Things To Do In London In Half Term: 23-31 May 2015

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 30 months ago
Things To Do In London In Half Term: 23-31 May 2015

Keep an eye on our family section for child (and teen) friendly events and activities throughout the year — there’s plenty for parents too.

All Week

Get close to nature at Sensational Butterflies at Natural History Museum

FAMILY DAYS OUT: Bored of trudging round the same old museums and parks? Try one of these seven alternative family days out in London, featuring caves, windmills and more.

WHERE TO EAT: Finding somewhere to eat out with kids can be tricky, but these child-friendly restaurants in London offer more options that just pizza and chips.

CULTURE VULTURES: You may think art galleries and theatres are a no-go when you’ve got little ones in tow, but these London theatres are great for kids’ shows, and these family-friendly art galleries will keep children happy, and have plenty for mum and dad too.

DINOSAUR MINI GOLF: This particular niche of mini golf is surprisingly common in London. We recently visited Sidcup's offering, Lost Island Encounter. Other Jurassic fairways available.

SHAKESPEARE FOR KIDS: The Unicorn Theatre offers a modern, fun and inventive take on Shakespeare’s Henry V. King Henry is running out of cash and all he can think about is that his neighbour’s castle is bigger than his… Ages 8 +. £10-£16, prebook, 17-31 May

PLANTASTIC FUN: Horniman Museum’s family exhibition, Plantastic, gives young botanists a chance to explore the world of plants in detail. £8.50 adult/£4.50 child/£22 family, until 1 November. Other current exhibitions worth a visit are Coral Reefs and Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum.

SPOT THE SLANG: Take part in the RAF Museum's trail and locate all of the hidden slang words in the First World War in the Air exhibition to find out their meaning. £1 per trail, 23-31 May

ALICE IN WONDERLAND: The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green celebrates the 150th anniversary of the novel with storytelling and dressing up inspired by the tale, plus Mad Hatter hat making and a print workshop. Free-£5 (activity dependent), 25-29 May

ZOO KEEPING: Head to Battersea Park Zoo to help the zookeepers prepare feeds or enrichment for the animals. From meerkats to monkeys, the focus is on a different animal each day. 25-29 May

SHEEP WEEK: It's Sheep Week in the Lee Valley Park farms. See the sheep have their annual haircut, learn what can be done with the wool, Normal admission prices, 25-29 May

V&A: The V&A Museum offers several opportunities to get creative during the school holiday. At Digital Kids (free) they can create their own digital piece of art with help from experts. At the Imagination Station (free), imagine you’re a young renaissance artist trying to make your way in the world. At Make It (£), you can work with an artist to make your own piece of sculpture.

Saturday 23 May

Tales Big Day Out at Chickenshed Theatre

TALES BIG DAY OUT: Chickenshed Theatre's Tales At The Shed has a family day, where children can take part in an interactive workshop and watch a fun performance of Tales from the Shed, alongside plenty of other activities. £8, prebook, 10am/2.30pm

NATURE DAY: Natural History Museum's annual nature fair is back with a ladybird hunt, guided insect walk, a chance to try pond dipping, an opportunity to meet experts and more. 11am-5pm

LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS: No, we're not going mad. Head to Museum of London to recreate your own mini Olympics opening ceremony. 12.30pm/2.30pm

MAGIC SHOW: It's your last chance to catch Morgan & West's Utterly Spiffing Spectacular Magic Show at Southbank Centre, mixing brain-busting illusion and good old-fashioned tomfoolery. Age 5+. £10 (£32 family ticket), prebook, 4.15pm

Sunday 24 May

THEATRICAL THIRTIES: Eltham Palace and Gardens focuses on the theatres of the 1930s. Usual entry fee +£1 per child, just turn up, 24-26 May

STORY FACTORY: Kids can get involved in an improvised musical adventure The Showstopper's Fantastical Story Factory at Southbank Centre, part of Udderbelly Festival. Age 6+. £10/£15, prebook, 2.30pm

COMEDY CLUB: Also at Southbank Centre is Comedy Club 4 Kids, a stand up comedy for those over the age of six. Line up includes John Robins, Stu Goldsmith and Nish Kumar, who perform their usual sets without the swearing or rude bits. £10/£15, prebook, 4.15pm

The Showstoppers' Fantastical Story Factory is at Southbank Centre.

