The London Family Summer Guide

Jul 13, 2017 by

Arts, Crafts and Experiences:


Archikids Festival 22nd and 23rd July: Head into the City for a variety of thinking, building, creating, doing, making activities focused on the architecture of London.  Do take a look as there are over 25 activities at various locations.

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Mini Maker Faire, Imagination Lab: Saturday 29th July 10am-5pm.  If you are free, make sure you make this Mini Maker Faire! Last year my kids soldered together motherboards to make simple computers, flew drones, programmed robots and created their now 3D printed design.  £7 -£12 entry fee.


Shakespeare’s Globe, Shakespeare’s Telling Tales: July 28th-30th.  The Globes hosting a fantastic weekend festival celebrating the art of storytelling.  Hear tales told by candle light and attend talks and workshops with leading children’s authors.  Book early and discounts for booking multiple events.


Foyles Story Box: Various dates 15th July – 13th August.  Foyles is hosting a literary festival in shops across London.  Come to the Cat in the Hat tea party at Royal Festival Hall or listen to Alwyn Hamilton and Laure Eve discuss feminism in YA literature at Charing Cross Road.


British Library, Storytelling: The British Library is hosting storytelling workshops this summer.  Discover South Asian Stories Friday 28th July and then work with Sion Ap Tomos for a writing and illustrating workshop on Sunday 20th August.  Free, drop-in, spaces allocated on arrival.


Royal Institute Great Britain: Head over with the kids to take part in a variety of curious and stimulating activities over the summer.  Explore the mathematics behind the lottery, the engineering behind building bridges, create mathematical origami, 3D printing, build a cardboard robot … and much more.

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Institute of Imagination: Check out the various half-day family workshops, one day family events, day camps for children, primary schools events and evening talks for parents and teachers.  These events are fabulously hands-on, inspiring and very good value.


Serpentine Galleries, Family Weekend, Flagmania: Artists Namuun Zimmermann and Rike Glaser invite you to come to the gallery to make flags for times of separation and uncertainty.  Use drawing, materials, colour, text and symbols to create large scale banners, filled with messages and opinions.  22nd and 23rd July 1-5pm, free, all ages, drop in.

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House of Illustration: Book into Summer Fun with Paint and join Anna Rumsby to create a hand drawn ice cream parlour, set up a fan-painting station and build a summery still-life.  Tickets just £4.40, ages 5-12, adult tickets are £7.50.

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RIBA Design Day, Frame Work: Wednesday 9th August, 11am-4pm.  Problem solve, design and create a temporary structure in a day.  11am – 4pm, £40 per child.

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Opera Holland Park, Alice in Wonderland: take the kids to see an outdoor production of Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, an opera written for Opera Holland Park. Running 13th – 29th July, various times.


The National Theatre: The National Theatre is hosting a variety of theatre workshops, including Midsummer Nights Dream and Peter and the Wolf, throughout the month of August.  Workshops between £5 and £12 per child.


Royal College of Music: bring the kids to a variety of music workshops and concerts; these are always rewarding and great fun.  Tickets starts at £10 for day-long workshops and tickets. Various times and dates, two 0-3 events, a 5+, others 6-9, 7-9, 10-12 and 13-18.


BFI Families: Catch films with the kids over the school holidays or let them take part in various BFI Holiday workshops for children ages 11-14 years.


British Museum: Check out the amazing variety of activities on over the school holidays including making a manga comic, stories of Krishna, paper cut postcards, make shadow puppets. Various dates throughout the summer, all ages, free drop-in.

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Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition Workshops: These look fantastic and in years past have been very worthwhile.  The workshops are £15 per adult and £3 per child, various times and dates.


Southbank Centre: A day out on the Southbank never disappoints, in my book.  Mudlarking, Borough Market, The Tate, The Globe, The Southbank Centre Beach, The National and … Southbank Centre.  Disappearing Rooms are still going when you need to cool down, plus loads of fantastic workshops, performances, food, drink and fun.

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JW3: Book not the Summer Scheme 2017 for drop-off holiday activities for ages 5-11.  Kids will create a production of A Midsummer Nights Dream,  another week make graffiti with Ben Farleigh, spend a week doing science experiments and a week learning a language.  Bookings are £35 per child per day, lunch and snacks are provided.


