top of page


Summer Holidays - London's BEST Family Events this July 2024
Summer Holidays 2024

Parents: we hear your muffled cries as you stare into the Summer Holidays void, armed with just a bubble blower and a freezer full of Twisters.

And we have come to your rescue with the ultimate guide to the best 40 things to do with kids this July, from free theatre, a new Monster funfair, museum sleepovers, pirates, the immersive Paddington Bear experience, free art or tennis events, and free open air family movies

Our top 40 picks include a gaggle of FREE events and there’s something to entertain (and wear out) every flavour of child.


wind in the willows
FREE Wind in the Willows performance and workshop

Children’s theatre company, A Wonderful Adventure brings this classic story to life, using props, puppets and actors.

Ratty is attempting to give a one-man show, with Toad unwilling to remain in the audience - chaos ensues.

Families are also invited to join Rat and Toad in a free workshop inspired by the much-loved Kenneth Grahame stories, to make their own puppet characters, as part of London Bridge City’s Family Week of Entertainment.

Hay's Galleria, 1 Battle Bridge Ln, London SE1 2HD. FREE. 25 July

Science Museum Astronights Sleepover 

Budding scientists (aged 7-11) can spend the night at The Science Museum, exploring the museum out-of-hours, sleeping among space rockets, a Moon rock or in the world’s largest medical galleries. Young campers will experience the ultimate sleepover, with an evening full of activities, including science shows and interactive workshops. 

This year’s Astronights programme is supported by official sponsor TEMPUR®, who will gift all campers a travel pillow to help budding scientists get some rest during this exciting night.The following morning, campers can refuel at breakfast, before exploring Wonderlab, their interactive gallery, with hands-on exhibits and immersive experiences, and catch a 3D documentary on their giant IMAX screen.

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD. Dates vary, £70pp standard, £100 VIP. Next dates 12 July and 20 August

golden age of piracy
Golden Age of Piracy

Spend the day with pirates at Old Royal Naval College for sea shanties, sword and cutlass fights, firepower demos, period live music and real, swashbuckling stories of 18th-century mutiny.

Children can immerse themselves in the period between 1650 and 1720, when more than 5,000 pirates sailed the seas, with authentic food from the Taste of History period kitchen, costumes and period actors.

Old Royal Naval College, London SE10 9NN. 27-28 July. £13.50 pp

Oscar Murillo
FREE UNIQLO Tate Play Oscar Murillo: The Flooded Garden

This summer, artist Oscar Murillo will transform the Turbine Hall into an enormous painting garden, inviting everybody to take part in creating a collaborative work of epic proportions, in deep hues of blue, bright yellows and pinks. The flooded garden is inspired by Claude Monet’s paintings of his flower garden in Giverny, France, and builds upon Oscar’s own series of Surge works. 

Tate Modern, Turbine Hall, Bankside, London SE1 9TG. 20 July - 26 August. FREE

free tennis Hyde park
FREE Kids’ Tennis Taster Sessions

Kids can enjoy FREE tennis taster sessions at BST Hyde Park on the Parade Ground Grass Area to help kids get to grips with the basics of the game.

The coaches at each session will cater to all abilities and all equipment is provided.

Parade Ground, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH. 2, 9, 11 July. FREE, but places must be booked in advance.

Hampton court joust
Henry VIII’s Joust at Hampton Court Palace 

Set across two weekends this July, families will be dazzled by the spectacle of the Tudor Joust in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. 

Witness epic stunts, cheer on your favourite knight, and watch Henry VIII himself ride in the Joust as his new wife Anne Boleyn looks on. Breathtaking falconry displays will also take place throughout the two weekends. 

Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Ct Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU. 13, 14, 20 + 21 July

discover Childrens story centre
NEW Monster Funfair at Discover Children's Story Centre

Stratford's immersive, sprog-storytelling Mecca launches its new, immersive family adventure this month, taking visitors through a fantastical circus tent and into the woods. In amongst the trees you’ll find an amazing, marvellous, EXTRAORDINARY… Monster Funfair!  

Created with the award-winning Nadia Shireen, this magical world also has a fairground mystery to solve – just who has stolen ALL the candyfloss? 

Discover Children's Story Centre 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.

Discover Children's Story Centre 383-387 High St, London E15 4QZ  Opens 20 July. Ages 0-8

museum of the home
Family Celebration Day: A Museum Takeover

Join Museum of the Home for the opening weekend of their new gallery, with a family Museum takeover for all the family, exploring the many meanings of home.

The new gallery, Rooms Through Time: 1878-2049, explores the meaning of family and celebrates the diverse ways that people make home. Hear stories, connect through music, workshops, open play spaces, performances and record your own story of home. 

Museum of the Home, 136 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8EA. 28 July 2024. FREE

little angel theatre
Little Angel Theatre’s FREE Elephant Parade 

Our favourite puppet alchemists, Little Angel Theatre head to National Theatre’s Riverside Stage for a FREE Elephant Parade workshop.

