When the sun comes out, most of us have the urge to head to a park, rooftop bar or… the beach. However, this can cause issues with the capital being a couple of dozen of miles from the nearest seaside. Fortunately, in the past few years, urban beaches have been cropping up around London. Some are patches of sand accompanied by water, while some have a full-blown beach club so you can close your eyes and imagine you’re on the French Riviera. However, if sand isn’t your thing and you just fancy a swim, you can always visit one of the city’s lidos or swimming ponds.
- 3 May – TBA September : Fulham Beach Club
The popular Neverland has had a summer makeover, featuring day beds, private beach huts and cabanas, two bars, Jimmy Garcia’s BBQ Club pop-up, live DJs, croquet, beer pong, shuffleboard and ping pong. They also host special events include bottomless brunches, yoga classes, fancy dress parties and sports screenings. Open Wed-Fri 6pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-9pm. Entrance starts from £5 (free to SW6 residents all days except Sat). Neverland, 364 Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham, SW6 2TY. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town. For more information, visit the Neverland Fulham website.
- 21 May – 21 September : Beach Bar @ The Montague Hotel
Pop-up beach bar returns to the gardens of The Montague Hotel. Featuring real sand, beach hut, tropical cocktails, palm trees, BBQ and jet ski selfie area. Open Mon-Sun 12pm-10pm. Packages start from £50. The Montague Hotel, 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BJ. Nearest station: Russell Square or Holborn. For more information, visit The Montague Hotel website.
- 25 May – 9 September : Southbank Centre Beach
The popular mini beach returns to the South Bank opposite the skate park. The area is surrounded by food and drink vendors. Open 10am-10pm. Free entry. Southbank Centre Beach, South Bank, SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 26 May – 2 September : The Beach Brent Cross
Pop-up beach returns featuring a huge beach of imported sand, water to paddle in, rides, entertainment and food and drink vendors. Open Fri 4pm-9pm. Sat-Sun: 12pm-9pm. Entry: £3. Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, NW4 3FP. Nearest station: Hendon Central or Brent Cross. For more information, visit The Beach Brent Cross website.
- 1 July – 2 September : Hampstead Beach
The Jewish Community Centre is hosting a two month-long pop-up beach, featuring lots of sand, cocktails, food and special events. Open Sun-Thu 9.30am-8pm, Fri 9am-3pm. Sat closed. Free entry. JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, Hampstead, NW3 6ET. Nearest station: Finchley Road and Frognal or West Hampstead. To book, visit the JW3 website
- 18 July – 2 September : Urban London Beach
Sandy beach by the River Thames underneath the Emirates Air Line cable car. Sit on a deckchair, watch your kids play in the sand or enjoy an ice cream. Open daily 10am-8pm. Free entry. Urban London Beach, 27 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Docks, E16 1FA. Nearest station: Royal Victoria (DLR). For more information, visit the London’s Royal Docks website.
London’s lidos and swimming ponds
If you’re not a fan of sand, perhaps you’d like to cool down in one of the capital’s alfresco swimming spaces instead.
Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, SE24 0PA. Nearest station: Herne Hill.
Tooting Bec Lido, Tooting Bec Road, Tooting Bec, SW16 1RU. Nearest station: Streatham.
Charlton Lido, Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road, SE18 4LX. Nearest station: Charlton.
Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park, South Carriage Drive, W2 2UH. Nearest stations: Hyde Park Corner, South Kensington, Marble Arch.
Parliament Hill Lido, Heath Lodge, Highgate, NW5 1NA. Nearest station: Gospel Oak.
Hampstead Mixed Bathing Pond, Hampstead Way, Hampstead Heath, NW5 1QN. Nearest station: Hampstead Heath.
Finchley Lido, Chaplin Square, Finchley, N12 0GL. Nearest station: West Finchley.
Park Road Pools & Fitness, Park Road, Crouch End, N8 8JN. Nearest stations: Hornsey or Highgate.
London Fields Lido, London Fields West Side, Hackney, E8 3EU. Nearest stations: London Fields or Hackney Central.
Hampton Pool, High Street, Hampton, TW12 2ST. Nearest station: Hampton.
