South Bank London

What’s on in South Bank this half-term

South Bank’s world-famous tourist attractions, wide-open car-free spaces and abundant child-friendly restaurants all come together to make this one of London’s most popular destinations for a family day out.

Here's a look at where to take the kids for a fun day out in South Bank this half-term.

Jeppe Hein's Appearing Rooms fountains

Every summer as part of the annual summer festival, the Southbank Centre presents one of their most popular installations; Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms. The dancing fountain installation sees different sections of the fountain switched on at unpredictable intervals, creating watery ‘rooms’ that kids (and adults) love to explore (especially on a hot day). 

WHEN: The fountains are back from Wed 29 May (weather dependent).

Pied Piper: A Hip Hop Family Musical

The BAC Beatbox Academy returns to the stage at Southbank Centre with their brand new hip-hop musical Pied Piper, a raucous musical re-imagining of a medieval fairytale. Featuring a hugely talented cast of beatboxers, musicians and special guest performances from the local community, this award-winning show is guaranteed school holiday fun for all the family. Recommended for kids aged 6+, tickets from £14, can be booked online here.

WHEN: Fri 31 May, Sat 1 June and Sun 2 June (three performances per day).

Mish Mash Family Trail

Join a free interactive tour through and around Southbank Centre's buildings and public spaces by following the pop-up Mish Mash Trail. Created by the Heart n Soul Feel Good Designers, the trail takes you on a colourful journey through art installations designed to make you feel happy. 

WHEN: Join the trail Wed 29 May–Sun 2 June from 10:30am–4pm.

Grand Soft Day

Explore the excitement of the wind, rain, frost and much more in this curious and charming new show that celebrates the wonder of the world around us. Commissioned by The Ark, Grand Soft Day is a predominantly non-verbal piece that combines physical storytelling, live music and colourful wellies. This event is a 'relaxed performance' (with a relaxed approach to noise and movement in the audience) and is suitable for kids aged between 2 and 6. 

WHEN: Sat 1 June and Sun 2 June at 11:30am and 2pm.

The Mughal Miniatures Dance Party

Mughal Miniatures celebrates and takes inspiration from the exquisite traditional art of Indian and Persian miniature painting, presenting a series of pop-up, 'living pictures' that evoke scenes of Indian princely courts and lush gardens. Taking place on the Southbank Centre's Riverside terrace, between performances visitors can join in with a participatory dance workshop and take to the dance floor with sets from DJ Ritu. Entrance is free.

WHEN: Sat 1 June from 12 noon

The Paddington Bear Experience

This fun new interactive experience (an official collaboration with Lionsgate films) opens to the public at County Hall on the first weekend of June. Visitors are invited to embark on an exciting immersive adventure through some of the most memorable locations from the Paddington stories with numerous themed rooms to explore, characters to meet, interactive games and lots of surprises along the way. Find out more here.

WHEN: Officially open from 31 May. Advanced booking is essential to secure a time slot.

Soapbox Science

Soapbox Science is back in South Bank for the afternoon, with 12 women and non-binary scientists from leading institutions and laboratories sharing hands-on experiments and demonstrations with the public in ways that are guaranteed to delight young audiences. A lively free event, families can look forward to fun experiments and scientific marvels that kids will love.

WHEN: Sat 25 May 1pm–4pm

Fairytale fun at Shrek’s Adventure!

One of London’s most loved walk-through immersive family experiences. Disappear into the world of Far Far Away as you encounter an array of characters from the iconic Shrek film franchise at Shrek's Adventure!.

Non-stop adventures abound for the little ones with captivating storytelling, dramatic special effects, extraordinary DreamWorks animations and an amazing 3D ride, plus of course photo opportunities with everyone’s favourite ogre.

Sing it loud at Lucky Voice karaoke

London’s favourite karaoke bar brand Lucky Voice has a branch at The Sidings next to Waterloo Station. If you have teens and tweens who are big pop music fans, then booking a karaoke room for the family can be a super fun way to pass an afternoon - especially if London's famously fickle weather is playing up!

On Sunday afternoons you can book out the venue for a two-hour kid's party, and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons during school holidays. The Lucky Voice Kids party is generally recommended for kids aged 11+.

SEA LIFE London Aquarium

A visit to the impressive London Aquarium at County Hall is a brilliant day out for all the family. Come face-to-face with sharks, admire the super cute Gentoo penguins, be dazzled by the vast tropical fish tanks and learn about the many endangered species that the aquarium cares for as part of its conservation projects such as the green sea turtles Dougie and Boris.

Make sure to pick up one of the activity trail sheets at the entrance for the kids to follow and look out for the regular keepers' talks happening throughout the day.

The London Dungeon

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.

For an even more interactive family day out, The London Dungeon also has a brilliant Escape Room experience!

Board games at Draughts

London’s original board games bar Draughts, located inside the famous Leake Street graffiti tunnel, is the ideal spot to while away a rainy afternoon in South Bank. There are more than 1,000 different board games to choose from, covering every possible interest, meaning even the fussiest kids will never be bored.

Gaming admission (for three hours) costs £7 per adult, £3.50 for kids aged 13–17, kids under 12 play for free.

Duckpin bowling at BrewDog 

London’s biggest bar, the epic BrewDog Waterloo at The Sidings at Waterloo Station is a great stop for families with duckpin bowling lanes (£2.50 for kids under 12, £5 for adults) and an awesome slide that takes you down from the bar’s upper level to the ground floor.

There's a great value kid’s menu and often kids eat for free during school holidays, plus for the parents there is of course a huge selection of craft beers on offer.

Deals, Discounts and Special Offers

Each month we round up some of the best deals and offers in South Bank.

Read more about Deals, Discounts and Special Offers

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