Exclusive: Sadiq Khan transforms London into dream playground for kids this summer

"We want to make London the biggest playground in the country and for kids to have the best summer"

Sadiq Khan has transformed London into a playground full of child-friendly activities for families to enjoy and the capital is officially open for summer.

The Mayor has launched this as part of his £7 million Let's Do London campaign with the hope of bringing the city back to life with an abundance of amazing events, after a difficult eighteen months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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With children off on their school holidays, Sadiq aims for families and friends to finally reunite and spend their summer in the capital amongst the enriching culture. Speaking exclusively to HELLO! he said: "I'm really keen to make sure that we have a city that flourishes and thrives and pulses an intrinsic part of who we are."

Sadiq Khan and friends at the launch of a Season of Summer Family Fun

The pandemic has put a halt on events for the last 18 months, with many families struggling to find social activities for their children to participate in. Despite this, Sadiq also has other motivations for launching a Season of Summer Family Fun. "It's really important we recognise, aside from the huge joy we get from culture in London, it creates jobs," he said. 

"When I speak to business leaders, investors, and others, one of the reasons I love London is our culture, and so I've been worried by our theatres, live music, those in the cultural world," he added. "They've been closed for so long and many are in life support; if we're not careful, they may be permanently closed. That's why this campaign, the biggest domestic tourism campaign we've ever seen, is so important."

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Following a challenging year in which children throughout the country were denied play and many other in-person experiences, the Let's Do London's Family Fun season will highlight the finest of the capital through the eyes of young Londoners. Sadiq is also asking young Londoners to apply for a one-of-a-kind summer job, to be the city's first Mayors of Play, where five lucky kids will be chosen to help design a summer of fun with the Mayor.

Sadiq tells HELLO! that he is most excited to work with the children due to their energy and that their guidance will help make activities more entertaining. He said: "I've got to be honest and realistic. The way I see London is so different to the way children see London and what I want from the five children is ideas about what they can do in London in August, to make London fun and enticing for young people."

Children will help Sadiq transform the city into Britain's biggest playground

He added: "We want young kids to be hassling their parents, saying 'I want to go to central London, I want to go to this museum or that gallery, or that theatre.' Their ideas are what I'm looking forward to."

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Sadiq is urging families in the city and throughout the country to visit 'Britain's biggest playground' for a day trip, mini break, or a longer staycation for a "summer of fun curated for kids, by kids" that they will be able to resonate with, whilst additionally being a learning experience.

Children are invited to Tate Modern to involve themselves in the giant work of art at UNIQLO Tate Play

The Family Fun Programme will include activities such as 'Formula Fun' go-karting on the streets of London, 'Inflatable Eyes' where children will be able to 'see London differently' and also events with renowned singers, poets, street artists, and dancers to name a few. As part of Kids Week, there will be new outdoor art trails as well as unique activities to commemorate the anticipated return of West End theatre.

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Some of the activities have also been inspired by Sadiq's childhood and he has been doing personal research with loved ones around him to ensure that the events offered are exceptional. He said: "What we've done is looked at some of the things we provide and amplify that, but also make it affordable to Londoners, and those from around the country."

Enjoy what London has to offer this summer

However, with restrictions easing, many families may be reluctant to join in with large crowds but Sadiq ensures that the events will be COVID-safe for those attending. Sadiq shared his thoughts: "Firstly we've got to understand the anxiety that people have. The virus has killed too many people and we've also seen people suffering adverse consequences because of long COVID. We've got to understand their concerns and address them." 

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The Mayor is taking vital precautions by using hospital disinfectant, has a large supply of hand sanitisers and has Imperial College regularly testing touchpoints to help ease families back into "normal" life in a safe manner.

Sadiq has also recently stated that masks are to stay compulsory on public transport in London beyond 19 July. "This is for two main reasons. One is for public safety, reducing the chance of transmission passing but two for reassurance because we want to give the public greater confidence," he said.

Museums across London will be hosting family-friendly events

The Mayor has also spent time visiting theatres, restaurants and other venues who have been working hard to ensure that they are COVID-safe, but he also emphasises the role that the public play and the importance of getting vaccinated this summer. He said: "Please, please, please take the jab, because with the jab we can delete between the virus and serious illness, and the virus and going into hospital."

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The Mayor is extremely optimistic about the launch with the confidence that it could become an annual event and after a year indoors, he hopes that families will rediscover London and what the city has to offer.

He added: "The great thing about London is, you keep on coming back if you've got a good experience, but actually this summer for the first time it will be unique. It will be, well really the only time you're not competing with international tourists. So, this is your one chance to experience London as a VIP and to make the most of it."

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