Free things to do this Easter for children at London’s Southbank Centre

It won’t have escaped your notice that Easter is a little later in the calendar this year. Especially if you have young children. But fear not, we’re here to make it worth your wait – and reward your patience – with a fantastic range of free musical events in our Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer and Royal Festival Hall Clore Ballroom throughout the holidays. Whether your kids like to rock out or dance ‘til they drop, we’ve an event for them and it won’t cost you a penny.

Anna Greenwood, DJ
10.30am, Sunday 7 April - Saturday 13 April (no show on Tuesday 9 April)

Family Rise and Rave

Join us bright and (relatively) early each morning of the holidays in Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer for an all-singing all-dancing party for the whole family. DJ Anna Greenwood will get you up and raving with a combination of brilliant beats, sequins and sparkle for a decidedly up tempo start to your day.

find out more

Captain Avery & the Cosmic Triceratops of Intergalactic Peace
1pm, Friday 12 April

Captain Avery & the Cosmic Triceratops of Intergalactic Peace

For a special Friday Lunch we welcome this travelling band of space aliens, who crash-landed in Sheffield with just a broken-down spacecraft, a handful of drums and guitars and a celestial saxophone. They’ll be hoping to bring intergalactic peace through an interactive performance of Cosmic Afrobeat, Space Shanties and Mutant Disco, apparently.

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Dizney Rascal, ska cover band
1pm, Saturday 13 April

Dizney Rascal

What do you get when you mix a stack of everyone’s favourite classic Disney songs with ska, punk and reggae? You get the excellently named Dizney Rascal, that’s what. Join them in Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer for a new take on old songs, and versions you actually wouldn’t mind hearing on repeat for the entirety of a three-hour car journey.

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Photograph of a child dancing while a crowd and an MC cheer her on
1 - 4pm, Sunday 14 April

Afro Dance Party with HomeBros

Learn all the best moves from UK Afrobeat pioneers and hip-hop dance pros HomeBros. Dancers and choreographers Unkle TC and Kurtyswift will take lead you and your children through an afternoon workshop, before giving you the chance to show-off your moves at an Afro Dance Party, all in Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer.

find out more

Bring Your Own Brass
2pm, Saturday 20 April


Young or slightly older, tear up The Clore Ballroom dancefloor to the 11-piece brass band Bring Your Own Brass’ trademark mix of hip-hop beats, heavy riffs and irresistible grooves. The ensemble have been whipping up a storm at festivals and venues across the UK and Ireland, including Bommtown, Lovebox and Glastonbury.

find out more

Folk Dance Remixed
1.30pm, Sunday 21 April

Family Ceilidh Jam with Folk Dance Remixed

Get on the dancefloor for a funked-up folky dance party for all, from babes in slings to grandparents with a swing in their step. Folk Dance Remixed create a foot-stomping, beat-boxing big sound – a fabulous chance for families to get down and dance together in The Clore Ballroom.

find out more

1.30pm, Monday 22 April


Join us in The Clore Ballroom to get partying with child-friendly hip-hop, funk and disco anthems, hosted by Spin Doctor (The Doctor’s Orders). Whether you’re the proud parent of a Lil Wayne, a Lil Kim, or whole crew of Beastie Boys and Wee Papa Girls Rappers, this is the jam for you and yours.

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And there's more

As well as our fantastic free programme of events and activities, we also have a host of other family-friendly activities at Southbank Centre throughout the Easter holidays. See the much-loved children's book Tabby McTat brought to life on stage; play around with your senses in the sand of Soundpit, or stimulate little minds with Kaleidoscope's world of colour.

find out more


Things to do in February half-term at Southbank Centre

It’s February half-term. Yes, already. You’ve only just got over the Christmas holidays and now you have to find a way to entertain the little mites for another week. But fear not, help is at hand. Thankfully, we’ve plenty of things to do this February half-term here at Southbank Centre including a host of free events and activities.

Chief amongst these is our annual Imagine Children’s Festival which this year celebrates it’s 18th year. Running from Wednesday 13 February right through to Sunday 24 February, the festival brings all the best in children’s theatre, comedy, DJs, dance and hands-on fun to our venues here in the heart of London.

