London is a great place for families to visit at any time of the year. Each month I put together a round-up of the best things to do in the capital for families with kids. Here’s my selection for July – do let me know if there’s anything which you think should be included next month.
Shrek’s Adventure! London is a brand new attraction which opens on July 1st. Shrek’s Adventure is described as an ‘immersive storytelling’ attraction which brings to life the Kingdom of Far Far Away as depicted in the popular Shrek films. The attraction is in an excellent location in the old City Hall building on the South Bank right next to the London Eye. We’re planning a visit soon and I’ll write a full review on here when I’ve checked it out.
Cost: Adults from £23.40, children from £18.72.
KidZania London opened at Westfield Shopping Centre in June. The first of its kind in the UK, KidZania is a child-sized city which introduces kids to the world of work. The attraction contains 60 role play workspaces where children can try their hands at adult jobs: there’s a hospital, a police station, a fire station, a theatre and so on. KidZania is the size of Leicester Square and can accommodate up to 1,700 guests at any one time.
Cost: 4-14 year-olds from £28.00, 15 year-olds and above from £16.50, 1-3 years old from £10, infants under 1 year old can enter free of charge.
A new indoor trampoline park opens in Acton on July 20th. Oxygen Freejumping has 150 connected trampolines and can host up to 132 jumpers at any one time. You need to go through a safety briefing before going on the trampolines and there are trained safety monitors stationed around the park. It looks like great fun.
Cost: £12.50 for a 60-minute session.
The Pawprint Trail is a new, free family trail around Paddington. It starts at the Paddington Bear Shop at Paddington Station and takes in four of the Paddington Bear statues which were created by designers and celebrities for the 2014 Paddington Bear Trail (my daughter and I found this one in Covent Garden last Christmas):
The trail takes you to the place where Paddington first met the Brown family when he arrived from Darkest Peru and on to some family-friendly spots and activities in the area. To read my article about how to visit Paddington film locations in London click here.
There are various places where you can swim outside in the capital during the summer months. The Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park is open to the public for swimming every day in June, July and August from 10am until 6pm. Besides the natural water of the Serpentine for swimming there’s also a children’s play area with a chlorinated paddling pool where little ones can splash about. There’s a grassy area for sunbathing and a kiosk selling drinks and sandwiches.
Cost: Adults £4.80, children £1.80
Not far from the Serpentine Lido is the Serpentine Pavilion. The Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens has hosted a summer pavilion by a different designer every year for the last 15 years. This year’s colourful pavilion was designed by Spanish architects Selgas Cano and is free to visit, as is the gallery itself.
Pop Up Screens
Pop Up Screens has a summer programme of outdoor screenings of classic films in iconic locations across London. The season runs from July 24th until September 26th and several of the films on offer – such as Big (12A), ET (PG) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (PG) are suitable for families with older kids while a couple of the films – Lion King (U) and Up (U) – are suitable for all ages. Take something to sit on and extra clothes to wear after the sun goes down.
Cost: Adults £10, under-10s £6.
RA Summer Exhibition
The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition this year runs from June 8th until August 16th. This annual event is a showcase for contemporary art and has been running for 247 years. There are 1,100 works on display, chosen from more than 12,000 entries. There are family workshops (some of which are free) on offer on various dates during the exhibition.
Cost: Adults £12,00, under-16s free.
Some of London’s statues can now talk to you via your mobile phone. Sing London commissioned some of the UK’s most acclaimed writers and actors to animate 35 public statues across London and Manchester. If you swipe your phone on a tag by a Talking Statue your phone rings and you could be listening to Queen Victoria or Peter Pan or Achilles or someone else. To find out who’s talking where click here.
If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to book tickets for Kids Week (which should be called Kids Month as it runs from 1st to 31st August) when kids go free (with an adult paying full price) to top West End shows.
Here are some suggestions from Mums do travel readers Mama Syder and Lisa Prince for great things to do in London with kids:
London open-top bus tour
Lisa Prince, who blogs at Beauty and the Prince, suggests going on a London open-top bus tour. I’ve not been on one of these tours in London but I have in other cities and I think that it’s a great way to get an overview of a place. It also saves children’s legs from getting too tired before you’ve seen what you want to see.
Cost: varies according to tour.
London Bridge Experience
Mama Syder, who blogs at The Syders, is a fan of the London Bridge Experience. The attraction is just outside London Bridge station and is described as ‘The UK’s scariest year-round attraction’. Far too scary for me in that case, but it sounds good for brave types who enjoy that kind of thing.
Cost: Adults from £17, children from £15.
How about you? Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for great things to do in London with kids in tow? If so, do let me know so that I can see if I can include it in my next monthly London roundup.