52 THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS THIS AUGUST 2023
Your Ultimate August Children's Entertainment Guide to the Summer Holidays
August has achieved the impossible - making us wish the Summer Holidays were actually longer, with an insane amount of amazing family activities in our biggest ever Children's Entertainment Guide.
We've got puppet festivals, aliens, slime pop-ups, free festivals with death-defying performances and giant planets, princess banquets and enormous swings.
Our top 52 picks include a gaggle of FREE events and there’s something to entertain (and wear out) every flavour of child.
So dust off your diary and the most inky pen to plan the ultimate August.
Little Angel Theatre Launches First Ever Children’s Puppet Festival
Little Angel Theatre is the master of jaw-dropping marionette magic and it has announced its first ever Children’s Puppet Festival, across both Little Angel venues this summer from 2 August until 3 September. The bulging programme featuring the world’s most innovative, kid’s theatre companies will include performances, family workshops, community events, puppetry courses and the ingenious Puppet Playcation holiday camp for ages 5-9. Highlights include Breathe by Half A String, with intricate puppetry, ground-breaking live camera work and a banging drum and bass soundtrack; internationally renowned hand shadow artist Drew Colby and opera singer Rose Stachniewska's new opera production of The Fox Poet and the Fisherman. Garlic Theatre return to Little Angel with their lovingly crafted puppets in Oldilocks and the 3 Bears, plus deliciously silly stories from the award-winning Roustabout Theatre in the improvised and interactive, The Great Big Story Mix Up Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, London N1 2DN and Little Angel Studio, Community Centre, 132 Sebbon St, London N1 2EH Until 3 September
The Smeds and the Smoos
Read our review of lubular lakes, tall trockles and jellyful fruit on London’s new, intergalactic trip to the Wurpular Wood here. Tall Stories are the alchemists of forensically faithful Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book adaptations, expertly stretching five-minute bedtime reads into hour-long spectacles, bursting with puppets, songs and interactive scripts. The kids’ theatre company has been touring its stage version of The Gruffalo for more than 20 years - almost the age of the book itself - and after successful adaptations of Donaldson's The Gruffalo’s Child and The Snail and the Whale, they now bring The Smeds and the Smoos to London’s West End.
The Smeds and the Smoos, Lyric Theatre, 29 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 7ES.
Greenwich + Docklands International Festival
From filling the streets with Technicolor foam to sinking a house in the docks for a rooftop dance, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival never disappoints - read our feature here. But they might have surpassed themselves with their newly announced, free RESURGAM spectacular, which will see a death-defying, vertical dance taking place on the facade of London’s iconic St Paul’s Cathedral from 31 August to 2 September. The 17 day festival of free, family-friendly outdoor arts and theatre takes place from 25 August to 10 September 2023 in public spaces across Greenwich and East London. Other highlights include the heart-stopping, OPEN LINES tightrope walk across Woolwich on 25 August. Over at Royal Victoria Dock, the water ballet, CYGNUS will be performed nightly from 31 August to 3 September by a life-sized, multi-coloured, animatronic flotilla of swans, which change colour in time to the ethereal music. And 26 August sees the UK premiere of The Air Between Us, a spectacular duet by multi-award-winning disabled artist Rodney Bell and dancer/choreographer Chloe Luftus. The festival will feature more than 35 events, including two world premieres and 14 UK premieres inspired by the theme Acts of Hope, inviting Londoners to come together for uplifting moments of shared wonder and connection. Greenwich + Docklands International Festival. 25 August - 10 September. Across Greenwich and East London. FREE
Kensington and Chelsea Festival
Kensington and Chelsea Festival has returned for a third consecutive year with a bulging programme of theatre, circus, opera, dance, music, outdoor arts, family shows, participatory activities, talks, walks and public art pieces across the borough until 31 August - most of which are free or pay what you can. Luke Jerram has stolen the show again, this time with a jaw-dropping, seven metre model of Mars. Other August highlights include CastAway, which uses a snazzy, gyroscopic flying machine to immerse audiences in an underwater world and The Swings, which is part performance and part installation that big and small kids can play with - performers will fly high throughout the day on the five-metre swings, which will also open for all ages to sit and swing on, triggering a sound installation as they move. Kensington & Chelsea Festival. Across the borough until 31 August.