For a guide to London’s pop-up and roaming cinemas this summer, click here.
For a guide to what’s on in London in August, click here.
Find out where London’s nearest lavender fields are.
Sci-fi is one of the most popular film genres today, with the huge success of the Star Wars franchise and Avatar as prime examples. While many people buy downloads or DVDs of their favourite films, nothing compares to seeing those sweeping space vistas on the big screen.
This spring, Backyard Cinema have created an immersive cinematic experience to watch your favourite sci-fi movie. Known for their themed screenings of both new and classic movies, their latest offering, Mission To Mars is their most ambitious yet. Following on from previous themes such as their most recent Snow Kingdom, as well as Miami Beach and The Lost World, this experience takes film fans literally out of this world.
Backyard Cinema is located in the corner of foodie haven Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle. After a quick dinner of spaghetti al vongole, we headed to BC’s box office to grab our tickets before preparing for Phase One of our intergalactic experience. The entrance has been suitably decked out as a mission control or a space centre, which reminded me of film sets from many classic space movies. Your journey starts with being security scanned, before proceeding through a metallic corridor to board the shuttle to the spacecraft launch pad. The shuttle is similar to ones you ride at the airport, with vibrating special effects creating the feeling of moving fast and a video featuring a space stewardess advising you on what to expect. The whole entrance process really builds up the spacey atmosphere and adds a sense of excitement to what would usually be a fairly normal entertainment experience.
Finally, you arrive at the ‘spacecraft’ itself, full of bean bag seating, the flight deck screen and the space station bar. We headed to the latter to purchase some of the brilliantly branded drinks and snacks, such as the ‘Martian Mai-Tai’ and space invader sweets. Not only did the cocktails fit the theme perfectly, the pouch serving was so handy and practical for a dark cinema as I have been known to spill a few drinks in the past.
After settling down into our beanbags, we had some pre-flight entertainment as an astronaut actor hauled an audience member to the flight deck to help prepare for launch. The space safety demonstration, followed by ‘take-off’, made sure anyone who wasn’t already in the sci-fi mood by now, certainly soon would be. While the adults surrounding me were certainly enjoying the introductions, I think children will particularly love the drama of it all. Finally, it was time for the movie, with the one in question being 1996 classic Independence Day. I’ve seen the film a few times over the years, more recently on TV, and it’s so much better on the big screen. The horror of watching international landmarks like the Empire State Building being blown to smithereens by aliens is fully realised in wide-screen. The US President’s patriotic ‘our Independence Day’ speech and the British Army’s ridiculous ‘oh blimey, tally ho’ accents had us all in stitches, two comedy moments I don’t think the director had in mind.
Backyard Cinema has certainly delivered with their most ambitious theme yet. Children and adults alike will enjoy this immersive build-up to watching a sci-fi film. There’s plenty of classics and new releases coming up in the next few months, with matinees available during the Easter holidays and weekends so I certainly recommend booking soon, as they’re likely to sell out.
- Backyard Cinema: Mission To Mars is on from now until the 6 September 2018. Backyard Cinema, Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle or Borough. Tickets: Adults from £17.50, Children (under 12) from £9.50. Date night package for two: £75 (includes snacks, bottle of Prosecco and blankets). For booking and listings, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
For a guide to London’s roaming and pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.
This post is taking part in #CulturedKids, sharing cultural blog posts aimed at children. Thanks to Diary Of A Londoness for getting me involved.
It was only recently it was minus degrees and snowing so no doubt you may be shocked it’s approaching Easter already. With Easter Weekend bridging the end of March and beginning of April, we can only hope for some warm weather and sunshine. With schools on holiday for two weeks, parents everywhere will be looking for ways to entertain their little ones. Meanwhile, showing Easter isn’t just for kids, there’s an adults-only guide to offers and events at the bottom.
- 25 March : Easter Egg Hunt @ Parsons Green Market
Pick up some clue questions and search the market for the Easter Eggs, with the chance to win chocolate prizes or a box of farmers market eggs. 10am-2pm. Thomas’s Academy, New King’s Road, Parsons Green, SW6 4LY. Nearest station: Parsons Green or Putney Bridge. For more information, visit the London Farmers Markets website.