Monday 25 May

BEATBOXING: Got a budding beatboxer on your hands? Take them to Shlomo's show at Southbank Centre. Shlomo is a record-breaking beatboxer who makes music using just his mouth and a mic. £10/£15, prebook, 1pm/3pm

Tuesday 26 May

KANGAROOS AND CO: Tying in with Grant Museum of Zoology's Strange Creatures exhibition, there are several family activities based around the world of marsupials. Free, just turn up, 26-30 May

SHH...BANG!: A dance-theatre performance for children and their adults, playfully exploring sound and silence takes place at the Elgar Room in the Royal Albert Hall. £9.67, prebook, 11am/2pm (repeated tomorrow)

Wednesday 27 May

VICTORIAN FASHION: Take a look at the top trends for men, women and children during the Victorian Era at the Ragged School Museum. There’ll be lots of arts and crafts, face painting, costumes, and an Under 5’s play area. Free, 10am-5pm (repeated tomorrow)

NATURE DISCOVERY DAY: Head to Bushy Park to learn all about the invertebrates living under the water and the minibeasts living in the meadow. £15 per family, prebook, 10.30am-2.30pm

DINOSAUR INVESTIGATION: Natural History Museum has a dinosaur day where you can handle real fossil specimens and learn a little about the scientists that study them. Free, just turn up, 11am/2pm

SHAUN THE SHEEP: Head to Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham where under fives can listen to the adventures of Shaun the Sheep and make their very own Shaun to take home. £7, prebook, 11am. Later in the afternoon, over fives can attend a workshop to turn themselves into superheroes. £9, prebook, 2pm

Thursday 28 May

Head to Forty Hall in Enfield for a day of folklore. Photo: Matt

BEDTIME STORIES: Bedtime Stories at Stratford Circus tucks families into actual beds surrounding the stage to enjoy a family show combining acrobatics, 3D animation, live music and more. £8/£10, prebook, various performances until 30 May

MOTHS AND MAMMALS: Meet some of Bushy Park's resident moths and mammals by checking humane traps. Learn how to identify different species of small mammal and moths, and discover more about their habitats and adaptations. £15 per family, prebook, 10am-12.30pm

PUPPET MAKING: Chelsea Physic Garden runs a puppet making workshop, led by artist Hyunjung Choi. Design garden-inspired creatures and turn paper cups into beautiful characters. Age 7+. Prebook, 10.30am-3pm

FORTY HALL FOLKLORE: Forty Hall Estate in Enfield gives children the opportunity to be inspired by folk tales, and make their own folklore creatures in a creative workshop. Ages 4-11. £5/£4, prebook, 11am-2pm

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Head to the Royal Albert Hall for a child-friendly performance of Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking, an easy to follow sort-of-lecture. Age 6+. £13.24, prebook, 11am-2.30pm

TUDOR THEATRE: Museum of London has a family event about Tudor theatres. See some fascinating Tudor objects found on excavations at the Rose Theatre. Find out how Tudor sound effects were made and try on some replica costumes. 1pm

Friday 29 May

GAMING LOUNGE: Kids love video games? Take them along to the Southbank Gaming Lounge and introduce them to old classics such as Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario Brothers, Goldeneye, Zelda and more. Free, 29-31 May

DEN DAY: Today is Save The Children's fundraising Den Day. The Royal Institute of British Architects is supporting the event by giving children the chance to create their own shelters, learning about building temporary structures, and getting top den building tips from experts.  £10, prebook, 10am-4pm

FAMILY CONCERT: The Royal College of Music Museum in South Kensington has an interactive family concert. Free, prebook, 1.15pm

Saturday 30 May

FOSSIL HUNTER: The greatest fossil hunter ever known was Mary Anning, a woman from Lyme Regis — she helped discover the first Ichthyosaur when she was only 10 years old. Meet the Natural History Museum's Mary Anning character and hear her stories. 11.30am/2pm

CLOWNING AROUND: Hear the story of Joseph Grimaldi, a beloved entertainer who is remembered every year at the Clown Ceremony, in the Pleasure Gardens at Museum of London. 1pm/2pm/3pm

Sunday 31 May

PARROT DAY: London Wetland Centre's week of animal encounter days comes to a close with parrot day. See these birds up close and learn more about them through various activities. 10.30am-12.30pm and 2.30pm-4pm.

DISCO DANCE HALL: Parents and under fives can take to the dancefloor in a friendly, safe disco party at London Wonderground on Southbank. £8, prebook, 3pm

TALES FROM THE DEEP: A puppet show brings marine invertebrates to life at the Natural History Museum. Book on the day, 12pm/1.30pm

Last Updated 20 May 2015