Slimy Gootopia Pop-Up Launches
Slime is a gloopy rite of passage for every child - parents quickly learn the art of removing it from hair and unwitting pets and it’s up there with ice cream in the kiddie delight department. Enter stage left: High street slime store, Gootopia, which is opening a seven week-long pop-up at Southside Shopping Centre in Wandsworth from 1 August. The new pop-up will feature shelves of ready-made slime, slime ingredients, activator, and their ‘goo-to-go’ slime vending machine. It will also offer a range of activities and experiences for kids of all ages, including two summer slime workshops, ‘Tropical Blast’ and ‘Ice Cream Dream’ which will take place every day until 3 September, with guests able to book the one hour sessions online. The store will also be hosting birthday parties, school science workshops, drop-in slime-making sessions and live slime-making demonstrations by expert slime creators. Gootopia pops up at Southside Shopping Centre from 1 August – 16 September.
Fellowship Square Summer of Fun
Walthamstow's Fellowship Square has got the boredom-swerving, summer Holidays memo. This August sees daily fountain shows, free kids’ activities for kids plus carnivals and parties. Famous for its fountain, the art deco, Grade II listed Town Hall and surrounding gardens, Waltham Forest has launched a bumper six weeks of free and ticketed events, including a arts and crafts, exhibitions, cultural festivals, sports, performances, summer markets and more. Each week the theme will change, with activities like 3D modelling and printing, insect meet and greets, martial arts, Full Moon and Gong yoga, musical instrument and dance sessions. At the centre of the square stands the high tech, Fellowship Square Fountains, for multi-coloured lights, illuminating more than 144 water jets, bringing dramatic displays and performances to life. Fellow Ship Square Summer of Fun, Walthamstow, London, E17 4JF. Free. Until 1 September
Open Water Family Swimming at Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf has reopened its swim hotspot at Middle Dock just in time to fling in children, this Summer. Open throughout the week and welcome to all abilities over the age of 10, families can practise their strokes and cool off in the safe-to-swim and clean water course. A dip in the Thames with old crisp packets and fag ends hasn’t been the most appealing option before, even in these deodorant-defying times. But Canary Wharf’s 220-year-old Middle Dock has been cleaned up and lifeguarded for a pretty swanky swimming experience, against the backdrop of One Canada Square and Newfoundland, seven days a week, until the end of September. Since opening last summer, Canary Wharf has hosted 7,000 swimmers as part of a growing trend for open water swimming. The activity continues to be a popular choice for those wanting to boost immunity, improve flexibility and relieve stress. Visit Love Open Water for more info. Open now until September
Europe’s Biggest Hot Air Balloon Festival
Regular readers will know that we flippin’ love a big, juicy hot air balloon. And they don’t get much bigger or more juicy than Bristol’s brilliant balloon fiesta, which celebrates its 45th anniversary across four days with beautiful morning ascents and transcendent night-glows, which will see the balloons light up in time to music. Europe’s largest, annual hot air festival returns to Ashton Court estate with a rammed, kid-friendly programme of events and experiences from 10-13 August. Bristol Balloon Fiesta, Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN. From £31.80 per car.
Princess Banquets at Down Hall Hotel
Taking place on select August dates, the new Princess Banquets invite little princes and princesses to a royal banquet with characters from their favourite fairytales, including Cinderella and Frozen’s Elsa. Children will also have the chance to create their own sparkly tiara or jewelled crown, before enjoying a menu of themed dishes and joining in with classic Disney singalongs. The evening closes with story time to bid the princesses a goodbye and happily ever after. Princess Banquets, Down Hall Hotel, Matching Road, Hatfield Heath, Essex, CM22 7AS. 4 and 13 August. £25pp and £15 for under 2s.
Pampering for all the family at Pan Pacific London
Summer Holiday activities that involve lying down and being pampered? Count us massively IN. Pan Pacific London has partnered with luxury children’s brand Bonpoint, to create a unique offering for the hotel’s dedicated Wellbeing Floor. The first partnership of its kind in the UK, the duo have created a range of unisex skincare treatments and packages for children aged 6 – 16 years old, that provide an opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their children and teens and enjoy a spot of pampering. Pan Pacific Family Pampering, 80 Houndsditch, London, EC3A 7AB. Treatments start from £100.
