Wondering how to entertain children this summer? From wilderness adventures to art and rock star classes, summer holidays have never looked so good.
The school holidays are a great time for kids to kick back, relax and forget all about classrooms and homework for a while. But they’re also a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills, have adventures and make new friends.
These seven UK-based classes and overnight camps are some of our favourites for 2023.
Chelsea Fine Art Classes, London
For ages eight to 18
If you have a little artist in the family book them into one of the classes at Chelsea Fine Arts: they run throughout the school holidays and are for those who are serious about learning to draw and paint. These tutor-led classes take place during both the mornings and afternoons, and it’s advised that you book in for at least three to really have the time to create and complete a piece of art. Skilled teachers will focus on encouraging observational skills using acrylic, soft pastel and charcoal media, and your child will leave with some wonderful pieces that they – and you – can treasure.
Nike Eurosports Camps, South East England
For ages nine to 17
For kids who love schools sports sessions, six to eight weeks with no training or matches can seem like a long time. Give sporty youngsters the chance to expand on their skills at the Nike Eurosports camps. Working with a host of specialists (including Premier League football clubs, Davis Cup tennis players and some of the GB Olympic Hockey team), these residential camps take place in and around London. Expect world-class, age appropriate coaching in sports including football, hockey, tennis, golf and dance. Participants will stay in state-of-the-art facilities at host schools including Lancing College, Charterhouse School, and Bradfield College and most camps are six or 13 nights. Children will love developing their sporting prowess with some of the best coaches in the industry, while simultaneously making new friends.
Teddy Tennis, Across England
For ages two to seven
While they might not be at school just yet, younger children will love trying something different over the summer months and it’s the perfect time to start them with a new sport. Teddy Tennis runs coaching sessions all over the country, including in Battersea, Wimbledon, Hampstead and the Cotswolds. Children as young as two can pick up a racket and get involved, while gaining ball and hand-eye coordination skills. Each session is just under an hour, and all equipment is provided. This is a wonderful introduction to the sport for tiny tennis stars.
Rock and Roll Recruits, London
For ages Six to 17
Budding rock stars will love taking to the stage with Rock and Roll Recruits running throughout summer in established music venues across South West London. Newbie to music? No problem, the team of professional musicians will help even those who have never picked up an instrument before become a part of the band, playing anything from guitar to piano, drums or percussion. All abilities attend, from complete beginners through to Grade 8 accomplished musicians, and love coming together to prepare for a live on-stage gig at the end of the camp. This is very much a real performance – and family and friends are welcome to come and watch.
Tech Club, London
For ages Nine to 17
Parents are always encouraging kids to switch off screens, but there are times when playing with gadgets can be educational too. Tech-savvy youngsters will relish the opportunity to learn more about how their gadgets and games actually work. With classes including 3D Game Design, Gadget Inventor, VR Design and 3D Printing, these sessions teach kids valuable skills such as coding and CAD and are suitable for complete beginners. Founded in 2010 by an electronics engineer and teacher, camps are run by experts who love passing on their tech skills to youngsters. Book for a day or opt for a full week.
Music Classes, London
For ages six months to four years
Babies and toddlers will love the fun-packed classes at Amanda’s Action Club. Run by award-winning celebrity children’s entertainer, Amanda Frolich, these musical sessions encourage little ones to learn through activity, rhythm and rhyme. Amanda uses props alongside her own musical soundtrack to teach children about themselves and the world around them in a really engaging, interactive and expressive way. Classes are a mixed age range, encouraging children to socialise and play with others. Each class is about an hour and they run across London, including in Chiswick, Kensington, Wandsworth and Barnes. A parent or carer must stay with each child throughout.
Camp Wilderness, Across England
For ages Eight to 14
When it’s time to ditch the gadgets look to Camp Wilderness for an old-fashioned summer of adventure. Their safari-style tented camps offer young explorers a truly exciting chance to learn how to live in the wild. By day they’ll hone bushcraft skills and evenings are spent playing games, tucking into bushtucker barbecues and roasting marshmallows over a campfire. Taking place in magical settings around London, such as Blenheim Woods in Oxfordshire and Cuffley in Hertfordshire, kids aged from eight to 14 can sign up for two or five day residential camps. As well as learning new skills, they’ll have a ton of fun exploring and running free under the watchful eye of fully qualified instructors: this is the Swallows and Amazons of summer camps that kids will come home from muddy, but full of tales.
Sharky and George Summer Camp, London
For ages Five to 10
Sharky and George create wonderful birthday parties and events for children, but they also run the summer camp of dreams. Think Super Mario themed days, water fights, prank workshops and a mini Olympics; the list of fun activities and games goes on. The magic happens at their base in the Parsons Green Club in the heart of Fulham with an outdoor space to run around in, and an indoor area for rainy days. Taking place daily during the school holidays, all you have to bring is a packed lunch and some sunscreen. Don’t be surprised if your little ones don’t want to go home at the end of the day.
Little House of Science Summer Camp, London
For ages Four to 12
Inquisitive young minds will love the Little House of Science summer camps based in Kensington. Hands on and project based, these sessions explore a huge range of fascinating subjects from space travel and space rocks to How Engineers Change the World and Big Bang to the Modern World. Topics are taught by qualified professionals who split kids into age groups to discuss age-adjusted content. Founded in 2014, the team also works in schools during term time, but make no mistake – the holiday camps are not like school lessons: this is all about having lots of fun while learning and experimenting.
We may earn a commission if you buy something from any affiliate links on our site.