Top 10 things to do in London with family this summerWednesday 10 July 2019 by Kayleigh Little Visiting London during the summer and looking to build an itinerary? Whether you’re a family with young children or simply travelling as a couple, there really is something to suit everyone. With so many fantastic attractions it proved difficult, but we’ve managed to shortlist the top ten most exciting activities and events taking place in and around The City this year.
From afternoon tea in Soho to outdoor cinemas and pop-up beaches, there are plenty of family attractions in London to keep the whole family happy over the holidays. Read more for our top ten things to do in London with your family this summer.
Top things to do in London
1. Kids Week
If you’re travelling with young children this summer, then what better way to keep them entertained than a West End show? Kids Week (which actually runs throughout the whole of August) allows a child aged 16 or under to go free to any participating show as long as they’re accompanied by a full paying adult. Enjoy a wide variety of popular performances from Mamma Mia! to Wicked, 9 to 5 The Musical and Peter Pan, just to name a few. As one of the most popular features of the city, include a West End show in your family trip to London this summer. Get your tickets now from the Official London Theatre website.
Pop-up beach photo credit: @euro_pete
2. Urban Pop-up Beaches
Just because you’re in London doesn’t mean you can’t feel the sand between your toes this summer, all thanks to an abundance of urban beaches which have popped up across the city. Although the sunshine may not be guaranteed, there are some things which certainly are - delicious ice-cream, special events, deck chairs and not to mention, holiday-themed cocktails (because what pop-up beach would be complete without?)
3. ArcelorMittal Orbit
ArcelorMittal Orbit is one that both big kids and little kids are sure to love, and it comes in the form of the UK’s tallest public artwork. Take a 40-second ride on the world’s tallest (and longest) tunnel slide which enables thrill-seekers to reach speeds of up to 15mph. Not only is it the perfect activity for your family’s adrenaline junkie, but it’s also a great way to gain a unique perspective of London’s beautiful skyline – albeit if not for very long.
4. Outdoor Cinemas
Summer is the perfect excuse to enjoy your favourite indoor pastimes al fresco, and this year it’s all about the outdoor cinemas. London has plenty to choose from in a variety of locations showcasing a wide selection of genres, making it a great way to spend family time together that’s a far cry from an evening in a local park. Whether it’s a rom-com you’re after, a musical, or perhaps a gruesome horror film, there’s definitely a showing for everyone.
London’s outdoor cinemas can be found in an endless number of locations which include Leicester Square, Hyde Park, Wembley Park, Camden and even Somerset House in Aldwych. A more extensive list can be found HERE.
5. Lidos and outdoor swimming pools
When the sun gets a little too unbearable, London has a range of lidos and outdoor pools which you can take a dip in. Arguably one of the best is the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Aquatics Centre which was famously used to host a range of events during the London 2012 Olympics. There are three pools to choose from and an array of world-class facilities, with something in each to suit the whole family it makes it an ideal place for a day out.
If it’s an outdoor breeze you’re after then London Fields Lido, Charlton Lido, Serpentine Lido, Brockwell Lido and Tooting Bec Lido are all superb options which also offer fantastic facilities for an afternoon of splashing around. They all range in price from only £1 - £7, so there’s really no excuse not to visit!
Quirky restaurant in London photo credit: @amylouc89
6. Visit a quirky restaurant in London
If there’s one thing London is certainly famous for, it’s the infinite range of unique, and slightly peculiar, cafes and restaurants on almost every street. It really is hard to name them all because our list would never end, but the ones not to be missed are Cereal Killer Café, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Circus and HIPCHIPS.
When talking about quirky eateries, it shouldn’t surprise you to see Dinner by Heston Blumenthal make the shortlist. His Hyde Park venue offers a culinary experience like no other; the menu consists of typical British dishes with a true Heston Blumenthal twist. But if it’s cocktails and cabaret you’re after then be sure to visit Circus in Covent Garden. Every 30 minutes or so, dancers and acrobats emerge from the darkness to put on circus-style acts whilst you enjoy some delicious Pan-Asian cuisine.
If you’re an avid Instagrammer then you may already be familiar with Cereal Killer Café, which is every breakfast lover’s dream. No sign of a boring bowl here - choose from over 120 different types of cereal and 20 varieties of milk to create your perfect morning meal combination. Or perhaps your savoury tooth is greater than your sweet tooth? Then HIPCHIPS is where you need to go; with an ever-changing menu of dips and a seasonal heritage variety of British potatoes you will be seriously spoilt for choice.
7. Brit Movie Tours
If you’re a family of film-lovers then a sightseeing tour of London’s famous film sets and TV locations is the perfect thing to do during your time in The City. Enjoy both walking and bus tours of iconic on-screen sets including Peaky Blinders, Harry Potter, Downtown Abbey, Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes and even Made in Chelsea (if reality TV is more your thing). Listen to fascinating behind-the-scenes information from your local guide, test yourself with trivia and reminisce on old favourites with DVD clips. For a full tour list, and to buy tickets, visit their website HERE.
8. Santander Cycles
Everyone knows how stressful it can be travelling across London, especially if you’re exploring the capital with family. The last thing you want to do is get caught up in public transport rush hour! Instead, hire one of the 11,500 bikes which have been placed in 750 docking stations around London as part of the cycle hire scheme, Santander Cycles.
For £2 a day you can journey around London with your family in a way which is slightly more unique than a taxi ride. It’s also a great way to get your exercise in during your trip.
9. ‘Top Secret: From Ciphers to Cyber Security’ exhibition
Running from 10th July 2019 until 23rd February 2020, this exhibition at the Science Museum in London explores the 100 year history of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Even if you’re not hugely interested in Science, this interactive and highly fascinating exhibition is guaranteed to captivate attendees of all ages. Discover the intriguing world of secret communications, codebreaking and ciphers from the trenches of the First World War to the very latest in cyber security. Even better – it’s free!
Afternoon tea in Soho photo credit: @flavoursoflife92
10. Cutter & Squidge ‘The Potion Room’ Afternoon Tea
Could this be the best Afternoon Tea in Soho? From the creative makers of previous Disney and Hello Kitty themed Afternoon Tea immersions comes a spell binding experience in the form of ‘The Potion Room’. Enjoy two hours inspired by the magical world of wizard and alchemy whilst you’re treated to a selection of delicious cakes, sandwiches and edible potions (which you get to create yourself!)
Taking place in a classroom hidden below a quaint café on Brewer Street, you’ll be greeted by a slight grumpy potions master and even be supplied with your own wand and gown to ensure you really look the part. If you want a souvenir to remember your unique experience before you head back out to the somewhat less magical Central London, there’s a range of high-quality merchandise on offer available to purchase on your way out. Buy your tickets HERE.
Found lots of quirky things to do in London? Book your stay
Ready to book your accommodation for your London stay this summer? You shouldn't need any more of an excuse, but in case you do, stay with us between 19th July and 8th September 2019 and receive a 15% discount on the non-refundable rate!
Exploring Covent Garden 19 June 2015