If you’re planning a family day out in London, you have a huge array of activities to choose from, whatever the time of year. Each month I publish a round-up of some of the best things on offer in the capital for families with kids. Here’s my selection for January 2019.
New Year’s Day Parade
Each year on January 1st thousands of performers take part in a spectacular parade through the streets of London’s West End. Highlights include Pearly Kings and Queens, classic cars, marching bands and cheerleaders. The parade starts from Piccadilly at midday.
Christmas at Kew
The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew are lit up after dark with more than a million lights and thousands of laser beams for Christmas at Kew, until January 5th, 2019. Besides the winter trail with twinkly lights through the famous gardens, there’s a fire garden and water projections. There are also some vintage fairground rides, and kids may spot Father Christmas and his elves.
Cost: Adult from £16.50, child from £10, under-fours free.
Every winter a large area of Hyde Park becomes Winter Wonderland. The attraction offers live shows, a large outdoor ice rink, fairground rides and a Christmas market. There’s no charge to enter Winter Wonderland – you only pay for the activities which you try. It’s best to book ahead for things such as ice-skating and the live shows. Until January 6th, 2019.
Cost: Free to enter, pay according to activity.
Southbank Winter Festival
The Winter Festival at the Southbank Centre is on until 6th January. Highlights include live shows, a winter market, and global street food.
Cost: Depends on event – access to the market is free.
Christmas in Leicester Square
Christmas in Leicester Square is running until 6th January 2019, and offers range of entertainment as well as a Christmas market and Santa’s Grotto. Highlights include Monski Mouse’s Christmas Baby Disco Dancehall, Brat Kids Carnival and The Showstoppers’ Christmas Kids Show!.
Cost: Free entry, Grotto from £11.50, tickets for performances vary according to event.
London A Cappella Festival
The 10th London A Cappella Festival runs from 23rd to 26th January, 2019. The festival draws performers from all over the world and provides learning platforms for singers of all ages and and abilities. Saturday 26th January is LACF Kids Day, and features family-friendly workshops, performances and activities.
Cost: Varies according to event.
Hogwarts in the Snow
Once again some of the sets from the popular Harry Potter films at the Warner Bros Studio Tour are transformed for the festive season. We loved our New Year’s Eve visit to see Hogwarts in the Snow – here’s my review: Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter. Hogwarts in the Snow is running until 27th January, 2019.
Cost: From £43 per adult, from £35 per child, free under-fives.
Life in the Dark
The Natural History Museum invites you to put your senses to the test when you visit their Life in the Dark exhibition. You can learn about the lives of nocturnal animals at the exhibition until 31st January 2019.
Cost: Entry to the museum is free, entry to Life in the Dark costs from £7.50 for adults, under-16s are free.
Some of London’s temporary seasonal ice rinks are still open this month. The Somerset House ice rink (my favourite) is open until 13th January. The ice rink at the Natural History Museum is open until January 20th and the one at Canary Wharf is open until February 16th. Read my post on the Best places to ice skate in London for full details.
Cost: Varies according to location.
Good Grief, Charlie Brown!
You can see Snoopy, Charlie Brown and friends at the excellent Good Grief, Charlie Brown! exhibition at Somerset House this winter. I remember reading the Peanuts comic strips by Charles M. Schultz in my dad’s newspaper as a child, but before visiting the exhibition I had no idea of their ongoing cultural significance, that Lucy and Peppermint Pattie were feminist icons, that there was an actual Snoopy for President campaign in the USA in the 1968 and 1972 elections (now there’s a campaign which is ripe for revival), or that NASA has a Silver Snoopy award for space safety. Fascinating stuff. The exhibition is running until March 3rd, 2019.
Cost: Adults £14.00, under-12s free.
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 Sarah Lucas, Amanda Lwin and Marina Abramovic, and the art works are in place until April 2019. You can find out more about the pieces on display here.
The Sun: Living With Our Star
The Science Museum‘s latest exhibition looks at our relationship with our closest star, the Sun. Visitors to this interactive experience can enjoy an indoor beach, try on virtual sunglasses and watch the sunrise in places around the world on a huge wall display. Until May 6th, 2019.
Cost: From £15.
More on London
If you’d like a moneysaving sightseeing pass for your trip to the city, The London Pass includes a one-day hop-on hop-off bus tour, as well as free entry to more than 80 attractions, tours and museums, such as the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and The View from The Shard. The pass also gives you fast-track entry at some of the most popular attractions, so you don’t have to waste time queueing.
If you’d like a London guide book, I recommend both the Lonely Planet London Travel Guide and the London Marco Polo Travel Guide. If you need accommodation, check out my post about family-friendly places to stay in the capital.
Each month I publish a round-up of great things to do in London, so do pop back to see it, or 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?’) and it will be emailed to you automatically. You can read my February round-up of top things to do in the city here:
Here’s a post with loads of ideas for fantastic free stuff to do in London for families with a teen in tow:
Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links, which means that if you clicked through and made a purchase I may receive a small commission. All opinions and words are my own, as ever.