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Summer holidays in London

Keep the kids entertained with these fail-safe ideas for things to do over the school holidays

Six weeks is a long time to keep anyone entertained, let alone your toughest critics. Don't panic though, we've got this year's school summer holidays totally sorted. Let the younger ones go wild at a city farm, send your teens to swot up at one of London's top museums, or take your pick of our favourite family-friendly events going on in the capital from July 19 - August 31 2016. For more inspiration, check out our bumper collection of 101 things to do in London with kids and keep them busy all year round. 

Our summer holiday London highlights

Kids Week
Theatre

Kids Week

This annual event promoting West End theatre for children returns – though don't be confused by the title - it's running for a whole month (August 1-31). Part of the month sees participating shows offer one child (aged 16 and under) per adult to see the performance for free, and up to two extra children can go for half price with no booking fees.

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Mr Men and Little Miss Mini Museum
Things to do

Mr Men and Little Miss Mini Museum

The colourful children's characters celebrate their 45th birthday this year, and to mark the occasion, hundreds of Mr Men and Little Miss pieces of memorabilia will be on display at the exhibition designed at a child's scale. Visitors can add their own stamp by uploading an image of their own memorabilia, and the first 45 to do so will receive a limited edition print signed by Adam Hargreaves.

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Zoorassic Park
Things to do

Zoorassic Park

Come face to face with a life-size dinosaurs as they're resurrected for six weeks only at Whipsnade Zoo. Families can meet the dino keepers and learn more about the t-rexs, and brachiosaurus that roamed the planet 65 million years ago. There will also be plenty of fun dino-themed activities for little ones to get stuck into.

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ArcelorMittal Orbit Slide
Things to do

ArcelorMittal Orbit Slide

Belgian artist Carsten Höller (who set up a pair of spiral slides outside the Hayward Gallery as part of his 2015 exhibition) has designed this new addition to the Olympic Park's sculpture-cum-attraction. Guests will be able to fly down the world's longest and tallest slide as part of their visit from Friday June 24 2016. Visit the ArcelorMittal website for advance booking.

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Beach East
Things to do

Beach East

Life's a beach once again at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with over 2,200 square metres of sand deposited at the site for endless sandcastle competitions and balmy evening walks. This year's tropical offering will have a Rio theme in celebration of the Olympics and there will be big screens to watch it on from Aug 6-21. A gigantic paddling pool and funfair rides will entertain the kids, and two beach bars will keep the adults suitably refreshed.

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The Graphic Art of the Harry Potter Films
Things to do

The Graphic Art of the Harry Potter Films

No tickets to The Cursed Child? No problem. See sketches by graphic designers MinaLima who've helped produce graphic props for J K Rowling's upcoming feature film - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. From The Marauder's Map to Harry's Acceptance Letter to The Daily Prophet, see fantastical bits from Rowling's creations in this Soho pop-up. 

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Beatrix Potter's London
Things to do

Beatrix Potter's London

2016 marks the 150th anniversary of celebrated children's author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter who was a frequent visitor to the museum where she would often sit and sketch. This exhibition celebrates the date with artworks, original sketches and her earliest published works on show.

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Sensational Butterflies
Things to do

Sensational Butterflies

The Natural History Museum's butterfly house returns for an eighth year in 2016 to a specially constructed tropical enclosure on the Museum's east lawn. Visitors can come face-to-face with tropical butterflies, including the swallowtail, blue morpho, the moon moth and many others originating from Africa, Southeast Asia and North and South America, and take part in games, activities and challenges that teach more about the sensory world of the fluttering creatures. Most of the creatures in the Natural History Museum have been dead for a very, very long time. But here, in this humid tent on its lawn, you can see the most beautiful birth sequence in the natural world: a butterfly wriggling out of its chrysalis, pumping up its damp wings then taking flight and landing – if you're lucky – on you, instead of a flower. Each year, hundreds of tropical chrysalises arrive at Heathrow from all over the world, destined for the tender care of the Museum’s expert lepidopterist Luke Brown – also a skilled butterfly midwife, who watches lovingly over their metamorphoses, and steps in with a pin to help the little insects free of their leaf-shaped pods if they’re struggling. In the wild, only 10 to 15 percent of them will make this extraordinary transformation from hairy caterpillar to nectar-sipping glider: here, the success rate is more like 85 percent.  Even if you don’t catch one in the act of emerging, this is a truly sensational environment: the damp, hot air is thick with colourful

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FIND MORE THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN THE CITY

Outdoor fun for kids this summer

Lidos and outdoor swimming pools
Things to do

Lidos and outdoor swimming pools

Escape the summer heat with the dip in the open air

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Major parks to explore in London
Things to do

Major parks to explore in London

Take the little ones for a picnic in one of London's green spots

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City farms in London
Things to do

City farms in London

It's baby animal season!

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Outdoor activities for kids
Kids

Outdoor activities for kids

From adventure playgrounds to bouncy boat trips

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See more outdoor activities in London

Indoor fun for kids this summer

Top ten kids' theatre shows this summer
Theatre

Top ten kids' theatre shows this summer

Sick of kids squirming for two full acts? Try one of these energetic theatre shows

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Top ten films for kids this summer
Film

Top ten films for kids this summer

A rainy day is the perfect excuse to have a popcorn party instead

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Indoor play centres in London
Kids

Indoor play centres in London

Let the kids loose in the city's best indoor play areas

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Top ten museums for kids
Museums

Top ten museums for kids

London's museums put loads of effort into making their exhibits accessible to children

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More family-friendly things to do

101 things to do in London with kids
Kids

101 things to do in London with kids

Discover the best things to do with children in the city

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Free things to do with kids in London
Kids

Free things to do with kids in London

Grab a packed lunch and leave your purse at home

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