London theatre breaks in midsummer mean hot days and steamy nights, the occasional thunderstorm and plenty of outdoor events organised as things to do in July.
In 2009 for example, we had the enchanting Peter Pan production in Kensington Gardens, and some picnic concerts at Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath. There was also the much acclaimed art installation project in Trafalgar Square on the Fourth Plinth, by Antony Gormley. Every hour a different person selcted at random from those who applied, would stand on the vacant high plinth and do whatever they like, in view of Nelson’s column and the Lions. You don’t have to be a great modern art afficianado to appreciate the voyeuristic nature of such an event, with its streaming webcam and great sense of occasion.
For most of July, the schools have not yet broken up so this makes it a good time to pick up hotel deal bargains before the crowds, and to visit some places that will become a lot noisier once the families start arriving in larger numbers. Kew Gardens for example is a delightful day out and they celebrate a 250th anniversary in 2009 with special events and the opening of a spectacular tree top walk. You can get to Kew from central London by taking a train from Waterloo, the District Line tube from Embankment or or even by boat from Westminster pier.
More things to do in July
Still on a horticultural theme, July also sees the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. It’s the world’s largest annual garden and flower show and it takes place at Hampton Court, near London, organised by the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society). Only RHS members can visit on Tuesday and Wednesday but anybody can visit on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Plants can be bought on any day (you can leave them in the plant creche and collect them when you leave). The easiest way to get there is take a train from London Waterloo to Hampton Court which is still within Transport for London zone 6, so a one day travelcard is valid. It is a 15 minute walk from the train station to the show.