The summer of 2012 saw the long-awaited arrival of Olympic and Paralympic fever in London. Much of the city has been completely transformed and over 10,000 athletes from 204 different nations have arrived for their shot at glory on sport’s biggest stage. But even if you didn’t manage to get a ticket this time round, or if track and field isn’t really your thing, there’s still never been a better time to visit the British capital. The team here at Splendia have compiled a selection of the best activities on offer in London in the coming weeks that have nothing to do with the games whatsoever.
The Big Rooftop Golf and Tea Party, Selfridges
The emblematic department store has opened its legendary rooftop space once again, with legendary food purveyors and architects Bompas & Parr creating a truly extraordinary mini-golf course. Echoing the first Selfridges rooftop golf experience from the 1930s, each hole on the 2500sqft course is modelled on a London landmark and the design takes inspiration from that most delightful of British pastimes – Afternoon Tea.
The Emirates Air Line
The UK’s first urban cable car, the Emirates Air Line has already carried 500,000 passengers from Greenwich to the Royal Docks. Also known as the Thames Cable Car, passengers are offered spectacular views of the Thames Barrier, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Olympic Park from a unique perspective over 300ft above the water.
Tate Modern Summer Collection
One of London’s finest art galleries has a number of blockbuster exhibitions on show this summer, and with many tourists preoccupied with the Olympics on the other side of town, this month is the ideal opportunity to beat the queues. An extensive selection of Damien Hirst’s work from throughout his iconic career is on show until the 9th of September, in conjunction with his new living installation “Life and Death” which features a room full of live butterflies. Other artists involved in temporary exhibitions this summer include Edvard Munch, Oskar Fischinger and Tino Sehgal, guaranteeing a spectacular and eye-opening day out.
Notting Hill Carnival
The biggest street festival in the world outside of Rio de Janeiro, the critically acclaimed spectacle in London’s trendy Notting Hill district welcomes over 2.5 million visitors every year. Now in its 37th year, this incredible 2-day event has a vibrant Caribbean theme and boasts over 50,000 performers, 40 sound systems, several stages and hundreds of food stalls serving delicious international cuisine.
Climb the O2
One of the most thrilling additions to London’s attractions this summer is the ‘Up at the O2‘ experience. As of June of this year, members of the public are invited to walk across one of London’s most iconic landmarks and enjoy an adrenaline-pumping new perspective on the London skyline. Designed by the same architects that built the O2 arena itself, visitors will be given jumpsuits and safety harnesses before making their way up a tensile fabric walkway suspended 53m above ground level to a viewing platform in the centre of the roof which offers breathtaking vistas of the surrounding cityscape.
Diamond Jubilee Exhibition at Buckingham Palace
To coincide with Her Majesty’s Jubilee year, Queen Elizabeth has made available an unprecedented amount of her diamond jewellery, which is on display until the 9th of October. As she celebrates 60 years on the throne, a number of the Queen’s personal jewels that have been given as gifts or acquired during her reign are on display for the first time. In addition, many of the diamond items that have been worn by the monarchy for the past 200 years can be marvelled at by visitors to Buckingham Palace, which has also opened a number of its spectacular state rooms again this year, providing the public with a unique insight into the life behind the scenes at the world’s most famous royal residence.