1. Against Captains Orders (Theatre, Performance)
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Tube (until 31 August)
Book to see The National Maritime Museum and Punchdrunk Enrichment show for 6-12 year olds and their grown-ups. You will don a life jacket for safety, split into teams, and embark on an adventure of a lifetime through the museum’s incredible wealth of maritime history and artefacts. The family show takes you on the adventure of a lifetime through a wealth of British maritime history.
2. To Infinity and Beyond, the Story of the Spacesuit (Family Science Talks at the RI)
The Royal Institution, Green Park Tube (6.00pm to 7.15pm, Thursday 30 July) Standard £12, Concession £8
Join speakers, Dallas Campbell and Helen Sharman to explore up close and personal the most epic item of clothing ever invented! From the Apollo suits used to explore the moon, to astronaut Tim Peake’s Russian ‘Sokol’ spacesuit he’ll wear to blast off to the International Space Station, these iconic outfits are full of stories and surprises.
Dallas is a well known (and well travelled) television presenter who has a passion for popularising science and technology. He is best known for science magazine show Bang Goes the Theory. FACT : In 2015 Dallas won Celebrity Mastermind with legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog as his specialist subject. Helen Sharman is a British chemist and astronaut, and the first British citizen to go into space. After her degree in chemistry from the University of Sheffield, Helen worked first in electronics and then as a research technologist for Mars Confectionery.
You can also buy tickets for (Tuesday 21 July, 7-8.30pm), Go8Bit presents… smartphone required! a session for adults and teenagers, Join Steve McNeil and Rob Sedgebeer as they present a humorous interactive introduction to the cutting-edge technology developed for their show. Bring a charged smartphone or tablet!. Or, Human Error on (Tuesday 28 July, 6-7.15pm) where Sarah Wiseman will take you through how she finds ways to make things simple, giving playful and fun examples of day-to-day human error.
If you have 5′ why not hang out over here at the Experimental page, of the RI site. You will find a series of short films making it fun, easy and cheap to do science experiments at home with your children.
3. Go Find Some Water, and Play
The Festival runs across London on 25 & 26 July, 10-5pm
It is a weekend programme of 30+ free architectural activities located in the City of London’s Square Mile, aimed to inspire the next generation of Londoners about the great places of their city.
Free, book by email
Throughout the Summer you can book on free activities (advised age 5+). Choose from Mad Hatters Tea Party, on 28 July, Make Like a Monarch on 30th July, Abbey Through Time on Tuesday 4th August, Who stole the Crown Jewels? on 6th August, Victory Tea Dance on 11th August, Edward, the Musical! (for under 7s) on 13th August, Knight School on 18th August, Punch & Judy visit the Abbey on 29th August. Most activities start late morning, check the website for times, meeting points and to book your place.
Free, All Ages, Drop In Events, 11-4pm : Bethnal Green Tube
Tuesday 11 – Thursday 13 August & Tuesday 18 – Thursday 20 August & Tuesday 25 – Thursday 27 August
Run, jump, hop and skip! Great outdoor fun for active families. Join the race, get to the top of the leader board or simply let off steam in the Museum grounds (weather permitting). There are also dollhouse colouring workshops, an art camp, a Summer Festival and a Montessori Family Day.
7. Free West End kids theatre from KIDSWEEK
Kids week is an annual event 1-31 Aug, which promotes theatre to kids. With every 1 adult ticket bought, you receive 1 free child’s ticket. The team also run workshops, competitions and events. Check here for a round up of the best London Family theatres and here for even better backstage tours. Check the websites for their latest events lists, and you will not be disappointed. We fancy Bugsy Malone which finishes in August, Matilda is the top of the tree if you have the cash, and Billy Elliot for the older kids, or those who can tolerate the F*** word!
Why not get out the house early on a Saturday morning and take advantage of the cheap kids cinema clubs around town. Check here for those nearest you, and which films are showing. If you’re wise like us, then sneak your own pop corn in your pockets too for breakfast, that way you can save your pennies for a some smelly tattoos from Clare’s accessories after, even Dads deserve a weekend treat.
9. Olympic Swimming & Inflatable Fun
Book in for a Family Swim session, or the Aqua Splash session with the largest inflatable (It’s A Knockout style) water adventure playground I’ve ever seen for ages 8+ at Londons largest swimming pool in the Olympic Park. Or just play around in grounds, book tickets to take a ride up the ArcelorMittal Oribit for a stunning view at either of the 2 viewpoints. The tumbling playground areas are great for keen skate boarders and scooter, and check the website as their are a few events planned over the next few months, like the National Paralympic Day on 30 August : Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. You’d be mad not to take my advice though and jump in feet first at the London Aquatic Centre (if only for the super hot showers and free hair dryers!).
10. Picnic in secret
Check out my list of the very best hidden gardens in London. Grab a pack of cards, a sun hat, and some fizz for everyone, and sneak off to day dream, and beat your kids at poo-head.
You can’t pretend that everyone isn’t happiest when they eventually find the sea. We are big fans of Whitstable, Camber and the beach at the Southbank! Dont forget your family railcard, for super cheap tickets all round, and stay away from carb-free friends whilst you soak up some rays and a huge bag of chips watching the kids pick up stones to fill your pockets.