YOUR 2024 SUMMER BUCKET LIST: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FUN IN LONDON

So you’ve had Charlie XCX’s new album on repeat and you’ve binged the new series of the Bear? Good. You’re equipped to make the most of summer 2024. 

Over the next few months, go to bed with a full face of makeup on and head out the next day without touch-ups; smoke constantly; drink lager (not Guinness); wear a big scrunchie and bigger sunglasses; eat a messy burger; go out-out and don’t come home until the morning (see where below).

Basically, make sure you try really hard to not look like you’re trying too hard. This isn’t the time for restraint or a “clean” aesthetic, but to embrace the hot mess that London has to offer. Here’s where.

Nab a table at the Devonshire rooftop 

2023’s hottest table just got hotter courtesy an alfresco ascension: a rooftop terrace. The food is the same blend of British and European standards, executed to a higher level than should be expected of a pub, but the new rooftop setting lends it extra heat. It can’t be booked outright but nab an early table (read how to do so here) and if the weather holds, ask to eat outside. 

17 Denman Street, W1D 7HW, devonshiresoho.co.uk 

See Nas, LCD Soundsystem and Thundercat live 

The line-up at All Points East festival seems to keep on getting better. Nas, one of the greatest rappers of all time, will be preceded by Andre 3000, another exceptional lyricist and musician. Both are to perform ahead of Loyle Carner, one of the UK’s most successful hip-hop artists. On other dates, the festival is set to showcase the enigmatic Jai Paul, LCD Soundsystem, Kaytranada, and Thundercat. For a live music lineup that keeps on getting better, book this. 

August 16 - 25, Victoria Park, E3 5TB, allpointseastfestival.com 

Glug a glut of rose (just not Gary Barlow’s)

There are heaps of places across town to sink a few glasses of pink, from London’s loveliest parks to the city’s best BYOB restaurants and beyond. Head to Hawksmoor on a Monday and sink a few glasses of icy pink fizz in the heat, or head indoors to Singburi where BYOB is as emblematic of the restaurant as its fiery food. Each makes for our idea of a very nice day out

Hawksmoor, £5 BYOB on Mondays, Wood Wharf, E14 5GX, thehawksmoor.com

Singburi, 593 High Road Leytonstone, E11 4PA, instagram.com

Have a brat girl summer at Peggy Gou’s gig in Gunnersbury Park

Peggy Gou has hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify, and her latest album, I Hear You, blends an anthemic sound redolent of 90’s era clubbing: small wonder that Gou headlined Berghain and several Ibiza shows this year. The al-fresco Gunnersbury Park gig is the epitome of a brat girl summer with Gou’s thumping, thrumming dance music: it’s not to be missed. 

August 17, Gunnersbury Park, W3 8LQ, ticketmaster.co.uk

See London’s biggest fashion exhibitions 

Two flagship fashion-forward exhibitions are battling it out in southwest London, with “Beyond” at the Saatchi Gallery and “Naomi” at the V&A. In truth, both are essential. Naomi in Fashion is a huge career retrospective which examines Naomi Cambell’s influence on fashion, activism, media and wider British culture, while Beyond Fashion explores the wider impact of fashion photography and its development from the functional into the artistic. Don’t choose, see both.  

Beyond Fashion, until September 8, Duke of York's HQ, SW3 4RY, saatchigallery.com 

Naomi in Fashion, until April 2025, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL, vam.ac.uk

Stand in line at the new Chatsworth Bakehouse 

The new Chatsworth Bakehouse is the gentle kind of expansion that allows for extra sandwiches to be prepped and ordered each day. It also allows a level of organic growth impossible in the existing small footprint, meaning fans can expect bread-making workshops, experimentation with new bread types and even savoury pies. There will be the omni-present queue, of course, but then that’s half the fun. 

116 Anerley Road, SE19 2AN, chatsworthbakehouse.com 

See all the action from England’s best cricketers 

This summer sees cricket return to London with the England women’s International T20 on at the Oval and Lord’s, while the England men's team face test matches against the West Indies and Sri Lanka in July and August respectively. In addition to these longer format matches, the more dynamic and fast-paced Hundreds will also be on at Lords throughout the summer, with London Spirit facing off against Welsh Fire, the Oval Invincibles and the Manchester Originals. The summer of sport is in full swing. 

St John's Wood Road, NW8 8QN, lords.org 

Kennington Oval, SE11 5SS, kiaoval.com 

Eat a trend (this year, it’s Mexican)

There have been a dozen or so new Mexican restaurants open in London this past year, a pique in interest and demand for fast, casual, delicious fare that doesn’t break the bank (and pairs well with a few beers). There’s CDMX, which has replicated the hype seen at Crisp W6 and Supernova burger, Trejo’s Tacos from bona fide Hollywood legend Danny Trejo, the expanded Los Mochis in the City, and the doubling up of Chelsea’s Azteca to Azteca Ome south of the river. Dining out on a wave of popular opinion never tasted so good and Mexican is the perfect fit for a hot summer’s day. 

