46 reasons to visit London this Summer

St James Park

Thinking of visiting London this Summer? Here are 46 suggestions for things to do in the UK capital, for fun- and culture-loving families.


1. Marvel at Hyde Park’s  Serpentine Pavilion, by Madrid duo Salascano. Afterwards, take a dip in the Serpentine Lido.

2. Reminisce in the Ladybird by Design exhibition at the House of Illustration, Kings Cross, which features over 120 original Ladybird Book illustrations.

3. Stroll around the streets of Shoreditch, taking in the stunning street art.

4. Visit the Carsten Holler installation at the South Bank’s Hayward Gallery. It features shape-shifting mirrors, and that old family favourite: slides.

5. Experience the best of contemporary art at the acclaimed Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

6. Drop in to Dulwich Picture Gallery for Art in the Garden, where a teaching artist is on hand to inspire all ages.

7. Take a family tour of the National Gallery, or get involved in one of their art workshops (with most ages catered for).

8. Experience one of the many family-friendly summer activities at the Tate Modern or Tate Britain, including a Barbara Hepworth family activity trail.

9. Create a Rangoli design in Kew Garden’s Full of Spice festival. Spice-lovers can also climb inside a giant 14-foot chilli.

Children’s theatre

10. Combine a trip to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich with Against Captain’s Orders, an immersive theatrical experience by Punchdrunk Enrichment.

11. Get carried away by the verve of Alan Parker’s Bugsy Malone, on stage at the Lyric Hammersmith.

12. Experience thrills and tasty treats in the deliciously subversive Alice in Wonderland experience by Les Petits, Adventures in Wonderland.

13. Be sure not to whisper any lies while watching the musical version of Pinocchio at Greenwich Theatre.

14. Experience the magic of some Julia Donaldson classics brought to life in Tiddler and other Terrific Tales, at the Leicester Square Theatre.

15. Catch a performance at the Little Angel Theatre, the small but perfectly formed Islington home of puppetry.

16. Vist Wimbledon for the Polka Theatre’s sell-out staging of Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne’s Gorilla, which returns this summer.

17. Enjoy outdoor performances at Canary Wharf’s Children’s Theatre festival, with The Magic Porridge Pot as the next show, on 19 July.

18. Watch Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

19. See E. Nesbitt’s classic The Railway Children brought to life at King’s Cross Theatre.

20. Growl away with The Lion King at the West End’s Lyceum Theatre.

21. See Roald Dahl’s Matilda performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Cambridge Theatre.


22. Go back to Roman Londinium with an epic re-enactment of London’s gladiatorial games at the Museum of London.

23. Quake at the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.

24. Have tea with a life-size tiger, or curl up in Mog’s basket at the Jewish Museum’s Judith Kerr retrospective.

25. Climb aboard London’s original buses and trams, and take part in some Mr Men-themed summer fun at the Transport Museum, Covent Garden.

26. Check out the new Ahoy! Gallery for under-7s at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

27. Spend days exploring the wonders of the Science Museum (set over five very child-friendly floors – one day just isn’t enough).

28. Visit the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, which is currently exhibiting Small Stories: At Home in a Dollshouse.

29. Marvel at mummies in the British Museum, with the help of a children’s multimedia guide.

30. Learn all about plants in Plantastic at the Horniman Museum, Forest Hill.

31. Celebrate literature at Discover Children’s Story Centre, Stratford. This summer it’s hosting Once There Was, an Oliver Jeffers interactive exhibition.

Natural History Musuem

Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum


32. Visit London’s first public children’s playground: Coram’s Fields, a seven-acre park on the site of Thomas Coram’s Foundling Hospital (immortalised in the book and Broadway show Coram Boy).

33. Visit the Tower Bridge exhibition, for a glimpse into the bridge’s history, and stunning views across the Thames.

34. See the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, dating back to the 1850s and resident in an large park, with a playground and city farm.

35. Climb aboard the world’s sole-surviving tea clipper, the Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

36. Book to see the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.

37. Visit the Churchill War Rooms to discover the wartime bunker that sheltered Churchill and his government during the Blitz.

38. Explore London’s spooky history on a Ghosts of the Old City guided walk. Or for the more literary-minded, there are Harry Potter walks.

39. Follow a guided history walk through the London Wetland Centre in Barnes by feeding birds, meeting otters and pond-dipping.

40. Picnic in St James’s Park, with a view of Buckingham Palace one way, the Houses of Parliament the other. As well as plenty of interesting sights in this area, including the changing of the guard, you can also watch the park pelicans being fed.

St James Park

Just one of the many stunning views from St James’ Park

Music and Dance

41. Gyrate along with Aussie DJ Monski Mouse in her Baby Disco Dance Hall, part of the South Bank’s London Wonderground Festival.

42. Introduce your youngsters to classical music at one of the many family-friendly events at the London Proms.

43. Visit the historic Sadler’s Wells, and see the Dutch National Ballet’s version of Cinderella (from 8-11 July).

44. Find out  more about opera, ballet and the history of London’s Royal Opera House on one of their Family Sundays.

45. Get down to Disco Loco in the Park’s groovy beats in Springfield Park, Hackney, on Sunday 26 July.

46. Watch children parade on Family Day at the Notting Hill Carnival, 30 August.

Do you have any plans to visit London this summer?


  • susanna
    July 14, 2015 at 6:02 am

    What a comprehensive list, there’s something for everyone here! x

    • Nell
      July 14, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks – I’ll be dipping into it myself from next week onwards!

  • Sarah Ebner
    July 15, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    We have done and are planning some of the great things on your list! So much to do in London – and never enough time….

    • Nell
      July 16, 2015 at 10:14 am

      I know! This list is long but doesn’t even scratch the surface, really.


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