Best family experiences in London 2022: Top things to do with the kids

·15-min read
 (Legoland)
(Legoland)

It’s that time of the year again when the summer holidays are slowly beckoning. For a kid that means no school, relaxed rules and best of all, no homework.

Forget be it in the form of a trip to the park (for the 10th day in a row) or something a touch more out-thFor parents however, the holidays can be far from stress-free as you juggle all the usual day-to-day tasks with the almost impossible role of providing contestant amusement for your young ones. Instead of that 10th trip to the park, look further afield for something more out-of-the-box.

We’ve rounded up the best experiences for families to do in London this summer, and we have something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to amuse young children who have an unlimited amount of energy or trying to coax the teenager out of their bedroom to spend some quality family time, we’ve got you covered.

You may think you know everything there is to do in and around London, but we’ve travelled far and wide to bring you some of the capital’s best family experiences. Not only are these great to do as a family, but they also make the perfect gift for parents and children alike.

From family themed afternoon teas to unforgettable experiences up high and down low - you’ll never have to rack your brain for things to do again.

Days Out

The Peter Rabbit Garden Adventure

Get fully immersed into the world of Peter Rabbit with this very special day out. For just a few more days, you can head to the beautiful setting of Blenheim Palace in Oxford in honour of the beloved character’s 120th anniversary. Without giving too much away, mischievous Peter Rabbit is lost and your children have to get creative in helping Beatrix Potter through through flower and vegetable gardens to find him. It’s a wonderful day out that the whole family will enjoy.

Tickets cost £5 for infants and £20 for adults. There’s NHS discounts and a group bundle deal too.

Buy now £5.00, The Peter Rabbit Garden Adventure

ZSL London Zoo - two adults and two children

One of the best days out in London for the whole family is a trip to the oldest scientific zoo in the world: London Zoo. With nearly 15,000 animals ranging from penguins to lions, this is a jam packed day of exploration and education as children get up close to incredible animals and can go along to feedings and demonstrations.

Throughout summer, there will be special events and experiences including Sensory Sessions to learn more about the underwater world and Junior Keeper opportunities that allow your young ones to get a taste of life as a zookeeper.

For adults looking to immerse themselves further in the world of animals, Twilight at London Zoo will be running from 6-10pm every Thursday and Friday of the summer giving you a magic insight into the zoo without the crowds.

Buy now £130.90, Red Letter Days

Legoland Windsor Resort for four

At the Evening Standard, we’re firm believers that you’re never too old to enjoy Lego. From the early days of playing with building blocks to enjoying the best adult sets out there with thousands of pieces, Lego offers something to everyone, and so does Legoland.

With over 55 rides and attractions this is the perfect experience for families with children of varying ages - young ones can enjoy exploring the treetops on the Lego Dragon whilst teenagers and adults can ride on some of the epic rollercoasters the park has to offer.

The whole family is guaranteed to enjoy Lego Mythica - a parallel universe where Lego comes to life and Ninjago, a 4D interactive family ride.

Buy now £156.00, Virgin Experience Days

Chessington World of Adventures for Four

Who doesn’t love an adventure park? Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie and love a rollercoaster or prefer to explore your surroundings with your feet firmly on the ground, Chessington has something for everyone.

There are over 40 attractions and rides that are handily split into three categories: Little Rangers, Family Explores and Brave Adventurers and feature everything from the recently opened Croc Drop - a 25m plunge into the jaws of a crocodile, to the Gruffalo River Ride adventure that will take you on a magical riverboat journey.

The adjoining zoo and sea life centre provides the perfect break in between rides and brings you face-to-face with a thousand incredible animals such as gorillas and underwater creatures. Hop onto the Zufari truck to be taken on a thrilling safari-like exploration where you can see giraffes and rhinos up close.

Buy now £168.00, Virgin Experience Days

Half Day Experiences

Warner Bros Studio Tour with return transport for four

Step into the magical world of Harry Potter as you journey around the Warner Bros studio and visit the iconic landmarks from the films. Wander down Diagon Alley to visit all your favourite shops, stop by the Gryffindor common room, be amazed by the Great Hall set or explore the newly opened Gringotts bank.

Not only will you get to explore these famous locations, but you’ll also learn about special effects and what goes into costume and prop making. This summer (until September 12), Mandrakes and Magical Creatures will be all around for young ones to spot during their visit.

You can add a number of other experiences to the Warner Bros Studio visit including afternoon tea, a two-course lunch and a behind-the-scenes walking tour.

Buy now £376.00, Virgin Experience Days

Theatre

As the summer school holiday is beckoning, there’s no better time to head down to the West End and treat yourself to an unforgettable experience at one of London’s theatres. The Only in the West End this Summer campaign is raising awareness of all the brilliant things the area has to offer and, as imagined, there are some great shows featuring on their list.

