While babies can travel on airlines for free until they turn two, this doesn’t mean they get a seat. And even though you can book a wall-mounted ‘bassinet’ for the trip, this rarely ensures your little one will get comfy enough to drift off; even for the most seasoned of air travellers, planes are teeming with distractions – bright lights, in-flight announcements, and high traffic if you’re unlucky enough to be stuck near the loo, aisle, or alongside someone who has an annoyingly tiny bladder.
Even beneath drab grey skies and miserable, soggy clouds, London is a magical destination – especially for kids. Now that the calendar, at least, has deemed it officially summertime, there is no better place to celebrate the belated sunshine with the brood.
Check out some of the capital’s family-friendly events happening this season, from fab festivals to fun activities in museums and galleries:
1. British Summer Time event at Hyde Park, 28 June
Touted “Britain’s Biggest Family Event”, this extravaganza of food, fun and live music promises to live up to the hype with a jam-packed lineup. Acts will include Boyband Union J, Britain’s Got Talent 2014 winners Collabro, Horrible Histories sketches, Brainiac Live! and CBeebies stars.
Kids will also get the chance to meet some of their favourite characters, including Bart and Homer Simpson, SpongeBob Squarepants, Spot the Dog, Shaun the Sheep and Peppa Pig (!).
Book tickets HERE.
2. Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall at London Wonderground, until 30 August
DJ Monski Mouse is in da house with a head-bopping set of retro beats, pop faves and funky nursery rhymes.
Join the fun, high-energy dance party for little ones who love music and love to wiggle, HERE.
For under 5s and their carers
3. Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum, until 13 September
Returning to the Natural History Museum for another year, the interactive Sensational Butterflies Exhibition will house hundreds of colourful fluttery (and crawly) creatures.
Spot caterpillar eggs waiting to hatch, and inspect chrysalises before they release their winged beauties into the air; all within a specially constructed tropical enclosure that allows butterflies to
fly freely among the visitors.
Tickets can be purchased at the museum.
4. The Basil Brush Show at Croydon Fairfield Halls, 22 July
Cheeky but charming fox Basil Brush is back on the road along with his TV chum Mr Stephen. This year, their brand new ‘live’ stage show is packed with laughs, storytelling and song. PLUS, “Boom Boom” fans will be able to meet Basil and Mr Stephen after the show!
Suitable for families with children over the age of five.
Book tickets HERE.
5. Bach to Baby Family Concert in Bloomsbury at The Foundling Museum, 18 June
Baby-friendly concerts that you and your little one can enjoy together, with performances by top-class musicians.
The star of the show this season is the Golden Horn, featuring Stephen Stirling, with grand sounds from Handel’s famous Water Music to a Russian Reverie and beyond!
Book tickets HERE.
6. Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground
Kiddies can play pirates for a day in this imaginative play area inspired by J. M. Barrie’s novel, Peter Pan.
Nestled between the trees in Kensington Gardens, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground is an island for imagination to run wild, with teepees, a ‘beach’, and, of course,
Captain Hook’s Jolly Roger.
7. Spitalfields Music Summer Festival – Musical Rumpus: A Fairy Queen In The Forest at Rich Mix, 12-13 June
An award-winning interactive, multi-sensory opera for babies and toddlers returns.
Enter a world of fairies and fantastical animals in an enchanted forest, with the magical music of Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen.
Book tickets HERE.
8. Teddy Bears Picnic at Bedfords Park Visitors Centre, 21 June
Take a trip to the woods this June for a big surprise…including teddy bear crafts, teddy bear games, and a picnic in the forest…
Remember to bring your lunch with you – and don’t forget your teddy bear!
Booking info HERE.
9. Midsummer Masquerade at Vestry House Museum, 14 June
Create your own colourful masks inspired by the E17 Arts Trail, then take part in an exciting masked parade.
10. Alice In Wonderland Day at Whitehall, Cheam, 4 July
Alice has her sesquicentennial anniversary this year, so what better way to celebrate than with a day of crafts inspired by the book – and tea party treats, too!
For more summer excursion inspiration, check out visitlondon.com’s full list of family events.
Want to experience the fun of summer from the comfort of your own home? We have Apple Watches, Amazon Kindles and more to give away on the Sudocrem Summer Fete game! Simply click HERE to play.
London is bursting with fun things to do, fascinating places to see, and a great horde of fairly interesting people to squash up against in the Tube.
But when you have a tiny tot in tow, it is near impossible to experience the City without a military-style operation to facilitate your day out.
Remember when you’d proclaim that you could definitely handle having a kid because looking after your high-maintenance labradoodle was pretty much the same? Yeah. Now you’ve got both and the incontrovertible fact that ‘Parent’ and ‘Pet Owner’ are not even from the same planet has become very apparent.
A friend of mine recently took a 7-hour flight from the US to London alone…with her four children – aged 11 months, 2 and three-quarters, 5 and 7 – and made it home alive, with all of kids intact and still quite sane. Flying with kids! She is literally Wonder woman (the trick to keeping an active baby docile on a flight is to bore him to sleep, which is what my friend did every time her son looked at her – just an fyi).