Ten Ways To Beat The Heat 

By the time you read this, the brief 'heatwave' we've been experiencing in Britain this week will probably have come to a crashing, and wet, end. But since we've already suffered the rainiest few months of record, let's be positive and assume that the sunshine is here to stay! And, even with what we rather laughingly call the 'British Summer' stretching out ahead of us, the hot, humid weather will become an issue. And, if like me, you were caught a bit on the hop by the sudden surge in temperatures, you'll want to be ready.

But the problem with that famous British Summer is that, once it really decides to heat up, it doesn't take long before it gets muggy, humid and horrible. And in conditions like that, unless you're a beach bunny type, it's pretty hard to motivate yourself to do anything other than lounging around fanning yourself.

What you need is a plan. A few ideas to beat the heat and make the most of the sunny days. So here, in the spirit of helpfulness are our top ten ways to take the heat out of summer.

1: First Find Some Air Conditioning

The first, and most obvious way to avoid getting over-heated, while still actually 'doing' something is to go somewhere with great air conditioning. Many modern shopping centres are well air-conditioned but, if you really want to chill out – literally – you can't beat a cinema. But be warned. Air-con can be quite aggressive. Believe me, I've been in cinemas during the summer months and wished I'd taken a cardigan with me! But, with all those summer blockbusters to catch up with, plenty of ice cream and cold drinks to keep you going, you won't find a better place to avoid the heat. 

Lunch at a pavement cafe, under a large sunshade, is hard to beat in the heat.

2: Now Enjoy a Concert Outdoors

Up and down the country people are taking to the outdoors. And, someone near you, there'll be at least one outdoor concert. In a park, a market square, even a pub garden, somewhere there'll be someone making music for your pleasure. 

3: Perhaps Have a Picnic

You probably remember the awful picnics of your youth. When you'd trek half-way across the country in an over-heating car, or on a bus,  only to find your sandwiches had fallen apart,  your cheese had turned to liquid and your Penguin biscuits had melted inside the wrapper. First of all, you really don't have to venture any further than your own garden, or the local park. Secondly, there are so many fabulous products to keep your food both tidy and cool you should never have to suffer a wilted corned beef sandwich again. 

Take to a park for a stroll under the shade of the trees is a lovely way to cool down.

4: Watch Sport

Even if you're something of a sports phobe, there is something uniquely 'British Summer Day' about watching other people work up a sweat while you sit in the cool, fan gently wafting fresh air across your body.

With a certain huge sporting event just ahead of us, you can go all patriotic and wrap yourself in the Union Flag. There are plenty of sports and we're guaranteed to be winners at some of them! And don't forget, for the authentic experience, to nip out to the supermarket first. Because unless you mix up some Pimms, or pop open a bottle of bubbly you really aren't doing the whole thing justice. 

5: Go to a Summer Fete

As we come into July, we're just entering fete season, so it'll be no trouble at all to find a local fete, at a church, school or hospital. Aside from being a good old nostalgic hour or two of fun, it'll help you feel involved with your local community. Raise money for a worthy cause and remind you of your childhood. Remember when your Mum despatched you to your school summer fete complete with 50 pence with which to entertain yourself? Well, you'll probably need a bit more money these days, but the lovely family-friendly fun is still there in abundance.

6: Go and See a Stately Home or an Historic Cathedral.

No-one in the UK lives very far from a stately home or a lovely church. Historic buildings are not only both beautiful and fascinating, but are usually cool and shady too. So you can get your daily dose of culture without getting hot and sticky in the process. 

And through the summer months many have concerts, open days or special celebrations you can experience too. And, if you do fancy a bit of fresh air, stately home gardens are among the most beautiful of all. Many, like Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, offer garden tours in golf-style buggies so you can relax and let someone else do the work while the breeze cools you, rather than having to trek there yourself.  And by visiting around midsummer you get the see the gardens at their most lovely with abundant flowers and trees in full leaf. Just gorgeous!

Take refuge in a cool Cathedral like Bath Abbey.

You don't have to head to the coast to get that seaside feel. Matlock Bath in the Peak District has its own promenade!

7: Hold your own music festival

Just because you can't get to a music festival this year, or don't fancy trying to sleep on the ground while a thunderstorm lashes at your tent, you don't have to miss out on all the festival action. Slip on a maxi dress and cowboy hat, invite a few friends around and enjoy the perfect playlist on your iPod. Think of the advantages - you only have to spend time with people you like, there's no queuing for the loos, and at the end of the day you can sleep in your own lovely soft bed! To really recreate that Glastonbury feel you could leave the hosepipe running but that would probably go against the hippy eco-friendly vibe.

8: Have a Spa Day at Home

There is something so relaxing about taking time to be pampered. Unfortunately, for most of us, the opportunity to check into a spa for a few days is something about which we can only dream. 

But despair not, because soaring temperatures give you the opportunity to spend the day pampering yourself. Not convinced? Well, look at it this way. You won't need to find melt-proof makeup. It won't matter if your hair doesn't look its best. In fact, if you use a deep conditioning treatment on it, the humid atmosphere will help it to work even better! And, if you can guarantee having the house to yourself, you can spend the entire day in your robe, or even just wrapped in a fluffy towel.

And the next morning, when the heavens have opened and everyone else has red raw sunburn, you can emerge looking refreshed, buffed, glowing and gorgeous!

If you really can't avoid the heat you could always embrace it. The hot springs at Bath's Roman Baths remain the same temperature year-round.

9: Find a Local Event to Attend

During the summer there are all kinds of quirky traditions across the UK. In Derbyshire, there are the traditional well dressings. In other parts of the country garden festivals, agricultural shows, or music and theatre festivals are scheduled. Okay, the rain might come but there'll be plenty to do indoors too.

10: Give in to the Heat

Sometimes no amount of trying to keep cool is going to work. In that case my choice is always to work with it. I 'pretend' I live in a permanently hot climate and listen to music with a Latin edge or eat spicier foods. It may sound a bit off the wall, but adopting a more appropriate lifestyle for a few days makes it much easier to adapt to the heat. And, this being Britain, you just know you won't have to put up with it for long …