CDMX, 1 Green's Court, W1F 0HA, cdmxtacos.co.uk

Trejo’s Tacos, 299-301, Portobello Road, W10 5TD, trejostacos.co.uk

Los Mochis, 100 Liverpool Street, EC2M 2AT, losmochis.co.uk

Azteca Öme, 5-9 Battersea Rise, SW11 1HG, aztecalondon.com 

Watch the sunset (and the sunrise) at a rave in Greenwich 

On July 27, Studio 338 is to host a Free Midsummer Garden Party offering revellers the chance to enjoy seven hours of raving before the day is out. Tickets are £10, but gives ravers two drinks, so it’s almost free. If the sun setting over the open air Greenwich venue wasn’t enough, there’s another event starting just an hour later at 10.00pm with Hitty headlining alongside Continental GT for the latest Glove Season party. With sunrise set for the next morning at 5.19am, a sunrise over Greenwich could be the perfect way to call time. 

July 27 & 28, 338 Boord Street, SE10 0PF, studio338.co.uk 

Enjoy a long, lazy lunch at Towpath 

The Towpath Cafe is an idyllic little canalside spot which opens only in the warmer months. It garnered fans from Tracy Ullman to Keira Knightley for the simplicity with which it delivers a light European menu made with British ingredients. Brown shrimp with kohlrabi and rocket, crispy lamb with hummus, mackerel with pickles and creme fraiche, a grilled cheese sandwich — all accessible and ultimately delicious fare upon which a British summer can be built. 

42 De Beauvoir Crescent, N1 5SB, towpathlondon.com

Party at Ally Pally 

The Kaleidoscope Festival returns to Ally Pally this summer with the Ministry of Sound Classical headlining the hilltop stage alongside the 30-piece London Concert Orchestra, fusing thumping dance hits with classical music and all accompanied by a laser show. Additional electronica arrives from the likes of Mr. Scruff, Erol Alkan, X-Press 2 and garage legends Artful Dodger, while the comedy stage will host Simon Amstell, Brian Blessed and Chloe Petts alongside. 

July 13, Alexandra Palace, N22 7AY, alexandrapalace.com 

Get a bargain at a more wintry restaurant 

When the sun (eventually) breaks free from its cloudy grey prison, most rightly seek a terrace, a rooftop or maybe waterside dining options, but it’s worth remembering that the darkest wintry restaurants have value menus to lure you in. Josephine Bouchon, the latest from star-studded chef Claude Bosi offers a three-course menu for £29.50 — £32 when you factor in the somewhat hidden cover charge, but still exceptional value. Elsewhere, steak slingers Gaucho are doing a 30-year anniversary menu with three courses for — you’ve guessed it — £30 and while September to April might seem like the best time to visit Jun Tanaka’s The Ninth, it’s currently running a three course £35 menu which, for a highly underrated Michelin-starred experience, is a fantastic option. Who said summer was all about the sun?

315A Fulham Road, SW10 9QH, josephinebouchon.com 

22 Charlotte Street, W1T 2NB, theninthlondon.com 

(Gaucho operates multiple sites across London), gauchorestaurants.com 

Get wet kayaking on the Thames 

Each week, the official-sounding London Kayak Company runs three to four kayaking trips up and down the Thames, offering a new vantage point from which to explore London. These trips mostly run between Greenwich and Battersea, but there are also special evening kayaks to the Tower of London at twilight. Despite being alone in the kayak the events are surprisingly social and on a sunny day, there’s little better than being on the water (just try not to fall in).

londonkayakcompany.com 

Spend a day in an outdoor pool 

London’s lidos have a glorious history, with some dating back as far as the 1930s, but today serve as a significant gathering place during the summer months. These public amenities are usually fairly well maintained but the best to make a bee line for include the revamped Tooting Bec Lido (the UK’s largest at over 90m), Brockwell Park Lido, and the Park Road Lido in Crouch End. For a delightful day, gather a few troops, swim your heart out and take a well-earned, preferably boozy rest in a neighbouring park. 

Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, SE24 0PA, fusion-lifestyle.com

Tooting Bec Road, SW16 1RU, placesleisure.org

Park Road, N8 8JN, fusion-lifestyle.com 

...or floating along the Thames in a hot tub

If a kayak seems too much like hard work, then bobbing up and down the Thames in a floating hot tub might be a more suitable speed. Evoking a Nordic tradition, apparently, a selection of hot tubs float about Canary Wharf with a little self drive electric engine and a log fire for warmth. A great little way to enjoy the water for a few hours. 

skunaboats.com 

See the best photography exhibition in London

The influence of Tim Hetherington stretches far beyond his award winning war photography into charity, teaching and even martial arts (he documented and supported the Kenyan national taekwondo team, even travelling with them for international competitions) and the vast retrospective on at the Imperial War Museum does wonderful justice to Hetherington’s diverse, essential work. The show is provoking and emotional, prompting in some imagery tension and unease as the symbol of an interloping photographer in these war-stricken communities is laid bare. Understanding Hetherington’s approach to his work is a must and the IWM has done an exceptional job of curating the highlights from his near 25-year career.

Until September 29, Lambeth Road, SE1 6HZ, iwm.org.uk 

Go to the opening night of a new musical  

The musical SIX took London by storm, winning some 20-plus theatre awards including a coveted Tony award, and the writing duo behind the show (Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss) return to open a new musical this summer. Why Am I So Single? - A Big Fancy Musical, is a story about two friends' lonely lives that are transformed into an all-singing, all-dancing musical performance, exploring dating, love, friendship... and bees, apparently. If SIX is anything to go by, Marlow and Moss really know what they’re doing, so this one should be a riot. 

From August 27, Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0HH, thegarricktheatre.co.uk 

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