If you’re getting a bit tired of roof terrace pop-ups and fighting for sun spots in the local park, here are five out-there activities to help you refresh your summer itinerary…
Cast your mind back to the beginning of the year, when you were full of good intentions to get out there and shake up your routine… Yeah, it didn’t happen for us either.
That’s probably because nobody really wants to try anything in January, when the weather is a bit miserable, and all you want to do is curl up under a nice big blanket.
However, now that the long, lazy days of summer are here, it’s the perfect time to get out there and try something you wouldn’t have looked twice at in the grip of winter.
Here are five great summer activities you probably don’t have on your agenda yet…
1. Learn to wrestle
Summer is a time for getting sweaty, and it doesn’t get much sweatier than a good old spot of grappling.
With Ronda Rousey headlining this year’s Wrestlemania and a third season of Glow set to hit Netflix on 3 August, women’s wrestling has never been bigger. So, why not give it a try?
The Eve Academy in London’s Bethnal Green runs weekly training classes for anyone wanting to get involved, whether you’re a suplex obsessive or couldn’t pick The Rock out of a lineup.
You’ll learn all the basics in a safe, supportive environment, with as much time spent on crafting a ring persona as learning how to execute the perfect body slam.
You can pay on the day (one session costs £10), and there’s no need to sign up to anything long-term, so you can discover whether it’s for you without fully committing to a life in spandex.
2. Try an inflatable assault course
The dictionary definition of ‘big, dumb fun’, The Monster is a giant inflatable assault course that will have your inner child ready to lose her actual mind.
Setting up shop at Alexandra Palace for one week only (23 – 28 August), the assault course proudly claims to be the “world’s biggest”, although we’re not entirely sure how crowded a field that is.
As well as tackling the Mega Slide and, ahem, the Bouncy Cage of Doom, you can also look forward to boozy bingo, drag queen karaoke and a giant game of beer pong.
Come on, admit it: you know this is 100% up your street, so get it booked immediately.
Maybe wait until after the course before you refresh with a Starbucks, though – full stomachs and giant inflatables don’t mix.
3. Build a bamboo bike
You like cycling, sure, but if you want to take things further than the odd pootle on a Boris bike, how about building your own?
The Bamboo Bicycle Club offers you the chance to do exactly that, either by attending one of its weekend workshops, or by ordering a kit designed to build at home.
If you go for the first option (advisable, since building a bike is trickier than riding one), you’ll get all the equipment, tools and bamboo you need, plus guidance from a crack squad of expert builders.
Why bamboo? Well, it’s tailor-made for absorbing vibration, meaning a bamboo bike offers pretty much the most comfortable ride on the market.
And anyway, everyone has a Brompton already.
4. Make ‘em laugh
Ever fancied yourself a bit of a comedian? Well, this summer may be the perfect time to put it to the test with a crash course in stand-up comedy.
As part of the City Academy’s Summer School programme of courses and activities, this five-day course will run from 15–19 July at the Leicester Square Arts Theatre, and aims to get you performing in a special showcase by the end of the week.
You’ll learn writing techniques such as joke construction and anecdote embellishment, before moving on to more performance-related tips (including improvisation and stage presence).
Then come the Friday night, you’ll perform your set in front of an actual audience to show off everything you’ve learnt.
After that, you’ll probably be ready to hand in your notice and book yourself some tour dates. Well, maybe.
5. Experiment with neon
Yes, we’ve also looked covetously around Gods Own Junkyard, pondering whether or not we can justify spending the month’s food budget on a kitsch neon sign.
However, we’ve never tried making our own. To be honest, we didn’t know it was a thing.
Then we discovered Neon Workshops, which offers two-hour taster sessions on creating neon art by fusing glass with flame, filling with gas, then illuminating with electricity.
You’ll get a detailed demo from the professionals before having a go yourself, and taking home whatever you’ve created.
Taster sessions run on Wednesday evenings and daytime Saturday at their Wakefield HQ, and at their mobile workshop nationwide.
There’s also a full-day course taking place in London on 13–14 September, so you can fashion that giant neon Starbucks sign your kitchen wall has been crying out for…
Whether you’re planning on hitting the wrestling ring or the stand-up circuit, Starbucks have got the perfect Spotify playlist to add to your summer. Listen here…
Want to give your ears yet another treat? Join host Luisa Omielan for Stylist’s Factor 20 podcast, where she’ll be having a 20-minute chat with comedians about their funniest summer memories. Listen here.