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Summer Events in London for Families

 
 
 
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Aladdin is one of 43 participating shows for free during Kids Week

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Aladdin is one of 43 participating shows for free during Kids Week
School of Rock
Free Open Air Theatre at The Scoop
Notting Hill Carnival
The Tiger Who Came To Tea and The Adventures Of Mog The Forgetful Cat
Matilda The Musical
The new Children's Garden at Kew Gardens
Chihuly at Kew
The Luna Cinema: Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park
The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4: The Musical
Underbelly Festival
Jeppe Hein: Appearing Rooms
The BBC Proms
Brainiac Live
Untangling the Tracks
Beasts of London
Peter Pan
Tales of the Turntable
The Monster teams up with NERF for children and family days
Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear
 

 

Find out the best family friendly events this summer, from the Monstrous Festival to floating theatre on the Puppet Theatre Barge. Explore open air theatre and find free shows with our handy online guide.

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The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4: The Musical

The voice of teenage angst in the '80s speaks to a whole new generation of teens.

Ambassadors Theatre, West Street, London, WC2H 9ND

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Covent Garden Station, Tottenham Court Road Station

 

Dates: 15th June - 28th September 2019

 

One for the teenagers (and their parents who lived through the '80s), the late Sue Townsend's best-selling comedy novel about a misunderstood, hapless teen experiencing teenagerangst becomes a musical. Set in 1980s Leicester, this critically acclaimed stage production brings the story of Adrian Mole to life. The hapless, hilarious, spotty teenager who captured the zeitgeist of 1980s Britain comes to the fore for a new generation through this musical with lyrics by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary. Already staged at Leicester's Curve theatre and at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2017, the quirky, joyous, turbo-charged, home-grown musical now gets a glitzy West End run.

 
 
 

Underbelly Festival

Shark In The Park and Elmer The Patchwork Elephant are just two family friendly shows.

Underbelly Festival, Jubilee Gardens, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 3rd April to 27th September 2020

 

Every year, from April until September, theUnderbelly Festivalbrings weird and wonderful cabaret and circus acts to the South Bank for a summer of fabulous fringe theatre next to theLondon Eye.Family friendly shows in 2019 includes stage adaptations of Shark In The Park and Elmer The Patchwork Elephant (20th and 21st July). The programme is particularly good for children under eight with Monski Mouse's baby disco andTwirlywoos (3rd to 31st August) for the very young as well as the smash-hit Shakespearience for the over fives. Marvel at theacrobatic piratesin Arr We There Yet? (22nd and 23rd June),chase down the fearsome Captain Bloodbeard inThe Noise Next Door: At Sea! and enjoy Morgan and West's Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show For Kids (and Childish Grown-ups)!.

 
 
 

The BBC Proms 2019

Four proms that are particularly good for little people.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 17th July to 12th September 2020

 

The BBC Proms is great at encouraging and engaging with young audiences and this year sees the welcome return of the CBeebies Promwhich promises to take you on a musical trip to the moon. The programme, played twice in one day, includesEarth -a brand new work by Hans Zimmer - and a visit to the Clangers.Three more Proms for little people are The Planets (Sunday 21st July),The Lost Words Prom(Sunday 25th August), based on Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris's popular book and John Luther Adams's In the Name of the Earth.On Sunday 8th September the contemporary choral work- a huge, landscape-inspired piece sung by over 600 singers- is performed by four choirs. Something your little singers can take inspiration from.

 
 
 

Peter Pan

Sally Cookson's pitch perfect Peter Pan comes to the new Troubadour White City.

Troubadour White City Theatre, 201 Wood Lane, White City Place, London, W12 7TS

Tube: White City Station

 

Dates: 20th July - 01st September 2019

 

First staged in London at the National Theatre in 2016, Sally Cookson's pitch perfect Peter Pan comes to the new Troubadour White City Theatre in July. A co-production with the Bristol Old Vic, it's a funny and moving version of a JM Barrie's timeless tale of the boy who refused to grow old. As well as being "masses of fun" (Financial Times), it retains the sadness at the heart of the original text. The Darling family fly off with Peter to a Neverland that's "an urban adventure playground" (Independent) where the walls are sprayed with graffiti. There they take on Captain Hook and encounter a giant crocodile composed of corrugated iron. It all amounts to a family show, suitable for children 7 years and above, that's "a celebration of the ingenuity of invention and the joy of storytelling" (FT).

