London is bursting at the seams with activities to keep the little ones entertained and as the summer holidays swing into view, it’ll give you the chance to explore the best of the city. Read on for our edit of the best things to do with kids this summer, from charming Alice in Wonderland adaptations to a Beano-inspired afternoon tea bus tour.
The Top Things To Do With The Kids This Summer
Theatre on Kew: Alice in Wonderland
Every summer there’s a new Alice in Wonderland experience we’re excited for, and this summer’s edition at Theatre on Kew is our favourite yet. You’re invited to once again swirl down the rabbit hole and enter Lewis Carroll’s magical wonderland, uncovering the curiouser and curiouser characters that wait within.
Set in the enchanting Kew Gardens, this outdoor performance’s surroundings couldn’t fit more perfectly with the themes that arise throughout the production. Follow Alice as she searches for her way home, meeting all of your favourite characters, from the Cheshire Cat to the bad-tempered Queen of Hearts.
When: 22.07.2023 – 28.08.23
Where: Victoria Gate, Kew Gardens
Hampton Court Palace’s The Magic Garden
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 in the castle-inspired play area. You’ll come face to face with mythical beasts and battle for victory against the menacing dragon…
WherE: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU
Dinosaur World Live
Returning to Regent’s Park following roaring success, Dinosaur World Live will be bringing all of the dino-mite action in this family-friendly show.
Taking over Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre this August, your dino-obsessed kids can get up close and personal with impressive creatures, uncovering more about the pre-historic world. Expect to become face-to-face with the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Microraptor and Segnosaurus.
When: 11.08.2023 – 03.09.23
Where: Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Inner Cir, NW1 4NU
Sharky & George’s Holiday Camp
Children’s events organisers, Sharky & George team have announced that their Holiday Camp 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.
When: Until 01.09.23
WherE: The Parsons Green Club
Power Up, Science Museum
Connect with your little ones over your shared love of games. The Science Museum is launching a brand new exhibition dedicated to our fascination with gaming.
From Pong to Pacman, Minecraft to Mario, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the best video games and consoles from the past 50 years. Rediscover your old favourites, uncover new highlights and battle one another in an epic game-off.
When: Open from 27.07.23
Where: Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD
Beano Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
Rediscover the wonderful world of BEANO with Bridgit’s Bakery’s new afternoon tea bus tour.
Celebrating BEANO’s 85th birthday, the talented team has created a blamtastic menu featuring everything from the bangers & mash-up chocolate cupcake to bananamania custard tart, Dennis’ red & black dunker macaron to the berry naughty jelly baby.
When: Until 10.09.23
Where: Departs from Victoria Coach Station
Bringing the dinosaurs back to life this summer is Horniman Museum & Gardens’ latest exhibition, Brick Dinos.
This family-friendly exhibition takes a look at the Jurassic and Cretaceous Period, offering visitors the chance to meet dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. And the most interesting part? All of the created have been built using LEGO® bricks.
When: until 29.10.223
Where: Horniman Museum & Gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ
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 for budding artists or just fans of delightful biscuits.
where: NOTTING HILL / Belgravia
Sixes Social Cricket Club
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.
wherE: Various locations
Perfect for the older kiddies, Wicked is London’s favourite witch-centred narrative on the West End.
See the story of Oz get turned on its head, as we see the story from the witch’s perspective. Follow as an unlikely friendship between the good witch, Glinda, and the misunderstood ‘green girl’ named Elphaba arises.
For cheap theatre tickets, read our guide to Kid’s Theatre Week here.
Where: Apollo Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, Pimlico, SW1V 1LG
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!
where: White City, Bank & Lakeside
London’s Urban Petting Farms
Make a moo-ve as you wander around London’s best farms and zoos. Despite being a city, there are 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’ve 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.
Offering an interactive space for children’s imagination to run free, Young V&A is a free national museum designed to spark creativity.
Formerly the Museum of Childhood, the museum has had an impressive rebrand and transformation, reopening earlier this summer. Expect to uncover around 2,000 objects and artifacts from across the V&A collection of art, design and performance. Currently there’s an interactive Minecraft installation, street art museums from Mark Malarko and innovative creations made by young people for the Raspberry Pi’s Coolest Projects competition.
Where: Young V&A, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PA
Frozen the Musical
Whether you’re seeing it for the first time or the umpteenth time, Frozen the Musical brings Disney’s most loved princesses to life on the big stage. Now on stage at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, let your imagination run wild as you see Elsa and Anna’s story unfold through beautiful costumes, special effects and stunning scenery.
