From zip-wires to football fever, eight things to do with kids over the summer holidays

·6-min read
Open a door and enter a world: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a spectacle at the Gillian Lynne theatre  (Brinkhoff Moegenburg)
Open a door and enter a world: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a spectacle at the Gillian Lynne theatre (Brinkhoff Moegenburg)

School’s out for summer, if not forever.

And while it’s fab for the kids, for parents it presents the same familiar challenge: what to do to keep them from boredom. Fortunately, London’s never been short of ideas and this year is no different: there’s a host of fun-filled things to do to keep children going during the long break.

Whether you have toddlers, teens or both, here’s a few more of the very best family-friendly activities across London to get stuck into. Make sure to read our other guide to the ultimate summer holiday fun, too.

Get an adrenaline fix

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

Thrill-seeking older kids and teens and grown-ups will love the newly-opened Gripped in west London, where they can zip, slide, jump and climb to their heart’s content. Head to the treetops on the high ropes or the thrilling dual zip line course — the longest in London.

Elsewhere, there’s a 50 metre spiral slide and even a Net Adventure Park where the whole family can play among the elevated large jump nets, tunnels and slides. Those feeling particularly brave can book theBag Jump: take a leap of faith from platforms of varying heights onto giant inflatable bags – all unattached to any equipment.

Not enough of a kick? Try free-falling 24 metres attached to the gravity-defying power fan, where those falling have their body weight counterbalanced, ensuring a soft landing.

Staines Road, TW14 0HH, begripped.com

Watch the stars... under the stars

 (Walt Disney Pictures)
(Walt Disney Pictures)

Does a balmy evening watching a Hollywood kids’ classic sound appealing? Located just inside the M25, right up in the north reaches, you’ll find Everyman’s summer pop-up inside a beautiful Walled Garden. Guests staying at the hotel or dining at one of its restaurants will be able to book a spot at an outdoor screening this summer. Grab your headphones, get comfy on a bean bag and enjoy family favourites such as Trolls, The Lion King and The Greatest Showman. Food-lovers are in for a treat too – there are three restaurants to pick from in the Dinner and Cinema package. The lavish buffet spread with live-stations at The Glasshouse is highly recommended, alternatively pick British classics at The Stables or fresh Italian fare at the new pop-up restaurant Verde Kitchen, located in the Potting Shed, a foliage-filled haven.

Until September 4, The Grove, Chandler’s Cross, WD3 4TG, thegrove.co.uk

Have a wicket day out

 (ECB via Getty Images)
(ECB via Getty Images)

After packing out stadiums across England and Wales last year, The Hundred is back this summer with a jam-packed schedule of cricket. Games will take place across August, with eight men’s and women’s teams including Oval Invincibles and London Spirit battling it out across the UK culminating with the final at Lord’s on September 3. Kids will love the fast paced on field action - 100 balls per team, most runs wins, so every ball counts. The atmosphere is buzzing, with DJs, live music and family-friendly activities on offer.

The Oval, SE11, and Lord’s, NW8, thehundred.com

Immerse yourself in a Jurassic Kingdom

 (Universal Studios/Amblin Entertainment)
(Universal Studios/Amblin Entertainment)

Dinosaur-mad kids can indulge all their Jurassic World-inspired dreams at Jurassic World: The Exhibition, which opens at Excel on August 25 with an experience promised to be as close as it gets to coming face-to-face with prehistoric beasts.Based on the Jurassic World film franchise, the hour-long immersive exhibition is designed to mimic the park seen in the movies, complete with its gates and life-sized animatronic dinosaurs (including a towering Brachiosaurus and of course the mighty T-Rex). Younger children can interact with baby dinosaurs including Bumpy from the animated series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous while fans ofthe Jurassic World Alive gaming app can unlock new features when playing it on site.

London ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Docks, London E16 1XL, jurassicworldexhibition.com

Head through the wardrobe

 (Brinkhoff Moegenburg)
(Brinkhoff Moegenburg)

Voted the nation’s favourite novel, CS Lewis’ classic tale The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is now playing at the West End’s Gillian Lynne Theatre. Audiences of all ages will be glued to this mystical two-hour adventure where the siblings come across a talking Faun, an unforgettable Lion and the cruellest Witch.

Gillian Lynne theatre, 166 Drury Lane, WC2B 5PW, lwtheatres.co.uk

Treat the squad

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Football enthusiasts in the house? Until August 29 at Kensington’s Design Museum, Football: Designing the Beautiful Game explores the story behind football, showcasing how the aesthetics, from balls to boots to shirts have evolved over time. Football geeks will love the formation board display, which shows the different tactical approaches coaches have deployed over time. Read stories of club legacies and legends including Lionel Messi, Pelé and Diego Maradona (pictured). The women’s game is also represented with trophies, posters and programmes, plus there are interactive elements where kids can design their own kits and stadiums. Don’t miss the immersive film following France legend Zinedine Zidane in real-time over the course of the penultimate game of his career.

Until August 29, 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG, designmuseum.org

Get happy at dopamine land

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

With no school at the moment, the kids are probably feeling pretty happy already. Give them more of an endorphin rush by booking a visit to Dopamine Land in South Kensington. Open to all ages, this multi-sensory experience is designed to help visitors disconnect and transport themselves into a world of happiness and imagination. Walk through a series of rooms that use innovative technology, moving projections and visual effects to trigger feel good hormones. Highlights include a popcorn-scented room, a super-fun pillow fight space, a relaxation-inducing digital forest and a bubble room – where you can sip on a refreshing bubble tea under a sky of bubbles and stained-glass windows. Designated photo zones across the experience mean Instagrammers will be in their element.

83 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3LD, dopaminelandexperience.com

Let off steam with an afternoon tea

 (Casey Gutteridge)
(Casey Gutteridge)

In celebration of new kids’ flick The Railway Children Return, the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in King’s Cross has launched a railway-themed afternoon tea. Young guests can tuck into jam sandwiches, ham rolls, pastries and sweet treats inspired by the E. Nesbit story, including train-track shaped chocolate biscuits and a green apple mousse based on the green steam locomotive in the original 1970s film.

For adults there’s Welsh rarebit, homity in potato bread and clock-station shaped macaroons. Served in The Hansom, amid the station’s gothic architecture, complete with views of the original ticket booking office, it’s hard to think of a better setting to enjoy this treat.

Available from Thursday to Sunday from 1pm – 5pm until mid-September.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, NW1 2AR, thehansom.co.uk

See Paw Patrol take to the stage

If your kids like watching those cheeky heroic pups: Paw Patrol, then news of their return to the Capital should fill them with glee.This entertaining 60-minute, music filled show based on the show is on at the Wembley arena on September 3 and will see the canine crew including Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma, Skye and Everest attempt to rescue the hapless Mayor Goodway.

OVO Arena, Arena Square, Engineers Way, HA9 0AA, pawpatrollive.co.uk

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