There are always loads of great things to do on a family day out in London, and each month I publish a round-up of some of the best. This month’s is a bumper edition as there’s so much on offer. Do let me know if there’s anything which you’d like me to include next time.
V&A REVEAL Festival
REVEAL is a week-long festival running from 30th June to 7th July to celebrate the opening of the V&A’s Exhibition Road Quarter, which has beautiful new public areas and exhibition spaces. The festival has a series of events to showcase the museum’s architecture, heritage and history, and neighbouring museums are also taking part.
Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent is a multi-sensory exhibition at Somerset House. The exhibition runs until Sunday September 17th and displays a range of unique scents in playful, interactive settings including in an interactive perfume laboratory. There’s a family workshop for six to 12 year-olds on Saturday 1st July.
Cost: From £9.00 per person for the exhibition, the workshop is free.
Everyone’s welcome to celebrate the end of Eid and learn about Islamic culture at this annual festival in Trafalgar Square. Eid marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan and this year the Trafalgar Square Eid Festival is on Sunday 2nd July, from midday until 6pm. The festival features food from around the world, live music, and family activities such as face-painting, calligraphy and storytelling.
The MLB Battlegrounds Extravaganza
MLB stands for Major League Baseball, and two of the sport’s most popular teams, the Boston Red Sox and the L. A. Dodgers, are playing at the MLB Battlegrounds Extravaganza in Hyde Park on Tuesday 4th July. There’s also street food and live music on offer at the event, which runs from 5pm to 10pm.
The annual Pride in London Festival celebrates London’s LGBT+ community with events across the city. This year’s theme is Love Happens Here, culminating on Saturday July 8th with the colourful Pride Parade through the West End and live music in Trafalgar Square.
Greenwich + Docklands International Festival
The Greenwich + Docklands International Festival 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. This year’s festival runs until Saturday 8th July.
Cost: Varies, but many events are free.
The Proms is an annual eight-week orchestral music event in London and is the biggest classical music event in the world. Starting from 14th July this year, there are concerts, talks, workshops, family events and more, culminating with the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall which is on Saturday September 9th.
Cost: Varies according to event. Tickets are half-price for all under-18s and some events are free.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum’s impressive Hintze Hall, formerly the home of the iconic Diplodicus cast, reopens on Friday July 14th after a spectacular redevelopment. The space features new specimens and exhibits, with a blue whale skeleton as the central display. If you go, you could also walk amongst free-flying tropical butterflies and moths at the Sensational Butterflies exhibition (until 17th September) which is housed in a tropical butterfly house at the front of the museum.
Cost: Entry to the museum is free, entry to Sensational Butterflies costs £5.85 per person, under-threes are free.
IPC World Para Athletics Championships 2017
The world’s best para-athletes are at the Olympic Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for this prestigious competition, which takes place from July 14th – 23rd. Around 1,300 athletes from 100 countries are taking part across 213 events.
Cost: Adults from £20, children £5.
Regents Park Open Air Theatre
Oliver Twist is an adaption from the Charles Dickins novel and is being performed at Regents Park Open Air Theatre this summer from 17th July – 5th August. The performance has been created for everyone aged six and over, and everyone aged two and over needs their own ticket.
Cost: £18 per person.
Warner Bros Studio Tour
There always seems to be more to see on this tour of the Harry Potter film studios, just outside London. I’ve been there three times and would definitely go back – you can read my review in my post Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter. The latest addition to the tour is Wizarding Wardrobes, where you can learn about the craftsmanship and artistry involved in creating the thousands of costumes which were used in the films. Wizarding Wardrobes is running from July 21st – September 4th. I’ve also written this post about 17 places to find the world of Harry Potter in London.
Cost: From £33.
Archikids is an annual festival of architecture for young people. The festival offers a weekend programme of fun, free, family-friendly architectural activities in the heart of the city. During the festival, architecturally inspiring buildings, places and spaces host a variety of tours, workshops, trails and competitions. The festival is aimed at five to 11 year-olds, and this year takes place on 22nd – 23rd July.
The Postal Museum
The Postal Museum opens its doors on July 28th and looks fascinating. Interactive galleries take visitors through 500 years of postal history, and there’s an interactive play zone for under-nines. Visitors can also travel on a miniature train through the narrow tunnels of the historical Post Office underground railway.
