Bee on flower

The 10 best things about summer

What do you love most about summer? Some of our team have picked out their favourites, from moths and meadows to thunderstorms and swimming!

The gentle hum of bumblebees

Rachel is happy to let the bees create a buzz: "On a hot day, it's good to relax outdoors and watch bumblebees dashing busily around from flower to flower. Their soft buzzing is soothing to hear and it's fun watching them get covered in yellow pollen. And while I'm chilling out, the noise is a reminder that for once, it's someone else who is busy!"

Find out how you can help bees in your garden

 Family Activity Event, Pink orchid in a wildflower meadow, Forest Farm, Wales

Wildflower meadows

Dan looks back to his childhood: 'There’s nothing better than a wildflower meadow. Whenever I picture a perfect postcard image of the British countryside, I think of rolling meadows crammed with colourful flowers and grasses waving in a light summer breeze.

"As a child, I remember walking through countless examples with my dad and our family dog, while marvelling at life in all its many forms stretched out in front of me."

Find somewhere to enjoy wildflowers.

Thunderstorms

Ross can't wait for the next storm: 'After days of hot, humid, sultry weather, there's nothing like a good thunderstorm to sort it all out.

Though I love watching dark clouds approaching, it's even better if the storm is at night so you can enjoy the bolts of lightning. It's one of nature's greatest spectacles.'

Learn more about thunder and lightning from the Met Office.

 Song thrush perched on a small leafy branch, sky blue background.

Cricket and wildlife

Keen sportsman Kevin loves cricket: "As I also love nature, playing cricket in the Cambridgeshire countryside satisfies my passion for both. These days, there’s often red kites soaring overhead, but there are always swallows buzzing the wicket, pied wagtails patrolling the outfield and song thrushes singing in the boundary hedges. It can get quite distracting, let me tell you. You try concentrating when there’s a turtle dove purring down at long on!"

Learn to tell your ducks apart.

Walking barefoot on grass

It's the simple things that Jenny enjoys: "Never mind hot, gritty sand; there’s little better than the cooling feel of grass beneath your toes in summer. Slip off your shoes at every opportunity and feel instantly relaxed. And while you’re there, let’s not pretend daisy chains are just for children..."

Give your mower a rest to help wildlife.

Fairy Glen RSPB reserve. Foliage: young leaves back-lit, glow a vivid green. The Black Isle, Ross-shire, near Rosemarkie, Scotland

Green trees and hedgerows

Chris appreciates summer's greenery: "After winter’s bare skeleton-like branches, and spring’s spattering of shoots, buds and blossom, the summer explodes into pillows of lush green leaves. It’s a time to take a walk through the countryside, wander in-between the giant walls of rich green hedgerow and listen to the trees shimmer and sing in the breeze, before autumn comes and turns things once again from emerald to gold."

Find a woodland nature reserve near you.

Rockpooling

Splish, splash, Jon's beside the seaside: "When the weather heats up there’s only one place anybody wants to be - the beach! When the tide drops, it leaves behind mini-ecosystems in small pools amongst the rocks. All you need is a bucket or plastic tub and a net and you’re ready to discover the micro world of crabs, anemones, snails and starfish."

Enjoy nature at the seaside.

Humming-bird hawk moth Macroglossum stellatarum, visiting Vipers Bugloss, Pyreneese, France

Hummingbird hawk-moths

Katie's watching out for a special visitor: "Proper hummingbirds only occur in the Americas. But when summer comes around, I love to keep watch for the next-best thing - hummingbird hawk-moths. They migrate to the UK from as far as north Africa and are phenomenal to watch, as they zoom around in search of flowers like valerian or buddleia. And they hover just like real hummingbirds, with a tongue sticking out instead of a bill."

Wild swimming

Maurice likes to cool off on a hot day: "It might be a bad pun, but it’s also true that swimming in the water that nourishes a landscape is one of the most immersive ways to get closer to nature. On a hot summer’s day after a walk or cycle, what could be better than a refreshing plunge? A snorkel and some goggles can take things to another level, with views of silvery fish and weeds swaying in the current."

Wild swimming can be dangerous. Before you jump in, find out how to swim safely.

A panoramic composite image of the Milky Way as it stretches out across the island of St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

Stargazing

Nightfall reveals what inspires Tallulah: "Warm summer nights are perfect for stargazing! Make sure you’ve got something comfy to sit on and you’ll be set for hours. Staring up at the constellations, it isn’t hard to see why they’ve inspired people and stories for thousands of years. If you wait long enough, you might even spot a shooting star! 

"The Perseid meteor shower is one of the most spectacular sights in the night skies, and it reaches its peak in the middle of August."

Learn about stargazing.