The Great British Summer is finally here which means the August bank holiday is just around the corner. Whether you prefer to plan ahead or find a last-minute staycation, there’s no need to travel abroad when there are so many exciting summer events in London to be explored. Here are some of our Ritz recommendations for things to do over the long weekend:
Summer Staycations for the Bank Holiday in London
It’s carnival time!
For the first time in two years, the legendary Notting Hill Carnival is back this August bank holiday for the largest street party in Europe. A vibrant celebration of Caribbean culture, the Carnival welcomes adults and children alike, with Sunday 28th August being the family-friendly ‘Children’s Day’ and the main parade and party taking place on Monday. Expect a glorious weekend filled with the sound of Calypso music, spectacular dancing and street performances, dazzling costumes and delicious Caribbean street food.
Get back to nature
Alternatively, if it’s a relaxing long weekend you’re after, Green Park, on the doorstep of The Ritz is the ideal verdant escape. Over 40 acres in size, you’re sure to find a tranquil spot to sit back on the candy-striped deckchairs and let the world pass you by. Or why not take a stroll through the trees to Buckingham Palace? It wouldn’t be a trip to London without seeing at least some of the sights. If you’re on a family staycation, the little ones will love blowing off some steam in the fresh air before settling down to a summer picnic in the park.
London in bloom
Marking the year of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, The Tower of London has transformed its 13th century moat into a sea of colourful and aromatic flowers for the duration of summer 2022. Attracting pollinators and encouraging biodiversity, Superbloom is not just a pretty sight. Plus, you can get involved by whooshing down the four-lane slide right into the heart of the display. Walking the meandering paths and listening to the peaceful soundscapes, you’ll soon forget the bank holiday action of central London lies just beyond the historic walls.
Just your cup of tea
Fancy a truly British bank holiday staycation? It can only mean afternoon tea at The Ritz. Dress up for the occasion to match the glittering, gilded surroundings of the hotel’s original ballroom and feel like royalty as you dine on delicate finger sandwiches, cloud-like scones and sip an expertly brewed loose-leaf tea. Let the meticulous service and melodious ambience whisk you away to an era gone by and perhaps indulge in a glass or two of Champagne…it is a bank holiday after all! Just one decision remains, cream first or jam?
Things to do in London with the Family
As one of London’s most family-friendly hotels, we love to create memories with our youngest guests that will last long after the weekend has ended. There’s no better opportunity than a family staycation at The Ritz to spend quality time together and experience the very best that the capital has to offer. During your stay, every child receives a VIK (Very Important Kid) card as part of our Kidz@TheRitz service, unlocking a multitude of treats, especially for children. Think complimentary ice cream, welcome gifts and more, to make their Ritz experience a whole world of fun. But for when you are out and about, here are our handpicked suggestions of family activities in London:
Lights, Curtains, Action!
Located on bustling Piccadilly, The Ritz couldn’t be better located for guests to head to a whole host of London attractions for families, one of the closest and most impressive of course being the bright lights of the West End! Little ones will delight in seeing their favourite Disney characters come alive on stage in The Lion King, Beauty and The Beast and Frozen: The Musical, whilst older children can be immersed in the wizarding world of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child or the chilling Woman in Black. It may be a staycation but you’ll be a world away in the music, dancing and drama of the West End. It’ll be a tough act to follow.
Make a beeline for Regent’s Park
The world’s oldest scientific zoo, ZSL London Zoo is a fascinating family day out, featuring all creatures great and small from gorillas and giraffes to butterflies and spiders (who thanks to their Friendly Spider Programme aren’t so scary after all!). Discover the personalities of London’s animal kingdom with the Meet the Animals experiences, letting your children feed, pet and learn about their new furry friends. For special bank holiday fun, ZSL London Zoo’s Summer of Colour event is just the ticket for young visitors to go hog wild with face painting, dress up and of course, thousands of colourful animal characters.
