I love London all year round, but when the temperatures rise and the sun shines, the city streets are all the more magical. When the grey and drizzly days of the winter leave room for sunny afternoons and mild, peaceful nights, London offers so many opportunities to escape the stresses of the fast-paced city life. Here are some of my favourite things to do in the summer.
My favourite place to unwind, swim and relax outside is Hampstead Heath Bathing ponds. This peaceful haven amongst the bustle of the city offers a unique atmosphere with an eclectic mix of swimmers and customers. Swimming surrounded by greenery make you feel immersed in nature.
When I am alone or with my girlfriends, the Ladies ponds, on the northern side of the heath, is pure heaven. Women have swum here since the 1920s and very little has changed since. It is a special place where women of all ages can relax in nature’s beauty and escape modern society’s constant scrutiny.
The tall wild grasses around the ponds offer the perfect spot for a picnic after a long swim. Not far from here I also love being able to escape to our little family barn and my vegetable garden, which I am so proud of. It’s so important to have the balance of home grown green and city work in your life and I am lucky to have both.
Without leaving the city centre, the lively bohemian West London neighbourhood is dotted with places to go. I enjoy having a drive around the Portobello market area on my Vespa on my way to the office and take in the liveliness and creativity of my surroundings. Especially in June, the area is buzzing with Portobello Summer Sundays market days, live music, international street food, fashion and craft markets.
My favourite spot for brunch in the area these days is the Tin Shed on All Saints road, conveniently next to our studio. They have a delicious Middle Eastern inspired baked eggs dish which sets me up for the day. You can sit in the patio out the back filled with palm trees and jasmine and dream of being anywhere.
Another favourite part of town for me is Primrose hill. I enjoy walking with my daughters to the top of the hill to see the stunning panoramic views of the London skyline. On a sunny day you will be able to see all the city landmarks. After a hike we love the delicious vegan or gluten free cupcakes at Primrose bakery, it is our start the weekend treat.
On summer nights I love exploring new restaurants and bars. One of my favourite restaurants these days is a little tapas bar called Donostia on Seymour place. Donostia serves up Basque inspired tapas dishes. I enjoy sitting by the little open kitchen fringed with stools and being educated on San Sebastian traditional cuisine by the charismatic chefs.
To complement a perfect night, my favourite drink would be a spicy Mescal on ice, and the newly designed Mexican bar at the top of Annabelle’s in Mayfair is the place for this.
I always love a nice night out, but lately I am loving more cherishing my friends and cooking for them at my place or being entertained in their homes. I am fortunate to have so many talented and original friends and I enjoy every opportunity to appreciate their cleverness and creativity. London is not only nice places and fancy restaurants but a beautiful mixture of creative individuals and close friendships...spending quality time with these friends is the most precious!