Whether it’s taking little ones to see Disney on Stage at Covent Garden, or spending the day watching Harry Potter and the Cursed Child back-to-back or daring to see the thrilling 2:22 A Ghost Story with older children, a trip to the theatre is an absolute must.

If you’re worried about the cost of the theatre then Kids Week 2022 is here to help - throughout August, kids (under the age of 17) can see a show for free when accompanied by a paying adult. If you’re looking to integrate your theatre trip with a short overnight stay in London, then check out the money-saving pacakages Holiday Extras are offering.

Buy now, Evening Standard Tickets

Monopoly Lifesized Immersive Experience for Two

The family game we all know and love (or hate if you’re a sore loser), has had a mega revamp and is now lifesized! Playable in groups of up to six, you’ll take on the monopoly board across 80 minutes where there’ll be challenges, forfeits and tons of laughter.

There are a variety of boards - luxury, classic and city - to play across and as your fate is determined by the dice, no two games are the same. Upon entering you’ll come face-to-face with Mr Monopoly himself who will guide you through the game. Behind every property door on the gigantic board there are mini escape room puzzles that really put teamwork to the test.

If you’re after even more monopoly themed treats, there’s a Top Hat bar and restaurant attached that serve food including Com-moo-nity Chest burgers and Cheesy Super Tax potato croquettes.

Buy now £140.00, Virgin Experience Days

Sherlock: The Official Live Game Immersive Adventure Game for a Family of Four

Do you and your family have what it takes to become Sherlock’s prodigies? Put your detective skills to the test as you enter an immersive escape room experience where, in just an hour, you must journey through secret rooms, complete challenges and save London from Moriarty’s deviousness.

The experience is a private session where you are briefed on a mission by none other than the cast themselves. As you make yourself at home in an almost identical replica of 221B Baker Street, you will gain secret information from the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman through videos and audio tapes. No expenses are spared during your 90 minute experience and it’s guaranteed to go down a treat with everyone.

For even more Sherlock content, head to the beautifully-designed speakeasy bar and library to feast on afternoon tea or take part in the Poisoned Chalice Cocktail experience where you will don your detective hats and work to complete four cases to win a very special prize.

Buy now £145.00, Virgin Experience Days

The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience

Everyone’s favourite 90s show is back and it’s bigger than ever as you and your family can finally take on the Crystal Maze. You will be led by a fully-trained Maze Master, who will take you on a journey through four zones: Aztec, Mediaeval, Industrial and Futuristic.

In each zone, there are a number of challenges that only one team member can complete at a time whilst the others guide them as they race against the clock. The aim is to collect as many crystals as possible in order to give you plenty of time in the final crystal dome that everyone participates in.

Each game is tailored to what your group enjoys, so no two experiences will ever be the same. Perfectly nostalgic for parents and ridiculously fun and silly for children, this is something the whole family will be laughing about for days after.

Buy now £120.00, Virgin Experience Days

London Designer Outlet

If you and the family are after an experience that has something for everyone and doesn’t break the bank, then there’s no better place to head to than London Designer Outlet - providing the perfect escape for all. In the heart of Wembley Park comes this enormous location packed out with a large cinema complex, endless restaurants featuring every cuisine imaginable and, of course, plenty of shops.

There are also regular events to keep everyone entertained and we love the Silent Disco Walking tour offered by LDO that will take you on an all singing and dancing expedition of the iconic artists who performed at Wembley Stadium - just don’t forget your dancing shoes.

Whilst in this up-and-coming neighbourhood, check out the Wembley Stadium Tours, the secret cinema events and family arts and crafts experiences. You can even bring your pooch along to enjoy the pet drinking stations making this location truly an all day experience that everyone will find joy in.

Buy now, LDO

London Eye Experience

No doubt you will have walked past the London Eye countless times and thought to yourself that it has been years since you last took a trip upon such an iconic tourist attraction. Well, now is the chance to take the family aboard London’s iconic wheel and see all the sites from the lofty heights of 135m.

If you’re after something more than just a simple pod, book onto one of the transformed ones to enjoy something entirely different up high. This summer you can get the family to experience Wimbledon luxury upon the Serve and Volley pod that’s kitted out with umpire chairs, relaxing beanbags and tennis ball trees. Of course tennis wouldn’t be tennis without some delicious strawberry and cream chocolates served alongside.

Wanting to carry on the Platinum Jubilee celebrations? Check out the 1950s Pub Pod that will take you back to the day of the Queen’s coronation as it’s decked with bunting, memorabilia and a great photo gallery.

Buy now £32.50, London Eye

Puttshack

If your first thoughts when you think of mini golf conjure up a run down course in the middle of nowhere with two holes for you to putt the ball, then it’s time to relearn everything you once knew. Puttshack has given mini golf a massive revamp. With locations around London, they are showing how modern tech (the ball automatically keeps score) can combine with some crazy courses to provide endless fun and competition for all.