Dreams really can come true
Helicopters buzzing over your head, cars roaming beneath your feet, teddies twice your size and real-life fairies all around… the first time walking through the famous doors of Hamleys is a moment children will never forget. The seven floors of the iconic Regent Street emporium are filled with wonders that even adults will have to see to believe. With a constant programme of in-store events, including puppet shows and ‘Meet and Greets’ with family favourites such as Peppa Pig and Pikachu, Hamleys is so no ordinary toy store. Head down early to catch the daily Opening Ceremony, offering one lucky child the chance to ring the bell and open the doors for the day’s business. Pocket money at the ready, it’s time to explore!
Take to the water
London is a hive of activity during the summer months, as the city welcomes tourists from all over the world. When you have children in tow, why not beat the crowds and take a cruise down the peaceful River Thames? There’s no need to worry about traffic here! The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye… see all the city sights from a whole new perspective while benefitting from the sunshine and fresh air. With plenty of London’s family attractions, including Tate Modern and The Globe, being riverside, simply hop off at your next destination to continue your bank holiday adventure on land.
If you’re planning a longer summer staycation in London and need some further itinerary inspiration, find some more Ritz recommendations in our Guide to Family Fun in London.
Staycation Ideas for Couples
London has everything you may desire for a romantic couple’s staycation, rivalling even the City of Lights. Having checked in to a suite at The Ritz, the city lies at your feet. From secluded bars to must-visit events, there’s almost too much to choose from. So, should you be lost for summer date ideas in London, here are some tips from The Ritz on how to spend a luxurious long weekend together:
Indulge in some retail therapy
Exploring the local neighbourhood of The Ritz is a wonderful way to while away a few hours together and you may even discover a hidden gem or two. St James’s is home to a wealth of both independent and world-famous stores, many of which are Royal Warrant Holders, perfect for a spot of shopping over the bank holiday weekend. Pick up the ingredients for a picnic date with some artisan cheese from Paxton & Whitfield, hamper essentials from Fortnum & Mason and perhaps a few Prestat truffles to finish. Equally, if it’s time for a wardrobe refresh find the very best in menswear on Jermyn Street, as well as luxury fashion and jewellery boutiques on Bond Street, just moments from the hotel.
For more suggestions on places to visit in St James’s take a look at The Ritz London’s Neighbourhood Guide, curated by @bei.bei.wei.
Groove the night away
As the sun goes down, the sound of live music sets the mood and the bartender is busy shaking up summer cocktails… where better to spend a warm bank holiday weekend than at The Ritz Garden? Rising star, Georgia van Etten, will be kicking off the weekend’s live entertainment with her refreshing take on alt-pop. Be it cocktails, Champagne or a light bite you’re after, an intimate alfresco spot amongst the olive trees awaits in one of Piccadilly’s finest outdoor bars.
A royally good time
This summer, the Royal Albert Hall once again plays host to the BBC Proms, the world-renowned festival of classical music. On the August Bank Holiday, take your seat for a celebration of the natural world with live music from composers including Hans Zimmer, performed alongside awe-inspiring footage from the BThis summer, the Royal Albert Hall once again plays host to the BBC Proms, the world-renowned festival of classical music. On the August Bank Holiday, take your seat for a celebration of the natural world with live music from composers including Hans Zimmer, performed alongside awe-inspiring footage from the BBC’s Natural History Unit of iconic moments from David Attenborough and ground-breaking series of recent years. Experiencing the infinite wonders of the natural world in one of the country’s most beloved, historic venues is sure to be a highlight of your couple’s staycation in London.
Cheers to the long weekend!
Make the most of the extra day off by paying a visit to The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz. The golden glow of the Art Deco-inspired bar makes for the most romantic setting for date night cocktails. Designed by our Head Mixologist, the summer cocktail menu has plenty of avant-garde choices if you’re feeling adventurous. Meanwhile, if you’re a lover of the classics, the bar team of course make a mean martini or negroni. In the early evening before a night on the town or after dinner to round off the night in style, we’re ready to show you to your table for two.
There you have it, the ultimate Ritz guide for making your summer staycation in London a memorable one. Whether you’re in the capital for a day, a long weekend or a week, we hope you’ve found the inspiration you need to relish every moment, even if it’s a last-minute trip.