From moonlighting as a supply teacher for months-on-end of homeschool to the frustration of your local park being chained and bolted up for the whole of spring, 2020 has been incredibly tough on both kids and parents.
But now London is bursting at the seams with activities to keep children entertained and as the summer holidays swing into view, giving you and your little people the opportunity to explore the best of the city, and maybe even a chance to… relax?
From candy spinning workshops to channeling your inner pirate, here are 18 ideas for activities to do with the kids this summer.
London may be filled with some golden spots for children, but venture a little further out one day this summer holiday and explore the best of Hampton Court Palace’s Magic Garden.
After you’ve finished exploring the the palace and picnicking in the grounds, let your imaginations come to life at the Hampton Court Palace in their Magic Garden as your children explore and play on the castle inspired play area. You’ll come face to face with mythical beasts and battle for victory against the menacing dragon…
Location: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU
Children’s events organisers, Sharky & George team have announced that their Adventure Club will be returning, helping to keep the kiddies entertained during the school holidays. The activity club will be held at Fulham Palace gardens, and in true Sharky & George style, you can expect a whole load of water bombs and exciting activities perfect for children aged 5-10.
To coincide with government guidelines, the club will be running ‘bubbles’ of twelve children and will be running Monday to Friday activities only rather than day tickets.
Location: Fulham Palace
Put your artistic skills through their paces as you learn the ins and outs at the School of Icing. From recreating your very own Paddington Bear to trying your hand at icing your best friend, Biscuiteers provides a whole lotta fun budding artists, or just fans of delightful biscuits.
Location: NOTTING HILL / BATTERSEA
Let’s face it, golfing isn’t exactly the funniest of sports. But, mix it with loops, tricks and quirky holes, and you’ve got yourself an afternoon filled with kid-friendly fun! The guys at Puttshack have fused space-age technology with the classic game of mini-golf, so even your 15-year-old will (finally) get off Snapchat and join with some family entertainment. So grab your putt and ball, and let the kids versus adults competition begin!
Reopening Date Yet To Be Announced
Location: White City, Bank & Lakeside
Make a moo-ve as you wander around London’s best farms and zoos. Despite being a city, there’s a few places in London that’ll thrust you into the ways of the countryside even if just for an afternoon, one of these being petting farms.
We’re compiled a list of London’s best farms, zoos and animally attractions fit for the kids to get outside and experience nature in a whole new way.
Regent Park’s Open Air Theatre is returning for the summer season after having been given the green light to reopen. This summer they’ll be returning with a special concert of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
The theatre has incorporated covid safe measurements in line with the government’s advice so the capacity will be reduced considerably to ensure social distancing can be in place correctly.
When: 14th August – 27th September
Location: The Regent’s Park, Inner Circle, NW1 4NU
Come rain or shine, hitting up one of London’s numerous museums is a guaranteed fun day out for all the family. Long gone are the days of being dragged around looking at old artefacts. Oh no, museums these days are equipped with activities to keep the little’uns fuelled and eager to learn, whether it’s in the Wonderlab at the Science Museum or it’s getting up close and personal with some dinos at the Natural History Museum. The extra bonus? It’s a free day out for all the family. Although the kids will probably want to peruse the gift shops…
When you cast your mind to traditional London museums it’s highly unlikely that the sewing machine museum comes to mind. But we’ve delved deeper and gone off the beaten museum track to pluck out random, weird and questionable museums that sound like they’re totally worth ticking off the factual bucket list. Here’s our higgledy-piggledy selection, and you can find it here!
You really can be a kid in a candy store when you try your hand at candy making at the sweetest spot in town, Spun Candy.
Inspired by the ‘Willy Wonka Experience’, Spun Candy have opened up in the heart of the city offering guests the opportunity to see the magic behind handmade candy making. Now that their masterclasses are back up and running, it’s the perfect activity that’ll keep both the kids and you entertained for hours on end.
Whether you’re wanting to create a life-sized candy face of your ol’ Pa or a personalised stick of rock, Spun Candy has you covered!
Location: 58 Wentworth Street Spitalfields, E1 7AL
You scream, I scream, we all scream for… ice cream. Possibly the most overused phrase when describing ice cream but we’re going with it. There’s nothing a child loves more than a big ol’ scoop of ice cream so when the weather is scorching, venture to one of London’s leading ice cream parlours. It could even become a bit of a science lesson if you head to London’s first ice cream parlour made using liquid nitrogen, Chin Chin Labs…
Explore life as a royal for the day as you uncover 1,000 years worth of history at London’s most iconic castle and World Heritage Site. The children will love perusing the luxurious Crown Jewels (who wouldn’t?) and delve into the nooks and crannies of the Tower of London.
All of the outdoor areas of the Tower of London have now reopened, as well as the Crown Jewels and the White Tower.
Location: St Katharine’s & Wapping, EC3N 4AB
While the new blockbusters keep getting rescheduled, experience a movie in a whole new format when you visit Free Range Club, the spacious outdoor cinema hitting London’s parks this summer.
With three scheduled spots across various dates in London, take the kids to see a film on the big screen, from Little Miss Sunshine to Marvel’s Black Panther. All you need to do is pack the popcorn, throw down the blanket and get lost in the magic of film.
When: Various dates
Location: Brockwell Park, Blackheath Common & Three Mills Island
Ahoy there! Jump aboard the pirate ship at Diana Memorial Playground and channel your inner Peter Pan as you travel the seas to Neverland.
It’s set in the heart of the Diana Memorial Playground, which has now reopened, and is inspired by Diana’s love for childhood and its innocence. Let your children run wild with their buddies as they explore the sensory trail, ship and teepees.
Horse riding isn’t just for country lasses. Well neigh, you won’t want to be galloping around Trafalgar Square but you can saddle up and see some of London’s quieter sites such as Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common. Stag Lodge Stables offer riding lessons and courses for kiddies and adults of all ages from three upwards so you’re bound to be pros by the end of the summer…
Location: Robin Hood Gate, Richmond Park, SW15 3RS
Ahoy there me hearties! Cutty Sark has now reopened and is welcoming guests to jump on board once more to uncover the history of the fastest clipper.
To celebrate the summer and their reopening, they’re offering a free child ticket with every paying adult, so if you’re looking for ideas that won’t blow the summer budget. Book your spot in advance.
Location: King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 8HT
Battersea Power Station is home to restaurants and fun activities for all ages to enjoy. From crazy golfing spot, Birdies to restaurants with kiddies menus, there’s something for all this summer.
Location: CIRCUS WEST VILLAGE, BATTERSEA POWER STATION, SW11 8AH
From learning to swim to swimming races against friends, summer is the perfect time to make a splash at one of London’s outdoor swimming spots. Swimming areas were given the green light to reopen by the government, but make you check to see their regulations and opening times before heading down as some may require booking and have additional covid-secure procedures in place.
Having your school portrait taken was pure torture growing up. You’d either go all out in a full face of make-up and end up looking like a Barbie doll or you’d forget all together and end up looking like you’d been dragged through a hedge backwards, but they would make the grandparents happy at least. Award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen however has other ideas. He has decided to craft an exhibition dedicated to the humble school portrait and it’s being showcased at Tate Britain until January.
McQueen invited every Year 3 pupil in London to have their photo taken and the exhibition is dedicated to showcasing the result in one giant school portrait installation. If your child was photographed, head down together and see if you can spot them. It’ll be like a modern-day Where’s Wally? experience.
When: until 31st January 2021
Location: TATE BRITAIN, MILLBANK, LONDON SW1P 4RG
If you’re looking for other exhibitions to catch this summer, check out our guide to the best here.