I don’t think people realise how hot London gets in the summer when we have a heatwave without rain. The first few days are glorious. Everyone is happy, all the summer outfits are out and ice creams are everywhere. Fast forward three weeks, people get grumpy, their skin is mostly red and burnt with very random tan lines and the moral gets a little low. All the misery happen because this city isn’t equipped to deal with a hot summer so it's a constant feeling of heat. Being Saudi, people are surprised that I even mention the heat because the Saudi summers reach to 55 C -131 F-, but in Saudi 98% of places are completely air conditioned and we don't feel the heat, but in London you feel it everywhere. I still enjoy the London sunshine though and I follow the tips included in this post to stay cool.
How hot does London get in the summer?
The average so far has been 26 C -78 F- and the hottest it got was 32 C -90 F-
Six Tips to Survive the Heat in London:
1- Avoid the tube
Honestly getting the tube in the summer during rush hour (17:00-19:30) is disgusting. Just try to rearrange your routes to involve more walking and overground trains. If you have complete control over your schedule I would avoid any mode of transport at rush hour. It’s hot during freezing winter days let alone in the summer. The Central Line and Bank station are the absolute worst! There is no such thing as air conditioned underground *yet*.
2- Stay Hydrated
Have your bottle water with you at all times. Get at least the one Litre bottle because you will drink it all without even realising. You can cool your water in the fridge then pour it in a thermostat to keep it cold!
Another great thing that will keep you hydrated is fruits or vegetable with high water content like cucumbers and melons. They will keep you hydrated for longer as well.
3- Plan Cooling Stops
Some big grocery stores or luxury stores are air conditioned, so if gets too hot, plan a mini cooling stop to the big Sainsbury’s near you and get cool again! I know this might sound silly but it works for me when I am walking long distance from one place to another!
Some Londoners were even trying to compile a list of air conditioned spots on Reddit! Their list didn't go very far, but it might be entertaining to read.
4- Cool yourself from the inside
This is the best time of the year to drink all the iced teas and to eat all the ice creams in this city. I love making my own iced teas since the cafe bought ones are usually very sweet. If you want to make your own, these recipes from Eating Well might help you.
When it comes to ice cream there are so many yummy places to choose from. My usual ice creams stops are Chin Chin Labs, Snowflake gelato, Gelupo and Amorino. If I am not around those spots, I go to any local corner shop for ice cream. I am also developing a love for vegan ice creams! The Alpro vegan ice creams are so good! Especially the coconut *DROOL*
5- Shade is what you need
Seriously, being in the shade makes all the difference. So, when it gets too hot, go to the very shaded part of the park or better yet take a woods or forest country walk. I know most people want to hit the beach when it's hot (including me), but going to places like Epping Forest or Ashridge Estate is actually a good idea to stay cool. It might help to wear a sun hat or carry an umbrella to create your own little shade.
6- Get a fan
I know summer is short and it’s not worth investing a lot in it, but you need to get a basic fan or the heat will keep you up all night. I only use my fan two months a year, but it’s so worth it!! Having a hand carried paper or electrical one might also be good at times.
Although, there were moments where I completely melted in London and it’s only the beginning of July, I am very grateful for all the sunshine! I am able to wear all my summer clothes now and enjoy the many beautiful parks around. I hope you found these tips useful and please comment below if you have any more tips to stay cool this summer! :)