50 things to do in the summer holidays in London

50 things to do in the summer holidays in London

Welcome to your ultimate summer planner, filled with a variety of activities that cater to every member of the family. From tranquil parks perfect for toddler playdates to cultural havens for teen explorers, we've included both free strolls and ticketed adventures. Dive into this guide to unlock the best of London's offerings, ensuring a summer packed with shared smiles and new discoveries.

Toddlers & Preschoolers

SEA LIFE London Aquarium: Dive deeper at SEA LIFE London Aquarium, where the mesmerizing dance of jellyfish and the serene glide of sea turtles enchant visitors. It's more than an exhibit; it's a journey into the depths of the ocean.

Shrek's Adventure! London: Step into a fairy tale at Shrek's Adventure! London, where laughter and surprises await at every turn. This isn't just a walk-through; it's an interactive saga where your kids are the heroes.

Cutty Sark exploration: The Cutty Sark isn't just a ship; it's a time capsule that whisks you back to the age of sail. Touch the timber, hear the tales, and feel the spirit of adventure that defines maritime exploration.

London Transport Museum: The London Transport Museum offers a ride through time, where historical buses and trains tell the city's dynamic story. It's a place where history moves and children can take the wheel.

Science Museum interactive exhibits: The Wonderlab at the Science Museum ignites the spark of curiosity with hands-on experiments and electrifying demonstrations, making science an adventure rather than a subject.

AHOY! at the National Maritime Museum: AHOY! is a world where young sailors navigate the high seas of imagination, steering through stories and games that anchor in fun and learning.

Peter Harrison Planetarium shows: Gaze into the cosmos at the Peter Harrison Planetarium, where stars tell tales of ancient myths and the universe's grandeur unfolds in a spectacle of light and shadow.

Lee Valley Park Farms: Lee Valley Park Farms is a rural oasis where children meet farmyard friends and discover nature's playground, a delightful escape from the urban rush.

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground: This playground is a realm where pirates sail the sand and adventures loom in secret coves, inspired by the timeless tales of Peter Pan.

Brockwell Park Miniature Railway: The miniature railway in Brockwell Park offers a quaint journey through scenic landscapes, where every whistle and chug sparks joy in the hearts of young train enthusiasts.

School-Aged Children

Notting Hill Carnival: Experience the vibrant Notting Hill Carnival, a spectacular event celebrating Caribbean culture with music, dance, and parades. It's free, family-friendly, and takes place every August.

Family Workshop at Shakespeare's Globe: Engage with Shakespeare's world through family workshops at the Globe Theatre. Check their website for workshop schedules and ticket prices, offering a hands-on approach to literature.

Planetarium show at the Royal Observatory Greenwich: The Peter Harrison Planetarium in Greenwich provides awe-inspiring space shows. Ideal for curious minds, tickets are available online, offering a journey through the stars.

Workshop at the National Maritime Museum: Participate in interactive family workshops exploring maritime history. Free or low-cost sessions are often available, perfect for engaging young explorers.

Chinatown summer installation exploration: Wander through Chinatown to see the vibrant summer installations, from lanterns to cultural displays. It's a free, visual feast in the heart of London.

Science Museum: Dive into the world of science with the museum's interactive exhibits and educational displays. Free entry, with some paid exhibits, in South Kensington.

Go Ape Battersea: Adventure awaits at Go Ape in Battersea Park, offering treetop courses and zip lines. Suitable for brave kids and adults, with pricing details online.

KidZania London: At Westfield London, KidZania provides a child-sized city where kids can try out different careers. Ticket information and opening times are available on their site.

HMS Belfast: Explore this historic warship on the Thames near London Bridge. It offers a glimpse into naval life, with family tickets available.

Tower of London: Discover the Tower's rich history, from the Crown Jewels to the legendary ravens. Ticket prices and family passes can be found on their website.


Greenwich + Docklands International Festival: Immerse in outdoor theatre, dance, and art installations at this vibrant, free festival.

Southbank Centre summer events: Enjoy a mix of free and ticketed music, art, and cultural events along the River Thames.

