Fun in the late summer sun
According to a recent study*, British people will spend about four and a half months of their lives talking about the weather. Apparently, it’s such a good topic of conversation because the weather tends to be so variable. Your weather conversations may get a lot more predictable during the late summer months as its forecasted to be hot and dry.
What can we do to make the most of it? The UK is amazing – from castles to coastlines, parks to palaces – there’s something to explore and discover to suit every taste and budget. But unfortunately, we don’t often get the weather that makes spending time outside all that enjoyable. If we do, we need to make the most of it and head into the great outdoors this summer.
• Go to the beach.
The UK has 7,800 miles of coastline and we’re all within 70 miles of a beach. Our famously varied coastline can be secluded, dramatic, windswept and sandy – but not normally a place to bask in the sun. Be aware that the water will still be chilly. But what is lacking in warm water we make up for in beauty with opportunities for walking, surfing, exploring, and wildlife watching. If you’re going with younger children, your activities could include building sandcastles, looking in rockpools, collecting shells or flying kites. Find your nearest beach here.
• Visit an urban park
Many of England's towns and cities have free parks that are more than simply green spaces. From London to Cardiff, Aberdeen to Suffolk and everywhere in between, there are public parks – free, picturesque open spaces made specifically for our enjoyment. London's Richmond Park has its herds of deer, stunning garden, secret woodlands and a tea house overlooking the whole of London. Platt Fields in Manchester boasts an enchanting blend of natural and man-made beauty – a lake, trails and community gardens. York's Museum Gardens is one for history lovers with its ruins of a 900-year-old Benedictine abbey, a Roman fortress, a medieval hospital, and more. Find out what park is near you here.
• Jump on your bike
We’re increasingly becoming a nation of cyclists – a bicycle is sold roughly every 10 seconds – and the number of cycle paths, mountain biking trails, and long-distance cycle routes grows by the day. If you’re interested in cycling you can check out the cycle routes in the UK here.
• Travel through Time
The UK is a treasure trove of award-winning heritage attractions, interactive museums and visitor centres, commemorative memorials and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Sunny weather will help make the most of those in the great outdoors. Things like exploring the miles of free paths and trails around the remains of Hadrian’s Wall – the Northern most frontier of the Roman Empire –between Carlisle and Newcastle? You’ll find major Roman sites, forts, and museums as well as countless mile-castles and turrets. Stonehenge may be the most famous but Castlerigg Stone Circle in the Lake District is 3,000 years old and offers unforgettable views of the surrounding mountains and is completely free of charge. Or you could choose to feel dwarfed by nature and history on the beautiful 95-mile stretch of Jurassic Coast in Dorset. The layers of sedimentary rock tell the history of Earth over 185 million years with the cliffs and beaches peppered with fossils. Visit England’s site can give an overview of what’s on offer in the UK to suit your interest in history:
The fun doesn’t have to be restricted to daylight hours. When those long hot days inevitably lead into warmer nights, why not head out of the house into the cooler night air?
• Go Star Spotting
Stargazing is a simple way to bring science alive and to experience the beauty of the natural world. The National Trust has plenty of tips to get you started– including what to look for and great spots for star gazing in the UK if you feel like venturing away from home:
• Camp in the garden
You can set up a tent in the garden for a home-based camping adventure. You may want to stay in the tent overnight with your older children, who will enjoy how grown up it feels to help you put up the tent and then sleep inside with you. For little ones, an hour or two may be enough, but they will enjoy the novelty.
When planning outside activities, stay sun safe. Stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest, and drink plenty of water.
The best way to enjoy the sun safely is to use a combination of shade, clothing and sunscreen.
• SLIP on sun protective clothing
• SLOP on some sun screen
• SLAP on a hat
• SEEK shade
For more advice about staying safe in the sun, please see our recent article on this subject.