Updated 10 July 2022.
Looking for things to do in the UK school summer holidays 2022 with kids? You’re in the right place. London has bounced back with tons of brilliant things to do during the kids’ school summer holidays. Whether you have tiny ones or teens to keep entertained, I’ve rounded up summer holiday activities for all ages with a focus on museums and cultural attractions.
In 2022, the school holidays generally fall between 22 July 2022 to 4 September 2022. Check individual school and council websites for exact dates in your area.
Whether you’re here for a day, or you’re a Londoner there’s something for you.
There’s something for all interests, from London icons and free festivals to art, children’s trails, animal themed events, and making workshops.
On a budget? I’ve included lots of FREE kids summer holiday activities too – search the page for ‘FREE’ to find them quickly!
Some events need booking in advance, whilst others you can just turn up for. I’ll tell you which is which. Spontaneity – how very 2019!
Each listing has a clickable link to take you straight to all the info you need, from opening hours to booking pages. So grab a cuppa, your calendar, and your payment card – here’s your summer holidays 2022 sorted!
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- LONDON ICONS
- FAMILY FAVOURITES
- FAMILY FUN DAYS AND FAMILY FESTIVALS
- FAMILY EXHIBITIONS
- FAMILY WORKSHOPS AND ACTIVITIES
- FAMILY-FRIENDLY ART
- ACTIVE KIDS
- UNDER 5s
- ENGLISH HERITAGE SUMMER EVENTS
- FAMILY THEATRE
- SEN FRIENDLY EVENTS
London icons Summer 2022
Whether you’re a visitor or a local, here’s the most family-friendly London icons to visit this summer.
Natural History Museum
The nation’s favourite dinosaur is back at the Natural History Museum, as Dippy Returns for a short time after his nationwide tour. See Dippy’s memories of UK landscapes and hear how nature inspires different communities. Elsewhere in the museum, kids adore the museum’s fearsome T rex, shuddering earthquake simulator, glittering gems, fossilised giants and preserved animals. 27 May-December 2022. FREE, book ahead.
Here’s my ultimate guide to visiting the Natural History Museum with kids.
And watch my Dippy Returns Reel here.
Wonderlab at Science Museum
Wonderlab is one of the Museum Kids’ favourite things to do in London. Get hands on with real scientific phenomena – play with forces on giant slides, see lightning strike before your eyes, or watch live science shows. From £12 adults, £10 child, FREE under 4s. Book ahead.
Watch our Wonderlab Reel for East Midlands Railway here.
The Tower of London
Muddling medieval Londoners bustle about the Tower of London trying to sell their wares, serve the queen and put on their pageant about the ravens and a magical giant! Meet them throughout the day in Medieval Mayhem as you wander around the Tower. Catch their 15 minute show on the South Lawn at 11.00, 13.00 and 14.30 daily. 1-31 August 2022. Included with paid entry.
Whilst you’re there grab a mat and slide down into Tower of London’s moat where 20 million seeds are due to burst into flower in Superbloom. Until 18 September 2022. Paid, book ahead.
Psst: You can view the Superbloom display and castle walls from up on the Tower Hill path. FREE, book ahead. This does not include access to the moat or the Tower of London.
Scale the Victorian gothic tower to see inside London’s most iconic river crossing. Learn more about the bridge’s design and enjoy panoramic views of the London skyline. Brave the Glass Floor to watch the city move below. £11.40 adult, £5.70 child (ages 5-15), FREE under 5s. Book here.
Psst: Visit on a family day to take part in fun activities and get free returns to family days for 6 months. Exact dates to be confirmed – I’ll update this post when I see them. Included with entry.
Read about our family visit to Tower Bridge here.
This grandiose setting for Royal ceremonies is a working church with a fascinating 1,000 year history. Visitors can collect a free family activity guide from the ticket desk at any time but for the best day out, combine a visit with one of their family activities. Reveal grizzly griffins, loud lions and magnificent martlets in a beast-themed brass rubbing activity (23 and 30 July 2022, 6, 13, 20 and 27 August 2022 10:00-13:00, ages 3+). Or take the Family Highlights tour to uncover stories of super scientists, mighty monarchs, meditative monks and aspirational artists who have filled the Abbey through the centuries (Tuesdays to Thursdays 10.30-11:15 26 July-25 August 2022). All activities included with admission, first come, first served. Book entry here.
Read my top tips for visiting Westminster Abbey with kids here.
Royal Mews is my favourite Royal site to visit with the kids. Get a behind the scenes look at the palace at the place responsible for all the Royal Family’s road travel. See the Queen’s horses and historic royal vehicles, including the opulent Golden State Carriage which featured in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Sit in a landau, dress up in livery and have a go at tacking up a little wooden pony ready for a procession. Time your visit with one of their Family Tours to discover the hidden stories of the coaches and horses (Saturdays and Sundays until 2 October 2022 at 11:30 and 13:30). Open daily until 2 October 2022. £14 adult, £8 child, FREE under 5s, family discount available. Book ahead.