Power Up at the Science Museum
Following five successful runs, Power Up will make its permanent home at the Science Museum from July, allowing visitors to try over 160 consoles and hundreds of the very best video games, all year long. With the new Power Up annual passes, visitors can return whenever they fancy, to journey through the world of gaming. Experience the evolution of gaming – from classics such as Pong and Street Fighter to the latest PlayStation and Xbox – while discovering the science and history behind gaming’s most iconic developments. Power Up Ticketed, daily passes: £10, annual passes: £15 . Age: 5+. Science Museum, Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD
Kids Rooftop Film Club
This summer holiday for the first time, families can watch their favourite kid's movies with all-new daytime screenings at Rooftop Film Club. Children’s tickets are £5.95, with the best dressed child (in costume) at each screening winning a free ticket to another screening of their choice until the end of August. New LED screens have landed for this summer, for day and night screenings overlooking the phwoarsome London skyline. Kids Rooftop Film Club, Bussey Building, Peckham and Rooftop East, Stratford. Until 31 August.
Kent Life Science Week
We’re bang into Kent Life - read our review here - and the Maidstone farm kiddie mecca is serving up lickable fun topped with a giant Flake this August. From 14-18 August, it launches Kent Science Week, an opportunity for all ages to explore the wonders of scientific discovery. From rocket building to crime scene investigations, there's something to spark curiosity in everyone. Embrace the daily, Summer Holidays ice cream demands at its Ice Cream Festival (26-28 August) with more than 40 flavours and a toppings station to create your own icy goodies Kent Life, Lock Lane, Sandling, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3AU. Spring into Easter runs until 16 April. £12pp or £44 for family ticket. Under 2s go free.
Hobbledown Heath’s Hullabaloo Adventure
Hounslow’s Hobbledown Heath is inviting families to attend their annual Hullabaloo adventure. From 24 July to 3 September, Hobbledown invites visitors of all ages to embrace the great outdoors, get messy, and ignite their creativity. It offers a diverse range of themed weeks from Carnival of Colours Week, Water Wowza Week to Bubble and Book Week, packed with colour-splattering, outdoor adventures and meerkat talks. Hobbledown Heath, Staines Rd, Hounslow, TW14 0HH. 24 July - 3 September.
The Young V&A Launches
The Summer Holiday Gods have come up trumps, with the Young V&A opening last month, just in time for the long school break. The former Museum of Childhood has had a three-year transformation - the biggest in its 150-year history - into the UK’s first museum designed by and for 0-14 year olds.
The Bethnal Green cultural destination is FREE (woo) and packed with interactive and hands-on activities for kids and families.
Highlights of the £13m revamp will include colourful, sensory playscapes, including a finger skateboard park, an ‘Imagination Playground’ construction zone, a performance and storytelling stage and sandpit.
The museum has been shaped around childrens' interests to encourage playful learning and spark their imaginations. Three galleries, Play, Imagine and Design, will help children build the skills and creative confidence they need to thrive.
Young V&A. Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, Cambridge Heath Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA. General Museum Access: FREE
The Ice Cream Project: The Sequel
Let’s face it, kids’ diets are 90% ice cream in the summer, so give them some variety with a trip to deliciously eccentric designer, Anya Hindmarch’s Ice Cream Project concept store in Belgravia, which is back for a second year, serving Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Birds Eye Peas, Branston Pickle, Warburton’s Crumpets, KP Peanuts and McVitie’s Digestive flavoured ice creams - among a gaggle of others - until 27 August.
The sleek, Chilly Wonka pop-up is described as "a minimalist temple to the joy of ice cream and sorbet, with a twist” and is inspired by the British designer’s new accessories and nightwear collection.
And for those who prefer less daring contents in their cones, there’s Coco Pops, Ambrosia Rice Pudding, Rice Krispies, Ribena, McVitie’s Digestives and Ribena scoops.
The Ice Cream Project at The Anya Hindmarch Village, 11 Pont Street, SW1X 9EJ. Until 27 August, Mon-Sat
Brainiac Detective Academy and Brainiac Astronaut Academy at Bluewater
Inspired by the hit, Braniac kid’s TV series, Braniac Academies returns to Bluewater, offering families a choice of two, hour-long, immersive activites.
