Half Term Family Fun in London
Looking for some cool stuff to do with the kids in London over half term? There’s even more for visitors staying in London’s trendy hotspots like Kensington and Chelsea than fabulous food and retail therapy – loads of children’s activities are also on offer, come rain or shine. Read our guide to Half Term Family Fun in London to find out more….
You might like to take younger kids to Battersea Parks’ Childrens Zoo – just over Chelsea Bridge. There’s a ‘Love your Zoo’ week on over half term where little ones can enjoy meerkats and other animals, listen to story time and make an animal badge in support of otter conservation. Beautiful Battersea Park also has playgrounds for different ages, bike hire for all the family, and ‘train’ rides (the sort that drive you round the park at a slow pace and usually finish off beside the ice cream van!). For pre-teens (once they’ve finished spending all their pocket money on fashion) there’s always Battersea Parks’ adventure playground, or the boating lake, followed by a visit to the cafe.
Just over the river in South Kensington and down the road from Nell Gwynn House you will find three of the best museums London has to offer – the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert. Kids will love the Sensational Butterflies Exhibit at the Natural History Museum which continues over the summer.
Or take your kids to experience a 3D movie at The Science Museum’s IMAX Theatre. They will feel like they’re touching woolly mammoths or watching planet earth from the International Space Station with films like Hidden Universe 3D, A Beautiful Planet (breathtaking views of earth taken from the International Space Station), Robots, Titans of the Ice Age, and Mysteries of the Unseen World. A family ticket for four costs £30.
The beautiful Victoria and Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design, runs free kids activities during half terms and school holidays. The ‘Pop-up Performance’ team will be ‘immersed in the dance of the robot under an amazing and unusual architectural structure’, as part of their engineering season. All sorts of imaginative and creative performances continue throughout the summer. Your budding art/photography student teenagers might be interested in seeing the Paul Strand Exhibition on Photography and Film for the 20th Century (‘whose images have defined the way fine art and documentary photography is understood and practiced today’. On until 3 July 2016, tickets cost £9. The V & A has stunning standing textile, fashion and jewellery exhibitions, amongst others, to inspire your fashion-conscious teenager.
Kensington Palace, the birthplace of Queen Victoria and once home to Diana, Princess of Wales, now William and Kate and their family, boasts a long list of amusements for all the family this half term, including beautiful gardens and royal apartments. Children can visit Kensington Palace for free, with adult tickets purchased online costing £16.90. Your fashion conscious teenager might want to see the Fashion Rules Restyled exhibition, with stunning couture worn by Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, and Diana, Princess of Wales. Younger visitors might want to help Queen Mary II turn the palace into a home by taking tea in her sitting room and exploring the historical spaces with games and trails. There are plenty of other family activities planned at Kensington Palace so do take a look.
To finish half term on a theatrical note, why not take your children to the Open Air Theatre at Regent’s Park to see Running Wild, an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel. With a full size puppet elephant called Oona (created by Gyre and Gimble, who created the War Horse puppet), and a cast of 40 set in a magical open air set in the middle of Regent’s Park, reviewers have praised the production as a ‘brilliant, life-affirming show’ with ‘magnificent animal puppetry’ and a strong environmental message (though serious issues run through it, such as bereavement and environmental destruction).