There are lots of great things about being grown-up. Nobody can tell you what time you have to go to bed; you can legally spend your hard-earned income on a wide variety of alcoholic delights; and you’ll never again have to sit through an afternoon of Double Maths. But there are also times when it seems like the kids get all the fingerpainting, frame-climbing, rope-swinging fun, and that strikes us (in the most mature way possible) as so unfair.
Envy the under-12s no more, for we’ve rounded up the capital’s best places for good, clean fun – pigtails and short trousers optional.
Fancy breaking out the crayons, glitter and glue in the company of like-minded persons your own age? Drink Shop Do in King’s Cross offers the chance to do just that and much more, all with a freshly-shaken cocktail in hand. In the next two weeks alone, you can hand-craft a Valentine’s card for that special someone in your life, make a super-scary papier mâché monster, build a Lego robot with a prize for the most ingenious, and screen-print a tea-towel – an ideal gift for Mother’s Day, or just to take pride of place in your own kitchen. Evening events (quaintly known as “dos”) start after work and many are free – take a look at this month’s listings for booking info and timings, or email email@example.com.
If the idea of eating the fruits of your creative labours appeals to you, head on down to Notting Hill’s Biscuiteers where you can spend the afternoon hand-icing a selection of biscuits, and then the evening stuffing them into your face. Or maybe that’s just us. A session at their Icing Cafe costs £15 for three biscuits, and there’s no need to book – just drop in for sweet-toothed fun.
A more permanent memento can be created at one of the three Pottery Cafe branches, where you can paint your own crockery and kitchenware (a jar for those hand-iced biscuits, maybe?) to be glazed and fired by the team. Late-night adult-only sessions take place on Thursdays from 6pm – you’ll need to book as a group – and a pottery-decorating session will set you back £5.99 plus the cost of your chosen items. There are Pottery Cafes in Fulham, Richmond and Battersea.
Fiddle With Knobs, Walk With Dinosaurs
While the Science Museum’s holdings are vast and fascinating, it’s the room full of levers, buttons and screens that most of us remember fondly from our formative years.
The museum’s Launchpad gallery remains its most popular, but is normally the preserve of children. One night each month, however, the museum opens late for an adults-only evening of exploration, including that room full of buttons and knobs. The next one, at time of writing, is Wed 26 February.
A similar event takes place monthly at the Natural History Museum, where grown-ups can mingle among the dinosaurs without treading on any nippers. The next one is on Friday 28 February.
It’s playtime for all ages at the Wild Kingdom Playspace on Three Mills Green in Newham, with plenty of rugged tree swings, scramble nets and an outdoor trampoline. Head to Bromley-by-Bow for some gentle adventure fun. More adventurous types will enjoy the treetop assault course at Go Ape in Trent Park, Enfield. Not for the height-averse, Go Ape involves making your way around a forest on rope ladders, jungle bridges, cargo nets and zip lines 40 feet off the ground. The experience costs around £30, depending on party size, and is a great way to get back in touch with nature as kids do best – by climbing up it.
Going to the zoo isn’t just a treat for the little ones – Zoo Lates at London Zoo is strictly for over-18s only, and combines evening access to the animal enclosures with pop-up bars, cabaret and comedy. Head down after work and relax with a drink as you enjoy a huge variety of wildlife from butterflies and rainforest mammals to penguins and tigers. There’s even an adult ball-pond. Zoo Lates will return this summer every Friday in June and July – expect tickets to be around a tenner.
Whether you want to copy a dance video like you used to do in front of the bedroom mirror, hit up a fancy dress party, or just dig in the sandpit JCB-style, there are lots of other adult-only experiences in and around London to help you connect with your inner child. Let us know your favourites below!