Read about our visit to Royal Mews here
Climb ladders, duck through hatches, sit in the captain’s chair, steer the ship to the D-Day beaches, play World of Warships and enjoy amazing views up the River Thames. Join in with interactive family activity Sea Legs and travel back to D-Day in 1944 with Family Mission: D-Day Edition. Activities run until 7 August 2022, drop-in, ages 7+. £26 adult, £13 ages 5-15, FREE under 5s. Click here for more info on HMS Belfast.
This famous tea clipper was once the world’s fastest sailing ship. Follow the family trail, explore the decks and walk under the copper clad hull. And, every day during the school holidays, meet a colourful character from Cutty Sark’s past. Maybe you’ll take a hear a story from Nannie the Witch, play games with cook James Robson, or meet Captain Woodget. £18 adult, £8 child, FREE under 4s. Ages 3+. More info here.
Family Favourites Summer 2022
Family events from some of our favourite places to visit.
Hidden Beneath Our Feet at London Museum of Water and Steam
Under this hidden gem of a museum is a network of pipes which still supply water to London! Discover more about whats hidden beneath our feet with crafts, hands-on activities, storytelling and trails. 23 July-29 August 2022. £18 adult, FREE child for 12 month ticket.
Read our review of London Museum of Water and Steam here.
Summer of Colour at ZSL London Zoo
Celebrate a kaleidoscopic world of amazing animal colour from the emerald tree boa to scarlet ibis in Summer of Colour. Through crafts, talks, installations and dressing up, explore how camouflage keeps others hidden, the role of colour in animal communication and which animals emit their own light! 23 July-31 August 2022. Paid, book ahead.
Dear Zoo at the Postal Museum
Celebrate 40 years of the Rod Campbell’s much loved children’s book Dear Zoo at the Postal Museum. Find the animals hiding in the Dear Zoo trail, unpack special deliveries in storytelling sessions (4, 7, 11 and 14 August 2022), meet Rod Campbell and get your book signed (11 August 2022), create your own magical menagerie (28-31 July and 6 August 2022), toucans (13, 18 and 20-21 August 2022) and suncatchers (25 and 27-28 August 2022). 22 July-31 August 2022. From £16 adult, £11 child, FREE under 3s. Book entry ahead; activities on first come, first served basis.
Watch the Postal Museum Reel we made for East Midlands Railway.
Meet Miss Nightingale at Florence Nightingale Museum
Meet Miss Nightingale in the small and friendly museum dedicated to the Lady with the Lamp and nurses today. Hear about her affluent childhood, how she defied her parents’ wishes to become a nurse, her work during the Crimean War and campaigning for better healthcare. Every Saturday 30 July-3 September 2022 at 11:30, 13:30 and 15:30. Included with admission. £10 adult, £8 concession, £6 student, FREE Under 5s, £5 ages 5-16. Adult with National Art Pass £5. Family £25 (2A+4C)
Read about our visit here
This Bright Land at Somerset House
Step inside the magical world of This Bright Land, transforming Somerset House’s magnificent courtyard into a wonderland open to all. Ride the 35m observation wheel or join in with joyful day-and-night performances, music, dance, talks, workshops and more. FREE daytime activities include treasure hunts, outdoor games and their iconic fountains. 1-29 August 2022, 12:00-22:30 daily. From FREE to £22.50, booking now open.
Family Fun Days and Family Festivals Summer 2022
Special days filled with activities aimed at families and children are a great time to try somewhere new, or revisit old favourites.
Summer sessions at Greenwich Peninsula
Music, films, markets and more! Highlights for families include Yinka Ilori mini-golf, Camille Walala ping pong and kids film screenings. Plus FREE Kids Table arts and craft at Design District Canteen every Saturday and Sunday, 11:30-15:30 for diners (4 June-28 August 2022, ages 3+). Weekends 18 June-11 September 2022, FREE, book cinema and mini-golf ahead. See website for details.
Festival of Happiness at Dulwich Picture Gallery
Stuart Semple’s Festival of Happiness encourages recovery, hope and joy. Make a happy pin badge, enjoy relaxed performances from the City of London Sinfonia, join in with Rainbow Poetry workshops and more. Semple’s Happy Clouds will be released into the sky for the first time in a decade. And his new work Something Else brings a playful series of sculptural installations spread throughout the Gallery’s gardens. 30 July 2022. FREE, book ahead.
