Here’s to the Great British Summer

So, with temperatures hovering around 30° in parts of the UK over the last few weeks, it has felt less like being at home, more like taking up residence at Club Tropicana. Balmy evenings, wall-to-wall sunshine, sun-scorched lawns and temperatures that more than justify the odd glass of Pimm’s; really, when the weather’s like this, where else would you rather be?

So without wishing to jinx the rest of the summer, here’s a guide to enjoying the best of Britain in the sunshine. Bucket and spade at the ready…

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Oh we do like to be beside the seaside…

There’s something so quintessentially British about decamping to the coast as soon as the sun comes out, which explains why we do it in our hordes, and why so many of us remember the beach holidays of our youth so fondly (forgetting the sand in our sandwiches and time spent huddled shivering behind windbreaks). But when it’s warm, a day spent rock pooling, building sand castles, jumping waves and devouring a dribbling 99 Flake is still pretty special, whatever age you are.

Take the plunge

The warmer weather is the perfect excuse to make the most of Britain’s many lidos and outdoor pools. Thanks to a massive community fundraising effort, the iconic Grade II listed Saltdean Lido, located just outside Brighton, was refurbished and reopened last year and is just the most wonderfully uplifting place to do your lunch break lengths. Another stunning example of Art Deco design, The Jubilee Pool in Penzance is the largest sea water lido in the country with views over the Atlantic, and also has a toddlers’ pool for little ones. 

Screens under the stars

Long summer evenings are not the time to embark on another Netflix binge, especially when there are plenty of chances to enjoy your entertainment alfresco. The National Trust is hosting a whole programme of movie nights and live performances in some of its properties throughout the summer, including big screen classics Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and open air theatre productions of Peter Pan and As You Like It. And Londoners are once again able to enjoy movies in the courtyard of the glorious Somerset House during August. 

Carry on camping

Despite how we all live these days-or perhaps because of, the simple pleasures of camping-fresh air, peace, being with nature, eating outdoors, running free, open fires-don’t seem to date. In fact if anything, camping is more popular than ever. It seems setting up in a field somewhere and getting away from it all is the perfect antidote to modern life (and even better if there’s no WiFi). Yes, it is a bit weather dependent. But if you have young children in tow they won’t give a fig if it’s raining or they need to wear four layers at night to keep warm. They just want to know if they can have toasted marshmallows and hot chocolate for tea. And if you’re not quite ready to do battle with guy ropes, many sites offer more luxe options, where you can bed down for the night in a plush bell tent, yurt or geodome. 

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Park life

Heading outdoors to a nearby park, riverside, beach or local beauty spot with a picnic hamper filled with goodies is a time-honoured British summer pastime. But these days you can be more adventurous than soggy sandwiches and a packet of crisps when it comes to what you eat, while still keeping it simple and easy to transport. Why not make the most of summer’s bountiful produce and use in season courgettes, asparagus, spinach, watercress, strawberries and cherries while preparing your picnic fare. Think tarts, fritters, dips and homemade sausage rolls or Scotch eggs. Throw in some jam jar dressing for salads, a bottle of homemade lemonade or elderflower cordial and a rug. Perfect-just add sunshine. 

Toast the season

We’re always being encouraged to eat local-but how often do you think about the origins of what you drink? Long gone are the days when English wines were scoffed at on the international stage, with award-winning homegrown sparkling wines regularly beating Champagne in blind tastings. A guided tour of your local vineyard makes for a great summer’s day out. ‘Taking the time to seek out and champion your local artisan producer, many of whom produce wines in small quantities using traditional methods, with strong links to the local terroir and climate, will always be rewarding’ explains Kieron Atkinson of the  English Wine Project, ‘Not only will you enjoy a really delicious, high quality wine, but you’ll also be supporting the local economy-with the guilt-free bonus of a low carbon footprint’. And thanks to this gorgeous summer, English wine is all set to enjoy the best year on record. ‘Cheers’ indeed.

 

Photography: Esther Tuttle | Charisse Kenion | Via Marley Eternit

I’m a writer and content creator, working with brands to create inspiring bespoke content, as well as on my own projects. Having spent 12 years working at Glamour before going freelance, I now spend my time working with a diverse range of mainly lifestyle, health, well-being and beauty brands, on anything from blog writing, website copy, features and press releases, to e-marketing, social media content and campaign management. And while my average working day may not be as glamorous as during my time in the magazine industry, I love the flexibility of working for myself and the daily variety of working with new people and on different projects.

Having given up city life for seaside dwelling, if I’m not busy tapping away you’ll probably find me down at the beach with my young children, with a large coffee in hand, or with my nose in a book. Ideally, all three.