How on earth is it half term again? It feels as though we blinked and missed January and February! That said, we’re all in need of a little extra time with the kiddies and what better way to spend it than exploring the best London has to offer! From channeling your inner pirate at Cutty Sark, getting up close and personal with Vincent Van Gogh to whipping out your wand at the Warner Bros Studio, here’s everything you should be doing this half term:
There’s no denying London is short of a field or two, but it is littered with petting zoos a’plenty! Pop on your wellies and get stroking a few sheep, patting a couple’o pigs and cuddling your fluffy favourites. We’ve rustled together a few of out favourite zoos and farms that’ll see you doing just so here.
Website: Find them all here
From 12 – 23 February 2020 the UK’s leading children’s festival, Imagine, returns to Southbank Centre for twelve days jam-packed with the highest-quality international children’s theatre, music performances, literature events, comedy shows, creativity workshops, family parties, hands-on activities and lots of free family fun for all those aged 0 – 11 and their grown ups.
Wednesday 12th – Sunday 23rd February
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
It wouldn’t be a half term guide without a mention to our favourite little ship: Cutty Sark. Now around 200 years old, kiddies can uncover all about the history of the Cutty Sark, the fastest clipper, discover its weird and wonderful characters, and explore the incredible navel college buildings. This February is centred around a racing theme, bursting with arts and crafts to entertain all.
We don’t mean to be barking your ears off but we might have found the very best art exhibition to have graced the city so far…
Introducing Meet Vincent Van Gogh, an all new immersive exhibition which will see Londoners getting up close and personal with mahoosive recreations of Van Gogh’s iconic works, climbing up high on the glistening hay bales in Arles and even snapping a ‘gram in his very own bedroom, and it’s making its way to South Bank this February. Throughout the experience, Van Gogh’s narration will guide you around, retelling his life, friendships, loved ones and techniques, created from the Van Gogh Museum’s private collection of personal letters. And, if you do fancy your hand at recreating his exceptional Starry Night scene, you can channel your inner artist and give it a go for yourself.
Friday 7th February to Sunday 31st May
Where: 99 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PP
Watch as 2,000 lanterns pitter patter their way to Chiswick House Gardens bringing with them over 1,000,000 light bulbs
You might be thinking London is looking a little sparse now that Christmas lights aren’t pinned to every pillar, fern trees aren’t adorn with flashing bulbs and the illumination over the city from Winter Wonderland has ceased, which is why we want to draw your mind to the wonderful world of Lightopia.
Watch as 2,000 lanterns pitter patter their way to Chiswick House Gardens bringing with them over 1,000,000 light bulbs. Get your ‘grams at the ready as you’re transported into the magical world of gigantic lollipops, life-size bumblebees and immaculate building-size peacocks – think Alice in Wonderland meets Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. You’re in for a mile long adventure as you explore 47 different lantern groups work come together for this mega installation exploring the differing world of expression and raw emotion.
Running Wednesday 22nd January – Sunday 1st March
There’s no denying London is abrim with museums galore, whether you’re running around the Natural History Museum escaping the dinosaurs to discovering the latest science discoveries at the Science Museum. But, if you’re looking a little weirder, we’ve rounded up a few of the lesser known beauties for you to explore this half term.
Website: Wild Museums This Way…
This year Kew Gardens opened their Interactive Children’s Garden, a place especially designed for two to twelve year olds, to explore, run about and most importantly play. There’s plenty of space to let loose as the garden is the size of 40 tennis courts and is filled with over 100 trees, hidden treasures, adventures and a canopy walk wrapped around a 200 year old oak tree.
Where: Kew Gardens, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE
There’s nothing quite like curling up in front of the big screen engulfed in your favourite animation, which is why we’re fully obsessed with Barbican Centre’s Family Film Club. Every Saturday your little’uns will be swept off into the world of imagination as they sit through one of the greatest animated films of the moment. From Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon to LIAF: Amazon Animations, there’s something for all.
Where: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
Battersea Power Station is having a moment and we’re completely on board! From arts and crafts tables at Wright Brothers to tempting kiddie menus, there’s something for all this half term.
Where: Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station, London, SW11 8AH
Three, two, one… Charge! Uncover your inner knight at Tower of London’s very own knight school. You’ll be thrusted back in time to 1471 when the Wars of the Roses was rioting through the city. And, don’t expect it to be easy either, you’ll be put through your paces, learning the fine art of sword combating and dressed in your very own armour…
Where: Tower of London, St Katherine’s & Wapping, EC3N 4AB
There’s nothing quite like an afternoon indulging in sandwiches, cakes and pastries. Well, look no further because Tiny Tea is returning to Bluebird, eek! The little ones will even be able to decorate their own cupcakes, indulge in Nutella stuffed doughnuts and sip mini milkshakes pretending it’s tea.
