Bablands Guide to the summer holidays in London

12th July 2019

Words by Emmy Watts with intro by Anna Whitaker 

If you’re on the slow and slightly daunting countdown to the school holidays, fear not. I’ve roped in London’s ultimate magpie of childhood fun, Bablands, to give us the skinny on the coolest places to hit up in the capital this summer. With a packed itinerary of events perfect for toddlers to teens (and parents too, obvs), consider this your get out of jail (aka house) free card for the whole family.

1. Barbican’s AI: More Than Human exhibition offers plenty of interactive elements for children of all ages, including an immersive sensory room, a driving arcade game and the opportunity to build your own city out of LEGO (until 26th August).

2. Check out Museum of London’s Beasts of London exhibition before exploring the city’s Culture Mile and discovering family-friendly spaces with the Beastly Family Challenge, a digital treasure hunt for all ages (until 1st September).

3. Head for sandy climes without leaving the M25 with one of London’s pop-up beaches. Choose from JW3’s Hampstead Beach London’s Royal Docks, Fulham Beach, Market Place Beach in Enfield or The Beach at Brent Cross (all summer).

4. Frieze Sculpture Park, London’s largest free display of outdoor art, will be popping up in Regent’s Park again this summer. Pop down for a picnic and a browse before heading one of the park’s brilliant playgrounds (3rd July-6th October).

5. Head to the Royal Opera House for one of its fun-packed Family Sundays for families with 3-10s. Learn more about the worlds of opera and ballet with dance workshops, making activities, pop-up performances and more (7th & 28th July).

6. Suitable for all ages, Olafur Eliasson’s In Real Life exhibition offers a captivating sensory experience for all ages, introducing natural phenomena such as rainbows to the gallery space, as well as reflections and shadows (11th July-5th January).

7. British Museum is giving 8-15s the chance to explore its Manga exhibition with Young Friends’ Sleepover: Discover Manga. Enjoy craft workshops and storytelling before spending the night in the Egyptian and Assyrian galleries (13th July).

8. Taking place in Shoreditch, the OmFest family yoga festival will combine yoga workshops and wisdom with meditation and vegan street food. There’ll even be a kids’ zone featuring a treehouse, bouncy castle, face painting and more (14th July).

9. The Place’s Family Dance Day 2019 will be packed with exciting performances and dance workshops for all ages. Expect family break dancing, baby theatre from Akin, toddler movement sessions from Romp and Roll, and even a wig show (20th July).

10. V&A MoC will run a Festival of Play for all ages and a Summer Art Camp for 5-12s this summer, with the latter comprising Secret DIY Museum Film Collective and Adventure Making and Play workshops (20th-21st July and 31st July-1st August).

11. Inspired by its Lee Krasner exhibition, Barbican is running a Living Colour Family Day for all the family. Activities will include zine making, poetry, collage, large-scale drawing, costume making and a giant abstract 3D installation (21st July).

12. Ever done a moon salutation? Natural History Museum is giving visitors with 5-11s the chance to do just that with its Family Yoga Classes under the Moon, taking place under Luke Jerram’s amazing lunar installation (1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th August).

13. Help make up the new crew of Sir Francis Drake’s ship on The Golden Hinde Night Voyage. This evening of imaginative role play offers 6-11s the chance to become an Elizabethan sailor and sleep over on the ship like the original crew (3rd August).

14. Head to Yinka Ilori’s Colour Palace pavilion at Dulwich Picture Gallery for Art in the Pavilion, a series of workshops for 4-12s. Be inspired by the pavilion’s colours and shapes to create sun catchers, sculptures and more (7th, 14th, 21st, 28th August).

15. Coinciding with its current Michael Rakowitz exhibition, Whitechapel Gallery is hosting a themed Family Day for families with kids of all ages, with activities designed to get everyone thinking about borders culture and identity (10th August).

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