11. Friday lates: I love that in summer, all my favourite London icons throw of their conservative shackles, open the drinks cabinet, call in some DJs and host fun events on Friday evenings. The V&A throws fashion parties, the National Gallery hip & enlightening talks, and the London Zoo has carousels and mojitos to go with your big cat-spotting.
12. Get crafty: Head to the iconic treasure emporium that is Liberty, buy yourself some offcuts of their vintage-tastic floral fabrics, and sew yourself some big squishy cushions or lengths of bunting for your favourite sunny corner of the house.
13. Silver screen: When only popcorn and escapism will do, shun the multiplex and head to one of the gloriously old cinemas dotted about the city. The Brixton Ritzy, The Electric (Notting Hill), The Curzon (Mayfair and Soho), The Prince Charles (Leicester Square, tickets from £1.50) and The Rio (East) are among the best year-round, but look out for the pop-up outdoor cinemas in Summer (the Secret Cinema and Somerset House screenings are super fun).
14. Cocktail hour: You might not have a butler, a driver or a suite at the Ritz, but for the price of a single cocktail you can still frequent the most eye-wateringly opulent establishments around. Avoid anything with the label ‘celebrity hotspot’ and go for old-school London glamour. Pull up a stool at the bar of Duke’s for the best martini in town.
15. Window shopping: Pretend you live in another tax bracket entirely, and spend an entire afternoon wandering the streets of Mayfair. Stroll the residential streets and peek in the grand drawing rooms as you pass, or go window shopping in the most fanstastical shops. Hunting for your perfect Cindarella shoes in Louboutin on Mount Street is a thrill even if you can’t take any home.
16. Take a dip: When the temperatures rise (here’s hoping!), get yourself to one of London’s best swimming pools. Our preferred options? The rooftop pool at Shoreditch House (free, provided you can make friends with a member), the ladies swimming pond or open air swimming pool on Hampstead Heath, or the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park. Failing that, run a garden hose down a length of plastic and make your own slip ‘n’ slide for nostalgic childish fun.
17. Visit a palace: Summer opening tickets to the grand palaces may be ludicrously expensive, but few people know you can get tickets to the Palace of Westminster (otherwise known as the Houses of Parliament) for free. Phone your local MP’s office and ask for a tour of the estate (they’re obliged to book you one for free) – it’s one of the most magnificent buildings in all of England, and every Londoner should see it at least once.
18. Spend a penny: Though the afternoon tea in the Parlour at Sketch (Conduit St – you’ll spot it from the headless dog which hangs above the portico) is on par with the finest in London (with an impressive array of teas and pastries to make even Marie Antoinette squeel with glee), it warrants a visit for the toilets alone. Simply the coolest in London (in fact, we never knew such a title existed until we went here) – think French maid attendents, great glowing pods and the sounds of the countryside when you lock the door.
19. Take tea: Because it wouldn’t be London without afternoon tea, find yourself a pretty corner of London and spend a few civilised hours with china and cake. Although the grand hotels are in the habit of charging close to £40 for a full spread (usually more than one person can manage anyway), there’s nothing to stop you splitting the cost with a friend, or simply ordering the nicest pot of tea and slice of cake on the menu (for less than £10). We love Claridges, the Berkely, Liberty, the Wolseley or the tiny Postcard Teas in Mayfair.
20. Get out of town: If it all gets too much in the city, escape! Londoner’s are blessed with some of the world’s finest day trips, a mere hour away by train. My favourites are Cambridge, of course (for prepsters & Nobel laureates in raspberry chinos, meadows the subject of Byron’s poetry and punting on the river Cam), Brighton (retro-kitch piers, tiny laneways and ice creams on the beach) and the Cotswolds (rambling country lanes, gastro pubs and luxe country houses).
… And there we have it! I could have included another hundred things, but is there anything vital you think I’ve missed? What are your favourite things to do on a lazy weekend that cost little to nothing?
Love, Miss B xx