From Peppa Pig and Bing to Zog and Peter Rabbit - The Ultimate Guide to this summer's best meet-and-greets
Never meet your heroes, unless those heroes are Picasso-esque, puddle-bothering pigs, green ogres or melon-headed babies and you are a CBeebies-infused child.
This summer is loaded with opportunities for children to stalk their favourite characters and we’ve rounded up the cream of the crop, for maximum, wide-eyed scenes and top mum or dad points.
PEPPA PIG APPEARS TO BE TAKING OVER THE UK
It might be a feat not to bump into the sassy hog this summer, because she appears to be… everywhere.
Below are our top picks for tracking her down for a few oinks with your own piglets.
Peppa Pig’s Aquarium Adventure at Sea Life - until 3 July
The popular pig will be popping up at Sea Life venues across Birmingham, Blackpool, Bray, Brighton, Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton, Loch Lomond, Manchester, Scarborough and Weymouth for this interactive and immersive trail.
Peppa will meet the children and task them with spotting seahorses, counting crabs, making ocean friendship bracelets and completing a jumbo jigsaw.
Multiple Sea Life venues across the UK until 3 July.
Peppa Pig Afternoon Tea Bus Tour - Thursdays to Sundays
For a more relaxed, piggie experience, we recommend a trip on Brigit’s Bakery and Entertainment One’s afternoon tea bus tour of London.
There’s booze for the parents (woo) properly cute food, from Rebecca Rabbit’s Carrot Cupcake to Mummy Pig’s Strawberry Macaron, sing-a-longs and Peppa-guided animation, while you take in landmarks including Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral.
Peppa Pig Afternoon Tea Bus Tour Departing from Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
Peppa Pig: My First Concert. 24 July - 31 August
Your kids will be happily snorting at this interactive introduction to a live orchestra for ages 18 months and older.
Peppa and George learn all about different sounds that instruments make together, and enjoy some of their favourite music from the show played by an orchestra as well as discovering other exciting orchestral pieces.
Little piggies can join in with Peppa and her family and make music of their own.
Peppa Pig: My First Concert at London Coliseum 24 & 31 July, Bristol's St George's Hall 25 & 26 July, Birmingham Town Hall 28 & 29 July, Manchester Bridgewater Hall 30 July, Edinburgh Assembly Hall 4-21 August
Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park
A mere meet and greet with Peppa not enough for you? Then step through the small screen and into an entire world dedicated to her, meet the whole cast, have the music played on loop until it seeps into your soul and check out nine rides including Grampy Rabbit’s sailing club, Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride, George’s Dinosaur Adventure, Grabdpa Pig’s Little Train, Daddy Pig’s Car Ride, The Queen’s Flying Coach Ride, Windy Castle Ride and Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight.
This was possibly the greatest thing to ever happen to our toddler.
Peppa Pig World, Paultons Park, Ower, Romsey SO51 6AL
Bing at Cbeebies Land
Join Bing and Flop at Alton Towers’ toddler mecca, CBeebies Land for Bing’s Picnic. The show sees the permanently-bewildered bunny enjoy some sarnies and cakes, play games and make new friends while preparing for their Theme Park adventure.
After the show, sprogs can get a piccie with the mighty Bing and Flop..
The show will take place each day at 12:15pm and 2:15pm in Big Fun Show Time, CBeebies Land, Alton Towers
CBeebies Land, Alton Towers, Alton ST10 4DB
CoComelon’s JJ at Chessington World of Adventures
Every preschooler's favourite warbling baby, JJ will join Chessington’s line-up for the first time this summer.
From 27 June until the end of summer, Little Rangers can join the CoComelon star for a singalong, musical adventure on the Mini Stage. Don't tell him how good he was though, his head is big enough already.
Chessington World of Adventures, Leatherhead Rd, Chessington KT9 2NE
Thomas the Tank Engine 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
The Peter Rabbit Garden Adventure
This summer at Blenheim Palace join Beatrix Potter in the garden of old Mr. McGregor and help rescue Peter Rabbit.
Through a magical mix of storytelling, live performance and puppetry the world of Beatrix Potter will come to life in Blenheim Palace’s walled garden as you take part in the rescue of Peter from Mr. McGregor’s rabbit pie-shaped plan.
Young Miss Potter enlists your help in finding mischievous Peter, leading you through flower and vegetable gardens, greenhouses and potting sheds previously not open to the public. On the way you’ll meet Jemima Puddle-Duck, Benjamin Bunny, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and more, alongside a few surprises.
The Peter Rabbit Garden Adventure The Walled Garden, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, UK, OX20 1PY.
6 July - 3 September
Zog and the Quest for the Golden Star trail at Warwick Castle.
Zog will teach children the ultimate, dragon skills to earn their golden stars, from flying and fearsome roars to learning how to capture princesses in five, interactive activities.
After joining Sir Gadabout’s school for ambitious Knights as a final challenge, Zog will be available for meet-and-greets to hand out golden stars and pose for photos.
Zog at Warwick Castle, Castle Ln, Warwick CV34 4QU
Jurassic World: The Exhibition
Step through the Jurassic World gates and come face-to-face with the prehistoric stars of the hit film franchise in this roarsome immersive experience across 20,000 square feet at London's ExCel.
Venture behind the glass into The Creation Lab and experience what it would have been like to walk alongside these giant creatures, in this impressive, hour-long family experience.
Jurassic World: The Exhibition, ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock (Custom House, Elizabeth Line/DLR)
Older kids can join Eleven, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, Max and Will on a multimedia, immersive experience which allows fans to live out a totally tubular adventure, inspired by the hit TV show
Netflix is tearing a rift into the fabric of reality, allowing you to step through the small screen and into 1980s Indiana as the star of a brand new Stranger Things episode.
For the full low-down on the Upside Down, check out our preview here
Stranger Things: The Experience Troubadour Brent Cross Studio, Tilling Rd, Brent Cross Town, London, NW2 1LW
August - 20 November 22
Shrek at Shrek’s Adventure
Launch into the clouds from the South Bank on a magical flying bus (with Donkey as tour guide) past dragons, witches and Rumpelstiltskin and then land with a crash in Far, Far Away, the home of Shrek and the start of your adventure to find the big, green ogre and reach the happy ending. Check out our review here to find out what to expect.
Shrek's Adventure Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB