Summer is when the city’s parks, farms and green spaces really come alive. As well as roller blading in Hyde Park and pedalos at Alexandra Palace Park there’s a whole load of outdoor events this summer including a rather special tree top walk.
24th May 2008 - 28th September 2008
Walk among the tree tops at Kew Gardens this summer when you take the new Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway. Designed by Marks Barfield Architects, the team who brought us the London Eye, the scenic 200-metre walkway takes you on an educational journey from tree root to leaf tip. Entering through what looks like a crack in the ground, you travel 18 metres up into the air arriving at a canopy of sweet chestnuts, limes and broad-leaved oaks. Wander along the elevated walkway and discover birds, insects, lichens and fungi that live there while taking in the birds-eye view over Kew's expansive 300 acres of greenery.
5th July 2008
Enjoy a free day out at Mudchute Park and Farm, in the shadow of Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs. Farm tours, pony rides, face painting and cookie decorating add to the entertainment at the farm where over 200 animals are stabled. There's also live music on the open air stage from midday, just pull up a picnic blanket and enjoy the entertainment. Set within 31 acres of open green space which includes an official Local Nature Reserve, it's like a little piece of the countryside in the city.
11th - 13th July 2008
As part of this free London roller disco up to 1,000 people can skate and shake their booty to the pop, rock, hip hop and electronica beats supplied by big name musicians. Hot Chip, Zero 7 and DJ Norman Jay are confirmed to play at the 'Nokia Skate Almighty' events in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Giant glitter-ball trees and statues add some glamour to the moving disco which temporarily sets up home on the South Bank. Free tickets, allocated for a one-hour skate time slot, can be secured by going to www.nokia.co.uk/skatealmighty.
12th & 13th July 2008
Four times a year you get the chance to see historic fighter jets and bombers in action and airborne. This, the second of Duxford's air shows, sees the 'Flying Legends' take to the skies. This weekend-long show brings the great giants of the sky out of their hangars and launches them into the air so you can watch them in their element. Duxford, Europe's premier aviation museum, has recently been awarded Gold prize for 'Large Visitor Attraction of the Year' by the 'tourism Oscars', the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence. This is a chance to see the war planes at their best. Take a picnic, look up, and enjoy the high flying family entertainment.
20th July 2008
For the first time ever you can attend The Proms free of charge. Proving there's more to folk music than Morris dancing and The Fairport Convention, this full day of free concerts, dancing and family activities explores traditional music from throughout the British Isles. Kids can come to the Royal College of Music for a family concert (ages 7+), or to create a piece of music with The Proms Family Folk Orchestra (ages 5+). Performers in the Royal Albert Hall include the three-times Radio 2 Folk Award-winners Bellowhead, guitarist Martin Simpson, and Derbyshire-born singer Bella Hardy. Alongside the traditional works are pieces by Vaughan Williams and Bartok, and it all concludes with a huge ceilidh in the Royal Albert Hall Arena. If a summer's day indoors seems rather against the folk tradition, then you can head out to the bandstand in Kensington Gardens, where there are picnics, story-telling, small folk ensembles, fiddle sessions and even maypole dancing. Just try not to think about The Wickerman.
6th August 2008
Playing is great fun but it's also essential to children's development. Revelling in the lighter side of life, a whole day has been set aside just for children to play. As part of this nationwide event various parks and venues across London are hosting games and activities for children up to 14 years. Events in the city include "Hammersmith's got Talent" at Ravenscourt Park where activities include a talent contest, roller blading and crazy golf. Head to The Hub at Regent's Park for ferret racing, a bouncy castle, mini archeological dig, trampolines, go-karts, inflatables, puppet shows, clowns, falconry and arts and crafts. See the website www.playday.org.uk for details of events happening in your area.
15th August 2008
With the Beijing Olympics this August and the 2012 Olympics in London this worldwide sporting event is hitting the headlines at the moment. At the Museum of Childhood the history of the event is celebrated in the 'A Century of Olympic Posters' exhibition. Now they're running a sporting event the whole family can join in - and you don't have to be as fit as Amir Khan to take part. The family games is all about fun contests including the water bucket race and the Hula Hoop competition. But let's just see how fierce the competition gets when medals are at stake!
1.00-1.30pm - Water Bucket Race
1.45-2.15pm - Push-a-Ping-Pong-Ball-with-Your-Nose Race
2.30-3.00pm - Speed Dresser Race
3.15-3.45pm - Hula Hoop Competition
4.00pm - Medal Ceremony
19th & 20th August 2008
Falconry was a popular pastime in the 16th century at Eltham Palace, the medieval palace in Greenwich where King Henry VIII grew up. Seeing these magnificent birds of prey return to the palace is a treat for kids who can learn how falcons spot their prey from miles away and while in flight. Owls and hawks are among the feathered friends you'll meet on this family day out. The landscaped gardens, moat area, sunken rose garden and a new permanent exhibition, Eltham After the Courtaulds, on the army's post-war residency at the palace, are also worth exploring while you're here.
Summer in London for Kids 2008
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