Top 10 things to do in London over the August bank holiday weekend
From music festivals and open air cinema, to glorious gardens and treats for the children, here are our top tips of things to do this August bank holiday weekend in London.
1st July 2019
This Royal Park has a long and illustrious history, where duels, ballooning attempts and fireworks historically took place, and where King Charles II kept his icehouse! Located opposite The Athenaeum, join Green Park at the far corner of the park at the Memorial Gates, next to Wellington Arch – the former northern gate to Buckingham Palace. Follow the path along Constitution Hill to the culmination of several paths in the centre of the park. This is where the Royal Gun Salutes take place to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday. Follow the path to the south east corner of the park to catch a glimpse of Buckingham Palace, before following the Queen’s Walk back up towards Piccadilly.
Soak up London’s royal roots and political history in this walk from The Athenaeum to Big Ben. Wander through the northern corner of Green Park to reach St James’ Palace, which dates back to the 1500s, having been built by King Henry VIII. This is still a working palace so members of the public cannot enter, but it’s a wonderful piece of architecture and history to enjoy on a walk. Cross The Mall to enter St James’ Park and head straight towards the lake – a wonderful viewing point where you can see Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards Parade and the London Eye. Turn left and follow the lake around to Duck Island, where you can enjoy some of the park’s wildlife, which includes pelicans! Exit the park along Horse Guards Road and stroll around the streets of Westminster to take in Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
As one of the largest Royal Parks, Hyde Park has plenty of wonderful walks and special corners to explore. Our favourite summer walk in Hyde Park makes the most of the water, following the path that circles around the Serpentine lake. Start in the south east corner of Hyde Park – which is Hyde Park Corner itself – the first part of the park you reach if you set off on foot from The Athenaeum. This gate dates back to the 1800s and was designed for King George as a grand entrance to the park. Meander through the pretty rose garden and the Holocaust Memorial Garden to reach the Serpentine. Turn left to walk clockwise around the lake until you reach the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Cross the Serpentine Bridge and then walk around the other side of the lake to head back towards Hyde Park Corner.
Choosing a stretch of the River Thames to walk along on a summer’s day offers an iconic snapshot of the city too. One particularly vibrant walk follows the riverside path from Waterloo to London Bridge. At Waterloo, check out the entertainment and food stands at Underbelly Festival site, before enjoying the riverside outside the Southbank Centre and National Theatre – with pavement fountains to walk through on particularly hot days! Walk past the television studios to Gabriel’s Wharf – with its handful of shops and eateries – then carry on to the Oxo Tower for more shopping opportunities. The riverside stretch towards London Bridge takes you past Shakespeare’s Globe and the Tate Modern – perfect for exploring before heading into the winding streets of London Bridge set back from the river.
The warmer weather is the perfect time to enjoy the gorgeous streets, squares and gardens in and around Mayfair. Head up Down Street to start your Mayfair adventure, and take the winding streets to Shepherd Market – a quaint locale that feels like stepping back in time. Then make your way to Berkeley Square – home to the oldest London Plane trees in the city – and then on to Mount Street Gardens and the neighbouring gothic style Church of the Immaculate Conception. Continue a couple of blocks north to reach Grosvenor Square – a wide open space surrounded by history-filled buildings.
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