From Disney pop-ups to mythical beast exhibits, summer camps to candy-inspired afternoon tea, there’s so much fun to be had this summer holiday.
London is bursting at the seams with activities to keep children entertained and as the summer holidays swing into view, they’ll give you and your little people the opportunity to explore the best of the city, and maybe even a chance to… relax?
Read on to find our edit of the best things to do this summer with kids.
Everybody knows – and loves – the story of Ratty, Mole, Budget, Otter and Toad. This summer sees Kennth Grahame’s classic story come to life at Kew Gardens.
Theatre on Kew will be showing performances of The Wind in the Willows, an outdoor theatre production that’ll be set against the backdrop of a lake. Rather fitting seeing as this is a story of friendship on a riverbank.
Perfect for younger and older viewers, this is one day out that’ll result in endless giggles and surprises.
Runs 24th July – 30th August
Location: Victoria Gate, Kew Gardens
Bumper cars at the ready… Somerset House is welcoming back guests this summer with an exciting new open-air experience involving the fairground favourite: dodgems.
Taking place in the courtyard, Dodge will feature a range of colourful installations, delicious pop-up food from the pop-up king, Jimmy Garcia, and endless hours of fun on the bumper cars.
Perfect for all ages, this is one summer experience you won’t want to miss.
Running until 22nd August
Location: Strand, WC2R 1LA
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 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 The Parsons Green Club, and in true Sharky & George style, you can expect a whole load of fashion shows, chocolate making and whacky science experiments, perfect for children aged 5-11.
Running 12th July – 3rd September
Location: The Parsons Green Club
Just in time for the school summer holidays, the Disney On Stage Pop-up Experience will be making its way to Covent Garden on Thursday 22nd July for six weeks worth of puppetry displays, interactive games and magic. And the best part? It’s entirely free!
The pop-up will be taking over Carriage Hall on Floral Street, Covent Garden, and will bring the worlds of some of Disney’s much-loved and favourite musicals come to life before fans’ very eyes.
The free walk-around experience, running until 30th August, will provide fans the chance to truly immerse themselves in all of their favourite musicals. Expect the enchanting worlds of The Lion King, Frozen, Aladdin, Mary Poppins and Beauty and The Beast all to unfold in front of them.
The Disney on Stage pop-up experience runs 22nd July – 30th August
Location: CARRIAGE HALL, 29 FLORAL STREET, COVENT GARDEN, WC2E 9DP
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
Who doesn’t love a little wizarding magic to whisk you away from reality? The Natural History Museum is inviting eager wizards and witches through their doors this summer, thanks to their magical Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature exhibit.
Your little ones will be invited to head on a journey where the real and wizarding worlds intertwine. Uncover secrets of the science world and celebrate real-world scientists who are helping us to understand more about the world’s strange creatures so that we can help protect them.
Runs until 3rd January 2022
Location: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD
Fancy a spot of cricket? Let your kiddies perfect the art of batting this summer at Sixes Cricket Club, the only venue in London that provides guests a place to play cricket and dine.
The Sixes Cricket Simulator, styled as batting nets, draws on the style of Top Golf, Flight Club and Puttshack, and takes the immersive experience and the famed sport to new heights.
During the kids holidays, they are offering off-peak pricing! It’s just £25 for 30 minutes (for up to three people) or £50 for an hour (for up to six users), meaning you’re saving 29%. Not bad at all.
Location: Fulham & Fitzrovia
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!
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.
Anansi The Spider & Dragons and Mythical Beasts
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is putting on quite the performance this summer holidays, with two children friendly shows.
First up there’s Anansi The Spider, the story that follows an animal kingdom where animals walk on two feet and speak, just like we do. It’s in this story that the cleverest animal of all is, in fact, a spider, Anansi. A little bit of a trickster as he likes to call himself, he ends up being a little too clever for his own boots (or, rather, his eight legs). Running until 24th July.
Then there’s Dragons and Mythical Beasts, a production that’s searching for brave heroes to help out along the way. Meet colourful characters and friendly faces, but make sure you don’t wake the Dragon.
Anansi the Spider runs until 24th July. Dragons & Mythical Beasts runs 13th August – 5th September
Location: The Regent’s Park, Inner Circle, NW1 4NU
As part of Westminster City Council’s Inside Out festival, the idea that helps to bring art into the outdoors, The National Gallery is putting on quite the (art) show.
From 3rd August to 2nd September, Trafalgar Square will be transformed into a giant alfresco exhibition, in which life-sized replicas of some of the UK’s favourite paintings will be on display. Bring the kids along and they’ll uncover the likes of Botticelli’s Venus and Mars and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in a whole new light.
There’s also the Sketch on the Square, a series of free outdoor activities going on throughout the summer. In August, 30 easels will be set up in the square allowing children and adults alike to paint, draw or sketch. There’ll also be educator-led sessions too. Some sessions will require booking.
3rd August to 2nd September
Location: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN
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!
Based on the book by Judith Kerr, The Tiger Who Came To Tea returns to the stage this summer. Performances will be held at Theatre Royal Haymarket, and will follow the story of a little girl and her mummy, who were holding a little tea party together, when a stripy tiger knocks at the door…
Expect all of the chaos, laughter and sing-a-long songs to unfold before your eyes.
Performances from 12th July
Location: Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk Street, SW1Y 4HT
Every child has a devilish sweet tooth, so this summer why not treat them to an afternoon inspired by the Hardys Original Sweetshop?
Filled with a selection of finger sized sandwiches, freshly baked homemade chocolate chip and fruit scones and endless pastries and cupcakes. You’ll both be munching through Coca-Cola slices, Drumstick macaroons and raspberry cheesecake liquorice allsort. Yum.
Location: 35 Charles Street, Mayfair, W1J 5EB
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.
Location: St Katharine’s & Wapping, EC3N 4AB
There’s nothing quite like biting into a fresh, crisp strawberry. And where better to sample one than at one of the UK’s pick-your-own fruit farms?
This summer holidays, venture a little field afield and you’ll find yourself fulfilling your countryside dreams at a pick-your-own farm. If you’re in need of a little inspiration, we’ve rounded up the seven best PYO farms near London, from Parkside Farm to Garsons Esher.
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 reopened and is welcoming pirates back on board once more to uncover the history of the fastest clipper.
Don’t miss out on the experience to catch the cast of colourful characters, take a snap on board ship and see just what the former workers used to get up to.
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.
They’ve recently launched Summer Showtime on the Coaling Jetty. Catch one of the film screening or theatrical performances this summer – more information here.
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 have reopened, 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.
With the warm weather finally here, cool down this summer with a trip to one of Britain’s best waterparks.
From Alton Towers’ waterpark to Dorest’s Splashdown Poole, there’s so much fun to be had and done. Splash around, fly down the flumes or simply knock a bucket of water over your siblings head. See our 5 favourites here
More of a theme park lover, check out our favourites here too.