What families can see, watch, eat and view in the home of entertainment
From a day out inspired by king of pop, Michael Jackson, to the latest cinema blockbusters in sense-tingling 4DX as well as an arty trip to the Royal Academy in Grayson Perry’s colourful footsteps to see the 250th Summer Exhibition – London’s entertainment capital, the West End has a packed programme for kids this summer including:
A THRILLING DAY OUT PLUS FREE WORKSHOPS
Jackson fans can learn all about the king of pop this summer by visiting The National Portrait Gallery’s Michael Jackson On the Wall exhibition.
The exhibition explores the impact Jackson had on some of the leading names in contemporary art and is open daily from now to 21 October, with tickets from £15.50. A special young people’s £5 ticket is available for those 25 and under on Fridays, under 12s are free and family tickets are available. For kids the exhibition provides inspiration for two weeks of fun, free, daily art and craft workshops, 13th – 27th August from 11am – 4pm. They can decorate a white glove, learn to moonwalk, pick-up photography skills, paint a portrait, design a t-shirt, print an image or play with clay. All materials provided. Pick up a free ticket, available from the Gallery one hour before entry.
NON- STOP JACKSON HITS AT THE LYRIC THEATRE
Also, at the Lyric Theatre, Thriller Live takes audiences on an electrifying visual and audio journey through Michael Jackson’s 45-year musical history with over two hours of non-stop hits from Off the Wall to Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Thriller and more! The perfect end to a thrilling day in the West End. Tickets from £32.
ENJOY THE BIGGEST SUMMER EXHIBITION IN ITS 250TH YEAR
Heaps of culture is on offer at the Royal Academy of Arts’ 250thSummer Exhibition, the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show– its biggest, brightest and most colourful yet. Grayson Perry RA and his fellow artists have handpicked over 1,300 artworks in an array of mediums, the majority of which are for sale with part of the proceeds contributing to financing the RA Schools. The exhibition extends across the Academy’s newly-expanded cultural campus and even spills out into the streets of London’s West End, with an installation of over 200 flags designed by Royal Academicians.
On 1, 8, 15 and 17 August from 11am to 1pm there are creative workshop for families (ages 7+) inspired by the Summer Exhibition, offering the chance to explore the galleries together and create a collaborative artwork in response to it. There are also story telling workshops inspired by the works on 3 and 10 August from 11am to 12.30pm. Both workshops cost £15 per adult and £5 per child and are suitable for ages 7+
BUILD A SUNDAE AT FORTNUM & MASON
Children (and the young at heart) can create their own work of ice cream perfection in The Parlour restaurant at Fortnum & Mason. They can be as Dahl-esque as they dare, choosing up to three scrumptious flavours from the 22 available including rose ripple, crème caramel, chocolossus and new vegan flavours avocado & lime and chocolate & cashew plus pick from a range of sauces, toppings and sides all from £6.50. Families can then browse Fortnum’s famous food halls and gift floors, for a take home treat. https://www.fortnumandmason.com/restaurants/the-parlour
WE’RE GOING ON A BOOK HUNT
While away a wet afternoon book hunting in London’s oldest bookshop: Hatchards. This Piccadilly stalwart was established by John Hatchard in 1797 and is bookseller to all the royal households. With 100,000 books in store and an impressive children’s section, complete with comfy sofa and book-loving staff on hand to inspire and suggest – even the most reluctant readers will be converted.
SAMPLE SATURDAYS AT LEICESTER SQUARE’S JAPAN CENTRE
Families can immerse themselves in everything Japanese at Leicester Square’s Japan Centre every day of the week – what better place to introduce the kids to Sushi, Bento boxes and other Japanese staples? It’s also a great place to pick up a manga magazine and Hello Kitty trinkets – or for budding young cooks, a great place to shop for ingredients to make their own noodle dish.
NEW 4D SENSES EXPERIENCE AT LEICESTER SQUARE CINEWORLD
Families can totally immerse themselves in the heart of the film action at the new 4DX screen in Leicester Square Cineworld. This thrilling new experience stimulates the senses with an exciting ride of high-tech motion seating and special effects including: wind, fog, lighting, bubbles, water, snow and rain, that work in synchronicity with the action on the screen. Different smells are pumped into the auditorium to complete the experience. This summer’s blockbusters include: Skyscraper, Incredibles 2, Ant Man and the Wasp, Mission: Impossible – Fallout and The Meg. Prices from £19.20.
Moments from Cineworld is the largest LEGO Store on the planet, home to a 200,000 brick model of Big Ben and the LEGO Mosaic Maker photo booth which is a nifty machine that creates a personalised LEGO portrait. Look out for LEGO’s summer events by checking out stores.LEGO.com. Opposite the LEGO store, is Europe’s biggest sweet shop, M&M’s World. Large enough to house 100 double decker buses it’s home to the world’s largest chocolate wall.
HOLLYWOOD TASTER OR A PIZZA PARTY
Film lovers can enjoy a taste of Hollywood at family-friendly Planet Hollywood located just off Leicester Square. Packed full of eye catching movie memorabilia including a Star Wars Stormtrooper Helmet, a pair of Rocky’s boots from Rocky III as well as a Bond themed room filled with real movie pieces. In 2018 Planet Hollywood was voted for the third year running as London’s Best Child-Friendly restaurant. The menu caters for all tastes with dishes ranging from American classics such as burgers and wings to Italian and Asian plus a dedicated Kids Menu.
Alternatively, refuel at London’s hippest pizza joint – Leicester Square’s MOD Pizza – where groups of 10 or more can catch up over an hour long pizza making session, feast on a pizza and enjoy a drink for £20 a head. Working alongside a member of the MOD Squad, kids can learn all about MOD and create their very own pizzas.
MOD was born out of a passion for delicious artisan pizza and fresh salad. Every pizza is made on demand using fresh-pressed dough and signature sauces for one super low price, £7.87. Choose from over 30 different toppings, the price remains the same regardless of the number of toppings. Plus, there are vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options too!
For further information on what is happening in Leicester Square and St James consult www.stjameslondon.com and https://www.leicestersquare.london/.