Prudential RideLondon is an annual three-day festival of cycling in which more than 100,000 cyclists of all levels and abilities take part. This year it’s on July 28th – 30th and includes events across London and Surrey for professional and amateur cyclists, as well as a free family ride on closed roads in central London. There’s more information on the event, and on cycling in London in general, on the Visit London website.
Cost: Varies according to event.
Sculpture in the City
Sculpture in the City is an annual event featuring contemporary art works on display in public areas in the City of London. This year the event includes works by Gavin Turk and Damien Hirst. You can download a free map showing where the pieces are here.
National Army Museum
The National Army Museum reopened in March and its five permanent galleries are organised thematically to show what it feels like to be a soldier, what the army’s for and how its role has changed over time. The museum uses personal and inspiring stories to show the importance of national defence and security. There’s a café and a ‘Play Base’, complete with an assault course and kitchen area, for children up to the age of seven years old, and there are some fun activities for kids on offer during the school summer holidays.
The popular Wonderground and Udderbelly festivals have combined to form the new Underbelly Festival, which is at the Southbank until 30th September. The festival offers a marvellous programme of live comedy, circus, cabaret and family entertainment, as well as street food stalls and outdoor bars. Family-friendly highlights this month include Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dancehall, Comedy Club 4 Kids, pirate-circus adventure Arr We There Yet?, feats of card trickery from Card Ninja and circus-slapstick romp Children are Stinky.
Cost: Varies according to show.
STAR WARS™ Identities: The Exhibition
STAR WARS™ Identities: The Exhibition 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 runs until 3rd September 2017 and has an interactive identity quest, as well as 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 at the Science Museum follows the 500-year quest to create humanoid robots, and explores what it means to be human. The exhibition covers five different periods and places, and includes a collection of more than 100 robots, fifteen of which are working models. Robots is running until 3rd September 2017.
Cost: Adults £15, children £13, under sevens free. Entrance to the main museum is free.
The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes
Nathan Sawaya has recreated some iconic DC superheroes, using more than two million LEGO bricks. The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes exhibition has more than 120 exhibits, including a life-size Batmobile. The exhibition is housed in a purpose-built tent by the London Eye, and runs until 4th September.
Cost: Adults £16.50, children (4 – 16) £11.00, under-fours free.
Robot Zoo at the Horniman
You can see some astonishing robotic animals at the Horniman Museum’s Robot Zoo this summer. The robots have been created by using everyday machines and gadgets to show how the anatomy of real animals works. Exhibits include a squid with 18-foot tentacles and a robotic rhino, and there are also some fun interactive games and challenges to experience. The Robot Zoo is at the museum until October 29th.
Cost: Adults from £7, children from £4, under-threes free.
The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit
If you’re brave enough, you can whizz down the world’s longest and highest tunnel slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit. The 40-second journey down the slide goes around the UK’s tallest public artwork 12 times, and ends with a 50-metre straight run. To use the slide you must be at least 1.3 metres tall and eight years old or more. It’s best to book in advance, and tickets for the slide include entry to the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
Cost: Adults £16.50, children £10.50.
There are various places where you can swim outside in the capital – if it’s warm enough for you! For example, Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lido in is open to the public for swimming every day from now until September 12th. Besides the natural water of the Serpentine for swimming there’s a children’s play area with a chlorinated paddling pool as well as a grassy area for sunbathing and a kiosk selling drinks and sandwiches.
Cost: Adults £4.80, children £1.80.
In case you haven’t heard, tickets for Kids Week 2017 are now on sale. Kids Week (which should be called Kids Month imao), runs for the whole of August and is when kids can go to a host of top West End shows, such as Mamma Mia!, Annie and Gangsta Granny, for free. Each adult paying full price can take one child for free and two extra children for half price, and there are no booking fees.
Cost: Adult tickets vary according to show, kids go free (see above).
More on London
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If you’re looking for London accommodation, check out my post about family-friendly places to stay in the capital.
Over to you
Is there anywhere which you think I should included in my next round-up? Do let me know – it’s great to share recommendations.