Top Picks for the week ahead 16th – 22nd July 2020

Now that things are opening up we’ve pulled together some top things to do in July plus our usual round up of virtual top picks – there’s still so much going on and being made available. 

Check out our previous blog on what is opening up in the real world! From theme parks, cinemas, museums and attractions. 

With Kew Gardens and Go Ape open again, these two outdoor attractions offer adventure and exploration and are great places to get the kids active! There’s tons to do at home too with Big Fish Little Fish Online Family Rave, Microsoft’s Virtual Summer Camp, a Pizza Festival, a Q & A with space experts and the final instalment of the Great Fire of London Live Stream. Plus take a closer look at the gentle giants of the dinosaur world. There’s lots to do, watch and enjoy this week. 

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Kew Gardens 

A perfect family day out, explore gorgeous landscapes and gardens, stroll along a soaring treetop walkway, wander through tropical glasshouses and discover shady woodlands. It’s an amazing way to get the kids playing outdoors and learning about the importance of plants at the same time. At the moment the Children’s Garden is temporarily closed and remember, you must book in advance before visiting. 

If you’re looking to visit in August, from the 22nd you can Travel the World at Kew, find out more here

Go Ape Tree Top Adventure

A jam-packed hour of wobbly bridges, intricate crossings and an awesome zip wire finale, Go Ape is designed with the whole family in mind and offers the perfect high ropes course for kids and grown ups. With adventures for all, choose from Tree Top Adventure for the little ones, Tree Top Adventure+ for ages 6+ and Tree Top Challenge for ages 10+.  

Go Ape has locations UK wide and offers tons of other adventures including Nets Adventure and Zip Trekking Adventure.  

Start your adventure here 


Reading Together Day (Thursday 16th July) 

Families across the country are invited to take part in a celebration of reading together on 16 July as part of the Reading Together Day, coordinated by The Reading Agency. We’ll be joining over 15 organisations including the National Literacy Trust, BookTrust, Arts Council England and the British Library to bring families a day of fun activities that families can take part in throughout the day.

It’s been a very tough few months for everyone grappling with the challenges of school changes, loss of support networks and the implementation of social distancing. The aim of the Reading Together Day is to bring families, friends, schools and wider communities together – starting conversations, sharing stories, making connections, celebrating reading and most importantly, having fun! 

Authors include Cathy Cassidy, Andy Stanton, Ben Miller, Tom Palmer and Dolly Parton joins the celebrations too, sharing some of her favourite stories for under-fives.  

Find out more here

Summer Science Exhibition Online; Ask the SpaceXperts (Friday 17th July, 2pm – 4pm) 

Part of Summer Science Online  – the Royal Society’s free digital programme of talks, quizzes and videos celebrating cutting-edge and historic science.

Ask the SpaceXperts is your chance to quiz space experts and ask questions like 

What are black holes? Are we alone in the Universe? How do rockets work? The Q&A will be joined by exhibitors from previous years to help explore the answers to some of the biggest questions about the Universe.

You can ask questions in advance here, or join in live and send questions on the day using #RSAskTheSpaceXperts. Join at 2pm over on the Royal Society’s Twitter and YouTube channel.

The Summer Science Exhibition Online has been running all week so catch up and find out what’s been happening here.  

Big Fish Little Fish Online Family Rave (Friday 17th July,  4.30pm – 6pm)

Tune in on Friday 17th July at 4.30pm for a free family-friendly hip hop set with DJ Prime Cuts (Scratch Perverts) live from the Horniman galleries.

Get raving on the (virtual) dance floor and raise donations for the Horniman!

The original family ravers and award winners Big Fish Little Fish became the first family virtual rave on Mothers’ Day. Over 400k households have now joined in with their free weekly Kitchen Raves, held every Sunday online.

This fundraising event is free to view online. You can view it on facebook here. Or view it on Youtube here

All donations are appreciated. 100% of all donations will go to the Horniman Museum and Gardens to support the wonderful collections, maintain the Gardens, feed and look after the animals and fish, and to help it inspire future generations of London’s children with stories about the world we all share.

