Summer holidays

The Summer School Holidays Activities Guide

Culture /


The best activities for families and kids in London and the rest of the UK

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Wondering how to keep the kids happy during the summer holidays? Even without venturing abroad, there’s plenty to explore, from child-friendly activities in London to country kids’ clubs, fetes and camping adventures. Here’s a list of summer holiday activities and luxury family experiences to check out with the children this summer. You never know, you might even enjoy it…

The C&TH Guide to Summer

The Summer Holidays Guide 2022

Photo 1 of
London for kids, Photo by Robert Tudor on Unsplash

Summer school holidays activities for kids in London… 

Embassy Gardens Pawfect Street Party

Attend the Embassy Gardens Pawfect Street Party

Over in Embassy Gardens on 3rd September, a vibrant festival for four-legged friends will be taking place, partnered with dog rescue foundation Wild At Heart, the day will offer a jam packed schedule of themed activities including a dogstacle course competition, relay race, poochie pose photo experience and human Crufts.

HOW? eventbrite.co.uk

 

Somerset House Dodge

Explore This Bright Land at Somerset House

Head over to Somerset House this August for their summer exhibition, This Bright Land, celebrating community and culture. From treasure hunts to live performances to new ‘scent maps’ in the Wonder Garden, there’s something for all the family – not to mention the courtyard fountains.

HOW? From 1 to 29 August 2022. somersethouse.org.uk

Embark on a Harry Potter Bus Tour

On Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the summer holidays, allow Harry Potter fans to dive into the magic of their favourite books and films through a bus tour around the capital’s key locations from the series. The three-hour coach tour covers shooting locations from all eight films, from King’s Cross Station to the Leaky Cauldron via 12 Grimmauld Place.

HOW? isango.com

Children in chef hats making pizza as their parents look over them

Learn to Make Pizza with Pizza Pilgrims, Selfridges

Whether you’re raising a budding chef or you’re just looking to try something new with the kids during the summer holidays, take a trip to Selfridges for Pizza Pilgrims’ Little Slice Pizza Masterclass every Monday or Tuesday from 10:30 am until midday. Children aged 6 years and over can learn to make an authentic Neapolitan pizza with a pizza chef – and, of course, eat it afterwards. They’ll also get two soft drinks, a chef hat to decorate before they start, an ice cream sandwich, access to games and pizza box art, and a balloon to take home at the end.

HOW? £25 each. designmynight.com.

Children at a workshop at Chelsea Physic Gardens

Visit Chelsea Physic Garden

Take a trip to London’s oldest botanic garden, Chelsea Physic Garden, for a range of family-friendly activities. Open Sunday to Friday, events are running throughout the summer holidays, from Wild Immersive Theatre to a Chocolate Workshop to making paint with plants.

HOW? Book and check up-to-date information at chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk

Alexandra Palace

Enroll the kids in a Creativity Camp at Alexandra Palace

Immerse youngsters in the creative arts at Alexandra Palace during the summer holidays, with multiple-day-long workshops – including spoken word, improv comedy, theatre, street art and songwriting – taking place throughout the month.

HOW? Dates throughout August, alexandrapalace.com

GoBoat

Spend the Afternoon on the Water with GoBoat

Spend the afternoon with the family on a boat on one of the city’s rivers. GoBoat offers private hire for groups of up to eight in Paddington, Kingston and Canary Wharf. The best bit? You can enjoy your on-water experience without harming the environment, as the boats are made from recycled plastic and use electric engines. No boating experience is necessary.

HOW? goboat.co.uk

Seaside, Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

Summer school holidays activities for kids in the rest of the UK…

mortal combat retro game at the museum

Play Retro Games at the Tide & Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth

Want to introduce the kids to the games you loved in your youth? The Tide & Tide Museum’s new Retro Games Exhibition – running until 23 March 2023 – has you covered. Charting the rise of computer gaming from the ’80s boom to the present, guests can learn about gaming before using retro and contemporary technology to play the games, too.

HOW? Entry is £7 per adult, £6 per child and £26 per family (2+2). museums.norfolk.gov.uk

A man performing circus skills with a crowd

Head to Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire for their Circus Skills Workshop

At the foot of the Malvern Hills, Eastnor Castle is surrounded by a beautiful deer park and lake. Enjoy a summer holidays day out there with the woodland play area, Knight’s Maze, ice cream parlour all summer. Or, for one week in August, clown around with Thomas Trilby and join in with interactive circus fun.

HOW? 7–11 August. eastnorcastle.com 

The Grove

Go on a Football Escape Holiday

Have a kid that loves football? This retreat – at The Grove in Hertfordshire – might be the one for you this summer. While the kids play football with Premier League Ambassadors, the adults can indulge in an assortment of 5-star facilities. Then the family can get back together for a whole host of activities, from segway and bike hire to hawking and archery. In the walled garden, an outdoor pool and mini beach also promise a fun-filled family staycation.

HOW? 22–24 August. footballescapes.com 

Promotional poster with Peter Rabbit overlooking Blenheim Palace

Attend the Peter Rabbit Garden Adventure at Blenheim Palace, Oxford

This summer holidays, Oxford’s beautiful Blenheim Palace is hosting the Peter Rabbit Garden Adventure – celebrating Beatrix Potter’s character’s 120th anniversary. With storytelling, live performances and puppetry all located in the beautiful grounds, this Garden Adventure promises fun for all the family.