Child enjoying Soundpit at Southbank Centre
Daily from 13 February / Exhibition Space, Royal Festival Hall


Ever wondered what sound feels like? Di Mainstone’s interactive installation allows you to find out as you run your hands through the sand, or even walk across it to create music with your own movements

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Performer and Children on stage
FREE / Daily from 16 - 24 February, 10.30am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Morning Music Time

Get your little ones up and running with some interactive music; take in a free performance and have a sing, or try your hand at the trumpet with Rebecca Baxter and Andrew McCaldon respectively.

find out more

Cover of The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Saturday 16 February, 11am / Level 5 Function Room, Royal Festival Hall

Kiran Millwood Hargrave: The Way Past Winter

Cross frozen wild-lands with Mila and her sisters as children’s author Kiran Millwood Hargrave weaves an enchanting story to read from her latest book, The Way Past Winter, and tell of her own journey to becoming a children’s author.

find out more

Jacqueline Wilson - July 2012 . ©James Jordan
Saturday 16 February, 11am / Royal Festival Hall

Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Chris Riddell

Hear the stories behind the incredible authors who have ignited children's imaginations for over 20 years of Waterstones Children’s Laureates. Join Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman and Chris Riddell for a journey into some of their most loved stories and characters.

find out more

Saturday 16 February, 11am & 1.30pm / Foyle Pavilion, Royal Festival Hall

Nadine Kaadan: Stories of Syria

Hear about a courageous little boy growing up in a time of conflict in a storytelling and art workshop with children’s author and illustrator Nadine Kaadan, as she introduces her uplifting story, Tomorrow.

find out more

FREE / Saturday 16 February, 11.15am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Big Moves for Little Groovers

Calling all budding b-girls and b-boys: throw down some shapes and perfect your best moves in a hip-hop dance workshop led by The Movement Factory, an award-winning community dance empire.

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The Skies Above My Eyes
Saturday 16 February, 2pm / Level 5 Function Room, Royal Festival Hall

The Skies Above My Eyes

Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zomme, the author and illustrator of children’s book The Skies Above My Eyes, encourage children to voyage to the skies to see what they can see at this out of this world event featuring fun facts and intergalactic drawing.

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The characters from Peppa Pig on the Royal Festival Hall stage
15 -17 June, various times / Queen Elizabeth Hall

Peppa Pig: My First Concert

Give your children an interactive introduction to a live orchestra courtesy of some of their favourite cartoon characters. Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig wield the baton, whilst Peppa and George learn all about the instruments.

find out more

16 - 20 February, various times / Purcell Room

The Singing Mermaid

Escape to the seaside with a musical story based on the hugely children’s book The Singing Mermaid, told through puppetry and performance, and featuring music by Barb Jungr.

find out more

THE GIANT STORYTELLING BED at Imagine Children's Festival Credit Victor Frankowski 2016
FREE / daily from 16 - 24 February, 3.45pm / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Bedtime Stories

Are you sitting comfortably? Bring the whole family to unwind with a free story every afternoon of Imagine Children's Festival as special guests choose their own favourite children’s stories to read.

find out more

FREE / Sunday 17 February, 11am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Chineke! Juniors

Create your own music and reinterpret the sounds of the orchestra through dance, art and storytelling at a day of music-making with Chineke! Juniors, a youth orchestra of black and minority ethnic (BME) musicians, aged 11 – 18.

find out more

Speak into Your Power book illustration
Sunday 17 February, 1pm / Purcell Room

Andrea Pippins: Step into Your Power

Illustrator of Step into Your Power Andrea Pippins and former deputy young mayor of Lewisham and grime MC Novelist share their own journeys as they show your children how to harness their power and use it to emulate their heroes and live their best life.

