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How to keep a teenager happy in London this autumn

Coralie Grassin

It usually happens overnight. One moment you have a child, then they've turned into a teenager. This usually means they'll want more independence - so since the summer hols have exhausted all of the outings ideas you thought of, don't panic, we’ve done some homework to help you keep them happy this autumn.

For the can’t-stay-in-place teenager

How about a sporty but fun option with a little competition to keep their interest high? There are still a few warm days ahead so you could go paddle boarding on the London canals. Camden seems the ideal place to start as it can be followed by a shopping session and maybe a liquid nitrogen ice-cream at Chin Chin Labs. Alternatively, take them to the coolest swimming place in town, King’s Cross pond - or if you really want to push their limits, the Vertical Chill Experience is sure to wow them. It’s not just a climbing wall, it’s made of ice and is the closest they can get to mountaineering without leaving the city.

For the selfie addict with a creative mind

They've probably mastered iPhonography with their endless selfies but there's no harm in taking them back to basics: the Lomography Gallery store organises workshops which include the loan of a camera. London Walks also offer a clever photography tour giving them lots of technical tips to get started. Selfies-wise, Shoreditch street art murals always prove a good background – or they can head over to Madame Tussauds, which opened a Star Wars gallery recently. No doubt standing by Darth Vader should be quite the talk of the common room come Monday morning.

 For the foodie-to-be in search of a pinch of magic

London has a great amount of themed afternoon teas. This option is for the teenager who still loves the magical side of their favourite childhood book. The Mad Hatter one at the Sanderson has funky dishes, mocktail potions in a bottle and Alice-inspired cakes which should definitely be a hit. At One Aldwych, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tea includes homemade candy floss, sweet golden egg filled with vanilla cheesecake and mango and pop cakes and doughnuts. How can this not make their eyes (and yours) twinkle? And young fashionistas will fall for the Berkeley’s haute couture-inspired spread.  

For the movie-loving teen

It’s time to show them all the classics you love. Secret Cinema will give 'Star Wars' fans the fully immersive experience (until Sep 27). Meanwhile Pillow Cinema lets you rent giant fluffy cushions to crash on, perfect for lazy days. Or better still, the IMAX 3D cinema at the Science Museum will give them enough thrills to keep them happy for a while (or at least, until winter). 

For more ideas, check out 101 things to do in London with kids.

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