It feels like we’ve blinked and it’s already the school holidays again… If you’re looking for things to do this February half term, read on for our edit of the very best activities going on in and around London, from day trips to city farms to captivating theatre for the whole family.
Here are 20 things to do in February half term…
Imagine Children’s Festival
Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival returns for another year. The largest of its kind in the UK, the bumper 11-day event is backed with the highest-quality international children’s theatre, music performances, literature activities, comedy shows, workshops, parties and just about everything else in-between.
There’s something for everyone here, even the grown-ups can look forward to getting stuck into the 100+ events. And the best part? Over 50% of the festival is completely free.
When: 08.02.2023 – 18.02.2023
Where: SOUTHBANK CENTRE, BELVEDERE ROAD, SE1 8XX
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 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.
WHEN: until 27.11.2023
WHERE: V&A SOUTH KENSINGTON, CROMWELL ROAD, SW7 2RL
Ted’s Space Adventure
Little astronomers at the ready… Ted’s Space Adventure is the Royal Observatory’s planetarium show aimed to inspire younger audiences.
With shows daily during the school holidays, your little ones can explore the Solar System with a bear named Ted and his companion Plant, learning about space and the things you find there.
When: Daily during school holidays + Weekends during term time
Where: Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, SE10 8XJ
London’s Petting Zoos
There’s no denying London is short of a field or two, but you can still get your farming fix at one of the city’s many petting zoos. Pop on your wellies and get stroking a few sheep, patting a couple of pigs and cuddling your fluffy favourites.
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 naval college buildings.
This February half term, they’ve got activities going on too, from the giant tea race board game to enthralling stories told by the characters from the ship’s past.
When: Half term activities from 11.02.2023 – 19.02.2022
WHERE: KING WILLIAM WALK, GREENWICH, SE10 9HT
Weird & Wonderful Museums
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.
Kew’s Interactive Children’s Garden
Let the kids run wild at Kew Gardens’ Interactive Children’s Garden, a place especially designed for two to 12 year olds to explore and 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
Family Film Club at the Barbican Centre
You might not know but the Barbican Centre hosts a weekly family-friendly film club. Every Saturday your little ones can be swept off into the world of imagination as they sit through some of the greatest animated films of the moment.
This half term, they’ve got Spectualar Shorts, a series of heartwarming short films, on Saturday 11th and Matilda the Musical on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th.
Where: Every Saturday
WHERE: BARBICAN CENTRE, SILK STREET, EC2Y 8DS
Battersea Power Station Light Show
Add some colour to dreary February and head over to Battersea Power Station to soak up their annual free festival.
Running until the 5th of March, this year’s festival features its most extensive collection of installations to date – no ticket required. Expect bursts of colour, rainbow illuminations and masterpieces curated in partnership with the Light Art Collection on display both outdoors and inside the Grade II* lighted Power Station.
Read more about what to expect at Battersea Power Station’s Light Festival here.
WHEN: UNTIL 05.03.2023
WHERE: BATTERSEA POWER STATION
Half Term at Hampton Court Palace
Get in a little history lesson this half term and head back to the 16th century with a visit to Hampton Court Palace.
Rediscover Henry VIII’s famous palace, wandering through the Tudor Kitchens, the grand Great Halls and the Haunted Gallery in the State Apartments. Legend has it that the ghost of Catherine Howards, Henry VIII’s fifth wife still haunts these rooms…
Once you’ve done roaming, let the kids run wild in the Magic Garden where mythical beasts roam and battles await.
When: 11.02.2023 – 19.02.2023
Where: Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Court Way, Molesey, East Molesey, KT8 9AU
Tiny Tea at Bluebird
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.
Where: 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
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 winter-spring, the studio will be revealing the filmmaking trickery behind the film sets, shining a light on the pranks and mishaps in their new feature, Magical Mischief.
Great for all ages, don’t miss your chance to uncover the secrets of the greatest magic story ever told.
WHERE: STUDIO TOUR DRIVE, LEAVESDEN, WD25 7LR
Elmer and Friends: The Colourful World of David McKee
Horniman’s latest exhibition is sure to impress all ages this half term. Elmer the Patchwork Elephant’s world comes into focus, celebrating over 30 years of David McKee’s colourful world.
In his first-ever major retrospective, this exhibition will feature a giant magnetic Elmer game, illustrations from the Elmer series and the original storyboard of King Rollo, as well as a cosy dressing-up corner and reading areas.
When: Until 16.04.2023
Where: 100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ
Not an Elmer fan? Another brilliant one for the little ones, Horniman Museum & Gardens will be bringing the dinosaurs back to life this year with their epic exhibition, titled Brick Dinos.
This family-friendly exhibition takes a look at the Jurassic and Cretaceous Period, offering visitors the chance to get to meet dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. And the interesting part? All of the creatures have been built using LEGO® bricks.
For more upcoming exhibitions, check out our guide to the biggest exhibits opening in 2023.
when: 10.02.2023 – 29.10.2023
where: 100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ
Matilda The Musical
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 Trunchbull.
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
Six The Musical
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: Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, London, WC2R 0NH
London’s largest toy shop is putting on quite the performance this half term. Head down to the seven floor landmark and let the kids all of their antics, from puppet shows to dance performances, storytelling to meet-and-greets with the Hamley’s bear.
Even when it’s not half term the toy emporium will keep the kids entertained for hours on end.
WHERE: 188-196 REGENT STREET, SOHO, W1B 5BT
The Lion King
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
Feeling peckish but don’t know where is best with a screaming toddler and sulky teenager? Say goodbye to the tantrums at your next family lunch out with our top picks for London’s best family-friendly restaurants. From crowd pleasing pizza joints to restaurants that feel grown-up but know how to charm your little ones…
Here are the best family-friendly restaurants in London