Children go free to London family shows in August 2018

August is a glorious month for children, free of school and (usually at least) nice weather that makes picnics in the park, trips to the zoo, and visits to grandparents and other family members highly anticipated adventures. It also means, of course, that parents have to think up a series of outings to keep their offspring amused during this summer holiday time.

There’s plenty on offer in London, a city positively bursting with cinemas, shops, cultural spaces such as galleries and museums, and popular amusements including the London Eye. But did you know there’s an extra bonus too in the form of the misleadingly named ‘Kids’ Week’ program, which runs in the Capital throughout the entire month of August.

What is ‘Kids’ Week’?

It’s an exciting scheme which entitles one child aged under 16 years of age to see a London show completely free provided that they are with an adult who paid the full ticket price. You can even add on up to two more child tickets for half price at the point of sale if you plan to take more than one youngster per show.

Is there much available for tiny tots?

The organisers do a very good job of putting together a varied programme which appeals to all ages and personal tastes. The little ones will be clamouring to see familiar names and faces from their favourite books come alive on stage, in special events scheduled during the day and designed to run for around an hour or so. That’s good timing for nursery age students, and when it’s grandparents doing the treating there’s enough time factored in for travelling both ways too. A particular favourite from 2017 was the interactive ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’.

How about for older children?

‘Tweenies’, (and let’s be honest, pretty much everyone else), tend to love seeing classic, storytelling plays, such as The Borrowers or Oliver Twist, brought alive on the big stage, while musical fans last year snapped up the chance to see iconic musicals including The Lion King and School of Rock. 

There are a couple of extra twists to this summer's programme. Based on last year’s schedule, expect to see some productions played out not in the usual theatres, but rather in the eerie vaults underneath Waterloo station (fittingly the very appropriate Alice in Wonderland), or at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, (the timeless Oliver Twist).

Bonus options

Many of the shows participating in the Kids’ Week free ticket offer also have special bonus opportunities that adults can book children into. Some examples from last year include learning dance routines from Annie, or the School of Rock show, a workshop on the puppets used in the Alice in Wonderland film. (Check terms and conditions for applicable fees and booking information when they are released).

What’s the deal for 2018?

If you are interested in making the most of this bargain opportunity this summer, keep a close eye out, as tickets for the shows due to feature in the 2018 Kids’ Week free theatre ticket event are not released until June. Information on the events and shows likely to feature will be released in stages prior to the big day, quite likely through social media. 

It’s worth taking a few moments now to follow and/or like appropriate accounts so you can be first to hear any news. Once available, old hands advise acting both fast and decisively, being as flexible as possible with dates, and having a list of second and third choices rather than chasing just one show.