emperatures this weekend are set to reach the high teens and it’s taken London by surprise — many of the capital’s summery spots and activities won’t get going until Easter. But with the best forecast of the year so far, the next couple of days are not for staying home — here’s how to make hay while the sun shines.
The first port of call is to secure tickets to your night out. Undoubtedly, the party of the weekend is Re-Textured (from £24.50, re-textured.com), which ties together cutting-edge electronic music and entrancing light shows.Tonight it takes to Printworks for a session of sweat-it-out clubbing, with a line-up including Baby T, Héctor Oaks and Helena Hauff. Tomorrow the party keeps on thudding at East End club Fold, with tickets on the door. Those wanting to head out of the club and straight into the morning sun should stick to Fabric, which tomorrow celebrates a decade of Picnic Records until 7am (tickets from £15, ra.co). Andy Luff, and Night Moves are on the bill.
Those wanting to drink, dance and pick up a tan all at the same time should wait until Saturday lunchtime: Soca on the River (from £22.15, eventbrite.co.uk) is promising a tropical take on a spring break-style rave up. Party boat MV Jewel sets off from Blackfriars pier at 2pm, with free rum punch at the dock from noon. Over four hours, five DJs will blast through soca hits; expect this one to get loose. Meanwhile the excellent Limin’ Beach Club (limin.co.uk), not far from the Oxo Tower, is always a good time — tons of rum, music and sand.
Up for an entirely different vibe? Skip to Brew By Numbers on Morden Wharf Road, where in the airy warehouses by the water there’s a beer festival from today until Sunday (@BrewByNumbers). The tenner entry fee buys three half pints, with DJs playing throughout and food stalls to keep everyone steady. The Morden Wharf Terrace, a new, 500-capacity open air venue, opens close by on April 29.
Banquets on blankets
Ready for park life? After bans over the pandemic, happily now almost all of London’s parks welcome picnics. Not sure where to head? Kick off Saturday morning with a trip to Richmond Park or head up to Parliament Hill for its beautiful views. Keen to up your picnic game? It’s all in the prep. If you’re quick, orders today with Pique (from £35, piquefood.co.uk) will be ready for delivery on Sunday (things ordinarily require 48 hours’ notice). Those feeling flush should try Colette (from £110, colette.co.uk) although it might be easier to pick up supplies from the shop itself, at 315 Fulham Road. If you’re Finsbury Park way, stop at Max’s Sandwich Shop (N4, maxssandwichshop.com), finally reopened. For those by Haggerston and Ravenscroft parks, the Hackney branch of Dom’s Subs (doms-subs.co.uk) does takeaway; portions are gloriously oversized. Drinks wise, don’t panic if you run out once you’re sat down — Shop Cuvee (shopcuvee.com) do same-day bike deliveries and Hackney’s Drinks Drop offer the same for cocktails, so long as orders are made before 3pm (£19.50, thedrinksdrop.com). If you’re thinking about a barbecue, stay home: they’re banned in most parks these days, unless your local falls under Camden council (the season is April 11-Sept 20).
Make a splash
The boating lakes in London’s parks are all hibernating (most return on the Easter weekend), as are sailing classes — but there’s plenty of messing about on the river to be had. The London Kayak Company (from £65, londonkayakcompany.com) already paddles between Battersea and Greenwich both day and night, and it’s no tougher than a brisk walk. Paddleboarding sessions are held across the city, but the two companies to start with are Active360 (active360.co.uk) and the aptly named Paddle Boarding London (paddleboardinglondon.co.uk), who between them cover most of the Thames. Both really get going in April, but keen types can get annual access with PBL. Self-hire electric day boats GoBoat (from £95, goboat.co.uk) are also back pottering along the Thames. Bringing your own boozy picnic is welcome at GoBoat’s sites in Kingston and Canary Wharf, while teetotallers should stick to Paddington. Mere boats too boring? Try Skuna (from £125, skunaboats.com), who offer self-drive hot tubs with a motor attached. Slightly more conventional are the barbecue boats, which are floating BBQs with seats. Both run at Canary Wharf, and both are offering up to 50 per cent discounts online.
Start by heading up on the roof: while most of London’s rooftop bars are still closed, a few are in action. Back as of this week is the Dorchester rooftop (dorchestercollection.com), now a speakeasy-style bar with views over Hyde Park. If cocktails are your bag, but you’re after a more lowkey setting, head to the top of the Oxford Street John Lewis for Willows (willowsontheroof.co.uk), where DJs and Tinie Tempah’s fried chicken are on offer. Down the road on top of Selfridges, the Alto rooftop restaurant (sancarlo.co.uk) is one for lazing your way through a Mediterranean meal. Other rooftops open include Sabine (sabinelondon.co.uk), which overlooks St Paul’s, Haugen (haugen-restaurant.com), near the Olympic Park, the surprisingly decent terrace atop the Camden Diner (camdendiner.com) and the beautiful space that tops Shoreditch’s Boundary hotel (boundary.london). The pick of al fresco spots is De Beauvoir’s Towpath Cafe, by Regent’s Canal (towpathlondon.com); it has just opened after a winter sat empty. Further east by Cambridge Heath is celebrated waterside Italian Ombra (ombrabar.restaurant). On the other side of town, while the River Cafe (rivercafe.co.uk) never fails, those without bankruptcy wishes might prefer Hammersmith brasserie Sam’s Riverside (samsriverside.co.uk), which also overlooks the Thames. Elsewhere, lucky types might be able to swing a table at brand new Caravel, another floating restaurant, this one next to the Holborn Studios in Islington (thestudiokitchen.co.uk). If a you can’t land a table, head to Paddington for the London Shell Co, who operate two floating restaurants specialising in seafood (londonshellco.com). One other to consider is Northcote Records in Clapham (northcoterecords.com); the outside terrace heaves in the day, and later on, the inside lights up as bands and DJs take the stage.