Action stations!

Don’t miss out on the holiday activities and hot spots that will help make summer magic for all the family

Thursday, 27th July 2017

Camley Street Pond dipping

Pond dipping in the city’s great outdoors

Camley Street Natural Park

12 Camley Street, N1C 4PW.

Camley Street Natural Park is running wonderful wildlife weekends for all the family on Saturdays this summer. The free sessions at this London Wildlife Trust nature reserve are jam-packed with fun activities including pond dipping, bug hunting, nature crafts, stories, games, songs and creating wildlife habitats. Children can discover the wildlife and minibeasts that live in the city. The wildlife sessions (mornings 10.30am-1pm, after­noons 2-4.30pm) are aimed at children of all ages, along with their parents and carers. All children must be accompanied by an adult. The events run every Saturday over the school summer holidays until September 2. The Wildwood Café serves delicious vegetarian food at Camley Street Natural Park at weekends, and the restaurants and bars of Granary Square are only a short walk away over the new Somers Town pedestrian bridge. Email Abi at for more details. No booking necessary. No dogs are allowed on site, other than registered assistance dogs.

The Summer Lawn at Angel Central last year

Angel Central

21 Parkfield Street, N1 0PS

The Summer Lawn is back at Angel Central – and bigger than ever – with free family friendly events every Thursday starting on July 27. Among the acts coming to entertain the crowds this year are Britain’s Got Talent’s Boogie Storm, football freestyle star Dan Magness and Nickelodeon’s P.A.W. Patrol. It’s just two minutes away from Angel tube station, so make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun. More about the Summer Lawn and event times at:


Museums and galleries

Meet postal people from the past: Find out from Sir Rowland Hill how the Penny Black stamp changed the world. The Postal Museum, August 30 and September 2, 11.30am, 1.30 and 2.30pm. PHOTO: The Postal Museum

The Postal Museum

Phoenix Place, Clerkenwell, WC1X 0DA, 0300 0300 700

The Postal Museum is opening up five centuries of British social and communications history as seen through the eyes of its iconic postal service. During the summer holidays, the museum is offering a family programme of activities for children of all ages. Sessions range from storytelling and mask-making workshops to designing pop-up cards and messages in bottles. All are included in the price of a general admission ticket. Just turn up and take part.
From September 4, this new heritage attraction will include a family space called Sorted!, designed for children aged 0-8. It’s a miniature town where young children can play with postal trolleys, slides, parcel pulleys, letter chutes and a wooden vintage post van. There will also be a prog­ramme of weekend and holiday work­shops including arts and crafts, storytelling, science shows and much more. Keep a lookout on the website at:
The Mail Rail also opens in September, running through Mount Pleasant station platforms, where an interactive audio visual display will take riders back in time, giving an insight on the heyday of the railway.

Lots of new, free activites at the Geffrye Museum this year

The Geffrye Museum

136 Kingsland Road, Hoxton, E2 8EA, Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm, Close Mondays except bank holidays. 020 7739 9893,

The Geffrye has a great tradition of providing free holiday activities and this summer is no exception with a whole host of creative fun and games. Save the planet by getting creative with recycling in Upcycle It! activities for children aged 2-16 (Tuesday August 1-Friday 4 August 4, 10.30am-4pm). Make new treasures such as patchwork cushion covers, wind chimes, pop-up poppets and much more by recycling old and unloved things.
New this year, the museum is offering digital drop-in workshops. You can Meet the Ancestors and can take your own family portrait and transform it into an Old Master painting; or Guitar Stars, where you make a guitar from junk and record your own music video.
In addition to the many workshops, families can enjoy our Geffrye Explorers area and Garden Cart, animated paintings trails and the chance to find out about objects from the museum’s handling collection with members of our youth programmes.
For full details of workshops and timings visit the website. Places are allocated on a first-come first-served basis 30 minutes prior to the beginning of each activity. All children under 11 must be accom­panied by an adult.

