First weekend of the holidays and we’ve got you covered with loads of family fun activities in London. Highlights include:
Urban Weekend at Southbank Centre, Alice the Opera in Holland Park, Archikids Festival in City of London, Great British Carnival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Chinatown Family Day, Summer Festival at Museum of Childhood…
Thu-Sun: English National Ballet: Coppelia at London Coliseum, 42 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ES (Charing Cross/Leicester Square tube)
An enchanting family ballet scored by Debussy and performed by the ENB’s full orchestra. It tells the tale of Dr Coppelius who creates a lifelike doll Coppelia that he dreams of bringing to life. For ages 5+. 2.30pm & 7.30pm (Thu & Sat), 7.30pm (Fri), 2.30pm (Sun); £65-£74.50/child under 16 half-price/under 5s not admitted (Jul 25-27)
Thu-Sun: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Coram’s Fields, Guilford St, WC1N 1DN (Russell Square tube).
It’s a family friendly production of one of Shakespeare’s most loveable comedies, featuring colourful rogue Sir John Falstaff and lots of crazy, mixed up action. Come early and let the younger ones have some playtime. 7.45pm (Thu-Sun), adults £16/child under 16 + concs. £13/family of 4 £50 (Jul 17-Aug 3)
Fri-Sat: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at Opera Holland Park, 37 Pembroke Rd, W8 6PW (Holland Park tube)
Take a trip into the magical world of Alice in the middle of Holland Park. Follow the Mad Hatter and White Rabbit on a familiar journey told through dazzling operatic performances. 3pm, £15-£75 (Jul 25-Aug 2)
Fri-Sun: Urban Weekend at Southbank Centre (Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX, Waterloo/Embankment tube)
Back for another brilliant celebration of street culture, Urban Weekend features b-boy and b-girl performances, rapping, beatboxing, pop-up basketball, BMX battles, free running, graffiti displays, Zoo Nation dance mob, urban fashion show and an Urban Block Party (Sat 2-7pm) with DJs rocking out on the festival terrace. From around 9am daily, many events are FREE (Jul 25-27)
Fri-Sun: Superhero Snail Boy at Jacksons Lane, 269a Archway Road, London, N6 5AA (Highgate tube)
You’ve seen Turbo, now meet Superhero Snail Boy! This sweet production takes us on a journey where hope grows in the form of enormous flowers, solace is sought from a giant snail and even the tiniest superheroes can conquer their biggest fears. For ages 4+. 7pm (Fri), 12pm & 3pm (Sat-Sun); £8.95 (Jul 25-27)
Sat-Sun: Archikids Festival, City of London (various locations)
Open City’s flagship family festival of architecture returns for another jam-packed weekend of 50+ activities including the On your Scooter trail; the cardboard master-planning City of a Thousand Architects workshop; the Postcards From London photography competition and much more for all ages. Activities take place around 4 festival hubs: One New Change, Leadenhall Market, and The Gherkin. Download the Archikids Festival Map. Daily between 10am-5pm, FREE, mostly drop-in (Jul 26-27)
Sat-Sun: Walthamstow Garden Party, Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow E17 5JW (Walthamstow tube).
Two days of culture and family fun are on the cards with live music from Brand New Heavies among top artists from around the world, Boy Blue Entertainment street dance, Rock a Hula, bowling sessions, mini garden party for under 5s, activities, food stalls and more. 12-9pm (Sat) & 12-8pm (Sun); FREE (Jul 26-27)
Sat-Sun: Clouds at Southbank Centre (Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX, Waterloo/Embankment tube)
Enter an enchanted universe where clouds become sheep, shadows become objects and the imagination runs riot. Visually spectacular show for ages 4+. 11am & 2pm (Sun-Wed), 4pm (Sat); £18 (Jul 26-30)
Sat-Sun: Camden Beach opens again at the Roundhouse, NW1 (Chalk Farm tube)
Beach huts, ping pong, cocktails, deckchairs, live music and 150 tonnes of sand to sink your toes into. Plan to go early with the kids as it does get crowded later (and full) and don’t forget your bucket and spade! 12-11pm (Tue-Sat), 5-11pm (Mon); FREE entry (Jul 26-Aug 23)
Sat-Sun: Royal Childhood at Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA (Victoria tube).
Go behind the scenes of princes and princesses through treasured toys, childhood clothing and previously unseen photos and film footage. 9.30am-7.30pm (July-Aug) & 9.30am-6.30pm (Sep); adult £19.75, child under 17 £11.75/under 5s FREE (Jul 26-Sep 28)
Sun: Summer Festival at V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 9PA (Bethnal Green tube)
Pop along to the annual party for live music and performance including dance, walkabout acts and more to the museum gardens. Plus fashion and food stalls, arts and crafts for kids, face painting, rickshaw rides and games. All ages. 11.30am-4.30pm, FREE (Jul 27)
Sun: Chinatown Family Day, Chinatown, W1 (Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square/Covent Garden tube)
We love a bit of Sunday dim sum and there’s no better excuse to head down to Chinatown than this Family Day celebration, where fun lovers of all ages can enjoy live music, dance and martial arts demonstrations, Chinese calligraphy, origami and other workshops, treasure hunt, goody bags and a traditional lion dance procession through the streets. 11am-5pm, FREE (Jul 27)
Sun: Great British Carnival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 2ST (Stratford tube/overground)
Are you ready for Rio? Come and party at this celebration of the midway point between London and Rio Olympic games. There’ll be live music and samba, mask making, kids entertainment and the world premiere of The Carnival of the Animals: a twilight crescendo of costumed dancers, creatures and dazzling illumination. 12pm-9.30pm, FREE (Jul 27)
We also like
Design your own beastly creature inspired by London Zoo, while travelling through on the Floating Cinema, for ages 8-11 (Fri, 12-1pm); the UK’s biggest display of Japanese culture takes over Earl’s Court in HyperJapan (Fri-Sun); fly down to CityLit in Covent Garden for their Superhero Day family workshop, £10 per family of 2 adults and up to 3 kids (Sat); it’s the last of the Regent Street Summer Streets traffic-free shopping days, with FREE ice creams handed out to 25,000 lucky shoppers (Sun); wind up your weekend at the FREE entry Brick Lane Village Fete at St Matthew’s Church, E2, with stalls, music, raffle and more until 7pm (Sun)
Want more? Take a look at our 31 Coolest Things to Do with Kids in London this Summer!