South Bank London

Summer holiday fun for families in South Bank

Jump into summer with a jam-packed programme of events and attractions in South Bank these school holidays! From family-friendly shows and interactive activities to exploring attractions such as SEA LIFE London Aquarium, Garden Museum, the world-famous London Eye or the London Dungeon at County Hall, there's plenty to keep the kids busy.

Read our guide to great family-friendly activities coming up in South Bank this summer and make it a summer holiday to remember!

Immersive experiences & adventures

London is one of the best places in the UK to enjoy world-class immersive experiences and interactive adventures and some of the city's most famous attractions are located right here in South Bank. To avoid disappointment it is highly recommended that you book your tickets for these experiences online in advance.

The Paddington Bear Experience

Join Paddington Bear and the Brown family for a very special day out! 

Step into Paddington’s world at this official immersive theatrical experience at County Hall. The journey begins with the hustle and bustle of Paddington Station from where you'll be whisked away on a marmalade-themed adventure. The experience promises numerous themed rooms to explore, interactive games, abundant character interactions, and lots of surprises along the way.

SEA LIFE London Aquarium

Wonders of the marine world at one of the UK's best aquariums 

Dive in and explore an underwater world of glittering scales, waddling feet and razor-sharp teeth at SEA LIFE London Aquarium. There's everything from a face-to-face encounter with sharks to meeting Gentoo Penguins, making this a super exciting day out for any youngsters with an interest in marine life. During the summer holidays visitors have the chance to meet and interact with the aquarium's turtles (and their keepers) and learn more about these charming creatures.

Shrek's Adventure! London

A fun immersive adventure for fairytale fans 

Shrek’s Adventure! London is one of London's biggest child-orientated immersive experiences. See, hear, touch and smell the action by exploring 12 fairytale-themed live shows, collecting the special ingredients you need in order to make it home safely from this fairytale world of the Far Far Away. You’ll even meet Shrek himself and have a chance to pose for a family picture.

 The London Dungeon

Gruesome storytelling and thrilling underground rides

See, hear, feel and smell the chillingly amusing characters of ye olde London as they come to life through 19 interactive shows and two underground rides at this wildly entertaining walk-through experience. This one's a fun day out for teenagers with a stomach for gruesome tales and stomach-churning rides, all themed around the darker moments of London's colourful history.

The Great Outdoors

Parks, playgrounds, fountains and beaches - there are plenty of places to let the kids run off some steam. Pack a picnic, pick up a takeaway at one of the many chains such as LEON, Pret, Gail's or M&S or grab a bite from one of this summer's many street food trucks along the Queen's Walk.

Jeppe Hein's Appearing Rooms

Cool down this summer at Southbank Centre's dancing fountain installation.

This always popular summer installation sees different fountains switched on and off at unpredictable intervals, creating watery ‘rooms’ that kids will love to explore. Your kids will inevitably get completely drenched running in and out of the fountain, so be sure to bring some dry clothes and a towel. The Appearing Rooms pop up on the Riverside Terrace in front of the entrance to the Queen Elizabeth Hall and are switched on daily from 10am (depending on the weather).

Jubilee Gardens Adventure Playground

The ideal place to let the kids run off some steam 

Take a pit stop at the Jubilee Gardens adventure playground at the foot of the London Eye. Refurbished in 2022 with large-scale new installations designed to let young imaginations run wild, there's also lots of sensory play and fun games that reference local London icons. The adventure playground caters for all children from toddlers to age 11 and also has accessible areas that allow children with disabilities to also join in the fun.

Arts & Culture

Home to world-famous theatres, concert halls and art galleries, South Bank is one of London's leading cultural districts! Immerse the kids in some arts and culture this summer with a visit to an exhibition, book tickets to go and see a top show or settle in for an afternoon of big screen entertainment in the cinema. Throughout the summer there are also some brilliant family-focused events coming to South Bank. Here's a look at what's on!

You Belong Here - free parties at Southbank Centre

As part of Southbank Centre's summer festival You Belong Here, there's a brilliant variety of exciting free events and parties coming up during the holidays, including many with a focus on youth. Carnival comes to South Bank with the Just Vibez Friday Fete (Fri 19 July 4pm), young jazz musicians from Tomorrow’s Warriors’ perform a free gig in the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer (Sun 11 Aug 5:30pm) and 150 young people from south London bring the carnival spirit with Kinetika Bloco Summer Showcase (Fri 23 Aug 7pm).

Home at Purcell Room

When a storm swallows up their house, Anastasiia and her dog Djonnik have to look for a new one. Join them to explore what makes a house a home. Through animated paintings and complementary music, children are taken on a journey through a fairytale-like world to find a house that feels like home again in this charming production by Ukrainian artist Anastasiia Liubchenko. Recommended for kids aged 2-7. Playing at the Purcell Room at Southbank Centre on 13 & 14 July.

Festival of Fairytales at Garden Museum

Aimed at children aged 4–10, this annual summer festival at the Garden Museum invites families to come and explore this charming museum while enjoying a host of interactive craft workshops, storytelling, music activities and theatrical performances throughout the day. The Garden Museum is open daily for visitors and free activity sheets for kids are available at the entrance. The Festival of Fairytales takes place on 11 August. 

Florence Nightingale Museum

A great museum experience for history-loving kids

Visit the Florence Nightingale Museum to celebrate the life of this trailblazing woman. Discover all about her affluent childhood, how she fought against her parents’ wishes to become a nurse, her work during the Crimean War and how she campaigned for better healthcare for ordinary people. For kids there's various supplementary material to make your visit even more interactive including a Family Trail and STEM trail activity sheets and the opportunity to dress up as a nurse in the Family Corner.


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