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 18 child-friendly events and activities landing in London this October.
From tiny afternoon teas to London’s literature festival, here’s how to keep the kids entertained this October half term.
Watch as Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning children’s story, The Smeds and The Smoos, comes to life on stage. Expect triumphant laughs, musical madness and adventures for everyone aged 3 and up.
A fun modern day take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the story is set on a far away planet when Smeds and Smoos cannot be friends. But alas, a young Smed and a young Smoo fall in love, but will their families find them to tear the pair away from one another?
When: 27th – 31st October Where: Rose Theatre, Kingston upon Thames
What child under the age of five doesn’t love Peppa Pig? Make their day extra special with a trip on the Brigit Bakery tour bus. And you guessed it, it’s been given a Peppa Pig and Halloween makeover in time for half term.
Running on various dates leading up to Halloween, the tour bus will see you and your Peppa obsessed kiddies tuck into themed afternoon tea delights while whizzing past some of London’s most famous landmarks.
Tuck into the likes of Freddy Fox’s eerie egg and cress finger sandwiches; Grandpa Pig’s ghostly chicken and tomato burger bun; Peppa Pig’s magical cookie shortbread; and Rebecca Rabbit’s chilling chocolate orange cupcake.
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.
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Year round, Battersea Power Station is a great place to explore with the kids, but come Halloween it’s filled with spooky trails, mazes, storytelling and pop-up performances. And thankfully this year half term falls in the middle of it all – yippee!
The Grade-II listed Coaling Jetty has been transformed into a spooky maze. Follow the twists, turns and hope you can make it out the other side in one piece…
There’s also a super fun Halloween hunt around Circus West Village, that’ll see you and your kids attempt to solve riddles and spot spooky creepy objects hiding around the area.
When: Until 31st October
Where: Battersea Power Station, SW8 5BN
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…
Let your child’s imagination run wild at the V&A’s October half term workshops. The one we’re most excited about is the Imaginary Cities. Children will be able to get stuck in the thick of making their own modular building as part of the gallery’s growing community of cardboard houses. Designed by Waugh Thistleton Architects, it’ll see children exploring what home means to them. Suitable for ages 6+.
We can always count on Bluebird to come through with the afternoon tea delights for half term. Their Tiny Tea has returned to help fuel your little monsters and let them live out their adult dreams, one tiny cake and tea cup at a time.
On the menu will be sandwiches of cheese, ham and cucumber, as well as sweet treats such as strawberry jammy dodgers, cherry cola pastels and Malteser milkshakes topped with whipped cream and popping candy. Oh and scones with jam obvs.
Alongside the tea, there’ll be a pumpkin carving class. Held by Blooming Haus, the two-hour session will take place on Thursday 28th October at 11am.
When: Available every Thursday – Sunday
Where: 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU
For those who prefer to be spooked with films, look to Backyard Cinema’s Halloween takeover. The popular cinema experience will undergo a spooky transformation to celebrate the most haunting month of the year so you can experience your favourite scary movies like never before. The space has been covered in cobwebs, pumpkins and even some horrifying characters.
There’ll be a few kiddie screenings, including Hocus Pocus and the animated Addams Family 2.
When: TUESDAY 19TH – SUNDAY 31ST OCTOBER
Where: CAPITAL STUDIOS, RAM QUARTER, WANDSWORTH, SW18 1ET
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
One for teenagers and families alike, UNIQLO Tate Play is offering guests the chance to explore how humans will live in the future and imagine a greener, wiser world. It’s based on the new programme from The house of Fairy Tales and the space will make way for 3D sculpting. Kids will have the chance to make their own miniature version of the Wood Wide Web, made from recycled and natural materials, learn how to wheat weave and even be joined by a special guest… Clementine the bearded lizard and her friends.
The Arts Depot in North Finchley has been given a monstrous makeover this half term, allowing kids to step into the wacky world of artist Aaron Blecha and see his unusual characters in person. Running for one week only, there’ll be alien spaceships, life-sized zombies and roar-some monsters around every corner.
Blecha has designed some of the best children’s books around, from George Brown to Class Clown and the Shark School series.
When: 24th – 30th October
Where: Arts Depot, 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 catch 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
The London Literature Festival returns, bringing with it an action packed workshop fuelled with monsters and imagination.
Let your little gremlins run wild as they take part in the workshops and performances based on the curious creatures from Pop Up Projects’ 10 Stories To Make A Difference.
When: 27th October
Where: The Clore Ballroom, Level 2, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX
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.
Light up your half term with WWT London’s Illuminature trail. Taking over the nature reserve will be a light trail that’ll see you explore nature in a whole new way, from immersive light tunnels to colourful shadow animals.
Open from 4pm to 9pm, it’s the perfect evening activity to try out this half term. Follow the trail along and see the after-dark habitats of owls, geese and otters, all while soaking up the illuminated photo opportunities.
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For those with older kids, how about a trip to the West End to make them feel super fancy and mature? There are tonnes of great shows on stage right now, from Six the Musical and The Lion King to Frozen and Cinderella.
For more inspo, check out our guide to the 10 of the best new musicals taking over west end right now.
Join Britain’s favourite bear, Paddington (joint with Pooh, of course) as he heads out on a new adventure to The British Library to celebrate 60 years of Michael Bond’s stories.
Paddington has been one of the world’s most renowned – and loved – bears since Bond first brought the colourful, marmalade loving character to life more than 60 years ago. The British Library’s new exhibition celebrates the loveable bear in all of his glory.
Fans, old and young, can uncover every part of Paddington’s story, from the original illustrations featured in the first books through to clips and sounds from the more recent animated series and cherished films.
When: Until 31st October
Where: THE BRITISH LIBRARY, 96 EUSTON ROAD, NW1 2DB