In the Detective Academy, there has been a robbery at Brainiac HQ. Young detectives employ real forensic techniques to discover clues and help solve a mystery. Guests will learn about the different types of fingerprints and how to extract them from crime scenes. They will also analyse a footprint found at the crime scene and the ink used to write a ransom note to find out who committed the crime.
In the Astronaut Academy, it’s 2037 and the Brainiac Team are ready to explore Mars but need help to design, build and launch a rocket. Guests will be able to develop their design, engineering, and space exploration skills, with only 60 minutes on the clock until launch.
The Brainiac Live Academies. Bluewater. Lower Thames Walk opposite Boots. 22 July - 3 September. 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm every Tuesday to Sunday during the school holidays with additional Monday shows during August. £10 Adults, £12.50 Children, £30 Family of 3+ with additional tickets £10.00 each
Get the Kids Climbing the Walls
Get the kids climbing the walls this July, at London’s shiny, new Parthian Climbing centre in Wandsworth.
The 25,000 square foot beast combines climbing with lifestyle, thanks to its café, bar, gym, retail and co-working space. And it is the first indoor climbing facility in the UK to feature an exact replica of The Titan Olympic bouldering wall, which will be used at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
They offer a range of kids’ sessions and courses for ages 3 and up. There are instructors for little ones taking on their first climbing experience, as well as the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) for a progressive syllabus. They also host kids’ parties, for 1.5 hours of climbing activities and games which are the perfect antidote to ‘Fun Freddie’ wrestling a balloon into a drooping sausage dog.
Parthian Climbing Centre, 52 - 58 Garratt Ln, Wandsworth, London SW18 4TF
Meet a record-breaking gorilla
Howletts, Kent’s original wildlife park, not only houses some of the world’s most endangered and rare animals but will host some of the most popular animated species this summer holiday. The PAW Patrol team, Peppa Pig family, PJ Masks gang, Hey Duggee and Bluey and Bingo will be visiting Howletts on select dates throughout August to meet and greet their fans.
Every Wednesday throughout August a beloved TV character will be meeting young fans at intervals throughout the day on Howletts’ open-air grasslands.
With 90 acres to explore, the beautiful ancient parkland is home to 390 animals, including the UK’s largest herd of elephants, generations of gorillas along with their famous, 150th Baby Gorilla Kumbi, plus monkeys, leopards and giant anteaters. Join their free animal talks, watch the animals being fed, walk side-by-side with their lively Lemurs at the Walking With Lemurs experience and discover creatures from a forgotten time as you explore Animals of the Ice Age in the leafy Woodland Walk.
Howletts Wild Animal Park, Bekesbourne Ln, Bekesbourne, Littlebourne, Canterbury CT4 5EL
Entry to Howletts £24.50 for adult £20 for children
Gorilla encounter costs £85pp
Sleep with Sharks in the Ultimate Summer Sleepover
If somebody asks if you want to sleep with the fishes, it’s usually wise to run away very quickly.
But in this case, we’d recommend staying put and plumping your pillow, because it involves sleeping with actual sharks in the UK’s biggest aquarium.
For four dates during July and August, Plymouth’s National Maritime Aquarium is inviting families to explore the underwater magic that takes place at night in the Atlantic Ocean tank, before sleeping in its Eddystone Reef Exhibit, while sharks, crabs, lobsters and eels glide above your head.
The evenings include twilight tours of the aquarium, arts and crafts, games throughout the aquarium, a big screen movie in front of the Eddystone Reef Tank and midnight snack, followed by breakfast in the morning.
Sleeping with Sharks, National Marine Aquarium, Rope Walk, Coxside, Plymouth PL4 0LF. 29 July, 3, 18, 25 August. £50 Child, £45 Adult.Dates: 29th July, 3rd August, 18th August and 25th August
Summer of Play at Brewers Fayre
Family-favourites, Brewers Fayre and Cookhouse & Pub, have lined up six weeks of kiddie events at places which serve booze - the dream. Taking place at its 64 pubs with play areas, expect a line-up of weekly themed events for kids, from magic performances to themed discos, with the return of the ‘Play Pass’, paired with wallet-friendly menus.
