It’s so hot outside. Londoners are groaning, ice cream vans are making money and TfL have put up their ‘Always carry water in hot weather’ posters.
While cold drinks and fans help a little in balmy summers, their futile efforts make little difference in the 32-degree heat. My great-grandfather used to joke that the only way the weather is bearable is to lie on the floor of a basement and roll cold water bottles over your stomach.
I don’t have a basement so I chose the next best thing: Granary Square. It is the neighbor of Coal Drops Yard, just past King’s Cross. It’s said to be London’s best kept secret for beating the heat.
READ MORE: “I visited the hottest part of London on the hottest day of the year and everything I was told is a lie.”
(Image: Lea Dzifa Seeberg)
As soon as I crossed Regent’s Canal into the square I found out why. Three huge fountains dominate the space and they have been perfectly used by the crowds. Toddlers, teenagers and mothers with babies in their arms ran through the water and squeaked left, right and middle with joy.
Even childless adults joined in and squeaked possibly the loudest. Around the fountains, groups of friends and families happily basked in the mist of the fountains, laying their blankets and towels right on the cobblestone floor. Nobody in the world cared and the atmosphere was contagious. If I hadn’t been wearing a dangerously transparent dress, I might have joined them in the fountains.
(Image: Lea Dzifa Seeberg)
Instead, I went to the second reason why Granary Square is so popular with sunbathers. It extends to the canal’s towpath in the form of a massive staircase that doubles as ample seating. For the summer, the area is decked out in artificial grass, giving the normally concrete slabs a bright and summery makeover.
The stairs are in direct sun for most of the day, so luckily I was wearing sunscreen. As I graciously lowered myself onto a step, ice cream gracefully balanced in one hand (read: lying down and dropping my phone), I gazed out at the canal with great satisfaction.
The laughter from the fountain behind me and the view of the canal in front of me blended into a perfect summer day. The vibe of the place was second to none – I might have found the only part of London where nobody complained about the heat. Instead, we all enjoyed the sun together before going our separate ways.
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