Where you can enjoy the day in style in the capital

What do you hear? Birdsong? Listen up, it must be British Summer Time! But while the days are getting shorter as the clocks go back at the end of October, there are still a few months left to make the most of the early morning light (and hopefully sunshine). And there’s plenty to do in the capital before that first Teams meeting of the day. Whether it’s a pre-work walk, a spot of birdwatching or practising your sun salutation, we’ve rounded up some of the best things to do, all before 8am. So set your alarm, seize the day – and tell everyone.

Go on a bird walk in Regent’s Park

Grab a pair of binoculars, channel your inner Alan Partridge and head to the 395-hectare Royal Park, where a signposted bird walk takes you to some of the best spots to catch a glimpse of the park’s many winged residents. The walk starts at Clarence Gate at the top of Baker Street and gives you the chance to spend time overlooking the park’s peaceful lake. Depending on the month, you could spot new species of bird each time you return. The most common birds you’ll see include Ruddy Ducks, Whoopers, Grey Herons, Mute Swans, Teals and Pintails (we didn’t either).

Open all year round from 5am, Regent’s Park, NW1 4NR, royalparks.org.uk

Have a cup of coffee in an abbey

    (Alamy stock photo)

(Alamy stock photo)

If that first morning coffee feels akin to a religious experience, then we suggest you save it for The Wren Coffee, where you can enjoy a cup of the good stuff in perhaps the most beautiful surroundings in the city. Just a stone’s throw from St Paul’s Cathedral, this coffee house is housed in St Nicholas Cole Abbey, so expect to be mesmerized by the high ceilings, wood paneling, stained glass windows and ornate gilding as you get your caffeine quota for the day. Proceeds go towards maintaining the talks that are held to spread the good word, if that’s your cup of tea.

07.00am Mon-Fri, St Nicholas Cole Abbey, 114 Queen Victoria Street, EC4V 4BJ, thewrencoffee.com

Go swimming in a pond

Spending your first few hours awake in a cold, muddy pond with a few ducks might not sound like the most relaxing way to start your day, but there must be something in the water, because Hampstead Heath’s swimming ponds attract loyal swimmers year after year in the summer. There’s a mixed pond (on the Hampstead side of the Heath), and separate ladies’ and gents’ ponds (both on the Highgate side), and be prepared for it to be cold there, so if you’re not used to cold-water swimming, do some research beforehand. Oh, and you’ll need to book a spot. And don’t forget to pack trousers!

07.00 hrs, Hampstead Heath, NW3 2SN, hampsteadheath.net

Breakfast in style at The Wolseley

    (Press brochure)    (Press brochure)

(Press brochure)

If you’re looking for a slightly grander start to your day, head over to Piccadilly for breakfast at The Wolseley. It began life as a car showroom in the 1920s before becoming home to Barclays Bank, and now you can eat breakfast under the restaurant’s Venetian and Florentine marble arches. Specialities include bubble and squeak, grilled kippers and devil’s lamb kidneys – but you can also have an English breakfast or opt for something from the viennoiserie (bakery) and a smoothie if you’re feeling a little more modest.

07.00am Mon-Fri, 160 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB, thewolseley.com

Feed your inner florist

Nothing says life in order like a changing bunch of fresh flowers at home, and there’s literally nowhere bigger than New Covent Garden Market, where 20 wholesalers set up shop every day to offer a floral smorgasbord of the best choices, not just to florists, wedding planners and market stall holders, but to you, the general public. Depending on the season, you can get any flower you want – and if you’re a novice, fear not, as the expert traders delight in passing on their hard-earned knowledge. It can be quite overwhelming, so if you need a breather, just step back and enjoy watching this incredible community at work.

4am, Mon-Sat, New Covent Garden Market, SW8 5BH, newcoventgardenmarket.com

Join a group walk in the morning

For a slightly slower but no less virtuous start to the day, why not join the team at Poplar Union for their weekly Friday morning walk? Led by a team of people who work at the arts and community centre in Tower Hamlets, this walk aims to bring people in the community together for a positive start to the day, with a bit of exercise but most importantly a chance to chat with other walkers. There’s no need to book, just make sure you’re at Poplar Bakehouse for 7.30am – and make sure you grab a post-walk reward when they open at 8am.

7.30am every Friday, Poplar Bakehouse, 8a Cotall Street, E14 6TL, poplarunion.com

Go sweat

    (Press brochure)    (Press brochure)

(Press brochure)

With 10 locations across London, there’s really no excuse not to book a class at 1Rebel. Concepts include Ride (spinning), Rumble (boxing and HIIT), Reshape (hell on earth with weights) and Reformer (pilates), and after 45 minutes you can guarantee you’ll emerge beetroot red and soaked. If you’re looking for an extra kick, some Ride sessions have a musical theme – think S Club 7 v Steps, techno v rock, Britney v Christina – and even the most cynical among you will find yourself knocking back a few bangers before breakfast. Grab a branded shake post-workout to brag about in the office.

6:15am, locations across London, 1rebel.com

Grab a pint at Borough Market

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you – you really can grab a pre-noon tipple at The Market Porter pub in Borough Market. This traditional Victorian pub is hard to miss, perched on the corner of Stoney Street and overlooking the market. And if you fancy a novelty pint between 6 and 9am, this is the place to get it, as the pub opens its doors to traders setting up their stalls for a long day’s work. A word of wisdom: we might save this for a day off, just to be on the safe side.

6am Mon-Fri, 9 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA, themarketporter.nl

Do sun salutations in Peckham

Want to challenge your body but still your mind? Then head to The Bussey Building in Peckham for one of their early morning Yogarise sessions — Dynamic Flow. Over the course of an hour, you’ll be led through a class by one of their many teachers, working with you on continuous breathing and movement. Classes begin with sun salutations and include standing and seated asanas (poses) and end with a savasana (relaxation). Don’t let your preconceptions of yoga fool you, though — be prepared to sweat.

07.00 hrs, Units b1.1 + b1.2, The Bussey Building, 133 Copeland Road, SE15 3SN, yogarise.london

Swim some laps at Brockwell Lido

    (Alamy stock photo)    (Alamy stock photo)

(Alamy stock photo)

It’s not every day that you get to take a dip in a Grade II listed swimming pool, but you could, as Brockwell Lido opens early seven days a week for swimmers to explore the Olympic-sized pool. Summer season tickets run from April to September, or for the brave, you can buy an annual pass for unlimited access all year round. After your swim, you can also make use of the on-site café or hit the gym. Top tip: take to Twitter in the morning when the team reports how cold the water is. You’re welcome. Read our full guide to London lidos here.

06.30am Mon-Fri, Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, SE24 0PA, fusion-lifestyle.com

Grab a 24-hour bagel

When you’re done debating which Brick Lane bagel shop is better, fill yourself up on a bagel from Beigel Bake , which is, you guessed it, open 24 hours a day. Extensive fillings await — from peanut butter and Nutella to egg, chopped herring, tuna, avocado, and smoked salmon. But the OG filling has to be salted beef with pickles and mustard. If you’re looking for something a little sweeter, there are croissants and other treats aplenty, but we’d stick with the classics. Whether you’re starting your day or ending your night, this is a guaranteed filling spot.

24 hours, 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB, bricklanebeigel.co.uk

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