26th June 2015 at 9:58am
Great British Summer
We might not be able to guarantee a long, hot great British summer but we can promise one thing: our summer is hard to beat. Now that that the longest day of the year has come and gone – yes, already – here’s the MoneyPlus team’s view on the best of Britain in summer.
Sizzling over the BBQ
We Brits take our barbeques very seriously. Cooking outdoors has become part of our summer ritual as soon as Easter’s over and the temperature inches up.
Thankfully the days of overdone supermarket burgers served on a white bun are behind us. We’re now just as likely to take inspiration from Aussie chef Bill Granger or Jamie Oliver and make our own, or throw some wild boar sausages or a rack of lamb on a jumbo-sized American gas barbeque. (Gas has the distinct advantage of not wafting smoke over everyone – but, then again, it doesn’t give the anticipation of waiting for those coals to turn white hot.)
Follow that up with that old school days’ favourite, chocolate banana pudding; banana stuffed with a chocolate flake and wrapped on foil, done in minutes.
Add some nice wine or a craft beer and some sunshine and you’ve got the recipe for a great British al fresco lunch.
Chelsea Flower Show is undoubtedly the gardening event of the year with more than 160,000 people attending, including HRH Queen Elizabeth II, of course. It’s hard to beat – our particular favourite this year was the beautiful Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse show garden which brought a little bit of France to London.
Summer will hopefully be in full swing for the season’s next major gardening event, RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2015, which runs from 30 June-5 July. Just like Chelsea, Hampton Court is about much more than flowers and this year’s theme is ‘Grow, Feast and Inspire’.
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (22–26 July 2015) proudly calls itself the “world’s largest annual gardening show”. Tatton Park is best known for promoting the good life, with more grow your own inspiration than any other UK gardening event as well as a reputation for some of the best garden designs around.
If wandering around gardening events aren’t your thing, sitting in your garden or on your patio in the sun, surrounded by a few colourful pot plants while enjoying the odd glass of wine can’t really be beaten. Just add sunshine, birdsong and a really good book. Priceless.
Summer of sporting triumphs
We might not be hosting the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games this year but one thing is for sure, there are plenty of sporting events to keep the most dedicated fans entranced. The Tour de France (4-26 July), British Grand Prix, Silverstone (5 July) are just a few of the highlights.
Andy Murray will attempt to win his second Wimbledon title at what must be the tennis event of the summer, closely followed by the Davis Cup when Great Britain will host France (17-19 July). Fingers crossed we win what will be a keenly-fought contest and make it into the semi-finals.
Make it a night at the Proms – or head for the festivals
Where would we be without the celebration of popular classical music, the Proms, which kick off in July in London and run throughout the summer? British composers of the early 20th century, Handel, Mozart and the musical mind of Sherlock Homes, featuring actor Mark Gatiss, are just some of this year’s highlights.
Belfast, Swansea, Glasgow and London’s Hyde Park host Proms in the Park throughout September if you like your music outdoors. Hampers, wellies and umbrellas are optional, but recommended.
Proms not your thing? Glastonbury kicks off the busy festival season in earnest on 24 June with 135,000 music and arts fans enjoying what has become something of a national institution. Arguably a little ‘hipper’ thanks to its Balearic vibe, the Bestival Summer of Love Festival will see thousands flock to the Isle of Wight from 10-13 September for four days of music, entertainment, and even some inspired cocktails.
Head for the coast
In the mood for some rest and relaxation after all these summer events? Then why not head for one of the many incredible beaches across the UK. We all have our own favourites, whether it’s the beauty and seclusion of white beaches in the north-west of Scotland (the Isle of Harris can take your breath away) or reliving childhood experiences in north Devon or Margate’s newly-restored £18m funfair.
The Telegraph recently published its list of the best beaches in the UK, with Chapel Porth and The Strangles in Cornwall topping the list. With some of the most beautiful scenery around as seen on ‘Poldark’ earlier this year, and warm sea temperatures which last into October, it’s hard to disagree.
Condé Nast Traveller also chose Cornwall as its top UK beach destination, with beautiful Pedn Vounder a quieter option for those willing to make the brisk walk along the coast to reach it. Reviews on Trip Advisor highlight the clear blue water and soft sand as “perfect”.
We may not yet have the weather we’d like – apparently it’s all down to the jet stream keeping things cool for many of us – but whatever summer means to you, enjoy it!