You’ve made it halfway through the slog of the autumn/winter school term! Your reward? Attempting to hunt down the best activities going on in October half term to keep your little monsters entertained. Luckily for the tired mums and dads out there, we’ve done the hard work for you, rounding up the best child-friendly events and activities landing in London this October.
From space-themed afternoon teas to drawing festivals, here’s how to keep the kids entertained this October half term. Planning further ahead? These are the best things to do with children at Christmas.
Room on the Broom
Get into the Halloween-y spirit and book your little ones in to see Room on the Broom on the big stage.
The best-selling picture book from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler has been adapted for the stage. Follow along and see your favourite characters come to life, as the witch and her cat are travelling on their broomsticks when they pick up some hitch-hikers along the way. Meet the friendly dog, the beautiful green bird and the frantic frog as they hop aboard. There’s not much room on the broom and it soon snaps in two just as a hungry dragon appears. Will there ever be enough room on the broom?
When: 22.10.2022 – 27.10.2022
Where: Artsdepot, 5 Nether Street, N12 0GA
Paddington Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
Let your little kiddies dreams come true at Brigit’s Bakery. The popular bakery-by-bus has just launched their latest tour and it’s centred around everyone’s favourite bear: Paddington.
Their chefs have created a Paddington-inspired afternoon tea, featuring the best marmalade sandwich in London.
Hop on the bus and you’ll be taken around all of the bear’s favourite London spots, from Big Ben to Downing Street.
When: From 26.10.2022
Where: Departing from Trafalgar Square
Jurassic World Exhibition
Let their dinosaur dreams come true at this giant new Jurassic World inspired exhibition.
Taking over ExCeL London, the exhibition will see your little ones get an up-close look at a Velociraptor, stand under a towering Brachiosaurus and even come into contact with a mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Find out more here.
WHEN: UNTIL JAN 2023
WHERE: EXCEL LONDON, ROYAL VICTORIA DOCK, E16 1XL
The Children’s Garden at Kew
Where better to let your children run wild for hours on end than at the Children’s Garden at Kew? Once your kiddies have followed the trails around the site, sourcing bugs, plants and trees, reward them with a trip to the magnificent play area.
The Children’s 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. Roam, run and rummage through the area to see what you can uncover.
If you haven’t ventured over to Wandsworth yet to explore the new immersive adventureland of Gravity, then add it to your list of things to tackle this half term. The family-friendly venue is spread over three floors, packed with all-electric-go-karting, an urban street golf course, bowling lanes and arcade games.
Whizz round the go-karting track, battle it out on the digital darts board or try out their AR shuffleboard for a game of chance and skill…
Where: Southside Wandsworth, Wandsworth High Street, SW18 4TF
The Grove x Bear Grylls Survival Academy
Little adventurers are invited to channel their inner Bear Grylls and embark on the ultimate survival challenge this half term. Taking place at Herfordshire’s The Grove, Bear Grylls’ Survival Academy will be pitching up for a two-night survival camp.
Kids will have the opportunity to learn valuable survival skills and connect with one another and nature. Activities include axe throwing, shelter building and even finding and purifying water. The package includes access to the hotel’s spa facilities and two-night stay in a West Wing bedroom.
Re:Imagining Musicals + Musical Treasures Family Trail
Whether you’ve got a budding actress in the family or a little one who can’t stop singing musical numbers, the V&A’s new Re:Imagining Musicals exhibit is a must-see.
The exhibition champions the wonderful world of musical theatre, from its evolution to the brilliant and dedicated craftsmanship behind some of the world’s biggest performances. Expect to see posters, costumes, memorabilia and set designs from musicals including Miss Saigon, My Fair Lady, SIX the Musical and Everyone’s Talking About Jamie.
Halloween at Backyard Cinema
For those who love a child-friendly horror film, look to Backyard Cinema’s Halloween takeover.
The popular cinema experience has undergone a Winter makeover – expect carriages of a 1920s inspired steam train to await you taking you towards a constellation of stars and Northern Lights. The cinema will be surrounded by snow-topped towering trees, but you can expect a few Halloween treats in store too. Hunker down and catch all of the horror classics including Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice and Addams Family Values.
Little Explorers Afternoon Tea, 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel
100 Queen’s Gate Hotel is welcoming little munchkins with open arms offering the best afternoon tea experience in the city.