- 26 March – 15 April : Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt @ Hampton Court Palace
Hunt for the Lindt gold chocolate bunny in the house and gardens at Hampton Court. Other family activities include a digital adventure around the palace, the magic garden and maze and workshops. Tickets (events inc with general admission): Adults from £19.20, Children from £9.60. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.
- 29 March : Kids Easter Egg Painting @ Bluebird
Take the kids to an Easter egg painting class. For ages 3 and up (parents required to supervise). 3.30pm. Tickets: £15 per child. Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest stations: Fulham Broadway, South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Bluebird website.
- 29 March – 2 April : Easter Egg Hunt : St Katharine Docks
A special egg hunt around St Katharine Docks, which celebrates its 190th anniversary this year. Families can pick up Easter egg colouring-in sheets and a ‘Hunt Pack’ that will consist of crayons and activity sheet as they search for eggs around the central basin. From 10.30am-4pm (closed Easter Sunday). Free. St Katharine Docks, 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway. For more information, visit the St Kats website. To find out about the history of St Kats, click here.
- 29 March – 7 April : My First Ballet – Swan Lake
Introduce your child to ballet with the English National Ballet and English National Ballet School production of this classic fairytale. Performance times vary. Tickets: £10-£25. Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, Holborn, WC2A 2HT. Nearest station: Holborn or Temple. For more information and booking, visit the Sadler’s Wells website.
- 30 – 31 March : Family Weekend @ Sadler’s Wells
BalletLORENT present their production of Rumpelstiltskin, follow a self-guided journey or enjoy a host of activities. Prices vary depending on event. Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, EC1R 4TN. Nearest station: Angel. For booking, visit the Sadlers Wells website.
- 30 – 31 March and 1 – 2 April : Easter Quest @ Kenwood
Follow the clues to claim your chocolate reward in house and gardens of historic Kenwood House. 11am-3pm. Tickets: £1 per child. Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, NW3 7JR. Nearest station: Hampstead or Highgate. For more information, visit the English Heritage website.
- 30 March – 2 April : Easter @ Battersea Park Zoo
Take part in a host of Easter-themed activities, including an Easter Egg search amongst the animals and a host of activities on Easter Bunny Day on 30 March. Open 10am-4.30pm. Visitors can purchase a £1.50 (including prize) quiz sheet upon entry and follow the trail. General admission: Adults £9.50, Children 2-15 yrs £7.50. Battersea Park Zoo, Battersea Park, Chelsea Embankment, Battersea, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park. For more information, visit the Battersea Park Zoo website.
- 30 March – 15 April : A Big Day Out With Peter Rabbit @ Kew
Beatrix Potter and her animals come to Kew Gardens, featuring games, Peter Rabbit trail, and the late author’s links with Kew. Free to take part with normal admission. Tickets: Adults from £17.75, Children 4-16yrs £4. Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information and tickets, visit the Kew Gardens website. Read the rest of this entry
It’s the spookiest time of the year. It’s not only the Americans that go crazy for the annual scarefest with a host of daytime and nighttime events on for both children and adult on in London. With Halloween falling on a Tuesday this year, we can expect to see ghoulish events kicking off a bit earlier. As half-term holidays are the week before, there’s plenty of Halloween-themed fun for kids in the lead up to the 31 October. Meanwhile, for party animals, there’s plenty of late-night revelry, or for a calmer alternative, there’s special meals and film screenings.
- 1 October – 6 November : The Death Express @ The London Dungeon
Step aboard the Death Express, an old railway transporting the dead. Explore the history of London’s most gruesome residents and crimes. Tickets from £21 (timed entry). London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Dungeon, click here.
- 17 – 31 October : The Quarter of Curiosity Shop
Newburgh Quarter will be hosting a fortnight of Halloween fun, including a Halloween florist selling posies and bouquets in spooky shades. Also including series of free workshops, including Halloween Headdress making, potion cocktail making, pumpkin planters and a Halloween make-up masterclasses. The Quarter of Curiosity Shop, 2 Newburgh Street, Soho, W1F 7RD. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby website.
