HEAD TO THE SEA HERE: Littlehampton
On the West Sussex coast, Littlehampton is like Brighton but smaller, more affordable and much easier to park. For £20, kids can have a go on unlimited rides at Harbour Park Amusements, before tucking into fish and chips and Mr Whippys. The West Beach is the place to head for swimming in the sea, while the East Beach offers a lovely cafe on the beach. East Beach Cafe serves decent food on its beachfront decking over the summer and there’s also a takeaway kiosk so that you can enjoy food and drinks on the sand.
Littlehampton, West Sussex
CATCH FISH HERE: Abinger Hammer Stream
Abinger Hammer Stream in Surrey is shallow enough for kids of all ages to paddle in. We recommend buying a net from the village shop opposite so they can try to catch fish. The stream is surrounded by fields – perfect for picnics. Head to nearby Shere (the pretty village where The Holiday was filmed) afterwards for old-fashioned sweet shop Truly Scrumptious Delights and coffee and cake at The Dabbling Duck cafe or go for a mooch in & Hobbs or drinks in one of the local pubs.
GO SWIMMING HERE: Guildford Lido
Guildford Lido is a 50m outdoor pool with plenty of grassy areas for picnics and a burrito shack. The leisure park has four small water slides, which are great for children under 12. The lido is one of the few 1930s outdoor pools and is set in four acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. Heated to 24ºC year-round, the Olympic sized pool is a great place to chill out, meet friends, picnic and – of course – swim.
Lido Road, Stoke Park, Guildford, GU1 1HB
WATCH THIS HERE: Malory Towers
Nostalgic and naughty, Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers is the original ‘Girl Power’ story. This summer, join Wise Children productions for high drama and high spirits, all set to live music and animation. This is a show for girls, boys and all grown-up children who still dream of midnight feasts and Cornish clifftops. The show will premiere at The Passenger Shed in Bristol, which will be transforming into Malory Towers school for the summer holidays. After that, the show will tour Cambridge, York, Exeter, Manchester and Oxford.
The Passenger Shed, Station Approach, Bristol, BS1 6QH; until 18th August, then touring
GET MESSY HERE: Slime Planet
Slime Planet workshops are packed with fun and slimy things. Here, kids get to make their own slime, adding mix-ins like glitter and foam beads, plus scents such as bubblegum, cherry and chocolate. As well as making their own slime, there'll be a chance for participants to feel some of the weirdest and wonderful slimes out there – think crunchy slime, fluffy slime and even 'fart' slime. Lovely. Kids will also learn about the science of slime, and will end the workshop with by joining together to make a giant slime.
494 Rathgar Road, Brixton, London SW9
GET THE GIGGLES HERE: Twirlywoos Live! at Underbelly Festival
From the producers of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Sarah and Duck Live on Stage comes another enchanting show for young audiences. Toodloo, Great BigHoo, Chickedy, Chick and Peekaboo will welcome young fans in this new theatrical adventure, as the Twirlywoos embark on an adventure onboard their Big Red Boat. With beautifully inventive puppetry, the 55-minute show promises a cast full of all your children’s favourite characters from the hit TV show.
Belvedere Road, Southbank, SE1 8XX; 3rd-31st August
BE ADVENTUROUS HERE: The Monster
The world’s biggest inflatable obstacle course, The Monster, has teamed up with Nerf to launch Europe’s biggest live Nerf experience. This immersive activity will begin in the briefing zone where kids will be kitted out with their chosen blaster loaded with darts. After the briefing, players will set out onto The Monster for the ultimate Nerf battle, making their way over 40 obstacles throughout the 300m course. After tackling The Monster, kids and families will also be able to experience the Targeting Arena inspired by all the latest and classic Nerf blasters.
Alexandra Palace Way, Wood Green, N22 7AY; 27th-28th August
GET A HEAD FOR HEIGHTS HERE: Zip Now
Zip Now London gives your family a chance to fly. Launching from 35 metres up, Zip Now London delivers an adrenaline punch that’s hard to beat. You’ll travel across 225 metres, taking in impressive views of London’s skyline, reaching speeds of up to 50 km p/h. Best of all, there are four zip wires in parallel, allowing you to fly with groups of friends or as a family. The Mega Drop descent is on hand if anyone else in your group needs an extra adrenaline shot.
Archbishop’s Park, Lambeth, SE1 7LE; until September
LEARN TO COOK HERE: Holborn Dining Room
Entertain your little ones with a pie masterclass experience in The Pie Room at Holborn Dining Room. Budding chefs aged 7-11 will be equipped with a personalised apron, hat and mini rolling pin, before learning how to make a sausage roll and an apple pie that they can take home in this two-hour masterclass with the restaurant’s expert pastry experts. Join your children for lunch in Holborn Dining Room after the class and you’ll get 20% off your bill.
252 High Holborn, Holborn, WC1V 7EN; 3rd August, 21st September and 19th October
HIT THE BEACH HERE: Beach At Brent Cross
The Beach Brent Cross is a family festival which takes place every year at the Brent Cross Shopping Centre in London during the summer months. Within, expect a sandy beach, splash pools and a whole host of Urban Beach rides as entertainment. These 25 different rides are suitable for all ages, from toddlers right through to adults, and range from roller coasters to gentler rides that all the family can enjoy. There are also food and drink stalls and friendly staff on hand.
Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, NW4 3FP
IF IT RAINS, HEAD HERE: Horniman Museum
Discover historical highlights from around the world made entirely from Lego bricks with Brick Wonders at the Horniman Museum. From an ancient Egyptian pyramid and Old London Bridge to a coral reef and the international space station, kids will travel through history and explore over 50 models made using half a million Lego pieces. Visitors can build their own brick wonders in interactive play areas – including a graffiti wall and big bricks for little hands – and the exhibition includes a mini-cinema showing short Lego animations.
100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ; until October
BE A ZOO KEEPER HERE: ZSL London Zoo
The ‘Junior Keeper for a Day’ experience at ZSL London Zoo is an activity where young people (aged 11-15 years) can work alongside a zoo keeper with a variety of animals who live at the zoo. In a group of up to five, children will be kitted out in their zoo keeper uniform, including a t-shirt and cap, before heading to the restaurant for refreshments. Then it's time to head out into the zoo for their keeper duties, looking after the likes of giraffes, monkeys and alpacas. Perfect for animal lovers.
Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY
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