I realize that when the word summer and 2012 get placed in a sentence the images of athletes and torchbearers automatically come to mind, and though this will no doubt be a ‘once in a lifetime opprotunity’ (to quote) there’s also a lot of OTHER super cool stuff going on in London this year. Naturally, I’m drawn to the unusual and the surreal that London Town offers up, and this summer there’s a full array of cool activities to help you get your London love affair on.
I think it’s important to keep rediscovering the place you live in, as you’ll constantly be surprised by what you find by turning down a new street or checking out the backroom of a bar. Some of my coolest London experiences have been accidental- a night at Shunt turned into a marathon weekend, secret supper clubs popping up in London landmarks- and by making sure I never (or rarely) say not to an invitation out means I get to see many sides of London.
Up at the 02: A trip OVER the Millennium Dome
The 02 (formerly known as the Millennium Dome) is a iconic London monument, and now you get to enjoy a rather different view of this structure. Forget about the weightlifting trials that will be happening inside- how about going over the dome? Up at the 02 offers a cool way to see London Town, and an extra shot of adrenalin for people who aren’t too afraid of heights. An amazing looking walkway has been erected over the roof- 53 metres over ground level.
Your experience starts at ‘Base Camp’ where you get briefed and outfitted in a jumpsuit, and then get harnessed and lead up the structure. You’ll get to see a 360 view of the city- and feel like king of the world (possibly). This takes place from 10am-10pm, so if you time it right you could catch the sun setting on the capital which I imagine would look pretty epic.
Learn more and get tickets from Up at the 02 here.
Crazy Golf on Selfridges Roof
Selfridges is known for being THE shopping destination in London (Harrods would debate this, but they aren’t on Oxford Street) and this year they have an extra lure- the option of playing crazy golf on their roof! Their crazy golf course features miniature London landmarks such as Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the Gherkin (designed by architects Bompas & Parr) , and they are reasonably priced (£6) so it’s accessible to everyone.
They also have a rooftop tea garden for you to sup after you’ve shopped, and tickets can be bought online (TIP: though a number are available on the day if you rock up).
London Zoo Lates
London Zoo is a treasure in itself- a habitat to lions, monkeys and bears in central London, and this year they are running the Zoo Lates program again. For a couple of Fridays they have an adults only evening where they serve alcohol, put on a silent disco (where you dance with headphones on), and generally encourage grown ups to run around the zoo acting like like big kids. This year they’ve added to their repertoire with a stand up comedian in the aquarium and some cabaret in the bird display field. It’s always a memorable evening, and the zoo feels really different at night- the animals seem more active and you feel like you’ve disappeared into another world.
Rooftop Film Club London
Brits tend to be fairly positive people, and at the barest hint of sun we’re baring our legs and slapping on baby oil in vain attempts for a real tan. Rooftop Cinema is a venture that shows classic movies on rooftops- and yes, it can be cancelled due to torrential downpour. Risk getting a chill, and sign up for one of their offerings this year, as there are some amazing movies on offer- haven’t you always wanted to see BIG or Willow on the Big Screen? There are also some more ‘modern’ movies such as Lost In Translation and Four Lions for visitors who are young enough that those movies are retro. The Rooftop Film Club has two venues this year- and the Kensington Roof Gardens location has a canopy, so the film will continue, no matter what (they also have flamingoes, but they might go to bed in the evenings).
Be sure to book early, as they get sold out really quickly.
Film 4 outdoor screenings at Somerset House
Yes, I know this is a mention of ANOTHER film event, but when the location is as impressive as Somerset House it deserves a mention. Somerset House is a fantastic venue, and plays host to numerous events during the year- London Fashion Week every September and February, Tiffany’s Outdoor Ice skating rink in the winter, and the cool Film4 screening season in the summer. You get to watch a film on a massive screen, whilst the courtyard walls shelter you from the wind. It’s a good idea to bring your own blankets and cushions as it can get a little uncomfortable, and the organizers are happy for you to bring food (though they try and make sure the booze you get is from their bars). It’s a really great feeling to take in a movie sitting in such historical surroundings, and if the line up of films doesn’t get you excited, they’re also holding talks about classic films as well.
These events are a small SMALL snippet of the many activities that are popping up this summer; these just happen to be a few of the outdoor ones that especially intrigue/ excite me.
I feel the sentiment on this poster aptly describes what I’m trying to get across- keep discovering, searching, having fun- let the landscape of London be your date this year, and celebrate all it has too offer. Revel in the weirdness and craziness and generally insane eclectic behaviour and denizens that goes on- and here are a few activities coming up that I think epitomize why it’s such a wonderful evolving place.
Everything I have mentioned is on for multiple nights, so you *should* be able to get tickets for it, and most events are pretty wallet friendly- bonus!
I’d be happy to hear about anything else going on in London this year- leave a comment below!