Things To Do In London In The Summer Holidays

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.

Things to do July-September 2018

Take to the skies at Zip Now London

SUMMER EVENTS: We've already rounded up the best things going on in London this summer, and while they're not all suitable for little ones, plenty of them are.

BEACHES: Once again, several urban beaches are bringing the sand to the city. Find your closest one here.

ZIP LINE: One for the adrenaline junkies — fancy riding the world's longest inner-city zip line? Zip Now London is back in Archbishop Park in Lambeth. Here's what happened when we had a go. From £18.50, book ahead, until 9 September 2018

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 16 September 2018

UNDERBELLY: The annual theatre festival on South Bank has plenty going on for kids, including comedy that's safe for younger ears, baby discos, and a fun introduction for politics for children. See the full line-up by filtering the 'Family' category here. Until 30 September 2018

HERE BE DRAGONS: Dragons have taken over Kew Gardens in the form of sculptures. Follow the trail around the grounds and make time to see the exhibition at Kew Palace. While you're there, keep an eye out for Gnomus (21 July-2 September) in the recently reopened Temperate House. Included in admission price, booking recommended, until 30 September 2018

COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW: Have a psychedelic summer at Horniman Museum's Colour: The Rainbow Revealed exhibition. Walls light up, there's a chance to shoot virtual paint at a screen — and there's plenty to keep adults interested in the science behind colour too. £7/£4, book ahead, until 28 October 2018

ROMAN DEAD: Museum of London Docklands' Roman Dead exhibition will no doubt appeal to the ghoulish side of older kids and teenagers. It's a thoroughly fascinating, meticulously researched exhibition looking at what we can learn about Roman London from skeletons dating back to that period. Free, just turn up, until 28 October 2018

Mix your own potions at Cutter & Squidge

POTION ROOM: Calling all trainee witches and wizards. Soho bakery Cutter & Squidge's latest afternoon tea is on a Potion Room theme. We've tried it and, although we won't give too much away, we will say it's the best afternoon tea in London right now. Lots of dates are already sold out, so book quickly. £49.50/£39.50, book ahead, currently booking until July 2019

SHARED WORLD: To celebrate the launch of its new World Gallery, Horniman Museum's summer season of events has a Shared World theme. Bandstand concerts, live music, a festival of a dance and a food festival all feature. 8 July-2 September 2018

LIFE IN THE DARK: Natural History Museum's latest exhibition focuses on nocturnal animals, as well as those who live underground or deep in the sea, all in complete darkness. Adult £12.50/child free, booking recommended, 13 July 2018-6 January 2019

GOLD RUSH: Help the museum staff at Bank of England Museum to solve a puzzling case about a drain which leads straight to the gold vaults. Navigate your way round the museum while solving clues this summer. Free, just turn up, 23 July-31 August 2018

Dinosaur World Live comes to the Open Air Theatre

MONSTERSAURUS: Southbank Centre brings monster tales to the stage. Watch the story of an inventor called Monty who brings monsters to life — but then doesn't know how to get rid of them. £16/£8, book ahead, 7-12 August 2018

DINOSAUR WORLD LIVE: If the new Jurassic Park film has reignited your kids' obsession with all things dinosaur, treat them to a trip to Regent's Park Open Air Theatre to see Dinosaur World Live. The interactive show feature remarkably lifelike dinosaurs (age 3+). £16.50, book ahead, 14 August-9 September 2018

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 troublesome teens 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.

Day trips from London

What about a trip to Tonbridge in Kent?

Looking to go somewhere a bit further afield? We've got plenty of suggestions for places to visit in a day out of London, from quaint villages and fascinating museums to farms and towns. Take a look at the full list.