Going to a concert is a fantastic way to enrich your child’s life and we’re often asked for recommendations for children’s concerts and activities. There is a bewildering array of activities, workshops, events, and attractions available in London. It can be tricky to separate the worthwhile and entertaining from the truly enriching and educational. Here’s my take:
FUNharmonics concerts at the South Bank
The prestigious Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has a great track record in mounting popular, well thought-out concerts for children. Although you might feel a little lost in the huge South Bank auditorium, you’ll be able to enjoy a rollicking concert, often with a popular twist, mixed with classic orchestral repertoire, all wrapped up in a slick and entertaining presentation. There are about five concerts a year and tickets are fairly easy to get hold of. Booking the pre and post concert activities is a bonus and the centre itself is a great place to wander about with lively children.
Wigmore Hall workshop and concert events near Bond Street
The Wigmore Hall runs excellent outreach programmes and has great specialised events for under 5 year olds as well as older children. Every event is very well prepared and well targeted for the age group. The mood is a bit quieter but has a way of firing up the imaginations of all the young audience members. The workshop events are very creative and highly recommended for anyone learning an instrument. There is a snag: the events are often sold out and planning ahead is essential, by making a note of the release date for the next round of tickets.
King’s Place, King’s Cross
This is the fancy newish development with optimally designed, mid-sized auditoriums and creative spaces. And to go along with that are optimally designed, mid-sized events that deliver everything you might want from an educational activity. Anything involving the Aurora Orchestra are particularly immersive and delightful. Like the Wigmore Hall, events here are particularly good for little ones who are starting out with their instruments.
The Albert Hall has a wide ranging programme of musical events, available throughout the year. The sheer diversity of offering will make it hard to pick one concert out. Try the Albert’s Band series which is the well-established, homegrown outreach programme. An unbeatable advantage is that you’ll be visiting a uniquely iconic and striking building, which is sure to help your child enjoy their day.
If your child is 7 and up, they may well enjoy a regular adult classical concert. Every night there are world-class music events playing at many venues. Go for the big orchestral events at the main arts centres (South Bank, Barbican, Proms in the summer at the Albert Hall). You can plan to stay only for the first half which will keep it fresh and exciting…and help you get home at the right time on a school night.