HOW? Open now until 3 September. peterrabbitgardenadventure.com 

Carlyon Beach

Take a trip to Carlyon Beach in Cornwall

Cornwall is always heaving during the summer holidays – but you can escape the crowds at lesser-known gem Carlyon Beach, perched on the south coast. Head there this summer to explore a collection of local food and drink pop-ups, plus opportunities or kayak hire and kids bootcamps.

HOW? visitcornwall.com 

Lucknam Park Review

Have a Family Fun-Filled Staycation at Lucknam Park, Wiltshire

With the travel chaos at the moment, staycations are the ideal holiday, especially with youngsters in tow. So, why not the most of the beautiful Lucknam Park’s newly enhanced family offering? A new outdoor play area and exciting offerings throughout summer – think hot air balloon rides, arts and crafts, and newly formed biking trails – promise fun for all the family. If you prefer a little privacy, there’s also a new self-catering cottage sleeping up to six.

HOW? lucknampark.co.uk 

Cabbage white butterfly

Take a Trip to the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo

Opposite Symonds Yat Rock in Herefordshire, the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo is a peaceful attraction where youngsters can explore the tropical world of butterflies. There’s also a hedge maze – great fun for all the family.

HOW? Open 10am–5pm everyday. butterflyzoo.co.uk 

Promotional poster for Paddington Bear Marmalade Messiness

Embark on an Adventure at Paddington Bear Marmalade Messiness

Scottish Paddington Bear Fans are in for a treat: Paddington is heading to Dalkeith Country Park this summer holidays. Guests will follow pawprints and half-eaten marmalade sandwiches – meeting other characters with fun stories along the way – in the pursuit to locate Paddington. This immersive adventure is running from 13th July until 4th September, so there’s plenty of time to visit Paddington if you happen to be in the area. 

HOW? paddingtonmarmalademessiness.com

Wilderlands

Attend One of the Wilderlands’ Wild Weekends

Den-building, wood carving and live music: Wilderlands’ Wild Weekends are back in Sussex for another year, and these are just some of the activities on offer. Organised in an effort to support nature in the UK, this year’s weekend will take place in Chiddinglye estate in the Sussex countryside from 12 to 14th August, with camping and food facilities on-site and a whole host of al fresco activities for children to get involved with.

HOW? 12-14 August. wilderlands.co.uk

A young boy learning how to ride a bike in a field

Go on a Family-Friendly Bike Ride

Get outdoors this summer holidays (weather permitting, of course) and explore some of the best routes of the National Cycle Network.

HOW? Check out our round-up of the best family-friendly bike rides in the UK

Big Feastival

Attend the Big Feastival in the Cotswolds

Held on founder and Blur star Alex James’ farm in Kingham, the Big Feastival features a host of big names in family-friendly entertainment. This year’s family friendly line-up features CBeebies’ Justin Fletcher, Cosmic Kids Yoga and The Rainbow Fish, whilst adults will enjoy performances from the likes of The Human League, Anne-Marie, Stereophonics and Sugarbabes.

HOW? 26 – 28 August 2022. thebigfeastival.com

See more family-friendly festivals in our guide

A girl playing tennis

Play Tennis For Free

If the kids are driving you mad and they need to work off some energy this summer, get them started with some tennis lessons. Before you sign up for weekly coaching at your local club, why not give them a go through sporting charity Tennis for Free, which offers free weekly two-hour coaching sessions across England and Scotland for ages three and up.

HOW? tennisforfree.com

A golden ticket in front of Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach

Take a Trip to Great Yarmouth

Visit Great Yarmouth are taking a leaf out of Willy Wonka’s book during the summer holidays, with five £500 ‘Golden Tickets’ up for grabs via their free-to-enter Facebook competition. Each winner and up to five guests will experience a fun-packed Great Yarmouth day out with complimentary entry to The Pleasure Beach, underwater wonders at The SEA LIFE Centre, a mesmerising water and circus show at the Hippodrome’s Summer Spectacular and afternoon tea at Sara’s Tearooms. If you’re not lucky enough to win, visit Great Yarmouth anyway for a lovely seaside holiday.

How? The tickets will be up for grabs in five consecutive weekly competitions throughout July on Visit Great Yarmouth’s Facebook page, with a new winner selected each week. 

The Story Museum

Go to The Story Museum in Oxford

The Story Museum in Oxford makes a lovely trip for the family, with plenty of activities for a range of ages. There are multiple events running throughout the summer, including The Grimm Sisters, Pirates and Treasure and a Morph Model Making Workshop. Young children aged 0-5, meanwhile, will love the Small Worlds play space.

HOW? storymuseum.org.uk

Tiger Lodge at Port Lymphe

Visit Port Lympne in Kent

A must-visit for animal-lovers, this Kent-based conservation charity is not your average UK wildlife experience this summer. Whether you opt for a day visit or a short stay, you’ll come face to face with big cats, gorillas, giraffes and many more. If you really want to push the boat out, (and blow their minds in the process) book in for a stay at Tiger Lodge, where tigers play right outside your (very sturdy) windows.

HOW? aspinallfoundation.org

Forest Nets at Celtic Manor Resort, Newport

Play in Forest Nets at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport

If you want to drag the kids away from their screens during the summer holidays and get them playing outside instead, take a day trip to the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales and check out the Forest Nets, where kids can clamber through the trees bouncing on suspended nets. It is absolutely as fun as it sounds, for the young and young-at-heart alike.

HOW? celtic-manor.com

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