Getting tech savvy at JW3’s FunTech

JW3, Jewish Community Centre London

341-351 Finchley Road, NW3 6ET. 020 7433 8988.

Events for families and young people over the summer include:
Graffiti art with Ben Farleigh (ages 5-7, from July 31-August 4). Learn about and create street art with artist and graffiti tutor Ben Farleigh through freehand spray, typography and stencils.
Science Experiments with Kids with Brains (ages 8-11, from August 7-11). Children can take part in hands-on science experiments like launching their own rockets, creating gooey slime, building circuits with LEDs and buzzers and using dry ice to make bubbles.
The FunTech summer tech camps provide a perfect platform for children aged 7-16 to explore technology and develop their coding skills in a fun-filled environment, designed to engage and motivate them to learn. There is a wide range of camps that will spark the imagination of the young generation of progressive coders, innovative engineers and pioneering game designers and equip them with tech skills for life.

Take a look inside the seat of government

Houses of Parliament

Summer tours until September 2. Tickets can be purchased online, or by calling 020 7219 4114 or in person from the ticket office at the front of Portcullis House on Victoria Embankment,

The Palace of Westminster, among the most iconic buildings in the world, is open for tours of the Commons Chamber, Lords Chamber and medieval West­min­ster Hall. They include:
• self-guided audio tours with a commentary option especially for younger children which features time travelling reporters;
• 60-minute family guided tours in the company of a Visitor Assistant guide – ideal for pre-teens;
• 90-minute guided tours led by a Blue Badge guide, appropriate for teenagers with a keen interest in politics or history.
And anyone will enjoy afternoon tea after a tour. (Advance booking is recommended for tours and is essential for tea.)
During the day ticket holders can take part in a range of other free family activities:
• “Order, Order!” – join the debate experiences in the Grand Committee Room;
• discover more about Big Ben through stories and arts and crafts;
• have a photo taken on the replica green bench.

Summertime Story Weaving Family Days at the V&A Museum of Childhood

V & A Museum of Childhood

Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PA. Open Monday to Sunday 10am-7.45pm, 020 8983 5200,

The V&A Museum of Childhood has lots of free fun things to do for all ages, with exhibitions and displays and activities for children and families. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
Summertime Story Weaving Family Days (Fridays August 4, 11,18, 25, September 1. Free, all ages.) Inspired by the museum’s exhibition Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime in Stories, these themed days led by artists, writers and musicians celebrate children’s literature and storytelling. August 4 is Folk Family Day with a series of music events and performances presented by folk musician Nick Hart, and a folk-writing challenge/storytelling session from writer-in-residence Ross Montgomery. Activities on August 11, Journey of Joey, include meeting Joey, the original puppet from War Horse, the National Theatre’s award-winning play. And puppet making with Little Angel Theatre. On August 18 it’s Morpurgo’s Menagerie, a full day of wildlife-themed activities including real animals, visiting the museum garden from Spitalfield City Farm. Little World Weaving is the name of the game for August 25, with word fun for little ones inspired by the writing of Michael Morpurgo. September 1 is Art of Books Day, and a chance to meet printmakers for fun activities learning about book design and decoration. Meet Loretta Schauer, illustrator of Morpurgo’s Beauty and the Beast and try illustrating, or join a workshop by the London Centre of Book Arts.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, August 22-31, from 2-4pm, there are Outdoor Summer Games (drop in, all ages). Run, jump hop and skip to fun activities for active families.
See the website (above) for full list of daily events.


Theatre shows

Family magic in The Hunting of the Snark

The Hunting of the Snark

Vaudeville Theatre, The Strand, WC2
Previews from July 26, runs 70 minutes, no interval
Suitable for ages 4+

The impossible voyage of an improbable crew to hunt an imaginary creature is brought magically to life in this sparkling musical comedy adventure for the whole family. Enter the imaginative world of Alice in Wonderland creator Lewis Carroll, in this brand new adaptation inspired by his much-loved classic poem. This show features five high-energy actors, life-like puppets, fantastical characters, and lashings of daft humour. A riotous ragtag gang of bold adventurers including the Boy, the Banker, the Butcher, the Baker, the Bellman and the knitting Beaver set off on a quest to catch the mythical Snark… on the journey they encounter the Jub Jub bird, the sly Bandersnatch and the dastardly Boojum… Can a Snark be caught with soap? Will the Beaver escape the hungry Butcher’s clutches? Will the Baker remember his name? And does anyone know what a Snark actually looks like?

