London gets, on average, 10 more minutes of daylight than Sydney – did you know that? A lot of that is in the British summer, when sunrises can start as early as 5am. With much of the city still asleep, it’s a wonderful moment to see London without the crowds. You could watch sunrise from Tower Bridge, get the freshest morning doughnuts, run along the Thames or try Skygarden Yoga with spectacular views. Here’s your guide the finest early morning London sights you get to see as an early riser.
New Covent Garden Flower Market
Wake up your senses at this beautiful, historic flower market, open from 4am Monday to Saturday. New Covent Garden Flower Market is bursting with the freshest blooms, delicate floral scents and the sound of traders bartering. This is the famous wholesale market where Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Doolittle bought her “flahahs” in My Fair Lady. Today, the flower market of new Covent Garden provides flowers to three quarters of London’s florists. But don’t be fooled by the name, this flower market moved from Covent Garden in the 1980s and is now in Nine Elms, close to Battersea Power Station.
Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds & Lido
The Hampstead swimming ponds will make you gasp: they’re cold, there’s mud and you’re likely to be swimming between ducks. But a swim in one of the three Hampstead Heath Ponds and Lido is a glorious way to start your day. You can take a chilly dip in either the women’s, men’s or mixed ponds, but they’re only for confident swimmers and children over eight. If you don’t fancy the ponds, maybe go for the pretty Parliament Hill Lido instead. Swimming starts at 7am – check the website to see if you need to book before you dive into this unique London swimming experience.
Yoga at the Skygarden
Fancy an early morning stretch among tropical plants while taking in one of the best panoramic views of London? Then Skygarden Yoga is for you. One-hour classes take place on the 35th floor of the Walkie Talkie skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street in London’s highest garden. Bend and stretch from 7am midweek and 8am at weekends. After class, you can enjoy a fresh smoothie or freshly baked croissant at the café here too. It’s an unforgettable morning yoga experience.
If exercise first thing in the morning doesn’t appeal, perhaps the aroma of freshly baked goodies and single-farm coffee will tempt you. Tucked down a Bloomsbury cobblestone street is Fortitude Bakehouse, open from 7:30am weekdays and 8:30am on weekends. This takeaway bakery only stays open while the shelves are full, so you need to rise early to get from the Fortitude Bakehouse menu. They sell danishes bursting with strawberry jam and cream, puffed pastries stuffed with feta and spinach and fresh focaccia loaded with olives, pesto and sundried tomatoes.