Remember when you were younger, and summer holidays seemed to last forever? Remember how bored you sometimes got, having to be dragged around to various family members’ and friends’ places and being forced to sit around all day whilst your parents chatted about inane fluff? Well then, think about how your kids feel, now that you are in the position your parents once were.
Six weeks is a long time, and keeping the children occupied over the summer holidays is just as important as keeping them occupied during the school year. Here are five of the best summer events for kids living in and travelling to London …
#1 – Utilise One of London’s Many Museums
Museum trips aren’t just for term times. In fact, London’s museums are perhaps even better during the summer holidays, as they tend to organise highly creative workshops and the like, made to fire up and inspire children’s imaginations.
Every Sunday, the National Gallery hosts a morning storytelling session for children aged from two to twelve years old. Entrance is free, too, and this particular session is held on a magic carpet! There are lots of drawing and arts workshops as well.
The National Maritime Museum also has its own kids play zone. In fact, it’s an entire portion of the museum, as there’s a fish market section made for children aged from six to twelve. Yes, you too can get your kids learning about food, shipping, sea life, business and economics in their gallery-turned fish shop, complete with shopping baskets, fake fish and cash tills. Potential pirates can get on the beach and ship deck zone, or a cannon-firing game.
For science-y types, there’s a water play area at the Science Museum, and the Climbers and Creepers play zone at Kew Gardens. Budding history buffs can head on over to the V&A Museum’s Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Lots of local museums host their own events, too, so we recommend looking up what’s going on at them, too.
#2 – Notting Hill Carnival Children’s Day
Monday 29th August 2016 is Children’s Day at the Notting Hill Carnival, which is easily one of London’s biggest events and one of the highlights of the year for many people throughout the UK at large. Children’s Day at Carnival means that the floats and other sites are low enough for children to see, and it’s the Carnival Day that’s specifically targeted at families (unlike the celebrations on Sunday 28th August).
Notting Hill Carnival is one of the world’s biggest carnivals, and we here at Escapades recommend you celebrate it in some style. Bright costumes and headdresses are a brilliant choice, but for those looking to put on something a little simpler & easier, face paints are just as welcome.
#3 – Big Fish Little Fish
The 90s raver generation has grown up (if only slightly), and many now have kids of their own. Sure, you can’t party like you used to, but you can show your little ones a piece of what it was like in the good old days by taking them to Big Fish Little Fish. Heck, you may have even met your loved one at an adult rave not too dissimilar – but dissimilar enough thanks to all the kid-focused activities – from the ones held on the outdoor fields back in the day.
Big Fish Little Fish is takes place UK-wide, with events in Edinburgh, Margate, Bristol and Manchester. They have a London event on just after the summer holidays and Notting Hill Carnival have finished on Sunday 11th September 2016 on Portobello Road, Ladbroke Grove, West London. Great for anyone wanting to see off the end of the festival season with a bang. Dressing up is highly recommended.
Big Fish Little Fish also have a mailing list for London and South East, where other events associated with Big Fish Little Fish.
#4 – Diana Memorial Playground
Wigwams are built up every summer at the Diana Memorial Playground near Kensington Gardens. There’s also a pirate ship, beach, various sculptures and a distinct Peter Pan theme running in the kids playground in this part of the park, so the chance to play make-believe games and a variety of literary characters is entirely possible. Not too far away from Notting Hill, either, so those looking to get away from the crowds and head to a slightly more peaceful environment should look to head on down here.
#5 – Abbey Leisure Centre, Barking
Abbey Leisure Centre has one of the best soft play areas around in London at the moment thanks to The Idol, a Greek myth and science fiction- inspired work of art designed by Turner Prize-nominated multimedia artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd. Yes, kids are allowed to bounce around and play in it – in fact, that’s the entire point of this utterly insane piece of work. We’re not sure if adults will be able to keep themselves from playing in this installation themselves – although they probably ought to refrain from doing so!
So there you go. Five of the best things you can do in London this summer. Moreover, attending most of them is entirely free, so there’s no need to feel too out of pocket in doing most of them. So come on down to Escapades, get your costumes and makeup on and get ready to play this summer!