Nine amazing family days out this summer
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.
Nine ways to be at one with nature this summer
London is one fun place to be when summer rolls around. And while we can't always count on the weather (this is England, after all), the city's outdoor spaces are brimming with activity. From nature trails to immersive experiences and full-blown country fairs, these are the reasons why you should get outdoors and be at one with nature this summer.
Ten ways to fill your London summer with culture and creativity
When the days are longer, the breeze is flowing through your hair and you've got an iced coffee in hand, all you need to cap it off is somewhere amazing to go. And that's where we come in! Satisfy your curiosity with our list of ten arts and culture highlights of London this summer.
15 brilliant beaches near London
As dazzling as London can be in the summer, there’s really only one place that everyone wants to be at the height of summer: the beach. And if the British seaside is calling to you, siren-like right now, you’ll be pleased to know that London is actually within easy reach of plenty of gorgeous seaside towns and scenic coastal walks – not to mention some of the best beaches in the UK. From the vast unbroken expanse of Camber Sands to the eerie other-worldly beauty of Dungeness, we’ve rounded up the 15 best beaches within two hours of the capital. Whether you’re after secluded spots or bustling resort towns, we’ve got you covered. So pack your swimming cozzie, grab your bucket and spade, and head to one of these gorgeous beaches near London. Just don’t forget the factor-50. It might be England, but it can still get scorching out there. RECOMMENDED The best day trips from London.
Easter activities for kids in London
Remember Easter? We get a four-day bank holiday weekend (Friday April 15 to Monday April 18 this year) when we can go out and have fun with our family. We haven’t had a proper Easter for a couple of years, so you’d be forgiven for forgetting what to do. Which is where we come in. Below is a list of ideas for things you can get up to in London with the kids this Easter weekend – and the rest of the the school holidays. Welcome back! RECOMMENDED: Crack open our full guide to the Easter weekend.
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The V&A’s ambitious new exhibition is a triumphant attempt to complete the near-impossible task of capturing an entire continent through its fashion. Incorporating textiles, design and still and moving images, ‘Africa Fashion’ takes visitors on a compelling journey from the 1960s to the present day in a bid to reshape existing geographies and narratives of style. It feels like a glorious celebration. There’s joy in the key points that punctuate the show: a brilliant pink outfit of trousers and kinetic cape by Imane Ayissi from 2019 bams you straight in the eye as you enter. The second floor is dominated by Artsi Ifrach’s Maison Artc ‘A Dialogue Between Cultures’, with its organza, ribbon and plastic-fishbone crinoline, dress and mask at the top of the stairs, while James Barnor’s gorgeous Kodachrome photographs hail us like old friends in an embrace of colour. But there’s also pleasure in the quieter examples: a salt-crystal necklace by Ami Doshi Shah, Ibrahim Kamala’s loving 2022 photographic homage to trailblazing designer Chris Seydou’s 1980s ensemble, the assurance of Gouleh Ahmed’s images of non-binary people. While these moments accrue, there’s never a sense of being overwhelmed by content, there’s a confident restraint, a balance between the headliners and the new kids on the block which always keeps things fresh and unflagging. Identity and Blackness are core here, and while there’s a political dimension working through the narratives and choice of contemporary design
Admittedly any eggs might be bigger (and riskier) than the traditional Easter versions, but getting up close and personal with dinosaurs is a perennial crowd-pleaser with kids. In April, Dino Kingdom opens its gates to families with a host of projections, holograms, fossils, dino babies and, best of all, a number of fearsome lifelike moving dinosaurs, including a 16-metre-high T-rex ready to roar at those brave enough to say hello. Early-bird tickets are available with 20 percent off.
Horniman Museum Spring Fair
Long established as one of the best south-east London places to take the kids, this gem of a museum and gardens has a lovely spring fair on April 16. Head there with your homemade spring chapeaux for an Easter Bonnet parade and competition – plus family-friendly fun with performances from the young drummers of South London Samba, veggie cooking demos, garden trails, arts and crafts, and live music by the Alvar Tree Frogs, a New Orleans jazz band.
