20 Best Things to Do in London with Kids
With the February half-term just around the corner, you need to start thinking about how to keep the kids entertained despite the chilly weather? If you’re using this half-term holiday to head into the capital and are looking for child-centred ways to absorb the culture, history, heritage, and simply have some fun, then this is the article for you. Here are our best 20 things to do in London with the kids this half-term.
1. Rocket into Space at the Royal Observatory
Marvel at standing on the Greenwich Meridian, or get transported to outer space: the Royal Observatory is a great winter day out in London. There are two special half-term events on this February. ‘Out of this World: Moon’ is aimed at the over-7’s with a bunch of activities including a planetarium show, virtual reality, and interactive quiz. The second event is ‘Holiday to Space’ geared towards younger budding astronauts. This includes a Space Safari in the planetarium and a fun workshop. This event is perfect for ages 4-7.
2. Find Their Future Career at KidZania
If your kids haven’t tried out KidZania yet, then they are missing out! They can try their hand at a range of careers from flying a plane to being a vet, and working in a hotel to delivering the post – all in a safe kid-sized ‘city’. What’s more, if you’ve got a cricket enthusiast, Middlesex Cricket have just opened an activity here. If your kids are older and you’re in need of a half-term break, you can safely leave them in KidZania as you head off into the Westfield Shopping Centre. KidZania is ideal for 4-14 year olds and if you’re their 1 millionth visitor then you might just be jetting off for real to Kuala Lumpur on a British Airways Holiday.
3. Sleepover at a Museum
Gone are the days of museums being boring and stale…now you can even camp out in one overnight. There are various museum sleepovers available in London. Dino Snores at the Natural History Museum is extremely popular and therefore sold out, but keep an eye out for future availability. Science Night at the Science Museum is a fantastic experience for 7-11 year olds with hands-on workshops, science shows and even a film in the IMAX theatre, as well as the sleepover itself. Have fun discovering exactly what happens at the museums after dark.
4. Take a Ride to the London Transport Museum
Ideal for preschool and primary-aged children, let their enthusiasm run wild and their dreams come true as they drive an underground train, dress up as a bus conductor, or organise the traffic at the London Transport Museum. Over half-term, the museum is running an event called ‘Mythical London’. This is jam-packed with story time sessions based on Hermes, Make-and-Take activities and parades. In the heart of Covent Garden, if you’ve still got time and energy then your kids will love watching the street performers nearby.
5. Fly with Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys in the Diana Memorial Garden
Wrap up warm and let the kids loose in the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens. Let them climb aboard the pirate ship to defeat Captain Hook, balance over the back of the crocodile, or plot their schemes in one of the wigwams. Their imaginations will do the hard work while you warm up with a cuppa from the adjacent café.
6. Let Them be Wizards at the Harry Potter Studio Tour
This February half-term you can enjoy all the usual goings-on at the Harry Potter Studio Tour, as well as an opportunity to delve into the artistry that goes into the fine details of film sets through the ‘Introducing the Art Department’ exhibition. Original members of the Art Department will be around, including live wand-making demos sure to inspire those young’uns still waiting for their letter from Hogwarts. Have fun taking photos as they push their trolley through Platform 9 ¾, or get impressive shots using broomsticks and the green screen, and climb aboard the Hogwarts Express.
7. Feed the Animals, and Their Curiosity, at the Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo is, as they say, the “perfect zoo for little explorers.” You can see a range of animals close-up, have fun digging in the large sandpit, and even pretend to be a farmer on the life-sized tractor. This half-term they have a range of events on for little ones including the Who’s Fast Asleep Quiz Trail, making a bird feeder, Valentine’s Day fun and making a Lovebird Puppet.
8. Become an Inventor, Engineer or Scientist at the Ragged Museum
The Ragged Museum is wonderful when children can pretend to attend a Victorian lesson, but this half-term there’s something else special afoot – the World of S.T.E.A.M. There are activities around Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths. Discover answers to questions like ‘who invented coding?’, ‘why is maths useful for healing people?’ or ‘what keeps a fidget spinner spinning?’ What’s more, this is a drop-in activity with free admission. Open on Wednesday and Thursday of half-term.
9. Catch the Michael Morpurgo Exhibition at the V&A Museum of Childhood
The V&A Museum of Childhood is an exceptional day out for kids in London. There’s the sensory area for the smallest children, while older ones can marvel at train sets, have a go on a rocking horse and play with magnetic shavings. Even mum and dad can have fun reminiscing over toys from their own childhood. All this makes it worth a visit, but this half-term makes the most of the last few dates for seeing the ‘Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime in Stories’ exhibition. Fall into the imaginary world of one of the country’s most acclaimed story-tellers, with information about much-loved stories such as War Horse, Kensuke’s Kingdom and Farm Boy. Also on this half-term at the Museum of Childhood you can celebrate Chinese New Year on 10th February with mask-making, calligraphy, dressing up and performances.
10. Dive Into the Oceans at Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is a favourite for British children in holiday times, but there’s even more reason to visit this half-term. For free in February, children can dive into the incredible aquatic ocean world of whales, dolphins and porpoises. There are interactive games, secrets to be discovered, a whale jukebox, a chance to see the content of a sperm whale’s stomach, and the opportunity to get up close with the Thames Whale.