Family Festival of Flight at RAF Museum
Challenge your coding skills, test flying a paper rocket, make and release your own parachute, discover materials included in RAF clothing and under-5s storytelling. 30-31 July 2022. FREE, just turn up. Drop-in and timed activities. Ages 3+, some activities more appropriate for older children. More information here.
Flying Days: Young Aviators at IWM Duxford
What’s it like to fly? How do you become a pilot? Do you have what it takes? Flying Days: Young Aviators is especially for young aviation fans and their families with aerial displays and entertainment celebrating aviation muses. Entry includes IWM Duxford, a Second World War base and now home to hundreds of large aircraft, vehicles, tanks and more. 1 August 2022. £30 adult, £15 child, FREE under 5s and IWM members. book ahead.
Arts in the park at Marble Hill House
Bring a picnic and a blanket and enjoy a relaxed riverside performance with local performers including Bollywood dancing, jazz, folk and Shakespeare. Sundays from 7 – 28 August 2022. FREE, just turn up. Here’s the full Arts in the Park programme.
Summer 2022 must-see family exhibitions
Must-see family exhibitions and fun experiences, big and small.
100 Story Hotel at Discover Story Centre
A story has been stolen from 100 Story Hotel, a madcap establishment in filled with Rob Biddulph’s unusual animal characters. Play detective to find the culprit in this immersive play space. Take a dip in the mermaid swimming pool, help the octopus in the laundry room, join the sausage dogs in the hotel beach, prep food in the Chilly sushi restaurant and more! Until February 2023. £11 over 2s and adults, £5.50 age 1, FREE under 1s. Includes session pass for rest of Discover. Book ahead. Ages 8 and under.
Read my full review.
The Secret Garden at the Garden Museum
Enter a magical Secret Garden in this immersive exhibition celebrating Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved children’s book. There’s interactive games and trails for children to learn about the plants, animals and stories found in the beloved classic story and to inspire young visitors to try their hand at gardening. 6 July-4 September 2022. £14 adults, FREE under 18s. Book ahead.
Cats and Dogs at Horniman Museum
Play pet themed games and learn paw-some facts about our fascinating furry friends in Cats and Dogs. Test your speed against a cat or dog in the Shalom, see which animal you can jump as high as, match the bark or miaow to the animal’s feelings, and play pet guess who. Until 30 October 2022. £8.50 adult, £4.50 child, FREE under 3s, £15/£19 family. Booking recommended.
Our Place in Space in Cambridge
Walk through our solar system in a 10km sculpture trail designed by children’s author Oliver Jeffers and astrophysicist Professor Stephen Smartt. Our Place in Space is a 1:591 million scale model of the solar system which tarts with a giant illuminated sun, with each scale planet attached to a colourful arch, in their relative positions. It’s mind-blowing! There’s a big rocket to climb into, an illustrated trail map, an AR app, a free bus and fun events. 30 July-29 August 2022. Launch weekend special events 30 July 2022. FREE, just turn up.
Kaboom! The Art of Creating Comics at Story Museum Oxford
A giant pop-up comic strip reveals what makes a great comic and gives children the skills to make their own. Kaboom! The Art of Creating Comics takes you from developing characters and plotting, to drawing, colouring and lettering – with the help of familiar Beano and The Phoenix faces, and original artwork. Until Spring 2023. £8 ages 5+, FREE under 5s. Book ahead.
Read about our visit to the rest of the Story Museum.
Kids Workshops and Activities Summer 2022
It’s our holiday too! Let someone else think up and see through the crafting – and do the tidying up after!
Reinvent Festival with Young V&A
Young V&A, formerly known as the Museum of Childhood, celebrates 150 years of being in east London with 150 ways to be creative. The year-long Reinvent Festival kicks off with pop up art & design events happening all summer. Join artist Arkem Marcus Walton for interactive storytelling and creative making in libraries across Tower Hamlets (Saturdays 23 July-3 September 2022). Showcase your creativity with a portrait in This is Me: Photography Studio at Oxford House (8 August 2022, 13:00-16:00. Ages 5-14). And use large-scale play kits to construct a huge tower, a boat to sail away on, a den to hide in, or create anything you choose in Create and Play at All Points East In the Neighbourhood, Victoria Park (21-22 August 2022, 12:00-16:00. Ages 3-11). FREE, just turn up.
Summer Holidays Evacuee Experience at Bentley Priory Museum
Construct a gas mask box, write a postcard home and make 1940s themed peg dolls to take home in Bentley Priory Museum’s new Evacuee Experience. These drop-in, hands-on activities are inspired by their temporary exhibition ‘Memoirs of the Blitz’, exploring personal stories of those who experienced the Blitz as children. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday, 23 July-3 September 2022. Included with admission. From £8 adult, £7 concessions, £5 HM Forces, £4 child (6-16), FREE under 5s.
