On June 21, 1982, London couldn’t have cared less about the summer solstice because the city was bursting with excitement as the Royal Family announced the birth of Prince William, the future king of England. Crowds swarmed St. Mary’s Hospital, eager to catch a glimpse of Prince Charles and Princess Diana with their newest addition to the British Monarchy.
This June 21, while Prince William celebrates his 33rd birthday, the rest of London will be saluting the summer solstice. With more than 16 and a half hours of daylight, the first day of summer is shaping up to be royally epic. Round up your mates, check out these best things to do in London, and live it up in the name of His Royal Highness:
Sunrise: Make the pilgrimage over to the sacred site of Stonehenge at 4:43 a.m. Only on the summer solstice can you stand in the middle of the sarsen circle and see the sun rise directly above the Heel Stone, which lies northeast of the horseshoe arrangement. Regardless of whether you believe the circle is an astrological observatory or perhaps remnants of an alien visit, join in a drum circle and revel in the Stonehenge summer solstice festivities in Wiltshire County.
Morning: After a spiritual session at dawn, cruise back to London and nosh at The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell. The tea-smoked salmon always catches the eye of brew-loving Brits, while the prawn omelet and fruit muffin please taste buds, too.
Viewfinder Tip: The British Summer Time concert is also hosting a massive Pride in London pre-party at its Carnival Stage.
Midday: We won’t judge you if you go all fangirl at the British Summer Time Hyde Park concert. Australian pop princess Kylie will be breaking hearts as she hits the stage with musical geniuses such as Grace Jones, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, and MIKA. The event starts at 1 p.m.
Afternoon: Forget about Sunday roast at the local pub and chow down at Taste of London in Regent’s Park instead. Watch in awe as top chefs Claudio Cardoso, Atul Kochhar, and Pascal Aussignac slice, dice, and whip up culinary masterpieces in the AEG Taste Theatre, or sample ravishing recipes from the finest restaurants on the foodie scene. Come hungry and don’t be embarrassed about loosening your belt buckle.
Evening: Get in the mood for some spicy entertainment at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Producer Paco Pena has dreamt up a new show, Flamencura, with a dramatic cast of musicians and flamenco dancers. Snapping hand bells, swirling dresses, and tapping heels will mesmerize at this passionate performance at 7:30 p.m.
Sunset: Still going strong? If you’re awake, kick it on the rooftop bar at Radio. On the 10th floor of ME London, this little-known perch serves spectacular views of the sunset. Cap off your solstice celebrations at 9:21 p.m., as long shadows form over Big Ben, Covent Garden, and the Thames.
Whether you’re looking to witness the solar spectacle at Stonehenge or are vying for a glimpse of the newest royal babies, the summer solstice is your chance. If you’re not a British subject, book one of the vacation packages to London to experience Smoke City in all its glory.
Here’s what you missed during the 2014 London summer solstice:
-We ventured over to Stonehenge to celebrate the solstice at sunrise.
-The annual Taste of London attracted foodies to Regent’s Park.
-The solstice offered a perfect excuse for a river cruise on the Thames.
-The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra played at Hampton Court Palace.
What’s your idea of the best summer day in London?
Header Image Attribution:Flickr/Creative Commons/Nikos Koutoulas/Via/https://flic.kr/p/ejZeEJ
Body Copy Image Attribution: Flickr/Creative Commons/seligmanwaite/Via/https://flic.kr/p/3vWbwN