There’s no avoiding it, the half-term holiday’s nearly upon us in the UK, which means having to find things to do that not only will sate the kids but also appeal to you. In which case, if you’re likely to be coming to London for the holiday, check out these suggestions…
Science Museum (Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD)
This world-famous attraction is seven floors of education and entertainment, including an Apollo 10 spacecraft module and flight simulator, the ‘Launch Pad’ hands-on gallery where basic scientific principles can be learnt through practical experience and an IMAX cinema showing scientific features in 3D (thus enabling visitors to be surrounded by space or submerged deep in the ocean).
Opening hours: 10am-6pm daily (last admission 5.15pm)
Imagine Children’s Festival (Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX)
With a terrific roster of theatre, dance and music, the capital’s two-week children’s festival is this year themed around Road Dahl, the late great kids’ author. Free and ticketed events include workshops on everything from clay sculpture to sign language, readings from some of the UK’s most popular writers and the launch of the final book in the How to Train Your Dragon series. One of the really cracking London half-term things to do.
Dates: 10-21 February 2016
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 2LF)
With viewing huts dotted here and there providing excellent views of the as-natural-as-possible habitats of the animals spread throughout its 600 acres of Bedfordshire parkland near the Chilterns, ZSL Whipsnade is a truly fantastic setting for seeing a huge variety of creatures in a free-to-roam manner, such as lions, elephants, giraffeszebras, hippos, camels and chimpanzees. You can also watch feeding time take place live. All this and it’s pretty much on London’s doorstep– ideal if you happen to staying at the one of the hotels with parking in London.
Opening times: 10am-6pm daily (early March-early November; last admission: 5pm)
Dinosaurs: Monster Families (Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, London SE23 3PQ)
Here’s a prehistoric exhibit with a difference – yes, it explores dinosaur approaches to parenting. No, really. Packed full of life-size models, interactive featuresand authentic specimens, it invites visitors to discover how dinosaurs cared for their nests, eggs and offspring. There’s also a comprehensive collection of fossils and an almost complete dinosaur embryoskeleton.
Dates:13 February-30 October
Michael Rosen’s Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake and Bad Things
(Discover Children’s Story Centre, 383-387 Stratford High Street, London E15 4QZ)
Dress-up outfits, monsters, finger puppets, drawing materials, outdoors play and funny mirrors are the order of the day at this ingenious, interactive attraction ideal for youngsters up to 11-years-old. Brainchild of best-selling children’s author Michael Rosen, its aim is to fuel kids’ imaginations and get them creating and writing their own efforts; they should be able to take their own poems home. Many different events are held at weekends and there’s a shop that sells all sorts of bits and bobs.
Dates: 26 January-10 April