Summer Events in London for Families

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Dick and Dom, LolliBop Festival

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Dick and Dom, LolliBop Festival
LolliBop Festival
Matilda The Musical
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain
Puppet Theatre Barge
Kids Week
Hetty Feather (Over 7s)
London Mela


Find out the best family friendly events this summer, from the LolliBop Festival to the City of London Children's Parade featuring over 1,000 children. Plus there's not one but two musicals by cherished children's author Roald Dahl.


Hetty Feather (Over 7s)

Jacqueline Wilson's much loved story follows Hetty after she escapes from the Foundling Hospital.

Duke of York's Theatre, St Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4BG

Tube: Leicester Square Station, Charing Cross Station, Covent Garden Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 6th August to 6th September 2015


Jacqueline Wilson's Hetty Feather is brought to life on the Duke of York's Theatre stage this summer following a successful first run at the Rose Theatre in Kingston in April last year. Phoebe Thomas reprises the role of Hetty Feather, a Victorian girl who embarks on a search to find her real mother, in this adaptation by scriptwriter Emma Reeves - known for CBBC's The Story of Tracy Beaker. The story follows Hetty after she escapes from the Foundling Hospital and follows her adventures from a squirrel house to the streets of Victorian London as she searches for her real mother. A terrific Olivier Award nominated adaptation of a much loved story.


Kids Week

Kids are free at London's top West End shows throughout August.

The West End, , Soho, London, WC2H 7BP

Tube: Leicester Square Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Covent Garden Station, Charing Cross Station


Dates: 1st to 31st August 2015


It's now over a decade since the excellent idea of Kids Week was first conjured up. A truly inspired summer treat for families, Theatreland is available for free to excitable tots and teens for the whole month of August. Children aged 5 to 16 years can see an awesome selection of dazzling West End hits gratis - as long as an adult pays the full price - and another two children can go half price. Tickets for the most popular shows go fast, so it's best not to make any promises until you've booked. Aside from the shows themselves, there's a whole raft of free children's activities. Kids can peek backstage, participate in workshops, dabble with make-up, learn to dance, scribble a few lines in writing classes and even sing with the cast. It's a fantastic initiative and one which can only inspire kids' enthusiasm for the stage in later life.


Puppet Theatre Barge

A unique, 50 seat floating puppet theatre for children as young as three.

83 Petersham Road, Opposite Terrace Gardens, London, TW10 6UT

Tube: Richmond Station


The Puppet Barge Theatre moves to its Richard mooring once again for summer 2015, with three productions suitable for a range of ages taking place across the two months. Children as young as three are invited to hop on board the brightly coloured barge for The Three Pigs and the Wolf, a lively version of the Three Little Pigs with the addition of Captain Grimey, the dirtiest sea captain in the world. Suitable for the family down to three and four year olds, Fowl Play is a farmyard adventure with music composed by Oscar winning Stephen Warbeck. For families with older children, End Games is suitable for anyone 14 and over and uses puppetry, poetry and music  to create a marionette production based on the verse of poet Finuala Dowling. 


Events at Puppet Theatre Barge

The Three Pigs and The Wolf | Captain Grimey (Over 3s)

25th July to 9th August 2015

The Three Pigs and The Wolf | Captain Grimey (Over 3s) Puppet Theatre Barge 2015-07-252015-08-09 Where:
Puppet Theatre Barge, 83 Petersham Road, Opposite Terrace Gardens London, TW10 6UT
Category: Theatres

A double bill of performances of The Three Pigs and Captain Grimey, the dirtiest, most miserable, one-legged sea captain in the world. Both shows are performed on the Puppet Barge which moves to its Richmond ...more

Fowl Play Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

12th August to 27th September 2015

Fowl Play Puppet Theatre Barge 2015-08-122015-09-27 Where:
Puppet Theatre Barge, 83 Petersham Road, Opposite Terrace Gardens London, TW10 6UT
Category: Theatres

Suitable for the entire family, down to three and four year olds, Fowl Play is a farmyard adventure staged at the Puppet Theatre Barge when it moves to its Richmond mooring this summer. In the ...more

End Games Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

22nd August to 26th September 2015

End Games Puppet Theatre Barge 2015-08-222015-09-26 Where:
Puppet Theatre Barge, 83 Petersham Road, Opposite Terrace Gardens London, TW10 6UT
Category: Theatres

Suitable for those 14 and over, End Games at the Puppet Theatre Barge is a marionette production based on the delicate verse of poet Finuala Dowling, which are an exploration of the ageing process. Audiences ...more

All events at Puppet Theatre Barge

London Wonderground Speigeltent

London's South Bank is filled with fringe theatre and has a wonderfully relaxed vibe in the summer.

London Wonderground Spiegeltent, Jubilee Gardens, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station, Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 7th May to 27th September 2015


The South Bank and London Wonderground Speigeltent are a great way to entertain the kids this summer. Bringing Coney Island-style attractions, fairground rides, circus and cabaret with them, kids of all ages will enjoy the shows and other entertainment on offer. Take the family to the South Bank, enjoy a show, ride on the fairground attractions or simply put down a picnic rug, let the kids wear themselves out at the outdoor adventure playground in the shadow of the London Eye, and take in the atmosphere on a sunny summer's day. This year's line-up has yet to be announced but previous years have seen numerous children's shows on the programme.


