Summer time and the living is easier

However petite your budget may be, you can always have an amazing time in London during July and August.

You can hang out at home with some music or a good book, scarfing down home made ice lollies and granitas, or sipping some cloudy lemonade or ginger beer. If you have outside space then a few tea lights twinkling away in old jam jars are all you need to sit out on warm evenings.

Or head to any of the parks with a cheap rug or mat and a home made picnic. I know there are a few park poseur types who spend a fortune on blankets, hampers and fancy plates, but it can all be done on a shoestring and to hell with keeping up with the Joneses. The only thing that’s really worth spending a little extra on is a good vacuum flask that keeps things piping hot (or icy cool, if you prefer) and is leak-proof and fairly robust. Have a quiet one with the papers, or add plenty of friends and a few beers, it’s perfect either way.

When the weather’s warmer you can take off and do loads of different free walks, ranging from a short slacker-ish ramble to a full-on yomp, depending upon your preference. You can also get out of town for very little with various special travel offers and off-peak advance fares. I recently had a return trip to Brighton for £5, which made for a perfect day out, including a wander down the seafront and some loafing about on the beach.

While the big ticketed day and weekend festivals get a lot of press, there are also hundreds of free events to get yourself along to, with happenings to suit every taste. There’s always something free to try down at the Southbank, and there are plenty of outdoor fairs and festivals that have heaps of stalls and entertainments and cost nothing to attend, from Lewisham People’s Day to Notting Hill Carnival.

The main collections of most museums and art galleries are free, and many regularly have late evenings which are filled with interesting creative programmes (the easiest thing is to sign up for their mailing lists). Or head out to some or free or subsidised gigs, outdoor theatre, or even the BBC Proms (prices start at around £5).

Who cares if we’re broke, let’s have fun anyway.

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  1. It’s dead easy to get a cheap BBQ going too – I got some disposable ones for a pound a pop in Poundland and they worked perfectly. I’ve only got a little balcony but it was lovely sitting out there last week on my deck chair with some bangers sizzling away!

  2. That reminds me, I have a couple of those BBQs myself – marinade time! A bit of home made salsa, some salads, yumness.

  3. I think I definitely spend less enjoying myself in the summer. When the winter months come round I tend to want to buy myself wee treats to cheer myself up and make dark evenings more enjoyable. In the summer I’m more than content with a long stroll and an icecream!

    Great post!

  4. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, Holly. You’ve also made me want an ice cream. P x

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