The family-friendly pub has relaunched its Play Pass to give kids unlimited access to play areas and activities throughout the school holidays. From only £15 per child, families can unlock unlimited access to all Play At sites throughout the day, every day, including access to six-weeks of themed activities, including a Summer Festival, Movie Mayhem, Magic Week, Circus Week, Eco Warriors and Sports Week. The summer special pass is available to purchase between the 4th – 31st July, with two-weekly, monthly, six-monthly and childminder’s monthly passes also available to purchase all year round.
Play Pass at Brewers Fayre. Across its 64 pubs.
Morph’s Epic Art Adventure
This free, wheelchair-friendly art trail will see central London transformed into a Tony Hart wonderland on a giant scale, with 56 super-sized sculptures of the kid’s TV character studded across 56 iconic landmarks including St Pauls, Tate Modern, the Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe and Borough Market.
Each Morph sculpture tells a different story and is uniquely designed by a host of well-known and emerging artists
This is the second trail from the creative partnership between Wild in Art, Aardman and Whizz-Kidz, the UK's leading charity for young wheelchair users.
Morph’s Epic Art Adventure, Central London. 19 June - 20 August. FREE
Mrs Doubtfire Heads to the West End
Hellooooo London, dear! Everybody's favourite out-of-work actor and divorcee is heading to the West End this May.
Daniel loses custody of his kids during a messy divorce, so creates Scottish nanny alter ego, Euphegenia Doubtfire in a desperate bid to stay in their lives. As his new character takes on a life of her own, Mrs Doubtfire teaches Daniel more than he bargained about how to be a father.
Created by a transatlantic team of award-winning artists, this warm-hearted, comedy musical comes to London following a sold-out run in Manchester.
Shaftesbury Theatre, 210 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8DP
Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur
For the first time ever, the colossal Patagotitan mayorum titanosaur - one of the largest known creatures to have ever walked our planet - will go on display at Natural History Museum. Four times heavier than Dippy the Diplodocus and 12 metres longer than Hope, the museum’s legendary blue whale, this gigantic creature is a spectacular sight. You can view this gargantuan dinosaur skeleton up close at this fun, interactive family exhibition. You'll follow the life of a titanosaur, from a football-sized egg plucked from its nest to a fully grown adult, bearing the marks of an encounter with a ferocious predator that took a bite out of its tail. As you weave your way around the gallery, you'll handle specimens, stare into its gigantic sauropod skull and even smell its poo. Natural History Museum, Waterhouse Gallery, South Kensington, London. Under 3s are free. 4-16 are £9. Adults £16.
BBC Earth Experience
Travel the world and seven continents in one, visually delicious immersive experience through the hit BBC series, Seven Worlds, One Planet. With bespoke narration from Sir David Attenborough himself and hosted at Earl’s Court's purpose-built Daikin Centre, you will experience the incredible diversity of the seven continents through multiple, multi-angle, 360-degree screens, meeting the extraordinary animals which inhabit them. The event - suitable for all age groups - also boasts breakout zones where you can dive into the depths of Water World, marvel at the sweeping landscapes of the Vista Stage, and test your bravery by getting close to creepy crawlies in the Micro Life zone.
BBC Earth Experience. The Daikin Centre, Earl’s Court, Hammersmith, London SW6 1TR. Until January 2024. Adult £28.50 children under three go FREE
Rumble Live Action Gaming
This ingenious concept gets kids off their screens and tearing about outdoors, by bringing popular battle royale video games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty to life with team-based fun.
Located outdoors in beautiful woodlands, scavenge your environment to find utility boxes containing extra ammo, respawns and special weapon upgrades to take down the other team. Rumble uses guns which transform into more than 100 different types of weapon with different levels of range, damage and fire rates, and they track your performance throughout the game.
Rumble Live Action Gaming, Grafham Water and Rutland Water locations. Every weekend until November. From £18pp.
The World's First Jumanji Themepark Opens
Follow the footsteps of Dr Bravestone and leap through the boardgame into the World of Jumanji, which opens this May at Chessington World of Adventures. Locate the Jaguar’s Eye Jewel, lift the curse and save Jumanji. Brave adventurers will discover three new theme park rides, including the world’s only Jumanji rollercoaster, Mandrill Mayhem.
