7 fun family things to do this summer in London

With overseas holidays set to be a logistical headache this summer, the school break is the perfect opportunity to play tourist in London. If you are spending #SummerInTheCity, here are just a few suggestions to set you and your family on your way.

Photo: Marc Brenner/ Shakespeare’s Globe

Sketch on the Square, National Gallery

August 3 to September 2

Trafalgar Square will host a giant alfresco exhibition of life-sized replicas of iconic works including Botticelli’s Venue and Mars, Turner’s Fighting Temeraire and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers as part of Westminster City Council’s Inside Out festival. Sketch on the Square is a programme of outdoor art activities, also part of the festival. Daily and free, however some sessions require booking. nationalgallery.org.uk

The dodgems are back at Somerset House. Photo: Stephen Chung/Alamy Live News

Dodge, Somerset House

July 15 to August 22

Turbo-charge your summer as Somerset House welcomes back visitors with a thrilling new open-air experience in its spectacular courtyard.
Featuring dodgems with a difference, bold installations from acclaimed artists and a delicious selection of food and drinks, Dodge is the perfect setting to spend quality time with family and friends once again. Under 12s to go free on the dodgems on Tuesday and Wednesday between 12pm and 3pm. Tickets from £10. somersethouse.org.uk

Discovery Days, Hyde Park

August 3 to August 26

Royal Parks welcomes families back to the LookOut Discovery Centre in Hyde Park for their popular free drop-in Discovery Days. The days are a range of nature-inspired activities for families that take place every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 11am and 3pm. Each week there will be a different theme from Meadow Madness and Life Underground to Wild Water and the beloved Peter Pan. royalparks.org.uk

Mega Please Draw Freely, Tate Modern

July 24 – August 29

Visitors of all ages are invited to transform the floor of the Turbine Hall into a giant work of art at UNIQLO Tate Play: Mega Please Draw Freely. Led by artist Ei Arakawa, the project is inspired by the Gutai group – radical Japanese artists who wanted to change the world through painting, performance and play. Participatory performances take place at 11am and 2pm daily. Free, but you must book a collection route ticket. tate.org.uk

Families are invited to transform the Turbine Hall into a giant work of art. Photo: Rob Harris/Tate Modern

Discounted entry, St Pauls Cathedral

July 26 – September 4

This cultural and historical edifice offers discounted entry this summer, which can still be used later on in the year. For every adult or concession annual pass purchased, up to three children receive an annual pass for free. Alternatively, you can turn your sightseeing ticket into an annual pass instantly by using Gift Aid as part of your purchase. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door, however booking is recommended. Tickets from £7.20. stpauls.co.uk

Storytelling shows, Shakespeare’s Globe

July 24 – August 22

Based on some of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays including Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and Macbeth, children and their families are invited to partake in interactive storytelling events. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets £12.

Polly one of the giant Galapagos tortoises. Photo: ZSL

Giants of the Galapagos, London Zoo

From mid-August

Meet Dolly, Polly and Priscilla, three giant Galapagos tortoises which have now taken up residence at London Zoo. With a life expectancy of more than 100 years old, these 26-year-old females are in their prime. Learn about the animal’s long life cycle and discover how hamster-sized hatchlings grow into the biggest tortoises in the world. Entry to Giants of the Galapagos is free with general admission. Tickets from £16.90/£26 Child/Adult. zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo


The Australian Shakespeare Company perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Wind in the Willows and Photo: Theatre on Kew/Australian Shakespeare Company

Australian Shakespeare Company, Kew Gardens

July 24 – August 30

This summer, Theatre on Kew bring two outdoor theatre shows to Kew Garden’s idyllic, World Heritage grounds. The Australian Shakespeare Company will bring two much-loved classics to life – The Wind in the Willows and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Performances are held morning, afternoon and evening, dates vary. Tickets from £17. theatreonkew.co.uk

Summer Showtime, Coaling Jetty

July 17 to August 30

The Cinema in the Arches and The Turbine Theatre return to Coaling Jetty with the stunning backdrop of the River Thames and the Grade II listed Battersea Power Station, in a summer programme of live theatre and films. It features a mix of classic, arthouse and blockbuster cinema, including Dirty Dancing, Call Me By Your Name and Thor Ragnarock and performances of Shakespeare, comedies and children’s shows including Wind in the Willows, written by Academy Award winner Jullian Fellowes (Downton Abbey). Times and dates vary, tickets for two seats from £31.50