An aerial photo of Somerset House's courtyard, taken by Chloe Hashemi. Below you can see a big ferris wheel, a stage, and crowds of people gathering. The skies are

Family friendly fun at Somerset House this summer

31 Jul 2022

August is upon us, and with it comes the waning novelty of being at home (and not at school) for your littles ones – it’s time to find new ways to entertain. Fear not, as we’ve got a jam-packed schedule of summer holiday activity for the whole family to get stuck into.

This Bright Land takes over our courtyard for the month of August. Our summer festival of community and culture encourages connection through entertainment and play, and with no two days the same, it promises to be a magical time. Here, we round up our top family picks.

Childhood movie classics new and old

Everyman presents 21 days of outdoor film, showing a range of family-friendly screenings, documentaries and award-winning films. Pick from classics including The Lion King (U) and 101 Dalmatians (PG) or enjoy new family favourites like Paddington (PG) and Inside Out (U). With free popcorn, courtesy of Everyman, and an iconic setting like our courtyard to boot, it’s an offer you simply can’t refuse.

Check This Bright Land's schedule for film times

Fresh perspectives on the city and family

At the centre of This Bright Land is a spectacular 35m observation wheel, offering new views of London, both literally and figuratively. Enjoy views of the capital’s skyline from a new central London viewpoint, while listening to new audio commission Voices of Tomorrow. This heartfelt soundscape explores ideas of family through the eyes of seven young people sharing their experiences and beliefs. At only £5 a turn, we’re certainly more affordable than other wheel-based activities south of the river…

Ground-breaking drag and all-round jollity

Creative self-expression is on the agenda at the first of our Sunday Street Parties as part This Bright Land. To help us kick things off Drag Syndrome, the international acclaimed drag collective, featuring highly addictive drag Queens and Kings with Down Syndrome, join us. Celebrating neurodivergent culture, you can expect performances and dance on our main stage, plus inspiring talks, tarot card readings and DJ sets for everyone to have a boogie to. 

Tickets from £5

Party games galore

Figs in Wigs, aficionados of deadpan dancing and pointless party games, land in our courtyard, bringing their own mix of theatre, interactive dance, comedy, DJ sets and games (complete with prizes and tiebreakers). The female-led performance group are described as ‘boisterously charismatic… practically radioactive’ (The Observer) and we can’t wait to see what mischief they’ll get up to. Word is there will be line dancing and world record attempts.

Tickets from £5

A riot of colour, dance, fashion and performance

You’re invited to move, dance and have fun with Patrick Ziza, who presents Dandyism, the style of Congolese Sapeurs, outrageously well-dressed men and women, often defying their circumstances in dandyish fashions. Think sharp suits, hats and canes in a riot of colour. Ziza has curated a riotous day of workshops and interactive dance. From workshops on how to become a dandy in a day to beauty makeovers and how to pose, walk and boogie, there’s plenty of new experiences on hand for the whole family.

Tickets from £5

Free for all with our fountains and story trail

And if all that isn't enough, throughout the festival you’ll be able to explore our site alongside the magical characters who inhabit This Bright Land with our story trail. Follow the adorable (if we do say so ourselves) Sumbunny through This Bright Land, as you work together to discover and restore the magic of the place she calls home. Just ask at the Box Office for your free trail map on arrival. Once you're done, cool off in our courtyard fountains, dancing up and down for you to enjoy in the summer holiday sunshine until early evening. You can find out more about fountain running times here.