• 2022.10.06
  • Londoners’ summer activities
Summer is almost over (sigh!) and some of my foreign friends have asked me how I spend my time in London during the Summer months.
In Italy, summer is a time to chill not just for children but for adults alike.
The first thing I always tell them is that in the United Kingdom people work more than in Italy during the summer and, furthermore, they do not have ‘the beach culture’ Italians have.
Italians love the beach and in summer, especially during the month of August, the cities are empty, most shops and restaurants are closed and people ‘migrate’ to the coastal areas.
This phenomenon does not happen in the UK.
But British people do have fun!

They are always willing to spend money, they eat out very often, they love day trips out of town and longer holidays abroad during school holidays (for families with kids).
It is important to know that unlike Italy where people enjoy a very long summer break, in England school holidays are distributed differently, for half term so a few weeks of holidays here and there not altogether.
There are six weeks of summer vacation, one in October, two in December, one in February, two in April and one between May and June.
It is therefore quite common for families to take the opportunity to leave for a few days during the half term.
During such holidays, the most popular places for families with children up to the age of ten are the playcentres, places where there are huge foam rubber or inflatable castles where children play while parents relax while chatting at the tables enjoying a drink and some snacks.
They are also very popular with parents to socialize and meet other parents.
From a certain point of view, British people have remained quite rural so parents, even those who live in London, love to take children to farms to pick fruit in the countryside, to visit parks or natural reserves. It is an aspect that I love very much because it fights the hyper-technology that surrounds us by promoting children activities which involve nature and the appreciation of more simple things.
But what about people with no children like myself?
One thing is certain, English summers are dictated by two guiding principles.
The first is Carpe Diem, let's seize the moment, because rainy days are just around the corner.
We must immediately take advantage of the hot days of good weather, because we do not know whether or when they will come back.
The second is Keep Calm, because it takes a lot of patience to face the summer queues to ride attractions in the parks or get a picnic spot in the park because, unlike Italy, London gets much busier in the summer when tourists flock to town.
As soon as the sun comes up and the sky is blue, the British love to spend their time outdoors, to meet friends and relatives and every occasion is good to celebrate and above all to drink (alcohol).
Among the various activities, the most popular is the summer picnic.
Organizing a picnic in one of the London parks is a must, a way for children to play and a way for adults to catch up with friends and family.

Picnic areas, many and well-kept

Do not be surprised if you also see intense sports activities in city parks, because especially in the evenings after work, the parks are crowded with people playing cricket, football, frisbee or doing yoga or tai chi outdoors or even flying a kite (yes, also the adults).
Also, there is no summer without a barbecue, at the homes of friends and relatives or in the parks. Favourite foods are obviously roast meat and sausages, but there is no shortage of vegetarian versions with soy burgers and vegetables.
There are also usually potato salads and trifles (a typical English layered dessert). Beer is king in barbecues, more than wine.
British people also love to visit the nurseries: they are a real paradise for those who love their garden, and many British people have one.
You can buy everything from outdoor furniture to plants and any tool for your garden.
In the garden centres or nurseries, there is also always a café, where you can have brunch, lunch or afternoon tea.
But do English people go to the beach?
Brighton is the most popular seaside resort for young people, however there are plenty of other places to visit which are fabulous, for example Bournemouth, Hasting and Torquay.
There are quite a few music festivals on the coast during the summer and they often go together with food fairs.
The peculiarity is that festivals usually last a whole weekend so you are allowed to camp at the festival like at a campsite.

Bournemouth beach


  • GianFranco Belloli
  • Jobblogger/musician

I moved to London over 2 years ago but only last year I started writing for a local newsletter for Expats in London telling about my experience in this big city and giving advice to newcomers. London is a very dynamic city and has a lot for everyone but it’s important to have a local point of view to navigate it without getting lost. Let me be your guide to hidden London!

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