London is bustling with events and activities for families with tots, teenagers, or young adults this early May bank holiday. YoungLondonist has listed our favourite selection with many things to do and see over the four days. So enjoy, explore and experience.
Family activities on Friday 3 May 2019
Family Fridays at Sadler’s Wells is a monthly workshop that encourages young children aged 2-4 and their carers to dance together and have fun at Sadler’s Wells. Led by professional dancers, this unique opportunity is designed to start you and the little ones on a dance journey. These sessions will cover a range of dance styles and will encourage co-ordination, creative thinking and social interaction. Suitable for all abilities, sessions start at 2pm and cost £2 per child and £4 per adult – book here to avoid disappointment.
Craft & Graft: Making Science Happen at the Francis Crick Institute showcases the surprising roles of the people who work around the clock to make its life-changing research possible. This event sees technicians feeding and breeding over 15,000 families of fruit flies as well as the mechanical and electronic engineers who race against time to fix, adapt or invent vital equipment for use in the labs. Families will have the opportunity to see specialists preparing biological samples, from fruit flies to cancer cells, for study using powerful microscopes. Some ultra-thin samples are so delicate, an astonishing tool is used to manoeuvre them: an eyelash glued to a cocktail stick.
Journey Through Music: Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring At Barbican Centre promises to be an interactive, family-friendly exploration of the music played in the evening’s concert and the perfect introduction to the world of classical music and orchestras for younger audiences. If you play an instrument, bring it along, as there will be a chance for you to join in. Quote ‘Journey Through Music’ when buying your tickets by phone or book online and quote ‘040679’ to get tickets for just £5 plus booking fee. At least one of your group must be aged 16 or under. Please note that spaces are limited.
Toddler Yoga at Poplar Union seeks to support the wellbeing of the adult and the healthy development of the child through a playful interaction between adult and baby. These sessions consist of a combination of movements, stretching, games and songs to encourage children’s self-expression, confidence and awareness. Toddler Yoga provides a great opportunity for adults to exercise whilst having fun with their children. 10.45 – 11.45 am £6 per person book tickets here
Little feet: create a comic at the British Museum Explore colourful mark making and bold letters as you join your fellow manga artists in honing your creative skills. For under 5s and their parents and carers. Free taking place from 10:30 til 12.
Family activities in London on Saturday 4 May 2019
Merrie May Day at Geoffrey Museum celebrate the arrival of spring with a traditional maypole and dancing on the front lawns of the museum of the home. There will be stalls and activities for all ages, including the Geffrye Explorers’ Garden Cart, upcycled eco insect hotels from Alan Briggs Bughouses, spring plants and herbs from Rootcraft, vintage fabric furnishings from Leah Rose Designs, and beautiful blooms from Tooting florist Gray & Greenery to name a few. Also on offer will be delicious BBQ-style food from the Sunshine Curry Club, homemade cakes from Feast London and locally brewed beers courtesy of Hackney Brewery. Saturday 4 May, 11am – 4pm Suitable for all ages. Free entry.
Drop in session: Shadow Portraits at National Portrait Gallery inspired by the silhouette portraits on display in the Photography: A Living Art – Then and Now display, create cut out portraits of your family. Children must be accompanied by an adult drop in from 11:00-13:00.
Colourscape London at Wembley Park To celebrate May Bank Holiday from 4th- 6th May Wembley Park – will host Colourscape the immersive weekend of music, dance and colour for all the family. Colourscape, the labyrinth of colour and light will be situated on Wembley Park Boulevard (next to the London Designer Outlet) between 11am – 4:30pm. Originally created by artist Peter Jones in the early 70s, Colourscape is a huge walk-in structure of many interlinked chambers. Step into this psychedelic maze of light and explore for a while to discover a large Silver Dome and live musicians playing instruments from Tibet, China and Mongolia while dancers lead you on a journey of colour. Free tickets are obtained on the door, on the day, and admit you for up to 30 minutes.
The Crystal Maze experience the whole experience is deliciously daft, frantic and fun. Expect to be crawling, running and even sliding your way around the maze. It’s the ultimate team experience so gather your friends and family and enjoy some energetic fun. All visits must be booked in advance.
Little Keepers @ London Zoo gives little londoners the opportunity to experience life as a zoo keeper. After arriving for work through a secret entrance in the Zoo, new recruits will be kitted out in uniform and given their daily checklists, before being taken on a journey behind the scenes to the heart of the action – in the specially recreated keeper kitchen. Becoming part of the action, children will help keepers prepare lunch for the squirrel monkeys, create fun activities for the meerkats and experience the biggest job in a keepers’ daily life – mucking out – experiencing a real day in the life of the Zoo’s expert animal team. Included in the price of entry at ZSL London Zoo.
