The party hardy will be on Clapham Common for the big SW4 weekender, but if you’ve got little people that all sounds a bit rowdy. Don’t sweat it, we’ve found some fantastic things to do with kids in London this Bank Holiday weekend:
Notting Hill Carnival, Camden Beach, Lazy Sunday at King’s Cross, Festival of Love and Groove on Down the Road at Southbank Centre, Muse of Fire at Shakespeare’s Globe, Family Fun at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and National Maritime Museum…
See you on the other side!
Thu-Sat: Camden Beach at the Roundhouse, NW1 (Chalk Farm tube)
LAST CHANCE: 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! All ages. 12-11pm (Tue-Sat), 5-11pm (Mon); FREE entry (Jul 26-Aug 23)
Thu-Mon: Muse of Fire at Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside SE1 9DT (Blackfriars/Mansion House tube).
Follow puppets, an Elizabethan hermit and a magician to uncover the secrets of the Muse of Fire and stop her burning down the Globe. Theatrical adventure for ages 6-11 (and their daring parents/carers). 11am & 2pm; adult £12.50/child £10 (Aug 18-27)
Thu-Mon: Zoo Nation’s Groove on Down the Road at Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX (Waterloo/Embankment tube)
LAST CHANCE: It’s hard to explain just how much we’re in love with this show. So good we saw it twice (thanks Southbank Centre!). Follow Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow down the yellow brick road in a poppin’, lockin’, hip hop spin of the Wizard of Oz, with a fresh soundtrack combining music from The Wiz and modern hits. I defy you not to come out grinning like a loon! Recommended for ages 5+ but younger ones welcome. 2pm, 3pm, 5.30pm & 7pm (varying dates); £22-27/concs. half-price (limited availability) (Aug 5-26)
Thu-Mon: Bank Holiday at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 2ST (Stratford tube/overground)
If you’re feeling sporty this weekend, pack a picnic and your trainers and take the whole gang down to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. You can explore the legendary grounds, try out various sports from pop up mini volleyball to table tennis and frisbee taster sessions in FREE Active August sessions. There’s a Bank Holiday Funfair on site over the weekend and a bunch of fun, crafty kids activities at the ArcelorMittal Orbit. A great day out for all ages. From 10am daily, FREE entry, charges for funfair rides (until Aug 25)
Thu-Mon: Breakers Yard at Sutton House, 2-4 Homerton High Street, London E9 6JQ (Hackney Central overground)
The innovative creative troupe House of Fairytales has transformed a cars breakers yard into a wonderland of artistic installations including an illustrated ice cream van, an edible garden and a multi-storey caravan sculpture decorated like a stately home. All ages. 10.30am-5pm; adult £3.50, child £1, family £6.90 (ongoing)
Thu-Mon: 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. All ages. 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)
Fri-Sun: Aliens Love Underpants at Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX (Leicester Square tube)
The aliens have landed… hold onto your knickers! This dazzling stage show follows the strange travels of creatures from outer space on their quest for their favourite find: undies. Based on the popular book, this show blends madcap action, original music and stunning effects and promises you’ll laugh your pants off. For ages 3+. 11am (Fri), 10.15am, 12pm & 2pm (Sat & Sun); £10-£21 (until Aug 31)
Fri-Mon: Southbank Centre Festival of Love: Eros and Ludus Weekend, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX (Waterloo/Embankment tube)
It’s the penultimate weekend of the fabulous festival celebrating all aspects of love and this weekend it’s Eros and Ludus (romantic and playful love) on the agenda. There are free family friendly singing, dance and verse workshops, a choral rendition with the VoiceLab Choir and a chance to join in a mass performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (the abridged version) with Moving Stories on the terrace. If that’s enough you can Singalong with Dirty Dancing (Fri, 7.30pm), explore the London Wonderground, slide down the big slide installations, play in the Urban Beach and of course tuck into great nosh at the Real Food street market. From 9am daily, most activities FREE (Aug 22-25)
Sat: National Maritime Museum: International Slavery Remembrance Day, Nat. Maritime Museum, Romney Rd, Greenwich SE10 9NF (Greenwich Rail, Cutty Sark DLR)
The museum marks International Slavery Remembrance Day with a series of free family friendly events and activities including welcome by actor/broadcaster Burt Caesar, talks on the historical African presence in Britain by author Onyeka Nubia and craft workshop with Maria Amidu (Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle project) and a Songs of Freedom singing workshop. This is also a great chance to visit the museum and nearby Cutty Sark. 11am-4.30pm, FREE (Aug 23)
Sat-Mon: Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park and surrounding areas (several stations exit only, check TFL.gov for best Carnival route)
Europe’s biggest street party sweeps into West London with more than 1 million party people expected over the Bank Holiday weekend. But don’t be intimidated by the crowds, Carnival is usually a family friendly event. Start your weekend with the Panorama Steel Band competition (Sat) at Emslie Horniman Pleasance Centre; then you can take the minis along on Sunday, known as Children’s Day with kids in costumes and a family friendly vibe. The fiesta lasts through Monday with floats, costume parades, food stalls and sound systems. 9am-7pm daily, FREE (Aug 23-25)
Sun: Lazy Sunday at King’s Cross, Canalside Steps and Granary Square, N1C (King’s Cross tube)
Take a load off this Bank Holiday Sunday at a FREE event for all the family. There will be scattered cushions around the Canalside steps at Granary Square where you can relax, read complimentary copies of the Sunday papers (while stocks last) and enjoy a free Noble Nespresso to perk you up. Live bands will accompany your mellow mood. For the minis, there are art workshops led by House of Illustration and while you’re there, explore the Quentin Blake exhibition too. If it’s warm, pack a change of clothes as your little ones will love splashing in the fantastic Granary Square fountains. Or have a go at a Paddle the Canal session with Moo Canoes along Regent’s Canal. All ages. 10am-3pm, FREE (Aug 24)
We also like
Head over to Hampton Court Palace for the BBC Good Food Festival (Fri-Mon); sing along with Beauty and the Beast at Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square (Sat, 1pm); spin on rides at the George Irving’s Funfair at London Fields (Sat-Mon) or the Hampstead Heath Funfair (until Mon); scope out cute puppies and pooches at the Paw Pageant in Old Spitalfields Market (Mon, 1-3pm); pop along to Gamewagon Minecraft workshops at That Place on the Corner in Stoke Newington (Sat-Sun until Aug 31); explore the colourful, immersive space This Morning I Woke up from the Most Amazing Dream at Tate Modern, inspired by their Henri Matisse exhibition (ongoing until Sep 7)
Want more? Take a look at our 31 Coolest Things to Do with Kids in London this Summer!
“Notting Hill Carnival 2013” by Romazur – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons