Things To Do In London In The Summer Holidays

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Looking for things to do with children in London during the school holidays? Take a look at all this stuff going on across town. Plenty of these things to do are free or cheap — so keeping children happy needn't break the bank.

The Beach is back at Brent Cross

Things to do July-September 2017

ART OF THE BRICK: A life-sized Batmobile made from Lego has appeared on South Bank, along with recreations of Superman, Wonder Woman and the like in the famous plastic bricks. Art of the Brick takes on DC Comics superheroes. £16.50, book ahead, until 3 September 2017

DR SEUSS: Step inside the world of Dr Seuss at this immersive exhibition and come face to face with the likes of The Cat In The Hat and The Lorax. Discover Story Centre, Stratford. £6.50, book ahead, until 3 September

URBAN BEACH: Once again, a sandy beach, funfair rides and splash pools pop up at Brent Cross Shopping Centre, along with special events such as film screenings (extra charge). £3 entry, just turn up, until 10 September

SENSATIONAL BUTTERFLIES: The Natural History Museum's annual Sensational Butterflies exhibition is back. Walk through a tropical habitat, home to species from Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Watch a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis, and find out why they're so colourful. £5.85, book ahead, until 17 September 2017

BABY DISCO DANCE HALL: It's never too early to join the party, which is why Monski Mouse's Baby Disco Dance Hall is back at Underbelly Festival on South Bank. Under 5s and their carers can boogie away an afternoon, disco-style. From £8.50, book ahead, various Sundays until 24 September

LIFE OF BIRDS: Older kids may enjoy this exhibition of Quentin Blake's drawings of birds at House of Illustration in King's Cross. The artist is best known for illustrating Roald Dahl's books, but this is a chance to see more of his personal work. £4.40/£8.25, book ahead, until 1 October

ROBOT ZOO: Horniman Museum's Robot Zoo offers an insight into the mechanisms that give animals their amazing abilities. Find out how chameleons change colour, and how grasshoppers leap so high. £7/£4, book in advance, until 29 October 2017

Genie afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge

GENIE TEA: Aladdin fans of all ages will be clamouring to tuck into this genie-themed afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge. The menu includes magic carpet cookies, hidden gem macaroons and other sweet and savoury themed treats, all served in a decadent cave setting — plus, you'll get a treasure from the Genie Cave to take home. Cutter & Squidge (Soho), £29.50-£34.50 adults/£14.50 for under 10s, book ahead, from 6 July

WHALES: To mark the unveiling of the blue whale skeleton in the Hintze Hall, Natural History Museum has a family-friendly exhibition all about whales, exploring the evolution of the species. See full skeletons and skulls from whales, learn about how they swim, and compare your hand to a whale flipper. From £11.50 adult/£7.50 child, book ahead, 14 July 2017-28 February 2018

OLIVER TWIST: Regent's Park Open Air Theatre has adapted Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist for ages 6 and over.  There's an activity sheet to go with the show, so all parents have to worry about is praying for good weather. £18, book ahead, 17 July-5 August

ZOORASSIC PARK: Take a trip to the Mesozoic era when you visit ZSL London Zoo in the summer holidays, and come face to face with moving dinosaurs including brachiosaurus and tyrannosaurus rex. Kids can also take part in a fossil dig, and follow a fun trail to keep them busy. Included in zoo entry (from £18 and worth booking ahead), 22 July-3 September

Zoorassic Park comes to ZSL London Zoo

MOOMINLAND: The Moomins' hold over London shows no signs of abating as Southbank Centre's Moominland has been extended. Step inside Moominvalley in search of the Moomin family, and learn about author Tove Jansson's inspiration for the odd creatures. £12-£18, book ahead, 28 June-20 August 2017

INDIAN SUMMER: This year's summer festival at Horniman Museum is on the theme 'Indian Summer'. Garden parties, live music, film screenings and more all take place — see the full schedule here. 9 July-3 September

LOST PALACE: Immerse yourself in the history of the lost Whitehall Palace on these self-guided tours of the area where the palace once stood. age 7+. £12/£6, book ahead, 11 July-5 September

INSECT ADVENTURE CAMP: Science and craft activities will help kids learn about insects at Kew Gardens this summer. Go on an insect safari, study specimens under a microscope and learn all about pollinators. Included with entry (from £14, advance booking recommended), 22 July-3 September

BANKNOTE DETECTIVES: Can you tell a real banknote from a fake? Test your sleuthing skills at the Bank of England Museum, using fingerprint evidence to solve a mystery. Free, just turn up, 24 July-1 September

JUNGLE BOOK: Rudyard Kipling's classic tale gets a 21st century makeover at Underbelly Festival. A combination of street dance and circus tells the story of Mowgli, a girl trying to find her way in the urban jungle with bin man Baloo and graffiti artist Bagheera. Recommended age 8+. From £11.50, book ahead, 1-24 August

GLADIATOR GAMES: This is one for all the family; head to the site of London's Roman amphitheatre (Guildhall) to watch a reenactment of the gladiator games that once took place there (think Russell Crowe style spears, shields and period costumes. £13-£22, book ahead, 25-28 August

See the Gladiator Games reenacted.

Family days out in London

Bored of trudging round the same old museums and parks? Try one of these seven alternative family days out in London, featuring caves, windmills and more. Have you ever been to London's least-known castle?

Take a look a our map of where you can see animals in London — whatever the weather. Or grab your wellies and get muddy.

Explore Severndroog Castle

Got teenagers to entertain? Here are our recommendations for things for teenagers to do in London.

Geeky kids who love exploring London's nerdy corners will love these suggestions, including dinosaur bones and architecture.

Cheap things to do with kids in London

On a budget? Try these budget-friendly alternatives to the big attractions — or find something closer to home with our guides to cheap family days out in south-west London (featuring windmills, crazy golf and a splash park), south-east London (a castle, dinosaurs and London's first airport) and north-west London (including the RAF Museum and a city farm).

Fun things to do at Wimbledon Splash Park

Things to do outside of Zone 1

North east London: Pick from nature reserves, manor houses — and of course the Olympic Park.

South east London: Did you know about this castle, or the caves which stretch for miles beneath London?

North west London: Aeroplanes, a musical museum and Neasden Temple await you in north west London.

South west London: Have a picnic on Strawberry Hill or take a riverside stroll.

Active days out with kids in London

Hampton Court's Magic Garden playground

Looking for indoor energy burners, ideal for rainy and chilly days?  

There's an indoor trampoline park in West Acton, or why not tee off at the dinosaur mini-golf? Kids can let off steam at Hampton Court's Magic Garden playground, and the whole family can get involved with white water rafting on the Olympic course.

To see a bit more of London, pump up the tyres and try one of these cycle routes, or for a slower pace, follow one of our leisurely London walk routes.

Where to eat with children in London

Finding somewhere to eat out with kids can be tricky, but these child-friendly restaurants in London offer more options that just burger and chips.

The pub may seem like an inappropriate suggestion, but bear with us — we've rounded up the best family-friendly pubs in London. See if your local made the list.

Alternatively, try out these restaurants where kids eat for free.

Cultural things to do in London with kids

You may think art galleries and theatres are a no-go when you’ve got little ones in tow, but these London theatres are great for kids' shows.

Plus, these family-friendly art galleries will keep children happy — and have plenty for mum and dad too.