Lockdown has come to an end and things are slowly beginning to return to normal, just in time for August bank holiday. After several months cooped up at home, most of us are aching to go out and explore more of what the world has to offer. While it may not be too safe to go on holiday yet, especially if it involves venturing to another country, you can still go on day trips and discover somewhere new as long as you adhere to social distancing guidelines, of course. If you're eager to escape your home, there are plenty of parks to wander through, outdoor swimming pools to splash around in, and fruit farms to browse on the weekend. Below are some of the best things to do in London over August bank holiday:
1. Cool off in a lido
By purpaboo (Peter Smith) -https://www.flickr.com/photos/purpaboo/3284064671/, CC BY 2.0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13265957
Unless you're fortunate enough to have your own pool, chances are it's been a while since you've been swimming. If you fancy taking a dip on the weekend, why not visit one of the city's many lidos? From London Fields Lido in Hackney to Hampton Pool in Hampton to Park Road Lido in Crouch End to Parliament Hill Lido in Highgate, you're never too far away from a pool to swim in. and with strict social distancing measures in place, lidos will be less crowded than usual so you'll be able to swim without having to dodge other people.
When: Check the website of your local lido for opening times Address: Various lidos across the city
Ever wanted to see a lavender field? Well, you're in luck as there's one just outside London and it's open over the bank holiday weekend. Mayfield Lavender Field spans 25 acres and is perfect for a summery photoshoot or for just getting some fresh air. Be sure to take a few snaps by the iconic red London phone box and stop off at the café for a bite to eat: you can try fresh lavender tea or homemade lavender cake. Mayfield Lavender Farm is best accessed by car, but if you don't drive, you can catch a train from central London to Woodmansterne Station and then hop on the 166 bus towards Banstead.
When: 9:00am 6:00pm every day Address: Mayfield Lavender Field, 1 Carshalton Road, Banstead SM7 3JA
Tucked away in Chiswick is artist Carrie Reichardt's house, a distinct building that is guaranteed to liven up your Instagram feed. Many people have complained about the house being an eye sore, but it is also considered a great work of art and took Carrie Reichardt over 20 years to complete. Talk about dedication! The house is covered with mosaic tiles and political messages, as well as tributes to American prisoners. The house stands out amongst the other buildings in the area and it's hard not to stop and stare at it. Anyone who's a fan of art should check out Carrie Reichardt's house you won't be disappointed.
When: During the day, when it's light enough to take good photos of the house Address: 4-6 Fairlawn Grove, London W4 5EL
4. Enjoy a performance at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
It's been a while since we were able to watch live theatre, but fortunately Regent's Park Open Air Theatre was able to open before the end of summer. While there won't be a selection of plays to choose from like previous years, you can catch a special production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar: The Concert, following the success of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2016 and again in 2017. Unsurprisingly, audience numbers will be reduced from 1256 to 390, and spectators will have to wear face masks, with their temperatures being taken upon arrival. Tickets are available from the theatre website and cost between £25 and £65.
When: Check the website for showtimes and information about how to book tickets
Address: Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, The Regent's Park, Inner Cir, London NW1 4NU
For a slice of history, head over to the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, which reopened to the public in the middle of July. Cutty Sark is an iconic ship that dates back to 1869 and was built to carry tea back from China. It also transported gunpowder, whisky and buffalo horns. The ship will be open from 10:30am to 4:00pm, and you can only enter if you purchase tickets in advance from the Royal Museums Greenwich website. As a safety precaution, there will be protective screens in the ticket hall and gift shop, and a one-way system will be in place.
When: Open from 10:30am to 4:00pm every day
Address: Cutty Sark, King William Walk, London SE10 9HT
If you're looking for a way to entertain your kids over the August bank holiday, why not take them to a fruit and vegetable farm? This activity is fun for all the family not just children and is a good excuse for getting out of the house and reducing the amount of plastic that comes with buying fruit and vegetables from supermarkets. Parkside Farm, Hewitts Farm and Stanhill Farm are all situated within easy reach of the city, and have a whole selection of fruit and veg to pic, such as strawberries, raspberries, plums, tomatoes, sweetcorn, peas, courgettes and broad beans. Be sure to check the fruit and veg are ripe first and wash them at home before you eat them.
When: Check the website of the fruit and vegetable farm you wish to visit for opening times
Address: Various locations
One of the most summery things in London is to visit a garden. Regent's Park is home to the city's largest rose garden, and it's well worth the visit. Located in the inner circle of Regent's Park, Queen Mary's Garden has over 12,000 roses on display, ranging from shrubs and climbers to ramblers. The garden was named after the wife of King George V and opened to the public in 1932. You could pay a visit to the zoo in the morning before wandering through the garden in the afternoon, and then see Jesus Chris Superstar: The Concert in the evening.
When: 5:00am 9:00pm every day
Address: Regent's Park, Chester Rd, London NW1 4NR
Animal lovers can enjoy a day out at London Zoo this weekend. The zoo reopened a couple of months ago, with some social distancing measures in place: visitors must pre-book for either morning or afternoon slots, and there are 3 colour-coded routes to choose from (pink, blue and orange). Face masks will also need to be worn in certain parts of the zoo, especially in the lemur walkthrough and other indoor areas, and payment in the cafes and shops is only accepted via contactless methods such as credit cards, debit cards and Apple Pay.
When: 10:00am 6:00pm every day
Address: ZSL London Zoo, Regent's Park, Outer Cir, London NW1 4RY
9. Experience the first virtual Notting Hill Carnival
While the pandemic has prevented Notting Hill Carnival from going ahead in person this year, you can still enjoy the iconic event from home. There will be a whole range of video content and music chosen by radio presenters DJ Ace and Remel London that you will be able to stream over the three-day weekend, including a mix of hip-hop, Afrobeat, R&B and dancehall tracks. The event will start with a live countdown from the large screen in Piccadilly Circus. You can find out more about this year's schedule and register on the official website.