February half term 2024 runs Saturday 10-Sunday 18 February for most London schools. We've selected some family-friendly events and things to do in London — however old your kids are and whatever your budget.
February half term events in London
IMAGINE CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL: Back like clockwork every February half term, Southbank Centre's Imagine Children's Festival has more than 100 events centred around children's literature, theatre, comedy, poetry and dance. Headline events featuring the likes of Michael Rosen, Joseph Coelho and Dr Ronx always sell out in advance, but there are also free events including storytelling and illustration workshops, poetry performances, beatboxing workshops and a family trail. 7-17 February
FAMILY FILM CLUB: Most Saturdays, Barbican Cinema hosts Barbican Family Film Club, with tickets just £3.50 for adults and £2.50 for children (all children must be accompanied by adults, and all adults must be accompanied by at least one child). Today it screens new French/Belgian animated film Sirocco and the Kingdom, with English subtitles. Age 5+. 10 February
ROC KING CLUB: Porchester Hall in Paddington hosts The Roc King Club, a family-friendly immersive theatre and dining experience. Tuck into a three-course meal as you enjoy 'The Greatest Knight of the Year' an interactive tournament, hosted by the charismatic compere Arthur Chalice, with audience participation between the three courses. Best suited for 6-12 year olds and their families. 10-11 February
CHOCOLATE WORKSHOP: Head to Chelsea Physic Garden to take part in a chocolate workshop, just in time for Valentine's Day. Learn about how cocoa is grown and made into chocolate, before creating your own choccy treats to devour at home. Age 5+. 12 and 14 February
DINOSAUR ADVENTURE LIVE: Join the rangers on Volcano Island in interactive theatre show Dinosaur Adventure Live, which is at Fairfield Halls in Croydon for one day only. Help the rangers save the dinosaurs as the volcano erupts — then meet the dinosaurs and have your photo taken with them after the show. 14 February
MATHS GAMESHOW: 'Best Wrong Answer' and 'How many times the size of Wales' are among the rounds in The Big Maths Gameshow at the Royal Institution. It's aimed at children age 7+ and their families, and aims to introduce some advanced mathematical ideas in an accessible manner. 14 February
FAMILY FUN DAY: Also at the Royal Institution is a Family Fun Day, based on the 2023 Christmas lectures. It's a flurry of demonstrations and activities, some of which are themed on artificial intelligence, aimed at 7-12 year olds and their families. 17 February
Family-friendly exhibitions in February half term
ORCHIDS: The annual Orchids festival is back at Kew Gardens, offering colourful floral installations to view, in the warmth of the Princess of Wales Conservatory. This year it's themed on Madagascar, and if previous years are anything to go by, you can expect to see the country's wildlife recreated in floral sculptures. Orchids is included with Kew Gardens entry, so you can make a day of it in the fresh air. 3 February-3 March
DINOSAURS: Forest Hill's Horniman Museum opens new exhibition, Dinosaur rEvolution, just in time for February half term. It features five large animatronic dinosaurs, and highlights discoveries from recent decades which have changed the way we picture dinosaurs — with an array of colours, feathers, quills and spikes, instead of as scaly green reptiles. It's also a last chance to see the beloved Horniman walrus in situ, as the museum's Natural History Gallery closes in early March, until 2026. From 10 February
Family-friendly London shows in February half term
MUSICALS: A few of London's long-running musicals are great for family theatre trips, including The Lion King, Frozen and Matilda. Older kids and teenagers might enjoy Mamma Mia!, Wicked, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
BILLY GOATS GRUFF: If you didn't catch The Three Billy Goats Gruff at Unicorn Theatre last year, it's back for another run. It's the story of three very hungry goats who have to be brave and work together to cross a bridge where a troll lives, to reach the grass on the other side. For ages 3-7. 20 January-18 February
DEAR ZOO: See Rod Campbell's children's book Dear Zoo brought to life on stage at Artsdepot in North Finchley, as Ben and Sally try to find their perfect pet at the zoo. Singing and puppetry feature, and it's aimed at ages 2+. 14-18 February
Free things to do in London in February half term
BRILLIANT BIRDS: Take the kids along to Hyde Park for Royal Parks' free Discovery Days, and learn about the birds which live there. Activities include storytelling, birdwatching, a chance to dissect owl pellets, and a discovery trail. FREE, 13-15 February
BLITZ STORYTELLING TRAIL: Help a time travelling member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service from the second world war get back home, in a free storytelling trail at the National Army Museum in Chelsea. Travel through the galleries, learning about the Blitz as you go, with four sessions throughout the day. Age 5+. FREE, 16 February
PLAYGROUNDS: If the weather's playing nice, few things bring a smile to young children's faces like a playground — and they're usually free, so it's a win for parents and carers too. Check out our map of playgrounds in central London; there are more than you might think, and many are handily located near tourist attractions, so little 'uns can burn off excess energy on a day out.
FILM STATUES: If you find yourself in central London, and need something free to entertain the family, head to Leicester Square and let them hunt out these bronze sculptures of film stars. Sure, you might have to explain Gene Kelly or Laurel & Hardy to younger members of the family, but Paddington, Bugs Bunny and Mary Poppins will instantly charm them.
MUSEUMS: Plenty of London's museums are free entry all year round, and while you may have to pay for temporary exhibitions, there's generally plenty to entertain all ages in the permanent collections. Try Science Museum for aeroplanes and space, Natural History Museum for animals, and Museum of London Docklands for the Mudlarks interactive gallery. Check booking requirements before you go, and be aware that you may have to queue during school holidays.
FREE MAZE: Ever been to the Brent Lodge Park Millennium Maze? The labyrinth is constructed of 2,000 yew trees, has been around for more than two decades, and is free to visit. It's a 10-minute walk from Hanwell station on the Elizabeth line, and there's a free playground and Hanwell Zoo (small entry fee) right next door.
Family-friendly activities in London in February half term
SWIMMING: A kiddie favourite, London has plenty of options for swimming, whatever the weather. From an Olympic venue to local leisure centres, these are some of London's best indoor pools.
ICE SKATING: London also has year-round ice rinks, including one slap bang in the middle of the Central line. Additionally, the pop-up winter Canary Wharf ice rink is open until 24 February, and it's undercover, so no need to fret about the weather.
DAY TRIPS: Fancy getting out of London for a day or two? Take a gander at our Beyond London section for inspiration. Particularly child-friendly is a visit to the real-life Hundred Acre Wood, as featured in AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh books. Wellington Country Park is also an excellent bet for energetic kids. Otherwise, wear them out by sending them searching for the dozens of frogs hidden down this back street, or the entire solar system within sight of the M25.
AUTISTIC KIDS: Looking for things to do over half term with autistic children? Check out our guide, which includes museums, theatres, sensory rooms and more.
TEENAGERS: Older kids and teenagers can be trickier to entertain, but have a read of our things to do in London with teenagers, covering everything from museums and exhibitions to shopping trips, a little-known neon art gallery, street art, and more adventurous days out.