Summer Holidays Workshops at the Foundling Museum
The Foundling Museum’s Summer Holiday Workshops tie in with their latest exhibition, Superheroes, Orphans & Origins: 125 Years in Comics. Create a 3D mini stage and record your very own super short superhero adventure in Marvellous Marvel Me (26 July 2022). Make your own comic book with illustrator Julie Vermeille (27 July 2022). Design your own superhero with artist Steve Marchant from the Cartoon Museum (28 July 2022). Create a 3D character design using clay with comic book artist Natasha Natarajan (29 July 2022, with BSL interpretation for the 11:00 workshop). FREE, pre-booking required. Ages 5-13.
Museum of the Order of St John drop-in free family activities
Every Wednesday in the school holidays The Museum of the Order of St John runs FREE drop-In family activities. Learn all about our herbs and flowers to create your own Garden Trail (27 July 2022). In Paint Naturally, make your own paints and dyes from natural ingredients to create beautiful pictures and letters; with storytelling at 13:30-14:30 (3 August 2022). Make Medieval Soap Balls to take home! (10 August 2022). Form your own beeswax candle and learn about the importance of bees, with storytelling at 13:30-14:30 (17 August 2022). Make your own Lavender Playdough to take home (24 August 2022). Wednesdays, 11:00-15:30. Try the art of Hapa Zome, fabric printing with flowers (31 August 2022). FREE. Drop-in, registration requested.
Drop in for high-tech drop-in digital workshops at the British Museum, in conjunction with Samsung. Some run in the Great Hall, whilst others are in the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre. Discover headpieces from Japan, then use tablets to create your own striking design in Making Masks: Japan (23 July, 6 and 20 August 2022). Create an Egyptian-themed family photo with a little green screen magic in Impossible images: ancient Egypt (28-29 July, 11-12 and 25-26 August 2022). Learn about ancient Aztec masks, then use tablets to create your own in Making Masks: Aztecs (30 July, 13 and 27 August 2022). Be inspired by different types of Roman construction and have a go making your own unique creation in Minecraft masterpieces: Rome (4-5 and 18-19 August, and 3 September 2022). FREE, drop-in. Ages 5+.
Family Events at William Morris Society
Take inspiration from the beautiful embroideries of May Morris and learn simple embroidery skills to decorate your own canvas bag in this two part Family Embroidery Workshop (1 and 8 August 2022, 10:30-12:00. Must attend both sessions. £6 per child per session, FREE adults. Age 7+). Print your own wallpaper using your very own handmade polystyrene printing tiles in Family Printing Workshop. Use smells inspired by May Morris designs, such as Honeysuckle and Orange Tree (23 August 2022, 10:30-12:00. £5 per child, FREE adults. Age 6+).
Sir John Soane’s Museum drop-in family workshops
These family workshops are inspired by Sir John Soane’s architectural innovative architecture and his love of ancient Greek and Roman objects. Make your own cork models of ancient temples, both real and imagined (4 August 2022). Build a Lego city to rival any architect’s wildest imagination (11 August 2022). Create your own stained glass designs that shine and shimmer with sharpies (18 August 2022). Design and paint your own decorations on a mini terracotta pot to take home (25 August 2022). FREE, drop-in. Ages 4+.
Read about our recent visit to a Sir John Soane’s Museum family session.
Creative Summer at Pitzhanger
Creative Summer at Pitzhanger features two Open Sundays. Celebrate the return of Carnival to West London with Caribbean storytelling and a creative carnival costume-themed workshop (4 August 2022, FREE, booking advised). Mark the closing of the Rana Begum exhibition with creative activity and hula hooping workshops for children and adults (4 September 2022, FREE, booking advised). A brand new Holiday Programme launches (15-19 August 2022, 10:00-15:00. Ages 7-11, £35 per day, FREE for qualifying families). Plus there’s daily drop-in activities, children’s trails with rewards and AssemblePlay (25-28 August 2022, FREE).
Family-friendly Art Summer 2022
Summer days are made for wandering – and add some wonder to your walk with these outdoor artworks.
Summer Lights at Canary Wharf
Celebrate the beauty of the long summer days with this free trail of 11 new installations designed to come to life in the daylight. Expect beautiful patterns, reflections and vibrant colours. There’s a mini musical playground at Wood Wharf with plenty of benches to take in its dockside views. 21 June-20 August 2022. FREE, just turn up.
See our visit to Summer Lights 2022 here.
UNIQLO TATE Play: The Obliteration Room at Tate Modern
Transform a completely white domestic apartment into a sea of colourful dots in Yayoi Kusama’s The obliteration room. Visitors have their own sheet of colourful ‘dot’ stickers to place anywhere they like in the space. Plus create your own work of art to add to an ever-growing garden in the Turbine Hall. 23 July-29 August 2022. FREE. Booking details not yet confirmed.
