Dulwich Picture Gallery
Photograph: Dulwich Picture Gallery

Nine amazing family days out this summer

Make lasting memories with the little ones

Written by Annette Richardson in association with FREE NOW.

Stuck for summer holiday inspo? Have you got little ones that need to be kept entertained? Well, you're in the right place. This is the ultimate guide to amazing days out with the family. Get stuck into interactive exhibitions, awe-inspiring street parties and incredible outdoor productions of childhood classics with our pick of nine unforgettable kid-friendly experiences in London this summer. 

Although kids are welcome over the entire weekend, Sunday (August 29) is families’ day with a children’s parade and a manageable route for little feet. Plus there’s plenty of music and craft workshops for kids.

Notting Hill Carnival. Aug 28-29. Free.

Let your kids embrace their inner mud monsters! They can get up close to frogs, fish, woodlice and worms through pond-dipping and minibeast hunting.

Woodberry Wetlands. Jul 3 and 17. Free. Suggested donation £3.

Even Cruella de Vil might find it’s too hot for her infamous fur coat in July, but this open-air production of ‘101 Dalmatians’ promises music along with the arch-villain’s murderous intentions towards the spotty canine crew.

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Jul 12-Aug 28. £23-£63. £11.50-£29 child.

At this day-long workshop, professional poets will help aspiring young writers (aged 11-17) explore various poetry forms including rap and rhyme.

Royal Festival Hall, Clore Ballroom. Jul 10. Free.

Calling all Katniss wannabes: these two-day outdoor sessions hit right on target, combining bushcraft, nature knowhow plus game-style challenges. Perfect for kids who love learning new skills through fun practical challenges.

Various dates and locations. Jul and Aug. Ages 8-14. From £140 for two days.

There are a whopping nine decks to shimmy up and down on the HMS Belfast and plenty to keep would-be junior recruits occupied, from the more obvious delights of having a go following captain’s orders steering the ship ready for D-Day to ‘peeling potatoes’ for 950 hungry diners against the clock.

HMS Belfast. £23.50, £11.80 child.

The holidays are a chance to get creative so we love that award-winning author and museum trustee Lemn Sissay shares the secrets of his collaboration with artist Greg Stobbs on popular picture book ‘Don’t Ask the Dragon’ in a display.

Foundling Museum. £9.50, children free.

Rosie Hudson
Schools and early years programme producer at the Postal Museum

‘Bookend your day out by reading a related picture book – like “Dear Zoo” or “The Jolly Postman” if you’re visiting the Postal Museum. Then invite your kids to write a postcard to their favourite character, reflecting on the trip, and draw a memory from the day on the front.’

Want more summer inspiration?

  • Things to do

Summer in London is, of course, as fleeting as it is potent. Before you can say ‘Is it too early for a second 99 Flake?’ it’s over. So you’ll want to take full advantage of every sweet moment of tipsy, sun-kissed bliss, or risk missing out. Thankfully, we’ve teamed up with mobility super app FREE NOW to create the definitive guide to the sunny season. Food, sport and something called ‘The Black Chapel’, it’s all here. Get stuck in.

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