Running 17th – 23rd February
Where: 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU
Shakespeare doesn’t exactly have the best reputation amongst the youngsters but that’s all about to change this half term as Shakespeare’s Globe opens up its doors for a joyous storytelling experience unlike any you’ve seen before. Get your head around Shakespeare’s pesky language and peculiar plots in a series of bewildering workshops.
Where: 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU
Catch the TUTANKHAMUN: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition before it returns to its permanent display back in Egypt. This half term explore Tutankhamun’s items like the gold inlaid miniature coffin which originally contained the king’s liver and a wooden bed most likely made for his funeral. It’s slightly creepy but it’s definitely worth catching while you can.
Running until 3rd May 2020
Rock your way to the West End and catch the last few days of the coolest theatre production to hit our London stage, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock: The Musical before it flitters away forever. Failed rock star, Dewey Finn, is looking to earn a few extra bucks and decides to cash in as a supply teach at one of America’s prestigious prep schools. Blown away by their musical talents, he forms a rock band in order to win the all important rock competition.
Where: Gillian Lynne Theatre, 166 Drury Lane, WC2B 5PW
Add a little magic to the half term with a trip to Warner Bros. Studio and watch the Harry Potter stories unfold before your very eyes. This half terms there’s an extra special treat in store for your little’uns too as they watch the wizarding world come to life in The Art Department. The original filmmakers will be revealing a few of their tips, tricks and magic in a series of demonstrations so you too can make your very own elm wand.
Catch all of London’s best wizarding offerings here too
It’s not everyday you see a tyrannosaurus roaming the streets of London, but then again it’s not everyday you’re exploring the brand new Permian Monsters exhibit at the Horniman Museum and Gardens. Delve into the wild world of dinos and uncover what life was like before dinosaurs ever existed…
Saturday 15th February – Sunday 1st November
Where: The Horniman Public Museum and Public Park Trust, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ
If you haven’t tried to throw a newt at your least favourite tutor with your eyes, have you even lived?
Watch the magic unfold with your children in the vivid reimagining of Matilda. It’s irresistibly good fun that’ll have you laughing, crying and singing your way from start to finish. The production will leave you rooting for Matilda and dreading Miss Trunchball.
WHERE: CAMBRIDGE THEATRE, EARLHAM STREET, WC2H 9HU
Put your artistic skills through their paces as you learn the ins and outs at the School of Icing. From recreating your very own Paddington Bear to trying your hand at icing your best friend, Biscuiteers provides a whole lotta fun budding artists, or just fans of delightful biscuits.
WHERE: NOTTING HILL / BATTERSEA
If you fancy yourself the next Bernard Leach, Punk Me Up is the place that’ll let you discover your ceramic skills. Whether you’re up to the channel of making your own ceramic creation, or you just want to be let loose with the paint and create your own ‘surrealist’ style bowl, this little pottery hide out lets you channel your inner Picasso in style. It’s also a great activity to keep the little’uns entertained!
WHERE: 34 EAST DULWICH ROAD, SE22 9AX
A history lesson and a musical all rolled into one? Go on then! Behold Six the Musical, a hilarious retelling of Henry VIII’s six wives. Expect the historical elements to be intertwined with a flash of 21st century girl power.
WHERE: ARTS THEATRE, 6-7 GREAT NEWPORT STREET, WC2H 7JB
Is there anything more exciting than running into London’s iconic toy store, Hamleys? This half term, the little elves have worked their magic to bring you all of your little’uns joy with their Hot Wheels Loop competition, Frozen 2 inspired castle, a giant Jelly Belly Bean boozed wheel and even a Harry Potter sorting hat ceremony allowing you to know which Hogwarts house you’re destined to be in.
WHERE: 188-196 Regent Street, Soho, W1B 5BT
It’s the story we grew up with, the tale that can lift you up and bring you down within a heartbeat and it’s an integral part of our lives in some way or another, so where better to spend the half term than with a trip to see The Lion King on the big stage.
WHERE: LYCEUM THEATRE, 21 WELLINGTON STREET, COVENT GARDEN, WC2E 7RQ
Stroll over to Terrace on Piccadilly and enjoy your favourite childhood story come to life in the shape of afternoon tea. Expect all of your favourite little treats with a little amusing spin on them.
WHERE: Le Méridien Piccadilly, Piccadilly, London, UK