What a difference a week makes. Over the past week, coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic, the UK is preparing for special measures and Italy went on lockdown. But London is still open, people, and now might be your best chance to get out and about with the kids. There is so much weekend fun for London families packed into our Scoop, and as more people self-isolate, there’s more room to explore!
Remember to keep abreast of the news and government health warnings, and self-isolate if you feel a cold/cough/fever lurking. Best advice is still hand-washing for 20 secs, avoid touching your face or kissing to greet people, and try not to panic (or panic buy). Your mental health is just as important as physical — so don’t over-consume news and do make the most of opportunities to have fun with your little ones. If you’re brave enough, the St Patrick’s Day parade in central London on Sunday should put everyone in a party mood.
Whatever you do, stay well mamas and papas.
If you only see One Thing this weekend in London
Thu-Sun: Andy Warhol at Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG (Southwark/Blackfriars tube)
The guy who turned soup cans into art gets a massive retrospective at Tate Modern. Opening this weekend, Andy Warhol takes a close look at the life and talents of this iconic artist. See pop prints of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and more, play with his floating Silver Clouds and experience the multimedia psychedelia of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. 10am-4.30pm (Sun-Thu), 10am-8.30pm (Fri-Sat); adult £22/child 12-18 £5/under 12s FREE (Mar 12-Sep 6)
11 Irresistible Ideas for Weekend Fun for London Families
Thu-Sun: VAULT Festival: The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English, The Vaults (Crypt theatre), Leake St, London SE1 7NN (Waterloo tube/rail)
One for families with older kids, this exciting new play from award winning Nouveau Riche company follows the trails of the people of Eze as they fight to preserve their beloved kola tree. In Igbo culture, the kola nut bears huge significance and plays a central role in this drama by Tania Nwachukwu. Watch a Nigerian-British woman exploring her identity in a production using African practices, call and response, poetry, song and dance. This production is part of the Brand Nouveau Initiative, in partnership with VAULT Festival, supporting the best Black and minority ethnic emerging artists to break through. Ages 12+. 6pm-7pm; £10 (Mar 10-22)
Thu-Sun: Affordable Art Fair, Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park (Chelsea Bridge entrance), Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ (Battersea Park/Queenstown Rd rail; Sloane Square tube then bus 137/452)
This is a great chance to pick up some quality art to brighten your home. See thousands of art pieces from more than 100 galleries from all around the world. Prices start at just £50 so you might just bag yourself a bargain. There are children’s workshops and a free creche, plus creative recycling activities for all ages. Beat the crowds at a new Parents and Pushchairs only browsing session from 10am-11am on Saturday. All ages welcome. 11am-5.30pm & 5.30pm-9pm (Thu), 11am-7pm (Fri), 10am-11am (parents & pushchairs Sat Mar 14), 11am-6pm (Sat-Sun); adult weekday £11 adv/£12 door, adult weekend £13 adv/£16 door, child under 16 FREE (Mar 12-15)
Fri: Tommee Tippee SleepFest, The Yard, 89 1/2 Worship St, EC2A 2BF Hackney (Liverpool St rail/tube, Old St tube, Shoreditch High St overground)
Sure there’s a global pandemic to worry about, but what’s really pressing for new parents is lack of sleep. Welcome to the first ever SleepFest, a brand new event aimed at helping mums, dads and little ones get some proper shut-eye. Hear from sleep experts and fellow parents, parenting gurus and more. There will be live music from MAMI, interactive discussions, calming scent sprays and Tommee Tippee retail therapy and parent pampering. What’s more 50% of tickets sales will be donated to The Lullaby Trust. All ages welcome, no specific facilities or entertainment for kids, but limited creche (first come, first served), baby changing and buggy parking available. Recommended: bring a baby sling! Sessions 9am-1pm & 2pm-6pm; £10 for parent and baby (Mar 13)
Fri-Sun: The Wolves in the Walls at Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, Islington, N1 2DN (Angel tube)