A London pub is selling a beer that costs £80 a pint
We’re all becoming used to the price of beer in London getting a bit obscene. But a pint that costs £80? What’s it made of? Liquid gold? Diamond dust suspended in the bottled tears of BTS? Whatever, it had better be good. The beer is currently being sold in a pub in Brixton – Craft Beer Co – one of the Brewery’s seven rather well-appointed hostelries, six of which are dotted across London with the other in Brighton. (Oh, and check out our list of London’s 100 Best Pubs while you’re at it.) The beer, or rather the speciality ale, in question, is the Reforged 20th Anniversary Ale, created by the American AleSmith Brewing Company. Care has undeniably been lavished on it. It’s been aged in a bourbon barrel for 18 months which produces a dark sticky syrupy yet sour ale with competing notes of chocolate, coffee, barley wine, vanilla, and malt. The resulting 11% ABV concoction retails at £105 for a 750ml bottle, equivalent to 1.3 pints. Punters, however, have not exactly been flocking to purchase it. Those that have forked out the better part of a ton for it have said that they found it too syrupy and strong in taste for a whole pint, though one you’d be reluctant to leave once committed to, we imagine. Craft Beer Co is known for offering a selection of unusual draught and keg beers, as a quick survey of its daily draught list reveals, with highlights including the alarmingly named Das Ist Techno Sex – Upfront (which has ‘passionfruit and key lime gose’ overtones, and is a less hea
Ninja Kitchen is doing a ‘fakeaway’ pop-up with Isaac Carew
Foodies, this is a call to grab your cutlery weapon of choice and head down to Shoreditch Boxpark on Saturday July 2. Like a siren song luring hungry Londoners on to the rocks, Ninja Kitchen has teamed up with chef and model Isaac Carew to deliver us a treat with a free 'Fast Foodi’ pop-up that ditches all the bad stuff often involved in eating things we like, but cunningly, retains all the deliciousness. The collaboration between the manufacturers of covetable kitchen gadgets like seven-speed blenders and air fryers and Carew, their culinary UK ambassador and author of ‘The Dirty Dishes: 100 Fast and Delicious Recipes’ is one to get us salivating. The chef explains: ‘There’s nothing better than good food done well, so when Ninja Kitchen UK invited me to host their Fast Foodi pop-up, I knew I couldn’t say no. ‘I have always said that “dirty” food doesn’t have to be unhealthy for you, which is why I love that Ninja is recreating fakeaways in the hope that they will encourage Brits to try something new in the kitchen. Food that’s better for you, saves money and doesn’t compromise on taste… what’s not to love?’ So, from noon on July 2, the first 500 Londoners lucky enough to be at the front of the pop-up queue will be able to try twists on classic takeaways, all cooked with Ninja’s appliances: kimchi beef burgers, vegan buffalo cauliflower bites, chicken tinga tacos, the moreish-sounding spicy halloumi fries and, for sweet-toothed addicts, salted chocolate fudge ice cream and ve
Black Pound Day to launch permanent store in Westfield
I know we are all supposed to be buying less these days, but if you have that retail itch and just can’t scratch it, or if you have been really good and just damn well need a new jacket/skincream because you are down to the tatters/dregs with the last one, then Black Pound Day is setting up permanent residence at Westfield on June 25: one positive way to keep supporting homegrown UK Black brands. It’s a prime opportunity to wield some power with your consumer spend and champion more than 80 Black-owned businesses at the huge new department store. It’s been just two years since Black Pound Day launched in the middle of the UK lockdown and since then it has gathered huge momentum. Last year saw a successful pop-up store in Westfield – something of a landmark event for Europe’s biggest shopping centre, and the website now has more than 1,500 businesses in its directory, all raising awareness of Black-led businesses up and down the country since. Now the new permanent shopfront will be a destination for eager London shoppers keen to get themselves quality products in haircare, homeware, fashion or beauty, including rising stars such as recent ‘Dragon Den’ winner March Muses with her range of diverse decorations. Black Pound Day was founded by award-winning UK music artist and So Solid Crew member Swiss, with the aim to get shoppers spending their notes with local and online UK Black-owned businesses, and to get everyone thinking about replacing those usual purchases with service
Watch out, Clapham! Poundland is opening a cornershop
