Make a slip n slide in your garden
Yes it's childish, but it's also great fun. Use the video for Ben Howard's 'Keep Your Head Up' for inspiration although good luck finding the space to make one quite this epic. Pick up some tarpaulin, or even just some strong bin bags, lather them up with soapy water and hey presto- your very own summer slip n slide!
Head to Wimbledon from 24 June to 7 July and watch some top quality tennis. One great way to bag yourself some tickets is through your local tennis club, but otherwise just buy a ground pass early on in the competition as many top players will be on the smaller courts at this stage. For Court 1 or Centre Court tickets, try queuing for vacated seats later in the day or camp over night outside the park with some friends.
Every Friday from 6-10pm throughout June and July, London Zoo plays host to the city’s wildest night out. The zoo is home to over 750 unique species and you can watch live feeding demonstrations with the tigers and penguins. This 18+ night involves plenty of on-site bars, street vendors, a silent disco and an adult-sized ball pond!
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Camp out at the beach
Who said you can’t have a day at the seaside in England? Pick a few days when the sun is supposed to shine and head to a camping site near the coast with some friends. Go body-boarding, build sand castles, hunt out a traditional ice-cream van and cook up a BBQ in the evening. There are hundreds of lovely sites around the UK, from West Wittering on the West Sussex coast to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire.
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Run a marathon
Training for a marathon is not only a great way to stay fit- it’s the perfect opportunity to raise money for a worthwhile charity and rope your friends in for support. Check out the Marathon Runners Diary for a list of upcoming races, including half marathons and related events. If you aren’t quite marathon ready, try a 5 or 10km run instead, such as those organised by Cancer Research’s Race For Life.
Go speed dating
Looking for a bit of summer romance? Gather up some single friends and make a night out of scouting some local talent. Perhaps surprisingly, this needn’t be a cringe affair. Try London’s Safari Supper Club where, along with your ‘pride’ of four, you partake in a three course meal with three different female/male groups, culminating in a night out. Alternatively drag a mate along to a more typical event and enjoy sharing your thoughts on potential dates afterwards!
See a West End show
The big show of the year has been Les Misérables, following the success of the blockbuster movie, alongside new satire hit The Book of Mormon and Roald Dahl’s Matilda. While the top tickets are pricey, there are often plenty of reasonable seats available at more affordable rates, particularly if you try your luck and go to the box office the morning of the performance.
Make that road trip happen
So ideally you need a car, or a mate with a car. Failing that, get a group together and make use of public buses. Who knows where you might end up? Take some camping gear with you to save money on accommodation. Alternatively, if you study in the south of England and have yet to venture far north, look up friends with student pads you could crash for a few nights. Just be sure to return the favour!
Throw a Gatsby style shindig
With Baz Luhrmann’s 3D epic out in cinemas now, what better theme for an evening rendezvous than Gatsby? Customise a dress with sequins and beads, sort out an appropriate jazz-age soundtrack and shake up some of your own mint juleps.
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Learn a new skill (and choose something a little crazy)
Be it piano, guitar or saxophone attempting to master an instrument is always a challenge. If you fancy trying something altogether new however, consider an African Drumming class such as those offered by Drumafrica. Try flying trapeze with Gorilla Circus in Regents Park- they promise that an instructor will be on hand to catch you, or perhaps a spot of Ultimate Frisbee will appeal to the sportier types.
Go to a music festival
This should be on everybody’s summer to-do list. Bestival in September is our pick for a crazy weekend of fancy dress fun- the theme this year is nautical, while Download and Green Man will suit those with heavier and folky tastes respectively.
There are of course plenty of brilliant festivals lying beneath the mainstream radar that are well worth exploring. Check out The Festival Calendar for a definitive guide to UK festivals, including the likes of world music festival Rhythmtree and philosophy/music extravaganza How The Light Gets In.
Go to the funfair
Take a trip through the tunnel of love, ride on the old-fashioned carousel and whizz down the helter-skelter and wreak havoc on the dodgems. Nothing says British summer quite like a traditional funfair. The good news is that they can still be found up and down the country, quite possibly at a seaside resort or village green near you.
Organise a barn dance or ceilidh
These events date back hundreds of years but can still provide a fun alternative to your standard club night out - if you invite the right people and offer enough in the way of drinks and music of course. Try and find someone with experience of country dance to lead the group through some sequences, and everybody will on their feet in no time! Amusement and a work-out guaranteed.
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Join the punters for a day at the races
Sure, this can be an expensive activity, but it needn’t be. Entry to standard enclosures at most racecourses offer student concessions and cost £10-15, while betting is of course optional. The atmosphere is memorable and exciting- definitely something to experience at some point over the summer if you can. Try Goodwood’s exciting summer programme or a more casual point-to-point event locally.
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Customise some old clothes
Great for a rainy day, you could end up with a DIY wardrobe that will be the envy of your friends! Try cutting some old jeans up into shorts and dip-dyeing them, stitching up a simple summer dress, or making your own jewellery from bits and pieces found around your house. You’ll be surprised how simple creating a whole new look can be- especially after a few experiments!
Make your own ice-cream and popsicles
If you can locate an ice-cream maker your final product will likely be smoother and creamier, but it isn’t absolutely essential. Once you’ve mastered the basics, try a mouth-watering flavour like Salted Caramel or Blueberry Muffin. As for popsicles, the possibilities are endless. Turn your favourite cocktail into an ice lolly or freeze some yoghurt for a healthy option. Check out Buzzfeed’s enticing list of ideas here.
Go fishing and barbecue your catch
You’ll need to buy a rod fishing license before you start, but these are relatively inexpensive at around £20 for a full season, £8 for eight days and £3 for a day. You can pick one up from your local post office or buy it online. The Environment Agency website is a great place to start if you’re considering taking up fishing, with tips or finding the best fishery near you, to lists of fishing events happening up and down the country.
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Start a scrapbook
Buy a plain notebook and jazz it up with your memories- now you finally have a place to stick all those ticket stubs, magazine cuttings and funny things your friends have said. Flick through this in a few years time and entertainment is guaranteed… one way or another.
Go fly a kite
They come in all shapes, sizes and colours- just one reason why kites can be awesome. Take your own kite along to join in the revelry or simply pitch up to marvel at the novelty selection floating through the air. From Brighton Kite Festival between 13 and 14 July to the Portsmouth International Festival in late August, check out the Kite Society of Great Britain’s website for a list of events happening across the country this summer.
Go picnicking in the park
Simple and cost-effective, all you need for a successful picnic is a glimpse of sunshine, good company and a durable hamper for all your goodies! Bake some flapjacks, mix up your own lemonade and go explore some woods or leafy park near you. Try Box Hill in Surrey for an Austen-inspired picnic spot or Stourhead in Wiltshire for some beautiful walks.