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Things to do during the school summer holidays in London

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On board HMS Belfast, a young visitor get hands on with history by helping to conserve the ship. © IWM
London is bursting with activities and attractions to keep children busy during the school summer holidays. Read More
  • Enjoy Harry Potter special exhibits, Dinosaurs in the Wild and KidZania Summer Camp.
  • Find action-packed activities such as Zip Now London zip wire and The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
  • See family shows at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, The O2 and National Theatre.


Make the school summer holidays memorable by enjoying interactive exhibitions, children’s theatre shows and kid-friendly museums.

There are lots of brilliant things to do in London during the kids’ school summer holidays 2018. Whether you’ve got little ones or teenagers to keep entertained, we’ve rounded up summer holiday activities for all ages to enjoy.

Summer holiday 2018 events in London


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  • Hear first-hand stories from war veterans and eyewitnesses of the Second World War and Cold War at IWM London. Various dates
  • Get close to a Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex and other giant creatures with interactive Dinosaurs in the Wild in Greenwich. Until 2 Sep
  • Mingle with hundreds of fluttering butterflies in the Natural History Museum’s Sensational Butterflies tropical house. Until 16 Sep
  • Step inside the magical world of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, featuring special events during school holidays. Until 23 Sep
  • Celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday with spellbinding installations in Sounds and Sorcery celebrating Disney Fantasia. Until 30 Sep
  • Be treated to circus performances or get gooey with the Slime Factory, as part of The Mall Wood Green’s free summer activities. 21 Jul-29 Aug
  • Join the Superhero Academy, where you can uncover your hidden superpowers and learn about conservation, at ZSL London Zoo. 21 Jul-2 Sep
  • Visit the Queen’s London home, as Buckingham Palace opens its doors for the summer months. 21 Jul-30 Sep
  • Delve beneath the covers of classic books with storytelling sessions, or learn Polynesian dance moves at the British Library. 26 Jul and 16 Aug
  • Head to The Funfair, driven by SEAT, for classic rides, games and free activities at Westfield London (27 Jul-5 Aug) and Westfield Stratford City (18 Aug-2 Sep).
  • Get hands-on, as you help to conserve wartime ship HMS Belfast with fun Ship Shape Saturday workshops. 28 Jul and 4, 11, 18, 25 Aug
  • Try your hand at being a policeman or an engineer, as KidZania's Summer Camp returns with extra features. 30 Jul-16 Aug
  • Enjoy free performances and prop-filled displays with the Disney in the West End summer pop-up in Covent Garden this summer. 31 Jul-26 Aug
  • Celebrate the 150th birthday of Smithfield Market during a weekend filled with fun games, live music and foodie treats at Smithfield 150. 25-26 Aug
  • Find budget-friendly family summer activities with our guide to free things to do in London with kids.

Outdoor summer holiday activities


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  • Enjoy outdoor workshops and family-friendly film screenings as part of Battersea Power Station's Power of Summer activities. Until 29 Aug
  • Seek out fox-themed artworks on the Fox Marks the Spot design trail, which links foodie hotspots in Bankside. Until 31 Aug
  • Make the most of traffic-free Regent Street with family activities, food and shopping offers during Summer Streets8, 15 and 22 Jul
  • Bring your swimwear and take the plunge, as you whizz down the 120ft-long (37m) Slip N’ Slide inflatable slide at Lambeth Country Show. 21-22 Jul
  • Work up a sweat during pedal-powered outdoor film screenings, including Sister Act and Grease, at Southbank Centre. 25 Jul and 1, 8, 15 and 22 Aug
  • Saddle up and take to traffic-free London streets with mass participation bike rides during Prudential RideLondon28-29 Jul
  • See a parade of young performers in colourful costumes dance and swirl through the streets on Notting Hill Carnival’s Children's Day. 26 Aug

Things to do with teenagers this summer

For more school holiday ideas, take a look at our roundup of 101 things to do in London with teens.

Summer school holiday activities for young children

  • Meet meerkats and enjoy outdoor activities at Lee Valley Park Farms.
  • Look for mythical beasts and discover a secret grotto in the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace.
  • Become a pirate for the day on a huge wooden pirate ship at the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.
  • Discover more about space exploration with family workshops, planetarium shows and talks at Royal Observatory Greenwich. Various dates
  • Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin with wildlife activities, including making your own wormery, at Down House. Various dates
  • Try out being a knight or princess, join a bug safari or learn how to become a soldier at Eltham Palace and Gardens. Various dates
  • Enjoy a summer filled with family-friendly activities at the London Museum of Water and Steam, as kids go free over the school holidays. Various dates
  • Have a go at making Kenwood House’s famous paintings come to life with Quest and Craft activities throughout the summer holidays. Various dates
  • Delve into the secrets of the deep through dancing, storytelling, object handling and family trails at National Maritime Museum. 21 Jul-2 Sep
  • Hone your engineering skills with workshops, demonstrations and storytelling at London Transport Museum, as part of its Great Summer of Engineering. 21 Jul-3 Sep
  • Take part in arts and crafts workshops, have a go at challenges and enjoy butterfly walks and more at Horniman Museum and Gardens. 23 Jul-30 Aug
  • Fashion art from flotsam washed up by the sea and make figureheads for ships as part of holiday craft sessions at Cutty Sark. 4 Aug-1 Sep

Family shows in London


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  • See a family show at the Underbelly Festival in South Bank, including Metta’s Little Mermaid circus performances. Until 30 Sep
  • Tumble down the rabbit hole, as Alice in Wonderland plays out in the grounds of Kew Gardens. 21 Jul-27 Aug
  • Follow the adventures of Alex the lion and Marty the zebra in Madagascar – The Musical, at the New Wimbledon Theatre. 21-28 Jul
  • See the much-loved book, The Scarecrows’ Wedding, brought to life at Leicester Square Theatre. 21 Jul-2 Sep
  • Get a free child ticket to popular theatre shows, with a full-price adult ticket, during Kids Week this summer school holiday. 1-31 Aug
  • Go on a journey through space with the National Theatre’s interactive show The Star Seekers, and enjoy out-of-this-world activities. 8 Aug-1 Sep
  • Feel the ferociousness of 18 lifelike dinosaurs, roaming The O2’s stage during Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular. 14-19 Aug
  • Find how a boy’s stay with his granny uncovers a secret in an adaption of David Walliams’ book, Gangsta Granny. 14-26 Aug
  • Soak up the atmosphere as Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre returns with family show Dinosaur World Live. 14 Aug-9 Sep

Keep the little ones entertained during the school summer holidays in London with more family-friendly theatre shows.

Family-friendly hotels and restaurants in London

For more inspiration this summer holiday, see what else is on in London or take a look at our guide to London for kids, including best museums for children.

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