Things to do in London this weekend with kids
Updated: 4 days ago
Why hello there, December! Are you ready for your Elf to move in? Have you started your Xmas shopping? Have you whipped up a stawberry Santa? And, most importantly for this week, have you got your weekend sorted yet?
Blast down the Thames
Rev up for one of the most exciting sleigh-rides of the season as you carol sing your way along the River Thames with Santa himself! You and your small elves will sweep across the docklands, whizz past the London Eye, and float by Tower Bridge with the awesome Thames Rocket team on a Christmas experience sure to put the jingle in your bells: don't leave the booking too late though, spaces are limited and yule be sorry to miss out on this treat for sure! We tried it last year for ourselves and we've got to say it was one of our all-time fave adventures in London EVER!
When: 4th, 11th & 18th December 2021
Where: Boarding Gate One, The London Eye Pier, SE1 7PB
Cost: From £44.95 per adult and £33.95 per child.
Light up your weekend on a light trail
We can't wait to check out the dazzling trail of illuminative lights over at the always-wonderful London Wetland Centre. ILLUMINATURE is packed with stunning sights including giant light sculptures of wetland wildlife, light tunnels, responsive lily pads, rainfall lights, shadow animals and endless wonder, and will certainly brighten up your winter evenings.
When: 4pm-9pm until 9 January 2022
Where: London Wetland Centre at Queen Elizabeth Walk, SW13 9WT (nearest stations are Barnes and Barnes Bridge).
Cost: £17.50 per adult, £12.50 per child. Under 4's free.
Oh yes you should go to a Panto!
Many of the Capital's pantomimes kick off this weekend including Aladdin in Hammersmith, Cinderella in Richmond, Aladdin in Hornchurch, Dick Whittington in Charing Cross and Sleeping Beauty in Bromley. Oh how we love a panto!
Try the Christmas Experience at The National Gallery
The Christmas Experience happening at The National Gallery includes a big interactive element with lots of fun activities for children and families, and we should know because we already checked it out. Snowflake crafting, Christmas card creating, story time with the elves, a nose around the Elven Sorting Office, photo opportunities and plenty of prizes are just a few of the awesome things you can expect from this magical adventure, and, of course the chance to hang out with Santa himself. And we've got to say, he was a super duper Santa (we checked it out already)! Don’t forget to collect your little pouch of reindeer food to leave out on Christmas night and your special gift from the Elven sorting office before you leave!
When: Weekends from 27 November to 12 December, Daily from 18 to 23 December 2021
Where: National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
Cost: Children under 12 £22 (including gift), 12+ £12 per person
Learn how to (play) sword fight
Swords in the air if you fancy a FREE sword fighting lesson from professional stage actors! Join games club, Dicing With Life, and their stage fight actors to get to grips with soft-sword skills and all kinds of swashbuckling fun. Booking is essential and the adventure is suitable for kiddos age 7-12 years.
When: Various sessions 5th December
Where: The Mercury Shopping Centre, Mercury Gardens, Snow Castle, Level 2, Romford RM1 3EE
Cost: Free but booking is essential.
Take a spin on the ice rink at Somerset House
Hailed as one of the capital’s favourite winter experiences (full disclaimer: we haven't checked it out yet), Skate at Somerset House slides into town this week to kick off the festive period with ice skating (of course), contemporary music, gift ideas galore from Hotel Chocolat, and delicious food and drink. The magnificent ice rink transforms the neoclassical courtyard into a one-stop winter playground complete with a glorious 40ft Christmas tree, and do look out for the specially curated decorations from Moët & Chandon for those perfect picture moments.
When: From 17th November. Check website for various timings.
Where: Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
Cost: From £11 per person. Smallest skate size is UK7 (apx. age 3-4 years).
Skedaddle over to Santa Land at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Sounds the trumpets and grab your hat and scarves because Winter Wonderland is back this year and with it comes the chance to not only meet Santa in London, but also to snag a small gift from him (so long as you're on the nice list!). A festive destination designed for the whole family to enjoy and escape from the hustle and bustle of the main event, expect plenty of kids’ rides, festive eateries as well as the Main Man in Red.
When: From 19th November 2021
Where: Hyde Park, London
Cost: Entrance to the grotto is free but you must purchase tix for Winter Wonderland. Entry is free during off-peak hours and from £5 per person for peak hours.
Go on an immersive storytelling adventure
What’s your favourite thing about snow? Is it snowball fights? Tobogganing? Or walking along on a frosty day? How many things do you know about snow? Head over to Discover Children's Story Centre to its immersive Storytelling Space to listen in and find out with your 5-11 year olds.
When: From 3rd December
Where: 383-387 High Street, Stratford, London E15 4QZ
Cost: Free with your session admission fee.
Head out for a spot of Christmas tree shopping
Meet Santa and grab afternoon tea at Strand Palace
We love this 'meet Santa' experience at one of London’s most iconic hotels, Strand Palace. Booking is essential for this lovely event that includes a whole host of festive fun including Santa's grotto, snowball fights and the option to extend the festivities with a Christmas Afternoon Tea!
When: 14th November to 24th December 2021
Where: 372 Strand, London WC2R 0JJ
Cost: Santa Grotto Adventure tix are priced at £25 for children (gift valued at £16) and Adults at £5. Santa’s special Festive tea is priced at £25 and £10 for children.
Need more inspo when it comes to things to do in London this weekend with kids? Then how about:
Best museums in London for families