The Ben & Jerry’s Double Scoop Sundae is the crème-da-la-crème of festivals, serving up treats for both the stomach and the ears. This annual festival takes place on Clapham Common – just a short trip from the centre of London, and is well worth a visit for anyone who is partial to a scoop or two of delicious ice cream – or like me on a weekend – a tub or two!
On the 23rd and 24th July, ice cream-addicts will travel far and wide to sample some of the brand’s favourite flavours including Cookie Dough, Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Caramel Chew Chew. Visitors can also take the opportunity to try new creations, such as the Fairtrade Coconutterly Fair.
Now in its 7th year, the Ben & Jerry’s festival has grown a huge following of fans and is a great day out or weekend for all. Even if you’re watching your waistline, the festival is a great excuse to indulge in your favourite dessert, and with Ben & Jerry’s launching new Fairtrade varieties, you can enjoy your ice cream, while taking comfort in its ethical production.
There are additional ice cream-themed festivities for both children and adults to get involved in, such as a fairground, petting zoo, and the chance to suggest the next best ice cream flavour. There’s scoops of photo opportunities to be had with themed characters and huggable giant tubs of Ben & Jerry’s – which are, of course, full to the brim of real ice cream…
I know it’s hard to believe, but the festival does also offer non-ice cream related attractions, each year bringing a fantastic line-up of live music. Fans can chill out to the likes of Maximo Park, Gary Numan and The Duke & The King. The music festival also gives up-and-coming acts the chance to perform on the main stage, having selected 4 finalists from the Ben & Jerry’s competition ‘Be Herd’.
This year is set to be the hottest spring since records began in 1910, with London temperatures already soaring to 24C. To make the most of the sizzling sunshine, we’ve highlighted 10 outdoor activities and attractions to enjoy, in and around London.
River Thames Cruises – Open-top river cruises are a fabulous way to enjoy the sights of London, with the banks of the River Thames lined with many historic and modern landmarks. Visitors can escape the hustle and bustle, and appreciate such sights as The London Eye, St. Pauls Cathedral, and Tower Bridge, while meandering down the River Thames. There are a selection of cruises to choose from, covering various hot spots along the river, and start from £8.00 for an adult ticket.
Boating in Hyde Park – Whether you’re feeling energetic, or are simply looking to relax and enjoy the tranquillity of Hyde Park, The Serpentine offers a range of boating opportunities. Hire a pedal or row boat to glide along at your leisure or take a trip on the Solarshuttle – the UK’s first solar-powered boat. An hours pedal or row boat rental costs around £10.00 for an adult, and £5.00 for children under 15. The Solarshuttle is available for private hire, carrying up to 40 passengers.
Hampton Court Palace Gardens – The formal palace gardens cover 60 acres of landscaped beauty, boasting impressive flower displays, sculpted trees and magnificent fountains. Also contained within the Hampton Court grounds, is Home Park – 700 acres of wild parkland, where you will see herds of roaming deer and wild birds. The Hampton Court Maze is a popular attraction, covering half a mile of snaking paths and dead-end routes. Admission to the formal gardens costs £5.30 for an adult, with free admission for children under 15. A combination ticket, including entry to the palace, formal gardens and maze, costs £15.95 for an adult and £8.00 for children under 16. Home Park has free entry to the public.
London Zoo – Located in Regent’s Park, London Zoo has many outdoor attractions, best enjoyed on a summer’s day. The world’s oldest zoo, it is home to over 750 species, including Asian lions, Sumatran tigers and giraffes, which can be appreciated in many indoor and outdoor enclosures. The perfect day out for all ages, the zoo offers many educational exhibits, animal encounters, and entertaining shows, including the new Penguin Beach Exhibit. Entry during mid-season costs £19.50 for an adult and £15.60 for children. High season prices are £20.50 for adults and £16.40 for children.
Free Running – You may have seen this new phenomenon featured in adverts and films, and now you can experience the fantastic and exhilarating activity for yourself. Free running sees participants flying over London’s urban terrain, using a combination of climbing, running and jumping skills. Suitable for complete beginners, you will receive training on how to negotiate your way over and under everyday obstacles, such as fences, railings and walls, while creating movements that some consider as artistic. Evening training courses are held throughout London and cost around £10 per person for a 2 hour training session.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – The perfect activity to enjoy a beautiful summer’s evening, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is the largest outdoor auditorium, seating 1,240 spectators. From mid-May to early September, a selection of dramatic performances can be enjoyed, along with a variety of comedy acts and live music. To complete the evening, visitors can purchase a hot and cold buffet, barbecue or pre-booked picnic, or choose to take along their own food and drink. Prices vary depending on the choice of performance.
Open Top Bus Tours – Enjoy the sights and sounds of London with an open top bus tour. Without a barrier between you and the elements, you’ll feel a part of London’s lively atmosphere, and can truly appreciate the many landmarks you’ll be presented with, up close and personal. Many tours offer live commentary from theatrical tour guides, who enhance the experience. A 24 hour ticket that enables you to hop-on and hop-off tours at your leisure, costs around £27.00 for an adult and £12.00 for children under 15.
Covent Garden – On a summer’s day, the electric atmosphere of Covent Garden is not to be missed, with visitors flocking to enjoy an outdoor meal and drink in one of the fine restaurants and cafes of the main square. The carnival atmosphere has many free street performances, which can also be appreciated with a pint, from the famous Punch and Judy balcony.
Theme Parks – For thrill-seekers, looking for an adrenaline-pumping day out, London and its surrounding areas offer some of the most extreme theme parks and attractions. Thorpe Park is a firm favourite, and is home to Britain’s fastest roller coaster – Stealth, and is within easy reach from central London. Great for young children, Chessington World of Adventures has many family-friendly rides and attractions. Tickets start from around £39.60 for adults and £28.80 for children when purchased on the door, with great discounts to be had when pre-booking.
London Eye –Although technically an indoor activity, the London Eye is still best appreciated on a clear summer’s day, offering unspoilt and far-reaching views of the London skyline and beyond. Standing 135 metres tall, it is London’s 4th tallest structure, transporting guests in a moving glass capsule, for a truly panoramic view of London. Adult tickets are from £18.60 and children from £9.54, when purchased on the day from the ticket office.
The countdown for Wimbledon is on – with less than 6 weeks until the games commence, we’re getting excited over the prospect of watching some world-class tennis, while enjoying refreshing Pimm’s, strawberries and cream. Those lucky enough to secure a ticket in advance will avoid the long-standing tradition of queuing in hope of gaining entry, however, with the energetic atmosphere at Wimbledon, queuing is a part of the overall experience.
From 20th June – 1st July, Wimbledon is a must for anyone visiting London, even offering a potential glimpse of the Royal Family, who occasionally attend Wimbledon, seated in the Royal Box. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament with games played on the traditional grass courts and is considered the most prestigious tennis event of its kind.
The tournament schedule for the first week includes early singles and doubles matches, with those seeded players on the centre court, and courts 1 and 2. The ladies and gentlemen’s singles finals are scheduled for the last weekend. If you fail to get a ticket in advance, or from queuing, you can still be a part of the action watching the matches on the giant TV screens, viewable from a hill on the Northern side of the grounds. In previous years, many fans have gathered here to show support when British players have been successful and has been previously nicknamed ‘Henman Hill’ and ‘Murray Mound’.
Wimbledon is easily accessible from central London whether travelling by road or public transport. For those visiting, Loving London Apartments offer great self-catered accommodation for enjoying Wimbledon and the many landmarks of central London. For more information about Wimbledon and tickets, visit the official site.