Family things to do in London this summer

There are plenty of shows, exhibitions and things to do this summer for families. 

There are plenty of shows, exhibitions and things to do this summer for families. - Credit: Marc Brenner/ Shakespeare's Globe

London boasts a great swathe of top-notch attractions, restaurants, shops and things to do. If you're spending #SummerInTheCity, here are a few suggestions to set you on your way. 

Sketch on the Square, National Gallery 

August 3 to September 2 

As part of Westminster City Council’s Inside Out festival, Trafalgar Square will host a giant alfresco exhibition of life-sized replicas of iconic works including Botticelli’s Venue and Mars, Turner’s Fighting Temeraire and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. 

Sketch on the Square is also part of the festival and is a programme of outdoor art activities.

Daily and free, however some sessions require booking. 

London, UK. 13 July 2021. DODGE, a dodgem car attraction with socially distanced food and drink po

Dodge is back at Somerset House. - Credit: Stephen Chung / Alamy Live News

Dodge, Somerset House 

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July 15 to August 22 

Turbo-charge your summer as Somerset House welcomes back visitors with a thrilling new open-air experience in its spectacular courtyard.

Featuring dodgems with a difference, bold installations from acclaimed artists and a delicious selection of food and drinks, Dodge is the perfect setting to spend quality time with family and friends once again.

Under 12s to go free on the dodgems on Tuesday and Wednesday between 12pm and 3pm. Tickets from £10. 

Discovery Days, Hyde Park 

August 3 to August 26

Royal Parks welcomes families back to the LookOut Discovery Centre in Hyde Park for their popular free drop-in Discovery Days. 

These days offer a range of nature-inspired activities for families that take place every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 11am and 3pm. 

Each week there will be a different theme from Meadow Madness and Life Underground to Wild Water and the beloved Peter Pan. 

Mega Please Draw Freely is on at Tate Modern,  July 24 – August 29. 

Mega Please Draw Freely is on at Tate Modern, July 24 – August 29. - Credit: Rob Harris/Tate

Mega Please Draw Freely, Tate Modern 

July 24 – August 29 

Visitors of all ages are invited to transform the floor of the Turbine Hall into a giant work of art at UNIQLO Tate Play: Mega Please Draw Freely. 

Led by artist Ei Arakawa, the project is inspired by the Gutai group – radical Japanese artists who wanted to change the world through painting, performance and play. 

Participatory performances take place at 11am and 2pm daily. Free, but you must book a collection route ticket. 

Free entry at St Pauls Cathedral 

July 26 – September 4 

This cultural and historical edifice offers discounted entry this summer, which can still be used later on in the year. 

For every adult or concession annual pass purchased, up to three children receive an annual pass for free. Alternatively, you can turn your sightseeing ticket into an annual pass instantly by using Gift Aid as part of your purchase. 

Tickets can be purchased online or at the door, however booking is recommended. Tickets from £7.20 

Storytelling performances, Shakespeare’s Globe 

July 24 – August 22 

Based on some of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays including Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and Macbeth, children and their families are invited to partake in interactive storytelling events. 

All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets £12. 

Polly is one of the giant Galapogos tortoises that has taken up residence at the London Zoo. 

Polly is one of the giant Galapogos tortoises that has taken up residence at the London Zoo. - Credit: ZSL

Giants of the Galapagos, London Zoo 

From mid- August

Meet Dolly, Polly and Priscilla, three giant Galapagos tortoises which have now taken up residence at London Zoo. 
With a life expectancy of more than 100 years old, these 26-year-old females are in their prime. 

Learn about the animal’s long life cycle and discover how hamster-sized hatchlings grow into the biggest tortoises in the world. 

Entry to Giants of the Galapagos is free with general admission. Tickets from £16.90/£26 child/adult. Tickets must be booked in advance. 

Australian Shakespeare Company, Kew Gardens 

July 24 – August 30 

This summer, Theatre on Kew bring two outdoor shows to Kew Garden’s idyllic, World Heritage grounds.

The Australian Shakespeare Company bring to life two much-loved classics  – Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

Performances are held morning, afternoon and evening. Dates vary. Tickets from £17.

The Perfect Crime, Theatre Deli 

July 16 – August 29 

The FBI are offering a reward of $1,000,000 to recover Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, which was stolen in 1990. You need to work out where it is hidden. 

Combining immersive theatre, live action and problem and puzzle solving, teams must race against the clock while they decide whether to abide by the law or join a network of criminals in this new escape room event. 

Open Friday to Sunday. Tickets £120 for a team of up to six. players. 

Summer Showtime, Coaling Jetty 

July 17 to August 30 

The Cinema in the Arches and The Turbine Theatre return to Coaling Jetty this summer. 

With the stunning backdrop of the River Thames and the Grade II listed Battersea Power Station, the summer programme boasts live theatre and films.

The programme features a mix of classic, arthouse and blockbuster cinema, including Dirty Dancing, Call Me By Your Name and Thor Ragnarock. 

Performances include Shakespeare, comedies and children’s shows including The Wind in the Willows, written by Academy Award winner Jullian Fellowes (Downton Abbey). 

Times and dates vary, tickets for two seats from £31.50