Family Days Out: Things to do in the Summer Holidays

    Looking to entertain the little ones over the holiday? We’ve rounded up the best family days out and things to do in and near London during the summer holidays.

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    The Hundred Cricket

    There are two words that tend to spark fear into lives of busy parents: summer holidays. No school, excitable children and pressure to cram as many activities and play dates into six or eight weeks as humanly possible.

    Family Days Out: Things to do in the Summer Holidays

    To help you come up with some creative ideas to keep you and your little ones occupied during the summer holidays, we round up the best family days out and things to do in London.

    Kids Week Theatre

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    Wicked. Credit: Matt Crockett

    A child under 18 can see a show for free throughout August with Kids Week when accompanied by a full paying adult, with half price tickets for two additional children and no booking fee. This fantastic annual initiative allows kids to go free to a variety of top West End shows throughout August.

    Shows participating in Kids Week 2022 include 101 Dalmatians, Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, Dear Evan Hansen, Disney’s Frozen, Grease The Musical, Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors, Life Of Pi, Disney’s The Lion King, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, Mamma Mia!, Mary Poppins, Matilda The Musical, The Tiger Who Came To Tea, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Wicked.

    Alongside the performances, shows are offering a wide range of free activities for Kids Week ticketholders, such as dance workshops, technical demonstrations and cast Q&As.

    When: Monday 1 August-Wednesday 31 August

    Where: Theatres across London

    Book your tickets here

    Canary Wharf’s Summer Lights

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    Credit: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

    Canary Wharf’s unique Summer Lights display is back with a series of colourful outdoor light installations. The outdoor exhibition will run from Tuesday 21st June to Saturday 20th August and it will see Canary Wharf’s six permanent light installations joined by 11 newly commissioned sculptures.

    The sparkling and colourful artworks will come to life at sunrise as the daylight shines through, creating beautiful patterns across the ground and nearby structures.

    When: Tuesday 21st June to Saturday 20th August

    Where: Canary Wharf

    Book your tickets here

    Hobbledown Heath

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    Hobbledown Heath, located in Hounslow, West London, and spanning over 126 acres, is part of the largest leisure development in London since the Olympics.

    Hobbledown Heath is perfect for weekend adventures, birthday parties, and days out with little ones and the indoor play facilities mean the attraction can be enjoyed come rain or shine.

    When: Open daily from 9am-6pm

    Where: Hounslow

    Book your tickets here

    Blippi the Musical

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    Blippi is a global TV and internet sensation, a curious and enthusiastic children’s character and educator, who makes learning fun. Blippi is aimed to encourage children’s growth and development by introducing them to new vocabulary, activities and ways to engage with empathy.

    Blippi The Musical, a live show inspired by the global TV and internet sensation and seen by over 200,000 families this spring in the US and Canada, will bring the playful, and relatable antics of the beloved character to the UK for the very first time.

    Blippi The Musical brings the curious and fun character Blippi off the screen and onto the stage with world-class production, audience engagement and amazing music. Blippi encourages learning through doing, playing and exploring – inspiring a child’s natural curiosity about the world around them. In the live show they will continue to learn about the world around them while singing and dancing along with this one-of-a-kind show.

    When: Tuesday 16 August to Sunday 4 September

    Where: Apollo Theatre, London

    Book your tickets here

    Picnic at Elephant Park

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    Back by popular demand for its second year, visitors and locals alike are given the opportunity to sample a wide range of international flavours in this global gastronomic feast, and to dine al fresco amongst the lush and tranquil greenery of the brand new two-acre park.

    Launching at the start of July to celebrate National Picnic Month, and running until the 31st August 2022, picnic goers will be able to collect their exclusive Picnic at Elephant Park tote bag from any of the participating cafes, restaurants and bars and take part in the ultimate foodie safari. Pick dishes from across five continents and collect stamps in your picnic passport as you go. Once six stamps have been collected, participants will be able to claim their free travel bottle, perfect for keeping drinks of all varieties hot or cold for the perfect picnic experience.

    Picnic goers can enjoy their haul of gastronomic delights in one of the many pocket parks around Elephant Park, or in the brand new two-acre park, opened last year, which features the stunning Elephant Springs.

    When: Friday 1 July to Wednesday 31 August

    Where: Elephant Park, Elephant & Castle

    Find out more here

    Chiswick House & Gardens Paradise in the Sun

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    This immersive and interactive audio experience called Paradise in the Sun invites visitors to participate in a multi-sensory walking route using an audioguide.

