Can you believe it’s the August Bank Holiday Weekend already? Where has the summer gone? I can’t wait to tell you about some of our adventures, including Camp Bestival and a dreamy holiday in Antigua!
Meanwhile, there’s a long weekend of partying, Carnival fun, family theatre, gladiator battles (for reals) and more to get on with in London. Don’t forget our Summer Holiday Guide has ideas to see you through the start of school. Enjoy!
August Bank Holiday Weekend Scoop
Fri-Sun: Around the World in 80 Days, Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, Chelsea SW1X 9DQ (Sloane Square tube)
If you don’t have any escape plans this August Bank Holiday Weekend, you can still travel in style (and imagination) at Cadogan Hall in the company of Jules Verne’s colourful crew. Go Around the World in 80 Days, in the space of one production, where you’ll experience six trains, five boats, four fights, three dances, two circus acts and an elephant! 2.30pm & 7pm; £17.50-£49.50 (Aug 2-Sep 2)
Fri-Sun: Gangsta Granny, at Garrick Theatre, 2 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0HH (Leicester Square/Charing Cross Rd tube)
This could be your last chance to catch Gangsta Granny, the lively adaptation of David Walliams’ hit book about a rather naughty nana. Birmingham Stage Company, the crew behind the hilarious Horrible Histories series, bring Walliams’ cheeky humour to the stage. Perfect for anyone age 5 to 105. From £19.50, Wed-Sun (Jul 26-Sep 3)
Fri-Sun: What the Ladybird Heard at Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7ES (Piccadilly Circus tube)
Julia Donaldson seems to have cracked the code for lively, educational storytelling that works equally well on the page or the stage. Here it’s her collaboration with Lydia Monks that’s been adapted for the theatre, for a West End run this summer. Puppets, music and audience interaction come together in this tale of two sneaky robbers trying to steal a prize cow. But they get their comeuppance from the unlikeliest source. Lots of farm fresh fun! Recommended for ages 3+. 11am & 2pm (Tue-Fri), 10am & 12pm (Sat-Sun): ticket range £14.50-£25.50/family £65 (Jul 5-Sep 10)
Fri-Mon: Gladiator Games, Guildhall Yard, Gresham St, EC2V 5AE (Bank/Mansion House tube)
Londinium, are you ready? This August Bank Holiday weekend travel back to the Roman era for the Museum of London’s Gladiator Games, all part of the Museum’s family friendly Roman festival. And it all takes place directly above the archaeological site of the Roman amphitheatre discovered 30 years ago in Guildhall! Performed by Britannia (of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and Horrible Histories on CBBC fame), these visceral battle scenes will bring the amphitheatre to life for modern viewers. Before and after the fighting, there’s educational fun including crafts, food, music and handling of artefacts. But it’s all about the gladiator action — warning, simulated violence and bloodshed so may not be suitable for the youngest kids. All ages welcome, but think PG rating! Fri 7pm, Sat (12pm, 3.30pm & 7pm), Sun (1pm & 4.30pm), Mon (12pm & 3.30pm); tickets adult £20-22/concs £16-£18, child £13-£15, under 5s FREE (Aug 25-28)
Fri-Mon: National Theatre River Stage Festival: Bank Holiday Weekend Takeover, National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX (Embankment/Waterloo tube)
River Stage free summer festival at National Theatre winds up with the August Bank Holiday Weekend takeover. It all kicks off on Friday with mashup tunes from Concrete Disco (Fri 6pm-7pm). On Saturday there’s live gypsy jazz from Hot Club de Bulb, readings from Beetle Boy & Beetle Queen (12pm) plus a staging of Goblin Theatre’s Peter & the Wolf and kids workshop (Sat, various times from 1.30pm). On Sunday, one of the most iconic tot pop bands from east London, Mrs H & the Singalong Band, brings her infectious, sing and clap-along live show to the River Stage (Sun 1pm & 3pm). Monday sees a Tea Dance followed by jazzy Afrobeat from Nerija (Mon 5pm). Plus more live music, pizza van, cocktail van and more. All FREE! All ages (Aug 25-28)
Fri-Mon: Camille Walala X Play at Now Gallery, NOW Gallery, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0SQ (North Greenwich tube)
Greenwich is a wonderful day out for August Bank Holiday Weekend. Ride the Emirates Air Line cable car to North Greenwich. Wander Greenwich Market or explore one of the RMG attractions (National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark or Royal Observatory). And don’t miss your chance to play with shapes, colours, curves and zigzags at Camille Walala’s exhibition at NOW Gallery in Greenwich. The immersive maze invites people of all ages to crawl, tunnel, walk and explore. NB: Babies, toddlers and small kids must be accompanied and supervised at all times. Ticketed entry only due to high demand, book your 15 minute slot at EventBrite. 10am-7pm (Mon-Fri), 10am-6pm (Sat-Sun); FREE (until Sep 24)
Fri-Mon: Zip World London, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7JY (Lambeth North, Waterloo, Westminster tube)
We have the Emirates Airline cable cars and the world’s tallest slide in the Olympic Park. Now adrenaline junkies have one more activity to tick off their London bucket list. Zip World London is a brand new way to see London’s skyline, launching off from 35m high (higher than 9 double deckers). Go whizzing along at breakneck speed on what’s described as the biggest, fastest city zip wire in the world! Ages 8+ only, must be accompanied by an adult (up to 3 kids per adult). Min height 1.2m, max weight 120kg. 10am-7pm, daily; adult £22.50/child under 16 £16.50 (Jul 14-Oct 1)
