Actual real life events are back and museums are still re-opening. So if you’re up for getting out and about, here’s our pick of the best things to do in London, from the arrival of the London Transport Museum’s Depot summer season, the re-opening of the Science Museum to virtual pools in Kings Cross and alfresco ballet.
Check out our previous blog on what is opening up in the real world! From theme parks, cinemas, museums and attractions.
But there’s lots of virtual fun to be had too; venture into Westminster Abbey Knights and Dragons family day, learn how to make a shadow puppet, join Julia Donaldson with friends Nick Sharratt and Axel Scheffler and get ready to time travel through the history of the world in just 60 minutes or take on the National Trusts Monumental Building Challenge – there’s lots to do, see and have fun with.
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OUR TOP PICKS OF THINGS TO DO
The Depot houses most of London Transport Museum’s extensive collection – over 320,000 artefacts from the Capital’s transport history. After months in lockdown, the new summer season has been designed especially for families.
There’s a family-friendly trail that takes you on a journey through the Depot to discover the stories of historic vehicles which served passengers over the last 200 years. Every child’s ticket includes a special, sealed pack that has a fun craft kit to make during your visit as well as a take-home activity. Plus, don’t forget to end your day with a ride on the London Transport Miniature Railway!
For more info & to book your tickets, click here
Jump into the virtual ‘Pools’ at Granary Square, Kings Cross to experience the latest artwork from award-winning German artist Stephan Zirwes.
The two pools each span the length and width of one of the iconic Granary Square fountain bays and sit alongside other playful installations including a 2D maze, a giant word search and a series of hopscotch paths to be discovered across the estate. While you’re there, check out the LollyPop Lounge on the Regent Canal steps. Dotted with striped deckchairs and oversized colour-pop ice-lollies ‘melting’ onto the grass, all positioned to help everyone keep a safe social distance. All part of the Great Outdoors programme for fun and free activities during the summer holidays (until 31st August).
And if you are out and about with the family, there’s also the Eat out to help out scheme running until 31st August, Monday – Wednesday at participating restaurants where you can get a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner).
Alice in Wonderland, Alfresco Ballet (Saturday 15th – Monday 17th August)
Don’t be late for this very important date! Join Alice as she enters the curiouser and curiouser world of the White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter. Stunning dancing and much loved characters bring the famous tale to life in this magical ballet production performed in the outdoors, brought to you by Let’s All Dance. Tickets £7
To find out more, click here
Science Museum opens on Wednesday 19th August
With tons to do, see and experience, you could download a map before your visit to decide what you want to do. Entry to the museum is free but as with all museums and galleries now, you’ll need to pre-book your free ticket in advance, book yours here.
The Wonderlab will be back open too, and again will require pre-booking (Day passes from £8). You could also download the museum’s Treasure Hunters app (free) where you can accept challenges or make your own personal tour of the museum, it’s as easy as taking a photo!
OUR TOP VIRTUAL PICKS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
Part of the Edinburgh Festival – Attenborough and His Animals – Watch Party Thursday 13th August at 2.30pm
Part of the reimagined 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, tune in for a screening of an archive recording of Attenborough and His Animals, recorded at Adelaide Fringe, 2020.
A blue whale swims through the depths. Racer snakes pursue an iguana across the desert. Two hapless fools recreate wonderful scenes of the natural world. This award-winning family show features epic physical theatre and the largest range of animals you will ever see onstage. With a live Q&A with the show’s creators after, find out more here.
Tickets are £5
If you can’t make this show, enjoy Dr Bubble & Milkshake’s Bubble show – free and available to watch whenever you want.
To find out more about the reimagined 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival click here and to check out whats on click here. The festival runs until 30th August.
GOSH Taskmaster (every Thursday until 2nd September)
A summer fundraising challenge, offering families and friends a chance to break the boredom by completing a stupefying weekly task set by a celebrity whilst raising money for GOSH Charity.
Unite your wit, skills and playfulness with your family and friends or go it alone to take on a hilariously mind-boggling task set by your favourite celebrity. Show off your creative flair as you prove your fundraising prowess for GOSH Charity.
Find out what the latest task is and take the challenge here
Shakespeare’s Globe Romeo & Juliet workshop (11am & 4pm, Thursday 13th August)
This event uses a range of activities and games designed to draw out elements of the play’s language, characters and themes as Romeo & Juliet is brought to life in this interactive online workshop so jump in and enjoy exploring one of Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.
Shakespeare’s Globe workshops are led by one of the Globe’s highly experienced practitioners who include actors, teachers and directors.