Shrek's Adventure! London: Step into the world of Shrek with interactive walk-throughs and live shows.

London Dungeon: Experience London's dark history through live actors, thrilling rides, and immersive sets.

Escape Hunt: Test your problem-solving skills with themed escape rooms.

Madame Tussauds Marvel Universe 4D: Meet wax figures of famous faces and Marvel heroes in an interactive 4D cinema.

Monopoly Lifesized: Play a life-sized version of the classic board game, combining physical and digital gameplay.

London by Night bus tour: See London's landmarks beautifully illuminated against the night sky.

Roman history exploration at London Mithraeum and Roman Amphitheatre: Discover ancient Roman London with free visits to these historical sites.

London Children's Festival: Immerse your family in a world of wonder at the London Children's Festival. This vibrant celebration is dedicated to igniting the imaginations of young minds through an array of interactive activities, engaging performances, and hands-on workshops. From storytelling sessions with beloved characters to creative arts and crafts stations, there's something for every child to enjoy.


Climbing The O2: Experience an exhilarating 90-minute climb over the iconic O2 dome, offering stunning panoramic views of London, creating unforgettable memories for both children and adults alike.

The London Dungeon Drop Dead: Drop Ride: Brace for a thrilling drop ride at the London Dungeon, part of a journey through the city's spooky history, guaranteed to send shivers down your spine and leave the kids screaming for more.

Covent Garden and West End shopping: Explore vibrant markets and high-end stores in Covent Garden, extending to the West End's premier shopping streets, where you can find everything from quirky souvenirs to designer fashion pieces, catering to every taste and budget.

Exploring Churchill War Rooms: Delve into the secret WWII bunkers and the life of Winston Churchill in this immersive museum, offering a fascinating insight into Britain's wartime past, educational and engaging for children and adults alike.

Imperial War Museum London summer events: Participate in family-friendly activities and exhibitions that delve into the complexities of war and its impact, providing a thought-provoking experience that will spark conversations and deepen understanding.

Camden Market shopping: Discover eclectic stalls, vintage clothing, and unique crafts in the bustling Camden Market, where kids can explore and pick out their favorite treasures, from quirky accessories to one-of-a-kind artwork.

Thames River Adventures (Kayaking): Paddle through the heart of London on a guided kayaking tour on the Thames, offering a unique perspective of the city's landmarks and wildlife, a memorable experience for families seeking outdoor adventures.

Street art tour in Shoreditch: Explore Shoreditch's vibrant street art, including works by famous artists, on a guided walking tour, igniting creativity and appreciation for urban art among children and adults alike, as they discover hidden masterpieces around every corner.

Victoria and Albert Museum visits: Wander through the world's leading museum of art, design, and performance, housing a vast collection of artefacts, from ancient sculptures to contemporary installations, offering endless opportunities for discovery and learning for curious young minds.

Family Fun Day Festival: Step into a day of pure enjoyment and excitement at the Family Fun Day Festival. This lively event is designed to bring families together for a day filled with laughter, entertainment, and unforgettable experiences. Groove to the rhythm of live music performances while your children delight in engaging games and activities scattered throughout the festival grounds.

Free Family Activities

Explore the Natural History Museum: A treasure trove of the natural world, offering everything from dinosaur skeletons to a captivating earthquake simulator, igniting curiosity and wonder in young minds as they embark on a journey through Earth's history.

Wander through the British Museum: Home to the Rosetta Stone and ancient Egyptian mummies, this museum offers a deep dive into human history and culture from around the globe, providing endless opportunities for learning and discovery for families exploring its vast collections.

Enjoy street performances in Covent Garden: This lively area is not just for shopping and dining but also for enjoying impromptu performances by talented street artists, captivating audiences of all ages with their creativity and skill, offering free entertainment and cultural experiences for families to enjoy together.

Stroll along the South Bank: Offers picturesque views of the Thames and landmarks like the London Eye. It's a cultural hub with the Southbank Centre and National Theatre, providing a vibrant atmosphere for families to soak in London's artistic and scenic delights, with plenty of free events and activities to enjoy throughout the summer months.

