CHILDREN: WHAT TO DO THIS WEEKEND IN LONDON ... AND BEYOND

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National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 (0171-452 3400) Today 12.30 onwards (weather permitting) free

Your kids don't have to run away to join the circus. If they are aged between eight and 11 they can take part in a free instant circus workshop after watching "Albert and Friends". This is the largest children's circus troupe in the UK, in action as part of the National's summer season of outdoor theatre, music and entertainment. Today's line-up also includes folk rock from Easy Street and Irish music from the Jacket Potatoes.

Lewisham People's Day

Mountsfield Park, Stainton Road, Catford, London SE6 (0181-852 8020) today 12 noon-8pm, free

It may have been derided for its recent attempts to promote itself as a tourist destination but that doesn't seem to have dampened Lewisham's enthusiasm. Street dancing, skateboarding, ice-skating, children's theatre, workshops, wildlife and story-telling are just some of the things on offer at this annual community get-together. And if it all gets too much for parents there's a quiet zone where they can relax and unwind with a soothing foot massage.

Butterfly Flutterings

Hatfield Forest, Takeley, nr Bishops Stortford (01279 870678) tomorrow 2pm-4pm, adults pounds 2, children pounds 1 (plus pounds 3 parking charge)

See and learn about the many butterflies you can find in the forest and your own garden on this guided walk with a National Trust warden.

Friends of Thomas the Tank Engine Weekend

West Somerset Railway, Minehead, Somerset (01643 707650) today and tomorrow 10am onwards, adults pounds 3, children pounds 2

Perennial kids' favourite Thomas will be giving rides at Minehead station whilst his friend Daisy will be running trains between the seaside town and Bishops Lydeard, all under the watchful eye, of course, of the Fat Controller. There will also be a variety of games and competitions on the platforms plus vintage bus rides along the seafront.

Firework Fantasia

Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston, Birmingham (0121-236 5622) today 3pm-10.45pm, adults pounds 5, children pounds 3

Bring your own picnic to this family event which kicks off with gospel, rock, pop and jazz, and then finishes with a performance of popular classics from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The grand finale is Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture accompanied by fireworks. NS

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