Keeping the Kids Entertained in London this Summer
There were moments when we thought it might never happen, but summer has finally arrived in London – and with temperatures staying in the high twenties for days at a time, it seems it was actually worth the wait for once! However, for those with little ones, finding ways to keep them entertained for the next six weeks is more of a priority than sunbathing. To help out, we’ve pulled together a list of the top 5 things to do with the kids during the summer holidays.
1. City Farms
The days of needing to drive out to the countryside with a hot car full of kids to feed some piglets are thankfully long gone. From Hackney to Surrey Quays, London has a number of urban farmyards for you to visit with the little ones. Mudchute Park and Farm in Canary Wharf allows the kids to get hands-on and hold and stroke the animals in the petting zoo, while Hounslow Urban Farm is one of London’s largest community farms, where you can feed pigs, goats, cows, rabbits and more (and even catch a weekly pig race if you’re lucky!) At Kentish Town Farm, a stone throw from Gospel Oak station, children are at the heart of the farm’s activity, with weekend workshops, an under-fives activity room, and a team of young local volunteers.
2. Lidos and Outdoor Pools
When the temperatures climb, cool off with the whole family at one of London’s many outdoor pools or lidos. Tooting Bec Lido boasts the largest outdoor freshwater pool in the whole country, as well as a paddling pool for the littler ones and a café. The Oasis Sports Centre in Camden has a 27.5 metre heated outdoor pool and a sun-drenched terrace, where you can work on your tan while the kids play; meanwhile, the 50 metre London Fields Lido is also heated, and looking very swanky after a recent refurbishment.
3. Adventure Playgrounds
If you’re looking for a way to keep your brood happy for an entire day (and tire them out by bedtime), London’s adventure playgrounds are the answer. In Coram’s Park, Bloomsbury, the children’s park lies within a walled garden and encompasses an enormous sandpit, a whole host of toddler climbing frames, and an adventure playground for the older kids, complete with a zip wire, tunnel slide, and plenty to climb on. In Kensington Gardens, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground is a wonderland for kids, with a vast wooden pirate ship taking centre stage; if they tire of that, there’s plenty more to explore in the trio of tepees and the intricate treehouse encampment, criss-crossed by walkways, ladders, slides, sculptures and even ‘tree phones’.
4. Pack a Picnic
If the heat is getting a bit much and your family is in need of a lazier day, what better way to spend it than by packing a picnic and finding a shady spot in one of London’s many parks. Hampstead Heath is always a popular choice, with its rolling slopes, relaxed atmosphere and panoramic views over London. Victoria Park in east London has a pedalo lake, two cafés and a few playgrounds dotted across it’s expanse, and is always bustling with happy kids and dogs. If you want to bring your own dog along, simply book one of Addison Lee’s pet friendly vehicles – we’ll transport the whole family to your chosen park in comfort and style.
5. Indoor Play Areas
Of course, it’s unlikely this heatwave will last forever. When the rainier summer days do inevitably arrive, indoor play areas can be a good solution for bored little ones with pent up energy. Gambado, in Sands End, is structured around a thrilling multi-level climbing frame with twirly tunnel slides, ball ponds, trampolines, assault courses and even mini-dodgems. For little ones there is a soft-play sections, and for the adults there is a healthy café and free internet access. A great smaller-scale (and quieter) option is It’s a Kid’s Thing in Earlsfield, where children can conquer the two-tier play zone while the adults relax and catch up at the café, which serves an all-day fry up at the weekends.