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Six places in London to get away from kids this summer

Chris Heasman

We're just about halfway through the year and, predictable as ever, summer has seen fit to grace us with its sometimes sweltering, sometimes disappointing presence. One thing that can be counted on, however, is that the kids are absolutely bloody everywhere. School's out, so the pitter-patter of tiny feet and constant din of playful voices is now forever in our presence. Some might find that quaint and endearing. Some might not. For the latter group, here are a few places to flee to where you definitely won't have to deal with anybody's errant sprogs. Enjoy the peace and quiet.


1. Underground

Drastic, we know, but if you need to get away from the little ones then perhaps retreating into the bowels of the Earth is the only option. Any Londoner will tell you that beneath our illustrious city sits all sorts of hidden alcoves, disused tube stations and abandoned bunkers. Most of them are impossible to get into (or just plain illegal), but the London Transport Museum runs its (over-16s only) Hidden London tours: a foray into those lost and secret places underneath street level. A couple of them are sold out, but the remaining two – a subterranean shelter in Clapham South and Churchill's secret bunker near Down Street – should provide a bit of solace from the summer madness above.


Twilight Imperium. No idea what's going on, but it looks epic! #boardgames

A photo posted by London on Board (@londononboard) on

2. Board game evenings

If you're slightly less willing to get your shoes scuffed, you could always give one of London On Board's events a try. The group tends to get together in various pubs around the city, doing exactly what they say they do – playing board games. It's communal, it's mentally stimulating, they do it on basically every night of the week and, best of all, you've got to be over 18 to get stuck in. Far more wholesome than simply going out drinking.

3. Big Ben

A good one if the touristy heart of central London all gets a bit too much. Guided tours are available up the Elizabeth Tower to see Big Ben up close for all UK citizens. They're free of charge (though you've got to write to your MP to get on the list) and take you right up to the top of the tower. It's not strictly child-free, since the age limit is 11, but the difficulty of getting a booking should mean that it's not exactly overrun with loutish teens. And even if it is, maybe the 334 spiral steps to the top will keep them quiet.


A photo posted by Andy Rich (@andyrichh) on

4. Comedy nights

More of a general option here, but the rule of thumb is that more or less every decent comedy night around London – even the ones that don't take place in bars or pubs – will have a strict age limit on entry. The Comedy Store, in the West End, is one of the busiest (and definitely sticks to that age limit), but there are a whole load of other places to go if that doesn't tickle your fancy. Perfect to round off a busy day of climbing clock towers and playing Cluedo.


A photo posted by Zoe Kirk (@zoekirk) on

5. Museum lates

London's museums are rather famous for their after-hours events – and for good reason. These places are absolutely rammed during the day, and that gets especially bad in summer. Anyone who's had the misfortune of visiting the British Museum on a Friday afternoon in August will attest to that. Enjoy the exhibits after the museums have closed instead, when all the kids are tucked up in bed.  

6. Morning raves

Morning raves are exactly what they sound like. You get up and then go party your face off for a couple of hours before work. All of them are entirely wholesome (think mocktails, not cocktails) but that doesn't mean you'll see any young'uns there – the events are entirely adult-only. Morning Gloryville is the original and, arguably, the best. Go have a bit of fun before the kids wake up.

Check out a few more things to do during the summer holidays.

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