Check out more here

National Theatre at Home  – Amadeus (Thursday 16th July at 7pm, until 23rd July)

Vienna: the music capital of the world.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a rowdy young prodigy, arrives determined to make a splash. Awestruck by his genius, court composer Antonio Salieri has the power to promote his talent or destroy it. Seized by obsessive jealousy he begins a war with Mozart, with music and, ultimately, with God.

Running Time: 2 hours 46 minutes including a short interval

Watch it here

Nature Live Online: Sauropods, Gentle Giants (Friday 17th  July, 10.30am -11.15am)

With long necks, long tails, small heads and giant bodies, the sauropod dinosaurs would have been pretty hard to miss.

Join Museum scientist David Button as he takes a closer look at these gentle giants. Discover what they ate, where they lived and how they looked after their young.

Once aired, you can rewatch this talk and any others on our Nature Live playlist on YouTube.

London Symphony Orchestra to your Living Room! (Friday 17th July – 21st August) 

The LSO is bringing music to your living rooms, with a digital programme of full-length archive concerts, live lunchtime recitals, interviews, articles, playlists, and activities for young people and families.

Summer Shorts

From 17th  July to 21 August live music they will be returning to LSO St Luke’s These short lunchtime recitals will be performed by LSO musicians and will be streamed live on our YouTube channel. Digital programme notes will be available, and each concert will be available for a week after the broadcast.

There’s also fun, creative music-based tasks for young people, to continue learning whether you’re at home or at school. 

See here. 

Microsoft Virtual Summer Camp; Workshop for Students – Advanced code your own video game featuring: Space Blaster (Friday 17th July, 3pm – 4pm)

In this virtual one hour workshop created by Microsoft and part of their free virtual Summer Camp programme, students 8+  use block-based coding to create a video game with MakeCode Arcade. Students learn fundamental game and coding concepts like sprites, variables, and coordinates, and use their new skills to create and customize a playable game.  

Find out more here

There are daily virtual workshops taking place throughout the summer, all in a fully interactive format that stimulates creativity, idea sharing and social connections as well as helping the kids build valuable digital skills. Discover more here

Virtual Lambeth Country Show (Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th July)

This year’s Lambeth Country Show has decided to keep the country show spirit alive with a virtual event to entertain families. 

There will be plenty for you and the family to get involved with as much or as little as you like across the two days. Expect music, workshops, competitions and don’t miss signing up for Discovery’s Planetarium shows here 

Find out more here and keep up to date with events as they are confirmed on #VirtualLCS facebook page here

The Pizza Festival (Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th July)l 

Love Pizza – then this is the festival for you. The London Pizza Festival is moving from Borough Market to an intimate location much closer to you. Join them at your place and online! 

The Pizza Festival will help you bring great pizza into your kitchen and dining room. You’ll connect online for workshops, chats and sharing via Instagram and Facebook. Whatever your level of experience they’ll bring you support from pizza pros through the lead-up to the festival, with video recipes and demos. Londoners can order essential supplies from us for home delivery. Or go the lazy but equally tasty route and order a pizza delivery from hundreds of participating restaurants! 

Register here. 

Half Moon Theatre at Home  (available until Sunday 19th July) 

Half Moon Theatre has been offering families free access to a selection of recent much-loved productions for young people throughout lockdown.  Productions are available online alongside access to backstage interviews, production photos and information about how the shows were created.

There are shows for 2-8 year olds, 8-12 year olds  and teenagers…so everyone’s covered. 

Head over there now as they are available to stream online for free until Sunday 19th July so make sure you don’t miss out! Explore and watch here

Bread Ahead IG LIVE Baking (Sunday 19th July,  2pm) 

At 2pm on Instagram live Bread Ahead will be sharing their favourite baking lessons with you. Check out the upcoming recipes. Plus there’s online baking ebooks available to purchase here 



Museum of London, Great Fire of London Live stream (Part Three: Monday 20th July, 2pm)    

Tune in to hear the final part of the 3 part Great Fire live stream. You can catch up on the previous two weeks and also tune in for this week’s final live stream instalment on Monday 20th July. 

Grab your whole family and join The Museum of London for a private tour of their Fire! Fire! exhibition. You’ll also have the chance to ask your questions to a museum curator, all from the comfort of your own home. Part Three explores how the fire changed London, including how people helped each other after the fire, and how London was rebuilt. Join on Facebook just before 2pm for the full experience and note you can also watch it live on YouTube or the website, you just won’t be able to share questions. 