In news which will be welcome to south Londoners who have a tough night on Saturday, only to realise on Sunday that there’s no milk or bog roll and can’t face the supermarket run in their PJs: retail giant Poundland has announced that it will be opening its first ‘cornershop’ London Local store on Saturday July 2 in Clapham Junction, just in time to rescue you from the calamity of essential shortages. Poundland has been running since 1990, opening its first branch in Burton-on-Trent. It has more than 800 stores in the UK and has thrived with its simple one-price-point strategy (almost everything is a £1 in case you hadn’t realised). The Poundland Local concept, which launched in 2021, is slightly different from the traditional Aladdin’s cave approach of the standard stores where you can get everything from bin-number stickers and bird feeders to multi-packs of Skips crisps, all for a single shiny coin. It’s taking a more convenience store approach, offering actual fruit and veg, food in the chiller cabinet, hot pies, and, erm, beer and wine, along with those mercy-dash items like nappies, glitter glue and After Eights. Given how expensive it is living in London right now, these are glad tidings indeed, even if we do have to listen to a looped recording of Dracula at the self-service tills every bleeding Halloween. Such is the Poundland’s fame and ubiquity on every high street that there’s even been a museum dedicated to the store at Ludstone Hall in Claverley. Admittedly it w
Four London pubs have been listed for their awesome interiors
We Londoners are known for liking a bit of ambience with our quaffing, so it comes as little surprise that no fewer than four of our capital’s pubs are being recognised for having interiors that are considered of major historic significance. You’ve probably come across buildings that are ‘Grade II-listed’ – hell, if you’re a west London postcode you probably can afford to live in one – but did you know the inside is as important as the exterior? And that’s not just in memes on Instagram or in meditation class but also in architecture. The Red Lion, Westminster. Photograph: Chris Redgrave / Historic England Every now and then the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport appraises existing structures, with recommendations from Historic England plus some input from CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale), and then will list, upgrade or re-list sites so that we preserve some fine examples of our heritage. That’s how The Prince Alfred in Maida Vale has been upgraded to Grade II*. It’s probably no surprise, as the Victorian boozer was first listed in 1970 and boasts amazing carved mahogany fixtures – the bar alone looks like it might take off it’s so ornately decorated with wings and curlicues – plus rare etched glass ‘snob screens’, a nineteenth-century way to let the poshos observe the lower orders without being seen inebriating themselves in the private compartments. The Blythe Hill Tavern in Catford is newly listed at Grade II and although not as immediately eye-catching,
Whizz-Kidz launches its first accessible art trail with 70 Morph sculptures
What do you call a man with rabbits in his pockets? Warren. What do you call a man without shins? Tony (toe-knee, geddit?). And what do you call a mischievous claymation man who can change shape at will? That’s right, Morph. Well in summer 2023 we’ll be welcoming not just one, but an army of life-size Morphs to the capital, courtesy of Whizz-Kidz, the charity for young wheelchair-users, and Aardman, the original creators of the famous stop-motion character (and later Wallace & Gromit). This Morph battalion, 70-figures strong, will form an accessible art trail across the city, step-free and wheelchair-friendly, in a first for London. London landmarks will include all the big-hitters, such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, The Globe, Borough Market – ensuring that you can pick up some tasty snacks en route – and the Tower of London, where the threat of chopping his head off might make Morph behave for once. When the trail launches next year, visitors will be able to download an app to help them find the Morphs, plus dedicated social media channels to keep up to date with news of Morph’s Epic Art Adventure. Once the trail ends, each uniquely designed statue will be auctioned off, which will raise money for Whizz-Kids, working to ensure every young wheelchair user is mobile, enabled and included and to raise awareness of the need for accessibility and inclusion. Now, in case you’re wondering, Morph is also a term meaning ‘change smoothly from one image to another by small gr
