25 things to do in London in September – with kids!

It’s hard to believe that summer is already over. If, like me, you’re not quite ready for the back to school routine then take heart in the fact that there are lots of great things to do in London in September.

Some of the traditional events in London taking place this month include London Fashion Week and Open House London. Open House is an annual event that gives Joe Public the chance to see behind the doors of some of the city’s most iconic buildings and spaces. Many of the buildings are already booked up but there are also some great Open City Families events taking place, see below for details.

BBC Proms continues with live music happening in both Hyde Park in at the Royal Albert Hall until September 11. It’s also the final couple of weeks when Buckingham Palace Gardens are open to the public.

Other events of note include the Chelsea Flower Show, which takes place from September 21 to 26. Note that children under 5 are not allowed. For visitors to London the good news is that the Changing of the Guard has resumed at Buckingham Palace; you can see the schedule here.

The West End is back and September sees the return of some of the city’s best loved shows as well as some new ones. We’re looking forward to seeing the stage version of Back to the Future and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella. Take a look at Theatre Tickets Direct to see what’s on.

But if fashion and flowers are not what your’e looking for, fear not! We’ve rounded up our top picks for the best things to do in London in September 2021 with kids!

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things to do in London in September

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Greenwich+Docklands International Festival

The Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) opens on August 27 and runs until September 11. The festival is London’s leading festival of free outdoor theatre and performing arts that takes place across Royal Greenwich, Docklands and Tower Hamlets.

There are some fantastic events taking place for families this year including Do What Yah Mama Told Yah!, a colourful and immersive family friendly circus show, Frock, a quirky dance piece and Borealis, an installation inspired by the Northern Lights that takes place over two locations in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

The Tusk Lion Trail

Head down to Central London and you’ll see a pride of Lions in the West End. The Tusk Lion Trail aims to raise awareness of lions, the threats to their existence and the people and organisations working to ensure that they survive. The trail has been created by the Tusk Trust and the sculptures have been designed by big names in design, film, theatre and comedy including Noel Fielding and Ronnie Wood.

The trail runs until the end of September.

Open City Families

Open City Families forms part of Open House London. Held on September 11 in Canary Wharf is a programme of free and drop-in family events. These include storytelling, LEGO challenges, design and construction activities where you can build a bug hotel or a bird box.

On September 4 and 5 Open City has partnered up with the John Lyon’s Charity to deliver a whole weekend of FREE activities for children with special educational needs and disabilities. Activities for the visually impaired, hard of hearing, autistic spectrum conditions will take place at the RIBA, the Museum of London, Pitzhanger Manor, and the British Library. 

Don’t miss the free Mysterious Black Tudors family trail. This fun and interactive family event about Britain’s forgotten history of the Black Tudors.

Sunday Spot Play Space

Held at the South London Gallery on three dates in September is this fun, interactive event that young children will love (it’s been designed for kids aged 0-5 yrs). Artist Natalie Zervou-Kerruish has designed six movable structures which families are invited to transform into their own unique carnival floats.

Use bells, balls, sticks, paper, foil, ribbon and tape to build and decorate your float in a way that symbolises your family or community. The session will end in a procession, with families leading their floats through the studio and out into the Orozco Garden! See more information here.

The Flight of Babuscha Baboon

The wonderful Puppet Barge is back in action, this time with the story of a baboon who wants to fly to the moon in a hot-air balloon. The story is told using string marionettes, shadow puppets, lighting and poetry. Suitable for ages 3 and above.

The London Design Festival

The London Design Festival is back this year from September 18 to 26. Exhibitions and events will be held at locations around London including the Southbank Centre, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Modern and Trafalgar Square. The hub will be at the V&A where you can’t miss the mixed reality installation by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto in the Raphael Court.

The Chocolate Factory

Opening this month is The Chocolate Factory, an immersive experience perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth. Journey along this candy-themed adventure through a series of themed rooms including Chocolate Town, The Cupcake Room and Cloudland. Naturally, there will be sweet treats to try too. The Chocolate Factory opens in Westfield White City on September 17.

Children’s shows at the Little Angel Theatre

The Little Angel Theatre in Islington is back with some wonderful shows for younger children. In September you can watch There’s a Rang-Tan in my Bedroom and Other Stories, inspired by the Greenpeace campaign and featuring a voiceover from Emma Thompson.

Also on in September is The Wishing Tree, written by poet Joseph Coelho and incorporating ideas of Islington school children coming out of the pandemic. Take a look at the website for details and ticket prices.

London Zoo

London Zoo have a new self-guided Bing trail . Children can help Bing and his buddies complete the Zookeepers’ daily checklist with a fun activity to do at each checkpoint. There will also be interactive story time sessions and the opportunity to meet Bing and Flop! The trail opens on September 20 and runs until the end of October.