Children can craft their own elephant puppets with the help of LAT’s skilled team, before trumpeeting and stomping together in a grand puppet parade.

River Stage, National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX. 27 July. 12.30 - 1.30pm. FREE

fiume masterclass
Fiume Kids' Pinsa Masterclass

Battersea Power Station’s riverside Italian restaurant, Fiume will launch their series of kids’ masterclasses on 25 July. 

Little chefs will be roll, bake, top and eat their very own Pinsa (cloud-like pizza) and take home their own chef hat and apron, while thewir [parents enjoy  free drink and £15 off their own lunch bill.

Fiume, Battersea. 25 July + 29 August. £15 per child for 1 hour class

home Southbank
Home at The Southbank Centre

When a storm swallows up their house, Anastasiia and her dog Djonnik have to look for a new one. Join them to explore what makes a house a home.

During their journey through many different landscapes, they meet all kinds of animals. Could they live with one of their animal friends?

Through animated paintings and complementary music, children are taken on a journey through a fairytale-like world to find a house that feels like home again.

This production is inspired by creator Anastasiia Liubchenko’s personal story. She left her house in Ukraine to find a new home in the Netherlands.

Southbank Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX. 25 July and 29 August

art in the docks
Art in the Docks - FREE

There are FREE art classes every Saturday morning at Art in the Docks, which can be booked online, with 30 spots for each class. Children are encouraged to use their imagination and gain confidence in a nurturing environment, hosted by ceramic artist Mariana Alemany. The classes are suitable for all ages, and all materials and equipment will be provided.

Art in the Docks, 25 Shackleton Way, London, E16 2XJ. Every Saturday. 10am-12pm. FREE.

free family summer film
FREE Family Summer Film Club 

Canada Square’s Summer Film Club’s Family Films will return on Saturday mornings throughout July and August.

Just rock up with a picnic blanket and snacks to enjoy movies including Monsters Inc and The Little Mermaid on the big screen for free

Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, London. FREE. Until 27 August

Paddington Bear Experience
Paddington Bear Immersive Experience

Everybody’s favourite, Peruvian bear has had the immersive treatment, with The Paddington Bear™ Experience.

The marmalade-addled, interactive adventure across more than 26,000 square feet of Southbank’s London County Hall invites guests into a series of themed rooms, inspired by iconic locations from the Paddington stories.

Fittingly, it kicks off at Paddington Station, where guests will be greeted by a friendly Station Master and taken on a colourful train journey through London’s most famous landmarks, to the Browns’ charming, No. 32 Windsor Gardens home.

Once inside the famous, tree-adorned hallway, guests will embark on a multi-sensory adventure to help the Brown family and Paddington prepare for the all-important Marmalade Day Festival.

The Paddington Bear™ Experience, London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. From 31 May. Adult tickets £34pp. Children (2-15) £24. Under 2s go FREE

Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre
Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre

Natural History Museum’s new show will be a real tweet for the whole family, inviting us to experience birds in a whole new way.

Swirl around with a murmuration, chirp along with the dawn chorus and see if you have the stomach to sniff a stinky seabird egg. From feeling their heartbeats to seeing through their eyes, get to know our feathered friends better.

Meet the wonderchicken - the world’s oldest bird - find out what a pigeon has in common with a ferocious T. Rex and discover how these winged wonders managed to survive the mass extinction that wiped out all the other dinosaurs.

Today there’s more than 11,000 species. From pigeons to penguins, ostriches to ospreys, birds live on every single continent on Earth, so what’s the secret to their success? From sucking blood to bathing in acid, our winged wonders have found surprising, clever and downright freaky ways to survive.

Natural History Museum, Waterhouse Gallery, Kensington, London. Adults £16.50pp. Children (4-16) £9.95pp

Canary Wharf swimming
Open Water Family Swimming at Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf has reopened its swim hotspot at Middle Dock just in time to fling in children, over the 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 thousands of 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

rooftop film club
Rooftop Film Club

Head to the Bussey Building for some family-friendly, daytime rooftop cinema screenings of kiddie classics, from Wonka to Elemental, plus gorgeous views across London’s skyline.

Everybody gets comfy headphones and deckchairs and you can order pizza, snacks and drinks to your seats.

Dogs are also welcome, so the whole family can enjoy the Big Screen in the sunshine together.

Rooftop Film Club, Roof A, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST. Children welcome to family film showings before 5pm. 

Navrtar VR Arctic Expedition

Take the family on an Arctic expedition, without leaving London. They’ll learn about global warming in a whole, new way during the 60-minute experience, exploring the abyss of the Arctic; its icy tundras, hidden caverns and unique wildlife hidden in an extraordinary, underwater world. Guests in teams of six can teleport 100 years into the future to compare the effects of global warming. The sessions begin with a range of multi-player mini games to enhance the senses and test skills, before embarking on the Arctic expedition, exploring marine life and shipwrecks.