 
 
 

What to Look for in the Garden: A Ladybird Books Exhibition

The Ladybird books which encourage children to explore the outdoors.

Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London, SE1 7LB

Tube: Lambeth North Station

 

Dates: 31st July - 27th October 2019

 

Ladybird, the publishers who have been creating books for children since 1915, invite you to explore the outdoors with an exhibition of original artworks from their nature books. Shown at the Garden Museum from 31st July and throughout the summer, this nostalgic exhibition will remind adults of the books of their childhood. Artworks on loan from Penguin Random House date from the 'golden age' of Ladybird Books, between 1940 and 1980. The exhibition and interactive activities - including dressing up, a nature hunt trail, art activities and a memory board - will inspire a whole new generation of children to learn 'What to look for' in this family friendly exhibition.

 
 
 
 

Beasts of London

Discover the history of London, seen from the perspective of animals.

Museum of London, 150 Wall, City, London, EC2Y 5HN

Tube: Barbican Station , St. Paul's Station

 

Dates: 05th April - 05th January 2020

 

From the soaring eagle to the infectious bacterium, Beasts of London shows the history of London, seen from the perspective of the animals in the city. The Museum of London, together with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, brings a menagerie of animals back to life through an imaginative and interactive digital installation. Of the nine rooms to explore, our favourite was the carousel where you get to sit on fairground horses and meet Thomas the army horse, voiced by Nish Kumar, and King Henry VIII's favourite horse, Governatore, played by Stephen Mangan. Each of the animals is given a voice by a celebrity so you can hear the fox, introduced by Kate Moss, and the bacterium behind the Great Plague, spoken by Brian Blessed. A polar bear, zebra, sheep, elephant and Tiny the Wonder dog, killer rat catcher, all tell their stories about life in this great city. Tours are in groups of up to 12, the experience in each room takes around five minutes and you only have to wait a couple of minutes in between. During this time you can explore objects from the museum, go swimming with the ducks, walk under a giant pigeon or spray paint the walls so your children won't get bored while they're waiting. Highly recommended.

 
 
 

The Monster

The giant inflatable assault course teams up with NERF for the ultimate battle.

Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, Wood Green, London, N22 7AY

Tube: Bounds Green Station

 

Dates: 23rd - 28th August 2019

 

This August Bank Holiday they're bringing The Monster back toAlexandra Palaceand this year there are special summer holiday sessions for kids and families when the experience will include the ultimate NERF battle. Teams of four to six people are tasked with taking on the Monster inflatable obstacle course with the NERF blasters. Plus there's a themed zone for trick shots and challenges as well as an inflatable sports arena where kids can play with the latest NERF sports kit including footballs, howlers and basket balls and hoops. The Monster itself is over 300 metres long with 40 obstacles including an 18 metre mega slide, the exterminator and the house of hell. Added to that there's street food, DJs, giant ball pits and other crazy, fun activities.

 
 
 

The Worst Witch

The much loved children's books are adapted by Royal & Derngate, Northampton's acclaimed theatre.

Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, London, WC2R 0NH

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Charing Cross Station, Embankment Underground Station, Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 24th July - 08th September 2019

 

Miss Cackle, Mildred and their broomstick flying friends come to the London stage as the much loved children's books, a favourite among the over sevens since the 1970's, are adapted by Royal & Derngate, Northampton's acclaimed theatre. This "delightfully boisterous production" (Telegraph) is a "sassy musical version" of the Jill Murphy books. It's a "far pluckier beast than its Harry Potter stage counterpart" which "embraces a knowingly lo-fi approach". With the writer who also adapted the BBC's popular version of The Worst Witch, Emma Reeves, on board, it "ingeniously presents Murphy's story as a play within a play put on by the pupils themselves".

 
 
 

Kids Week

Kids go free at London's top West End shows throughout August.