Chessington World of Adventures, Chessington KT9 2NE
Avora Family Experience
Up an unassuming, Shoreditch street is a secret portal to another planet. And on school holidays and Sundays, you can take your kids for a well-deserved break from Earth, on planet Avora.
Head here for our full review of this worthy and otherworldly adventure, encountering scientists, mocktails, aliens, army villains and closing with a child-pleasing, farty finale.
Avora: Family Immersive Adventure 5C, 127 Hackney Road, London, E2 8GY. Sundays, 12pm – 3:30pm. School Holiday weekdays. £24.50 per child (6-13) £29.50 per adult.
Hey Duggee Live Theatre Show
Squirrels, are you ready? Hey Duggee Live kicks off its first ever interactive UK theatre tour this May. Betty wants to make costumes, Happy wants to sing, Tag wants to make music, Norrie wants to dance, Roly wants jelly and they all want your sprogs to join them at the Clubhouse. There is so much to do, but luckily Duggee has his Theatre Badge. A-Woof!
Hey Duggee Theatre Show. UK Tour runs until Aug 23
Postal Museum's Secret Tunnel Walks
Kids 12 and over can head beneath London's streets for an exclusive, underground adventure along the 100 year old Mail Rail tunnels. Once they have donned their high vis jackets and hard hats, kids can join their expert guide for a fascinating tour through secret platforms, tunnels and tracks.
Postal Museum 15-20 Phoenix Place, London WC1X 0DA. Tuesdays from 25 July - 29 August
The Gunpowder Plot at Tower of London Vaults
Older children (12+) will be catapulted into the most exciting history lesson of their lives, in this explosive new, immersive experience, starring Harry Potter’s Tom Felton. Your mission is to go undercover and unmask the mysterious figures behind history’s most infamous plot. But when you’re surrounded by traitors, who can you trust? With surprises around every turn, descend into the vaults and experience a combination of live and digital actors, virtual reality and fancy pants technology like motion simulators and special effects, transporting you back to London 1605 in the heart of the Gunpowder plot.
The Gunpowder Plot, 8-12 Tower Hill Vaults, London, EC3N 4EE
Play Captain on a GoBoat River Picnic
If you’re looking for somewhere to spend a genuinely relaxing few hours for parents and children (plus dogs, if you have one) we recommend a GoBoat trip.
You can enjoy a picnic as captain of your own, electric boat through Canary Wharf, Paddington, Kingston, Thames Ditton or Birmingham.
Check out our review of the GoBoat Canary Wharf experience HERE GoBoat UK, Open 7 days a week from 9am - dusk. Prices start from £85 for 1 hour and £125 for two hours on the 8-person boats. GoBoat Canary Wharf, 22 Churchill Place, London, E14 5RE
Paddington Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
Brigit's Bakery has launched the first, official Paddington Bear afternoon tea bus tour, celebrating the capital.The double-decker has built-in screens, so that Paddington and Mrs Bird can provide an animated guide to the tour, which includes some of Paddington's favourite landmarks, like Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street, St. Paul's Cathedral, Borough Market, Green Park and Piccadilly Circus. The tour takes just under two hours, while you scoff treats including glittering shortbreads, designed to look like nibbled marmalade sandwiches, mini pizzas, smoked salmon and cucumber pretzels, turkey ham and cheddar or cream cheese and cucumber finger sandwiches and naturally, marmalade sandwiches. And for those who share the bear’s sweet tooth, the homemade sweet treats included a rice pudding studded with chocolate honeycomb, chocolate cupcakes crowned with Paddington’s chocolate paws, lemon meringue tarts, chocolate macarons and freshly baked scones with cream and jam. Brigit’s Bakery also provide vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and halal afternoon teas. Check out our review, HERE
Paddington Afternoon Tea Bus tour Departs from Trafalgar Square, Wednesdays to Sundays. Prices from £45 adult, £35 child.
Shakespeare's Globe Bankside
Banish the bored with the Bard at Shakespeare’s Globe. With interactive theatre shows, tailored to a young audience, Elizabethan dress-up, sword fighting demos and storytelling, Shakespeare will keep little ones entertained.
Shakespeare's Globe: 21 New Globe Walk SE1 9DT. Dates, times and ticket prices vary.
