What’s on in London? Kids' events in the capital the whole family will enjoy
In an enormous city like London, we could all use some guidance on what to do where, when and why - especially when it comes to kids’ events. How do you even begin to find them? Well, hold your horses as we’re here to help with a guide to what’s on in London, throughout the whole year.
We think we’ve pulled together a pretty great spread of the events in London that would suit the whole family, as well as specific kid’s events. See what you think and let us know if we’ve missed anything.
Family and kids’ events in London
What’s on in London when winter is thawing out and the first shoots of Spring are appearing?
- Chinese New Year Celebrations, 18th Feb, Chinatown & London’s West End
This is the biggest Chinese New Year celebration outside of Asia with parades, performers and all sorts of tasty tidbits - and it’s happening right here in London! We love Chinese New Year for many reasons but it’s really all about the food, so this would be a great opportunity to tuck in and maybe even introduce your little foodies to something new. You’ll find the fun happening around Chinatown and the West End so could squeeze in a spot of sightseeing too.
- St Patrick’s Day, 16th-18th March,Trafalgar Square
St Patrick’s Day sometimes has a bit of an adults-only reputation but this free festival in the heart of Trafalgar Square opens its arms to everyone. Get stuck into some traditional Irish food, cheer as the parade goes by and see if you can't have a crack at an Irish jig. London events around this time of year are all about international celebration and are perfect for teaching kids about different cultures.
What’s on in London during summer? Ideas to keep your brood entertained until the end of the summer holidays:
- Regents Park Open Air Theatre, Trafalgar Square: Peter Pan, 17th May - 15th Jun and Dinosaur World Live - 14th Aug - 9th Sept
With fingers, toes and just about everything else crossed, summer means getting outdoors with festivals and creative events like Open Air Theatre. There are quite a few of these going on in London but we couldn’t resist the kids’ classic, Peter Pan. Watching it outdoors will really bring the magic to life for your gang of lost boys and girls. Then of course, there’s Dinosaur World Live which will have the whole family chomping and stomping their way around Regents Park.
- West End LIVE at Trafalgar Square, June 2018, Trafalgar Square
Theatre fans looking for what to do in London may have found their perfect day out. West End LIVE is a fantastic way to see some of the leading musicals, as well as an opportunity to discover some of those hidden gems you would never ordinarily catch. Now in its 14th year, free performances will be taking place and kids of all ages are encouraged to come along and sing their little hearts out, as well as throwing a few shapes if the mood catches them!
- Lawn Tennis Championships, 2nd - 15th July, Wimbledon
What’s more classically British summertime than Wimbledon? It’s that moment where everyone can get dressed up in their best whites (stains be damned!) and see which royals they can spot in the crowd. For families looking for what to do in London, it also means strawberries and cream, picnics on the grass and watching truly world class tennis. If you’re lucky enough to get tickets, maybe practice a few rounds with your tribe beforehand so they can get properly into the game.
- Women’s Hockey World Cup, 21st July - 5th Aug: Vitality Women’s Hockey World Cup 2018, Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre
What sports did you play as a kid? Chances are hockey would have been up there, so why not watch the professionals have a crack at the Women’s Hockey World Cup. Kids can pick up a few tricks from the best in the business and imagine themselves taking centre stage in a few years. We think to would be a great way to inspire the sports stars of tomorrow, as well as being a chance to tuck into a hotdog or two on the sidelines.
- Kids Week (in Theatres), 1st - 31st August, West End
Little luvvies searching for London events need look no more, as Kids Week on the West End will be simply packed with free tickets and discounts for kids, as well as plenty of family-friendly activities. One kid goes free with a full-price adult ticket which is always welcome news when loads of the biggest shows are on, and this could well be a great moment to share some of your most loved moments in theatre with the aspiring actors in your gang. See which performances are on now and get planning.
- Notting Hill Carnival Family Day, (August Bank Holiday date of Family Day TBC), Notting Hill
It’s carnival time! For locals, this is a much-loved annual event when everyone wishes for good weather and gets their party gear on. Families from all over the country make the trip down for Caribbean food, lively music and plenty of street crafts and stalls, all of which make up the biggest street festival in Europe. If you’re asking what to do in London on the August Bank Holiday, this truly is the place to be.
- BBC Proms/Proms in the Park: Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park
All you culture vultures out there will be delighted to hear that this is the biggest classical music festival ON EARTH and it’s happening right here in London. Affordable concerts will be open to all audiences at the Royal Albert Hall and across London, so pick something special or take a gamble - it could be a great chance to get your kids into classical music. With that, you can celebrate in style at the grand finale of the two-month-long festival with live music, fireworks and cheery sing-alongs in Hyde Park.
The nights may be drawing in and the children are back at school, but there’s still plenty of family and kids’ events in London to check out:
- Lord Mayor’s Show, 10th November, begins at Westminster
Go fancy or go home at the Lord Mayor’s Show: the 800-year-old tradition where the city celebrates their newly elected mayor. It’s going to be suitably swish with an elaborate parade, a military marching band, dancing and… horses! It’s one of those classic London events and isn’t one you want to miss, plus performers will be decked out in full formal regalia so could be great inspiration for your little lords and ladies’ next dressing up session.
Winter brings Christmas and surely some of the most magical kids’ events you’ll see throughout the year. Here’s just a handful we’ve rounded up.
- Winter Wonderland, November-December, Hyde Park
This one’s a classic. Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is possibly the best way to get into the festive spirit with big top shows and a whole host of fairground rides. Find something tasty to eat in the Christmas markets and try to stay balanced on the ice skating rink. In fact, skating is always a favourite with families so be sure to get there early; after twirling and pirouetting their way around the rink, kids won’t want to leave. See if you feel the same after clinging to the chilly sidelines for an hour!
- Christmas at Kew, November-December, Royal Botanical Gardens Kew
Make this season magical with a trip to Christmas at Kew. Every year they pull out all the stops with a glittering, mile-long trail through the famous botanic gardens. Your way will be lit up with more than one million lights (!) and glowing orbs, as well as an enormous shimmering Sledge Tree which is made up of 360 wooden Santa’s sledges. Bundle up and bring the whole family for a night that won’t soon be forgotten, especially with the help of a few sparkling selfies!
- Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square, December (dates TBC), Trafalgar Square
Warm your pipes up and deck the halls; Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square are one of the most traditional ways to celebrate the season. From Ding Dong Merrily on High to Silent Night, we all know the tunes so enjoy getting in the spirit by watching carol singers perform all your festive favourites. And of course, at the heart of it all will be the famous Norwegian Christmas tree which is truly enormous; sadly there aren't massive presents to match underneath!
- NYE Fireworks, 31st December, Coca-Cola London Eye
Ring in the New Year with a spectacular display of zipping, zapping and multi-colourful explosions with London’s always impressive NYE fireworks display. They’ll be on at the Coca-Cola London Eye but you should be able to spy them all over the city; our advice for families with small kids is to find a nifty vantage point away from the crowds where you can watch without the worries of kids going walkabout! This world-famous event will have visitors from all over flocking to the city so get there early, wrap up warm and enjoy.
Other ideas of what to do in London
If none of these hot tickets tickles your fancy, never fear as we’re experts in the field of finding fun things to do. With well over 6,000 attractions listed from all over the capital, there must be something to suit your family on our site. Simply head to the things to do in London page and filter the result. Enjoy!
If you have an event in London you think we should list above, get in touch on our social channels to let us know!