The West End, , Soho, London, WC2H 7BP

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station, Charing Cross Station

 

Dates: 01st - 31st August 2019

 

A truly inspired summer treat for families, Kids Week makes West End hits available to youngsters for free - as long as an adult pays the full price. For the whole of August, a child aged between 5 and 16 can go to any of the 43 participating shows for free and they get some top shows taking part. The line up always includes some top shows like School of Rock, Disney's Aladdin, Wicked, The Lion King, Mamma Mia! and more. There are options for under-fives with a programme of shows and activities specifically for the very young. Tickets for Kids Week go on sale in June and adults can also buy up to two extra children's tickets at half price while paying no booking fees. Bargain!

 
 
 

Tales of the Turntable

A toe-tapping dance show to take you through the early origins of hip-hop, funk and soul.

Southbank Centre: Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Road, Holborn, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 15th - 26th August 2019

 

Inspired by extracts from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Back to the Future, ZooNation Youth Company brings the world premiere of their street dance piece Tales of the Turntable to Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall. Featuring some of the best young hip-hop dancers from the ZooNation Youth Company, this new show takes audiences through the early origins of hip-hop, funk and soul. The story follows budding young DJ Eric and his grandfather George as they wind back the clock through George's gramophone only to find out they have more in common than they once thought. Written by Olivier Award nominated Carrie-Anne Ingrouille (choreographer for Six the Musical and resident choreographer on Hamilton), the show features a dance track of disco, house and rap with music mixed by DJ Walde.

 
 
 
 

Mr Gum And The Dancing Bear - The Musical

Madcap musical extravaganza adapted from Andy Stanton and David Tazzyman's award-winning children's books.

National Theatre: Dorfman, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX

Tube: Temple Station , Waterloo Station

 

Dates: 25th July - 31st August 2019

 

Nine-year-old Polly and her misfit chums help a big bear called Padlock to escape from the clutches of villainous Mr Gum in a madcap musical adapted from Andy Stanton and David Tazzyman's award-winning children's books. Singing, dancing and occasional burping make this play, suitable for ages 7 and up, a hilariously anarchic extravaganza for all the family. Follow the fun-hating, child-detesting Mr Gum and his gruesome butcher sidekick in this theatre show full of outlandish characters and joyful, idiotic songs.

 
 
 

Notting Hill Carnival

Hundreds of youngsters take part in a huge procession on Children's Day.

Notting Hill, , London, W11 3AG

Tube: Holland Park Station

 

Dates: 25th - 26th August 2019

 

Held since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival was originally a local affair for west London's homesick Caribbean community, this has evolved into Europe's biggest street party. This year there's a renewed emphasis on reclaiming Sunday as children's day when children parade through the streets in their flamboyant costumes dancing along the carnival route to the rhythms provided by the mobile sound systems or steel bands. There are an additional 10 children's bands participating this year, and Meanwhile Gardens will be solely dedicated to children's entertainment and families. Children of all ages will enjoy the calypso and soca performances, Caribbean food, drinks and 38 sound systems strategically located around the streets of west London.

 
 
 

The Luna Cinema: Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park

Luna Cinema puts Mary Poppins Returns on the big screen at the Open Air Theatre.

Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, Inner Circle, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4NR

Tube: Regent's Park Station

 

Dates: 25th August 2019

 

The Luna Cinema returns to the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park with three evenings of outdoor cinema. First up is Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel to the 1964 original in which the magical nanny endears herself to a whole new generation of children. It's the perfect family film and you can sing-along to this one on a summer's evening 'underneath the lovely London sky' plus there are reduced price tickets available for under 16s. In September, the hit musical movie A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, is up on the big screen. It's followed by Monty Python's Life of Brian which is back with a cast which includes original Pythons John Cleese, Michael Palin and Eric Idle. If this doesn't make you look on the bright side of life nothing will.

 
 
 

Free Open Air Theatre at The Scoop

Sing a sea shanty with Irish pirate Grainne O'Malley at The Scoop.

The Scoop at More London, The Queen's Walk, Bridge City, London, SE1 2DB

Tube: London Bridge Station

 

Dates: 07th August - 01st September 2019

 

The free open air theatre returns to The Scoop for its 16th year, presenting outdoor theatre every Wednesday to Sunday evening throughout the summer. Join Irish pirate Grainne O'Malley in the world premiere of The Sea Queen and see a new 90-minute adaptation of Shakespeare's popular romantic comedy, Twelfth Night. Both shows playing nightly and there's no need to book, just turn up and take a seat - there's room for 1,000 people at every performance. The outdoor theatre season, part of the London Bridge City: Summer By The River festival, is supplemented by free community activities including workshops, concerts and talks. Free riverside theatre to dip your toe into, set against a backdrop of London landmarks like City Hall and Tower Bridge.