With tickets at just £10 for an adult and £8.50 for a child, this is one of the most affordable golf courses in London and each hole has fun twists and surprises including the chance to win great prizes if you have the skills. There are numerous courses with nine holes each - some of our favourites being Pac-Man, giant beer pong and true or false quizzes -allowing you to play for hours without getting bored.

Buy now £10.00, Puttshack

Food & Drink Experiences

Luna Cinema

Make the most of the warm summer evenings around the country with the outdoor Luna cinema. Running until the end of September, shows can be watched on the big screen at iconic locations around London including Hampton Court, Westminster Abbey and Kensington Palace. The extensive list of films means there’s something for everyone including family friendly The Greatest Showman and Grease. At each venue, there are food and drinks trucks galore as well as space to lay your own picnic blanket down. Don’t fancy sitting on the floor? Hire out a deck chair or upgrade your ticket for a luxury sofa.

Buy now £20.00, Luna Cinema

Biscuiteers School of Icing

Calling all Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood wannabes, don your apron and get ready to ice away to your heart’s content as you learn tips and tricks from some of the best icers out there. You’ll master all the skills from colouring to piping - and be able to decorate your own delicious biscuits to take home with you.

Running throughout summer, each class has a different theme - you can learn how to ice a bouquet of flower cookies or transport yourself to that idyllic beach with the Beside the Seaside biscuits. Sip on endless tea and coffee as you enjoy this relaxing experience that is perfect for parents and teenagers.

For younger children (7+) who want to get creative in the kitchen, there are one hour Little School of Biscuiteers events allowing kids to experience decorating five biscuits with all the icing and decorations provided. If you fancy just sampling the biscuits without all the hard work (we don’t blame you), then treat the family to a delicious afternoon tea that’s recently launched.

Buy now £90.00, Biscuiteers

Bunga Bunga Pizza Making

Get the whole family whipping up a storm together as you enjoy an immersive pizza making experience at London’s Bunga Bunga. Not only will you learn how to make pizza dough from scratch, but you’ll have the opportunity to try some of the restaurant’s famous metre-long pizzas, take a pizza making kit home and enjoy live entertainment from Mamma Bunga herself.

Each experience is for two people and includes a welcome drink on arrival and a selection of antipasti throughout. Expect laughter, competitive behaviour and plenty of cheesy dough.

Buy now £78.00, Red Letter Days

Wands and Wizard Exploratorium Afternoon Tea London

Prepare to be transported to a magical land as you and your family embark on a spellbinding experience of afternoon tea. Each family member will select a wand and conjure up spells to open a locked treasure chest full of savoury nibbles and sweet delights. The interactive tea will awaken all of your senses and is sure to delight parents just as much as little ones.

Buy now £148.00, Red Letter Days

Pasta Academy

Whether you’re a culinary master or kitchen newbie, this two hour long class will teach you all the tips and tricks there is to know when it comes to the world of pasta.

Hosted by much loved Pasta Evangelists, you’ll embark on a journey of mastering the art of pasta like a true Italian. You’ll be guided by one of the highly trained pasta chefs and the experience includes an abundance of antipasti and complimentary drinks on arrival.

There are plenty of specialist classes from the Taste of Tuscany to Seafood Pasta Class - so there really is something for everyone.

Buy now £35.00, Pasta Evangelists

Holmes Hotel London Afternoon Tea

Get your detective hats on as you open an antique chest box and attempt to solve a mini mystery that will lead you to your afternoon tea delights. Featuring all the essentials and more, this tea will awaken the mind and please your stomach.

Children will love working through the puzzles to unlock their treasure whilst adults can enjoy the gorgeous surroundings - be it on the Secret Roof Terrace or the cosy Sherlock Holmes-inspired lounge.

Buy now £45.00, Holmes Hotel

Superbloom Afternoon Tea

Immerse yourself in the latest installation London has to offer: the Superbloom, a landscape of 20 million seeds that have blossomed into beautifully coloured flowers. Just a stone’s throw away from the event itself at the Tower of London, the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square has transformed its afternoon tea into a vibrant and colourful affair with wildflowers from the Tower’s moat. It’s not just the decorations that will blow you away, but the food itself is beautifully designed and we loved the dainty flower-inspired sweet treats that will please the taste buds of the whole family. If you’re after even more food, check out the Kerb stalls along the riverfront.

Buy now £50.00, Four Seasons

The Big London Bake East

On your marks, get set, BAKE! Step inside the Great British Bake Off tent where you’ll have 90 minutes to compete against 12 other duos in baking a show stopping cake. With all the ingredients prepared for you, all you have to do is pick your flavour combination, design and get baking - beware you won’t have long so this really is a race against the clock. Every month there’s a different bake and this is suitable for all ages. Prepare to unleash your competitive side as you attempt to win star baker.

Buy now £43.50, Design My Night