Feeling bored? Kids driving you crazy? Don’t worry: we’ve got some interesting ideas for how to keep the family entertained this summer:
1) Notting Hill Carnival
This huge celebration of Caribbean culture takes place on the 27th and 28th of August, during the Bank Holiday. It’s been happening every year since 1966 (with the exception of 2020 and 2021, due to COVID) and is always an unforgettable experience. There will be colourful parades of people and floats following mas bands, multiple sound systems playing eclectic music, and over 300 stalls selling clothes, souvenirs and delicious food. The carnival regularly has over 2,000,000 visitors, so expect big crowds. Entry is free!
2) Greenwich and Docklands International Festival
In the mood for something a little artistic? Greenwich and Docklands Festival used to focus on street theatre, but this year you’ll be able to see some amazing looking art installations and performances including light-up animatronic swans floating in the Thames, a high-wire act, and a dance troupe performing on the roof of a house submerged in water. GDIF runs from 25th August to 3rd of September and entry is free!
3) All Points East
There are a number of music festivals in London during August, but All Points East is one of the biggest. It takes place in Victoria Park in Bow, east London from the 18th to the 27th of August. Watch acts like Stormzy, The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, HAIM, Erykah Badu, Dermot Kennedy, Jungle and more in vibrant east London. Ticket prices vary.
4) The BBC Proms
The Proms are a world-famous series of concerts that take place in the Royal Albert Hall from July to September. There’s a lot of classical music, but other genres feature too, like jazz, film music, soul and there’s a new ‘relaxed’ prom which allows people to come and go freely and even talk during the performance. Ticket prices vary, but you can often get a cheap ticket if you are willing to stand for the concert.
5) The Great British Beer Festival
Feeling thirsty? You won’t have to wait long to sample some of the UK’s best beers as this festival runs from the 1st to the 5th of August. There are over 900 different lagers, ales, stouts and IPAs to discover here and there will be brewers on hand to help you learn about their products. There will be plenty of street food options and live music so take your time and don’t drink too much! Admission is £18 and you may need to pay extra for glasses of beer after sampling.
6) Covent Garden Ice Cream Festival
August can be pretty hot in London so don’t miss a chance to cool down with some quality ice cream in beautiful Covent Garden. From the 20th of August there will be over 40 types of ice cream, sundaes, sorbets, frozen drinks, gelato and more on offer across 35 destinations. You can expect some classic flavours and some interesting new ideas, as well as specially created cold and frozen cocktails and mocktails.
7) Outdoor theatre
The two main outdoor theatres in London are still open for business. At the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre you can see the drag comedy La Cage Aux Folles (29th July to 16th September) and interactive kids’ show Dinosaur World Live (11th August to 3rd September.
Perform in the Park specializes in theatre shows for children. This year’s entertainments include the fairy tale The Three Billy Goats Gruff and Mermaids and Pirates.
8) Summer on the Square
This year, from the 1st to the 28th August in Trafalgar Square, you’ll be able to see art from the National Gallery outside. As well as this there are free workshops on drawing, interactive art, movement, and several others. This should be a great opportunity to introduce your family to art and crafts. All workshops are free and run from 11am-1pm and 2pm – 4pm.
9) Outdoor Cinemas
Dry(ish) weather and long, bright evenings in August mean there are loads of outdoor cinemas opening up in London showing all kinds of films. It’s best to Google your area but consider checking out the following ones: The Luna Cinema (locations including Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey and Key Gardens); Movies On The River (watch a film on a boat sailing down the Thames) and Rooftop Film Club which has locations dotted over London. Break out the popcorn!
10) Take a trip to the beach
There are plenty of beaches within 90mins travelling time from London, so this would need to be a day trip but if the weather is good, it’s well worth the time. If you live in east London, it’s straight forward to get to the beaches at Southend-On-Sea and (quieter) Leigh-On-Sea. From south London you can get to the beaches at Margate or Folkestone in about an hour and a half or by train in about an hour. Brighton beach is very picturesque but it’s a pebble beach so not very comfortable to lie on! There’s loads of trendy shops and cafes to stop at in this town though.
Ruislip Lido and beach popups
Don’t fancy leaving London? Never fear: you can head out to west London to Ruislip Lido, which is has a sandy beach (no swimming though, sorry), a forest, and a kids playground and café. Throughout August there are several popup beaches throughout London where you can rent a sun-lounger, get a drink, and even play some beach games. Check out Fulham Beach, The Beach Brent Cross and Limin’ Beach on the south bank of the Thames.