The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is today inviting families from across London and UK to spend their school holidays experiencing all that the capital’s attractions have to offer this summer.
Announcing the latest phase of his #LetsDoLondon campaign, the biggest domestic tourism the capital has ever seen, the ‘Family Fun’ season will see London burst back to life with an unprecedented range of family-friendly events and activities.
New City Hall figures show that while weekend visitor numbers to central London are improving, now at around 75 per cent compared to 2019, weekday visitors are still at around 54 per cent compared to before the pandemic. The Mayor today is inviting families from around London and further afield to visit the capital declaring ‘there has never been a better time for children and families avoid the queues at our wonderful attractions.’
Unveiling a whole range of exciting activities for children of all ages today, Sadiq is encouraging families across the capital and nationwide to plan a day trip, mini break or a longer staycation to what he is calling ‘Britain’s biggest playground’ this summer.
The Family Fun Programme will include everything from ‘Formula Fun’ go-karting on the streets of London, to new fairground rides, and events with top class musicians, poets, street artists and dancers. There will be new outdoor art trails, as well as exclusive events to celebrate the return of West End theatre as part of Kids Week. New outdoor learning and play experiences will also connect families with London’s nature and heritage through hands-on fun and inspiring activities led by Royal Parks. Further events and activities are being organised by leading cultural institutions such as the National Gallery, Sadler’s Wells, and Somerset House. This includes the Tate Modern inviting visitors of all ages to transform the floor of the Turbine Hall into a giant work of art.
The Mayor today visited the London Transport Museum, which has a line-up of school-holiday activities that will get families thinking about how transport shapes life in the Capital and imagining what a greener future for the city could look like. This includes the Museum’s Depot in Acton Town opening its doors during August for families to explore behind-the-scenes of this transport treasure trove. The activities are the first in a new 18-month Climate Crossroads programme launched by London Transport Museum and sponsored by Mott MacDonald to shine a light on sustainable cities, travel, transport and greener skills for the future.
With children having been deprived of play and many other important experiences during the pandemic, the Mayor is inviting young Londoners to apply for a summer job like no other. He is today starting his public search to fill an exciting new vacancy – the opportunity to become London’s first ‘Mayors of Play’.
A team of up to five lucky Londoners – between the ages of 8-11– will be given the chance of filling this once in a lifetime ‘summer job’. Once appointed, the Mayors of Play will work alongside Sadiq providing ‘expert’ guidance in curating the most family-friendly and accessible activities in London. During their time in office, the Mayors of Play will share their recommendations on London’s best museums and outdoor spaces as well as their favourite galleries and activities. The Mayors of Play will also share their favourite places to eat and drink and will help reimagine London’s iconic tube map for their peers.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s been such an incredibly difficult 16 months for young people and their families, so I’m delighted that we can offer such a huge range of exciting events and activities that young people can enjoy.
“I want to turn London into Britain’s biggest playground this summer – whether with our plans for go-karting, new fairground rides, or opportunities to get involved in dance, poetry, art, or preserving nature in our wonderful royal parks. And in launching my search for London’s first ever ‘Mayors of Play’, I want to hear directly from our young people about what we need to focus on most to make the capital even better for children.
“With restrictions on international travel still in place, there has never been a better time for children and families from London and across the UK to avoid the queues and safely visit our wonderful attractions this summer.
“And with London’s streets still quieter than before the pandemic, by visiting the capital this summer, you’ll be giving our wonderful visitor attractions the support they need now more than ever to guarantee their survival.”
Emma De Souza, Kids Week founder and Head of Marketing and Communications at the Society of London Theatre, said: “We’re delighted to be heralding the return of theatre and working with the Mayor’s office to bring families back into the heart of the West End. Our week of free, outdoor creative activities in Leicester Square Gardens forms part of long-running initiative Kids Week, offering free children’s theatre tickets throughout August.
“It has been fantastic to launch Kids Week this year after being forced to cancel in 2020 – and the response has been overwhelming, with nearly 80,000 theatre tickets sold already to over 30 top London shows. Families are hungry to return to live theatre, and we’re looking forward to a summer of magical cultural experiences with Let’s Do London.”
Paul Hocker, Director of London Play, said: “London Play is committed to creating happy London childhoods and that’s been tough to deliver on over the last 18 months, so we’re delighted to be working with the Mayor and his team on the Let’s Do London programme with our Formula Fun events.
“This is the summer London’s children and their families deserve and London – the world’s leading city for play – is the place to be. Watch out for our hand-made go-kart workshops across central London in August bringing together hundreds of Londoners, big and small.”
Sir Simon Rattle, LSO Music Director, said, “This year will be extra special. 2020’s concert was a casualty of the pandemic and we have shifted our date to August in the hope that social distancing guidelines will have eased some more so we can gather together as an orchestra and with a crowd and have a great musical summer party. I am delighted that the musicians from the LSO East London Academy are joining us on stage, along with the soaring talent that is Leia Zhu. These young people are the future and it is awe-inspiring to see their talent develop, and share their gifts with the crowd in Trafalgar Square and on YouTube. I am truly grateful to BMW and the Mayor for London for making this possible.”
Ros Morgan, Chief Executive of Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “Nowhere else in the world can you stop for lunch on a bench with Mr Bean or Paddington, dance alongside Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain or hold your umbrella aloft next to Mary Poppins. Scenes in the Square is a first of its kind and we hope it will put London on the movie map like the Walk of Fame has in Hollywood.”
Sam Mullins OBE, Director of London Transport Museum said: ‘It’s brilliant to be welcoming families back to the heart of the Capital to visit London Transport Museum this summer, and to explore behind-the-scenes at our Depot in August. After all the challenges of the last year, we’re right behind the Mayor’s Let’s Do London campaign, and we hope this summer will be a wonderful opportunity for families to get back out and discover all that the city has to offer.
“Our line-up of summer family fun activities at London Transport Museum and our Depot will get children feeling curious and creative, encouraging them to learn about how transport shapes life for us here in London – from our urban wildlife to how we get around – and encourage families to imagine what life in a greener London could look like.”
Craig Hassall, Chief Executive Royal Albert Hall and Co-Chair, Discover South Kensington said: “South Ken is buzzing with life this summer. We’re excited to welcome back visitors with a stunning series of architectural installations packed with pollinator-friendly planting and inspiring ideas for a greener future. With brilliant teams of young architects, designers and artists working with biodiversity experts, curators and scientists across the South Kensington cultural district, we have a fascinating trail on display. It’s just the sort of multi-disciplinary collaboration that London’s arts and science district is here to spark.
“Our family-friendly South Ken Green Trail will connect to thought-provoking events, activities and exhibitions exploring climate change and sustainability across the venues in South Kensington in the run up to COP 26.”
Jonzi D, Artistic Director of Breakin’ Convention, said: “We celebrate diversity as a prerequisite at Breakin’ Convention, and we make sure that we reflect the cultural capital of the UK. It’s a great pleasure to present these exciting and interactive events around central London, energising my city, sharing good vibes and creating pathways to a positive future. We will get London DONE this 2021.”