Summer in the city with children

Find family-friendly activities in London with Gillian Crawshaw

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Gillian Crawshaw

Gillian Crawshaw
HomeAway travel expert

Summer in the city with children Looking for things to do with the family this summer? London is a fantastic place for children, and it really comes into its own in the warmer months of the year. It feels like we’vefinallyemerged from the longest winter ever, so now is the time to really get out and about and make the most of all the amazing things there are to do. School’s out for summer, and if you’re visiting the city on vacation or just looking for fun family days out during the holidays, there’s a diverse range of activities to suit every age, taste, and budget. It pays to do your research though, so make sure you plan your trip ahead of time.

From play parks with pirate ships, to festivals and dancing water fountains; here’s our suggestions for five family-friendly activities to do in London this summer.



Take sunscreen, pack a picnic, but most of all, have fun!


Family friendly festivals Family friendly festivals

Why not go to a family-friendly festival...without leaving the city? Lolibopdescribed as the big bash for little peopleis taking place from the 16th to the 18th of August at the Stratford Olympic Park. Now in its fourth year, Lolibop is the biggest festival in the country designed purely for the under-tens. You’ll need to buy tickets before you go, but there’s a programme of live acts and shows, theatre and walk-about performances, sport events, interactive demos, workshops, dance lessons, circus and cooking classes. The live line-up includes Justin from CBeebies, Dick and Dom and none other than Peppa Pig. Best of all, no mud or camping is involved!

View rentals close to the Olympic park



Green spaces and parks Green spaces and parks

London is home to a whole host of amazing green spaces that you could spend all summer exploring. One of the most spectacular of the children’s play parks in the city is the free Peter Pan-themed Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens. The centrepiece of the park is a giant wooden pirate ship with surrounding beach, and there is also a sensory trail, several teepees and lots of play areas and sculptures. It’s all tremendous fun, and designed to encourage learning through play for children of all abilities.

Don’t worry grown-ups as there’s plenty of seating (which you’ll need as you may be here a while). Be warned when you’re planning your trip though, as it does get busy: over 750,000 children go to play there each year. But it’s justifiably popular and well worth a visit.

View lettings close to Kensington gardens



Somerset House for arts and entertainment Somerset House for arts and entertainment

Once everyone’s worked up a sweat, why not take the opportunity to cool off somewhere special? Hot-foot it over to the Strand and Somerset House, a big arts centre in the heart of London set in an impressively huge old house. The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court at the house has dancing jets of water that spurt up from the floor in different patterns. Children won’t be able to resist running in and out of the water, so make sure you take a change of clothes. The fountains are open from June to September, from around 10am - 11pm each day, and there’s no entrance fee.

View city of London rentals



The Horniman Museum The Horniman Museum

If you can’t go on holiday, why not go on the next best thing: a virtual adventure on your own doorstep? The Amazon Adventure exhibition at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill allows you to explore the diverse landscape of the world’s largest and most biologically diverse river, no passport required. The exhibition includes a boat ride, a giant python, a tank of rays and lots of interactive and hands-on displays. There’s also a glow-in-the-dark dance floor, complete with Brazilian beats guaranteed to get everyone moving.

The Horniman Museum also has an aquariumwith tanks of weird and wonderful fish that children will lovean outdoor animal walk, and gardens with a view over the spectacular London skyline. The museum is even home to a giant stuffed walrus with his own Twitter feed. What’s not to love?

View Greenwich rentals for Horniman Museum



West-end and Theatreland West-end and Theatreland

And finally, as it’ll probably be raining at some point (we’re in the UK, what did you expect?) it’s well worth having an indoor back-up plan for one of the days. Check out Kids Week taking place in Soho in August. Children aged between 5-16 can see a selection of plays at Theatreland for free (with a paying adult). Tickets to over 30 shows and performances are available, including many big-name West End musicals.

View rentals in the West End



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