16 Things (Still Left) to Do in the UK this Summer

Think summer’s almost over? Think again. From the best live music to the UK’s most-talked-about wild-food festival, there’s plenty of fun still to be had in the UK before autumn arrives.

It's not time to pack away your festival wellies and sunblock quite yet. In fact, your biggest problem in the upcoming weeks will be working out how to squeeze in your pick of inspiring things to do from the bumper late-summer line-up on offer. From the much-anticipated return of live-music performances to sublime open-air feasting, this is the stuff to book now.

What to do in the UK this September

Escape to a picture-postcard English garden at The Newt

Offering what is quite possibly the most quintessential of British staycations, The Newt in Somerset has flung open its doors to London day-trippers with its exclusive "Great Garden Escape" experience. The first-class round-trip journey from Paddington includes a gourmet breakfast and afternoon tea on the move, and, while in situ, a specialist tour of the acclaimed grounds - whose latest look has been conceived by Italo-French architect Patrice Taravella - a guided cider tasting and chef-hosted lunch at the hotel's Garden Café.

Book here.

Take a punt down the river in Oxford

Oxford is one of the first cities to truly embrace "pleasure punts", a somewhat eccentric British pastime but none the less enjoyable for it. Either hire your boat from Magdalen Bridge Boathouse and float past the Botanic Gardens, St Hilda's College and Christ Church Meadow, or start further upstream at Cherwell Boathouse to take in University Parks, Parson's Pleasure and Wolfson College, ending at The Victoria Arms pub for a well-deserved post-punt pint.

Explore the interplay between Nordic and Japanese culture at Pantechnicon

Belgravia's handsome Pantechnicon building was built in 1830 as an arts and crafts centre, then repurposed as a kind of early self-storage unit for the well-heeled locals. Today it houses a dazzling line-up of shops, cafés, bars and restaurants that showcase the Japanese and Nordic way of life. Ideal creative and culinary bedfellows, the two cultures have long had in common an appreciation of simplicity, delicacy and attention to detail. Each artfully designed floor brings something different to eat, drink and do: from an array of workshops and tasting experiences, to two design-led concept stores, a roof terrace and Sachi, a subterranean sushi restaurant featuring a knock-out art installation from master plant artist Satoshi Kiwamoto.

Explore Pantechnicon here.

Discover your local lido

Fancy a dip but no swimmable open water in sight? Head to your local lido. Not only is the water cleaner, but changing rooms also mean there'll be no hanging around in wet swimsuits afterwards. The result? More time to enjoy the finer things in life, like a massage at Bristol Lido's renowned urban spa, or tapas from the poolside bar at Thames Lido in Reading. On the hunt for a pool in the capital? Don't miss our round-up of the best lidos in London.

Take a day trip to the beach

Sometimes a free Sunday and a bucket and spade are the only things you'll need to make the most of a spontaneous late-summer trip to the seaside. Hop in the car, jump on a train or just grab your bike and go. We've scoured the coastline of our green and pleasant land, from Cornwall to Kent, to bring you a definitive list of our favourite beaches in the UK. Fish and chips not included.

Tick off a city staycation at Sea Containers

This funky copper-coloured hotel delights with its South Bank location - plum in the middle of central London and within rolling-out-of-bed distance of some of the capital's top attractions. Dreamed up by left-field designer Tom Dixon, interiors give a nod to the building's shipping heritage, taking inspiration from the golden age of transatlantic liners - think glamour meets brutalism. Stay in one of 359 river-facing bedrooms and suites and you'll almost feel like you're on a cruise, too.

Book here.

Watch a play at Shakespeare’s Globe

After over a year devoid of live performance, blow away the cobwebs with a Shakespearian play performed at the great playwright's very own theatre, set on the banks of the Thames. From world-acclaimed old classics to contemporary crowd-pleasers, the theatre's summer roster of entertainment has been carefully curated to suit all tastes. Plus, tickets start at just £5.

Summer 2021 line-up on until 30 October, book here.

