London calling: why you should flock to the Smoke this summer

shutterstock 285984530 1
shutterstock 285984530 1

If you’re lucky enough your family visit to the UK capital’s going to coincide with summer, then you must make the most of all that’s going on in the capital right now. Don’t doubt it for a second; London comes alive in the summer. At this time of the year, it’s greener than at any other time, more electric and vibrant, more colourful and diverse and more fascinating and fun – if that’s actually possible! So, wherever you choose to stay (the San Domenico House Chelsea or anywhere else), here’s just three things to tickle your family’s fancy…

Discover the delights of Regent’s Park

Top of your list for a day spent out and about, soaking up the sun and atmosphere in the capital, has to be the gloriously green and family-friendly Regent’s Park. And, in particular, Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, which is blooming in summer with an absolute cornucopia of colours and scents thanks to all the flowers and plants it contains, drawn from every corner of the Earth – and including around 12,000 rose bushes. And the wider park is a veritable jewel in the heart of London, offering up as it does plenty of activities for young and old (different sports, row-boats and masses upon masses of picnic space), as well as a delightful outdoor theatre that hosts top-quality productions in the spring and summer months and, of course, the world-renowned ZSL London Zoo.

Plus, as if all that’s not enough; the last week in July this summer (21st-29th) sees London’s inaugural National Park City Week take place, in line with the London’s aim of becoming recognised as a city-wide ‘national park’ by 2019. It’s set to comprise everything from walking tours to hands-on nature activities stressing the city’s natural heritage and, thus, the significance of conservation.

Stroll about Regent Street on a Sunday

Now, you may well be aware that Regent Street is one of Central London’s busiest and most bustling retail thoroughfares (it runs from the centre of the world-famous shopping boulevard that’s Oxford Street down to none other than the Eros statue-toting Piccadilly Circus), so why in particular should check out the exquisite Regency-era, grey-brick frontages and their high-class stores (e.g. Burberry, Aquascutum and Hamleys) on a Sunday in July? After all, it’s the weekend slap-bang in the middle of summer; Regent Street’s going to be no less busy this day of the week than any other this time of year. Well, that’s because on every Sunday in July something much more than mere shop-window-browsing and vacation-gift-buying’s going on.

Yes, on each of these days the traffic won’t be flowing down Regent Street at all, enabling the hosting of all manner of family-focused activities to throng the wide street, all the way down. We’re talking the likes of art installations, street food stalls, games, face painting, craft workshops and much, much more. Sure, the retail in Kensington and Knightsbridge’ll be right on your doorstep if you stay at one of the hotels near Kings Road Chelsea London, but here’s a reason indeed to visit the West End of a weekend!

Explore the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace

Finally, did you go gaga over May’s Royal Wedding? If so, you must visit Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official residence in the capital, during your trip to London. Granted, should you do so, you won’t actually be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Her Maj, let alone Harry or Meghan (none of them actually call the place home), but Buck Palace is still one of the capital’s – nay, the entire UK’s – most iconic landmarks and, owing to the delightful, fascinating treasures it holds inside, a chance to pass through its doors is something that simply can’t be sniffed at, even if you’re a corgi. Tours of its lavish State Rooms take place from July through to the end of the summer and, this year, the centrepiece temporary exhibit is a celebration of the Prince of Wales’s 70th birthday. Just be sure to book your tickets (well) in advance!