Join Catapult on our journey to seek out the most fun, most original days out in the UK this summer. Whether a beautiful coastal walk and a delicious pub lunch, or a wet and wild water park, underground cavern or thrill-seeking adventure, we have tried to include a mixture of things you can get for free and treats that you will need to pay for.
We begin with London Town. There is so much to do here, one begs the question why we all flock away from the city and leave it to the tourists. If by chance you find yourself in the Big Smoke for a stint, have a read of these suggestions to make the most of this glorious city of ours.
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Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the World’s Tallest Tunnel SlideTrek the path of former Olympians and visit The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Ride the ‘ArcelorMittal Orbit’ (8yrs+), the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide with 12 twists and turns including ‘the corkscrew’, travelling up to 15mph on this 178m high ride of a lifetime inside the Anish Kapoor Sculpture. You can also experience first-hand iconic Olympic venues such as the swimming pool and aquatic centre where you can take swimming or diving lessons, watch an international hockey game in the tennis & hockey centre, attend a pop concert in the The Copper Box Arena or try your hand at any number of cycling disciplines in the Velodrome where Britain’s International Cycling Teams rode into Olympic history.
Website: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk
A Family Microadventure
Take up Alastair Humphrey’s inspiring challenge and go on your family’s first ‘micro-adventure’). Al Humphreys believes that no matter how short the adventure, each journey has the same highs and lows and the same sense of reward at the end. He has coined the word ‘microadventure’ which embodies the idea that close to home at minimal cost a mini adventure is always waiting. Seize the moment, take a train to the Sussex Downs, camp on a farmer’s field, toast marshmallows under the stars and be back for the mornings commitments the next day. What are you waiting for?
Outdoor Cinema With Luna
Climb aboard the new wave of Outdoor Cinema Fun with Luna Cinema. At venues all over the country, watch’ The Goonies’ at Kensington Palace in August, scoot down the Thames path to Fulham Palace and watch ‘La La Land’, or wander through landscaped gardens at Chiswick House where you can enjoy a viewing of the classic ‘Notting Hill’ not so many miles away from where it was filmed.
Website: Luna Cinema www.thelunacinema.com
London’s Very Own Urban Beach, Trampoline Park & Indoor Climbing
We are enthralled by the Urban Beach concept and urge you to test out Wandsworth’s very own, BYOB Beach Venue. The food alone is a draw, Le Rac Shack (melting Raclette on a spit), street-food and fresh pizzas to name a few.
Work up your appetite earlier in the day by heading to London’s Biggest Trampoline Park, Flip Out a short bus ride away over the river or closer to hand, pop into ‘ClipnClimb’ (for 20 heart-pumping climbing challenges or try the giant vertical slide (book ahead for this).
Book a Cricket Course at Lords
Cricket enthusiasts should consider booking up a few lessons at the world renowned, home of British Cricket at Lords There are holiday courses galore, special one to one sessions using world-class facilities and equipment- you can even book up for a birthday party.
'Kids Go Free' Theatre Tickets for Kids In August
Book up theatre tickets this August with the ‘kids go free’ in London’s theatreland. From the classic ‘Wind in the Willows’ at the Peacock Theatre to new shows,’ Annie’ and ‘School of Rock’, perennial favourites’ Matilda’, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Mamma Mia’- don’t miss this superb opportunity to treat the whole family at a fraction of the normal price.
Sharky & George Holiday Club
Join a Sharky & George Holiday Club for one day or five. Each day is packed full of adventures and fun; it might be geocaching in the city, water bomb fights in Hyde Park, Nerf gun battles, t-shirt graffiti, boat races, survival skills, circus-training, you name it. It is run by a tireless team of 20 something year-old boys with a mischievous sense of humour, who positively encourage hi-jinks and trickery and like nothing better than playing jokes or launching giant water bombs into the Serpentine. Book early, they have an enormous following.