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Elmer, the patchwork elephant
Monday 18 February, 11am / Queen Elizabeth Hall

David McKee: Elmer, Mr Benn and Other Colourful Stories

In a special event celebrating the 30th birthday year of his character Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, Dave McKee, creator of Elmer and Mr Benn, joins us to reflect on his career in writing, illustration and animation.

find out more

FREE / Monday 18 February, from 11am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

A Monday at the Musicals

Got a budding Jersey Boy or Dreamgirl in your offspring, well the Monday of half-term is made for them, with a day of free workshops and performances to help them hone their skills, led by real West End performers.

find out more

Illustration of a dog for the Woof Woof Wag Wag Puppy Poems event at Southbank Centre's Imagine festival
Monday 18 February, 1.30pm / National Poetry Library

Woof Woof Wag Wag Puppy Poems

Perfect for dog loving children aged 5 – 7. Come and paws for a while as poets Brian Moses and Roger Stevens read from their joint collection The Waggiest Tails: Poems Written by Dogs, and Victoria Adukwei Bulley reads from Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me by Eloise Greenfield.

find out more

Monday 18 February, 2pm / Royal Festival Hall

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Film Live in Concert

Go on an intrepid adventure at this screening of the animated film adaptation of the popular children’s book, accompanied live by the City of London Sinfonia. The event includes a lively introduction to the musical world of the film and fun sing-alongs of the closing credits song, Me & You by George Ezra.

find out more

Cosmic Currents with Figs in Wigs and Friends
FREE / Tuesday 19 February, from 11.30am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Cosmic Currents with Figs in Wigs and Friends

Put on your space suit and join dancing troupe Figs in Wigs and their friends Steve Nice and ShayShay for a day of intergalactic workshops, performance and storytelling for all the family.

find out more

Jeremy Strong, writer
Tuesday 19 February, 1pm / Purcell Room

Jeremy Strong: Laugh Your Socks Off

Laugh your socks off with King of Comedy and author of the My Brother’s Famous Bottom and The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog series, Jeremy Strong as he shares the giggles and fun from his latest children's story.

find out more

Captain Flinn:The Magic Cutlass
19 - 23 February, various times / Queen Elizabeth Hall

Captain Flinn & The Pirate Dinosaurs: The Magic Cutlass

All aboard, me hearties, for this non-stop, action-packed theatrical pirate adventure, with live music, puppetry and dastardly dinosaurs. Catch morning or afternoon performances of this children’s favourite.

find out more

20 - 23 February, various times / Blue Room, Royal Festival Hall

The Day I Fell Into a Book

Find yourself in a magical world of imagination as The Day I Fell Into a Book uses binaural sound recordings, intricate lighting technology and projection to take the audience into a lost world of classic myths and legends.

find out more

FREE / Thursday 21 February, from 11.30am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Strictly Kids

If you’re little ones are fans of Strictly Come Dancing, then this is perfect for them. Get them up on their feet with a fun day of dancing, including the chance to learn their favourite dance styles from leading child ballroom dancers.

find out more

Under embargo until 13:45 7th June...Pictured at Hull City Hall is the presentation of the new Tenth Waterstones Children's Laureate. Shown is Lauren Child, the new laureate and the medal she has been awarded. Pictures copyright Darren Casey / DCimaging
Thursday 21 February, 1pm / Purcell Room

Lauren Child in Conversation

The current Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, the writer behind beloved children’s book characters Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort and Charlie and Lola, talks about her best-loved characters and inspirations.

find out more

Photo of beatboxer Shlomo in action. He brings his Beatbox Adventure for Kids to Southbank Centre's Imagine festival in 2019
Thursday 21 February, 11am & 3.30pm / Purcell Room

Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids

The remarkable and world-record-breaking beatboxer Shlomo is back in town, using his mouth and a mic to make all kinds of remarkable music. Will your little ones become one of his superhero sidekicks in a world of funny sounds and cool music?

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A boy playing a piano
22 - 23 February, various times / Purcell Room

 I Wish I Was a Mountain

Do we really need the things that we need? What do mountains feel? How did time begin? Join Glastonbury Poetry Slam Champion Toby Thompson for this special retelling of a fairy tale with live music and rhyme.

find out more

How to Train Your Dragon illustration
FREE / Saturday 23 February, 11am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Book in a Day: How to Train Your Dragon

Join is for a dangerous jaunt on the Isle of Berk as special guests and live performances bring to life Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon for one whole heroic day.