Visit the Science Museum: Engages young minds with interactive exhibits on space, technology, and more, making science accessible and fun, fostering a love for exploration and discovery among children as they engage with hands-on exhibits and immersive experiences.

Play in Diana, Princess of Wales' Memorial Playground: Inspired by Peter Pan, this playground in Kensington Gardens is perfect for imaginative play, offering a magical escape where children can let their imaginations run wild, exploring pirate ships and secret trails amidst lush greenery.

Discover the Museum of London: Chronicles London's tumultuous history from prehistoric times to the present day, situated near the historic Barbican Centre, offering a fascinating journey through the city's past and present, with interactive displays and exhibitions that bring history to life for visitors of all ages.

Walk through Hyde Park: One of London's largest parks, ideal for leisurely walks, picnics, and boating on the Serpentine, providing a peaceful oasis amidst the bustling city where families can unwind and reconnect with nature, enjoying the beauty of its landscapes and the serenity of its surroundings.

See the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace: A traditional ceremony that's a display of British pomp and circumstance, offering a glimpse into the pageantry and history of the monarchy, as families gather to witness this iconic event unfold outside the majestic gates of Buckingham Palace.

Explore the Tate Modern's art collections: Showcases modern and contemporary art in a former power station, an iconic feature of London's skyline, providing a cultural feast for the eyes as families explore its diverse collections and exhibitions, sparking conversations and inspiration as they encounter works by renowned artists from around the world.


Helpful questions and answers 

What are the top free family activities for the summer holidays in London? 

London boasts numerous free family activities like the British Museum and Hyde Park, offering both educational and outdoor experiences without any cost. Additionally, families can explore the bustling markets of Covent Garden or enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Camden Market without spending a penny.

How can I find unique summer holiday experiences for kids in London?

Unique experiences abound in London during the summer months. From the Science Museum's workshops where kids can engage in hands-on experiments to the Tower of London's historical adventures, blending education with entertainment. Moreover, families can embark on a Harry Potter-themed walking tour or take a ride on the Emirates Air Line cable car for breathtaking views of the city.

Are there any outdoor summer adventures for families in London?

London's parks and the South Bank provide perfect settings for outdoor adventures during the summer. Families can enjoy boating on the Serpentine in Hyde Park, have a picnic in Regent's Park, or explore the Diana, Princess of Wales' Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens. Additionally, the South Bank offers cultural pop-ups along the Thames, outdoor performances, and food markets, providing a diverse range of activities for families to enjoy under the sun.

What cultural attractions are must-sees for families during London's summer?

The Natural History Museum and Tate Modern are essential visits for families during London's summer. The Natural History Museum offers interactive family activities such as the Dino Snores sleepover events and the Sensational Butterflies exhibition. Similarly, the Tate Modern features family-friendly workshops and storytelling sessions alongside its diverse collection of modern and contemporary art.

Where can I find a guide to London's summer festivals suitable for children?

London's summer is packed with family-friendly festivals like the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, showcasing a variety of outdoor performances, including theater, dance, and circus acts. Moreover, families can enjoy the Underbelly Festival on the South Bank, offering comedy shows, cabaret performances, and children's theater productions throughout the summer months.
What is the best way to travel between kids' attractions in London? The Tube and buses offer convenient family travel options in London, with day passes available for economical city-wide access. Families can also consider purchasing a Visitor Oyster Card for discounted travel fares on public transportation. For shorter distances between attractions, walking or cycling can provide scenic routes and opportunities to explore different neighbourhoods at a leisurely pace.

How much do family summer days out in London usually cost?

While many attractions and museums in London offer free entry, paid experiences such as theme parks, theater shows, and special exhibitions vary in cost. Planning ahead and looking for family deals or discounts can help manage overall expenses effectively. Additionally, families can take advantage of free events and activities happening throughout the city during the summer months, such as outdoor concerts, street performances, and community festivals.

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