1. Splash in a fountain.
If you’re not near a beach or a pool then the next best thing is to let the kids cool off in a fountain. If you’re not from England this probably sounds like a bit of a strange concept… but the kids love it! The English aren’t shy either, if it’s 18 degrees or higher the kids are getting their kit off and running totally wild. Some of our fave fountains to cool off in are: Granary Square (with fabulous coffee next door at Caravan), Princess Diana Fountain and Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms at Southbank.
2. Laze in the park.
When the sun is shining Londoners sure know how to make the most of it. They go outdoors and stay there, setting up deck chairs, picnic rugs, hell they may as well bring the kitchen sink with them. Heaps of parks have a Lido or paddling pool and the kids will be sure to make the most of the ice-cream van waiting at the gates. Some of our faves are Hyde Park (there are so many areas in Hyde Park you could spend several days exploring, try The Princess Diana Memorial Playground or sitting out front of the lake 'The Serpentine'), Alexandra Palace and Clissold Park.
3. Hide from rain at a museum.
Ok, London gets a bad rap for being ‘rainy’ but we’ve had hardly any rain over summer. The only thing is when it does rain it pours for several days in a row. Perfect opportunity to get out and see some of the fabulous London museums. Some of our faves are: Geffreye Museum, The V&A Museum and the Science Museum. If you check their websites prior to visiting most will run additional programs and events over the summer holidays, so extra fun for the kids.
4. Visit a West End show.
Over summer the Society of London Theatre run ‘Kids Week’ where kids go free to some of London’s top shows. The Lion King, Wizard of Oz, The Gruffalow… the choices are endless.
5. Get back to nature at one of London’s natural reserves.
Sometimes the best thing for kids is plonking them outside and letting them explore. There are some great spots throughout London. Our faves are Woodberry Wetlands (nothing to do with the great coffee also on site) and Camley Street Natural Park, right near Kings Cross Station. There are a heap more places to visit listed on the Wild London website.
6. Go to the Zoo.
The zoo is always a hit with kids right? The London Zoo is huge with themed exhibits, playground areas and of course heaps of animals.
7. Do something touristy.
Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, They Eye… there are so many choices. Or you could jump on the big red tourist bus and see them all.
8. Visit the beach.
Well you could visit an actual beach (Southend-on-sea or Mersea Island aren’t too far away) but depending on where you are it could be a 1-2 hour journey or even longer which makes it a very long day trip. Sooooo, next best thing visit Beach East! It’s a man made ‘beach’ in Stratford. Basically a HUGE sandpit with paddle pool surrounded by boardwalk games and rides. Gives the littles a beach experience without leaving the city.
9. Pig out at the food market.
Now this one may be tricky depending on the age of your kids. If they’re young enough to be strapped in or pushed around, or you trust they’re not gonna make a run for it then perfect! London’s food markets get super busy but for good reason, they’re so damn yummy. The array of fresh produce, yummy meals and shouting vendors is sure to get your kids attention. Our faves are the Broadway Market and Borough Markets.
11. Go to a rave.
Ok, this might seem like an odd one, but it is all the rage (pun intended). Family raves pop up all over London and throughout England in the summer, playing old school tunes for mum and dad while the kids have a blast in the play area with tents and tunnels, crafts tables and ball pools. Not bad while the adults sip on some prosecco. We’ll be trying out a rave by BFLF in October, if you haven’t been to one before come and check it out with us!