Family Activities in London on Sunday 5 May 2019
Family Games at the V&A Use your mobile or tablet and their free Wi-Fi when you visit. Type in the addresses below to add some play to your day with characters, quizzes and even hairstyling challenges to complete. V&A Secret Seekers Let eight characters from the V&A’s history guide you on a treasure hunt to unlock the secrets of the Museum hidden in its walls: vam.ac.uk/seekers Design a Wig Get creative and design your own fantastic 18th-century wig at vam.ac.uk/designawig Terrible Trades See if you can overcome the gruelling challenges of a trades apprentice to rise to master craftsman at vam.ac.uk/terribletrades
A Child’s Garden of Verse at the Puppet Theatre Barge A visual anthology of poems inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. Interpreted using shadow puppets and marionettes and accompanied by specially composed music. Shows at 11am, 2pm and 4pm – prices vary. Book here.
IWA Canalway Cavalcade takes place at Little Venice during the early bank holiday weekend from 4-6 May 2019. It’s set to be the capital’s biggest, brightest and best waterways festival with activities for all the family, including over a hundred colourful boats, live music, refreshment stands and craft stalls – all extending along Warwick Crescent and the towpaths towards Paddington Station, onto the Paddington Stone Wharf, in Rembrandt Gardens and the Amphitheatre in Sheldon Square. Over 120 boats will attend the festival – including historic, residential and working narrowboats, cruisers and dutch barges – and moored in the Pool, towards Paddington Basin and along Delamere Terrace they make a marvellous spectacle.
Younger visitors can try their hand at kayaking, visit a Teddy Bear’s Picnic or watch a traditional Punch & Judy show in Rembrandt Gardens. Throughout the festival there will be live music, street food stalls selling a huge selection of delicious snacks and meals, a real ale bar, as well as a variety of craft, canal-ware and clothing outlets. The event is free – full event guide here.
Great Fire of London family walk at the Museum of London Join in on a fun, family-friendly walk exploring The Great Fire of 1666 and find out how the Great Fire started, spread and was finally stopped. Starts at 11am more info & booking here.
Koinobori Flying Fish Workshop at Cutty Sark Celebrate the Japanese festival of Children’s Day at this arts and crafts workshop, wherein participants will learn how to make a carp kite inspired by the Cutty Sark’s travels to Japan. Takes place on 4 & 5 May 11.30am – 13.30pm and 2pm – 4pm.
Family Activities in London on Monday 6 May
Water – from source to tap at The Institution of Civil Engineers showcases the vital role civil engineers play transforming lives and safeguarding our future. The new 2019 exhibition explores the hidden depths of water engineering and the work of behind-the-scenes heroes who fight fatbergs and flooding. The main installations include Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s Captain Sanitation character built of LEGO bricks and a giant Fatberg Monster sculpture. The exhibits celebrate Bazalgette’s 200th birthday this year and his pioneering work in creating the London sewer system, while also highlighting the modern day challenge of fatbergs.
Plonk Crazy Golf at Horniman Museum – grab a golf club and test your wits against a course featuring bonkers ball runs, loop-the-loops, heroic hills, balancing-beams, and some Horniman-themed specials. And for those who have fallen in love with the epic Horniman Walrus, meet Plonk’s very own Gerald the Crazy Golf Walrus.
Beasts of London at The Museum of London brings visitors face to face with the beasts of London both large and small who have helped shape the city we live in today. The state of the art, immersive and digital experience that takes visitors on a journey through time, from before London was created through to the present day. Beasts of London is part of the Culture Mile programme. The exhibition runs until 5 January 2020 and family tickets are £20 (more info & tickets here).
The May Fair in Grosvenor Square is on from Sunday 5th til Monday 6th. This free family event will bring traditional seaside entertainment to the centre of London; maypole dancing, music, entertainment, carousel and sea side classic foods like fish and chips, candy floss and ice-cream. Entertainment for little Londonders includes craft sessions, fun educational environmental workshops, (in the belly of an enormous inflatable Sperm Whale) puppet shows from Circo Rum Ba Ba exploring underwater life in the midst of our plastic oceans. Whether you want to explore the depths of the oceans or hop on a swing boat and capture a family portrait in the fun photo booths (or just enjoy an ice lolly in the giant deckchairs) there’s something for everyone.