We eagerly anticipate summer’s warmer temperatures and longer evenings, yet it always seems to pass in the blink of an eye. To really savour the season and escape the throngs of tourists visiting the city at this time of year, we suggest some slower alternatives for summer evenings in London.
1. Wander the Chelsea Physic Garden
On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings during July and August the Chelsea Physic Garden welcomes visitors until 10pm. Escape the stickiness of the city and explore the garden’s vast array of useful and medicinal plants in their beds and glasshouses.
2. Have a drink at a riverside pub in Hammersmith or Chiswick
If you work in central London you’ll be familiar with the sight of pub goers spilling out onto the pavements on warm evenings. If you’re after a slightly more scenic location for a drink (although arguably still popular), visit one of the many pubs that line the Thames in Chiswick and Hammersmith. If you want to dine alfresco, The Crabtree has a small section of tables facing the river and a large beer garden to the back. Along this stretch you’ll also find the famous River Cafe too.
3. Chihuly Nights at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is a relaxing, nature-infused destination to escape the city throughout the year. This summer, however, you can gain rare access to the grounds in the evening to enjoy art sculptures and live music. From 7.30pm to 10.30pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, you can admire Dale Chihuly’s celebrated glass artworks under the night sky.
4. Early evening pick your own at Parkside Farm
Living in London can mean that you feel slightly disconnected to where your food is actually coming from. If you’re not lucky enough to have a garden or balcony to grow a few tomatoes, visiting Parkside Farm is the next best thing. Venture into Greater London, embrace the slow food movement and gather fresh fruit and vegetables for an evening dinner party or picnic in the park.
5. Watch a film in your local park
Outdoor cinemas are extremely popular during the summer months in London. While some appear in busier, more central locations, you can also find screenings in smaller parks outside of zone one. Pop-up Screens, for example, puts on alfresco movie nights in Ravenscourt Park in Hammersmith and Bishop’s Park in Fulham.
This article is part of A Year of Living Slower – 12 monthly experiments in living better, not faster. December’s theme is Slow Christmas.