Today is a special day as it marks the 10th anniversary since I married my BAHD man. He surprised me with a trip to Amsterdam so by the time you read this post, we’ll be off and away!
But I’ve made time to pull together some of the best things happening in London for families in the London Kids Weekend Scoop. Everything from Horrible Histories to family theatre, to a family barn dance, to keep you and your brood entertained over the next few days.
Also the Family Arts Festival kicks off this weekend for a glorious 24 days (Oct 9-Nov 1), meaning you can experience some of the best in family friendly theatre, music, dance, literature and performance not just in London but right across the country. Enjoy!
Thu: Hello Kitty Live: Fashion & Friends at Hammersmith Apollo, Queen Caroline Street, London, W6 9QH (Hammersmith tube)
She’s an international superstar and Hello Kitty Live: Fashion & Friends brings the pink-loving pussycat to the stage on her first live national tour. The show features fab fashion and costumes, animation and soundtrack by the likes of Clean Bandit, Bruno Mars, Charlie XCX, Kylie Minogue and more. Aimed at kids ages 3-10 and Hello Kitty fans of all ages. 7pm; £22-£38.50/babies under 1 FREE (Oct 8)
Thu-Sun: Horrible Histories at Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, London E8 1EJ (Hackney Central overground)
Go back in time at Hackney Empire with the Groovy Greeks, exploring the ancient cities of Sparta and Athens and more. Take on the Trojans, pummel the Persians and compete in the first ever Olympic Games. Or you can revisit the Incredible Invaders and discover life when the Ruthless Romans crunched the Celts and the Savage Saxons smashed their way in. Hide behind Hadrian’s Wall and find out who’s at Sutton Hoo. Immerse yourself in two new adventures for fans of the Horrible Histories series, complete with thrilling action and 3D special effects! For ages 5+. Groovy Greeks: 10.30am (Wed & Fri), 1.30pm (Thu), 2.30pm (Sat) & 5pm (Sun); Incredible Invaders: 1.30pm (Wed & Sun), 10.30am (Thu), 7pm (Fri & Sat); tickets for either show cost £10-£20/family tickets 4 for the price of 3/book for both shows at the same time and get 20% discount! (Oct 7-11)
Thu-Sun: Shaolin Monks at Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, Holborn, WC2A 2HT (Holborn tube)
The babes are already begging to see the Shaolin Monks in action, rightly anticipating an evening of knife-edge drama crammed with kicks, high spins and choreographed fighting. The annual spectacular returns to Peacock Theatre for another thrilling showcase of kung fu and other ancient martial arts. 7.30pm (Tue-Sat), 2.30pm (Sat), 2pm & 6.30pm (Sun); £15-£38/half-price under 16s (Sep 29-Oct 17)
Sat: Africa on the Square in Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DS (Charing Cross tube)
To mark Black History Month, and after the success of the inaugural event last year, the Mayor of London hosts another African festival on Trafalgar Square. Feel the heat of the continent warm your soul and lift your spirits at an event filled with live music from the likes of Tony Dudu & the Gumbe Jazz, dedicated family area with everything from hair braiding to mosaic making, yummy African food, fashion and craft stalls, African fashion catwalk, live DJs and rousing performances from drummers and acrobats. 12-6pm, FREE (Oct 10)
Sat-Sun: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, 269a Archway Road, N6 5AA (Highgate tube)
It’s one of the most popular picture books and Michael Rosen’s exciting, funny and fun to read aloud adventure is brought to life again by Little Angel Theatre’s enchanting puppetry. Follow the family as they run down a grassy bank, wade through a cold river, squelch over oozy mud and stumble into a dark forest. And what will they find? Don’t spoilt the surprise! Filled with music and lyrics by popular songwriter Barb Jungr. For ages 2+. 1pm & 3pm; £8 (Oct 10-11)
Sat-Sun: The Scarecrow’s Wedding at Arts Depot, Nether Street Tally Ho Corner North Finchley London N12 0GA (Finchley Central tube)
Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay are great at scaring crows. Well, they’re scarecrows after all! The patchwork pair decide to get married and Harry sets off looking for wedding day bits and bobs. When the farmer notices he’s missing a scarecrow, he puts up smooth but dastardly Reginald Rake in Harry’s place. Will Harry make it back in time to claim Betty before Reginald spoils their big day? The delightful Scamp Theatre (Stick Man and Tiddler & other Terrific Tales) are back with another charming adaptation of a new bestseller by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Ages 3+. 1.30pm (Sat); 11am & 1.30pm (Sun); £13/£10 (Oct 10-11)
Sat-Sun: Giant Lego Brick Animals at London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, London, SW13 9WT (Hammersmith tube)
Head to the London Wetland Centre to see their trail of LEGO statues, including brick otter, mallard, flamingo and other animals nestling amongst their real life counterparts. There are also LEGO workshops throughout (weekends/daily during half term), you can make your own pumpkin model during Halloween, and of course you can check out the ducks, toads and other wildlife at the centre. All ages. Open from 9.30am; adult £12.75/child £7 (prices with Gift Aid); under 4s FREE (Oct 3-Nov 8)
Sun: Ulla’s Odyssey at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG (Kings Cross St Pancras tube)
It’s a 21st century retelling of Homer’s Odyssey, created by OperaUpClose in a family friendly show designed to get young ones interested in opera from their early childhood. The award-winning nautical fantasy by New Zealand composer Anthony Young and Canadian librettist Leanne Brodie traces the story of 14-year-old Ulla on her quest to become the youngest person to sail the world single-handedly. The show includes live music and puppetry and is suitable for kids ages 7+ and their families. Buy a Big Day Out ticket (adult £34.50/child under 14 £24) and you can take part in a drawing workshop with House of Illustration before the show, followed by lunch at Green & Fortune Cafe before catching Ulla’s Odyssey! 4pm (Oct 11) & 2pm (Oct 18, Nov 15 & Nov 22); adult £19.50/child under 14 £12/family of 3 £36/family of 4 £54 (Oct 11-Nov 22)
Sun: Family Barn Dance at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Rd, NW1 (Camden Town/Chalk Farm tube)
Get your dancing shoes on for another edition of the popular family barn dance. Here adults and kids of all ages (bring baby in a carrier) jig and jive to English folk music, with a live band and a caller telling you where to put your feet. Swing your partner and do-si-doh! NB: Limited tickets at door, book in advance to avoid disappointment. 3-5pm, adult £7/child £5/under 2s FREE (Oct 11)
Sun: Mud Larking by the Thames with Muddy Puddles, Millennium Bridge, SE1 9TG (Southwark/St Paul’s tube)
Put on your wellies and muddy wear for a mucky but marvellous day by the River Thames, with outdoor wear specialists Muddy Puddles. Hear an archaeologist share tales of the area’s previous inhabitants and help identify any treasures you discover on your dig. After all that hard work, there will be hot chocolate and mud pies for all the kids. 11am, FREE but booking essential, email email@example.com to confirm your place (Oct 11)
We also like
London Literature Festival continues at Southbank Centre, with lots of family friendly readings and activities, including a 4-day staged reading of Moby Dick (until Oct 12); there’s more literary fun for all ages at Wimbledon Bookfest (until Sun); and the Archway with Words series (Sat-Oct 18); celebrate the Festival of Lights in Trafalgar Square with Diwali in the Square taking over after the Africa festival (Sun); watch a screening of Coraline at London Review of Books, WC1, in their revamped basement cinema (Sun)
Michael Rosen’s Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake & Bad Things (Oct 16-Apr 10)
Big Fish Little Fish at Hackney Wick (Oct 18) – Win Tickets to Big Fish Little Fish with Villa Pia!
London Night Owls Sleepover at Museum of London (ages 7-11) (Oct 24)
Big Stories from the Little Box: Chickenshed at Peter Jones, Chelsea (Oct 24)
Boo at the Zoo at London Zoo (Oct 24-Nov 1)
Storystock at Bush Theatre (Oct 28-30)
October half term guide coming soon!