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courtesy of Dundu

The Best Family Events in London this July

29 June 2017 Eva de Valk

The summer holidays are almost upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about how to keep the children entertained. We’ve rounded up some of the most exciting family-friendly activities happening this July.

The month kicks off with the annual Mudchute Agricultural Show, returning to Mudchute City Farm on the weekend of July 1/2. The farm itself is a lovely get-away from the hustle and bustle of the city – which is surprising, considering it’s just down the road from Canary Wharf – however on the first weekend of July it will be a hive of activity, with all sorts of events and competitions taking place. The programme includes donkey rides, sheep racing and an equestrian show. If you’re keen to get involved yourself, you can also enter the fresh produce competitions with your own home grown or home made goodies. Entry to the festival is free, with a charge for some of the activities.

Also happening on July 1 is Sense of Unity, a free outdoor event - part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival - that's suitable for the whole family. A huge illuminated puppet named Dundu will make his way in a procession down the Roman Road in Bow accompanied by Worldbeaters, an LED-lit percussion band. You can follow Dundu as he looks for his smaller companion, aided by the five puppeteers who operate this gentle giant.


Image courtesy of Dundu
 
The same weekend, Trafalgar Square will host Eid celebrations to mark the end of the Ramadan. The free event on July 2 will feature a full line-up of artists on the main stage, from traditional Arab chamber music to contemporary singers and everything in between. There’ll be plenty of food as well, and a range of activities including workshops and sports. Families can also enjoy face-painting, storytelling and calligraphy classes, and perhaps even get a temporary henna tattoo.
 
The following week sees the Royal Horticultural Society touch down at Hampton Court Palace for the annual Flower Show. There’s a lot for the whole family to explore: younger members can check out the school scarecrow competition, go on a bug hunt or take part in a kids cookery class, while the grownups can pick up tips on how to tend to their garden. One of this year’s highlights is the Butterfly Dome, where you can walk among thousands of butterflies. The show runs from July 4 – 9, and each adult is entitled to bring in two children under 16 for free. 


Image courtesy of Royal Horticultural Society 
 
Meanwhile, on the Southbank, a troupe of acrobatic pirates will be taking over Underbelly Festival. Arr We There Yet features all sorts of physics-defying mischief, as three crewmembers look for treasure and fight amongst themselves over who gets to be captain. The show comes to the Underbelly with several nominations for Best Children’s Show under its belt, including from last year’s Brighton Fringe Festival. Arr We There Yet plays from July 8 – 15, with ticket prices starting at £10.25.
 
Of course, any roundup of kid-friendly activities would be incomplete without a mention of that old family favourite, the Natural History Museum. Their brand new exhibition Whales: Beneath the Surface opens on July 14, and features more than 100 pieces from the museum’s collection on display together for the very first time. Visitors will learn how whales and dolphins have adapted to life in the wet, and in what ways they are similar to humans. Highlights include an immersive sound experience that shows how these animals find their prey and a visit to the iconic blue whale. The Natural History Museum has a range of tickets available, including family concessions.


Image courtesy of Natural History Museum
 
Finally, another theatre outing that will delight the entire family: a trip to see Oliver Twist at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. This special adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic story is suitable for ages six and over, and comes with a special activity sheet that families can use to prepare for their visit. A trip to this theatre is always a pretty magical experience, with its beautiful green surroundings and abundance of colourful fairy lights. That’s without even taking into account the adventures of Victorian London’s most famous troublemaker. Oliver Twist plays from July 17 – August 5, and tickets are £18.
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