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What’s on for families at London’s palaces for summer 2019

The summer holidays is a perfect time to explore London's Palaces - so we have collated the best family friendly events and activities to keep little Londoners busy.

Young Londoners – do you love a castle? Because pretending you are a princess or a knight in shining armour, learning about the rich Royal history of Britain and exploring luscious gardens sounds like great fun for children of all ages. So we have compiled the best family friendly events at London Palaces this summer.   

Tower Escape

Learn all about London’s history with this fun family activity. Visit the Tower of London in the dark days of Elizabeth I and James I where you can rub shoulders with prisoners John Gerard, secret Catholic priest, Arbella Stewart, resourceful royal rival to the monarchs. Remember to keep your eyes and ears open. What friends, equipment and opportunities will there be to help your quest for freedom? Pick up a family trail and meet prisoners, gather clues and devise your own escape plan.
When: Daily until August 31st 2019 at 11:30, 1pm and 3.30pm
Where: Tower of London
How much: £24.70 for an adult, child 5-15 £11 and under 5s free family tickets available. More info & booking here.

Here be dragons

Uncover the colourful dragons lurking among the trees and plants of Hampton Court Gardens. Each dragon has a special name and its own superpower for you to discover.Pick up an activity map from the Information Centre when you arrive to begin your hunt. There will also be Grow your own Dragon workshops where you plant your own rainbow dragon seeds to take home with you as a memento of your visit to the palace.
When: Ongoing until 3rd November 2019 (Grow your own dragon is on 01, 15, 22, 29, 31 August 11am til 4pm)
Where: Hampton Court Palace 
How much: Adult £21.30, child 5-15 £10.70 and under 5s free more info and bookings here.

Hooves and Horses family Saturdays

2019 marks the 200th birthday of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and to celebrate, The Royal Mews will be exploring a different aspect of Victoria and Albert’s lives, from royal animals to art to Victorian London. Join artists, musicians and storytellers as you explore the finest working stabes around.
When: 27 July 2019
Where: The Royal Mews
How much: Adult £12, Under 17s £6.50 and under 5s are free. Book here.

The Magic Garden 

Panorama of the Magic Garden. The rich history and legends of the Tudor court are reinterpreted in the garden: from the playful ‘perspective pergola’, reflecting changing fortunes in a tumultuous time, to the ‘wild wood’, evoking the hunting grounds the Tudor King knew and loved.

Come face to face with mysterious mythical beasts, storm the battlements, besiege the towers and explore the secret grotto in this magical children’s playground. The Magic Garden provides a unique way for your family to explore the history of Hampton Court Palace. Each area represents myths, legends, stories and even real objects that can be found at Hampton Court. They also run sessions for those living with Autism or other sensory issues.
When: Open daily until 3rd November
Where: Hampton Court Palace
How much: Included in Palace tickets but you can also only buy Magic Garden only tickets for £8 for an adult and £6 for a child with under 3s going free. More info on tickets here.

Little Foals

Under 5s s explorers and their adults can join in on a musical adventure around the Royal Mews followed by some messy art play in the Livery Room.
When: 2 August & 6 September 2019
Where: The Royal Mews
How much: Tickets to the Royal Mews are £12 for an adult, £6.80 for under 17s and under 5s are free but you can turn your ticket into a donation and enjoy unlimited entry for a year (which is worth doing if you are local). Book here.

Henry VIII’s Sporting Academy

Photo by Historic Royal Palaces

Have a go at exciting Tudor sports with King Henry VIII and his court. Young Londoners can try jousting, hunting, sword fighting, crossbow practice and real tennis. Don’t forget your to bring your best moves for the Tudor dance off.
When: 3 – 11 August 2019
Where: Hampton Court Palace
How much: Adult £21.30, child 5-15 £10.70 and under 5s free more info and bookings here.

Storytime Adventures at Hampton Court

lively, interactive storytelling sessions are based on well-known children’s books which can be linked to Hampton Court’s magnificent history.
When: Sunday 4 August 2019 at 11:30, 12:45 and 2pm
Where: Hampton Court Palace in the Queen’s Guard Chamber
How much: Adult £21.30, child 5-15 £10.70 and under 5s free more info and bookings here.

