for anyone curious about this tiny country in the Far East, and rather than flying half way round the world, all you need to do is get on the tube and head to Olympia in West London.
Both steeped in tradition yet incredibly modern, Hyper Japan will be showcasing all kinds of Japanese food, culture and art. Over the three days its running, there will be stage performers, workshops, seminars, all kinds of street food (think yakisoba, rice bowls, seafood skewers and matcha desserts) and a chance to try many different kinds of sake.
Those who are curious about manga comics, tea ceremonies, flower arranging and Japanese martial arts won’t be disappointed either - oh, and there will be over 200 exhibit tables (where you can pick up handmade items and original artwork).
いらっしゃいませ or ‘Welcome’ as they say in Japan!
2. Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival - 4th to 9th July
This astonishingly beautiful Tudor Palace (one of King Henry VIII’s favourites, actually) makes for a fantastic day trip any time of the year but if you’re in London in July and have green fingers then you’ve no excuse but to head there, because the Royal Horticultural Society is throwing a garden festival in Hampton Court Palace itself.
For inspiration, explore the ‘show gardens’ (themes this year include ‘Charleston’, ‘Nurturing Nature in the City’ and ‘Wildlife’. Attend a talk or workshop to learn more about all things green and grab lunch or a cheeky gin and tonic at one of the many food and drink stands there
A blooming lovely way to spend a day!
3. BST Hyde Park Music Festival - 24th June to 8th July
This epic festival returns to the capital with an astonishing line up of rock and pop stars, including Bruce Springsteen, Guns n’ Roses, Billy Joel and Take That. This mega festival runs over a number of weekends and their incredible shows feature both legends and rising stars, not to mention lots of food and drink to make the day or evening go with a bang.
Between the weekends, BST Hyde Park is putting on a free programme called ‘Open House’ which offers the public plenty of entertainment and activities. Choose from yoga in the park, outdoor cinema, ‘Chef’s Table’, children’s workshops and theatre, arts and crafts, pop-up bars and pubs and plenty of live music, including ‘All things Orchestral’.
Of course, this gorgeous Royal Park is enormous and there’s so much to do across the greenery that you can easily combine an outing to BST with, say, a visit to the Serpentine Gallery, a wander through Kensington Gardens or a trip to Speaker’s Corner, where you can stand up on your very own soapbox and speak your thoughts freely!
4. Hampstead Big Fair on Heath Street - 2nd July
Our guest accommodation at La Gaffe is right at the top of Heath Street, a three minute walk up the road from Hampstead underground station and so we see a lot of traffic outside our window each day, Well, good news - for the first time in three years, Heath Street will be closed to traffic to celebrate the Hampstead Big Fair.
The entire street will be filled with stalls, selling food and drink, clothing, jewellry, artisan crafts and more. Even better, it’s an event all the family can enjoy - there’s a chess cafe (complete with a giant chess set), a circus school for kids, a funfair and a ‘Sport Zone’. All the while, you’ll have live music being played from a big stage - who knows, you might even want to dance?
There’s no cost to come so all you need to do is jump on the northern line (it might be hard to park in the ‘hood). And, of course, there’s so much to do in Hampstead - walk on the Heath, explore Burgh House, have a pint at one of the many pubs in the area…that you can really make a day of it.
5. Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ - 19th June to 12th August
He’s got to be England’s most famous writer and fear not if you don’t have time to head to Stratford-Upon-Avon - you can catch the tube to London’s South Bank and be transported back in time, courtesy of the Globe Theatre, to an era when people stood, under clear skies, and watched the maestro’s works.
The Globe isn’t just a world-renowned theatre - it’s a way to watch a Shakespeare play as he intended and this July, what’s on offer is a fabulous production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The storyline? On Midsummer’s eve, four rebellious young lovers, and a Fairy King and Queen all cross paths in an enchanted forest. And when Puck, the Fairy King’s servant, is told to cast spells on them all, you have to wonder how it’s going to end?
Even better, the Globe is right on the Thames, with a wealth of attractions close by (the Tate Modern, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Borough Market, to name but a few) so you can explore the area before you head off to see the production.
Here at La Gaffe, we’re gearing up for a busy summer but we still have availability at different periods, so if you’re looking to visit the capital and want a place to stay that’s warm, welcoming, family-owned and family-run and that also won’t break your bank, give us a call on 020 7435-8965 or feel free to book our Hampstead hotel rooms with us directly.