Welcome back to our monthly roundup of the best free things to do with children in the capital (and beyond). I’m Emmy and for the last five years I’ve been hunting down the best events and hangouts for Londoners with young kids and writing about them on my blog, bablands.com.
I’ve learnt a lot about kids’ activities since I started blogging. But one of my most surprising discoveries is that the best stuff is so often free. With that in mind, I’ll be partnering with MoneyMagpie each month to bring you the best free days out for families in London and beyond.
Right now, the days are long, the nights are warm and we’re hurtling alarmingly towards the six-week school break at alarming speed. It can only mean only one thing: it’s festival season! You might not fancy the stress of dragging the kids to the likes of Latitude or Camp Bestival (or splashing out on their eye-wateringly expensive weekend tickets!). There’s plenty of carefree summery joy to be had at the numerous free family festivals popping up across the country. Be it spectacular carnivals, arty street parties or post-pandemic celebrations of togetherness.
Take part in an artist-led storytelling session and join artist Anna Crystal Stephens to create a soft den sculpture to inhabit together at this creative, fun-filled celebration of summer on the 16th.
In this interactive artwork, visitors are invited to transform a completely white domestic apartment into a sea of colourful dots using stickers, before creating their own artwork to add to an ever-growing garden in the Turbine Hall.
Resident artist Sahra Hersi’s new play installation will be popping up at The Chelsea Theatre from the 17th. There’ll even be a chance to celebrate its launch at a family party on the 16th.
The brilliant EC1Y street festival returns for its 12th edition from the 9th-10th. With planned events including live street painting, market stalls, large-scale community art creation, immersive installations and loads of street food.
Join renowned British artist Stuart Semple for a family festival on the 30th. He’ll be presenting his new series of sculptural installations alongside his famous Happy Clouds. Plus, an exciting programme of family workshops.
Head to Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum for Dance Days on the 9th and 10th and enjoy a packed programme of dazzling dance performances across the site, including traditional, contemporary, circus and parkour acts.
On the 2nd, Newcastle’s BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts will host a Curious Families Day of colourful, creative workshops that’s set to include family portrait making, zine creation and a sculpture workshop celebrating LGBTQIA+ love.
The South West
Bath Carnival promises to be a brilliant one this year, with loads of live music, an all-singing, all-dancing procession featuring giant puppets and pedal-powered installations, plus a Super Pirates Play Zone and loads of exciting workshops for families.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) will reintroduce its BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby/Bump) tours from the 4th. Parents and carers with slightly older children can also borrow a Family Art Basket. This is filled with creative materials to use in and around the space.