Navrtar, Dickens Yard, Longfield Ave W5 2UQ. Prices from £32pp.

Chelsea physic garden
Chelsea Physic Garden Kids' Workshops

This glorious botanical garden never disappoints, and this month, their childrens’ workshops include meet and greets with friendly insects in different micro-habitats and making dyes, paints and pigments from plants to use in your own, artistic masterpieces.

Chelsea Physic Gardens66 Royal Hospital Rd, London SW3 4HS

myths to manga
Japan: Myths to Manga at Young V&A

Take a trip through Japan and explore how landscape and folklore have influenced Japanese art, technology and design, featuring a seal shaped robotic comforter, Hello Kitty paraphrenalia, draw your own Manga characters and learn nifty facts about Sylvanian Families toys being born out of hundreds-of-years old netsuke animal sculptures.

Young V&A Museum, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, Cambridge Heath Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA. General Museum access. Until 8 September. free.

lego dinosaur
Immersive Lego Exhibition

Aptly on Brick Lane, The Art of Brick brings its Lego masterpieces to London, following tours of more than 100 cities in 24 countries.

The exhibition features artist Nathan Sawaya's Lego recreations of some of the world’s most famous artworks, from Michelangelo’s David to Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Among the wonders, visitors will also find a 6-metre-long reproduction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton

Kids (and big kids) can also make their own masterpieces at the play and build area.

The Boiler House, 152 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU. Until 14 July

tom hanks with space ship
The Moonwalkers: A Journey with Tom Hanks

Lightroom leapt inside David Hockney’s art for his jugggernaut of retrospective and now turns its immersive technology to space, with added Tom Hanks.

The Apollo 13 star narrates the audio-visual experience, which offers a unique new perspective on humankind’s past and future voyages to the moon.

Telling the stories of the Apollo missions in intimate detail, The Moonwalkers also provides an insight into the impending return of crewed surface missions by going behind-the-scenes of the Artemis programme, including interviews between Hanks and Artemis astronauts.

If your own trip to the moon is unlikely, the immersive gallery promises the next big thing, with its tech-wizardy taking visitors on a voyage to our closest celestial neighbour.

Lightroom, 12, Lewis Cubitt Square, London N1C 4DY. Until 13 October 2024. Tickets from £25

Dinosaur revolution
Dinosaur rEvolution

South East London’s hidden gem, The Horniman Museum launches its roarsome new dinosaur exhibition for February half-term. The show invites us to rethink everything we thought we knew about dinosaurs, exploring the relationship between dinosaurs and birds.

It includes five large, animatronic models, a gaggle of fossil skeletons and skull casts, as well as touchable, detailed graphics by the acclaimed artist Luis V Rey, dress up, games, and more.

It will also be your last chance to see its beloved, overstuffed, taxidermy walrus until 2026, when the Natural History Gallery will reopen after a two-year refurbishment.

Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ. until 3 November. Tickets from £9 per adult and £7 per child.

Child Indoor Skydiving
iFly Childrens’ Skydive

Anybody from the age of 3 to 103 can experience the superpower of flight at iFly, as long as they can comfortably wear a helmet.

The instructors allow children to safely feel the sensation of an exhilarating, 12,000 ft free-fall and flight, without jumping out of a plane.

Along with watching the instructor perform a mesmerising dance on air inside the vertical wind tunnel, your family can enjoy the extraordinary sensation of weightlessness, soaring around the glass tube and unlocking a core memory of their newfound super powers.

iFLY London at The O2, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX. Tickets and vouchers to fly can be purchased by clicking here and are available from £69.99 per person

Unicorn Cocktail
Wizard Exploratorium

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.

Wizard Exploratorium, 26 Greek St, London W1D 5DE

Slime party
Slimy Gootopia Sessions

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: Gootopia, which brings its gloopy joy to Brixton and Lewisham. The venues have shelves of ready-made slime, slime ingredients, activator, and their ‘goo-to-go’ slime vending machine. They also offer a range of activities and experiences for kids of all ages, including slime workshops, birthday parties, school science workshops, drop-in slime-making sessions and live slime-making demonstrations by goo alchemists

Gootopia. Brixton and Lewisham locations.

Child pampering
Pampering for all the family at Pan Pacific London

Family 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.

Science Museum
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

Climbing wall
Get the Kids Climbing the Walls

Get the kids climbing the walls at London’s 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

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.

Gunpowder plot
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

GoBoat river cruise
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.

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 Bear Bus
Paddington Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

Brigit's Bakery 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.

Paddington Afternoon Tea Bus tour Departs from Trafalgar Square, Wednesdays to Sundays. Prices from £45 adult, £35 child.

ArcelorMittal Orbit
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
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

centre of the cell
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

the British Museum
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

Monopoly Lifesized
Monopoly Lifesized

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
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

planetarium show
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

Like what you've read? Why not subscribe to our free, monthly newsletter?


Join our mailing list
bottom of page