Stop by The Grand Saloon for the best afternoon tea experience in the city first.
WHERE: THE LANE, CATHERINE STREET, COVENT GARDEN, WC2B 5JF
Explore London’s Free Museums
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 artifacts. 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…
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
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.
When: Until 03.09.23
where: Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk Street, SW1Y 4HT
Free Minigolf by Craig & Karl
Mini golf never looked so good. Artists Craig Redman and Karl Maier have transformed Montogomery Square once again with a colourful mini golf course.
Completely free to enjoy, get your putts at the ready and settle in for an afternoon filled with fun, laughter and a lot of friendly competition.
Where: Montgomery Square, Canary Wharf, E14
The Original Sweetshop Afternoon Tea
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 licorice allsorts. Yum.
where: 35 Charles Street, Mayfair, W1J 5EB
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. Our favourite? The Knickerbocker Glory from Fortnum’s – the ultimate childhood dessert you can’t help but love.
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…
Tower of London
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.
where: 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.
Diana Memorial Playground
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 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.
where: Broad Walk, Kensington, W2 4RU
Harry Potter Activities
From WANDSworth to POTTER’S Bar, London is full of Harry Potter, from immersive days out to locations and inspiration. Here are a few of the places you can head to to get the true Potter experience.
Stag Lodge Stables
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 offers 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…
where: Robin Hood Gate, Richmond Park, SW15 3RS
Ahoy there me hearties! Cutty Sark 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 the ship and see just what the former workers used to get up to.
Throughout the summer holidays, expect special events to be taking place, from family weekends filled with workshops to the big climb.
where: King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 8HT
The Battersea Games
From giant screens showing the big sporting games of the summer to track races with friends, Battersea Power Station’s summer series is the perfect spot to get the kids inspired by the power of team sports.
Throughout the summer, the Battersea Games will offer a series of free and ticketed sports and games activities. Catch a game on the big screen or watch a sports-themed film, challenge your pals to a 100m track race or a tricky game of Connect 4.
When: Until 03.09.23
Where: Battersea Power Station, SW11 8AH
Morph’s Epic Art Adventure
Get out and get active with this summer’s colourful sculpture trail dedicated to the beloved chirpy character Morph.
Wild in Art and Whizz Kidz have teamed up to create a special 70-sculpture trail centred around the small Plasticine man filled with fun facts and rewards your little ones will love.
When: until 20.08.23
Where: Across London
Southbank Centre Food Market
If you’ve got a budding foodie or just need somewhere easy to eat and keep the kids happy, the Southbank Centre Food Market is your best friend.
Expect to find a series of independent stallholders boasting delicious foodie offerings, from Asian street food like Pad + Sen to sweet treats from Choco Fruit and Crêpes à la Carte.
Where: Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX
There’s always fun to be had at the Shakespeare’s Globe. Suited for slightly older kids, there are plenty of performances to catch this summer.
Choose from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where you’ll follow four rebellious young lovers and all of the colourful characters hidden inside the enchanted forest, or opt for the Midsummer Mechanicals, where you can cheer on a chaotic performance as a band of amateur actors stage their first ever play…
Where: 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
Peter Pan Afternoon Tea
Head on a magical trip to Neverland courtesy of Aqua Shard’s Peter Pan-inspired afternoon tea.
Drawing on J.M Barrie’s beloved novel, the stand is inspired by Captain James Hook’s pirate ship and features adorable bites nodding to moments and characters in the story.
Expect to be tucking into The Lost Boys sandwiches filled with roasted chicken, crispy bacon, mayo and mustard; ‘Codfish’ Captain Hook, a deep fried cod branade with red breadcrumb and captain’s own hook; and treats including the Tinker Bell, a sweet pastry biscuit with white icing and gold fairy dust.
Check our guide here for more family-friendly afternoon teas.
Where: Aqua Shard, Level 31, The shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY
The London Dungeon
It wouldn’t be summer holidays without a visit to The London Dungeon. Take your little gremlins for a spook-tacular quest through the Dungeon, meeting characters from the ‘bad old days’ along the way.
Expect to be spooked, scared and, er, tortured into the day… You’ll meet everyone from a Black Plague doctor to Guy Fawkes, Mrs Lovett’s and her famous pie shop and Sweeney Todd.
Where: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB