12 New Things To Do With The Kids This Summer
12 New Things To Do With The Kids This Summer

12 New Things To Do With The Kids This Summer


Whether you’re after fun day trips from London or exhibitions and shows for rainy days in town, there are some cool new things to book during the summer holidays. Here are 12 ideas that will earn you serious dad points…

Best For Young Children

Young V&A, Bethnal Green

After a three-year transformation, Young V&A in Bethnal Green has finally opened its doors. In the building that was formerly the Museum of Childhood, it’s been co-designed with children and young people, and features fun interactive play areas, exhibitions and design studios. Young V&A’s mission is to inspire the next generation of artists, designers and practitioners with its sensory playscapes, finger skateboard park, Imagination Playground, construction zone, sandpit and storytelling stage. There’s currently an interactive Minecraft installation, and an exhibition on Japanese culture which explores everything from Pokémon to manga-inspired fashion.

Tickets: Free

Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PA

Visit VAM.ac.uk 

Gootopia, Various Sites

Gootopia is running new weekend slime workshops called ‘Tropical Blast’ and ‘Ice-Cream Dream’. Kids aged 3+ can create colourful and fruity slime creations in the Tropical Blast class, while the ice-cream workshop is about creating pastel shades and ice-cream flavours with fun ‘toppings’. Both take place at Gootopia’s Lewisham, Brixton and Wandsworth sites and hour-long sessions cost £15.99 per child which includes two tubs of slime to take home.

Tickets: £15.99

Various sites; until 3rd September

Visit Gootopia.co.uk

Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

Two hours from London by train or car, Warwick Castle has plenty of family events taking place this summer, including the UK's biggest bird of prey show, The Falconer’s Quest. Kids can join the falconer to learn about birds in a dynamic display of aerial acrobatics overlooking the river within the castle grounds. There’s also the Horrible Histories maze and the newly opened Zog playground, inspired by Julia Donaldson’s books – there’s a dragon zip wire, dragon slides and swings, a princess tower and adventure tunnels. 

Tickets: From £20

Stratford Road, Warwick, CV34 6AU 

Visit Warwick-Castle.com

Young V&A
Young V&A

David Parry

Dinosaur World Live at Regent’s Park Open-Air Theatre

Dinosaur World Live returns to Regent’s Park with its action-packed show that brings the prehistoric world to life. Kids can meet a range of giant creatures, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Microraptor and Segnosaurus. After the show, there’s a meet and greet with the dinosaurs on the theatre lawn where kids can quiz the explorers who discovered the dinosaur kingdom. 

Tickets: From £17

Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 4NU; 11th August-3rd September

Visit OpenAirTheatre.com

Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Buckinghamshire

The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre is in the small village of Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire, a 90-minute drive from central London. Families can come face to face with Fantastic Mr Fox in a fun exhibition, measure up to Quentin Blake’s illustrations and discover Roald Dahl's Writing Hut – the birthplace of his famous characters. Over the holidays, kids can take part in activities as part of the ‘Big Friendly Summer’. Choose from ‘snozzcumber’ clay-making sessions, ‘dream jar’ crafting classes, and a ‘swishwiffling’ experience in the science workshop. 

Tickets: £7.95, under 5s go free

81-83 High Street, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL; until 3rd September 

Visit RoaldDahlMuseum.org

Tales from Acorn Wood at Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Tales from Acorn Wood stories will be brought to life on stage for the first time with puppetry and songs. Poor Fox has lost his socks and can’t find them in the kitchen or the clocks. Plus, there’s someone – or something – keeping tired Rabbit awake. Children can join in with Pig and Hen’s game of hide-and-seek and discover the special surprise Postman Bear is planning for his friends. 

Tickets: From £15

Lyric Square, King Street, Hammersmith, W6 0QL; 8th-20th August

Visit Lyric.co.uk 


Best For Older Kids & Teens

See & Do at the Science Museum, South Kensington

The Science Museum has opened a gaming room featuring 160 video games and consoles from the past 50 years. From Pong to Pac-Man and Minecraft to Mario, there are new and retro games for adults and kids. Play against friends in multiplayer showdowns, rediscover childhood favourites and test out some of the latest next-gen VR experiences.

Tickets: £10

Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD

Visit ScienceMuseum.org.uk 

The Wild at Substation, Brixton

State-of-the-art bouldering and fitness centre Substation Brixton has launched The Wild, a developmental and creative activity space for children. The space has a climbing wall with two LED training boards and a circuit board with over 50 moves. Created with a leading child development specialist, it’s designed to provide maximum stimulation through sensory touchpoints, colours and shapes. During the week the space is also available for free 90-minute slots of play for children. You can also hire the space for events and  parties with climbing instructors and birthday cake.

Tickets: From £10

Unit 13, Ellerslie Square Industrial Estate, Brixton Hill, Brixton, SW2 5DZ

Visit Substation.co.uk

The SpongeBob Musical at the Southbank Centre

Following its success on Broadway, The SpongeBob Musical has transferred to the Southbank Centre. The cast includes Divina De Campo as Plankton, and Gareth Gates and Celebs Go Dating star Tom Read Wilson in the alternating role of Squidward. When the citizens of Bikini Bottom discover that a volcano will soon erupt and destroy their humble home, SpongeBob and his friends must come together to save their undersea world. Best of all, iconic rock and pop artists have written new music for this show, including Aerosmith, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend and Panic! At the Disco. 

Tickets: From £22.50

Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX; until 27th August

Visit SouthbankCentre.co.uk 

TWIST Museum
TWIST Museum

Dreamland, Margate

Great restaurants, new hotels and family friendly attractions – there’s lots going on in Margate right now. Plus, it’s only 90 minutes from London on the train. You could easily spend a day at the Dreamland amusement park, a great option for multi-generational days out by the sea. One of the oldest surviving amusement parks in the UK has vintage-inspired rides, an amusement arcade and a roller disco room. Check out the new large-scale art installations before stopping for food and drink in the park – or fish and chips along the seafront. 

Tickets: Entry is free, rides cost £3

49-51 Marine Terrace, Margate, CT9 1XJ

Visit Dreamland.co.uk

TWIST Museum, West End

TWIST (The Way I See Things) Museum is all about illusions. Created with artists, neuroscientists and philosophers, it’s an immersive experience that explores – and puts to the test – the power of the mind in experiencing the world. Visitors can walk through a series of rooms, some with 3D paintings and optical illusions, others with sensory tricks that question how we understand reality. Don’t miss the installation by Portuguese street artist Odeith. 

Tickets: Adults start from £19.50, children start from £16.50

248 Oxford Street, West End, W1C 1DH

Visit TwistMuseum.com

Hampton Court Palace

The famous Grade-I listed home of Henry VIII and his wives will keep kids entertained for hours. Less than an hour outside London, visitors can take a tour of the vast estate, including the gardens and historic maze, and learn about court life in the 16th century. This summer, there’s a medieval-inspired jousting tournament and Hampton Court Palace Food Festival with over 150 brands, pop-up food and drinks stalls, and live music. Kids can also play in the Magic Garden adventure playground filled with mythical beasts.

Tickets: Adults start from £26, children from £13 and under 5s go free

Hampton Court Way, Molesey, East Molesey, KT8 9AU; various dates

Visit HRP.org.uk 

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