 
 
 

The Tiger Who Came To Tea and The Adventures Of Mog The Forgetful Cat

Judith Kerr's books are brought to life in this immersive exhibition.

Discover Children's Story Centre, 383-387 High Street, Stratford, London, E15 4QZ

Tube: Stratford Station

 

Dates: 16th February - 01st September 2019

 

Featuring 14 Judith Kerr books, this immersive exhibition at the delightful Discover Children's Centre invites you to join The Tiger for tea and meet Mog. Hear the tale of the thirsty, hungry tiger's visit to Sophie and her mummy and take a trip into the world of Mog the Cat as you crawl through a giant cat flap into the family house. Many of Judith Kerr's loveable characters are recreated for children aged between 0-8 (and older children are welcome), including Katinka with the magical tail and the Crocodile under the bed. The 40 minute session gives your little ones a chance to explore and to hear the book read out loud at an engaging storytelling. Booking in advance recommended, especially during half terms and holidays.

 
 
 
 

Brainiac Live

Explosions and fast paced stunts put the fun in science.

Garrick Theatre, 2 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0HH

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Charing Cross Station, Covent Garden Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 31st July - 01st September 2019

 

Expect loud bangs, exploding dustbins and supercharged spinning chairs as Brainiac Live brings the award-winning (now defunct) Sky TV show to the West End for four weeks. Perfectly timed for the summer holidays, this fun science show will keep children aged six and above entertained with Airzooka challenges, lots of messy audience participation and big bangs. Brainiac Live has played to over 400,000 children and their families touring the UK theatres, holiday resorts and Science Festivals and now it's back in London's West End.

 
 
 

Matilda The Musical

The Royal Shakespeare Company's musical thrills and delights both adults and children alike.

Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, Seven Dials, Soho, London, WC2H 9HU

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station, Tottenham Court Road Station

 

Dates: 18th October - 24th May 2020

 

The Royal Shakespeare Company's multiple award-winning musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's celebrated children's book Matilda is a big hit at the Cambridge Theatre in London's West End. Directed by Matthew Warchus and adapted by seasoned playwright Dennis Kelly and the award-winning Australian musical comedian Tim Minchin, Matilda puts its child stars at the heart of the show. Described by WhatsOnStage as "a piece which is by turns riotously funny and gut-wrenchingly poignant", the much praised production - which tells the story of a special little girl with an extraordinary imagination - lives up to expectations and thrills and delights both adults and children alike. Book tickets now to see Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre London. Back when it first opened in London in 2011 Telegraph theatre critic Charles Spencer gave Matilda five stars, claiming it was "the best British musical since Billy Elliot that will surely be the toast of the West End. I predict that this show will be unstoppable."

 
 
 

School of Rock

Lloyd Webber's feel good musical based on the smash hit 2003 film.

Gillian Lynne Theatre, 166 Drury Lane, London, WC2B 5PW

Tube: Holborn Station , Covent Garden Station

 

Dates: 24th October - 01st March 2020

 

Students at a prestigious prep school "stick it to the man" with encouragement from their substitute teacher - wannabe rock star Dewey Finn - in the feel good musical based on the smash hit 2003 film. "The kids are genuinely talented" says Michael Billington in The Guardian in this Olivier Award winning musical adaptation of School of Rock - Andrew Lloyd Webber's "most exuberant show in years". With lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes, the story unfolds as Finn manages to make a rocking band out of his class of straight-A students but the big question is: can he get them to the Battle of the Bands without their parents and the school's headmistress finding out?

 
 
 

Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens)

Explore the newly opened children's playground, see the illuminated glass and climb to the top of the Pagoda.

Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB

Tube: Kew Gardens Station

 
 

Children aged 16 and under go free at Kew Gardens where the new Children's Garden playground has just opened in time for summer 2019. The enlightening Chihuly at Kew exhibition fills Kew's outside spaces and the Temperate House with striking contemporary glass installations. You can also visit Kew Palace, go underground at the badger set and climb to the top of the 50-metre high Pagoda (4.50 for adults, 3 for children, not suitable for children under five). Once you've climbed all 253 steps they'll have a great bird's-eye view over 300 acres of beautiful gardens and thousands of rare species at this World Heritage Site.

 
 

Events at Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens)

The Gruffalo at Kew Gardens Now On Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

4th to 19th April 2020 | Included in Kew Gardens general admission: Adult £16.50, child £4.50, concession from £8

 
The Gruffalo at Kew Gardens Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens) 2020-04-042020-04-19 Where:
Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond London, TW9 3AB
Category: Parks and Gardens

Grab your map and paint on some whiskers this Easter ready for a Gruffalo hunt at Kew Gardens. Immersing little ones in the world of Julia Donaldson's much-loved characters, The Gruffalo at Kew Gardens plots ...more

Kew Children's Garden Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

18th May 2019 to 18th May 2020 | Included with entry to the Gardens: £16.50 (Adults), £14.50 (Concs), £4.50 (Children 4-16)

 
Kew Children's Garden Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens) 2019-05-182020-05-18 Where:
Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond London, TW9 3AB
Category: Parks and Gardens
Kew the Music Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

7th to 12th Jul 2020 | From £54.13 (Adults)

 
Kew the Music Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens) 2020-07-072020-07-12 Where:
Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond London, TW9 3AB
Category: Parks and Gardens

Bananarama, James Blunt and Jack Savoretti, Will Young and James Morrison, DJ Spoony and the Gipsy Kings play at Kew the Music in 2020, a week of summer picnic concerts set within the stunning grounds ...more

Jack Savoretti

Thursday 9th July 2020 - 6pm | £47

 
Jack Savoretti Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens) 2020-07-092020-07-09 Where:
Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond London, TW9 3AB
Category: Parks and Gardens

Acoustic folk and pop from the gritty Anglo-Italian singer-songwriter including the hits Tie Me Down, Home and The Other Side Of Love from the fourth studio album Written In Scars.

DJ Spoony Presents Garage Classical

Saturday 11th July 2020 - 5pm | £47, child £29

 
DJ Spoony Presents Garage Classical Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens) 2020-07-112020-07-11 Where:
Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond London, TW9 3AB
Category: Parks and Gardens

The DJ joins forces with Ignition Orchestra to perform garage classics arranged for string ensemble, featuring original vocalists of some of the most popular garage songs out there including Do You Really Like It?, Crazy ...

All events at Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens)
 
 
 

Untangling the Tracks

Have a go at untangling the tracks, getting the trains into the right platforms.

London Transport Museum, 39 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7BB

Tube: Covent Garden Station

 

Dates: 24th May 2019 to 31st May 2020

 

The London Transport Museum looks at the history of the Thameslink train line with its new exhibition, Untangling the Tracks. Tracing the history of the route from 1866 through to the recent 7 billion modernisation programme, the exhibition shows how the line has developed over the years and how modern infrastructure allows for millions of passengers to travel on the route each year - something that would have been an unimaginable feat for the Victorians who founded and ran the original railway. Visitors will be able to discover how the modernisation programme has transformed the route and untangled the tracks, which now run into a completely rebuilt London Bridge station. A number of vintage transport posters also go on display and the exhibition provides the chance to solve and Untangling the Tracks puzzle by navigating trains into the correct platforms.

 
 
 

Jeppe Hein: Appearing Rooms

Splashing fun on the South Bank during the summer.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 24th May - 01st September 2019

 

To the art world Jeppe Hein's 'Appearing Rooms' is a delightful mix of sculpture and architecture, playing with the viewers perception of solid forms. To the many kids and families who flock to the South Bank in the summer, the Danish artist's water jets provide a great way to cool off, dashing in and out of the unpredictable spurts of water. Watch for a few minutes and you'll soon be tempted to join in, especially on a hot day. As the 'walls' of water which return to the usual spot outside the Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall appear and disappear you can try walking through the 'rooms' without getting wet - chances are you won't manage it but it's fun trying.

 
 
 
 
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