    Spoken instructions ask visitors to reflect, to lie on the grass, to look up at the sky and wave at the planes flying overhead, to soak up the smells and listen to the hidden sounds of the garden, to walk mindfully and to fully engage with their surroundings using all of their senses.

    Part hypnosis, part therapy, it’s an antidote to pandemic isolation and anxiety and offers a lovely opportunity to slow down, disconnect from the ‘noise’ of city living and instead reconnect with the natural environment in the beautiful surroundings of Chiswick Gardens.

    When: 19 May to 30 October, Thursdays-Sundays, 10am-4pm

    Where: Chiswick House & Gardens, Chiswick, London

    Find out more here

    Good Chance Theatre’s Fly With Me

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    On Saturday 20th August 2022, to mark the one-year since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, Good Chance Theatre will launch Fly With Me, an immersive, multi-city kite flying festival presented by Afghan artists, actors and sportspeople.

    Afghan artists will present a festival of Afghan kite-flying, storytelling, music, poetry and dance at 15 host cities across the UK – including Hampstead Heath in London – and Europe, including nationwide workshops to teach communities how to make a kite from scratch.

    Fly With Me celebrates the ancient Afghan craft of kite-flying in an aerial act of solidarity with the people of Afghanistan. The artform, alongside music, theatre and dance, were previously banned by the Taliban during their occupation of the country.

    When: Saturday 20 August, 12pm

    Where: Hampstead Heath, London

    Find out more here

    The Secret Garden at the Garden Museum

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    Celebrating Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved classic children’s book The Secret Garden, this exhibition will explore how different artists’ illustrations from the past hundred years bring the story to life, embrace the healing power of gardens and gardening, and discover the true story of Burnett’s real ‘secret garden’ which inspired the book. Precious first editions of all three publications will be on display in the exhibition.

    Enter the magical secret garden and relive the magic of the 1911 book in this immersive exhibition suitable for all ages, with interactive games and trails for children to learn about the plants, animals and stories found in The Secret Garden and to inspire young visitors to get out in the garden among nature!

    The exhibition is accompanied by a summer holidays programme of kids activities including art, cooking and gardening, lots of which are also free entry.

    When: Wednesday 6 July-Sunday 4 September, 10am-5pm

    Where: Garden Museum, Lambeth, London

    Book your tickets here

    The Hundred Cricket

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    Cricket’s newest competition, The Hundred, has announced its fixtures for this summer. Commencing 3 August, the men’s and women’s games take place across the month of August, with teams battling it out for The Hundred Final, taking place on Saturday 3rd September.

    In its second year of inception, The Hundred is more than just a cricket game, with family-friendly activities and live music performances from the biggest names including Bastille on 3 September.

    When: Wednesday 3 August-Saturday 3 September

    Where: Various locations

    Book your tickets here

    Chelsea Physic Garden Family Summer Events

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    Hidden in the heart of London, Chelsea Physic Garden is London’s oldest botanic garden. Join Chelsea Physic Garden with the family this summer for a whole range of events, from Dr Dolittle theatre performances, Chocolate Workshops and Botanical Soap Making to designing your own plant pot, a family seed excavation adventure, Make Your Own Paint with Plants and plant puppets.

    When: Wednesday 27 July to Thursday 25 August, 11am-5pm

    Where: Chelsea Physic Garden, Chelsea, London

    Book your tickets here

    Westfield’s ‘Ocean Explorers’

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    Take a dip into Westfield’s ‘Ocean Explorers’ event this summer; an interactive, play experience packed with fun, educational activities, perfect for families during the school summer holidays.

    Launching from 29th July at Westfield London and from 20th August at Westfield Stratford City, the free summer event will see the centres’ event spaces transform into a vibrant ocean seabed for a unique and interactive experience that also educates visitors on the issues affecting the world’s oceans and its species.

    Visitors will embark on a journey across the ocean floor with educational insights and activities, including Coral Cove workshops where families can learn about the impact of single-use plastics on our oceans by getting creative with waste.

    When: Friday 29 July to Sunday 7 August, 11am-7pm

    Where: Westfield London

    Book your tickets here

    ‘Create & Grow’ Summer Holiday Fun at Squire’s Garden Centres

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    Squire’s Garden Centres is to once again host its ‘Create & Grow’ programme of much-loved of fun, holiday activities this summer from 25th July to 25th August across ten of its centres.