Designed for 12+, tickets £20 per household, 1hr workshop
Find out more here
Westminster Abbey, Knights & Dragons; Family Day (11am & 2pm, Friday 14th August)
Let the adventure begin as you discover brave knights and ferocious dragons. Using Zoom breakout rooms you’re able to join Westminster Abbey and their friends from the London Museum of Water and Steam and the Jewish Museum to uncover tales of courageous knights and fiery dragons. Explore steam and fire, forge your own ancient sea dragons and walk in the footsteps of a noble knight.
Suitable for families with children aged 5+, the session runs for 1 hour
Find out more here
Part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival – Gruffalos, Conjurors and Teeny Weeny Genies with Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler and Nick Sharratt (10am, Saturday 15th August)
Join Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, as she treats you to some lively storytelling from her magical book, The Teeny Weeny Genie, followed by a guest appearance from illustrator Nick Sharratt, who shows you how to draw the Conjurer Cow at home.
Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler joins too, stopping by to show you Zog and the Flying Doctors – but this time, in special protective gear. How’s he going to do that?! To top off this fun show, be sure not to miss the performance finale, The Gruffalo in the Deep Dark Wood. This is a pre-recorded event suitable for families and 4+
Find out more here
And at 11.30am, you can join author and performance poet Joseph Coelho for Poems Aloud. To find out more about the book festivals other family friendly events, click here
Royal Albert Hall’s Opera for Kids with Abigail Kelly (2pm, Saturday 15th August)
Join Albert’s Band’s soprano Abigail Kelly as she delights families with opera favourites by Strauss, Verdi and Mozart, as well as some Jamaican traditional songs.
Opera For Kids is a regular series of events from Royal Albert Hall’s Education & Outreach team and is perfect for children of all ages. Part of the Royal Albert Hall at Home series.
And make a story-time diary date with David Walliams next Saturday 22nd!
Prudential MyRide London (Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th August)
The eighth edition of Prudential RideLondon was due to take place this weekend, and while the festival can’t go ahead as planned, you can still join in and keep the wheels moving. Get on your bike – or scooter, skateboard, trike, tandem, penny farthing, roller skates, unicycle – and help save the UK’s charities. Whatever your age or ability, you can join in – wherever you live in the UK and with whoever you like – family, friends or by yourself.
Get involved here
RSPCA Virtual RSPCA Fun Cat Show (2pm, Sunday 16th August)
This August the RSPCA are celebrating all things feline with their first-ever Virtual Cat Show! Join this live stream event directly from their Animal Centre as they announce winners and much more…
You can enter your own kitty up until Saturday with categories to choose from including Cutest Kitten and Cheekest Cat, competition entry costs £2 per category.
For more info, click here
Part of An Indian Summer Festival How to make a shadow puppet (9am, Tuesday 18th August)
Learn how to make your very own shadow puppet! Create your very own fierce Bengali Tiger shadow puppet using stationary you can find at home. Check out the festivals Activity Book to have a sneak peak at Mr Cleaver Monsters’ tiger design, ready for your tutorial. Download here
To find out what else is happening and check out the free films on offer, check here
Ben Watson: The History of the World in 60 Mins (2pm, Wednesday 19th August)
Join the theatre-maker behind ‘Everything you ever wanted to know about everything … ever’. A silly, surreal and speedy sixty-minute hurtle through history. Play time-travellers at the beginning of time and in order to return to the present day you must perform a series of creative tasks to fuel our rocket ship, but we only have 60 minutes to do this in!
Your adventure will take in games, songs, creative tasks, and general silliness in this rip-roaring journey through time and space.
To join this workshop you will need Paper, Card, Newspaper, Colouring Pens, Sellotape, Tissue Paper and Loo Rolls (though not all essential). Part of Live Art Local CIC.
Your adventure starts here
National Trusts Monumental Building Challenge
Take on the challenge, ignite your inner architect and build your own version of a World Heritage site, a monument, or your favourite historical place and uncover the fascinating history and legends of these world-famous sites. You could create Stonehenge out of books, Hadrian’s Wall out of cushions or Giant’s Causeway out of chocolate buttons.
Accept your challenge here
Bring the wild home with WWT
Inspire the kids to connect with the natural world, no matter how much green space you have access to. Choose an activity or commit to all 12 home based projects; learn about the climate, marvel at minibeasts and why not become a plant detective. Or dip into a selection of short fun activities at your leisure.
Go wild here
The Museum of the Imagination
Step inside the world’s first virtual museum! The House of Illustration presents the Museum of the Imagination, the world’s only PDF-size museum to the biggest and most wonderful place in the universe, created by Year 4 students at Carlton Primary, with a little grown-up input from illustrator-educators Pencil & Help and Augmented Reality experts Arcade Ltd.
Ready for a visit? Click here to find out how.