Family Art Days at Estorick Collection of Italian Art
Imagine the clothes of the future through drawing and making in Family Art Day: Futurist Fashion (26 July 2022). Design and make your own theatre set design model and learn how to use it to create your own short stop-frame animation in Family Art Day: Set Design and Animation (15 August 2022). FREE, book ahead. Ages 5+ and their families.
Maiden Voyage by JeeYoung Lee at Now Gallery
Contemplate your first memory in a forest of hanging Ginko leaves, a monumental paper boat and paper aeroplanes. Write it down on a piece of origami paper and fold into a swan to add to the growing collection. Maiden Voyage interweaves the past with the present while meditating upon heritage, memory and emotions. 23 June-25 September 2022. FREE, book ahead.
Love at Bold Tendencies
Cram the kids into a room filled with hundreds of coloured balloons. Martin Creed’s Work No. 2592, Half the air in a given space is one of 6 works looking at what love looks like in the 21st century on the rooftop of this Peckham multi-storey carpark. Thursdays to Sundays until 17 September 2022, 11:00-23:00. Creed’s work is open 11:00-18:00. FREE. Here’s Bold Tendencies’ programme.
Sculpture in the City 11th edition
This annual sculpture trail is one of my favourites, especially on a weekend when the City is so quiet. Encounter artworks by internationally-acclaimed and emerging artists including Sarah Lucas, Eva Rothschild, Ugo Rondinone, Jun T. Lai and more. 22 June 2022-Spring 2023. FREE, just turn up. Click here for the map.
Henry Moore Studios and Gardens
Spend a few hours in the glorious Hertfordshire countryside exploring the work of sculptor Henry Moore in his former gardens and studios. Grab a map and wander through 70 acres of lawned gardens, meadows, woodland and sheep fields to find 21 monumental sculptures. Wednesdays to Sundays and Bank Holidays until 30 October 2022. £16 adults, £8.50 child, FREE under 5s, family £29 (1+3) / £45 (2+3).
Read about out visit to Henry Moore Studios here.
Active kids activities Summer 2022
For when they’re in need of some physical exertion.
Minigolf by Craig & Karl at Canary Wharf
Artists Craig Redman & Karl Maier transform Montgomery Square with a fun, bold and colourful Minigolf. The course includes joyful novelty features with a design orientated approach. Daily, 12:00-18:00. FREE, just turn up. All equipment provided; closed in inclement weather.
Spitfire Scramble Obstacle Course at RAF Museum
Face the ninja wall, crawl under cargo nets and swing over water to get to the finish line in Spitfire Scramble Obstacle Course (ages 8+). Race your friends or compete in groups for the top spot on the leader board. Little ones can tackle the mini spiders web, crawl through pipes and climb the monkey bars in the Mini Spitfire Scramble Obstacle Course (ages 4-8). 22-30 July 2022. £7.50 adult, £6 ages 8-18, £4 ages 4-7, group of up to 6 £30.
Football Family Festival at National Army Museum
Discover the connections between football and the Army in Football Family Festival. Be put through your paces in a series of mini skills challenges with Chelsea FC Foundation. Design your own football crest and try and and beat the keeper in a tabletop game. Meet Walter Tull and hear his story from the football pitch to the trenches of the First World War. 23 July 2022. FREE, just turn up.
Skate Skool at House of Vans
Learn to skate under Waterloo train station arches with Skate Skool at House of Vans. The FREE one-hour lessons are run by encouraging, enthusiastic staff who can impart skating wisdom to excited kids within minutes. All equipment is provided to get your kids (and you, if you dare!) rolling around mini-ramps, street course or even their concrete bowl. Saturdays at 10:00, 11:00 and 12:00. FREE, book ahead, some drop-ins depending on space. Ages 5+.
Read about our Skate Skool experience here.
Climate Home Adventure Play at the Richard MacVicar Adventure Playground
FREE adventure play and creative activities with Sounds Like Chaos and the Albany. Choose from different activities each day, including games, dance workshops, art, sports day games, building, planting & butterfly handling, nerf gun battles, sustainable fashion design and more. Wednesdays and Thursdays from 27 July-18 August 2022, 12:00-16:00. FREE, book ahead. Ages 8-14 years. Part of We Are Lewisham.
Children’s Play Day with Assemble Play at Headstone Manor Museum
Explore a landscape of curious playthings at Children’s Play Day with Assemble Play. Expect colourful materials, giant blocks, dressing up clothes and a whole load of weird and wonderful objects which children can play with in any way they choose, free to build, create and imagine alongside some amazing playworkers. 9 August 2022, 11:00-15:30. FREE, just turn up.