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Ade Adepitan
Saturday 23 February, 2pm / Level 5 Function Room, Royal Festival Hall

Ade Adepitan: Battle of the Cyborg Cat

Join Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitan as he brings us the story of the ups and downs of Ade, a young boy adjusting to life in east London, in his first book for children, Ade's Amazing Ade-ventures: Battle of the Cyborg Cat.

find out more

Fold Out City with instructions
FREE / Sunday 24 February, from 11am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Fold Your City

Come and join us for a day of creative and interactive crafting as we build a model city inspired by the ever-evolving London skyline that surrounds the River Thames. Draw, colour, decorate and be part of this origami installation.

find out more

Noisy Notes - Sue Perkins
Sunday 24 February, 2pm / Queen Elizabeth Hall

Noisy notes

Give your little ones a unique interactive introduction to the orchestra as presenter Sue Perkins leads the Orion Orchestra in a concert of old favourites and familiar tunes for all ages.

find out more

Incredibly, this isn’t everything we’ve got going on at half-term. There are a whole host of other fun, interactive events for children of all ages – including many free activities – taking place every day across our Thames-side venues.

see the full listings


How you can make a world of difference to young people

As a charity, Southbank Centre relies on donations of all sizes to present an inspiring, diverse and entertaining artistic programme, and to ensure that 50% of events we put on continue to be free for everyone to enjoy.

We know that many young people are missing out on their chance to experience the joy of a concert or an art exhibition at Southbank Centre, because of social or financial difficulties or a lack of opportunity.

Did you know that by making a donation of any size, you could give young people the chance to attend a concert at Southbank Centre, often for the first time?

In the past year alone, our incredible supporters have also helped us to 

  • give young people the chance to experience the thrill of participating in the arts
  • give children vital access to the arts through our education programmes and workshops
  • discover a new generation of artists
  • enable people of all ages and backgrounds to discover their own creativity and connect with other people.

When young people have the chance to participate in music and the arts, it can help them build their confidence and connect with others. A donation of £20 or more could give two young people a ticket to a concert and experience the thrill of live music.

donate today


Watch our latest film to see the difference you could make

Support Southbank Centre and make a difference

Thank you

Enjoy family things to do this Christmas at Southbank Centre

So, how do you entertain the kids in London during the Christmas holidays without letting them loose on another poor shopping centre Santa Claus? If you’re looking for inspiration beyond the predictable squeeze into a packed cinema to see something vaguely Christmassy, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our list of top festive themed events for all the family; many of them completely free.

Caribbean Christmas

Photo of children and adults joining in a dance workshop together at Southbank Centre
Saturday 15 December / FREE

Warm up your winter with traditional music, stories and performances typical of a Caribbean Christmas. Starting in The Clore Ballroom at midday, we have poets and artists performing pieces about the festive season in the islands, and celebrating West Indian traditions in the UK and abroad. From 3pm we move on to Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer for a Caribbean Christmas Party featuring live musicians and DJs.

find out more


Winter Gathering

Sunday 16 December / FREE

Join us in Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer from noon and to create your own handmade decorations for your friends and family at a special crafting workshop. To help fuel your creativity we’ll also have live music courtesy of the young musicians of Tomorrow’s Warriors at their Extraordinary Winter Showcase.

find out more


Snow Ball

Saturday 22 December / FREE

'It’s the time when every Santa has a ball,' if Slade are to be believed, and the same goes for Santa’s little helpers too. So let your elves join us in The Clore Ballroom from noon to show off their best fancy dress, learn dance moves to your favourite seasonal hits, and join in festive games and fun for the entire family.

find out more



Rumpelstiltskin performing on stage
13 December - 6 January / £20-£40

Join us for the UK premiere of this retelling of the beloved fairytale Rumpelstiltskin. The familiar story has been reimagined by Windmill Theatre Company, with magical mayhem, rocking music and supreme silliness. Perfect for ages eight and over, this groundbreaking theatrical spectacle is anything but traditional, plunging you into a fantastical world, fizzing with fun and laughs.

