There are always loads of interesting things to see and do with kids in London, and each month I publish a roundup of some of the best. Here’s my selection for June – remember that it’s Father’s Day on Sunday June 18th, just in case you’d like a family day out for the occasion. Do let me know if there’s anything which you’d like me to include in future roundups!
London Food Month
London Food Month (1 – 30 June 2017) is a new, annual celebration of food. The festival features an outdoor Night Market and more than 400 events across the city, including some events for kids. The Night Market is in Kensington and features 50 diverse food stalls. It’s open every evening during the festival and also during the day at weekends.
Cost: Varies according to event.
Polo in the Park
Polo in the Park (9 – 11 June 2017) is an annual event which takes place at Fulham’s Hurlingham Park. It’s the largest polo tournament in Europe and this year there are teams from six cities from around the world competing. On Sunday 11th June there’s a children’s Pitch Invasion and Family Olympics, led by entertainers Sharky & George, and a Little Hooves Kids Club hosted by Eddie Katz.
Cost: Adults from £15, under-16s from £10, under-6s free.
London Tech Week
London Tech Week (12 – 16 June 2017) is Europe’s largest tech festival. The annual event showcases the sector’s latest innovations and it’s a great opportunity to learn about technology while having fun. There are more than 300 events scheduled across the city, include a drone race between eight of the top drone pilots from around the world, and a coding session called Can You Code Like a 3-Year-Old?
Cost: Varies according to event.
Kids Week tickets
A date for your diary – tickets for Kids Week 2017 are on sale from 10am on 13 June. In case you haven’t heard of it, Kids Week (it should really be called Kids Month), runs each year for the whole of August and is when kids can go free to a host of top West End shows, such as Mamma Mia!, Annie and Gangsta Granny. 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.
Cost: Adult tickets vary according to show, kids go free (see above).
Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour (17 June 2017, from 10am) is a military parade to celebrate The Queen’s official birthday. The event is open to the public to watch and it always takes place on a Saturday in June. The Queen was born on April 21st but it’s traditional to celebrate the monarch’s birthday publicly during the summer. The ceremony takes place on Horseguards Parade in Whitehall and there’s an RAF fly-past at 1pm, watched by The Queen and members of the Royal Family from the famous Buckingham Palace balcony.
Open Garden Squares Weekend
The annual Open Garden Squares Weekend (17 – 18 June 2017) gives you the opportunity to explore more than 230 private squares and gardens across 27 London boroughs which are usually closed to the public. Some of the gardens offer activities for children such as pond dipping, face painting, crafts, games and Punch and Judy puppet shows.
Cost: Free for children under 12 years old, £10 for 12-18 year-olds, £13 for adults if booked online in advance.
Greenwich + Docklands International Festival
The Greenwich + Docklands International Festival (23 June – 8 July 2017) is an annual celebration of outdoor performing arts (theatre, dance and street arts). The festival takes place in and around Greenwich, and events include street theatre, dance, workshops and games.
Cost: Varies, but many events are free.
West End Live
This annual event gives you the chance to see performances from top West End musicals for free in Trafalgar Square. This year West End Live (24 – 25 June 2017) showcases musicals such as Annie, Les Miserables, Kinky Boots, Wicked and The Lion King.
STAR WARS™ Identities: The Exhibition
STAR WARS™ Identities: The Exhibition (until 3 September 2017) follows the journeys of Luke and Anakin Skywalker through more than 200 props, models, costumes and artworks from the original Star Wars films. The O2 exhibition also has an interactive identity quest, and some interesting scientific content to help you to explore the forces which shape us as individuals.
Cost: Adults from £20.00, children from £10.00, under-fives free.
Science Museum: Robots
The Robots exhibition (until 3 September 2017) at London’s Science Museum follows the 500-year quest to create humanoid robots, and explores what it means to be human. The exhibition is set in five different periods and places, and features a collection of more than 100 robots, fifteen of which are working models.
Cost: Adults £15, children £13, under sevens free. Entrance to the main museum is free.
The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes
Artist Nathan Sawaya has recreated a range of DC superheroes using an astonishing two million plus LEGO bricks. Sawaya’s previous touring exhibition, The Art of the Brick, was seen by millions of people across the globe. There are more than 120 exhibits in The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes exhibition (until 4 September 2017), including a life-size Batmobile. The characters are on display in a purpose-built tent by the London Eye.
Cost: Adults £16.50, children (4 – 16) £11.00, under-fours free.
The Sensational Butterflies exhibition (until 17 September 2017) is housed in a tropical butterfly house at the front of the Natural History Museum. Inside the exhibition you can walk amongst free-flying tropical butterflies and moths. There are also interactive displays and games where you can learn more about these creatures.
Cost: Entry to the Natural History Museum is free. Entry to Sensational Butterflies costs £5.85 per person, under-threes are free.
Robot Zoo at the Horniman
You can meet some amazing robotic animals at the Horniman Museum’s Robot Zoo (until 29 October 2017). The robots have been created from everyday machines and gadgets to show how the anatomy of real animals works. Highlights include a squid with 18-foot tentacles and a robotic rhino, and there are also some fun interactive games and challenges to try out.
Cost: Adults from £7, children from £4, under-threes free.
The popular Udderbelly and Wonderground festivals have combined this year to form the new Underbelly Festival (until 30 September 2017) at the Southbank. The live entertainment festival offers a marvellous programme of live comedy, circus, cabaret and family entertainment, as well as street food stalls and outdoor bars.
Cost: Varies according to show.
Up at The O2
Up at The O2 is a safe and easy climbing experience across the roof of the O2 arena. Climbers traverse the structure via a walkway which is suspended above the roof of the landmark building. My husband and I tried this last year, and enjoyed it despite the chilly April 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: From £30 per person.
Alice in Wonderland
You can explore Wonderland and search for Alice at The Vaults arts space below Waterloo Station. Alice’s Adventures Underground is suitable for ages 11+ while Adventures in Wonderland is designed for children who are five years old or more (until 23 September 2017). Both are critically-acclaimed immersive story experiences in which you decide where to go. Blogger Nell Heshram (The Pigeon Pair and Me) is a fan. She says: : ‘Adventures in Wonderland is an incredible immersive show for kids. It’s cheaper than West End performances, too!’
Cost: From £31.50.
Flip Out trampoline parks
Trampoline parks are great for all ages, whatever the weather. Afra Willmore, who blogs at madmumof7 messaged me to say: ‘I’m at Brent Cross Flip Out at the moment and think it’s a great place for rainy days. Kids love it and even I had a bit of a bounce. More than just trampolines.’ Apart from Brent Cross, there’s also a Flip Out trampoline park in Wandsworth, South London, as well as in other locations across the country.
Cost: Each Flip Out session is an hour long and costs from £10 to £12.50.
Megan Morgan of Truly Madly Kids has several London recommendations. She says: ‘My kids as little ones loved the Transport Museum. My 11 year-old loves visiting Lush on Oxford Street, and I recently took her for afternoon tea at the Langham which she loved!’. Megan also recommends Kerb Camden street food market, which sounds like a great place – you can read her review here: Exploring London: Kerb Camden.
Where to stay
If you’re looking for accommodation in the capital, check out my post Family-friendly places to stay in London.
More on London
Pop back each month for my latest London roundup – or you can subscribe to Mums do travel to receive my posts by email (just enter your email address on the right of this page, where it says ‘YOU’D LIKE POSTS BY EMAIL?’).
Over to you
What would you like me to include in next month’s roundup? Do share your London tips and recommendations.