The Docklands Light Railway is going back to the age of steam
Thanks to endless episodes of ‘Poirot’ and the Harry Potter franchise, it’s not just wee small humans who like Thomas and Percy et al, and solitary figures in anoraks at the end of a platform who have a thing for the age of steam. We all love an old-time choo-choo (or steam locomotive if you are reading this and are aged three or older). In the before times, if we wanted a bit of hot engine action, we’d have to head to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway in Kent to get our fix of nostalgic travel, and it is undeniably a thrill riding on one of these eye-catching coal-fuelled trains, half-expecting Jenny Agutter to appear at any moment, waving her petticoat on a stick. (Ancient ‘Railway Children’ reference alert.) However, just for this weekend (Saturday June 18 and Sunday June 19), Londoners will only have to hop over as far as Poplar DLR depot to witness to 150-year-old ‘Poplar’ (see what they did?) engine 70, aka an LB&SCR A-Class 0-6-0T steam locomotive. The engine is owned by the Kent and East Sussex Railway and is in town as part of a schools’ programme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Happily, even London schools don’t work the kids so hard that they are open on a weekend, which means that aside from the school visits, it’s also available to the general public on Saturday and Sunday, provided you book. Tours will run from 10am to 4pm in 30-minute slots throughout the day, and as part of the visit you'll be able to get onto the footplate and take the
London ranks fifth in the world ‘most-stressed cities’ league but we have some answers
Londoners: you okay, hun? It’s official, our capital ranks fifth globally in the ‘most-stressed cities’ league, another of those tables where you really don’t want to find yourself at the top of the charts. In a recent study by optical specialists Lenstore, who have been keeping an eye on such things (sorry), London is right up there with world big-hitters in worrying about the cost of living, air quality, unemployment, property prices and working hours. At least we’re not lacking in access to green spaces, one of the 13 metrics of gauging stress and urban quality of life. So who fares worse? Well, residents of top spot Bogotá in Colombia have to deal with very low wages (just £258.59 monthly) long hours (2,172 annually) high prices and a lot of pollution, plus it’s not even very sunny, with less than half the average hours of Mexico or Costa Rica. Runner-up Athens is sorely deprived of parks amid its dusty cement factories and has soaring unemployment, while Mexico City has the longest hours of anywhere (2,622 on average each year). So in a bid to move ourselves further down the table and away from our more harassed city chums, we’ve taken a look at the other (better) end of the wellbeing scale and offer some tips from more relaxed metropolises. Wellington, New Zealand While the NZ city has access to great beaches and good salaries, which frankly we can do little about, (although you might want to check out these beach beauties close to London). There is an emphasis on c
Big dino park alert! Jurassic World comes to town
Just when you were starting to feel a bit fossilised this summer (it’s this dry heat), the sound of gigantic T-Rex-sized feet thundering in the distance, slowly heading over to ExCel London, has definitely livened things up. That’s right, August 25 sees the launch of ‘Jurassic World: The Exhibition’, a new immersive experience. As you might imagine, any space that’s going to house hordes of life-size velociraptors, brachiosauruses and their scaly mates roaming around as though they own the place – and let’s be honest who’s going to argue with them – needs to be BIG, and it is: there’s 20,000 square feet of dinosaur-dodging site to navigate and plenty to do if dino parks are your vibe. The exhibition coincides with the cinema release of the sixth (and last in the Jeff Goldblum-serving storyline) film in the blockbuster franchise: Jurassic World: Dominion but there’s plenty from earlier films to get up close and personal with, too. For starters, visitors will walk through the famous ‘Jurassic World’ gates… look how well that worked out eh? Alongside that, you’ll be able to have an up-close look at a velociraptor, crick your neck standing under a towering brachiosaurus and encounter the famous tyrannosaurus rex just to ramp up the fear factor. Whether the toilets are dino-proof was unconfirmed at time of going to press. GeoRittenmyerVisitor check out the dino babies at Jurassic World As light relief from the fearsome fire lizards, there’s also the chance to interact with new b