book tickets  find out more


Circus 1903

Children on stage with puppet elephant at Circus 1903
19 December - 5 January / £25 & upwards

Experience the thrills and daredevil entertainment of the golden age of circus this Christmas with the European premiere of this incredible show. Circus 1903 includes sensational life-sized elephants stunningly created by puppeteers from War Horse, as well as all the popular circus staples, including acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, trapeze and high-wire performers and more.

book tickets  find out more


New Year’s Eve Kids' Countdown

Kids Count Down, two girls in purple light
Monday 31 December / FREE

If your kids are too young to late to stay up until midnight, come and join us for their very own Kids’ Countdown in Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer from 11.30am. Starting the celebrations early we’ll have all the familiar ingredients of a classic New Year’s event - a countdown clock, Auld Lang Syne, confetti cannon - just at a more child-friendly hour. Dress to impress, and don’t forget your dancing shoes.

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Space Shifters

Installation view of Alicja Kwade's WeltenLinie, 2017 at Space Shifters, Hayward Gallery 2018
Until Sunday 6 January / FREE for under 12s

Under-12s go free at our remarkable Hayward Gallery exhibition Space Shifters, which brings together sculptures and installations that explore perception and space. The exhibition includes incredible artworks that act as optical devices enabling us to see our surroundings in new and unexpected ways. Please note, under-16s must be accompanied by an adult.

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Winter Market

Until 27 December / FREE

Stretching along the bank of the Thames beneath twinkling Christmas lights is our enticing Winter Market, boasting fantastic food and creative crafts in its many alpine cabins. Here you can indulge yourselves and enjoy incredibly sweet treats, including Dutch Pancakes, chocolate cakes from Kohler Kusse, pastries from Galeta, and toffee and fudge from Johnsons. Beyond the mouth-watering smells you’ll also find a great number of craft stalls, such as Just Stars, who sell delightful handmade star-themed lights.

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Eat, drink and be merry

Father and son enjoying dinner at Wagamamas at the Southbank Centre

As well as a great range of family activities here at Southbank Centre we also have plenty of food and drink options. As well as the festive treats being offered up on our winter markets, there are a host of cafes and restaurants across our Thames-side site, including family favourites Giraffe, Wagamama and Strada, who all have welcoming children’s menus. You’ll also find food and drink outlets in each of our venues, including Concrete Cafe in Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer and the delightful Hayward Gallery Cafe. And from Friday to Sunday each week, our popular Food Market, on the Belvedere Road side of our site, is packed with stalls offering incredible street food from across the globe.

Southbank Centre Food Market
Concrete Cafe
Hayward Gallery Cafe

Immersive exhibitions

Southbank Centre has become known for its brilliant, immersive exhibitions including Adventures in MoominlandThe Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl and ABBA: Super Troupers. As guests pass through the gallery doors they emerge in new, intriguing worlds where the exhibits are all around, and can be seen, heard and touched.

Adventures in Moominland

Southbank Centre's Adventures In Moominland

Adventures in Moominland is an immersive experience for children and families exploring the internationally renowned Moomin stories of Tove Jansson.

Tove Jansson's curious creatures have delighted children and grown-ups for over 70 years. Our exhibition lets visitors clamber through forests, huddle in caves and even set sail on the high seas in search of the elusive Moomin family. At the same time, it gives wonderful insights into Jansson's life and work.

Within these unique scenes they uncover original archive material, including beautiful drawings and sketches by the artist and author Tove Jansson, unlocking the world of how her stories and characters were created.

It was so popular at Southbank Centre that we extended its run by several months, and it is now available to tour.


find out more

contact us

For further information about our Touring programme, please get in touch.

Which monster is your child?

Monsters, as we all know, come in many shapes and sizes. Some have big gnashers, others have slimy green skin or even terrifying blue horns.

Our show Monstersaurus! lifts the lid on how exactly different monsters are created. It tells the story of the inventor Monty, and how he discovers what monsters are created when different ingredients have been mixed together.

The show is hilarious, with some great songs, silly costumes and sllllightly frightening monsters (but not too frightening). And now that we’ve got monsters on our minds, we’ve started wondering: if we were monsters, which one would we be?

