As ever, there’s a wealth of great options for family days out in London this month. Here’s my selection of some of the best – (and remember that it’s Father’s Day on Sunday June 19th):
Muggle Tours are a very entertaining way for Harry Potter fans of all ages to see some London sights. The walking tours start from around London Bridge Station and cover areas which either inspired author J. K. Rowling, or were used as Harry Potter filming locations. The tours last around two and a half hours, and are led by knowledgable guides who perform a few magic tricks along the way. You need a tube card for one section of the tour.
Cost: Adults £12, under-12s £10.
Up at The O2
Up at The O2 is a climbing experience on a walkway which is suspended above the roof of the landmark building. My husband and I tried this in April, and enjoyed it despite the chilly weather. You can read my full review here.You have to be at least 10 years old to take part, and all safety equipment is provided.
Cost: £35 per person
The View from The Shard
The View from The Shard is amazing. It’s London’s highest viewing platform – the building is 310 metres high and is western Europe’s tallest building. The viewing area has some excellent interactive telescopes which allow you to find out more about points of interest. There are sometimes offers for free or reduced price tickets for kids during the school holidays. Ticket entry is timed, but you can stay as long as you like once you’re inside (or until closing time!)
Cost: Adults from £25.95, under-16s from £19.95, if booked online in advance.
Polo in the Park
Polo in the Park is an annual event at Fulham’s Hurlingham Park and is the largest polo tournament in Europe. This year Polo in the Park is running from 3-5 June and there are teams from six cities from around the world competing. The organisers are keen for newcomers to the sport to come along and watch the action. On Sunday 5th June there’s a children’s Pitch Invasion and Family Olympics, led by entertainers Sharky & George.
Cost: From £10 per person or £70 for a family.
Regents Park Open Air Theatre
Running Wild is an epic adaption of Michael Morpurgo’s book about a boy and an elephant. The family show is being performed at Regents Park Open Air Theatre until June 12th, 2016. The show is recommended for ages four-plus.
Cost: From £25 per person.
London Zoo is running a summer event from 3rd June until 15th July called Sunset Safari. The event is on Friday evenings from 6pm to 10pm and gives visitors the chance to experience the zoo after hours. There’s a World Food Market, entertainment and a programme of animal feeds and keeper talks.
Cost: From £19.50 for adults and £14.63 for children if booked in advance online.
Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour is a military parade to celebrate The Queen’s birthday on a Saturday in June. The event is open to the public to watch. The Queen was actually born on April 21st but it’s traditional to celebrate the King or Queen’s birthday publicly during the summer when good weather is more likely than at other times of the year. This year The Queen is 90 years old, and Trooping the Colour is on Saturday 11th June, from 10am. The ceremony is on Horseguards Parade in Whitehall. The RAF also fly past Buckingham Palace to mark the occasion, watched by The Queen and members of the Royal Family from the famous balcony.
Open Squares Weekend
The annual Open Squares Weekend is on June 18th – 19th this year. The weekend gives you the opportunity to explore any of more than 200 private squares and gardens across London which are usually closed to the public. Some of the gardens offer activities for children such as face painting, Punch & Judy shows, crafts and games.
Cost: Free for children under 12 years old, £12 for adults.
Greenwich + Docklands International Festival
The Greenwich + Docklands International Festival celebrates outdoor performing arts. This annual spectacular takes place in and around Greenwich, and events include street theatre, dance, workshops and games. The festival runs from June 24th – July 2nd.
Cost: Varies, but many events are free.
The House of Illustration is dedicated to the world of illustration, from picture books to political cartoons, fashion design to animation and more. The gallery is running an exhibition of Quentin Blake’s original artwork for The BFG book from 24th June – 2nd October 2016. There are regular family workshops on offer: on June 25th there’s one where you can illustrate yourself as a character in a 3D scene. The House of Illustration is a few minutes’ walk from Kings Cross Station.
Cost: Adults from £7, children from £4, under-5s free.
The Udderbelly festival is at the Southbank Centre for its seventh year, running until 17th July, 2016. The temporary venue next to the Thames centres on a giant, purple, upturned cow and offers a programme of comedy, circus, cabaret and children’s shows.
Cost: Varies according to show.
The Sensational Butterflies exhibition is housed in a tropical butterfly house at the front of the Natural History Museum. Inside the butterfly house you can walk amongst free-flying butterflies and moths from around the world. The exhibition runs until September 11th, and includes interactive displays and games where you can learn more about butterflies and moths. While you’re there you can also visit the Natural History Museum itself.
Cost: £5.85 per person, free for under-3s. Entry to the museum is free.
Where to stay
If you’re looking for accommodation in the capital, have a look at my post about family-friendly places to stay in London. You can also read my reviews of the Four Seasons Canary Wharf here, the Amba Hotel Marble Arch here, the Hilton London Metropole here, Go Native Apartments here and the Royal Garden Hotel here. There are more reviews in the Where to stay category.
More on London
Check back each month for my latest London round-up – or subscribe to my blog (by entering your email address in the box on the right – where it says ‘YOU’D LIKE MY POSTS BY EMAIL?’) to have it emailed to your inbox automatically.
Over to you
Is there anywhere which you think should be included in my next roundup? Do let me know – I love having recommendations of family-friendly things to do.