The Infatuation London Summer Bucket List 2022
22 exciting things to eat and do this summer.
22 exciting things to eat and do this summer.
We don’t care what people say. London in the summer is glorious. Truly utterly glorious. Honestly, once you’ve seen a bright pink Waterloo sunset and a decrepit pigeon bathing itself in your local lido, you have truly lived. But as a nation who is so deprived of sunshine that we are all in a sad little co-dependent relationship with the Holland and Barrett vitamin aisle, the summer is also a time of pressure to make plans. That’s why we’ve made them for you. Here is your definitive guide to the events, meals, and certified Fun Stuff you absolutely shouldn’t miss this summer. Eat, drink, don’t forget that SPF is a thing, and most importantly, have all the fun you dreamed of during the cold, dark depths of winter.
How long is a mile? Until recently we thought a foot was actually the length of the average human foot so frankly, we do not know. But importantly, it sounds long enough to enable several pints of something called—not kidding—Unicorn Rodeo. Kicking off at Walthamstow’s Blackhorse Road Station, the Blackhorse Beer Mile walk includes many of London’s best big breweries including Wild Card Brewery, Truman’s Social Club, and Hackney Brewery, where you can also conveniently order Yard Sale’s gigantic pizzas.
The only time we endorse old wives’ tales is when they suit us. So, if you don’t fancy a swim in London Fields Lido before or after eating arguably London’s finest falafel pitta and/or perhaps the best tacos in the capital, then we won’t blame you.
It might have something to do with the Louisiana hot sauce but there’s just something about eating a fried shrimp brioche sub while overlooking the River Thames that makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Head to this New Orleans-inspired restaurant and dive bar in Kingston for a huge sandwich situation, with sides that are equally worth getting excited about. Mac and cheese balls, buffalo chicken wings, and brisket burnt ends should all be in your order. There’s seating both inside and outside, but they serve all the food in takeaway boxes so you could take it to go and sit directly on the river for peak summer energy.
Because you haven’t quite figured out how to finance that 40 ft yacht in the South of France just yet and that’s okay. Until Sunseekers are available for a tenner on Depop, hit up Caravel, a charming little riverside restaurant for mussels, silky chicken liver paté, and a zesty blood orange jelly. Perfectly situated for a romantic stroll along the canal, you can pretend that obscene graffiti is French for Best Summer Ever, sip some lovely wine, and marvel at the fact that there’s even a stained glass window depicting a pigeon smoking. That’s true culture baby. Cannes could never.
An American diner with Thai food and flavour sounds like a big yes. The fact it’s from the guy who opened Night + Market in LA? An even bigger yes. The residency is all through summer at Rondo La Cave. Check it out.
We have this wild theory that if you actually did something other than watch Netflix and spam your friends with TikToks of other people doing wholesome activities, then you might actually have the time to do those wholesome activities yourself. Shocking. Test this out by booking a BYOB ceramics painting class at this arts centre in Southwark which is equally as fun alone as it is with a group of friends. Bring snacks and drinks and paint for two and a half hours, before taking yourself down to Tavolino—which is a 15-minute walk away—to reward all your hard work with stunning views of Tower Bridge and fresh pasta.
Yes, you too can be one of those smug urbanites who takes their Birkenstocks on a romantic trip to the seaside. Hit up Manning’s, a seafood shack on the beach, where the crab sandwich is absolutely essential. For more tasty inspiration, use our Margate day-trip guide, pirate pub included.
Craig David sang about what he was walking away from, but we’re always much more interested in where we’re walking to. The TFL website has an excellent page on London walking routes for you to find one that suits. A favourite of ours is along the River Lea down from Tottenham. You hug the Walthamstow Wetlands, swing by The Anchor and Hope (one of north London’s foremost IYKYK little boozers) and finish up in Clapton for a lahmacun.
Any plan involving a “cuddle corner” is one that speaks to us on a spiritual level. Especially when it involves fluffy guinea pigs and a £4 price tag. Head to Vauxhall City Farm where you can meet Jinny and Amber—a donkey duo—some fluffy chinchillas, and alpacas that we have no doubt are more fun than 93% of your friends. After a wholesome afternoon of animal therapy (the farm closes at 4pm), take a seven-minute walk down Kennington Lane to Algerian food stall, French Tacos, inside Vauxhall Food & Beer Garden and choose from fillings like crispy chicken, minced beef, and cordon bleu. Just FYI, it’s the type of wedge wrap that’ll have you taking a nap break afterwards.
Festivals, sweet darlings that they are, tend to consist of baby wipe baths, unholy blisters, and having to shout “I’m by the giant inflatable parrot, no the other one” into a Nokia 3310. But Pub In The Park Festival is less about getting feral and more about eating. The headliners here are the chefs, with several of our favourites getting involved including Tom Kerridge, Cue Point, Hoppers, and The Begging Bowl. There’s also music from Craig David, Basement Jaxx, and other artists that will make your 14-year-old self incredibly hyped. Find all the intel on their multiple dates throughout the summer and tickets here.