11. Set Their Imaginations Loose at the Imagine Children’s Festival at the Southbank Centre
Over half-term, the hugely popular Imagine Children’s Festival, run by kids for kids, is on at the London Southbank Centre. There are a whole host of events including a Kid Normal event, dance-theatre Tidy Up and the hugely revolting Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. This is an animated adaptation of these classic fairy tales introducing classical music to these fabulously entertaining tales.
12. Wonder at the Wonderlab at the Science Museum
The Science Museum is inspiring and hands-on at the best of times. At the moment kids can experience even more by channelling their inner scientist in the Wonderlab Statoil Gallery. There are a whopping 50+ exhibits, shows and demos to get stuck into covering seven different themed zones. You can even watch lightning strike or order your own experiment at the Chemistry Bar. What’s more, the usual hands-on areas such as Launch Pad and The Basement will be providing the entertainment as always, and don’t forget the awesome science shows.
13. Be a Champion at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
There’s so much for a day out at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Climb to the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, and if your kids are old enough let them ride The Slide to the bottom. Check how far you can jump compared to a gold medal-winning athlete. Pose for a photo on a podium. Enjoy a swimming session at the Aquatics Centre. Get on your bike for BMX Thrills and MTB Skills at the Lee Valley VeloPark and PedalUp for the younger ones. Watch glitzy gymnastics at the Legacy Cheer and Dance in the Copper Box Arena. There will also be a funfair on the Stratford Waterfront over half-term. If that’s not enough, the park’s playgrounds are impressive: particularly the inspiring Tumbling Bay Playground. If you’ve got a PAW Patrol fan then you’ll want to book in for the chance to meet Chase and Marshall on 12th and 13th February.
14. Ahoy Sailors at the National Maritime Museum
Let them get hands-on with some sea-faring fun at the National Maritime Museum. The AHOY! gallery for under-7s lets them stoke a boiler, land some fish, and dress as a pirate. For 6-12 year olds head to the All Hands area where they can try their sea legs on a ship simulator. Don’t forget to refuel in the Neptune café.
15. Get Up Close With Nature at Kew Gardens
In Richmond you’ll find Kew Gardens which is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a perfect spot for energetic kids to let off steam. They can explore a human-sized badger’s burrow, balance along a myriad of different tree trunks, and warm up in a glasshouse. This half-term there is a range of child-friendly events as part of the Orchids Festival. These include silk dye workshops, Thai dressing up, and a chance to taste some of the plants that make up Thai cuisine. Visit on the weekends and you’ll find street food offerings, live music performances, and a chance for some shopping at the pop-up Thai shop.
16. Go Star Wars and Marvel Mad at Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds is a favourite for visitors to London, but did you know that you can entertain your Star Wars and Marvel fans here? The Star Wars section is mightily impressive with an immersive experience with enables you to explore the Galaxy Far Far Away. Plunge into the swamps of Dagobah or stand on the flight deck of the Millennium Falcon. In the Marvel Secret Command centre you get to test out your own superpowers as well as experience the Incredible Hulk’s immense squeeze. You can also enjoy the 4D cinema experience featuring Hulk, Wolverine, Iron Man and Spiderman set in London itself.
17. Be a Vet in Action at ZSL London Zoo
Whether you’re desperate to see a lion, giggle at the pygmy hippos, or gaze up at the ultra-tall giraffes, ZSL London Zoo is great for animal enthusiasts. This half-term they’re offering the chance for kids to experience being a vet with a range of activities focusing on the work of the zoo’s incredible vets. Kids will get a chance to step inside the specially created Animal Hospital for an interactive experience including examining X-rays and carrying out mock treatments. The Animal Hospital activities are included in the usual entry prices.
18. Get Creative at the Horniman Museum
The Horniman is a fascinating ‘old-style’ museum, but it packs a punch when it comes to events for kids. Over half-term, there is a range of Family Art Fun opportunities on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The events are free but you will need a ticket. The events are themed around their newly opening exhibition ‘Colour: The Rainbow’ and will include the opportunity to make carnival masks and carnival twirlers. In the exhibition itself, kids can learn how colour ‘works’ as well as the chance to have a go with the Art Machine to create their own masterpiece.
19. Follow in the Footsteps of Goldilocks on the Teddy Bear Trail at the Museum of Brands
It might be one of the lesser-known museums in London, but the Museum of Brands is likely to become a huge hit this half-term with their Teddy Bear Adventure Trail. Kids will travel round the Time Tunnel attempting to track down the teddies. While having fun they’ll learn some history too.
20. Make a Splash at the Puddle Jumping Championships at WWT London Wetland Centre
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. If the weather is set to be wet anyway, wrap up snug, don the wellies, and head to Dusty’s Puddle Jumping Championship at the WWT London Wetland Centre. Running from 10th-18th February this really is a chance to get splashing in that age-old tradition of puddle-jumping! As well as your splashing fun, you can let the kids explore along the lakes, ponds and gardens. Refresh at the café before letting the kids loose in the adventure play areas. If you need to warm up, or the weather is really against you, then head to the Discovery Centre indoors to learn about all sorts of wetlands from peat bogs to coral reefs.
So what are you waiting for? London is bursting with opportunities for kids to learn, have fun, and let off steam. This half-term there are some particularly exciting events, so get stuck in!
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