Spot seals at Blakeney Point

We may not have big-game safaris in the UK, but we have Blakeney Point - home to one of Europe's largest (and most travel-savvy) seal colonies. Migrating from Brittany to Norfolk each year for the summer, these wide-eyed creatures are best spotted from one of the ferry trips on offer, such as the family-run Bishop's Boats, which has been in business since the 1960s.

Feast on foraged food at the Scottish Wild Food Festival

Celebrating all things foraged, the Scottish Wild Food Festival is a hands-on affair set across the rolling Cardross Estate, perfectly positioned in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, a 20-minute drive from Stirling. As well as grazing on all manner of native delicacies, visitors can take part in craft and foraging workshops, embark on folklore walks and watch cookery demonstrations. There's also a marketplace and live music in the main festival hub, where those who haven't eaten themselves into a foraged-food coma can dance till the sun goes down.

18-19 September 2021, book here.

Visit the Beatles’ childhood homes in Liverpool

Step back in time with a visit to where it all began for The Beatles. This combined tour of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's childhood homes in Liverpool takes music lovers through Mendips - the 1950s semi-detached house where John Lennon grew up - to 20 Forthlin Road, a run-down post-war council house that was home to a young Paul McCartney. From the threadbare sofa where She Loves You was written, to the secret spot where The Beatles practised some of their earliest songs, this trip down Penny Lane is pretty much guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

On until 28 November, book here.

Scale Ben Nevis

In search of an end-of-summer challenge that'll leave you feeling fit and fresh for autumn? We suggest lacing up your hiking boots and scaling Ben Nevis, the UK's highest peak. Scratching the clouds at 1,345 metres above sea level, this popular Scottish Munro is found in the Highlands, at the western end of the Grampian Mountains. Don't be put off by its credentials as Britain's tallest mountain, though: even amateur walkers manage to scale the summit in a day, with those taking on The Three Peaks Challenge usually completing the hike in less than five hours.

Dance on the moon with The Eden Project’s live-music summer sessions

Our favourite eco-powerhouse, The Eden Project has this summer opened its doors to a killer roster of live music from the likes of Ben Howard, Snow Patrol and Idles. Staged in one of the complex's otherworldly, crater-sized biomes, the gigs are your chance to dance the night away amid a veritable rainforest of tropical plants. As an added bonus, your visit will be planet-friendly, thanks to The Eden Project's zero-plastic policy.

On until 18 September, book here.

Have a pint at London’s biggest beer garden

London might already be known for its big pub gardens, but take a trip to Between the Bridges and you'll be entering a whole new world of open-air boozing. Handily located between Waterloo and Westminster bridges, this recently opened Southbank entertainment hub has been pulling in visitors from across the capital, thanks to its eclectic line-up of live music, craft markets, street food and larger-than-life drag brunches.

Explore Between the Bridges here.

Dive into skate culture at Somerset House

Explore the transformative impact skateboarding has had on Britain's subcultures and communities with Somerset House's latest free exhibition, No Comply. Presenting the story of skateboarding in the UK across the last 45 years through a mix of film, sound, art, design and photography, this comprehensive exhibition unpacks the enduring allure of the sport through three main themes: the city as playground, skateboarding communities and DIY culture.

On until 19 September, book here.

Soothe your soul at Cross the Tracks jazz festival

An annual celebration of soul and funk, Cross the Tracks is London's jazziest music festival. With performances in the pipeline from Sister Sledge, Lianne La Havas and The Cinematic Orchestra, visitors can expect sublime sounds in the surrounds of south London's favourite green space, Brockwell Park. The festival is about more than just music, though. There'll also be over 40 street-food traders and a craft-beer fair, as well as wellbeing workshops and a creatives market.

5 September, book here.

Get back to nature on a Wilderlands Wild Weekend

Forge a deeper connection with the land by taking advantage of West Sussex's Wilderlands Wild Weekends project. Curated with both mental and physical wellbeing in mind, this new initiative was created with the intention of encouraging rewilding in the UK. Taking place at a secluded campsite in the woodlands of Chiddinglye, the weekly schedule of immersive weekend events includes live music, a woodland spa, an ethical clothing boutique and talks and performances from world-leading teachers, speakers and musicians.

Every weekend until 19 September, book here.

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