Architecture for dogs at Japan House

For something a little quirky and undeniably cute head to Japan House for their Architecture for Dogs exhibition. Here, world class architects have designed homes for pups big and small. Visitors can also take part by downloading and designing their own dog palace.

West End Live at Trafalgar Square

If you’ve missed the theatre then this one’s for you. This free weekend of musical theatre takes place on September 18 and 19 in Trafalgar Square. It features live music from hit shows including Amelie, Disney’s Frozen, The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia! and many more. Make sure to arrive in good time to secure a spot.

The events is free and un-ticketed but everyone aged 18 and over will be asked to demonstrate their Covid-19 status to gain entry to the event.

Walk across Esperance Bridge

Esperance Bridge in King’s Cross opened in July. The bridge, designed by Moxon Architects and Arup, spans the Regent’s Canal at Granary Square and Pancras Square. It’s a simple structure painted bright red and is a nod to the railway bridge that once stood here to transport coal to the goods yard. If you’re in the neighbourhood then you should definitely take a look!

Neon lights in Covent Garden

For a dose of colour head to Covent Garden for the bright and colourful installation by the artist Chila Burman. If you visited the Tate Britain over winter you’ll have seen her neon artwork covering the exterior of the building. Her distinctive electric neons will be suspended in the South Hall.

Discover more things to do in Covent Garden with kids here.

Underbelly Festival

The colourful Underbelly Festival continues through the month of September. Family-friendly shows taking place this month include Comedy Club 4 Kids, Jay Foreman’s Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children and Basil Brush’s Family Fun Show.

Luna Cinema

Luna Cinema continues throughout September with a wide range of films on offer including some family favourites. in the line-up include some of the Harry Potter films, the original Grease, Star Wars: A New Hope, Dirty Dancing and The Greatest Showman. There are various venues across London including at Chiswick House, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Brompton Cemetery and Wandsworth Park.

Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition

If you’re in need of some magic to get your back to school routine on track then head to the Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition in Covent Garden. The exhibit holds hundreds of images from the world of Harry Potter that have never been seen together before. Discover areas inspired by the Ministry of Magic and Platform 9 3/4. There’s also the chance to strike your best wizarding pose in front of a series of green screens. 

Want more magic? How about a Harry Potter walking tour of London

Little Explorers at Kew Gardens

This monthly event is aimed at children aged 2 – 5 and their parents / carers and is taking place this month on September 27. The 90-minute session encourages curious children to connect with nature as they explore, observe and question the natural world around them. The theme for September is Autumn and there are two sessions being held at 10.30am and at 1.30pm. See the website for more details.

Keep an eye out for the Gruffalo Adventures, a fun trail for kids that will be launched later this month.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience

The Vincent Van Gough immersive art experience is up and running in London and has had rave reviews. Some of the painter’s best known works come to life with lights, sound and 360-degree projections.

Totally Thames Festival

Totally Thames is a month-long festival happening this September, bringing London’s most famous river to life. This year’s highlights include nine new bridges along the River Thames lit up at night, mudlarking exhibitions, workshops and walks, and Rivers of the World artworks outside the Tate Modern and the National Maritime Museum. Find out what’s going on at this annual event here.

No Comply: Skate Culture and Community at Somerset House

If you and your kids were as taken with British skateboarder Sky Brown’s performance at the Olympics as we were then this one is for you. This free exhibition at Somerset House explores the phenomena of skateboarding and its impact on British culture and communities over the last 45 years. The exhibition includes a pop-up skate park on The Strand and runs until September 19.

Fantastic Beasts at the Natural History Museum

Not a new exhibition but one to book tickets for if you haven’t already. The Fantastic Beasts: the Wonder of Nature is a guaranteed great time for all the family (especially on rainy days!). The exhibition explores how the real world and the Wizard World overlap and how the wonders of the natural world have inspired myths, legends and magical creatures for generations.

Monopoly Life-sized

life-size Monopoly game opened in London last month where players have to take part in physical and mental challenges as they move around the board. Be prepared to solve murder mysteries or build a London landmark as you try and win. There’s a special Junior board for kids aged 5-9.

Paddington: The Story of a Bear at the British Library

Running until the end of October is this charming exhibit at the British Library about everybody’s favourite bear. Discover the real-life inspiration behind the bear with notes and photographs from author Michael Bond as well as original illustrations. For younger children there’s a fun trail of marmalade splats to explore as you follow Paddington’s adventures and mishaps in London.

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

Fall down the rabbit hole at the wonderful Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition at the V&A. This whimsical exhibit traces the origins of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and explores the myriad adaptations and reinventions of the famous children’s story. Expect original manuscripts, fantastical costumes, interactive exhibitions and much more across five Alice-inspired worlds.

2 thoughts on “25 things to do in London in September – with kids!”

  1. These all sound like amazing activities to do with little ones. Too bad we are on the other side of the pond! Thanks for sharing!

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