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Things to do during the school summer holidays 2021 in London

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Visit London's top attractions this summer © Royal Air Force Museum.
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Find plenty of activities and attractions to keep children busy during the school summer holidays in London.

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Make the school summer holidays memorable by enjoying interactive exhibitions, children’s theatre shows and kid-friendly museums.

Save money by grouping different activities together and choosing a Merlin London attractions Pass, a wide-ranging London Pass or an Explorer Pass, depending on your plans.

There are lots of brilliant things to do in London during the kids’ school summer holidays. Whether you’ve got little ones or teenagers to keep entertained, we’ve rounded up summer holiday activities for all ages to enjoy below.

Plus, check out some of the top family experiences this summer and share your adventures on social media using the #LetsDoLondon hashtag! 

Some attractions might require booking in advance, even if entry is free.

Summer holiday events in London

Find more exciting events the kids will love from July, through August and in to September.

Things to do with teenagers in London

  • Embrace your inner adrenaline-junkie as you climb The O2 while taking in scenic views, with Up at The O2.
  • Sharpen up on your Roman history at London Mithraeum and Roman Amphitheatre this summer to impress your history teacher in autumn.
  • Scare yourself silly on the Drop Dead: Drop Ride at The London Dungeon
  • Turn this summer into a season of self-care and pamper yourself at Covent Garden.
  • …then head to the West End for more shopping treats to rock this summer.
  • Explore Churchill’s office at wartime underground bunker Churchill War Rooms.
  • Pick out some retro vintage threads at Camden’s independent shops.
  • And don’t forget to peruse through the numerous stalls of eye-catching accessories and treasures at Camden Market.

For more school holiday ideas, take a look at 101 things to do in London with teens.

Summer school holiday activities for young children

Unmissable summer pop-ups and exhibitions

  • Ponder at the works of Van Gogh in one of the hottest exhibitions in London this summer, Van Gogh Alive, at Kensington Gardens. Until 26 Sep
  • Don't miss a chance to see Princess Diana's wedding dress at Kensington Gardens, as the gown is displayed as part of the Royal Style in the Making exhibition. 3 Jun-2 Jan
  • Feast on mouthwatering nosh at the stunning Somerset House courtyard, which is transformed into a Dodge playground, complete with art installations and a dodgem court. 15 Jul-22 Aug
  • Dust off your flip-flops and get ready for a whole day of family fun, shows, rides and a city beach at London Wonderground. 15 Jul-26 Sep
  • Curious kids will love the Classic Car Boot Sale at King's Cross. 17-18 Jul
  • Watch skateboarders at Southbank Skate Space before exploring No Comply Skate Culture and Community exhibition at Somerset House19 Jul-19 Sep
  • Charge into summer on a Chaos Kart in Shoreditch, which arrives in the trendy neighbourhood this summer. From 14 Aug

Family shows in London

  • Take your pick from London's top 10 musicals, including family favourites the Lion King and Cinderella.
  • Watch teenage Jamie follow his dreams in Everybody's Talking About Jamie, which is based on a true story.
  • The little ones will love too see the stage adaption of The Tiger Who Came to Tea at Theatre Royal Haymarket. 12 Jul-5 Sep
  • Will the plan of stealing the cow work for Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len? Find out in What the Ladybird Heard at the Palace Theatre. 15 Jul-29 Aug
  • Join Joe Spud, as he discovers what money can't buy in Billionaire Boy, a story about the richest boy in the country struggling to find a true friend. 17 Jul-22 Aug 
  • See a family show as summer festival Underbelly Festival moves to Cavendish Square in 2021.
  • Watch on as Tracey Turnblad becomes a singing sensation in Hairspray, at the London Coliseum.
  • Be More Chill returns to Shaftesbury Theatre, with the tale of Jeremy who thinks his new-found powers can help to woo the girl of his dreams. 30 Jun-5 Sep
  • Take a trip to the past, as Britain's history is hilariously retold in Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part 5 at the Apollo Theatre. 29 Jul-28 Aug
  • Much-loved The Gruffalo and friends are taking on Ally Pally's stage this summer in the theatre adaption of the famous picture book. 30 Jul-29 Aug
  • Make use of a half-price child ticket offered with every half-price adult ticket purchased, during Kids Week
  • Soak up the outdoor theatre atmosphere at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, which hosts family-friendly shows throughout the summer. 

Keep the little ones entertained with more family theatre shows.

Outdoor adventures for the family

  • You can easily spend a whole day at Kew Gardens – so mark your calendar and book in advance for a fantastic day out.
  • London’s picnic spots and leafy parks await your visit! Prep a hamper and head to your local patch of green.
  • Alfresco cinema? It’s a thing! Find out what’s on at your local drive-in or outdoor cinema in London, from cult classics to new releases.
  • Get the kids asking “Is that a real dinosaur?!” around every corner at Crystal Palace Park.
  • Wander through the vast gardens of the Horniman Museum. Try to spot the velociraptor in the Prehistoric Gardens, find wild landscapes in the Grasslands Garden and marvel at the flowers in the Sunken and Display Gardens.
  • The 19-acre (8-hectare) gardens of medieval Eltham Palace are a great place to explore with a moat, pools and water features to discover.
  • Soak up the sunshine at Battersea Park, spotting fountains and the Peace Pagoda on the way. You can also greet the animals at Battersea Park Children’s Zoo.
  • Bathe in tranquility with just the sounds of birds for company at wildlife-rich London Wetland Centre, an 105-acre (42-hectare) oasis for nature lovers.
  • Spot wildlife on a day out at the Walthamstow Wetlands and Woodberry Wetlands.
  • See how many skyscrapers you can name from Parliament Hill, the high point of Hampstead Heath.
  • There's so much to explore at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park! Relax among the green spaces or pick up a racket and take in the 2012 Olympic spirit with a game on Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre’s outdoor tennis courts.
  • Spot the Chinese pagoda and have a leisurely stroll around the lakes on a day out at Victoria Park.

Top summer experiences

Family hotels and restaurants in London

For more inspiration this summer holiday, see what's on in London or take a look at our guide to London for kids, including the top family attractions and the best museums for children.

If you're in London now, make sure to download the Visit London app for on-the-go tips.

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