Fri-Mon: Soul of a Nation at Tate Modern, Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG (Southwark/Blackfriars tube)
Black Power is the inspiration for this glorious retrospective of African American art at Tate Modern. From Civil Rights to the politics of Black hair, it’s essential and educational viewing. This Friday there’s a special Uniqlo Tate Lates event in the evening (from 6pm onwards) when the exhibition is free entry — but turn up early and expect queues! All ages (parental discretion). From 10am daily; adult £16.50/under 12s FREE (until Oct 22)
Fri-Mon: London Zoo, ZSL London Zoo, Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY (Camden Town/Regent’s Park tube)
Dinosaurs at London Zoo? That’s right, explorers! Zoorassic Park takes us back to the prehistoric era when giants walked the earth. At the zoo, you and your brood can stroll amongst life-size animatronic creatures and make like you’re a Spielberg extra. Say hello to baby dinos, dig for fossils, and explore the rest of the (real) animals around the zoo. Daily from 10am; adult from £24.30/child from £18/under 3s FREE (Jul 22-Sep 3)
Sat: Summer Music Festival at Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Approach Road, Tottenham Green, N15 4RX (Seven Sisters tube/rail)
There’s three days of fun at the Summer Music Festival with Cuban music on Thursday evening, and an Afrobeats artists showcase on Friday from 5.30pm. But we’re all about the family friendly vibes on Saturday, when the festival winds down with a free day of fun. Fuse ODG headlines with support from Reggie ‘n’ Bollie, Soukous band Kasai Masai, the London House Cats Choir, and more special guests. The African Market is hosting their open-air market with crafts, arts, fashion and other titbits. There’s outdoor BBQ courtesy of Blooming Scent Cafe and for the kids there’s bouncy castle, face painting and more activities. Perfect Carnival warm-up party! 12pm-8pm, FREE (Aug 26)
Sat-Mon: Urban Weekend at Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX (Waterloo/Embankment tube)
Get locking, popping and people watching at Southbank Centre’s Urban Weekend for another hype weekend of beats, grooves, street art and street sports. Another epic throwdown with DJs, beat boxing and break dancing, street art and sports and a block party on the terrace. FREE, for all ages. (Aug 26-28)
Sat-Mon: LEGO: Ninjas in the City at The Queen’s Walk, Lambeth, London SE1 (near Southbank Centre & The London Eye)
Also happening at the Southbank this weekend, the two worlds of LEGO City Police and LEGO NINJAGO join forces for the first time ever in an exciting family adventure. Join top City Police detective Chase McCain and the LEGO NINJAGO Ninjas on a heroic crime-fighting, clue-finding and puzzle-solving mission around town. Kids and families will get their mission packs from Mission Base, and get to solving missions including Fire Wall, Water Fight and the Last Stand. There will be brick pits, team work and immersive fun for all the family. Recommended for ages 5-12, suitable for all. 10am-6pm daily, FREE (Aug 26-28)
Sun-Mon: Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill and surrounding areas (Westbourne Park tube exit only, see TFL web site closer to date for transport advice)
Europe’s biggest street party takes over West London as the world famous Notting Hill Carnival returns for August Bank Holiday Weekend. Sunday is children’s day when you can expect some seriously cute kids turned out in the ultimate fancy dress. Brave the crowds for an unforgettable day (or weekend) involving flashy costumes, sound systems, floats, and street food from every corner. All ages. From around 9.30am daily, FREE (Aug 26-28)
London Kids Cinema Listings
A selection of movies from some of our favourite family friendly cinemas in London.
Electric Cinema Kids Club, 191 Portobello Rd, W11 2ED (Notting Hill tube)
Captain Underpants at 9.30am; adult/child £5 (Aug 26)
Jumanji (Sep 2)
Phoenix Cinema Kids Club, 52 High Rd, East Finchley N2 9PJ (East Finchley tube)
Ratatouille at 12pm; Adult/Child £3 (Aug 26)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (CineMemories) at 12pm; FREE
Regent St Cinema Kids Kino Club, 309 Regent St, W1B 2UW (Oxford Circus tube)
Finding Nemo at 11.30am; £1.75 (Aug 26)
Finding Dory (Sep 2)
BFI Southbank: BFI Families, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT (Waterloo/Embankment tube)
The Lord of the Rings (animated) at 1pm; adult £11.75/child £4 (Aug 27)
Soho Hotel Children’s Film Club, 4 Richmond Mews, W1D 3DH (Piccadilly Circus tube)
Despicable Me 3 at 10.30am (10am brunch); £10 (film only), or £20 (includes buffet brunch at 10am + popcorn and drinks for film) (Aug 27)
Day Trip from London: FESTIVAL FUN
New addition to our festivals page:
Where: The Common and Castle Field in Southsea, Portsmouth PO5 3PA (Porstmouth Harbour rail)
The vibe: It’s the UK’s biggest metropolitan festival with the largest children’s area of any UK festival!
What’s on: World Music Village, Happy’s Circus, Kids Arena, Real Ale Village + FREE entry to Seafront Attractions (including D- Day museum, Southsea Castle & Southsea Skate Park).
Don’t miss: Headliners Stereophonics, Elbow and Madness + Rita Ora, Olly Murs, Sundara Karma, Maximo Park, Feeder, Franz Ferdinand, The Charlatans, Jake Bugg, Frank Turner, Slaves and Pete Doherty.
Entry fees: Tickets £35 (Fri), £42 (Sat-Sun)/child 5-15 £8/under 5s £1 – all prices daily. No camping or accommodation included.
Dates and times: 4pm-11pm (Fri) & 10am-11pm (Sat-Sun), last entry for both days 8pm | Aug 25-27, 2017
Find more upcoming fun on my Family Festivals page HERE