Whether you’re heading to London from far away or just looking for somewhere local to take the kids during the summer, East London has plenty to keep you and the little (or big) ones entertained. So, throw away your tourist guides that focus on Big Ben and the London Eye and check out what’s on offer off the beaten track. 

We’ve put together a quick guide of family-friendly things to do on a sunny day in this part of the city.

For animal lovers

A day on the farm

A farm? In London? Why, yes! Stepney City Farm is a three-acre country escape in the east of the city. It’s a real community hub where kids are invited to turn up and meet the animals, while mum and dad can pick up local produce at the farmer’s market every Saturday. With chickens, donkeys, goats, sheep, pigs, ducks and geese, there are enough lovable creatures to make Old Macdonald jealous. And Stepney isn’t the only farm in East London; there’s Mudchute, Newham City and Scrattons Farm Eco Park to explore, too.

The mane attraction

If your family loves horses, stop by the Aldborough Hall Equestrian Centre in Ilford. They offer horse riding lessons for children and adults of all abilities, or you can simply stop by and meet the centre’s resident Shetland pony and a range of thoroughbreds. You can even saddle up and go for a little trek, but please book in advance – showing up on the hoof might lead to disappointment.

For bonding and education

Fun for the hole family

Make the most of a sunny day by heading to Golf Kingdom in Romford. Alongside a picturesque 18-hole course, there’s a driving range for the committed golfer and football golf for the whole family. Its Moby Golf course is a great feature that takes you on an 18-hole adventure based around the story of Moby Dick, with a giant whale, berthed ship, waterfall and more. Plus, Golf Kingdom is just across the road from the Toby Carvery Moby Dick, so you can combine your trip with a whale-themed slap-up meal.

A historical day

Get to know more about the capital’s maritime history at two of London’s most fascinating museums and journey into space at the planetarium.

Canary Wharf is home to the Museum of London Docklands, a thoroughly modern museum which keeps the whole family entertained with its special child-friendly galleries and games. Similarly, just south of the river in Greenwich is the National Maritime Museum, another brilliant place that perfectly blends interesting historical exhibits with loads of interactive activities for the kids. 

If you’ve got time, wander down to the Royal Observatory. Set in lovely parkland, it is a wonderful centre of science and discovery, where you can visit the planetarium and straddle the Meridian Line, with one foot in the east and one in the west.

For thrill-seekers

Unleash your inner Lewis

If your kids are a little older and love some excitement, take them to the UK’s longest indoor karting track on the border of Barking and Dagenham. Capital Karts’ circuit is more than a kilometre long and is a great way to unleash your competitive streak.

All downhill from here

Stratford underwent a massive regeneration for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Now, the stadium belongs to West Ham and there’s a buzzing area around it, with bars, family-friendly restaurants and shops galore.

Also, adjacent to the London Stadium is the weird and wonderful ArcelorMittal Orbit, an unmistakable red twisted frame stretching over 114 metres into the sky. It’s part work of art and part observation tower, with views for miles around. Perhaps most thrilling of all is its descent via the world’s longest tunnel slide and, if you’re really brave, you could attempt a hair-raising abseil from the top.

So as you can see, there’s plenty to do during the summer in East London, from relaxed family activities to white-knuckle thrills for your teens. It’s time to plan your journey and get exploring!

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