The summer holidays are in full swing, despite the weather, and it is time to do a roundup of summer camps and activities in London, for those of you who still need some ideas for what to do in August. I must add that this summer I have booked my kids in for far less activities than last year, as I wanted to have more time to explore London, take them to shows and parks. They are loving it, but it can get tiring after a while. But if you have the time, do take advantage of the opportunities that London offers, take your kids on the tube and buses, take them to museums, to watch performers in Covent Garden, splash in the fountains at Coram Fields or Central Saint Martin’s (King’s Cross), visit the Lego Store, Chinatown, Kew Gardens, take them swimming, play tennis with them. I always feel kids mature over the summer, as they tend to be in the same environment with the same kids every day during term-time, and it really helps them to get out of their bubble and see the rest of London during holidays.
My kids have been having a very sporty summer, doing tennis and swimming, plus a lot of times on the playground. They have both been trying to swing along a long monkey bar on our local playground for a while, and even my 4 year old has now got the hang of it, thanks to daily visits to the playground. But, for the rest of the time that you do need to work or take a break, there are of course endless opportunities to entertain kids otherwise!
The Richmond Gymnastics Association runs professional Easter camps for children from Reception age upwards. The camps run on a weekly basis from 9am to 1pm. Hammersmith Gymnastics runs a few sessions from 10am – 12pm on select days as well. Henry Lamb Tennis offers Easter camps located at Putney High School, Kensington Prep and Newton Prep School. We are also big fans of Love Swimming fast track courses held at the luxurious Dolphin Square gym in Pimlico. Net-it camps for Netball, Hockey and Rounders are highly recommended as well! Fulham FC runs football camps in Fulham throughout the summer, and if it is football you’re after, you can always check your local football club, or check Little Kickers if you have a very little one.
Drama, Music and Dance
Perform run drama courses from children 4+ to boost their confidence via fun and games. Theatrebugs run drama camps for kids aged 3 – 7, ending in their own performance at the end of the week. Stagecoach is a well established drama programme for kids. While they run term time activities for children aged as young as four, their holiday camps are for children from 8 to 18 only.
For children aged 7+, the best camp in this category is probably the one offered by the Sylvia Young Theatre School in Marble Arch.
The English National Ballet School offers courses for children aged 5+ from April 3rd to 5th. The Place near Russell Square runs great Easter dance courses for children of all ages 4+. The Strings club runs introductory music camps for a variety of instruments across London. London Children’s Ballet in Paddington is very good too, but aimed at ages 9+.
Science and Technology
For the serious techies, FunTech Camps (present in Hampstead, Richmond, Westminster, Dulwich and Canary Wharf) offer a variety of summer camps ranging from JavaCoding to Minecraft in several North London locations and Richmond. Firetechcamp offer technology and coding classes (including Robotics) for children aged 7 – 18 located at Imperial College in South Kensington. Mad Science camps are geared to younger children from 4 upwards and introduce children to the excitement of exploration and experiments. Camps are offered across London. Little House of Science Easter workshops are another option for budding scientists. My daughter tried out Mother Nature Science this summer and absolutely loved it. I can highly recommend it. Mini-Engineers run exciting themed LEGO camps in Central London for children between 5 – 11.
Code Today offers introduction to Python Programming courses for kids aged 8+ near Finchley Road.
Of course there are also legendary Robotics camps offered by the London School of Math and Programming. There are Maths and Programming courses for kids aged 7+. All courses run from 10am to 3pm at their High Street Kensington School.
Chelsea Young Writers run acclaimed creative writing workshops run by established children’s authors targeted at age group 6 – 13. For language immersion, head to the Hua Hsia School in Hampstead (Mandarin) or Etpatatipatata in Fulham (French) or Lingo Education in Notting Hill (French again).
Multi-activity, exploration and outdoors
If you’re looking for full day activity camps, Camp Beaumont offers summer camps at King’s College Wimbledon, Mill Hill and Colfe’s among others, while Supercamps runs Central London camps at St Nicholas Prep School in South Kensington, Putney High School and Latymer Upper School, among many others.
My children really enjoy the Youngstars camps aimed at 3- 7 year olds as well. They are held across SW London.
First Hand experiences offer varied outdoor experiences across London. For the full outdoor experience, Little Forest Folk are the experts but beware, their holiday camps sell out in no time.
Of course, you may not actually be looking at camps or childcare and just need inspiration for what to do with your children during the holidays. Here are some of our top things to do with your child this London for the perfect “staycation” in London
- Family art workshops at the Royal Academy of Arts are spectacular!
- Head to the Robots exhibition at the Science Museum, if you have not already
- The Whale exhibition at the Natural History Museum, and the new Blue Whale Skeleton in Hintze Hall are great! Buy tickets online to skip the long queues!
- book a Westend show like “What the Ladybird Heard”, “Mathilda” or “Aladdin”, followed by lunch or dinner in Chinatown
- spend a day outside of London on a farm. Our favourites are Bucklebury farm in Berkshire and Bocketts Farm in Surrey. Horse riding at Vauxhall City Farm also highly recommended, especially their “Own a pony for a day”!
- a day on the Princess Diana Memorial Playground (come early to beat the crowds!) and/or Battersea Park Zoo
- a creepy crawlies session at the Chelsea Physic Garden or any of their other family activities
- for preschoolers, the Music House for Children in Shepherd’s Bush always runs lovely shows and events
- Little Angel Theatre in Islington and Polka Theatre in Wimbledon will spoil you with the breadth of their events
- visit the Museum of London Docklands
- spend a day in Greenwich exploring Greenwich Park, Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory…
- what are you planning to do in London over summer?