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Whether you’re heading ‘home’ for the summer or this is your first time in London, there’s plenty to keep the kids busy in Britain’s capital of cool! Reporting by Kate Farr & Carolynne Dear

Science mayhem

Brainiac is coming to London’s Garrick Theatre in July, with a fun-filled live show that delves into the weird and wonderful world of science. Boasting exploding dustbins, combusting microwaves and daredevil stunts, this is one experience that should keep the kids glued to their seats. The show is based on the popular British TV show of the same name and is suitable for children aged six years and over. Brainiac Live runs until September 1, bookings at nimaxtheatres.com

Ballet moves

The London Children’s Ballet is performing celebrated novelist Noel Coward’s classic tale, Ballet Shoes, this summer. The performances are to celebrate the 25th anniversary of London Children’s Ballet, an organisation that gives aspiring young dancers the opportunity to take to the stage. Ballet Shoes is set in the 1930s and captures the dreams and ambitions of the adopted Fossil sisters, Pauline, Petrova and Posy, who have been taken under the wing of palaeontologist Great Uncle Matthew. The show is appropriate for children aged three-and-up. It runs July 4-7, with a ticketed premiere on July 4, Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, London, sadlerswells.com

Museum madness

Natural history museum

Dinosaur bones at London’s Natural History Museum

Museums are an important part of any trip to a major capital. But it can be dispiriting trying to engage youngsters, who, quite honestly, would probably rather be anywhere else instead.  THATmuse (Treasure Hunt at the Museum) is the brainchild of a Paris-based art historian and aims to engage kids with a bespoke treasure hunt. The project currently offers hunts through London’s Natural History, British and Victoria & Albert museums and the Musee d’Orsay and Louvre museum in Paris. thatmuse.com

Fantastic beasts

The Museum of London welcomes Beasts of London, a fascinating immersive experience that explores the role that animals have played in shaping the capital – from Roman times to the present day. Created in collaboration with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the installation is narrated by celebrities including Kate Moss, Stephen Mangan, Nish Kumar and Brian Blessed. There is also a full calendar of (occasionally grisly) family events, including a bone workshop and taxidermy demonstration. This highly educational attraction supports the work of the International Fund For Human Welfare. museumoflondon.org.uk

Go green

Kew Gardens

One of London’s most green and pleasant spots, The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew has opened a brand new Children’s Garden this summer, with interactive play spaces for kids from toddlers to teens. Explore the living bamboo tunnel, burn off some energy on the buried trampolines, follow the sensory paths and roll up your trouser-legs for some splashy fun in the water garden. The park is laid out over an area the size of 40 tennis courts and families can also explore the space from above via an elevated canopy walk, which wraps around a 200-year-old oak tree in the heart of the garden. kew.org

Animal magic

London Zoo

London Zoo will be opening a brand new kids play zone in July. The Animal Adventure play area lets littlies learn all about meerkats, porcupines, eagle owls, mongoose, coatis and more. Highlights include a HMS Beagle replica play-ship, child-sized hot air balloons, a splash zone and a tree-top rope course. An open-air ampitheatre features daily talks on diverse topics such as how llamas trek across the Andes. There’s opportunities to chat with zookeepers and an all-important cafe to fill rumbling tums. zsl.org

Festival fun

ONBlackheath

Remember those festival days of yesteryear? Don’t worry, if you’re in London this summer but these days with kids in tow, you can still relive those heady, music-filled moments at ONBlackheath. The family-friendly festival is welcoming headline acts from Jamiroquai, Grace Jones and The Roots this year, plus a heap of kids’ bands, musical workshops, pop-up stalls and yummy street eats. The action takes place on Blackheath Common, southeast London, July 13-14. festicket.com

Street eats

Young foodies can cut their teeth on Eating Europe’s East End Food Tour. This small group walking tour explores London’s diverse cultures, architecture and stories through the medium of food and is suitable for kids aged four and over. Taking in markets, bakeries and restaurants, you’ll discover London’s best bacon sandwich, sample authentic British fish ‘n’ chips and meet a master cheesemonger. This is one activity it’s worth skipping breakfast for. eatingeurope.com

Park performance

Regents Park theatre

A visit to London just wouldn’t be complete without catching a show. The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre offers audiences an alfresco experience while enjoying a live performance. This summer’s schedule includes Hansel & Gretel (June 14-22), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (June 28 – July 27) and Evita (August 2 – September 21). Not a theatre buff? There are also Sunday night cinema screenings, including a singalong Mary Poppins. So pack a picnic, bring a blanket and enjoy an evening under the stars. openairtheatre.com

Potter on

Harry Potter world

This event is technically outside of London, but nevertheless, die-hard Harry Potter fans won’t want to miss the latest addition to The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros Studio Tour – Gringott’s Wizarding Bank. Explore the marble pillars, crystal chandeliers and sinister Lestrange vault made famous by JK Rowling’s celebrated tales. You’ll also have the chance to try out the immersive green screen experience. There are plenty of original costumes and prosthetics from the films, and even a cafe with a Hogwart’s-inspired menu. wbstudiotour.co.uk