Discover Children’s Story Centre
Stratford's immersive, sprog-storytelling Mecca is brimming with entertainment across three floors, plus a wonderfully imaginative Story Garden. Creep through caves, find fairy worlds within magical trees, explore hidden ships, perform in a puppet castle, leap over alligators and man your own spaceships and rockets across two floors, which also host art and craft stations, beautiful reading corners, storytelling sessions, immersive events and installations. Or head outside to the magical new play area to discover Baba Yaga’s hut held up by chicken legs, climb Hootah’s castle and slide out of the Stratford Sputnik. Check out our review here
Discover Children's Story Centre 383-387 High St, London E15 4QZ
Whizz Down The ArcelorMittal Orbit
How about hurling your children down the world’s tallest slide? The 178m long ArcelorMittal Orbit was the iconic landmark of the 2012 London Olympics and is now an attraction with three adventure experiences. Families can speed down the winding slide, abseil, or walk around the glass orbit at the top. You can also pretend it's a high-brow, cultural experience, because the orbit is also a sculpture by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond. And it beats the usual views of grubby swings and bins, because here you can check out the stunning views of Queen Elizabeth Park. To ride the slide, children must be at least eight years old and over 1.3m. ArcelorMittal Orbit, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 5 Thornton St, London E20 2AD. From £10.75.
Cutty Sark Rig Climb Experience
Originally climbed when the ship first arrived to Greenwich in 1954, visitors can now recreate this, by clambering up the famous masts of the Cutty Sark.The Rig Climb Experience invites kids and brave parents to step up from the main deck onto the ship’s ratlines and climb up its top mast, as hundreds of sailors did during the Cutty Sark’s heyday. Once at the top, climbers will experience a controlled descent from the rigging. Participants will be rewarded with some of the best views in London, overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard and Tower Bridge.
Cutty Sark King William Walk, London SE10 9H
Royal Albert Hall's Storytelling and Music Sessions
Seasoned storytellers Paul Rubinstein, and Becky Dixon deliver a series of sessions for babies and toddlers, aiming to engage and encourage interaction between parents/carers and their little ones using musical instruments, singing, movement and stories. Developing coordination, self-confidence and awareness using songs, sounds, rhythms and rhymes, we explore the Hall’s story of diverse musical history.
Royal Albert Hall, Elgar Room. Until 30 August £5
Ambulances and fire engines hurtle through the streets and emergency workers tumble out to jet hoses at the Grand Flamingo Hotel fire or treat the wounded, while police cordon off the area and Metro journalists interview witnesses.It might not sound like your typical half-term trip, but the kids will love every second, because they are the firefighters, paramedics, press and police role-playing in KidZania, London's extraordinary, 75,000 sqft indoor city for children. Check out our review, here
KidZania: Westfield London Shopping Centre Ariel Way W12 7GA. For 4-14 year olds
Snot, Sick and Scabs at the Centre of the Cell
Deliciously disgusting and sneakily educational centre in a futuristic, light-studded pod suspended above the laboratories of the Blizard Institute in Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Children can learn about the heart, teeth or senses, see scientists at work and enjoy their delightfully vile ‘Snot, Sick and Scabs’ session. Centre of the Cell, 4 Newark St, London E1 2AT
Deep within Somerset’s belly lurks Wookey Hole, a magical, subterranean attraction with world-famous caves and eight unique chambers for kids to explore. There is something for every flavour of child, from a cave-diving museum, enchanted valley, 4D cinema, adventure golf, dinosaur grove, play zones and magic and circus shows all included in the ticket price. The more adventurous can even brave the Wild Wookey Experience, climbing, crawling or abseiling through caves.
Wookey Hole Caves, The Mill, High St, Wookey Hole, Wells BA5 1BB. Under 3s go free. Children (3-14) £17.65. Adults £21.45
Out-of-Hours at the British Museum
Your little ones can walk in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks, Pharoahs or journey through the cultures of China at The British Museum's family-friendly, out-of-hours tours. Taking place between 8.50 – 10am, before the galleries are open to the public, you can beat the unsavoury crowds. And from 4 - 25 March, children can explore Roman history through Minecraft, create a Japan-themed family photo (11 March) and make mosaic masks inspired by the Aztec gods on 18 March. The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG. Under fives go free. £16.50 for 5-15 year olds. £33 Adults
Rumpelstiltskin is on the loose, and he’s causing all kinds of mischief for the characters of Far Far Away and beyond.
