London’s a brilliant place for a family day out, at any time of year. There’s always so much on offer that I publish a monthly round-up of some of the best things to do in the capital. Here’s my selection for August.
The Enormous Slide
If you’re feeling brave, you can now try out the world’s longest and highest tunnel slide, which is at the ArcelorMittal Orbit. The 40-second journey down the 178m slide whizzes you around the UK’s tallest public artwork 12 times, finishing with a 50m straight run. You have to be at least 1.3m tall and at least eight years old in order to go on the slide, and it’s best to book in advance. Tickets for the slide include entry to the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
Cost: Adults £15.00, children £10.00.
The BFG Dream Jar Trail
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of author Roald Dahl’s birth, and the release of The BFG movie, The BFG Dream Jar Trail is in London until August 31st. Locations around the city are hosting giant dream jars, which contain the dreams of celebrities and artists such as Steven Spielberg and Sir Quentin Blake. The dream jars are inspired by the jars used by the BFG in the film, and are being auctioned for the Save the Children charity after the trail has ended. Go to the Visit London website for maps and details of the dream jars.
Each Saturday in August, you can hop on board HMS Belfast for Ship Shape Saturdays: Signals at Sea. These immersive sessions will show you how to become a member of the ship’s crew and how the Royal Navy signal from ship to ship using lights, codes and flags.
Cost: Adults from £14.50, under-16s from £7.25, under-fives free.
Rio Olympics at Beach East
Head to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the UK’s largest urban beach this summer, from 6th – 21st August. The sandy beach has a Rio theme in celebration of the Olympics, there’s live entertainment and a huge paddling pool for kids. There are big screens so that you can see all of the Olympic action while you’re there.
Cost: Adults £2.00, children £1.00.
Tower of London – Conquest!
Visitors to the Tower of London this summer can help the guards to defend the fortress against some of its Medieval enemies. The Red Earl is using his siege engines to try to batter down the walls, while Joanna Ferrour wants to lead rebellious peasants through the gates. Take part in the action daily at midday, 1.30pm and 3.30pm, until October 21st.
Cost: Adults from £23.10, under-16s from £10.50, under-fives free.
Wiltons’ Music Hall
Wilton’s is the oldest surviving music hall in the world. This August they’re offering free, family drop-in activities on Wednesdays. Activities include puppet-making and treasure hunts, and are designed for five to ten year-olds.
London Transport Museum
This summer (from Saturday 23rd July to Sunday 4th September) the London Transport Museum has a family-friendly programme of activities and events, including animal-themed story sessions, musical sing-alongs and safety events. Young children can also play in the All Aboard family play zone, explore the interactive London by Design gallery and take part in architecture workshops at the Designology Studio.
Cost: Free with your general admission ticket. Entry to the Museum is free for under-18s, from £16.00 for adults.
Kids Week (which should be called Kids Month, as it runs from 1st to 31st August) is when kids go free to a host of top West End shows, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Railway Children. Each adult paying full price can take one child for free and two extra children for half price, and there are no booking, postage or transaction fees. Kids Week also has a range of free activities and events – check out the Kids Week website for details.
Cost: Adult tickets vary according to show, kids go free (see above).
Buckingham Palace Tour
Buckingham Palace is Queen Elizabeth II’s London home. Each summer the State Rooms are open to visitors. On 6th August there’s a family festival to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, and on 29th August there’s a Rex the Corgi storytelling session at the palace – these events are included in the entry price. This year the State Rooms are open until October 2nd.
Cost: Adults £30.50, under-17s £18.20, under-fives free.
There are family-friendly outdoor cinema screenings popping up across the capital this summer. Highlights include Star Wars at Hampton Court Palace and War Horse on the roof of the National Theatre.
Cost: Varies according to venue.
Land of the Lions
Land of the Lions opened at ZSL London Zoo earlier this year. The 2,500 m2 area allows visitors to get closer than ever before to the zoo’s Asiatic Lions. There are three walkways and some immersive Indian-themed areas to explore. London Zoo is home to more than 18,000 animals, and works to promote conservation around the world. You can read my review of our visit to London Zoo (before the opening of Land of the Lions) here: A family trip to London Zoo.
Cost: Adult £24.25, child £17.60, under-threes free.
There are various places where you can swim outside in the capital during the summer months – when it’s hot enough! Popular pools include the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, Tooting Bec Lido, Parliament Hill Lido, Hampstead Heath Ponds, Brockwell Park Lido and Kings Cross Pond Club.
Cost: Varies according to venue.
Sherlock Holmes: The Experience is now at Madame Tussaud’s. Visitors can wear the famous detective’s deerstalker and help Dr Watson to find Sherlock. The journey takes visitors to some of the most famous places and moments from the popular stories, including Sherlock Holmes’ drawing room, through lamp-lit Victorian streets, to dark moors and to a dramatic watery conclusion.
Cost: Adults from £23.79, under-16s from £20.65.
350 years ago the Great Fire of London tore through the capital. Fire! Fire! is an interactive family exhibition at the Museum of London which explores the history and effect of the blaze of 1666. See how the fire started and spread, and discover the stories of some of the people who were there when it happened. You can see artefacts from the time of the fire, and compare fire-fighting techniques. The exhibition runs until 17th April 2017.
Cost: Adults from £8.00, children from £4.00.
More on London
Look out for my monthly London round-ups – you can 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 them delivered to your email inbox automatically.
Where to stay
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the city, check out my post about recommended family-friendly places to stay in London.
Over to you
If you have any recommendations for things to do or places to stay in London, please do let me know!