Having A Heat Wave
The forecast for today in London is 30C, and would be the hottest day on record for years if we get that high. As a tour guide, working outdoors means my first port of call in the morning is the BBC Weather app on my phone! The other day, I overheard some American friends saying “London isn’t built for heat” and they are kind of right. Most homes and buildings don’t have air conditioning, and the ones that do are no match for the freezing air that is pumped into the offices of Houston Texas! (When I worked at Continental Airlines HQ, I used to take a sweatshirt with me to work in July!)
The majority of the time, we have the benefit of a breeze (thanks to the Thames) and there are loads of places to cool off. Surviving the heat in London take a little bit of planning, and remember --- complaining about the heat, even though we have been wishing for it for months is ‘very British’!
Step 1: Do not leave without a water bottle. Fill it up, drink it, refill. There are free water spouts around St. Paul’s Cathedral, and many restaurants and cafes participate in the free tap water scheme. You simply can ask for them to fill your bottle for you. http://www.findafountain.org/ Or you can drink water an help Africa at the same time with: http://www.givemetap.co.uk/
Step 2: Sunblock. Not many people have been able to say they got a sunburn in London (more reserved for Rome or Ibiza bragging) so don’t be the first! The heat from the buildings will help intensify the sun. If you are standing near the Walkie Talkie building, remember that we once fried an egg on the pavement thanks to the concave design of the building and a very sunny day! (also, a Jaguar got a melted dashboard a few years ago!)
Step 3: Seek high points. Today is a great day to check out the top of the Monument, where you can get amazing views of The City and feel the breeze! It’s only £3 and 300 steps.... and it’s breathtaking. http://www.themonument.info/
Step 4: Pimms o’clock! The “go to” drink for summer in Britain is Pimm’s Lemonade. A lovely cocktail of Pimm’s, fresh fruit and a sparkling soda (like Sprite) will help keep you cool. Don’t pay over £18 for a pitcher, that’s highway robbery!
Step 5: King’s Cross has an open air pond! Probably packed today, but you can book for later and enjoy a dip in a natural pond. http://www.kingscrosspond.club/