- 21 – 31 October : Boo At The Zoo
A week of fiendish fun at London Zoo including Halloween-themed activities, pumpkin carving, crafts and animal demonstrations. Open 10am-5pm. Activities are free with entry to zoo. Entrance tickets: Adults £24.50, Child £18.00 (cheaper online). London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website.
- 21 – 28 October : Spookfest @ London Museum of Water & Steam
Learn the secret history of the engine houses, enjoy a ride on the ghost train, a trip through the creepy wood and Halloween craft activities. Tickets: adults £12.50, children £5.50. London Museum of Water & Steam, Kew Bridge Road, Brentford, TW8 0EF. Nearest station: Kew Bridge. For more information, visit the London Museum of Water & Steam website.
- 23 – 27 October : Half-Term Horrors @ Eltham Palace
Creepy family fun at the Medieval and Art Deco Eltham Palace. Including costume competitions and pumpkin carving. Book a time slot at 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Tickets: Adults £14.40, Children £8.60. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, SE9 5QE. Nearest station: Eltham or Mottingham. For more information, visit English Heritage website. For Metro Girl’s review of Eltham Palace, click here.
- 24 October : Family Day: Hallowe’en @ Benjamin Franklin House
A spooky family day with spooky 18th century stories told by Polly Hewson and gruesome games for 5-11 year olds. 4-5pm. Free, but advanced booking recommend. Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, Westminster, WC2N 5NG. Nearest stations: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website.
- 25 – 29 October : Four Legged Phantoms @ Sutton House
Halloween fun and games in a Tudor manor, including a ghost hunt and spooky stories. Fancy dress encouraged. Halloween activities are free with normal entry. Tickets: Adults £6, Children £3. Sutton House, 2-4 Homerton High Street, Hackney, E9 6JQ. Nearest station: Homerton. For more information, visit the National Trust website.
- 26 October : Crafty Pumpkin Fun @ Chiswick House
Children can enjoy pumpkin carving in the kitchen garden of Chiswick House. For 4-11 year olds. 10am-4pm. Tickets: £7 per child with accompanying adult (booking in advance recommended). Chiswick House, Chiswick, W4. Nearest station: Chiswick or Chiswick Park. For booking, visit the Chiswick House website.
- 26 – 29 October : Trick Or Treat Afternoon Tea
Foodies will love this afternoon tea with a spooky twist. Featuring black iced ghoul cupcakes, brownie coffins, blood orange tart and pumpkin sponge rolls. There will also be pumpkin carving classes in the café on Hallows Eve. Afternoon tea: £21.50pp (includes pot of tea or coffee). Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest stations: Fulham Broadway, South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Bluebird website.
- 28 October : Trick Or Treat Run
A Halloween-themed charity run of either 2km, 5km or 10km around a closed park course. For adults and children, fancy dress encouraged. Prizes for the best costumes. Runs at 1.30pm and 5.30pm. Entrance fees start from £12 (adults) and £6 (children) depending on mileage. Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10 5HS. Nearest station: North Sheen, Richmond or Hampton Wick. For more information and to register, visit the Human Race website. Read the rest of this entry
Open House London is a great opportunity for Londoners to have a look inside buildings normally off-limits to the public. While many parents will be looking forward to exploring the capital’s history and architecture, they may be wondering how to occupy the kids too during the weekend. Thankfully, Open City are making architecture accessible for young as well with the Open House Junior programme, which runs alongside Open House London.
From 16 – 17 September 2017, a selection of free activities and trails will help to inspire a generation of little Londoners. Open House venues, including City Hall, Paddington Central and The Leadenhall Building will be hosting activities, where you can drop in with your children.
Among the events and activities include:
- City of a Thousand Architects @ City Hall
Become an architect for the day! Plan, design and build a future London skyline from the heights of City Hall.
City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, SE1 2AA. Nearest station: London Bridge.
- Build a View Shaper @ The Leadenhall Building
As part of the City of London’s Sculpture in the City programme, children can create a framed view of the city, inspired by the sculptures around The Leadenhall Building.
Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall St, City of London, EC3V 4AB. Nearest station: Aldgate, Liverpool Street or Bank.