Available on a Saturday and Sunday, the Little Explorers tea will feature magical space-themed dishes, including ‘rocket’ crudités; ‘out of this world’ ham and cheese sandwiches; ‘Saturn’ scones with clotted cream and jam; ‘meteor’ popcorn; ‘comet’ macarons; and ‘asteroid’ candy.
When: Served weekends from 12:30-4pm
Where: 100 Queen’s Gate, Kensington, SW7 5AG
Sixes Cricket Club
Bats at the ready… Sixes Cricket Club is the perfect place to let your kids learn the ins and outs of batting and cricket-ing. Located in Fulham and Fitzrovia, it’s the only venue in London that provides guests a place to play cricket and dine.
The Sixes Cricket Simulator, styled as batting nets, draws on the style of Top Golf, Flight Club and Puttshack, and takes the experience to a whole new level. They also offer birthday party packages for children, packed with two courses, juice and cricket.
Where: Fulham & Fitzrovia
Who doesn’t love an all-immersive exhibition? Frameless is the UK’s first permanent large scale exhibition that opened its doors earlier this month.
Located just off Marble Arch, the space will be filled with four separate galleries housed inside. Become one of the first to experience this exhibition in all of its glory, strolling from room to room exploring blown-up versions of iconic paintings, from Edvard Munch’s ‘Scream’ to The Waterlily Pond: Green Harmony by Monet.
WHERE: 6 MARBLE ARCH, W1H 7AP
Story Space Family Day at Tate Britain
This Autumn’s Story Space Family Day is inspired by the sights and sounds of Tate’s new publication, Fadya and the Song of the River by Laura Nsafou and Amélie-Anne Calmo.
The event will be packed with exciting activities, from reading and draw-along sessions with Laura and Amélie-Anne to creative adventures in Play Studio and the galleries. Let your little ones’ imaginations run wild at this arty play session.
The 2022 Big Draw Festival
Designed to be enjoyed by all, whether you’re four or 94, The Big Draw returns this half-term to North Finchley’s artsdepot. Taking over the site for the full day, expect to find just about everything possible to do with drawing.
From paint parties to speed drawing, and the gigantic drawing pad in the Pentland Theatre, everyone is invited to head down to scribble, doodle and draw.
Where: artsdepot, 5 Nether Street, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley, N12 0GA
Ahoy there me hearties! Cutty Sark is welcoming pirates back on board once more to uncover the history of the fastest clipper.
Don’t miss out on the experience to watch the cast of colourful characters, take a snap on board ship, and see just what the former workers used to get up to.
Where: KING WILLIAM WALK, GREENWICH, SE10 8HT
Jordan Stephens & Beth Suzanna: The Missing Piece
Southbank Centre always has a host of events taking place during the holidays, but the one that caught our attention this half-term is the interactive storytelling adventure of The Missing Piece.
Follow along Sunny’s adventures as she hunts down the missing piece to her jigsaw puzzle.
Where: Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
To help you say goodbye to the tears and tantrums we’ve put together a guide of London’s top family-friendly restaurants, from pizza and mozzarella sticks at Pizza East to Petersham Nurseries’ adorable Teahouse.
Or, Try One Of These Family-Friendly Hotels
We could all use a little break from time to time and half time provides the perfect escape to do just that. Finding somewhere that’ll put up with your screaming kids is often hard, which is why we’ve rounded up the best family-friendly hotels in London and beyond.
Whether you’ve got a tantruming toddler or a sulky teenager, these are the best family-friendly hotels to go to.
Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature
Rediscover Beatrix Potter’s loveable characters this summer at the V&A’s family-friendly exhibition, Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature. Open to fans until early 2023, the exhibition will guide you on a journey through Potter’s life as a scientist and conservationist, spanning the places and animals that inspired her famous characters.
Created in collaboration with the National Trust, the exhibition features drawings and detailed illustrations, studies and paintings created by the children’s author. Fall back in love with Peter Rabbit and all of his friends in this fun and detailed exhibition.
When: Until 08.01.2023
Where: V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
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Cats and Dogs
Know your pet pooch pretty well? Think again. Horniman Museum & Gardens presents a brand new exhibition designed to teach kids and adults alike more about their furry friends.
Cats and Dogs is an interactive offering, exploring everything from animal behaviour to examining human relationships with our feline friends and doggos.
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Take to the theatre…
For those with older kids, how about a trip to the West End to make them feel super fancy and mature? There are tons of great shows on stage right now, from Six the Musical and The Lion King to Frozen and Cinderella.
If you’re looking further afield to Christmas, we’ve put together a list of the best festive shows coming to London.