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Things to Do on a Summer Visit to London

The short “blink and you’ll miss it” British summer is getting closer and closer. Soon the grey clouds and cold winds will depart, making way for blue skies, hot sunshine and warm breezes. So try out some of the things on our list for a perfect summer visit to London.

Visit London Zoo

Whether you’re with your partner, some friends, family or the kids, London Zoo is a great place to visit. It was voted London’s Best Tourism Experience in the 2010 Visit London Awards and sees hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and was opened in 1828.

Today, the Zoo contains a collection of 755 species of animals with over 16,000 individual animals. You can find everything from African birds to creepy tarantulas, as well as the classics including giraffes, elephants, penguins and gorillas.

The park is open every day of the year from 10am to 5.30pm (until Friday 15th July, when it stays open until 6pm). Over the summer (16th July to 4th September), ticket prices are £18.60 for adults, £14.50 for children and free for children under 3 years old. There are also prices for seniors, students and disabled people. If you buy the tickets online, you can get a discount.

Relax in Hyde Park

Hyde Park offers a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of the city itself and is the perfect place to spend a hot summer’s day. With over 350 acres of space, there’s plenty of space for picnicking, sunbathing or a bit of strolling. Once you’d had a relaxing rest on the grass, you can give your arm muscles a bit of a workout by rowing across the Serpentine lake.

In Speakers’ Corner, you can stand and watch one of the many weird and wonderful speakers talking about anything from politics and religion to culture or life in general. If you’re feeling brave, you can even join in and give a speech of your own.

Entrance to the park is completely free but there is a charge for renting a rowing boat on the Serpentine. You can find more information on Hyde Park here.

See Notting Hill Carnival

If you like bright colors and vibrant music then you should definitely see Notting Hill Carnival. Taking place every August Bank Holiday since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival is led by members of the local West Indian community as a celebration of West Indian culture. With over 40,000 volunteers and over one million revelers, the Notting Hill Carnival is the largest street festival in the world, after the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.

The carnival lasts for three days, starting on the Saturday with a steel band competition. Costume prizes are awards on the Sunday with the main parade itself taking place on the Bank Holiday Monday. Aside for the parade, the streets are lined with stalls for the duration of the carnival, selling a wonderful selection of traditional Caribbean foods, including jerk chicken and rice and peas. Check here for more details.

Photo by: ianbruce