Luckily, Donkey is on hand to give you a ride on his flying bus and Shrek and Fiona will join up with you as soon as they get the chance. Shrek’s adventure is a wild adventure through the land of children’s favourite ogre and actors, technology and immaculately created sets will make sure your children are engrossed from start to finish.
Check out our Shrek’s Adventure review to find out more.
Shrek’s Adventure tickets. Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1
Go big or go home… or straight to jail at Monopoly Lifesized, an immersive, on-your-feet version of the classic, family game, played on a 15m x 15m lifesized Monopoly board. Enter the 4D experience and compete in challenges for your chance to buy properties. Stage a heist in Mayfair, compete against a clock to build some of London’s iconic buildings, solve a baffling murder mystery or step into the world of codebreakers. The 80-minute experience is suitable for kids from 9 and older and is open every day except Mondays.
Monopoly Lifesized, 213-215 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7PS. Tickets £49 pp
Crystal Maze LIVE Experience
Older children (from 8 onwards) can take on this immersive adventure, which brings the hit 90s TV show to life.Run around like mentalists, yell, complete a host of difficult challenges and end the game in a fetching, satin bomber jacket. Crystal Maze Live Experience, 22 - 32 Shaftesbury Avenue W1D 7EU
Flip Out Hounslow
If your children are of the ‘charmingly indecisive’ type, then a trip to Hounslow’s newly-opened Flip Out might be the answer to your prayers. Cramming mini-golf, arcades, laser quest, bumper cars, inflatables, a ninja assault course and soft play under a single, cavernous roof, the beauty of Flip Out is that you pay for entry to the venue and not for individual activities. We’re yet to discover whether you can drive a bumper car around the laser quest arena, performing drive-by shootings with a slushy in your hand, but there’s only one way to find out.Entry is a very reasonable £19pp (dropping to £14 for children under 1.1m tall) for three hours in the ‘Arena’ and if you’re not local to the newest venue in Hounslow, Flip Out has similar offerings all over the country. BUY TICKETS Flip Out Hounslow, Units 3, 4 & 5 High Street Quarter, 8 Smithy Ln, Hounslow TW3 1EH
Thomas and Friends at Whistlestop Valley
Take unlimited train rides on Thomas, Toby and Mavis, meet Sir Topham Hatt and Sodor Station Sweepers Rusty and Dusty for singalongs and performances at Huddersfield’s Whistlestop Valley.Kids can also enjoy an Imagination Station play zone with Thomas and Friends activities, jumping pillow, bubble zone, storytelling sessions, giveaways for every child and themed activities. Thomas at Whistlestop Valley Park Mill Way, Clayton West, Huddersfield HD8 9XJ
Birdies’ crazy golf in Angel and Battersea Power Station provide an Insta-worthy, nine hole course as well as tried and tested fan favourites Hazard, Kinetic, Steps, Infinity and Roulette. Cheeky Burger will keep the kid’s happy, while the coral pink cocktail bar will please the parents.
Birdies Level 1, Angel Central, 31-32 Parkfield Street, N1 0PZ
Kids can take part in a host of free and paid events at Wembley Park, from stadium tours to acting classes, Wonderkids football sessions and movies.Teens and bigger children can take on the zombie apocalypse at meetspace VR or have a round on neon crazy golf course at Pop Golf. And Union Park has a kids’ splash par (bit nippy in March, though) games court and a bee hotel to keep them entertained. Wembley Park London
Holiday to Space at Royal Observatory Greenwich
Join Ted and Plant as they explore the Solar System in search of the best place to take a holiday in an intergalactic morning adventure, including a planetarium show and interactive workshop. Recommended Age: 3 - 6 yrs. Open 10am-5pm daily
Royal Observatory Greenwich Park, Blackheath Avenue SE10 8XJ
Soho's magic-themed Wizard Exploratorium is a five-storey, geek wonderland, offering a 4D wand-making workshop, immersive trick shop and suitably magical afternoon tea encompassing tea brewing, molecular gastronomy, and technology. Check out our review, here. Wizard Exploratorium, 26 Greek St, London W1D 5DE
Like what you've read? Why not subscribe to our free, monthly newsletter?