A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Weekends In London With Children

I know London has a lot of bad points but the amount of art and music related activities for children to enjoy (mostly for free) at weekends always amazes me. Over the last 3-4 years I've had some of the best weekends of my life adventuring around London with my little boy. I thought I'd summarise the sort of choices on offer each weekend.

This weekend sees the Open House event return with art-related events at City Hall, Leadenhall Market and the Brunel Museum. There's also events on both days at the Royal Academy Of Arts including a Lego themed event on Saturday (their monthly family studios are arguably the best in London). At the moment I'm hoping to make it to both Leadenhall Market and the Royal Academy on Saturday.

The National Gallery meanwhile has their regular storytelling sessions and art workshops and there are more art and storytelling activities around the corner at the National Portrait Gallery. Keats House in Hampstead Heath has a family event where children can make their own kites. Tate Modern open studio is also taking place (as it does every weekend). The studio coinciding with the Matisse exhibition I took my son to recently was wonderful. He didn't want to leave. There's also art workshops themed around mudlarking at the Museum Of Docklands as part of the Totally Thames festival. There's also the regular Sunday Spot art workshop at the South London Gallery.

Next weekend will see Dulwich Picture Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery and William Morris Gallery offer more in the way of art workshops.

For older children there are digital workshops taking place at the British Museum (as part of their Ming exhibition) and at the Design Museum (for the London Design Festival).

In terms of music, the Southbank Centre is offering children the chance to learn about South Asian instruments and singing as part of the Darbar Festival. Both are sold out unfortunately (must remember to book in time next year). Over at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green the Mwalimu Express returns, offering more in the way of global, family-friendly sounds. The Royal Opera House also host their monthly family event with singing and dancing related activities. Finally, the autumn season of Daylight Music kicks off at Union Chapel. 

If cinema is more your (or your children's) thing the weekly Framed Film Club takes place at the Barbican on Saturday morning. This weekend also sees L'Institut Francais continue their programme of both English and French animated children's films.

There's loads of other regular activities I haven't even mentioned yet that take place at the Science Museum, the V & A, the British Library, Somerset House, the Grant Museum Of Zoology & the Museum of London).

What to choose?

How to choose?

How many places is it possible/sensible to visit in a day?

'Interesting' versus 'practical' when deciding on public transport options?

These are all questions I ponder as the weekend draws nearer.

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