Ten things to do in the UK in the summer – even if it’s raining
24 July 2009

OK, so the weather here can be strange. But most of the English language students we interview tell us that’s one of the things they like about living in the UK.

So make sure you’ve got a waterproof coat, good shoes and an umbrella – and your sunglasses. Then you are ready for anything the British summer can throw at you. 


  • Go to one of the Proms series of classical concerts organised by the BBC in London from July to September. Apart from special outdoor firework concerts, all the shows are in London. If you want to go to a concert at the Albert Hall which is sold out, you can often get cheap standing tickets by queueing before the show starts.
  • If you don’t mind music in the mud and rain, try to get tickets for a music festival. There are some one-day events but more often you’ll camp for a night or two. There are festivals all over the country, catering for all musical tastes. Don’t forget to pack Wellington boots and baby wipes (for washing).
  • Try open air theatre in the middle of London. The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has no roof over the stage or the audience, and the audience is encouraged to bring clothes to suit the weather. Most shows do go ahead, and you can picnic there. Shows this summer include Hello Dolly and The Importance of Being Earnest.
  • There are other open-air theatres, too, including the spectacular Minack perched on a sea cliff in Cornwall, and performances at National Trust properties.
  • If you get a chance to see a cricket match it’s a very English thing to do. Look out for cricket pitches in towns and villages as you travel – you may be able to watch a local match on a Sunday.
  • Most British seaside resorts are organised so that you can have a good time in good or bad weather. Blackpool, on the North-West coast, has a huge amusement park and two piers. Brighton has a pier, amusements, lots of eating places and a lively night life. Surprisingly, it can be fun to spend a rainy day by the sea, and watch British families coping with the weather.
  • Spend a day on a steam railway. There are lots of little railway lines with old-fashioned trains around the country, and it can be a lovely way to see the countryside. Don’t expect the old routes to run every day, or connect with regular train services.
  • Visit Buckingham Palace, official home of the Queen. The palace is only open to the public in August and September. It is worth queuing to see some of the state rooms inside the palace and get a look at the gardens. There is a fantastic picture collection as well.
  • Plan a walk which takes in some country churches. The UK has beautiful ancient churches in a great number of its villages, and they are often open to look around.
  • Whatever you do, check the weather forecast – just like the British. It is usually accurate these days. But don’t be surprised if you get rain or sun when you’re not expecting it. It’s all part of the British culture…


Susan Young



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