Harry Potter Tour at the Warner Bros Studio
For Fans of Harry Potter- don’t miss the Warner Bros Studio Tour .You will need to book ahead especially in the holidays but ideally aim to arrive early even to queue. Take a picnic to avoid the lunchtime chaos. The tour takes at least 4 hours and this gives you time to do most of the extras such as ‘riding a broomstick’ and having the footage imposed onto the Hogwarts backdrop, wandering through Privet Drive, hopping into the Weasley’s Flying Car, taking a wand lesson and going aboard the Hogwarts Express. One word of warning, do explain that there are no ‘rides’, it is just a ‘behind the scenes’ tour to see costumes, props, camera trickery and to stand in some of the sets such as the Great Hall. At the end is a fabulous gift shop with Hogwarts paraphernalia, Weasley Tricks, Hedwig keyrings, sorting hats, Dobby magnets and sweets such as chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavoured Beans.
Inflatable Water Park at Liquid Leisure
When London is baking hot, head out to Liquid Leisure, Europe’s largest just down the motorway in Windsor. Although slots are only an hour long (children need to be aged 6+), there is also a separate lake for paddleboarding & open-water swimming, a cable lake for waterskiing and wakeboarding (catering for all levels of experience), wetsuits and gear all available to hire on site. Booking ahead is recommended during the holidays.
Website: Liquid Leisure Inflatable Water Park www.liquidleisure.com.
Learn Paddleboarding on the Thames
Take a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) lesson or tour with Activity 360. With offices in Putney, Kew and Paddington, there are a number of locations from which to start your paddleboard adventure on the Thames. A rare opportunity to experience the city of London from the river itself.
Wild Swim in the Thames
Take the train to Pangbourne in Berkshire for a cheeky wild swim in the Thames. Bicycle or walk approximately 3 miles upstream from the train station and you will find a peaceful yet idyllic spot for a wild swim. Further on up the river, about a 3 mile walk again (definitely bring bikes if you have younger legs in your party) you will find Goring on Thames, Pierreponts Café is an ideal spot to restock up your picnic or fuel up with a hot chocolate. Alternatively try one of London’s outdoor swimming pools (Hampstead Heath, Tooting Bec Lido, the Serpentine, Charton (Knightsbridge), Brockwell Lido.
Website: Pierreponts Café: pierreponts.co.uk
Underground Cave Tour in Chislehurst
Take a lamplit Tour of the Underground Caves in Chislehurst. Only 30 minutes by train from London Bridge, is a maze of underground tunnels, more than 30 metres below the woodland, measuring 6 hectares in total- one for the slightly older gang, this labyrinth has a fascinating history to uncover and we think teenagers will enjoy this off-the-beaten track day out.
Website: Chislehurst Cave Tour: www.chislehurst-caves.co.uk
Whacky Races, Soapbox Race in London
The Red Bull Soapbox Race at Alexandra Palace takes place this year on 9th July. Drivers compete in a downhill race with nothing but courage and a home-made dream machine, racing against the clock. Competitors are encouraged to come up with the wildest & whackiest of inventions, to race as fast as possible AND perform and they are judged on all three criteria. Even younger children will enjoy this- the only downside being whether you can get a ticket.
Website: Tickets & Event Info: www.redbullsoapboxrace.com
Rooftop Urban Lawn Club in London Summer 2017
Skylight London at Tobacco Quay is a rooftop Urban Lawn Club with croquet lawns, petanque and street food selling burgers- beautiful panorama including the Shard, Walkie Talkie building and the Gherkin. Open from 5pm weekdays, from 11am at weekends.
Website: Tickets & Opening Times: www.skylightlondon.com
Immersive Theatre Experience & Nitrogen Ice-Cream Bar
For an all-out immersive theatre experience, book up ‘Alice’s Underground Adventures’. An experiential theatrical treat, taking the audience through 33 rooms (underground vaults beneath Waterloo), and led by a performer throughout. Small groups get to choose whether the performer should ‘eat me’ or ‘drink me’ to determine which path to take through the play. A seriously slick performance, look out for cocktails in tea cups at the Mad Hatters Tea Party, wander through tunnels lined with pages from a book.
To bring yourself back down to earth, take a taxi ride to ‘The Chin Chin Labs’ in Camden Town where your ice-cream is frozen before your very eyes. This is a new liquid nitrogen ice-cream bar selling everything from vanilla & chocolate to salted caramel Guinness, red velvet or watermelon. Pick your own sprinkles and sauces from this chemistry lab of flavours.