Westminster Abby: Head over to Westminster Abbey on Saturday 8th July for the Summer Fete complete with bird of prey displays, Morris Dancers, crafts, music and stalls.  During the school holidays, children age 5+ and take part in arts and crafts and other activities with themes including performances, knight school, dig for skeletons, make mosaics, glass windows, clay gargoyles and more.  Places are free, but booking essential.  Ages 3+.


National Portrait Gallery: Loads of excellent workshops and activities on over the summer holidays here – starting 25th July and going through to 5th August, there are loads of interesting art activities including making portrait jigsaws, painting portraits, animation workshops, modelling animals.  Free, drop-in, activities for ages 3+ and also 5+.


Foundling Museum: Bring the kids to meet Jacqueline Wilson, make your own books, take part in a drama workshop, make a shadow puppet theatre and more.  For ages 5+, free with the price of admission (£8.25 adults).


National Gallery:  Children ages 5-13 can take part in Artist’s apprentice workshops; for early years there are Messy Mondays and Talking Tuesdays; and numerous all ages activities on various dates throughout the holidays.

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Somerset House Summer Family Events: head over to enjoy the Safra Fountains any hot day, and bring the kids to see Wall-E, Ponyo and take part in a variety of illustration and design workshops.  All workshops and screenings are free!!

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Parasol Unit Family Summer Workshops: Sunday 9th and 23rd July.  Bring the kids for inspiring, artist-led workshops where they will learn artistic techniques.  £2 per child, £3 per adult.


Camden Arte Centre: Book the kids into clay courses.  Tuesday 22nd-Friday 25th 2-4:30pm for 8-11 year olds and 10:30-1pm for 5-7 year olds.  £150 per child.  Every Sunday, 2-4:30pm, families can drop in and take part in free art activities led by Hannah Hewetson.

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Benjamin Franklin House: bring the kids to the London home of this fascinating American Founding Father.  Tuesday 25th July Family Day: Festival of British Archaeology, free, all ages but suitable for 7-14 year olds, donations welcome and booking recommended.  Saturday 5th August 11am-4pm Children’s Summer Fete.

Outdoor Exploration and Sport


Westminster Boating Base Summer Holiday Program: Any child over the age of 10 can join the Westminster Boating Base for £15 annually, they are then able to join any open or sailing sessions during term time.  During school holidays, children can take part in day-long workshops where they can gain sailing and kayaking certifications for just £5. There will be a Family Festival 6th-8th of August with boating rides and other fun, family events.


Flying Fantastic Battersea, Old Street, Bankside and Wimbledon: learn aerial circus skills at these fantastic classes for families (from £25) and summer camp from £350.


Chelsea Physic Garden:There are loads of interesting workshops and activities where children learn about plants and nature from making paper, making natural dyes, creepy crawlies, ethnobotany and more.  Activities from ages 4+, £6.60 for half day workshops, £8.60 for full day. Adults £9.90 and £11.90.


Hyde Park Education Centre: Send the kids off to nature school at the gorgeous Hyde Park Education Centre located just North of the Serpentine.  You can listen to tree tales with Vanessa Wolf, go on a Sunset Safari, a Bat Walk, hunt for Beetles and Butterflies, go pound dipping and more.  Workshops are free and up to £20 per child.


Holland Park Ecology Centre: this is such a great resource for kids, the Holland Park Ecology Centre is located in the Adventure Playground in Holland Park.  The workshops are excellent – they do some learning, some playing, some making and they are on a variety of interesting topics.  Children 8 and older can be dropped off.  The workshops run from 10am-noon, 2-4pm (5-10 year olds) and longer workshops for older kids 11-3pm (8-12 year olds).  Prices are £5 for two hours, £8.50 for 4 hours.


Fulham Palace, First Hand Experiences: Head to Fulham and and enrol you kids in day camp where they explore the gardens and the Education Centre in the Palace; older kids will go out and about in London on some really amazing experiences.  This looks amazing.  Little ones are £125 per week, older kids £300 per week (discount for siblings and daily rate available) 2 night away camp £230, 7 nights £650 for fabulous stays at some really fabulous locations in Kent.

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The Exploration Society: Here is a fantastic resource, particularly if you are exploring ideas for overnight camps.  What’s even more interesting, they organise overnight camps for the entire family.  In addition to overnight camps, they have fabulous outdoor experiences for small groups and families; great options for small group-outings,

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