    Focusing on craft and planting activities, there will be an amazing selection of activities on offer over a five-week period, with something for everyone to enjoy, including planting a delicious herb pot, painting a money box masterpiece, exploring a butterfly trail, painting a pair of pebble animals and having a go at painting a beautiful bird house.

    When: Monday 25 July–Thursday 25 August (Monday-Wednesday only), 9am-1pm

    Where: Squire’s Garden Centres (Badshot Lea, Long Ditton, Milford, Shepperton, Stanmore, West Horsley, Twickenham, Washington, Wokingham and Woking)

    Find out more here

    Chinese Food Festival

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    Back after a two-year break, this August, London’s Bedford Square Gardens will host the Chinese Food Festival, an immersive Chinese cultural and culinary celebration with food, craftwork, workshops and performances. The 3-day festival will be taking place at London’s largest private Georgian garden between Friday 26th and Sunday 28th August.

    Experience and explore an array of diverse cuisines from different regions of China as well as live folk music and classical dance performances.

    When: Friday 26 August-Sunday 28 August

    Where: Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, London

    Find out more here

    Food Forever Weekends at Kew Gardens

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    Kew’s family-friendly event of the summer is focussed around the future of food and how we can transform our planet for good through four new art installations and a major exhibition across the Gardens.

    There will be a whole host of talks and after hours evening events, guest menus by inspiring chefs as well as weekend drop-in workshops and activities, focussing on what we can do together to combat climate change and biodiversity loss to protect our food from extinction and secure a sustainable future. Family events include new art installations, major gallery exhibitions and guest chefs at the Pavilion Bar and Grill.

    When: 11am to 4pm every weekend from Saturday 21 May-Saturday 18 September

    Where: Kew Gardens, London

    Book your tickets here

    Southbank Centre’s Family Summer Events

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    The capital’s favourite central London riverside hotspot, Southbank, is celebrating the return of the sun with the ultimate day-out of alfresco living, entertainment and kids’ activities with a programme of events all summer long.

    Families can enjoy a full day of outdoor adventure in South Bank. Cultural lovers can head to the National Theatre’s River Stage festival, back for the first time since 2019. For more active cultural fun, take a walk through Leake Street Arches and admire the abundant display of street art or stroll along the Queens Walk where you can take in the views of the river whilst being entertained by performers along your route.

    South Bank also offers a range of alfresco-drinking and dining options for every budget. Between the Bridges offers everything from live DJs to Drag brunches and Immersive Bingo, whilst legendary BBQ riverside establishment, Jimmy’s BBQ Club & Taqueria Garcia pop-up or KERB at the National Theatre, are back with a line up of authentic London food options all summer long.

    When: All day from Friday 1 July-Friday 30 September

    Where: South Bank, Waterloo, London

    Find out more here here

    London’s Only Free Minigolf

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    Canary Wharf has a host of new activities, events and art lined up to see visitors through the warm days and balmy nights – all of which can be reached on the new Elizabeth Line. Its brand new colourful minigolf course launched this week in collaboration with international artists Craig & Karl, who have transformed Montgomery Square with their signature fun, bold and vibrant style. The course has a neon orange jump ramp, pink and yellow chequered bridge, pop art style dotted obstacles and bright geometric shapes at every turn.

    It joins an array of other free activities including the return of the hugely popular Summer Lights festival, multi-coloured murals set to transform the Estate for Pride and big screens in Canada Square Park and Union Square in Wood Wharf hosting all the big sporting events.

    When: Open everyday 12pm-6pm from 20 May

    Where: Canary Wharf

    Book your tickets here

    Capital Karts at Canary Wharf

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    The UK’s fastest indoor go karting track has just opened in Canary Wharf, with 800 metres of track and speeds up to 40MPH for both first-time karters and seasoned pros.

    The track features multiple twists and turns, and can facilitate up to 16 drivers on the track at one time, but the venue can host groups of all sizes, so is perfect for a family day out. Each kart has been made in London and includes state-of-the-art technology that measures lap time so drivers can track improvement.

    Capital Karts is the latest in a series of leisure activities at Canary Wharf, ranging from ping pong to basketball, and outdoor cinema to London’s largest collection of outdoor public art, where over 100 pieces from some of the world’s best known artists are free to view.

    When: 10:30am to 11pm daily

    Where: Canary Wharf, London

    Book your tickets here

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