Knockhatch Adventure Park
Those brave enough to step inside Dragon Castle will be met with quite a surprise – a roaring, moving, life-sized dragon! The compact and friendly Knockhatch Adventure Park also has rides, bird displays, indoor play, mini-golf and a rowing lake – all included in your ticket price. The dizzying 32 Wave Runner Water Slide was a huge hit with the kids. From £15.19 ages 2+ when booked online.
Read more about our visit to Knockhatch.
Sparkle Bright Summer at Tumblestone Hollow, Stonor Park
The giant Sparkle Bright Flowers are set to bloom at Tumblestone Hollow, with storytelling and special Tumblestone temporary transfers. Nestled in the woods with stunning views of the surrounding Chilterns countryside, Tumblestone Hollow is an epic adventure playground inspired by the magical history of one of Britain’s oldest family-owned stately homes. 1-31 August 2022. £9 adult and child 92-105cm, £11 child over 105cm, FREE child under 92cm. Book ahead.
Read about our visit to Tumblestone Hollow here.
Under 5s activities Summer 2022
It’s never too early to introduce a child to culture! Here’s some activities suited to the very youngest:
Family Fridays at Sadlers Wells
Start a dance journey with your young ones, led by a professional dancer at Family Fridays. A monthly, two-hour dance workshops for children ages 2-4 and their grown ups. 29 July 2022. £4 adult, £2 child, book ahead.
Mini yoga explorers at Museum of London Docklands
Get your little one stretching in this mini yoga session for children ages 2-5. Inspired by the museum building, Butterfly Kids Yoga Club help your little one recreate life in the warehouse through movement in this 40 minute session. FREE, book ahead. 1, 5 and 8 August 2022. Siblings welcome.
Psst: combine with a FREE Mudlarks Children’s Gallery session – book ahead.
Curious Tots at Orleans House Gallery
Sing along, wiggle and explore sensory worlds with artist Charlie Betts in Curious Tots. Jump into a world full of colour, stories, and song, inspired by Orleans House Gallery exhibitions, the beautiful riverside location, woodland surroundings, and rich history. 2, 16 and 30 August 2022 at 10:30-11:15 and 11:45-12:30. £8 per adult with up to 2 children. For pre-walking and toddling children.
Under 5s at Estorick Collection of Italian Art
In Moving Image, explore how the Futurist artists showed movement, play with push-pull toys and make your own moving image plaything (16 August 2022). In Playful Puppets search for figures in the artworks and make your own puppet (30 August 2022). FREE, book ahead. For under 5s and their grown ups.
Teen-friendly activities Summer 2022
Culture cool enough to interest even apathetic teens.
Vision & Virtuosity by Tiffany & Co at Saatchi Gallery
Over 400 dazzling objects tell the story of Tiffany’s & Co to mark its 150th anniversary in London. This stunning exhibition chronicles the storied jeweller since its founding in New York City in 1837. See famed window displays from history, walk into Breakfast at Tiffanys and try on a famed engagement ring. View the legendary 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond worn by Beyonce and Audrey Hepburn and have an AR try on. It’s too busy for little ones but teens and adults will be dazzled. 10 June-19 August 2022. FREE, book ahead.
See my Vision & Virtuosity highlights here.
Ice Sunday at Canal Museum
Once a year, the Canal Museum takes visitors down into the Victorian ice wells beneath the ground floors. Descend by ladder into this unique space. Part of the Festival of Archaeology 2022. 24 July 2022. £6 adult, £3 child, £14 family; just turn up. Ages 13+.
Combine with a tunnel trip (£12 adult, £8 under 16, book ahead).
Future Shock at 180 The Strand
Reimagine our near future with mesmerising and immersive digital technology in Future Shock. The subterranean spaces are transformed with works which feature lasers, holographic projections and electronic music, as well as algorithmic art, AI and 3D digital mapping. Paid, book ahead. Until 28 August 2022.
Our Time on Earth at the Barbican
Our Time on Earth doesn’t deliver the immersive experience promised. But it’s still a fascinating and optimistic exploration of radical ideas to help us reframe our relationship with the natural world. From indigenous insight to technological innovation, there’s plenty to interest eco-conscious teens and adults. Until 29 August 2022. Paid.
Weird Sensation Feels Good: the world of ASMR at Design Museum
Get the teens from behind their screen to experience the world of ASMR. From the drop of coins to the sound of sharp hairdressers scissors, WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD: The World of ASMR explores how sounds can provoke sensations. A giant brain-like bean bag and encourages you to lie back and lose yourself in a shared space. Until 16 September 2022. Paid, book ahead.
Cinema in Silhouette at the Puppet Barge Theatre
Drew Colby takes you on a cinematic journey of shadows in as he tells the tale of how he came to be doing this unusual job, why some people call the artform “Cinema in Silhouette” and where it all began millennia ago. 12 August-17 September 2022. £13 adults, £9 children, £10 concessions. ages 14+, running time 45 minutes. Book here.