In case you’re wondering the same thing, we’ve put together this very scientific quiz for families to do together. Just ask your children to answer the nine short questions below and all will be revealed!


Join in the fun

Discover the full story of Monstersaurus! at our super fun family show, which takes place from Tuesday 7 – Sunday 12 August and is recommended for ages 3+. It features singing, puppets and plenty of audience interaction.

book now find out more

Accessible events at Imagine 2018

Imagine is one of our most popular festivals, each year presenting a fantastic line-up of authors, performances, workshops and opportunities for kids to have a great time.

At Southbank Centre all our venues are wheelchair accessible and we make provision for people with hearing impairments wherever possible. But for Imagine 2018 we’ve added some extra special events for children with disabilities – read on to find out more.

Heroes of the Imagination

For everyone

I have Tourette syndrome and here’s why I want you to laugh - Jess Thom | Comment is Free

Video: Jess Thom talks about why Tourette’s can have its funny side

Join us for two days of free, fully accessible, multi-sensory drop-in activities for disabled and non-disabled children (and their grown up sidekicks). Jess Thom, AKA Touretteshero, and her team are here to help children develop their own superhero identities and create the costume and the moves to fit. All ages.

find out more

Living Paintings

For children who are blind or have visual impairments

This event has been designed especially for children who are blind or have visual impairment, which is led by Living Paintings, the only charity in the UK who design, create and publish tactile and audio books for blind and partially sighted people. It is aimed at children aged 5 – 7, accompanied by an adult.

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Sensational Sensory Poetry

For children who are blind or have visual impairments

Shelley Boden proves that poems are not just for the pages of books, in this event designed especially for children who are blind or have visual impairments. This workshop is aimed at children aged 6 – 10, accompanied by an adult.

find out more

Through the Eyes of Me with Jon Roberts

Relaxed performances

Through The Eyes of Me by Jon Roberts

Welcome to the world of Kya, who loves to run, read and eat ice cream. Through the Eyes of Me is a joyful picture book that describes the everyday life of a child with autism. Join Jon Roberts as he discusses and reads from his book in this event which is ideal for all children, including those who are on the autistic spectrum or who have special education needs. For ages 6-9.

find out more


BSL interpreted

Windibops Promo

Windibops combines dance, science and characters with names that are, quite frankly, preposterous (Daisy Parphead, for example). So as you can imagine, it’s a lot of fun – and you might learn something at the same time. Created by Moxie Brawl, this show is suitable for ages 5+ and all performances are BSL interpreted.

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An afternoon with Jacqueline Wilson

BSL interpreted

Wave Me Goodbye by Jacqueline Wilson

Bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson discusses her much-loved characters like Hetty Feather and Tracy Beaker, as well as her latest paperback, Wave Me Goodbye, a novel set at the start of World War Two. This event is best for children aged 9 – 12 and is BSL interpreted.

find out more

Harry Hill presents Matt Millz

BSL interpreted

Harry Hill reads an extract from Matt Millz

Harry Hill is famous for his brilliant comedy, but now he has written a book for children and he is coming to Imagine to introduce it to you. It's all about Matt Millz, who is Britain's best young comedian – at least in his own head, he is. Harry is joined by illustrator Steve May, and you can expect live drawing, plenty of humour and even a joke-telling competition. This event is BSL interpreted and best for children aged 8 – 12. 

find out more

Snigel and Friends

For 0 – 1s


Caroline Bowditch, a disabled dancer, stars as an inquisitive snail in this charming show for babies aged 12 months and under. She is joined by dancers Welly O’Brien/Alex McCabe and performer and musician Zac Scott to create a gentle yet stimulating sensory experience for the very youngest audiences and their grown-ups.

Find out more

Access at Southbank Centre

We are working hard to ensure Southbank Centre facilities and events are available to as wide an audience as possible. Find out more about accessible facilities, step-free routes, help available on site and how to keep updated with our accessible programme by clicking below.

