Thunderbird Releasing
Photograph: Thunderbird Releasing

8 non-naff ways to celebrate Father’s Day in London

Show Dad you care with something more than a shaving kit or novelty mug


A large chunk of this year was spent hiding under a hypothetical rock that robbed us of all sense of time, so it’s understandable if you forgot Father’s Day is on its way (this year it’s Sunday June 20). But we just reminded you. So don’t forget.

With most international holidays still off the cards, it’s going to be a tough date for anyone who doesn’t happen to live in easy travelling distance of their family members. If you are fortunate enough to live in the same city as your parent, we’ve gathered some decent and not at all naff ways to spend the day together. If not, we’ve included some online-only ideas to help you catch up remotely. 

Still not found what you’re after? Try our guide to London’s unusual things to do.

RECOMMENDED: Our full guide to celebrating Father’s Day in London.

  • Museums
  • History
  • Clerkenwell

DO take a ride on the Mail Rail 

Go and learn about the secret underground railway built beneath London, linking Post Offices from Paddington to Whitechapel and delivering mail until its closure in 2003. A ride on one of the Mail Rail trains (made for carrying millions of letters, not humans) will have you both feeling like big kids in no time.

When is it? Open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Where is it? The Postal Museum and Mail Rail, 15-20 Phoenix Place, WC1X 0DA. Book your tickets here. 

  • Cinemas
  • Stratford
DON’T just go for a kick about
DON’T just go for a kick about

DO challenge him to a rooftop games day at Roof East

Find new ways to argue at Roof East’s Social Fun and Games Club, a space filled with batting cages, crazy golf and urban lawn bowls. Then make peace over a few slices of East Side Pizza afterwards.

When is it? Open daily, but you need to book a table in advance. Where is it? Roof East, Floors 7 and 8, Stratford Multistorey Car Park. Find out more here

  • Art
  • Art

DO wander around a forest in Somerset House

There is a lot to see at this year’s London Design Biennale, but the main event is ES Devlin’s ‘Global Goals Pavilion’: a cluster of 400 trees in the Somerset House couryard. Weave through the paths of tree bark to its centre, where you’ll find colourful pillars displaying troubling information about climate change. But leave plenty of time to explore the exhibits inside, including an illuminated olive tree, a giant metronome that lets out wafts of perfume, and an exhibition about spoons. 

When is it? Until June 27. Where is it? Somerset House. Book tickets here 

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

DO try an online escape room

Not able to see your dad in person this year? Set yourselves up as a crack problem-solving team for an online escape room session. Hear us out: online escape rooms take place entirely through your screen, and even though it’s a novel concept dreamt up during lockdown, there are already many variations of the genre. Some blend the code-cracking with a bit of interactive theatre using Zoom, others use a digital version of an escape room that can be played through an avatar. If your dad is a whizz at board games and is suspiciously good at cracking codes, this could be a great way of spending some time virtual together

Find a list of online escape rooms here.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

DO get nostalgic together at the Museum of Youth Culture’s pop-up shop

The Museum of Youth Culture is an organisation that’s building an archive of the ‘styles, sounds and movements’ of young people in the UK over the last century, whether it’s photos of Teddy Boys or that faded polaroid of you and your friends at a My Chemical Romance gig. It doesn’t have a permanent space right now, but part of the collection can be found at its new pop-up, where you’ll find rare zines, a ‘reconstructed teenage bedroom’ and photographic exhibitions. Whether your dad was a a mod, a punk, an acid raver or none of the above, you’ll both see a bit of yourselves in the Museum of Youth Culture displays. 

When is it? Open Monday to Saturday until early July. Where is it? 3 Carnaby St, W1F 9PH. Find out more here. 

Where to eat on Father’s Day

    London for less
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