A life of crime for young Oliver Twist in Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Oliver Twist

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
0844 826 4242
Running time: 2 hours 15 mins including interval
Until August 5
Suitable for ages 6+

Adapted by Anya Reiss from the great Dickens classic. Oliver Twist is an orphan who has been brought up in the workhouse. His adventures begin when he runs away to London. But, after meeting Fagin and his gang of pickpockets, will Oliver begin a life of crime? Or will the kind Mr Brownlow save him? And what will become of Nancy, who tries to help Oliver escape from Fagin?

Join the voyage Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 Days

Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, SW1X 9DQ. 020 7730 4500
2 hours and 30 minutes, including interval
August 2-September 2
Suitable for ages 7+

The mysterious and fabulously wealthy Phileas Fogg wagers his life’s fortune that he can travel round the globe in just 80 days. Join Fogg and Passepartout, his loyal valet, as they voyage from the misty alleys of Victorian London to the exotic subcontinent and the Wild West in a race against the clock. Theresa Heskins’ celebrated production returns to the stage at Cadogan Hall as part of a major national tour. A talented cast of eight play more than 125 characters in this high-spirited escapade including six trains, five boats, four fights, three dances, two circus acts and an elephant.

Farmyard fun in What the Ladybird Heard

What the Ladybird Heard

Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1.
0330 333 4812
Until September 17
55 minutes, no interval.
Suitable for ages 3+

Stage adaptation of the award-winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Ludia Monks involving two crafty robbers, one tiny ladybird, and a whole farmyard of fun. Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len have a cunning plan to steal the farmer’s fine prize cow. But they reckon without the tiniest, quietest creature of all: The Ladybird has a plan of her own. With live music, puppetry, plenty of audience participation and lots of laughs for all the family.

Michael Rosen’s award-winner We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Live on stage!

Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, SW1X 9DQ. 020 7730 4500,
55 minutes, no interval
August 3-September 3
Suitable for ages 3+

Direct from a smash-hit West End season and international tour, Michael Rosen’s award-winning book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is brought vividly and noisily to the stage in director Sally Cookson’s fun-filled adaptation set to Benji Bower’s versatile lively score. Join the intrepid family of adventurers and their musical dog on a quest to find a bear, wading through the swishy-swashy grass, the splishy-splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud. A hands-on adventure complete with catchy songs!

History gets deliciously messy in Horribe Histories – More Best of Barmy Britain

Horrible Histories – More Best of Barmy Britain

Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road, WC2. 0330 333 4811
August 4 until September 2
70 minutes, no interval
Suitable for ages 5-105

We all want to meet people from history. The trouble is everyone is dead! So it’s time to prepare yourselves for a special production of Horrible Histories featuring more characters from our barmy past. Find out why the Romans were revolting. Could you survive the vicious Vikings? Would you party with the Puritans? Dare you stand and deliver to dastardly Dick Turpin? Vomit with the vile Victorians and prepare to do battle in the frightful First World war… It’s history with the nasty bits left in!

Kids Week

Kids go free to top London shows this August

Don’t be misled by the title – Kids Week, the annual London theatre initiative run by the Society of London Theatre, is running throughout the whole of August this year. There are more than 35 shows offering free tickets for children. The deal allows one child aged 16 or under to go free when accompanied by an adult paying full price. In addition, two extra children can go for half price, and there are no booking, postage of transaction fees. There are also events and workshops running throughout the month. There are plays suitable for ages – a full list of participating shows can be found on the website (above).

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