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Family days out for summer and beyond

Find entertainment that ticks boxes for the whole family with our guide to the best events coming up for 2024


The 45th time you stand in the corner of a playground and watch one of your children launch pinecones from the top of the slide at the head of your other child, it starts to become evident that there must be better ways to pass the time. Thankfully, there are better ways to spend the time and we’ve picked a veritable smorgasbord of entertainments that are equally entertaining for parents.

The Lion King - one of many great family days out for half-term, summer and beyond

Famous films brought to life

Instead of enduring whatever intense product placement is currently masquerading as animated entertainment, the theatre offers some wonderful reimaginings of true family classics. Disney’s Frozen (London), Aladdin (on tour) and The Lion King (London) all add incredible new dimensions to long-standing favourites, while the breath-takingly creative stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro (London) needs to be seen to be believed.

After stage and screen, Disney’s other natural habitat has long been the ice rink and this year’s Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures (on tour) sees Moanna, the Toy Story crew, The Lion King and more take to the road (on ice) for a journey around some of the films’ most famous locations.

For something a tad different, the dimension-bending Spider-Man: Across The Spiderverse is touring across June and September with a live orchestra playing the score, a stealth way to get your kids into classical music.

Wicked - one of many great family days out for half-term, summer and beyond

Go back to where it began

Instead of going from screen to stage, you can also try doing it in reverse in the form of musicals that have inspired hit films. For the 1% of the population who don’t currently have ‘Naughty’ stuck in their heads, there’s still plenty of time. Matilda The Musical (London) has all the earworms you already know and love plus some truly brilliant staging. And if the Wicked (London) film trailer has worn through your patience for the film, get a dose of the real thing at the Apollo Theatre in Victoria.

CBeebies favourites

Somewhere around the invention of Hey Duggee and Sarah & Duck, CBeebies graduated from necessary distraction technique to appointment viewing. Nobody’s going to quibble about its current MVP: the universally adored blue heeler pup Bluey, unquestionably the greatest children’s TV series ever made. Bluey and her canine crew of family and friends are currently touring the UK and Ireland with the acclaimed stage show, Bluey’s Big Play until 30 August. It’s rare that any children’s production is this unmissable.

You can also catch her at CBeebies Rainbow Adventure, an immersive experience at Westfield White City where kids can actually enter the worlds of their favourite shows, playing magic xylophone in Bluey’s bedroom, cooking in JoJo and Gran Gran’s kitchen or throwing shapes at Duggee’s Clubhouse Disco.

Hot Wheels City Experience - one of many great family days out for half-term, summer and beyond

Start your engines

This one’s a no-brainer. Most kids like big things that go fast. Hot Wheels City Experience (Manchester) takes the toys that have spanned generations and brings them to life via life-size vehicles, an immersive museum experience, a gaming centre, and a design centre where you can design your own Hot Wheel and see it projected onto the walls. For something even bigger, Monster Jam returns to London and Cardiff in July, with massive monster trucks performing massive monster feats.

Go back in time

History is never more fascinating for kids than when it’s happening around them rather than just on the pages of a book. The Moonwalkers (London) is a breathtaking trip to the moon in the company of Tom Hanks and the Apollo astronauts. Lightroom’s immersive projections across the room’s floor and four walls only add to the overwhelming sense of scale and drama. A slightly more tongue-in-cheek, head-on-spike approach makes Horrible Histories’ Terrible Thames boat ride through London’s history is equally entertaining in a much more gruesome way.

Check out a festival

Camp Festival - one of many great family days out for half-term, summer and beyond

It’s never too soon to get your kids festival ready and the events themselves are only become more family friendly with each passing year. Some, such as Camp Bestival in Dorset and Shropshire and Latitude in Suffolk have always kept little ones at the front of their plans, mixing big names from kids’ TV with international music talent, while Bear Grylls’ Gone Wild festival (Norfolk and Devon, August) does the same but with a natural twist. Wild in a different sense is Liquid Death presents Download (Derbyshire, June), which offers the opportunity to introduce your kids to the cathartic joys of metal and a more constructive way to make too much noise. Just don’t forget your ear defenders!


Check out more ideas for fun outings and family days out on our Things To Do Guide