33 things to do in London this summer

July 1, 2022Amy Hughes0

Plan the perfect action-packed visit to London, from the hottest exhibitions and shows to festivals and feel-good family fun

Notting Hill Carnival dancers and revellers © Shutterstock
Family Fun
  1. Step aboard the historic sailing ship and the fastest of its time, Cutty Sark, for Family Fun Weekends (2-3 Jul; 6-7 Aug). They are packed with workshops, songs, activities such as giant board games, and exciting experiences for all ages.

    The Luna Cinema at Westminster Abbey
  2. Watch a film under the stars thanks to The Luna Cinema, which pops up at venues across the capital and beyond throughout summer. Some participating venues include Old Royal Naval College (7-10 Jul), Kenwood (13-17 Jul), Chiswick House (22-24 Jul), Westminster Abbey (27-31 Jul), Kensington Palace (3-7 Aug), Hampton Court Palace (11-14 Aug) and Kew Gardens (31 Aug-4 Sep). Films being screened include House of Gucci, romantic classic Pretty Woman, No Time to Die and 90s hit movie William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.
  3. Weather taken a turn? Gather the troops and get your game face on at All Star Lanes, a retro-style bowling alley with karaoke booths too, for the ultimate family fun day at Brick Lane, Holborn, White City and Westfield Stratford.
  4. Zip through the treetops and test your head for heights at Go Ape in Battersea, Cockfosters and Alexandra Palace. How brave are you?
  5. Scale the height of the award-winning Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, walk to the golden cockerel perched at the top and take in stunning views across the capital at the Dare Skywalk.
  6. KidZania London is a mini-city for children aged four to 14 years where they can try different jobs, including radio presenting, treating patients at the hospital and working with the fire brigade. The summer festival will bring parades, a new summer trail, face painting and activities inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk.
  7. Take a seat in a barrel at London’s only bottled Butterbeer bar when you visit the Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition to see iconic behind-the-scenes production images.
  8. Dippy the Diplodocus, the nation’s favourite dinosaur, has returned to the Natural History Museum following a whirlwind tour of the UK.
  9. Discover the story of the life-changing power of postcodes and ride the Mail Rail at The Postal Museum, a sure hit with the entire family.
  10. The Science Museum is always popular with visitors. See, touch and experience all sorts of science, from space travel to IMAX.
  11. A southeast London gem, the Horniman Museum and Gardens is home to an aquarium, musical instrument gallery, butterfly house and the Horniman walrus.
  12. Combine spectacular views from atop The Shard with a sightseeing cruise along the Thames with The View from the River.
  13. Compete at life-sized gameplay at Monopoly Live, help the Shelby’s at Peaky Blinders The Rise, and become a part of the action at Doctor Who Time Fracture and Sherlock The Live Game, some of the best immersive games available.
  14. Explore seven floors of toys, games, crafts and fun at London’s oldest and largest toy shop, Hamleys.
Festivals & events
Somerset House Summer Series © James Bryant
  1. Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place Festival returns to Chiswick House and Gardens from 6-7 August. Hear exclusive podcast recordings, enlightening talks and live music, and take part in workshops and classes at this feel-good festival.
  2. Westminster Abbey’s five-manual Harrison & Harrison organ takes centre stage at the Summer Organ Festival from 12 July to 9 August.
  3. Dive into a world of bold garden design, fabulous floristry and unique plant shopping at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival (4-9 Jul), set in the Palace’s grounds with live music and waterside picnics too.
  4. Try to snag a ticket for one of the 11 nights of musical performances at Somerset House Summer Series (7-17 Jul), with John Legend, Disclosure and Tems among the acts set to play.
  5. Find summer spots filled with good food, great drinks, comedy shows  and lively entertainment at Cavendish Square and
    Earls Court thanks to
    Underbelly Festival (to 31 Jul and 16 Jul respectively).
  6. Watch Adele, The Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam and Duran Duran at BST Hyde Park (to 10 Jul).
  7. The National Theatre’s River Stage festival (15 Jul-14 Aug) returns to the South Bank for the first time since 2019, bringing five weekends of performances and family-friendly activities.
  8. Notting Hill Carnival brings an eruption of colour and soul to west London’s streets over the August bank holiday weekend (27-29 Aug). Watch the parade and dance to live music.
  9. Back for its 10th year, The Great Get Together will see a celebration of music, dance, arts, sports and food arrive at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (23 Jul).


  1. The remarkable Football: Designing the Beautiful Game exhibition at The Design Museum (to 29 Aug) unpicks how design
    has changed the game, and how the sport has equally impacted design.
Design Museum © Hufton+Crow
  1. Celebrate the music, people and places central to the grime scene at Grime Stories: From the Corner to the Mainstream at the Museum of London, and it’s your last chance to uncover the central role that food plays in Black identity in southeast London in Feeding Black: Community, Power & Place (to 17 Jul) at the Museum of London Docklands.
  2. Witness the magic of Disney as you’ve never seen it before at Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts at The Wallace Collection (to 16 Oct).
  3. See this year’s instalment of the Royal Academy of Arts’ Summer Exhibition, which has been drawing in crowds and championing art in all mediums since 1769.
  4. See archival jewellery designs, famed window displays and important relics of popular culture, including the original script from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, at Tiffany and Co’s Vision & Virtuosity display (10 Jun-19 Aug) at the Saatchi Gallery.
  5. Some of the most famous portraits of the Royal Family as well as lesser-known, intimate family photos are on display at Kensington Palace for the unique exhibition, Life Through a Royal Lens.
  6. Hungry for more? Visit the summer event, Food Forever, at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to discover the future of food at talks, weekend drop-in workshops and activities and displays.
  7. An ominous black structure has appeared at the Serpentine Gallery. Step inside this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates.
  8. Discover Victorian storytelling and work at the Guildhall Gallery’s Inspired! exhibition (to 11 Sep).
  9. The National Maritime Museum is a hive of activity with Canaletto’s Venice and Astronomy Photographer of the Year (to 7 Aug) both astonishing crowds this summer.


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