Terrace. Negroni. Octopus. Za’atar. Sorbet.
These are all words that make that little vitamin D-deprived sunshine gremlin in our heads very happy. You’ll find all of the above in Chameleon’s ‘God’s Garden’ where the greenhouses are less Alan Titchmarsh, more finally I am living the life Samantha Jones always wanted for me. Fabulous and, importantly, the bread slaps.
Don’t let people tell you that cycling is about exercise. No. It’s about Looking Hot while an Edith Piaf song plays in your head. Hop on a Santander bike, get pedalling along the Hackney Downs LTN—the low-traffic route is nice and casual for any amateurs—pick up some fruity pale ales from All Good Beer, and then find a certified Cute Spot in the park. Round it all off with dinner at Oren on Shacklewell Lane, an Eastern Mediterranean spot that’s one of our all-time favourite places for a bit of this and a bit of that in the sunshine.
Greenwich Park is beautiful for many reasons. There’s the view of the Thames, the Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory. And, also, a tonne of Vietnamese restaurants with delicious food all around it. There’s Viet Anh Pho and Banh Mi Leo for sandwiches (the former traditional, the latter sticking to a lockdown ciabatta switch) and up Evelyn Street is Eat Vietnam Bar B Grill.
Rule number one of a picnic: despite what wikiHow says about The Ultimate Picnic Spread—no one likes salad. And rule number two: go heavy on the sweet treats. Pop by Buns From Home in Holland Park and pick up some of their delicious dessert buns on your way to the park. They’ve got specials every weekend, with things like Snickers bar buns, lemon and poppyseed pies, and the best part? No one can judge you for eating a croissant bun for breakfast. Even if it is filled with cheesecake. Check out their Instagram page for the specials, and get there before 5pm as some of their popular flavours tend to sell out.
Here’s the plan: head to Shepherd’s Bush market and eat one too many huge minced meat and chip-filled sandwiches from the excellent Algerian street food spot, Sam Sandwiches. Then head for a drink at the Library Bar at Bush Theatre before catching a show that we promise will be better than spending the evening at the same pub you did the past three nights.
Longest day of the year, biggest opportunity to obtain spectacular brain freeze via the medium of Forza Wine’s frozen margaritas. Don’t skip this Peckham rooftop restaurant’s soft serve either, it’s great.
Three bites into Wild Flor’s glazed pig cheek pappardelle and we were willing to ghost the capital, set our Oyster cards on fire, and start talking shit about our ex, Big Ben (just a big clock really, isn’t it?). Whether the sun actually decides to make an appearance on your day trip to Brighton is irrelevant because Wild Flor will make up for it in Loire wines and enough burrata to make you forget that it’s way too cold to actually go in the sea. Lovely stuff.
Like the smell of sunscreen, and people in bikinis discussing their ‘type on paper’, sitting in a 200-cover garden, eating a Sunday roast is one of the few things that feels exactly like summer. And in this cricket field in Chiswick, you’ll find halal roasts every Sunday, with a choice between their incredible smoked brisket, prime beef short rib, or smoked chicken, and all the usual trimmings. But you should know that they can sell out, so book a table in advance—and if you don’t get one on the Sunday, know that they serve their usual menu of smoked meats and brisket buns Thursday to Saturday.
Bingo is officially hot again. Which is more than we can say for the weather which has obviously reverted to grey skies, with a strong chance of seasonal depression. Instead of giving up on summer, seek refuge in this interactive bingo hall. With neon lights, a cocktail menu, and the chance to win a holiday every day—you might actually be able to get some sun for longer than 24 hours at a time. Whether you win a holiday to Italy or not, you deserve pizza. Take a short walk to this very un-Italian, Detroit-style pizza on Commercial Street, and share one of their excellent cheeseburger pizzas on their high tables or get a slice of red stripe to go.
"You sad bastard", you’ll say, addressing the gloomy little cloud emoji on your weather app as everyone in your PARK HANG LEGENDS ONLY WhatsApp group drops like flies. We’re so sorry but also, might we just point you in the direction of NQ64. Sure, it might sound like the latest child in Elon Musk’s bloodline but what you’ve actually got here is a retro arcade smack bang in the middle of Soho. Nice dry fun where the games are free if you buy a cocktail, it also just so happens to be up the road from [big holiday energy] restaurant, Bubala.
Pool! Cocktails! Lobster rolls! The Instagram content really writes itself at Laurel’s On The Roof, a hot new rooftop bar on top of Shoreditch’s Mondrian Hotel. FYI the pool is reserved for club members but you’ll still be able to smell the chlorine whilst sipping on a colada and that’s what matters really, right?
She’s back, baby. Combine steel bands and big bright costumes with Jay Dees'
£7 charred jerk chicken and you’re onto a winner. In case the corona years have erased this intel from your memory, the carnival takes place on the August bank holiday weekend.
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