English Heritage Summer 2022 events
English Heritage have a jam-packed schedule of family events this summer across London and the South East. All are included with entry or membership. Read this post to find out how we get FREE English Heritage entry.
Medieval Season at Eltham Palace
Learn what life was like in medieval times at the childhood home of Henry VIII. From jester workshops, have-a-go archery, storytelling, squire training to lessons in courtly etiquette there’s different activities each week On our last visit, we loved hobby horse jousting and playing giant snakes and ladders game to climb the Tudor social ladder (22-28 August). Click here for more details. 23 July-12 August and 15 August-4 September 2022.
Medieval Season also takes place at Battle Abbey, 23 July-4 September 2022.
A Very Victorian Weekend at Audley End
Join A Very Victorian Weekend for a jam-packed extravaganza of family fun. Have a go at traditional Victorian games from the coconut shy to hoopla, try your hand at archery, laugh at the jester’s japes and experience interactive plays and stories. 23-24 July 2022.
Pirates of England at Dover Castle
Ahoy, me hearties! In Pirates of England, see some of history’s most famous pirates fight it out at close quarters, and listen to them tell their tales of booty, bounty and barnacles. With shows, demonstrations and hands-on activities, there’s plenty of piratical fun for the whole family – whether you’re a scallywag, a salty sea dog or a lily-livered landlubber. 30-31 July 2022.
Legendary Joust at Eltham Palace and Gardens
Four legendary knights compete for glory in Legendary Joust. Fearless fighters and their magnificent horses charge at each other at full speed in and unforgettable display of chivalry and sheer courage. See lances shatter, feel the thunder of hooves and hear the roar of the crowd as reputations are won and lost. Choose your champion and cheer them on to victory – or console them in defeat. There’s also a falconer display. 13-14 August 2022.
Knights Tournament at Dover Castle
Go back in time as rival knights compete in the ultimate test of strength and skill at the Dover Castle Knights’ Tournament. Swords will clash and the winner will be decided in the Grand Melee finale. Immerse yourself in medieval life in the encampment, where you can meet people from the Middle Ages, witness hand crafts, weapon repairs, cooking and life at camp. 27-29 August 2022.
Victorian Horses of Audley End
Take in the spectacle of Victorian skill as Audley End’s amazing animals soar, gallop and prance through the beautiful grounds. Discover the art of riding side saddle, see displays of Victorian cavalry skills, cheer on the riders in the Gymkhana Games and chat to the groom, saddler and wheelwright as they go about their work. More info here. 28-29 August 2022.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea at Theatre Royal Haymarket. 11 July – 4 September 2022, daily except Wednesdays. From £14.50 . Ages 3+. Indoors.
The Hare and the Tortoise at Puppet Barge Theatre (Richmond). 16 July-14 August 2022. £13 adult, £9 child, FREE under 2s. Indoors.
Peter Rabbit at Hall Place. 17 July 2022 at 14:00. £14 adult, £10 under 16s, £45 Family (2A+3C). Outdoors.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Gillian Lynne Theatre. 18 July 2022 – Sun 8 January 2023. From £15. Ages 6+. Indoors.
Room on the Broom at Lyric Theatre. 21 July-4 September 2002. From £10. Ages 3+. Indoors.
Jungle Book at Kew Gardens. 23 July-21 August 2022 at 11:00 and 14:00. £19.90 adult, £15.90 child, FREE under 2s. Includes Kew Gardens entry. Discount Kew members. Outdoors.
Pirates at Arts Depot. Fully immersive dining and circus experience. 23-24 July 2022. From £30 adult, £25 child, including meal.
Awful Auntie at Morden Hall Park. 27 July 2022. £18 adult, £13 child, family from £52. Ages 7+. Outdoors.
Doctor Doolittle at Chelsea Physic Garden. Outdoor theatrical experience. Mondays to Thursdays 8-18 August 2022. £25 adult, £18 child.
Awful Auntie at Osterley Park. 19 August 2022. £19 adult, £14 child, family from £56. Ages 7+. Outdoors.
The Three Little Pigs plus Captain Grimey at Puppet Barge Theatre (Richmond). 17 August-18 September 2022. £13 adult, £9 child, FREE under 2s. Indoors.
SEN Family Events Summer 2022
Summer can be challenging for families with autistic and neurodivergent children and adults. Here’s a selection of special events designed to help create a relaxed environment.
Seacole Sessions at Museum of the Order of St John
Seacole Sessions are sensory-friendly events for families with children who need a quieter environment to enjoy the Museum of the Order of St John. This includes exclusive use of the Museum spaces when the museum is closed to the public. Create your own sensory friendly garden using cress, flowers and herbs (26 July 2022). Or make your own Lavender Playdough to take home (9 August 2022). FREE, book ahead. Ages 3-10, siblings and babies welcome.