Hackney is so over, says The Times… It suggests these alternatives
Attention, manbun massive (as The Times recently referred to Time Out readers in a piece about Teddington)! Calling all hipsters (out of retirement, presumably): pack up your bags, darlings, we’re leaving. Hackney, that is. Word reaches us, as official sponsors of hip-London-beatnik types, that the same broadsheet has now declared the entirety of Hackney dead and buried as a desirable neighbourhood for young creatives in which to get chummy with a rental contract. In the organ’s words: ‘Its days of being grotty, arty, party central are long gone. Hackney’s demise has been much talked about for years…’ Oooohhh. Helpfully, it has found six UK alternatives, two of ’em in London (nb: paywall). Of course, this leaves us all a bit bereft, since we had only reported recently on the massive urban regeneration in Shoreditch that was going to create hundreds of the kind of independent, flexible small business spaces ideal for us slashies. In fairness, though, The Times’s article points out that massively rising property prices in the borough are a major factor (average house price now £700,000+), so we may have to swallow the bitter reality that Hackney has become too ‘des res’, and thus is hoisted on its own petard. So where can we lay our hats? Let’s take a look at The Times hotlist. Forest Gate, east London Identified as somewhere with a lot of reasonably-priced ( for London) Victorian semis suitable for starting a family. It’s close to Epping Forest and is part of British sporting
BST Hyde Park’s mega Open House series returns this month
Hark! Did someone just say that Hyde Park’s Open House was back this summer? If you want to get out with your friends in all your buffed beauty (hot girl summer was delayed by a year) but the wallet is looking a little less pumped, then we prescribe eight mega days of activities – crucially, with free entry – in the heart of Hyde Park. Okay – what exactly am I letting myself in for? Well, [rubs hands together] outdoor cinema nights can’t hurt, plus live music and the Chef’s Table, plus the world’s largest HIIT workout with the omnipresent Joe Wicks to work it all off. There’s crafting and yoga (not combined, that would be weird), street food, pop-up bars, circus skills and family theatre. In short, a bit of something for everyone. Now you have my attention, more info, please! Pleasure. BST (British Summer Time) Open House takes place between BST’s three weekends of music, mainly obscure up-and-comers you’ve probably never heard of like Elton John, The Rolling Stones and someone called Adele. Basically, Monday June 27 to Thursday June 30 and Monday July 4 to Thursday 7 are BST Open House’s times to shine. If you want in on helping Joe Wicks smash a second workout world record at the festival, rather than just watch other people sweating, then you’ll need to sign-up for Wednesday June 29 as this is a ticketed event, with all sales donated to the suicide prevention charity CALM. Last time, back in 2017, the world’s Largest HIIT workout was achieved, as 3,000 fitness fans jum
A London company will let you work from home for ever. For a pay cut
More and more of us in 2022 are freelancing, adopting flexitime and splitting our time between commuting to the office and utilising our domestic workstations – aka a tea tray on our bed while still wearing our pyjamas. If the last couple of years has taught us anything it’s that Londoners are extremely adept at adapting to different work environments and still managing to get stuff done. Although social media was littered with stories of people boasting about doing sod-all for two years except ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ while allegedly working remotely and then somehow getting a massive promotion, most actual employees have been nose to the grindstone trying to keep everything going, dodging redundancy and trying to keep video meeting with dodgy wifi. Then this week, news hit of an international law firm with offices in London announcing to their staff that they had the choice of whether or not they wanted to work from home permanently. Stephenson Harwood has more than 1,100 employees with its HQ in Finsbury Circus and has offered the option not only to its lawyers but other staff, both in the UK and in the majority of its overseas offices. This may or may not sound very tempting, depending on the quality of team bants are and whether a Friday fish fanatic has control of the office microwave but here’s the rub: anyone taking this option faces a 20 percent pay cut. This has sparked quite a debate, with the firm’s justification being that most of those working remotely full time