This article was co-written by Callum Delhoy (our newest recruit to the Club Soda team) and Jen Tree (Club Soda Social Media & Content Manager).
This summer we’ll all be aching to stay outside and enjoy the sun as much as possible, but it can be hard to remain alcohol-free if where you find yourself isn’t particularly mindful-drinking friendly. Here’s our ultimate list of events and activities you can take part in this summer, allowing you to take advantage of the amazing weather and participate in some awesome experiences, without the need for drinking.
Mindful Drinking Festival
Obviously, this was going to be first on the list! Our sixth Mindful Drinking Festival takes place on Saturday 20th July 2019, from 11 am to 5 pm, in the square outside Spitalfields Market (off Brushfield Street). Thousands of people have attended our festivals over the last couple of years and we have it on good authority that it’s a pretty damn good time. We’ll have a Club Soda members area if you fancy meeting some new pals, you can join a series of cocktail masterclasses, or you can simply make your way through 40 of the best alcohol-free drinks producers on the planet and stock up on your favourites. Bring a big bag for your purchases, put some suncream on for the deck chairs, and get your groove on to our DJ’s. Make sure you grab one of our Club Soda Guide booklets containing full festival line-up details, plus where to go for local food and drinks after the festival.
**FREE entry, dogs and children welcome.
Head to the outside cinema
With so many fantastic films coming out this summer, London has no shortage of rooftop and garden film screenings. Enjoy both the luxury of the cinema and the gorgeous sunsets this summer will bring. We’d recommend the TimeOut Movies on the river to enjoy both the classics & new releases whilst cruising down the Thames!
Check out a food festival
Good food in the sun doesn’t just have to be a garden BBQ, there are lots of delicious offerings all across the country that cater to everyone’s taste. From The Big Feastival this August with its food markets and cheese tastings to the rooftop celebration of Chicken at WingJam 2019, there are events celebrating all kinds of delicious cuisine.
Experience the great outdoors
There are always plenty of opportunities to escape the city and get up close and personal with nature. It can be easy to get trapped in the cycle of routine so it’s especially important to occasionally remove yourself from your regular surroundings and engage in new experiences under the summer sun. GoApe is available all across the country and allows you to swing through the trees and try all sorts of adventures. Or, for the daydreamers and big thinkers, Timber Festival near Birmingham is a three-day camping festival celebrating Music, Art, Performance and Ideas, and will prove to be a memorable time for all attending.
Take a ride in the sky
With the beautiful clear skies we’re enjoying this summer, why not jump on a plane somewhere to witness the endless blue waters or the expansive green fields in bathing in the sun from above. With Wingly and similar ‘flight sharing’ platforms, you can experience a ride in the sky for as little as £27 per person on your own private flight, either as part of a day trip to a remote channel Island or sight-seeing flights across the most gorgeous parts of our country.
Let out your inner child at a theme park
Whether it’s enjoying the thrill of a roller coaster or simply day of leisure at the restaurants and shopping facilities provided (for the more vertigo prone amongst us), there’s a lot of fun to be had out of a day at a theme park, at any age. There’s certainly no shortage of options, with Alton Towers debuting the first new rollercoaster built in the UK over 20 years, The Wicker Man, and the Harry Potter Studio tours at the Warner Brothers Studios, always a fantastically nostalgic experience for visitors of all ages.
Find interesting places to eat & drink
Over the last year, there have been plenty of new, innovative and exciting restaurants opening with enough novelty or entertainment value to surely create some summer memories. Get your fill of Retro Americana at the new pizza restaurant/coworking space Fugitive Motel, which has an incredible menu of alcohol-free drinks (tried and tested by us). Or solidify your environmental credentials by trying the considered ingredients and sustainable cooking methods of CUB. There are always interesting spots opening up to try out this summer.
Escape to a different world
One entertainment avenue that’s taken stride in recent years is Virtual Reality (VR) and it’s never been easier to give it a try. Whether you want to shoot Zombies in the Arizona desert or take part in a whimsical tale with a talking mouth, VR lodges like OtherWorld or DNAVR allow you to try out outrageous experiences as a group or solo.
We visited Other World ourselves when it first opened back in May. The VR experience was really good fun, the food was delicious, and the alcohol-free drinks menu is one of the most impressive we’ve seen. They made the effort to ask Club Soda for our advice on what drinks to offer before they launched, so you can expect to see everything from low and no-alcohol beers to alcohol-free wines, spirits, kombucha, and craft sodas.
Visit an exhibition
There’s certainly no shortage of riveting historical and cultural exhibitions going on this Summer, and spending the day at a museum is never a wasted day. Take advantage of the incredible cultural institutions we have in the UK & maybe take a trip down to the Imperial War Museum to witness their three exhibitions currently running. ‘What Remains’ highlights buildings and artifacts to look at how people attempt to exploit or erase civilisations from history, while ‘Art in Exile’ looks at the evacuation of cultural treasures during the Second World War, and ‘Rebel Sounds’ reveals how music is used in resistance to oppression.
Smell the royal flowers
A very summery activity you could engage with is visiting the world’s largest annual flower show at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. With incredibly innovative shows, stunning flower displays and demonstrations by celebrity gardeners and chefs this should prove to be a fulfilling day out, allowing you to learn while enjoying the outstanding beauty of nature. No wonder it attracts around 140,000 visitors every year!
Check out alcohol-free specific events
If you look hard enough, you’ll find plenty of events catering specifically to people who are alcohol-free, sober curious, or cutting down (you can also sign up to our newsletter where we list events of interest). Firstly, try a sober rave. Parties with no bar have grown in popularity in the last few years. Events that focus on music and wholesome fun have popped up all over the world, even in cities you’d least expect. It’s a fantastic way to get energised in the morning or function as an afternoon workout, and it’s always a great time! There are loads to choose from, with MorningGloryville operating many throughout the year in London, Sober Clubbing in Scotland, and Urdu hosting incredibly unique events with a mix of open expression of dance and meditation. Keep an eye on Misery too, a sober club night and mental health hub centering healing for queer and trans people of colour, who ran a fab event at the end of June and will hopefully be setting more up soon. Queers Without Beers is our own monthly pop-up bar for the LGBTQ+ mindful drinking community, held in both London and Manchester, and you can join the online community here. Janey Lee Grace pioneers regular alcohol-free events in London, with the next “Self-Care for the Sober Curious” event coming up on Monday 22nd July. The Sober Millennials organise regular alcohol-free socials for, you guessed it…millennials, and their next one will be at our very own festival – let them know you’d like to join them here. The amazing Azure is hosting their next recovery retreat on 7th September, so if you’re looking for somewhere to escape, heal and unwind once the summer starts to fade, then book a spot here. We Love Lucid are hosting monthly alcohol-free adventure getaways in Spain, with the next one coming up on 17th July, with a wonderful itinerary of activities, so make sure you take a look at their upcoming trips and grab a much sought-after spot.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on our events page where our weekly socials and lunches are listed – or join our Club Soda Together Facebook page for our events calendar and online community.