Looking to enjoy a real circus for kids in London and not just street performers? There are some great options for your family.
London is a town of circuses. From Piccadilly Circus to Cambridge Circus, that word pops up repeatedly if you study the city’s main points of interest. Before you start looking for the clowns and tight ropes, let’s note that “circus” is used primarily in reference to circular street intersections rather than the fun circuses with peanuts and dancing elephants.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a real circus for kids in London. Or perhaps you want to try your hand at flying through the air in your personal circus? There are some great ways to weave a circus or two into your London family vacation, and we have some tips to help you make it happen.
Zippos is one of Britain’s most popular circuses. They tour the UK from April through October each year, making regular stops in London. They create new shows regularly, so you can attend multiple years and see a completely different circus show with varying themes. You can check the tickets page on the Zippos Circus website to see their upcoming performance dates and locations.
Kids under 15 enter at a reduced ticket price, and kids under 2 enter free when seated on a parent’s lap. Price per ticket varies, depending on where you sit within the circus tent. You can also find money-saving coupon codes if you look on the Zippos Circus Facebook page. The cheapest tickets are always for the first night of the show at a new location.
If you can’t catch the Zippos Circus during your London family vacation, check the schedule for Circus 1903 online. They tend to visit London annually. The shows usually run for just a few weeks, and then the magic disappears until next time.
This is a genuine circus that features animals and dangerous acrobatics by daring humans. You’ll see knife-throwing, aerial stunts, contortionists, musicians, and a wide variety of jaw-dropping stunts. Ticket prices start at £29.50, so this circus is a bit more expensive than Zippos Circus.
You won’t get the elephants and lions at a Stratford Circus show, but you will see fun circus-like performances that may include kids from East London and Newham. This performing arts group allows local kids to participate in workshops and a variety of creative learning events that center on self-expression, confidence, and skill development.
Family performances are kid-friendly and affordable. They can give your family a taste of the circus without the full big tent experience. You’ll find the venue on Cheering Lane in London’s East Village. They offer free water for all guests, and you can score family discounts for select performances when you book your tickets online.
Family Workshops at the Flying Fantastic Youth Circus
For £30 per person, your family can learn aerial circus skills in a lighthearted, safe environment. The Flying Fantastic Youth Circus has multiple locations throughout London and primarily offers classes that teach circus skills to children. Those classes are oriented to locals who can attend regularly, but you can schedule a family workshop as a one-time event that combines learning new skills with physical exercise and family bonding.
Family workshops are limited to children at least 4 years of age, but adults of any age are welcome. The workshops include acrobatics, so go prepared to let your feet leave the ground.
If the circus isn’t in town during your visit to London, your family can literally become the circus and entertain yourselves with the guidance of professionals at these workshops.
The circus isn’t where you want to end up with exhausted, hungry children. Try to book a show at the time of day that usually finds your kids in high spirits. Feed them a good meal before going and plan some downtime at a park or back at the hotel after the show. You may even wind down at a family-friendly restaurant with snacks and drinks.
A lively circus for kids in London is full of sensory stimulation. From bright colors and stunts that pull the eye from the floor to the ceiling to unusual sounds and enticing aromas, there’s a lot for young kids to take in throughout the experience. If you have a child known to struggle with sensory overwhelm, keep that in mind when planning a day at the circus. They may need to exit the show for brief periods to calm their senses and may need more time to relax in quiet post-show.
You may also want to talk to young children about the animals used in a circus show prior to arriving at a big-tent event. They should understand that they can’t run on stage, touch the animals, or otherwise compromise their safety. The goal is to have fun, and that requires basic safety measures for every member of the family.