- Junior Activity Hub @ Paddington Central
Paddington Central is joining the Open House Junior programme and inviting families to explore, design and create.
Paddington Central Canalside (by the Westway), Paddington, W2 6PY. Nearest station: Paddington.
- On your marks, Get Set, Lego! @ Kingdom Square
Join this quick-paced race to build the biggest and best LEGO structure. Enter your creation into the competition and be in for chance to win exciting prizes.
Paddington Central, Kingdom Square (outside 4 Kingdom Street), W2 6BD. Nearest station: Paddington.
- City of Bridges @ Paddington Central
Be inspired by Paddington’s many bridges, and using an engineering toolkit, come along and add to the gigantic city of bridges in the striking Paddington Central amphitheatre.
Paddington Canalside (outside Beany Green), W2. Nearest station: Paddington.
- Playmake @ Sheldon Square
Play. Make. Create! Paper forests, tinsel towers, and luminous lava fields. The Archivate Collective crew – a team of architects and designers – will be helping children make their city.
Sheldon Square, Paddington, W2 6PY. Nearest station: Paddington.
Speaking about the event, Open City director Rory Olcayto said: “The more of us who participate in debating, shaping and mending the cities we live in, the better they will be, and the more reflective of our communities they will be too.”
- Open House Junior takes place during Open House London on 16 – 17 September 2017 from 11am-4pm (some times and age suitability may vary). Events are free. For children aged 5-11 and their families. For more information, visit the Open House London website.
For Metro Girl’s tips and highlights of this year’s Open House London, click here.
For a guide to what else is on in London in September, click here.
Summer is in full swing… Schools are closed, there’s weddings and festivals up and down the country. However for those staying in the capital, there’s plenty of alfresco – and indoor – fun to be had around town. Of course, the final Bank Holiday weekend of the year takes place from 26 – 28 August so London will be buzzing.
- 31 July – 27 August : Camden Fringe
The Camden Fringe returns for its 12th year, bringing over 270 productions of theatre, comedy and fringe fun to 22 venues across the borough of Camden, including Camden People’s Theatre, Camden Comedy Club, Canal Café Theatre and the Hen And Chickens. For more information and tickets, visit the Camden Fringe website.
- 3 August : Zorbing @ St Katharine Docks
Try your hand at Zorbing with Hubbub. Time TBC. St Katharine Docks, 50 St. Katharine’s Way, Tower Bridge, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway (DLR). For more information visit the St Kats website.
- 3 August : Summer Fete @ Paddington Basin
A lunchtime fete featuring stalls, games, photo fun, music and more. 12pm-2pm. Free. The Lawn, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Edgware Road or Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.
- Now until 3 August : Future Forest @ Westfield Stratford City
Food and drink wizards Bompas & Parr are creating an immersive forest experience for both adults and child. For children, the Forest Zorb Lagoon provides the chance to walk, tumble and jump on water, while both young and old can walk through the Fruit Cloud – a walk-in fruit-flavoured mist. Opening hours vary. Free to enter. Future Forest, Westfield Stratford City, Olympic Park, Montfichet Road, Stratford, E20 1EJ. Nearest station: Stratford. For more information, visit the Westfield website.
- 4 August : The Fakery
Learn how to pass off store-bought bakes into looking homemade with a masterclass from ‘star faker’ Juliet Sear. The Food Network are hosting a pop-up ahead of their new show Bakers Vs Fakers where you can learn how to glam up your cake so it looks like you made it yourself. Classes at 11am-1pm, 2pm-4pm and 5.30pm-7pm. Free, but register for a place. Food at 52, 96 Central Street, EC1V 8AJ. Nearest station: Old Street. For a free ticket, visit Eventbrite.
- 4 – 6 August : London Craft Beer Festival
Forty-five breweries from London, the UK , Europe and USA will be showing off 100s of beers. Also including food stalls, live music and DJs from Hot Chip and Foals. Times vary. Tickets: £35-£42.50 (includes free glass and unlimited small pours). Shoreditch Electric Light Station, Hoxton Square, Shoreditch, N1 6HD. Nearest station: Old Street. For more information, visit the London Craft Beer Festival.