Relaxed Openings at London Zoo
Walk a set route through part of London Zoo, after the Zoo closes to the general public. Relaxed Openings are for families with autistic and neurodivergent children and adults and others who benefit from a quieter environment. 27 July and 24 August 2022, 18:30-20:00. Paid, booking information here.
Family SEND Explorers at London Transport Museum
Explore the museum at a quieter time, and with many gallery sounds turned off in Family Send Explorers. Enjoy the All Aboard family spaces in peace, have a go at their holiday activities, get hands-on with genuine parts of transport history, or make use of their sensory bags to support exploring the collection. For families with Special Educational Needs, including Autistic Spectrum Disorder. 30 July 2022, 08:30-10:00 and 20 August 2022, 18:15-19:45. FREE, booking essential.
Children’s Garden quiet sessions at Kew Gardens
Explore all the things plants need to grow; earth, air, sun and water, and enjoy the sensory elements of our Children’s Garden during one of Kew Garden’s quiet sessions. Expect fewer people than usual and gentle sensory activities such as sensory storytelling with makaton exploring the journey of a dandelion seed. Aimed at children aged 2 to 12 years with special educational needs and disabilities, their parents and carers. 30 July 2022 and 24 August 2022. FREE, entry to gardens not included. Only one booking per person, and no more than 3 children or 3 adults per booking.
Morning Explorers at Museum of London Docklands
Explore the museum at this relaxed early opening, sensitive to the needs of children with autistic spectrum conditions. Enjoy quiet time in the galleries between 8.30-10am and visit our object handling table and sensory space. This event is free but requires online advance booking. Siblings and children with other types of SEND are very welcome. 6 August 2022, 08:30-10:00. FREE, book ahead.
SENsory Astronights at Science Museum
Experience all the excitement of the Science Museum’s Astronights sleepovers in a calmer environment. Enter the museum after hours to explore the galleries and take part in fun activities, including hands-on workshops and science shows. Sleep in one of the museum galleries, with breakfast and one final activity the next morning. 6-7 August 2022, 19:15-10:00. £25 per person. Book ahead. Ages 7-15 with special education needs or disabilities. Siblings or friends within this age bracket are also welcome to attend. Each group must contain at least one adult aged 18+.
Rise and Roar at Hampton Court Palace
Enjoy a quiet session in The Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace, aimed at those with autism or other sensory needs, and their families and carers. Fewer people than usual are permitted, and adjustments are made to the experience of visiting this unique playground. 7 August 2022 at 09:30-11:00. £26.10 adult, £13 child, FREE under 3s, family tickets available. Includes Palace entry.
The Hare and the Tortoise Relaxed Performance at Puppet Barge Theatre
The story of the most famous race on earth is beautifully brought to life using string puppets. Expect lions and mice, spiders and cats – there are storms to be weathered and always a few morals to take away! Relaxed Performance on 13 August 2022 at 11:00. £13 adult, £9 child, FREE under 2s. Book ahead. Ages 3+.
Gentle Sensory Tour and Workshop at Sir John Soane’s Museum
Explore the amazing and unique spaces in Sir John Soane’s house in Soane’s Museum: A World of Art, Architecture and Stories. Take time to notice transitions through doorways, the light, colours and objects and respond in sound and movement. Create a visual response using drawing, collage and painting. 18 August 2022. 11:00-14:00. £5 per person. All ages welcome, designed for children with access needs. Book ahead.
Printing with Nature at William Morris Society
Use nature to create William Morris inspired prints in this Printing With Nature sensory workshop. From fruits to leaves, there will be a range of tactile objects to explore printing; gloves are available for tactile defensive children. At the end of the workshop, experiment with smelly paints inspired by May Morris designs, or explore the chill out space. Designed for groups where at least one child has additional social and communication needs. 22 August 2022, 10:30-11:30. £5 deposit per child, returned unless participants cancel less than 24 hours before the workshop. Ages 6+
Share the summer
I hope this guide helps you enjoy a fantastic summer holidays in London with the kids.
Please take a second to share this post. It makes you seem savvy, helps a fellow parent find summer activities, grows my community, and encourages more visits to cultural attractions. Everybody wins! Use whichever platforms you feel most comfortable on – from WhatsApp parenting groups to the park bench, all mentions and shares make a difference.
And if this guide has saved you time and money, why not buy me a coffee to say thanks?
I absolutely love hearing how you get on so please do tag me @museummum on Instagram, @museum_mum on Twitter or comment below. And if you see me at one of these events, say hi! I’ll share what we get up to each day over on my Instagram.
Disclosure: I have visited many of these attractions for free, in return for an honest review.
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