Things to do at Southbank Centre in the summer holidays
Six weeks. Six long weeks. How on earth are you going to keep the children entertained for all that time? Whilst your kids might be looking forward to the summer holidays, you can be forgiven if you’re currently viewing them more as a sentence good behaviour won’t shorten.
But you needn’t worry, as we’ve got everything you need for a great family day out. Every weekend from 22 July to the August Bank Holiday, you’ll find a fun range of free family events, family shows and activities happening in the centre of London, at Southbank Centre.
Roll up, roll up and step this way
Yep, the circus is coming to Royal Festival Hall. But this isn’t your usual type of circus. No clowns. No animals. Instead, Sweden’s Cirkus Cirkör bring a show packed with energy and high-flying acrobatics, features daring athleticism and showmanship from the company’s world-renowned acrobats, artists and jugglers. Join us for afternoon and evening performances from 13 – 16 August.
Be inspired by the next generation
Apparently, peers more than parents inspire us to learn. Don’t take it personally. Instead revel in the idea, and join us at Royal Festival Hall on 28 August as ZooNation Presents the Next Generation. Under the direction of Kate Prince, ZooNation Youth Company are joined on stage by guest performers for an innovative evening of dance music, spoken word and beatboxing created by the young, for the young.
Become an Urban legend
On August Bank Holiday we celebrate art and artists inspired by the city, and turn our concrete environs into a 21st century playground for Urban. Part of our Summertime offering, the festival boasts a great range of entertainment, from live music and performance, to street art and sounds, including chances to learn new skills. Whether you fancy shooting some hoops in our pop-up basketball ring or practicing parkour, there’s something for everyone.
Sample some street food
Save yourself the hassle of cooking for the family by sampling some amazing street food at our regular weekend food market. Situated on Southbank Centre Square - behind Royal Festival Hall – SC Food Market will keep even the most fussy of eaters happy, with a huge range of global dishes from Indian dosas and Korean burritos, to Polish sausages and Italian pizzas and pasta.
Frolick in a fountain
Bunch of hypocrites that we are, we all want a hot summer, yet can’t cope when it’s too hot. Still, if the temperatures soar again you can always take the kids to cool off in Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms. Yep, our interactive fountain is back. Reckon you can guess the next move of its cooling water jets? Prefer your interactive art installations a little drier? Jeppe Hein has also brought Modified Social Benches NY back to Southbank Centre; always a big hit with children and adults alike.
Hit the beach
‘Are we nearly there yet?’ Five words sure to test the resolve of even the most accomplished parents. So save yourself the pain, save yourself the holiday traffic-jams as every family in London heads to the coast, and save yourself inevitably forgetting to pack the picnic blanket. There’s no need to head to the seaside to hit the beach, we’ve got one right here. And if you prefer not to get sand in your sandwiches, you can always bring your picnic up the yellow stairs and enjoy our amazing rooftop garden.
Kick back in our cafes
If you need to take a moment and refuel with a coffee or a bite to eat, our cafes – in Royal Festival Hall and on the Roof Garden, Queen Elizabeth Hall – have a range of hot and cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches. Fancy something a bit more substantial? We’ve riverside pop-ups throughout the summer, from Bleecker Burger and Oh My Dog! hotdogs to SNOG frozen yoghurt. And we’re surrounded by popular cafes and restaurants, including the family friendly Giraffe! Or if none of those quite float your boat, you can always bring your own picnic, and set yourself down on the grass of our roof garden.
Events now past
Whether you reckon your offspring are set to be the next big thing, or just like making a big racket, they’re bound to get a kick out of Tomorrow’s Warriors on the summer holidays’ opening weekend. The music education group take over our outdoor stage for a day of live jazz music from some of the country’s brightest young talent. Enough to make you want to get up and strut your stuff? Good news; they’ll be hosting a free swing workshop too.
The Wind and The Rain
We all know we can’t trust the British weather, but did you know we can create it? Well, least your little ones can. The Wind and the Sun is an outdoor circus performance celebrating the British weather, with children in the audience (and enthusiastic grown-ups) helping create the different conditions. A bright and colourful spectacle, it combines juggling and acrobatics into an imaginative narrative for all ages, and can be found on our Riverside Terrace, 29-30 July.