Family fun in and around London

Summer in London: 10 budget family activities

Posted by on Thursday, 19 July, 2012 in Featured, News, Rainy day, Sunny day

Summer in London: 10 budget family activities

It’s the start of the school holidays and Olympic mania is about to descend on London.  What activities do you have planned for the summer?  We’ve compiled our top ten list of budget activities for all the family…

Go to the Olympics

If you missed out on tickets to watch the Olympic Games, never fear.  Several events take place outdoors in and around London and you don’t need tickets to go and watch them.  Check out the men’s (28 July) and women’s (29 July) cycling road races; men’s and women’s cycling time trials (1 August); women’s (4 August) and men’s (7 August) triathlon; women’s (5 August) and men’s (12 August) marathon; and women’s (9 August) and men’s (10 August) 10km marathon swimming.  For more details of what’s on, click here.

Watch the Olympics on an open air screen

If you don’t manage to see any of the Olympic events live, there will be giant screens popping up around town where you can catch up on all the action.  Assuming the weather will allow, take a picnic and soak up the atmosphere.  Screens will be located on Blackheath, Potters Fields, Hyde Park (ticketed), Victoria Park (ticketed), Greenwich Peninsula, Woolwich, Waltham Forest, Shoreditch, Greenwich (Centre), Camden Roundhouse, Broadgate (City of London), Trafalgar Square (Paralympics)

Take a ride on the Emirates Air Line

The new Emirates Air Line spans the Thames from Royal Docks to Greenwich Peninsula.  The journey may take less than ten minutes, but there’s plenty of time to take in the views of North Greenwich Arena, Canary Wharf, Central London and Docklands.  Don’t forget your Oyster card or Transport for London travelcard for discounted fares.

Eat al fresco

It’s the summer, so why not take the opportunity to enjoy the sights and the sounds of the city by eating al fresco.  You could take a picnic to a park or city farm or get takeaway from one of the myriad pop-up cafés, bars and eateries springing up all over London at the moment.  Oh, and did I mention that Borough Market and the Real Food Market are open every day during the Olympics too.

Play 99 Tiny Games

Look out for 99 Tiny Games across London this summer (28 July to 23 August 2012).  The site-specific games are located in public places, three in each London Borough.  The rules of each game are just a few sentences long and are stuck onto the ground or a wall, waiting to be played by passers-by.

Explore the Southbank

Take a walk along the Southbank this summer and discover a feast of family attractions at the Festival of the World.  Take a carousel ride, play in the Rainbow sandpit or in an eco-play landscape, see sculptures made from everyday items and a huge fabric baobob tree or take in a live performance.  When you are done, grab a snack at one of the pop-up restaurants, the Real Food Market or at the outdoor Propstore bar (built from theatre scenery and props).

Visit the Children’s Republic of Shoreditch

The Children’s Republic of Shoreditch is run by children and has a postal service, a spy network and an embassy.  Based at the Ministry of Stories in Shoreditch, The Republic has been entirely conceived of and designed by children and is open to members of the public every Saturday until 11th August 2012, from 10am – 4pm.  Visitors can apply for citizenship and obtain an official passport; learn about the Republic’s laws and customs; find out how to send letters by helium balloon; request responses from the Children’s Advice Bureau; visit the Museum of Childhood Treasures; take an interactive tour.  There will also be workshops hosted by writers-in-residence. Suitable for children aged 8 and over.

Bounce on an inflatable Stonehenge

This summer an inflatable Stonehenge bouncy castle will be travelling around the London Boroughs.  Starting in Greenwich on 21 and 22 July 2012, the inflatable Stonehenge, part of the London 2012 Festival, will appear in each Borough, finally popping up near the Olympic Stadium on 12 August 2012 just in time for the Closing Ceremony. For details of when Stonehenge will arrive in your Borough, click here.

Play Ping Pong

Ping! is a street ping pong initiative.  Look out for one of the many free ping pong tables located across London, borrow a bat and start playing.  To find your nearest table click here.

See a play

There’s a wealth of children’s theatre on offer this summer.  From classic tales The Owl and the Pussycat on water (free), The Tiger Who Came to Tea (tickets from £9) and The Trojan Horse (free), to Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play (tickets from £10, some shows are “watch with baby”) and Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain (tickets from £10), there’s something for everyone.

If none of the above takes your fancy, head to your local museum, farm or park.  Check out babydaytripper’s List of Reviews and Map of Reviews for more details.

Do you have any recommendations for budget family activities in London? We’d love to hear from you!  Leave your comments below.

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