Out of the ordinary activities for your kids in August
The six-week summer school break is a long time to keep the children entertained. Never fear though, we’ve discovered an array of exciting and unique child friendly activities across London and the surrounding areas that are sure to keep your family busy during the holidays, in addition to our own exciting Kid’s Academy.
Kid’s Week at the West End
The buzzing West End hosts a magical month dedicated especially to children, where youngsters can not only watch a number of dazzling shows, but also have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and take part in exciting puppetry workshops with Avenue Q, dance like Jeeves and Wooster, or even sing with cast members from Porgy and Bess.
Kid’s Week, now in its 17th year, allows children aged 5-16 (when accompanied by a full paying adult) to watch over 30 shows free of charge, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Disney’s The Lion King, Matilda the Musical and Wicked.
Children can travel back in time with a visit Shakespeare’s Globe, learn about acting and writing at the Royal Court, participate in two different Theatre land walking tours (one of which is a haunted trail which delves into the capital’s spooky past), or visit the National Theatre to discover how books are transformed into hit shows. The Old Vic is also holding interactive storytelling and puppetry workshops.
For a pre- or post-theatre bite to eat, families might like to head to inamo, an innovative Oriental fusion restaurant and bar situated metres from Piccadilly Circus which is offering child meals for free when again, accompanied by a full-paying adult for dinner. inamo boasts an interactive ordering system and relaxing Japanese garden with water features, allowing diners to choose their own virtual tablecloth, watch chefs create the dishes and play games, all through the table surface. A special children’s menu has been created for mini musical fans, complete with crispy tiger prawns, Japanese pickled cucumber and scrumptious home-made ice cream.
If your little prince or princess enjoys dressing up, the Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the fourth floor of Harrods is the ultimate fairytale dream come true. With rumours that real princesses attend, this is one of the most opulent summer holiday activities geared towards children.
Greeted by a dedicated fairy-godmother upon arrival at the decadent mock castle, experiences range from ‘Courtyard’ to ‘Royal’ (Royal priced at £1,000) with all young princesses receiving a framed photograph, boutique sash, princess hairstyle, clothing and face painting. The Royal experience even includes an exclusive princess ball gown, shoes, tiara, Disney doll collection and a beautiful crystal Cinderella slipper.
Princes are not left out either, as the boutique also offers the Knight experience which includes a mighty sword, clothing and fun face paints plus a framed photograph.
For a full fairytale family day out there is the Disney Café by Harrods, located on the same floor as the boutique. With Mickey Mouse-shaped ravioli and toasties, there are plenty of delicious meals to tempt tiny palates or a family-sized Knickerbocker Glory for everyone to enjoy. What’s more, there are screens around the café playing beloved Disney films, the start of which are signalled by the chiming of a mock Big Ben, so the little ones will never miss the beginning.
Make a mini McIlroy
From rowing in Regents Park to horse riding in Hyde Park, London offers a vast array of sporty and energetic activities to keep children busy and active this summer. London’s country estate, The Grove, also one of the worlds’ leading luxury five star hotels, offers individual golf instruction to budding Rory McIlroys.
Voted as the number one golf resort by Golf Monthly, The Grove boasts a 7,152 yard championship golf course. Set in 300 acres of Hertfordshire countryside, the estate has a range of junior golf clubs to hire as well as golf clinics operated by qualified PGA professionals. One hour for coaching a junior golfer costs £60.
Regents Park, with 100 acres of excellent sporting facilities, is actually the largest outdoor sports area in the centre of London. Aside from walking among the 12,000 roses in Queen Mary’s Gardens, visiting the Open Air Theatre, London Zoo and Primrose Hill, the park also has a beautiful boating lake which is open daily from 10am-6pm. In fact, a special children’s lake is open exclusively during the school holidays, bank holidays and weekends. Children’s pedalos and adult rowing boats are available for hire from the Boathouse which features a charming family restaurant with a large terrace, perfect for sating hungry bellies.
Hyde Park is similarly ideal for the summer holidays, especially for those that love all things equestrian. The park itself has two designated routes for horse riders and a specialist manège. Hyde Park Stables holds half day horse and pony riding camps, which are arranged in groups split by age.
Costing £198 and suitable for children aged five to 12 (with special classes available for four year olds), the camp includes a lesson at the riding school and a scenic ride through Hyde Park as well as a stable management and horse care lecture. If your little ones really enjoy their experience, the stables also run a children’s Pony Club where young riders can work towards a number of tests and badges.
While boating and horse riding might be weather dependent, Karen Hardy Studios offers a number of children’s dance programmes that will keep them fit and healthy while promoting important life skills that are necessary in a child’s development, regardless of rain or shine.
Situated in Imperial Wharf, Karen Hardy Dance Academy Children’s Dance Camps are a fun but educational one or two week course where youngsters can make friends and learn how to dance ‘Strictly style.’ Parents have the opportunity to watch the final performance, allowing the children to show their developments from basic ballroom steps to performing the Paso Doble, samba, salsa and even jiving.
The studios also host ‘Strictly style’ birthday parties for children, which include refreshments, paddles for scoring and cut out ‘Strictly stars’, such as Brucie! Who knows, your child could be the next Brendan Cole or Aliona Vilani.
If you’re looking for something that bit out of the ordinary to occupy your children during the summer holidays, then head into London; you’ll be spoiled for choice and the kids will have a great time.