With the end of the school holidays looming, the August Bank Holiday swoops in to offer us solace and one last hurrah! Whilst some families use Bank Holiday Monday to nip off for one final holiday, others will be back in the capital and looking to entertain the little ones. One option is the world famous Notting Hill Carnival, which is the biggest street party in the world. For those for whom that is a bit too hectic and busy we have put together a list of other activities that are available.
A thousand tons of sand was deposited on the Stratford Waterfront next to the Former Olympic Stadium, which has made Beach East the largest urban beach in the UK. Let’s hope the sun is shining so that you and your family can enjoy the sand, the enormous children’s paddling pool, funfair rides, two beach bars (for the mum’s and dad’s) and a selection of sporting events and activities.
Time for the annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic hosted by the Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice. Your children can take along their favourite teddies for a day out in the Abbey Woods. It is an afternoon of fun and games, with bouncy castles, a BBQ, performances and workshops from Doriel School of Dance and even a visit from Peppa Pig and Olaf from Frozen. A children’s ticket include the picnic and entertainment and a woodland walk through the gardens. Free parking is available and the money raised helps to provide excellent free specialist end of life nursing, medical care and support for local people.
The Vauxhall City Farm gives you a taste of the pastoral life without ever having to leave our nation’s capital, and during the Summer this is even more fun. This is an amazing experience for children who have a love for animals or a fascination for farm life. The farm is hosting free drop in sessions every Wednesday and Thursday over the summer holidays. The activities include hide and seek with the hens, playing the greedy goat game or playing with the (sometimes stinky) ferrets. The staff teach the children how to keep animals healthy and happy. The farm is covers three quarters of an acre and features an ecology garden, community allotments, wildlife ponds and animal enclosures, making a day there an interactive and educational experience.
Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush is hosting the Lego Imagination Factory this Bank Holiday Weekend. As we all know, the joy of Lego is that your mind is the limit. This is a fantastic place for a child’s mind to run wild here and build whatever they want. Whether they are building the next piece of abstract art or a Star Wars X-wing fighter, there is the freedom to do so. The augmented reality photo area allows them to have their photo taken with an interactive Lego Minifigure character. For you older children, there is a Lego ‘graffiti’ wall and the little ones have a Duplo area to entertain them.
The Unicorn Theatre on Tooley Street is the UK’s first theatre built for, and designed by children and young people. The theatre was officially opened by the late Lord Attenborough on 1st December 2005. This year marks the theatre’s 10 year anniversary. To celebrate, this Bank Holiday they are opening their doors to Londoners for two days of free events, workshops and shows and the building’s architect will host tours of the venue. Whilst the events are free, some have limited availability so booking in advance is advised (Box Office: 0207 645 0560). The events include physical drama workshops, dance workshops and fairytales and silly stories workshops, ensuring all are entertained.
Once night falls and the visitors have gone, the London Wetland Centre turns into an even more magical place. Children and adults alike can wonder and the nocturnal creatures. As our day ends and theirs begins. The nighttime adventure includes building dens in the camp, using all of your senses to experience the wildlife and if it is a clear night then teaching you to recognise the different stars in the sky. The night ends with stories by the campfire and delicious toasting of marshmallows. This experience is suitable for children aged 7 and above. Places are limited so booking is essential.
Based on the hugely successful books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler (creators of the Gruffalo), this production is down in London after a successful Edinburgh run, and combines live music, puppetry and charming character after charming character. Perfect for children and with more than enough to keep adults smiling too. The production is on at the Leicester Square Theatre until 31st August so you will need to book fast.
South London Botanical Institute Summer Holiday Activities
The South London Botanical Institute was founded in 1910 in Tulse Hill. The stunning gardens include a vast array of flora and fauna. A range of workshops, courses and events are run for all ages. The sessions help over-4s and their parents get to know the plants of the Botanical Institute’s house and garden through art activities.
The Battersea Arts Centre is partnering up with the Wandsworth Museum for this Saturday’s ‘Family Saturday’ for one day only. Families take over the Arts Centre for a day of fun, food and free activities. There is something for every child to enjoy and get involved in. Activities include face painting, music, toy and clothes swaps and much more. The workshops allow the children to explore the special places withing the old building and get creative with the artist/guide. Workshops are free and you can sign up on the day. Children over 6 can take part on their own but children under 5s must be accompanied.
Big Bang Bank Holiday Weekend at the Royal Gunpowder Mills
This Bank Holiday Weekend is the Big Bang Bank Holiday Weekend at the Royal Gunpowder Mills. You can expect all of their biggest and best pyrotechnical presentations but on a bigger and better scale! Professor Nitrate will be on his most explosive behaviour in the outdoor arena, mixing chemicals and firing rockets. For those children interested in movies, you can witness how special effects teams create explosions and other effects for film and television. For the older children there is a BB Airsoft and Nerf Range. This is a weekend that can keep your little ones and even teenagers entertained!