Not for the faint of heart. This atmospheric tale by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean brings a frenzy of puppetry, shadows, songs and storytelling to London’s famous puppet theatre. Lucy hears wolf noises behind the walls and tries to warn her family but they don’t believe her. Until a pack of wolves comes bursting through… Thrilling and hilarious fun for brave kids and scared adults ages 7+. 1pm & 5pm (Fri), 2.15pm & 4.15pm (Sat), 2.15pm (Sun); adult £15/child ages 1-15 £13/Friday Fives tickets for all £5 at 5pm (until Apr 26)
Sat: Opera for Kids: Serenades and Songs at Royal Albert Hall, Elgar Room, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP (Gloucester Rd/South Kensington tube)
Introduce your little ones to operatic classics by Mozart, Bizet and other great composers at these lively yet relaxed concerts for kids. Baritone Maciek O’Shea, soprano Sarah Minns and pianist Sholto Kynoch perform live music while your opera babes can express themselves as they please. All welcome including babies and buggies. 11am & 1.30pm; adult £12/child£6 (Mar 14)
Sat: Mini Maestro Family Concert: Vivaldi Four Seasons Spring and Summer at St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4JJ (Charing Cross tube)
At these popular family concerts, young kids can get an early education in classical works as played by the London Musical Arts Ensemble and conductor John Landor. This Saturday, get in the mood for spring and summer with the popular composition by Vivaldi. Hang out after to meet and greet musicians. All ages, best for 5+. 4.30pm; adult £10/child £8 (Mar 14)
Sat-Sun: Mustard Doesn’t Go with Girls at The Vaults, Leake St, London SE1 7NN (Waterloo tube/rail)
Last weekend, it played at the Little Lyric theatre season in Hammersmith. This weekend, this lively show for ladies with moxie opens underground at Waterloo’s Vault Festival. A musical adventure with vanishing kids, an intrepid young detective and a spicy finale. For under 12s and parents. 4.30pm; from £13 (Mar 14-22)
Sun: Gulliver’s Travels at Unicorn Theatre, 147 Tooley Street, Southwark, SE1 2HZ (London Bridge tube)
Hurry, there’s limited availability for this Easter family treat opening on Sunday. Jonathan Swift’s surreal masterpiece takes strange twists and turns, as Lemuel Gulliver discovers the tiny people of Lilliput, the giants of Brobdingnag, and the mysterious Houyhnhnms. This production uses intricate table-top sets, projection and video camera alongside live performance to explore escapism, reality and the magic of storytelling. 2pm (Sun Mar 14, then various dates and times until May 3); adult £12-£24/child under 18 £8-£18 (Mar 15-May 3)
Sun: Dulwich Picture Gallery: Art Sundays, Dulwich Picture Gallery Gallery Road, SE21 7AD (West Dulwich tube/rail)
Every Sunday at Dulwich Picture Gallery you can drop in with your kids for a free family art workshop. Each week offers a different theme, ranging from sculpting and collage to sketching and watercolours. Get creative and take what you make home. Best for ages 4-12, all ages welcome. At least one adult accompanying kids for whole session. 2pm-4pm; FREE (Mar 15/ongoing)
Sun: Keats House Day: Funky Flowers, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, NW3 2RR (Hampstead Heath overground)
Come to the famous Keats House (poet John Keats’ former stomping ground) for another fun-filled family day of crafting. Get ahead of Mother’s Day next Sunday by designing a flower card using funky, zany papers. All ages welcome. 2pm-4pm (Mar 15)
Sun: Skylon Family Sunday at Skylon, Royal Festival Hall, SE1 8XX (Waterloo/Embankment tube)
Down at South Bank this Sunday? Enjoy stunning views overlooking the river and your wee ones are in for some fun. There’s a special kids menu plus free face painting every Sunday lunchtime at this classy eatery. All ages welcome. 11.30am-4pm; FREE entry (Mar 15/ongoing every Sunday)
London Kids Cinema
The intriguing family film My Life as a Courgette is on at BFI cinema Southbank this weekend.
Find other weekend Kids Club film listings (tickets for under £5) on our LONDON FAMILY CINEMA page.
Tiny Dancers Family Rave: Mother’s Day at the Clapham Grand (Mar 21)
Mulan, live action (opens Mar 27)
Knightmare Live at Kings Place, N1 (Mar 29)
Electronic: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers for ages 12+ at Design Museum (Apr 1-Jul 26)
Groove Baby Presents: Groove into the Woods at Kings Place, N1 (May 3)
Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature at Natural History Museum (May 22-Jan 3, 2021)
Relaxed Performance: The Gruffalo + the Snail and the Whale in Concert at Royal Albert Hall, SW7 (May 29)
Life of Pi at Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0DA (Jun 28-Oct 4)
**NB: Please note that all event timings and prices are subject to change/cancellation at short notice, so always check ahead with the venue before making a trip!**