- 4 – 6 August : Summer In The City
The UK’s largest online video and YouTube event featuring Jack Maynard, Oli White, Emma Blackery, The Gabbie Show, Dodie, Nathan Zed and more. 11am-9pm. Tickets from £28. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For tickets, visit the Summer In The City website.
- 6 August : King’s Cross Sports Day
Get sporty with a range of activities, including yoga, bootcamp training, rock-climbing, tightrope walking, sack racing, or egg and spoon. 11am-4pm. Free. Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website.
- 8 August : Summer Evening with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
A free concert by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, including Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. 7pm onwards. Free. Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14 5AH. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website.
- 8 – 12 August : Great British Beer Festival
Up to hundreds of real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers with be available to try, while there will also be plenty of entertainment and food. Tickets start from £11. Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Great British Beer Festival website.
- 9 August – 3 September : London Bridge City Summer Festival Theatre – The Odyssey
Watch God and Monster’s epic production of The Odyssey in three parts at this open-air free theatre. Wed-Sun 6pm-10pm (Pt 1 6pm, Pt 2 7.30pm and Pt 3 9pm). Free. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.
- 10 August : Dance Off
Different styles of dances will battle it out to be crowned the crowd’s favourite. 12pm-2pm. Free entry. Fountains at the Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.
- 10 – 12 August : Mr Black Espresso Martini Fest
Fans of the Espresso Martini will love this three-day festival, from Drink Up London (London Cocktail Week, London Beer Week, London Wine Week). Over 50 bars across London will be offering £5 Espresso Martinis and other Mr Black cocktails. Wristbands: £10. For more information, visit the DrinkUpLondon website.
- 12 August : River Rat Race
Watch the wettest obstacle race in the UK as participants swim, crawl, jump and slide through 35 obstacles over 10km. Money raised goes to Children with Cancer UK. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For more information, visit the Rat Race website.
- Now until 13 August : Cubitt Sessions
A series of free concerts in King’s Cross, spanning music, immersive theatre, surreal comedy, movement, street culture, experimental jazz and improvised opera. Times vary. Free to watch. Lewis Cubitt Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For listings, visit the King’s Cross website. Read the rest of this entry
London may be 40 miles from the nearest seaside resort, but in the summer a surprising amount of sandy spots seem to crop up around the capital. During the warmer months, a host of bars, hotels, parks and outdoor spaces are hosting their own mini beaches with plenty of opportunity for fun and frolics for both young and old.
- 1 June – 24 September : Beach Bar @ The Montague Hotel
Pop-up beach bar returns to the gardens of The Montague Hotel. Featuring real sand, beach hut, tropical cocktails, palm trees and BBQ. Open Mon-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-10pm. The Montague Hotel, 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BJ. Nearest station: Russell Square or Holborn. For more information, visit The Montague Hotel website.
- 23 June – 10 September : The Beach @ Brent Cross
A pop-up beach featuring entertainment, rides and street vendors, including 2,500 square metres of imported sandy beach. Open Mon-Fri: 12-10pm. Sat-Sun: 11am-10pm. Entry: £3. Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, NW4 3FP. Nearest station: Hendon Central or Brent Cross. For more information, visit The Beach Brent Cross website.
- 2 July – 3 September : Hampstead Beach
The Jewish Community Centre is hosting a two month long pop-up beach, featuring lots of sand, cocktails, food and special events. Open Sun-Thu 9am-10.30pm, Fri 9am-5pm. Sat closed. Free entry. JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, Hampstead, NW3 6ET. Nearest station: Finchley Road and Frognal or West Hampstead. To book, visit the JW3 website.
- 15 July – 28 August : Big Screen On The Beach
Camden’s Roundhouse is hosting alfresco film screenings on its summer beach pop-up. Films include The Goonies, Mean Girls, Moana, Frozen, Titanic, Beauty And The Beast and many more. Times vary. Tickets: Adults £13.50, Children £5. Camden Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8EH. Nearest station: Chalk Farm. For booking, visit The Roundhouse website. Read the rest of this entry
Easter is fast approaching! To many of us that means a long weekend, lots of chocolate and (hopefully) warmer temperatures. With parents searching for ways to entertain their children, a host of London attractions have curated special activities over the break. My monthly ‘what’s on guides’ include many activities on in the capital during April, however for those looking for more family and Easter-centric ideas of what’s on during the holidays, here’s listings of things to keep you occupied. However, it’s not all for the kids, with a special section at the bottom with adults-only Easter fun over the Bank Holiday weekend (which is 14 – 17 April in case you’re wondering).
