With so many events going on in London each summer, it’s hard to pick what to do and where to go. To help you out, we’ve picked out a handful of our favourite family-friendly things to do in the capital in the summer, whether you want to watch films under the stars, rock out at music festivals, or just eat and drink your way round the capital. Careful not to scorch yourself – summer in London is looking seriously hot with a sizzling line up of events.
Notting Hill Carnival
25 Aug – 27 Aug
Europe’s largest street festival comes to London with a huge Caribbean party. Join more than a million people for three days of colourful floats, parades, performers, music and dance over the August bank holiday weekend. The streets of West London truly come alive with vibrant colours and flavours celebrating Caribbean culture and traditions. As the carnival parade winds and swirls its way through, dance to steel bands and calypso, soca and reggae music, and visit delicious barbecue and jerk food stalls along the route. Our advice would be to go early on Sunday, which is Family Day and when the children’s groups parade – it’s quieter and more relaxed than Monday. Entry is FREE.
National History Museum
29 Mar – 16 September
The Museum is London’s home natural phenomena, boasting some 80 million items of the biggest, tallest and rarest animals ever. It’s particularly famous for its dinosaur skeletons and, and ornate architecture, a true cathedral of nature. This is exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast that dominated the stunning Central Hall, before its recent replacement with a huge blue whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling! Meet a roaring T-Rex and feel the ground shake beneath your feet on the earthquake simulator, and older children can use microscopes to examine rare specimens. We recommend mingling with hundreds of fluttering butterflies at the Sensational Butterflies family exhibit, where you can uncover the secret life of these colourful insects from around the world. Entry to the museum is FREE.
ZSL London Zoo
Enjoy a great day out at the London Zoo. There’s nothing quite like life in London’s own animal kingdom, it’s unrehearsed, unexpected and unbelievable. Zoo life is packed full of wonder and adventure, with more than 750 species of animals to meet and thousands more surprising and fascinating facts just waiting to be discovered. Find yourself face to face with Asiatic lions in Land of the Lions, get up close in walkthrough exhibits including In with the Lemurs, Meet the Monkeys and, if you’re feeling brave, Europe’s only walkthrough spider experience! Let’s not forget, of course, the iconic Penguin Beach, Tiger Territory and Gorilla Kingdom.
ZSL Zoo Nights
1 Jun – 29 Jun
As the sun goes down, the curtain goes up on the most original after-hours event of the summer, serving up a unique mix of wildlife and city life. The adults-only Zoo Nights also runs all June. Visit more than 18,000 animals on Friday nights throughout the month, and learn about their habitats in the magical setting of the zoo at sunset. Pick up cuisine from around the globe at the World Food Market. There are also plenty of activities to enjoy such as Wild Yoga sessions, the Zooniversity Challenge and fantastic entertainment, including live acrobats, comedy, animal feeds and music. You can even upgrade your ticket for a sleepover at the Gir Lion Lodge, complete with exclusive tours and a delicious breakfast. Go wild!
Book direct now at www.thistle.com.
For more ideas on what to do this summer, head to our London Covered map