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How To Make The Most Of Summer In London Like A Local
Summer in London is one of those strange and magical things that takes a minute to master. Knowing where to be, how to avoid crowds, where to eat well and, most importantly, what to do when it rains, all takes time. Luckily, being a born and bred Londoner, I have some secrets and local tips to help you through. I’ll offer all the advice you could want to enjoy Summer in London like a local.
Black-Owned food spots to look out for
London isn’t often given as much credit for its damn -near impressive plethora of Black-owned eateries and that will forever be weird for me. While we all know and give thanks for the influence of Caribbean migrants and their well-seasoned addition to the UK’s food scene in general, there are so many more Black-owned options popping up around the city. Being a West London girl, I have always appreciated the variety of Black cuisine that I grew up around. Here are some of my favourite Black-owned food spots:
- Ethiopian food (for my insatiable injera fix): Hamer Restaurant (Finsbury Park) & Delina’s (Shepherds Bush)
- Somali food: Banaadiri
- Senegalese food: Little Baobab
- Caribbean food: Roti Kitchen (West Ealing) is my local favourite but also, the best of Caribbean plant-based food can be experienced with Livity, a South London based vegan/ital pop-up.
Enjoy the unpredictable British Summertime
When the sun peaks from behind the ever-present clouds, everyone heads outside. That’s the rule. Since sun is such a rare and treasured sighting in the UK, you’re best to make the most of it when it appears. Here are some outdoor activities to lap up the sun rays:
- Head to the park: Even though a bustling city, London still has some of the most impressive parks in the country. Hyde Park is the obvious choice but also Regents Park, Gunnersbury Park and Richmond Park are all excellent choices.
- A sunny day in the UK begs for some market action. Growing up, my go-to market was and still is Portobello Road market. In essence, it is a vintage street market in Ladbroke Grove known for its chic style and deeply multi-cultural mix of faces. Local tip: Portobello Road market is open on Fridays and Saturdays – go on Friday for a calmer weekday vibe or early Saturday morning for the full market experience.
- Whether you’re going exclusively to haggle for sweet vintage pieces or to enjoy the street food market or fresh veg and olive vendors, you are in for a treat. Other markets to enjoy on a sunny day include Camden Town, Brick Lane and Spitafields market.
- Enjoy your cocktails on a pretty rooftop somewhere: this one is for those waiting with phone in hand, ready to capture a pretty cocktail against the background of a cloudless blue London skyline. Aqua Spirit is a fine choice for a rooftop bar in the heart of SoHo. A personal tradition of mine is to get off the Piccadily Line at Piccadily Circus and wander around Carnaby Street until I find the “vibe“, or until everyone gets annoyed at me and we end up in some random but fun bar in this lively patch of London. With the sun setting well after 9pm in the summer, time is absolutely your friend.
How to not let the inevitable rain ruin your summer
Even though it’s Summer on paper, it will probably rain. Don’t let that stop you though – when in London you have to keep it moving and find your own light. Here are a few indoor activities to not spoil your day:
- Head to an art gallery and art heaux long after the rain clouds have disappeared. You can’t go wrong with the Tate Modern but I recommend BCA (Black Cultural Archives, the only national heritage centre dedicated to preserving African and Caribbean people in Britain. Find BCA in Brixton to enjoy some of the latest exhibitions and instalments.
- Talawa Theatre Company is the UK’s first and largest Black British theatre company. Checking out a show will open your eyes to the innovative and crucial artists in the city.
- Brixton is a top location to experience Black British culture past and present. Enjoy the food market at Brixton Village, shop some hand-made clothing and then stroll around the area to discover some of the hidden parts of the gentrified though historically Caribbean area.
- Local tip: Music is huge in London, it is the true pulse of the city. With so many rainy days, it is easy to see why. Head to Camden’s Jazz Cafe for the promise of a good time or equally any of the Box Park locations for a look at the ever-shifting culture in the capital.