For a guide to what else is on in London in April, click here.
- 24 March – 23 April : George Irvin’s Funfairs
Travelling funfairs will be setting up camp at Crystal Palace (24 Mar – 9 Apr), Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (1 – 17 Apr), Clapham Common (1 – 23 Apr) and Hampton Court (13 – 18 Apr) over the Easter break. Rides include Big Apple Coaster, Dodgems, Bungee Trampolines, Tea Cups, Waltzer, Inflatable Slide and Carousel, among many others. For more information, visit the Irvin Leisure website.
- 1 – 16 April : Bunny Hop and Seek for Easter @ Museum Of Brands
Hunt a parade of Easter bunnies around the museum and through the Time Tunnel. Tues-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm. Activities free with museum entrance: Adults £9, Children 7-16yrs £5. Museum Of Brands, 111-117 Lancaster Road, Notting Hill, W11 1QT. Nearest station: Ladbroke Grove. For more information, visit the Museum Of Brands website.
- 1 – 17 April : Moomin Adventures @ Kew Gardens
Explore Kew Gardens on an interactive trail before ending up at the magical Moomin Festival Camp in the wild woodland. There will also be the opportunity for craft workshops, sample the Moomins’ pancakes and visit the Hemulens’ Herbarium. There will also be Lindt chocolate treats for every visitor. Tickets: Adults: £14, Children £2.50. Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information and tickets, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- 1 – 17 April : Jurassic Kingdom
Dinosaur fans will get the opportunity to see 30 life-sized installations of animated dinosaurs, which move and make noise. There will also be street food and drink vendors on site. 10am-6pm. Tickets: Adults – £13.50 (online), £15 (on the door), Children £11.50 (online), £13 (on the door). Osterley Park, Jersey Road, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7 4RB. Nearest station: Osterley. For tickets, visit the Jurassic Kingdom website.
- 1 – 17 April : Easter Egg Hunt @ Battersea Park Zoo
Find out what zoo animals will be holding Easter eggs. Open 10am-4.30pm. Visitors can purchase a £1.50 (including prize) quiz sheet upon entry and follow the trail. General admission: Adults £8.95, Children 2-15 yrs £6.95. Battersea Park Zoo, Battersea Park, Chelsea Embankment, Battersea, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park. For more information, visit the Battersea Park Zoo website.
- 1 – 17 April : Easter Family Fun @ Hampton Court Palace
Go on a Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt at the homes and gardens of King Henry VIII. Other activities include meet Princess Caroline, decorate your own chocolate cup and find out how Georgians used to drink their chocolate. Open 10am-6pm. Tickets: Adults £23 (£20.30 online), Children £11.50 (£10.20 online). Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.
- 1 – 21 April : Easter @ WWT London Wetland Centre
Enjoy the Celebrity Dusty Duck Trail and Easter Giant Duck Hunt (1 – 17 April only) during the Easter Holidays. The trail (£1 entry) will feature 6ft sculpture of Dusty Duck with a chocolate prize at the end, while the hunt (£1 entry) will feature ducks hidden around the reserve with a prize at the end. Entrance tickets: Adult £12.26-£13.49, 4-16 years £6.75-£7.42, family tickets £34.36-£37.80. London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT. Nearest station: Barnes or Barnes Bridge. For more information, visit the London Wetland Centre website. Read the rest of this entry
The onset of autumn can be a bit depressing for many of us as the nights get darker and the temperatures get colder. So perhaps that’s why so many of us are getting more excited about Halloween than we used to – a bit of fun to lift us out of our pre-winter blues. Now it’s not only the Americans that go crazy for the annual scarefest with a host of daytime and nighttime events for both children and adult on in London. As it coincides with half-term, there’s plenty of Halloween-themed fun for kids throughout the week in the lead up to the 31 October. Meanwhile, for party animals, there’s plenty of late-night revelry, or for a calmer alternative, there’s special meals and film screenings.
