On June 21st, the Summer Solstice marks the official first day of our beautiful British summertime.
Of course, it’s also famous for being the longest day of the year. The sun won’t go down until 9:22 in London, while as far north as Aberdeen, they’ll be catching some rays until 10:08! Wherever you are, we’re here to help you make the most of all that extra sunshine.
Now, the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that June 21st falls on a Thursday this year. Whose idea was it to have the longest day of the year in the middle of the working week? We don’t know.
Not to worry though; these party ideas are designed to help you celebrate the start of summer after a hard day at the office. Feel free to use them right throughout summer, too!
1. Have An Afternoon Tea Picnic
With all that extra time to play with, you can afford to venture a little further from home. If you’re lucky enough to live near a nice park, why not take some family and friends for a picnic?
There’s no better way to welcome an English summer than with a traditional afternoon tea. Strangely, hot drinks like tea will actually help cool you down when the weather’s hot, so whether you prefer an English Breakfast, Earl Grey, fruit or green tea, you’ll find it easy to chill out.
You’ll also need to:
- Get a round of sandwiches ready the night before.
- Treat yourself to some cake and scones from your local bakery (or make your own, if you’ve got the time).
- Complete the ambience with a set of stylish cups, plates and napkins.
If you want to give your afternoon tea a summery twist, why not brew your own cool, refreshing iced tea at home? This Pimm’s iced tea is quick and easy to make, and can be prepared at least a day in advance.
2. Set Up a Summer Solstice Festival
While we’re all celebrating the prospect of more sun, there is of course a historical side to the Summer Solstice. Each year, people gather at Stonehenge to watch the early morning sunrise, while druids perform rituals to say hello to summer.
For those of you who don’t fancy getting up at four in the morning, you can create your own post-work Summer Solstice festival at home.
The Pagans regard the Summer Solstice as “a time of plenty and celebration”, so make sure you’ve lots of food and drink to go round! You can also decorate your home and garden with some Boho bunting and atmospheric lanterns to help set the scene as you wait for the sun to go down, and download the printable bunting we’ve made for you!
3. Build Your Own Beach
Nothing says summer like the seaside. Of course, we’re not all lucky enough to live near the beach, so you’ll just have to make your own instead!
Here’s how to recreate the magic in your garden at home:
- Invest in a paddling pool and create your own sea life with an inflatable octopus, dolphin or fish. A beach ball is always fun, too!
- Use beach scene-setters to give your surroundings an authentic feel.
- Keep some ice cream or ice lollies in the freezer – a popular treat for all ages!
- Set up some sun loungers and relax poolside.
- Everyone knows that when you’re at the beach, it has to be fish and chips. In other words, you’ll need to take a trip to your local chippy on the way home!
If you’re going all out for a tropical vibe, you could even build your own Tiki Bar and serve a few Caribbean cocktails.
4. Host a Chilled Out Summer Drinks Party
Looking for something more chilled out? Why not simply have some friends over to enjoy some drinks in your garden and make the most of the year’s longest evening?
As we all know, Thursday is the new Friday, so it’s fine to enjoy a few drinks – provided you don’t indulge too much, of course!
This inflatable palm tree drinks cooler will help to create a summery atmosphere as it keeps your beer, white wine or fizz cold. Simply roll out a quick and easy buffet (complete with summer tableware), put on your most mellow playlist and relax as the sun slowly drops below the horizon.
5. Keep the Kids Happy
For kids, summer provides more opportunities to play outside.
If you’re planning to let your little ones stay up a bit later to enjoy the longest day of the year, there’s lots you can do to keep them entertained in the comfort and safety of your own garden.
The warmer weather is ideal for water fights, and these water pistols will help keep the chaos under control! You could also try:
- Giant bubble wands – hours of fun!
- Space hoppers – perfect for using up all that excess energy
- This printable I Spy game – a quick and easy way to keep your kids occupied
Find more ways to make the most of summer
The Summer Solstice is, after all, just one day. You and your family have a whole summer to look forward to, and these fun, exciting party ideas will provide you with plenty of entertainment.