Today is officially the beginning of British summertime, and it's time to start thinking about things to look forward to in London this summer. It might still be snowing outside, there may still be ice on our cars in the morning, but it's time to gird our loins and brave the outside world anyway. So, in the great spirit of British fortitude, here are the some of the things to look forward to in London this summer.
1. London in the Sunshine
One of the things to look forward to in London in the summer is, quite simply, the atmosphere - you can't beat it. During the winter, everyone bundles up and hurries home. But in the summer, when the weather is warm, everyone spills outside from the little bars and cafes along the cobbled streets, street food markets pop up all over the place, Hyde Park is full of picnickers and it’s the time of the year where you discover all of London’s secrets.
2. London Fashion in the '80s
The V&A’s new exhibit, opening in July, celebrates all that's great about British fashion, during the decade where anything went and everything was just that little bit too much. Exploring the relationship between clubs and fashion in the eighties, the exhibit shows how designs from the likes of John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood went straight from the catwalk to being taken out in London’s hippest clubs.
3. The Chelsea Flower Show
This annual event is always a riot of colour, vibrancy and beautiful smells floating on the breeze. It's the hundredth anniversary this year, so it's an opportunity not to be missed if you happen to be around. Even if you're not looking to buy, it's an experience in itself to see the acres of blooms stretching before you.
4. Field Day
This one day event in London’s Victoria Park is a great day out. Taking place in May, the line-up for this year is looking good - there's an eclectic choice of music, so there should be something for everyone. Fingers crossed the weather is good, and any visitors will get an excellent taste of life in London.
5. Canal Way Cavalcade
This is definitely an event for those who want to get a true taste of England. It’s a very traditional day, as beautiful canal boats from all over gather for a day of good grub, friendly atmosphere, real ale, Morris dancers and bands. There's even an after-dark illuminated canal pageant - an event that's ideal if you have kids, as there's lots of family friendly activities.
6. Zoo Lates
For a night of dancing with a difference, head to London zoo. It's great for during the day too, but this is a new experience altogether. Taking place every Friday night in June and July, events vary, but can include demonstrations with the animals, silent discos, comedy shows and street food markets.
7. Rushes Soho Shorts Festival
This is a festival for film lovers, and is definitely somewhere I'm going to be heading come July. Stretched across ten days, the festival celebrates the very best of new and established talent, in Britain and internationally. There will be showings of everything from comedy to documentaries, so it's definitely worth catching a screening.
Of course, one of the best things about visiting London in the summer is how easy it is to get out of it for the day! Catch the train out into the country for afternoon tea, or have fish and chips down Brighton seafront. Who ever said clichés were bad things anyway? Obviously there's so much more to do than just this - are any of you taking a trip to the city this year?