Matilda The Musical

The Royal Shakespeare Company's musical thrills and delights both adults and children alike.

Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, Seven Dials, Soho, London, W1D 7DY

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station, Leicester Square Station


Dates: 18th October 2011 to 29th May 2016 - Various Times


The Royal Shakespeare Company's musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's celebrated children's book Matilda has proved to be a huge hit, running in London's West End since 2011, picking up a record breaking 7 Olivier Awards in 2012 and still going strong. Directed by Matthew Warchus and adapted by seasoned playwright Dennis Kelly and the award-winning Australian musical comedian Tim Minchin, Matilda has been described by WhatsOnStage as "a piece which is by turns riotously funny and gut-wrenchingly poignant". The eagerly anticipated production - which tells the story of a special little girl with an extraordinary imagination - stars Lauren Ward as Miss Honey, Bertie Carvel as Miss Trunchball, Joise Walker as Mrs Wormwood and Paul Kaye as Mr Wormwood. Book tickets now to see Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre London. The show lives up to expectations and thrills and delights both adults and children alike, and is winning plaudits as this winter's must-see theatrical event. The Telegraph theatre critic Charles Spencer gave Matilda five stars, claiming it to be, "the best British musical since Billy Elliot that will surely be the toast of the West End. I predict that this show will be unstoppable."


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Sam Mendes directs this sweet treat of a musical exploring the wonderful world of Wonka.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Catherine Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5JF

Tube: Covent Garden Station, Holborn Station, Temple Station


Dates: 22nd May 2013 to 4th June 2016


Nominated for a staggering seven Oliviers in this year's Olivier Awards including Best New Musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the heart-warming tale of Charlie Bucket and his fortunate discovery of a life-changing golden ticket. First we meet his poverty stricken but happy family, his four grandparents huddled together for warmth in one double bed and his parents struggling to feed the family. The tale takes a dramatic turn when Charlie pulls back the wrapper of his favourite chocolate bar to reveal the coveted ticket. This much loved Roald Dahl story was recently revived in a Tim Burton movie starring Johnny Depp, and now makes the bold move from screen to stage in a critically acclaimed production directed by Sam Mendes, with original music from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Theatre Royal Drury Lane is filled with "dazzling light displays and projections" (The Telegraph), a surreal mix of giant lollipops and human blueberries. But "by far the greatest fun is to be had from the Oompa Loompas," says The Telegraph. "They alone are worth the price of admission." Tickets for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are on sale now. After the successful transition of Dahl's Matilda The Musical to the West End, this equally joyous and bizarre Dahl tale has become another hit for the British author behind classic children's books including The BFG and James and the Giant Peach.


LolliBop Festival

Music, dance and some CBeebies favourites feature at the festival for under-10s.

Hatfield House, Great North Road, Hatfield, London, AL9 5NQ

Tube: High Barnet Station


Dates: 14th, 15th and 16th August 2015


Glastonbury for the under-12s, the LolliBop Festival - "the big bash for little people" - returns for another packed weekend in 2015 and while dates and the location have yet to be announced it's likely to be in August and last year's venue, Hatfield House in Hertfordshire (a 20 minute train journey from London's King's Cross), was a great success. The festival is renowned for welcoming some of the biggest names in children's entertainment to its live stages and this year is no different with a whole cast of CBeebies favourites including Justin Fletcher, Andy, Mr Bloom, and Mister Maker all taking part. Like any good festival, there's lots of quirky and cool things to do, provided by the Southbank Centre, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Ladybird books, Duplo and Bear Grylls Survival Academy last year.


London Mela

Free, family-friendly annual celebration of Asian music and culture.

Gunnersbury Park, Popes Lane, London, W3 8LQ

Tube: Acton Town Station


Dates: Sunday 30th August 2015


The London Mela in Gunnersbury Park is a wonderful celebration of Asian music and culture which always draws a big crowd - 80,000 visitors attended last year - with its line-up of British Asian music, Bollywood figures and traditional and classical performances. Entertainment is spread over nine zones, all showcasing different types of music with urban, classical and experimental music, DJs, circus and comedy as well as dance, arts and a Magic Mela family area. There will also be a fun fair and hundreds of stalls selling food and crafts, all of which makes the London Mela a magnet for a multitude of Londoners out for a good time.


Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain

Children can cool off in the circular fountain in Hyde Park.

Hyde Park, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

Tube: Knightsbridge Station


The 3.6 million Princess Diana Memorial Fountain is a stunning creation, and a suitable tribute to The People's Princess. A great ring of Cornish granite, through which the water swirls and twists in both directions, surrounds a complex, contoured water feature. In marked contrast to many public monuments, this is unobtrusively beautiful and in perfect harmony with its surroundings. Bring the kids' costumes and let them get wet. Staff are on hand throughout the summer to ensure that children messing about in the water do not injure themselves. A wonderful way to entertain the little ones when it's hot, hot, hot. You can try the Serpentine Lido and cafe next door, or go to the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion for art and tea afterwards.

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