For a guide to what non-Halloween activities and festivals are on in London in October, click here.
- 1 – 31 October : The Witch Hunter at the London Dungeon
The London Dungeon are hosting a Halloween twist on their usual attractions, as you join Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins on his 17th century witch hunt. Tickets start from children £17.50, adults from £21.50. London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Dungeon, click here.
- 22 – 30 October : Boo At The Zoo
A week of fiendish fun at London Zoo including Halloween-themed activities, pumpkin carving, animal demonstrations and crafts. Open 10am-5pm. Activities are free with entry to zoo. Entrance tickets: Adults £24.25, Child £17.60. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website.
- 22 – 31 October : A Slice of Pumpkin Eye at the London Eye
Special Halloween experiences for families with a fun activity pack. Tickets: Children from £16.95, Adults from £21.20. London Eye, near Westminster Bridge Road, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Eye website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Eye, click here.
- 22 – 31 October : Spookfest @ London Museum of Water & Steam
Learn the secret history of the engine houses, enjoy a ride on the ghost train, a trip through the creepy wood and Halloween craft activities. Tickets: £11.25 adults, £4.95 children. London Museum of Water & Steam, Kew Bridge Road, Brentford, TW8 0EF. Nearest station: Kew Bridge. For more information, visit the London Museum of Water & Steam.
- 24 – 28 October : Half Term Horrors @ Eltham Palace
Creepy family fun at the Medieval and Art Deco Eltham Palace. Including costume competitions and pumpkin carving. Book a time slot at 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Tickets: Adults £13.60, Children £8.10. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, SE9 5QE. Nearest station: Eltham or Mottingham. For more information, visit English Heritage website. For Metro Girl’s review of Eltham Palace, click here.
- 24 – 28 October : She Tells Sea Tales
Step on-board the Cutty Sark to be entertained with artists, musicians and storytellers. 11am-3.45pm. Tickets: Adults £12.15, Children £6.30. Cutty Sark Clipper Ship, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9HT. Nearest stations: Cutty Sark (DLR), Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.
- 24 – 29 October : Things That Go Splash In The Night @ Maritime Museum
Children can make their own shipwrecked musical instruments and listen to scary tales and watch puppet shows. Free admission. Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NF. Nearest stations: Cutty Sark (DLR), Maze Hill or Greenwich. For more information and booking, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.
- 25 October : Halloween @ Benjamin Franklin House
A spooky family day with spooky 18th century stories told by Polly Hewson and ghastly games. 4-5pm. Free, but advanced booking recommend. Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, WC2N 5NG. Nearest stations: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website. Read the rest of this entry
This summer, Battersea Park is being transformed into a water extravaganza for one day only. The riverside park will play host to Splash Fest, a family-friendly aqua obstacle course, on Sunday 7 August.
Splash Fest will feature five zones of water-themed challenges and games spread over a 2.5km trail. Organised by lifesaving charity Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the event will be a great family day out for family with children aged 7-12.
Among the zones includes ‘Crazy Canyon’, with a series of pools to cross using floating devices and a giant inflatable water slide. ‘Splash ‘n’ Shoot’ will see guests navigating a giant boat before aiming at floating targets on the lake. Meanwhile, you’ll get the chance to dodge geyser-spouting waters at ‘Wild Wild Waters’. Next, the ‘Slip-Slide Stream’ features a toboggan-style water slides from sedate and slippy to fast and foamy. Finally, the ‘Bubbly Brook’, features giant bubbles, a maze, music and bandstand hidden amongst a sea of foam.
In addition to the splash-tastic fun, there will be entertainment, food, drink and a drying-off area in the Splash Out Zone, where you can find out all about the lifesaving work done by the RNLI.
- Splash Fest takes place on Sunday 7 August 2016. 9am-7pm, but start times are staggered. Advance tickets: Adults £22, Children £10, Under 3s free. On the day tickets: Adults £25, Children £12.50. Battersea Park, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road. For more information and tickets, visit the Splash Fest website.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.