Find all the access events for the 2018 Imagine festival in one place

access events

Free things to do this Christmas at Southbank Centre

Looking for fun things to do in London for free this Christmas? At Southbank Centre we can help you with that. 

With so much going on we’ve written this post to highlight a few of the events this winter that will cost you absolutely nothing to attend and will make the world seem like a better place. So get your diary, some coloured markers, a cup of tea and a mince pie, and start planning your winter. We've got free fun for all ages and abilities at Southbank Centre this Christmas.

Choirs & singalongs


Monday 4 – Friday 22 December

Expect the unexpected with pop-up Wintertime Choirs

Every evening at 6.30pm in the run up to Christmas there’s a free choral performance popping up somewhere on site. Expect everything from gospel to pop, and seasonal songs from choirs in all styles. Feel free to join in. After all, everyone is happy when they sing.

find out more

Tuesday 12 December

Joyful juniors present Southwark Winter Splash

Few things are as joy inducing as children singing, so we’re confident this will put a big, big grin on your face. Over 250 children from Southwark primary schools bring you a high-energy show featuring seasonal songs old and new.

find out more

Thursday 14 December

Lewisham children herald the Turning of the Year

More joyful children’s singing, this time drawn from Lewisham school students, as they mark the end of 2017 and the arrival of the new year. Expect festive songs delivered in a very lively manner, leaving you in a Christmassy mood.

find out more

Monday 18 December

Raise your voices at the Heart n Soul Singalong

The perennially fabulous Heart n Soul are always a hit with Southbank Centre audiences. At this event, they want you to join in with their performance of pop classics, with a healthy dose of cheesiness. Verve is more important than vocal mastery, and all are very much welcome at this inclusive event.

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Music & performance


Friday 10 & Thursday 21 December

See the stars of the future with Tomorrow’s Warriors

Tomorrow’s Warriors mark their 25th anniversary with events including a jam with current and former students and a performance of Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite on Friday 10 December. If you love what you see then come back for another free performance on Thursday 21 December where the Tomorrow’s Warriors House Band perform with the wonderful Floetic Lara.

find out more

Witness the extraordinary with Ice Music

Iceconcert live on TV - 2012.Terje Isungset & Mari Kvien Brunvoll

Friday 15 December

This isn’t music inspired by ice, it’s music played with ice. Beautiful contemporary music composed and performed by Terje Isungset on instruments made out of solid blocks of ice. Watch one of his earlier performances (above) for an idea of what to expect, and don’t miss what is sure to be a breathtaking performance.

find out more



Thursday 21 December

Join the all-ages fun of Rave-A-Roo

Rave-A-Roo Wintertime creates a chill club vibe for everyone from babies to grandparents and beyond. You relive your raving days with old skool tracks while the kids bop away to their favourite chart toppers. Come along and join the hoopla!

find out more

Saturday 23 December

Crafting with the whole family at Nordic Wintertime

Drop in between 11.30am and 3pm for crafts, storytelling and other activities with a Scandinavian influence. Perfect for families – come along and make a mess and let us do the cleaning up!

find out more

Social dances


Sunday 24 December

Get your dance on at Five Go Jiving

Live music, spectacular dancing, jiving and jumping and plenty of laughs with bandleader extraordinaire John Bayley. Can’t dance? Come along anyway and prove yourself wrong! All ages and abilities welcome as we send you off into Christmas with a smile.

find out more

Tuesday 26 December

Live out your foxtrot dreams at Strictly Winter Ballroom

The presents are unwrapped, Strictly Come Dancing is over for another year, but we’ll give you a reason to be cheerful – our popular Boxing day event is back! Expect live music, demonstrations, workshops and social dancing, and the chance to join in even if you’ve never danced before.

find out more

Wednesday 27 December

Learn to lindy hop at Swing, Hop and Shuffle

We’ll get you a-hoppin’ and a-boppin’ in no time at this fun social dance, where you can learn some steps, hear live music and terrific recordings, and maybe even witness – or get involved in – a dance off. Fancy dress is encouraged!

find out more

Thursday 28 December

It only takes one at our Tango Workshop & social dance

Yes, it’s true! No need to bring a partner, and beginners are welcome at our free tango workshops. We’ll show you all the steps you need to know, give you time to practise them, and get you ready to join in our social dance at 3pm where you can  expect tango performances, DJs and live music.

workshop info 

that’s not all!