Storytime at Kensington Palace

Join in an interactive storytelling session reading the hilarious story Dogs don’t do ballet by A. Kemp about a dog who shares one of Princess Victoria’s favourite pastimes, dancing!
When: Sunday 11 August 2019 at 11:45, 12:45, 13:45 and 14:45. Duration 20 minutes.
Where: Kensington Palace
How much: included in the price of admission Adult £17.50, child up to 15 £8.70 and under 5s go free. More info and booking here.

Luna Kids Cinema

Enjoy family friendly classic movies in the magical 20th Century gardens at Hampton Court. With classics like Aladdin, Mary Poppins and The Little Mermaid alongside favourites like Peppa Pig, The Gruffallo and Zog, you can enjoy outdoor cinema with the kids.
When: 14 -18 August 
Where: Hampton Court Palace
How much:  £13.50 for adults, £8 for children 5 to 15 and free for under 5s. More info and full listings here.

Meet Princess Victoria’s friends and family

As a princess, Victoria enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle, surrounded by a small circle of loyal friends and family. However, as an adult she frequently revisited events in her childhood, recounting that she had an isolated and unhappy upbringing. Explore Kensington Palace and meet the people who influenced her most – a devoted mother, ambitious guardian and teenage Albert.
When: daily til 31 August from 10:30am til 5pm
Where: Kensington Palace
How much: included in the price of admission Adult £17.50, child up to 15 £8.70 and under 5s go free. More info and booking here.

Minibeast Hunt 

Become a wildlife explorer at Hampton Court Palace this summer, using our spotter sheet to hunt for ‘mini beasts’ amongst the flowers and vegetables growing in our recreated 18th century Kitchen Garden. Look for bugs under logs and stones, insects in the air, and creepy crawlies in the undergrowth; from bumblebees to butterflies there is lots to find!
When: 16 & 30 August 10am and 12:30
Where: Hampton Court Palace
How much: £5 per child (adults are free) this is separate to entry to the castle. More info and booking here

Knights and Ladies of the Garter at Windsor Castle

Try on some shining armour, meet a mail armour expert or make a sparkling Garter star to wear as you explore the home of Britain’s oldest and most senior band of knights, maybe you will be lucky enough to get knighted! There will also be art workshops where you can dress a portrait of the Queen for Garter Day or design your own heraldic shield or make a sparkling Garter Star. Full info here.
When: 1st til 31st August
Where: Windsor Castle 
How much: £22.50 for an adult, £13 for under 17s and under 5s are free. Book here.

The world of Victoria and Albert

Royal Collection Trust

Explore the world of Victoria and Albert every weekend in August at the Royal Mews through storytelling, dressing up and hands on crafts and activities. Young Londoners can discover the London that Victoria and Albert would have known and loved.
When: Saturdays & Sundays in August
Where: Royal Mews 
How much: £12 for an adult, £6.80 for an under 17 and under 5s go free.

Family Festival at Buckingham Palace

Join in on a fantastic day of storytelling, music, arts, crafts and adventures in Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews
When: 24-26 August 2019
Where: Buckingham Palace
How much: Tickets cost £25 for an adult, £14 for under 17s and under 5s are free. More info and booking here.

Glorious Gardens and Amazing Adventures

Discover the brilliant stories and access secret areas of the Buckingham Palace Gardens in this very special musical storytelling adventure just for families.
When: 24- 26 August 2019
Where: Buckingham Palace
How much: Tickets cost £35 for an adult, £21 for under 17s and under 5s are free pre-booking essential – you can use the pass for a year if you ask for it to be treated as a donation. Book here.

Queen Victoria’s Circus

Transport yourself back to a time of bonnets and top hats at this fun filled family festival. Attractions across the castle will include a Victorian Circus troupe, falconry, and horse-riding displays, storytelling, musical performances, opportunities to dress in authentic Victorian costumes and loads more.
When: 14 September 2019 10am til 4pm
Where: Windsor Castle
How much: Adult £22.50, Under 17s £13 and under 5s are free. More info & booking here.  

Victoria: A Royal Childhood

Discover the story of Princess Victoria, the young girl destined to be queen, in the rooms where she was born and raised at Kensington Palace. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Victoria’s birth, this new permanent exhibition explores how an indulged young princess blossomed into the independent and iconic monarch we remember.
When: ongoing
Where: Kensington Palace
How much: Adult £17.50, Child £8.70 and under 5s are free. More info and booking here.

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