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Summer Family Activities in London Tried & Recommended

Summer Family Activities in London Tried & Recommended

There’s still plenty of summer holiday time left to try family activities in London. In mid August the ideas and motivation for days out with kids in London can start to dry up so we are here to help! We are here to share some London family activities we’ve experienced this summer with our kids that adults AND kids both really enjoyed.

Monkey Valley at London Zoo

There’s a vast new canal-side enclosure at London Zoo and you are invited to go in, literally. In small visitor groups, with a zookeeper at either end, you can walk through the huge new home for 10 Colobus monkeys. We didn’t actually make it all the way through on our visit as the monkeys were on the walkway and then started whooping and screeching when they spotted herons in trees nearby so the zookeepers ushered us back out the way we came. Natural drama, right before our eyes. This new area of the zoo also has indoor space for the monkeys, and a few play bits for the kids. Fantastic addition to the zoo!

When: Zoo hours
Where: ZSL London Zoo, Regent’s Park
Age guidance: all
Cost: included in zoo admission
More info: website

Midsummer Mechanicals at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre

A hilarious, joyful production crafted for families and staged inside the gorgeous Sam Wanamaker playhouse. Adults and kids were all laughing out loud through this show, which cleverly gives a taste of Shakespeare to a younger audience. The performers were an enthusiastic bunch playing off the energy and feedback of the audience. If you can’t make it to this family show be sure to look out for others coming up and their accompanying workshops.

When: Until 21 August
Where: Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
Age: Recommended age 5+
Cost: £5-£25
More info: website


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Family Cruise on GoBoat London

This is a dreamy summer activity for a family in London. Cruise down Regent’s Canal in a self-drive boat, with a big table in the middle you can pile snacks upon. We went out on a boat at 6:30pm which was lovely as we went from bright blue skies to muted sunset colours and glistening water around us. The kids loved spotting all the canal boats,, bridges, birds and the pedestrians and cyclists on the canal paths. The greatest thrill was going through a long dark tunnel (boat has lights!) and sailing past Monkey Valley at London Zoo!

When: Daily
Where: Merchant Square, Paddington, W2 1AS
Age guidance: All ages (and dogs welcome)
Cost: Varies, but boats fit 8 people so team up and share the cost!
More info: website

New Splash Pad in Clissold Park

What a welcome addition to one of London’s best parks! This new splash pad in the former bowling green that had become a very scruffy play area over lockdown is a brilliant spot for families. Kids and accompanying adults get 40 minute sessions (book online in advance for free, sessions get snapped up quickly) to frolic in the variety of fountains. The giant bucket fills up and unleashes a waterfall of fun. There are new public toilets here and a cafe hatch, as well as freshly planted grass to relax on.

When: Open daily, 11am-6pm until the end of the school holidays
Where: Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, Hackney
Age: all ages
Cost: free
More info: website

Horrible Histories Terrible Thames boat tour

A London history tour from the Thames, led by a schoolboy who learned all his history from Horrible Histories (and listening to family gossip!) and his exasperated teacher. Horrible Histories Terrible Thames does not feature any costumed performers from the TV show so it’s important to set expectations with the kids before you board. It’s more of a London tour in the style of Horrible Histories… the blood, guts, poo, and lots of fun sound effects. It’s a fast-talking 45 minute boat tour taking in some of the city’s most famous sight. I certainly learned a few new things and the kids found it interesting and funny.

When: Ongoing, see website for details
Where: Tower Bridge Quay, east side of Tower Bridge, E1W 1LD
Age: all welcome but best suited for ages 5+
Cost: £14-£25. Under 3s free.
More info: website

Obliteration Room at Tate Modern Turbine Hall

Artist Yayoi Kusama’s ‘obliteration room’ is actually a roof-less white multi-room flat plonked in Turbine Hall that people are welcomed into to decorate with colourful dot stickers. Day after day the rooms and the pieces inside them (piano, desk, guitar, kitchen, bed, etc) become more colourful and filled with patterns created by the streams of people visiting. Everyone is given a sheet of stickers and encouraged to place them wherever they like in the rooms. We waited in a queue on a weekend day but it moved along at a good pace, we were in within 20 minutes. It’s a beautiful experience wandering around seeing the vibrant community creation.

When: Daily until 29 August; 10am-6pm
Where: Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG
Age: all
Cost: free
More info: website


RELATED CONTENT > Family Theatre To Try in London this Summer

(ad – press review visits to London Zoo, Shakespeare’s Globe, Go Boat and Horrible Histories boat trips)

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