Where To Go In London When It's Just Too Hot

By Zoe Craig Last edited 7 months ago
Where To Go In London When It's Just Too Hot

Feeling the heat? Steer clear of the decidedly sweaty tube and head to one of these brilliantly cool places to chill out instead.

On 1 July 2015, the temperature hit 32°C in Highbury. Photo by David Holt in the Londonist Flickr pool

Fling yourself in a fountain

Not the Trafalgar Square ones: that kind of behaviour is frowned upon these days.

Instead, take a tip from London's cool kids and head to More London by the Scoop, Granary Square near King's Cross, or Appearing Rooms on the South Bank, and fling yourself through the water to cool off. Here's a complete list of the best fountains in London for cooling off.

Appearing Rooms by Jeppe Hein. Photo by Ania Mendrek via the Londonist Flickr pool

Dip into London's lidos

Live near one of London's awesome lidos? You're in luck. There's never been a better time to call in sick and take a dip in that unheated water.

Brockwell Lido. Photo by Jason Cobb via the Londonist Flickr pool.

Just mind the bloke who swims outdoors religiously, whatever the weather; yes, he's unimpressed with your very literal and obvious fair-weather attitude.

Here are London's best lidos.

Ice and a slice

Just thinking about hitting the chilled -5°C temperatures inside London's Icebar in Mayfair will soothe your sweaty head.

The walls, tables, bar and even the glasses are made of crystal clear Torne River ice from northern Sweden. Sit back and chill out.

London's Icebar. Perfect for this kind of weather. Photo by Andrew McCarter via the Londonist flickrpool

If that change in temperature feels like it might be too much of a jolt, why not try the cooling, classy atmosphere of the Parlour Restaurant at Fortnum & Mason: create your own ice cream sundae from their range of innovative and traditional flavour ice creams.

Or go on a nostalgia trip back to childhood summer holidays with a knickerbocker glory.

Or you might like:
London's Best Ice Cream
London's Best Ice Cream Sundaes

Take to the ice

You might think swooshing about on ice skates is only really available at Christmas in London, but it's not. Queens Ice & Bowl in Bayswater and Alexandra Palace Ice Rink are both there all year round.

Try ice skating in summer; guaranteed to cool you down.

Alexandra Palace's all-year-round rink is open daily for ice skating.

Take to the river

So you've already taken a Thames Clipper and been on a speedboat on the Thames.

This summer it's time to try kayaking on the Thames: a brilliant way to cool down, and get a fresh perspective on the steaming city.

Kayaks by Giovanni Farina via the Londonist flickrpool

Find out where else you can go boating in London

Take in some cooling culture

London's museums and galleries have to maintain strict temperatures to preserve the artefacts on display, so there's never been a better time to take in some of London's amazing free culture.

The British Library. Photo by Albert Jafar via the Londonist flickrpool.

The National Gallery's mercury rests at 23°C for example, while the temperature inside the British Library will always hover between 18°C and 21°C. Blissful.

St Paul's Cathedral has another suggestion:

Get on the tube

Wait, what? With air cooling not coming to the Central line until 2030, this may not sound like the best idea — but check out our tube map showing which lines are air-conditioned, and replan your commute accordingly.

You also might like:
South London's Best Unsung Museums  
How to explore London's Museums and Galleries
When's the best time to visit London's Attractions

Last Updated 25 July 2018