It’s free, aimed at 5+,  note that children must be accompanied by an adult whilst watching the stream. The live stream will last 30 minutes. 

Find out more here

Hackney Flipped; Breakdance with Damien (Tuesday 21st July, 5 – 6.30pm)

Mimbre is a female-led company creating nuanced, breathtaking and highly-skilled acrobatic theatre. Launching a series of online creative workshops across the summer, this acrobatics lockdown project gives young people a chance to learn a variety of different skills and to create their own choreographies. 

This Tuesday at 5pm, learn some cool moves and create your own little dance sequence with Damien. Other workshops include learning how to create percussion with found objects or your own body with Demi (28th July) and juggling and object manipulation with Rosie (4th August).  

The online sessions will take place on Tuesdays from 14 July – 11 August and are aimed at 8 – 14 year olds, access is via zoom. 


The Kids Should see This  – Smart videos for curious minds of all ages

TKSST is a Webby award-winning collection of over 4,500 kid-friendly videos, curated for teachers and parents who want to share smarter, more meaningful media in the classroom and at home. Selections are grown-up-friendly, too. 

Categories covered include Science, Space, tech, animals, music, history and tons more!

Walt Disney Museum – The World of Tomorrow: A Virtual Community Art Exhibition

The Walt Disney Family Museum is excited to premiere The World of Tomorrow, a new virtual exhibition featuring works created by the museum’s global community. Inspired by each artists’ vision for a “world of tomorrow,” this diverse selection of works includes paintings, drawings, photographs, and 3D objects in a 3D-rendered virtual gallery space.

Science Museum’s Games and Apps

Explore The Science Museum’s collection  – complete brain-teasing puzzles or learn about science with their range of science games and apps.

Including Journey of Inventions Where you can discover more of the Science Museum’s extraordinary collection which takes you on 14 interactive journeys through the most revolutionary scientific inventions of all time. 

Historic Royal Palaces Banqueting House; Explore Rubens’ ceiling in super close-up detail

Admire the epic Rubens’ ceiling and discover the site of Charles I’s execution at Banqueting House, Whitehall. The team at HRP have now enabled people to explore Rubens’ ceiling in super close-up detail Discover the characters and details of Rubens’ masterpiece using new super-zoom technology

Get an artists’ eye view of Rubens’ ceiling, down to the level of individual brush strokes added during its creation in the 17th century.

Created using 4,000 high-resolution photos of the ceiling, this new interactive tablet display uses digital super-zoom technology to bring Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece to life.

The accompanying virtual tour includes stories behind the scene’s characters and symbols, as well as some unexpected and easy-to-miss details.

Tune in here

Clay at Home, Play and Explore 

If you’ve just started out creating with Clay you’ll find tons of help, activities to try, top tips, how-to-videos and inspiration. 

The British Ceramic Biennial’s new digital creative learning programme, #ClayAtHome is an online creative learning programme to get people to experiment and engage with clay at home. The programme includes video demonstrations of hands-on activities, podcast interviews with artists and social networking events. Give it a go! 

To find out more, click here

Cressida Cowell’s Summer Camp activities 

Author-illustrator Cressida Cowell is the Waterstones Children’s Laureate for 2019-22. The number one bestselling author-illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon held a week of ‘Summer Camp’ activities celebrating children’s innate creativity and showcasing the enormous wealth of talent across the UK at the beginning of July.

Cressida was joined by an all-star line-up of leading authors and illustrators – including Eoin Colfer, Theresa Lola and Rob Biddulph – to encourage young creatives with writing workshops, drawing masterclasses and much more. 

Catch up on all the fun here

The ‘Summer Camp’ is part of the BookTrust HomeTime hub where families can enjoy story-time with free online books and videos, play games, win prizes, test your knowledge in the Book Trust book-themed quizzes, or even learn how to draw some of your favourite characters. Discover more here 


If you are in need of some science based inspiration,  the Royal Institute is on hand offering a series of short films making it fun, easy and cheap to do science experiments at home with the kids.  From homemade lava lamps to spaghetti towers, from giant bubbles to colour changing cabbage juice, find them here 

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