This blog post highlights just some of the free events to keep you entertained during winter, but you can find a full list by searching the ‘free’ events in our What’s On section.

Joint fundraiser for iconic skateboarding spot and children and young people’s hub launched

Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank (LLSB) have announced the launch of a £790,000 joint crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to restore Queen Elizabeth Hall’s Undercroft space at Southbank Centre.

The vibrant development will include a new space for children and young people to engage in learning and creative activities, organised by Southbank Centre, and a new space for skateboarding, graffiti and other free creative pursuits.

The development will extend the existing skate space, with improvements to lighting as well as a restoration of original 1960s banks and concrete paving. It will also create a new learning and education hub for children and young people, a go-to place for young people looking for opportunities in the arts and creative industries. This hub will host interactive new learning and participation events and programmes that will welcome hundreds of school-children and local people to creative projects every day. 

We want to create something with great positivity, both for our city’s cultural heritage and the prospects of generations to come. If we all come together collectively to support this, a bright future for a space of worldwide importance can be realised.'
Louis Woodhead, Long Live Southbank

The crowdfunding campaign is set to feature a host of special events and collaborations and seeks to raise money from supporters - including the international skateboarding community, general public, businesses and philanthropists - ready for the opening of the space in early 2018. This collaboration will benefit local residents and wider communities, including visitors to London, as well as boosting London’s cultural landscape as a whole.

To support the campaign and read more please visit

The Undercroft at the Southbank Centre has become a very significant place for the local and global skateboarding community. We wish them every success in their fundraising campaign.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England

The Undercroft is the longest continually used skateboarding spot in the world, having been discovered in 1973 by some of the UK’s first skateboarders. It’s been thirteen years since the space due to be restored was last skated, but it has always retained historical importance to skateboarders, with its original architecture and layout the scene of a number of tricks that have gone down in skateboarding history.

Continually used by young people including skateboarders, BMXers, graffiti writers, street artists, filmmakers and photographers, The Undercroft has become a world famous tourist destination, attracting thousands of visitors from across the globe.

Southbank is one of the most important skateboarding spots in the world, and this section has gained a legendary status. Restoring it would bring a big range of opportunities for generations to come.
Chewy Cannon, Professional Skateboarder, Long Live Southbank

The project  has already seen the support of legendary skateboarders Mark ‘Gonz’ Gonzales and Tony Hawk, with Hawk saying, ‘Southbank is an iconic skate area, and can be beneficial in the development of skateboarding worldwide. I support this restoration so that future generations have access to a globally important creative space in the heart of London.’

Elaine Bedell, Southbank Centre Chief Executive, said of the joint campaign, ‘This development sees an important new offering for the various communities that regard Southbank Centre as their home. We’re delighted that our recent friendly collaboration with LLSB has led to the creation of this joint proposal which will allow us to create a new dynamic, fully accessible space for educational learning and participation for children, young people and local community groups whilst maintaining and expanding access to the space that is clearly much treasured by London’s skateboarding community.’

Introducing the Room for Children

Are you sitting comfortably? You will be if you join us for Nordic storytelling in our Room for Children.

In this comfy library, decked with cushions and with plenty of space for play, kids will find a host of children's books from across Nordic countries, both in English and their original languages. And, if you behave, we'll even let adults in too, so you can join your children to read these well-loved stories, attempt puzzles, or play games.

The inspiration for this unique library comes from Rum för Barn (Room for Children) at Stockholm's Kulturhuset (House of Culture).

Situated in The Poetry Library Reading Den at Royal Festival Hall, and available from 11am - 6pm, Room for Children is the latest part of Nordic Matters, our year-long exploration of art culture from Nordic countries.

Room for Children is presented by The Swedish Institute, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern Stockholm and Embassy of Sweden in London.

Check out the trailer for Rum för Barn at the Kulturhuset Stadsteatern

Find out more