Say the name Wembley and you’re probably already thinking football – which is fair, of course, but definitely not the only thing to discover at Wembley Park with kids.
With everything from public art trails to family activities throughout the year, the latest special event this summer is International Busking Day – London’s largest celebration of street performance and artists, back on July 16.
As well as the music, the free family-friendly festival has performances and workshops across nine separate stages for a perfect summer day out in London with kids – here’s what not to miss.
International Busking Day at Wembley Park: don’t miss
There’s something for all ages at International Busking Day, whether you’re visiting with music-obsessed teens or preschoolers.
Check out the complete line-up online, but these are a few of my unmissable highlights.
Catch some music
Well, you can’t visit International Busking Day without hearing at least one set (well, you could but you shouldn’t!)
The festival’s headliners, country stars The Shires, are coming straight from Glastonbury, while The Dunwells – an indie-folk/Americana band from Leeds – have previously supported Mumfod and Sons and Tom Jones on tour.
You can also hear folk singer Seth Lakeman, Scarlette Fever and Gasper Nali from Malawi, who mixes his home-made Babatoni bass guitar with an empty beer bottle and cow skin kick drum to create his unique sound.
There’s also the chance to discover some local talent, including acts discovered via the Wembley Park Academy.
Get a taste of the circus
Families should save some time to head to Arena Square for the special Kids’ Zone, with free face painting and balloon artists, as well as circus skills workshops.
Kids – and adults – can learn a few basic tricks from Tish Circus Skills, including spinning plates, stilt walking, pogo sticks, tightrope walking and juggling (a piece of cake for parents who have spent the past few weeks planning the entire summer holidays…)
Meanwhile on the Circus Stage, Little Stars Circus will be performing for most of the day – the aerial dance company includes kids as young as four showing off their stunts alongside the troupe’s adult professionals.
The Circle Stage on Olympic Way will also have extreme jugglers, magic acts and comedy shows, including street performer Able Mable showing off her clowning skills, as well as stunt sister duo Tianna & Lea.
Keep an eye out for more walkabout performers throughout the day too, especially the Human Hedges…
Unleash your artistic side
Check out The Bridge, a family-friendly block party at the Undercroft, with lots of opportunities for kids to get involved.
The full-day workshop with dancing, DJs, art and graffiti writers will also include dance-offs and the chance to see murals coming to life throughout the day.
More things to do in Wembley Park with kids
You could easily fill your day at Wembley Park with kids wandering from stage to performance to activity, but there are some year-round highlights as well as the International Busking Day treats.
Have a play
For younger kids, there’s not one but two all-weather play parks – one is by London Designer Outlet, the other in Union Park, both around five minutes’ walk from Arena Square.
If the sun’s shining, Union Park has a children’s splash pad and paddling pool (there are normally fountains in Arena Square as well when events permit).
Enjoy some art
Along with the music and murals of International Busking Day, Wembley Park is a great place for art-lovers.
There’s often public art on show, including an art trail in spring and early summer 2022, with everything from colourful street art to doodled cinder blocks, sculptures and murals.
Where to eat at Wembley Park with kids
Even picky eaters will find plenty of choice, with over 60 places to eat at Wembley Park – including family favourites like Pizza Express and Nandos at London Designer Outlet.
For something equally kid-friendly but a bit different from the old favourites, there’s also London chain Pasta Remoli, which has fantastic fresh pasta dishes, as well as a children’s menu.
And for something a bit different, you’re spoiled for choice at Boxpark. Along with the chance to play a string of games, including Pop Golf, you’ll find everything from award-winning gravy-dipped burgers at Nanny Bills to poké bowls at Island Poké and veggie charcoal pizza bases from Zia Lucia, plus South American, Filipino and Indian street food, Caribbean dishes, and some seriously Instagrammable desserts.
Don’t miss Udderlicious ice cream and Longboys doughnuts (think flavours like raspberry rose lychee and lemon meringue pie), although it’s hard to top Haute Dolci with its indoor tree laden with pink cherry blossom.
If you’re already planning a return trip, keep an eye out for The Kids’ Table events at Boxpark Wembley, which take place on most Sundays from 12-4pm, with arts, crafts and other creative fun aimed at kids aged 3+
International Busking Day at Wembley Park: Need to know
International Busking Day takes place on July 16, with performances starting from 1pm until 7.30pm. Check out the full line-up of events here.
All performances and International Busking Day activities are free.
The easiest way to get to Wembley Park is by tube – both the Metropolitan line and Jubilee lines stop at Wembley Park tube. The Bakerloo line and London Overground trains also stop at Wembley Central station, although that’s a little further away from the events.
There are also trains to Wembley Stadium station from Watford and central London. Or check out parking options at Wembley Park if you’re driving to the area.
Disclosure: Paid collaboration with Wembley Park – all opinions (including those about doughnuts) are my own
Images courtesy of Wembley Park