Things to do in October Half Term is sponsored on behalf of Kidtropolis.
PORTS OF CALL: Learn about the voyages the Cutty Sark took in its seafaring days. All week, the tea clipper hosts music and dance performances, workshops, craft activities and more based on its ports of call. Cutty Sark (Greenwich), included in admission, just turn up, 21-26 October
FAIRYTALE TRAIL: As part of London Literature Festival, Southbank Centre has created a free fairytale trail for families to follow at their own pace. Solve puzzles and take part in games and creative activities using the trail kit — we've heard a rumour of a reward for anyone who completes it. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 21-27 October
PIRATE SCHOOL: Ahoy mateys! Get thee to Pirate School to learn the ups and downs of the high seas. Parents and carers are very much involved too, as their children transform into seafaring pirates — all while remaining on dry land. Ages 3-9. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), from £9, book ahead, 22-26 October
THE GRUFFALO: Oh help, oh no, it's a Gruffalo. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's beloved fictional creature comes to life on stage, using songs to tell the story of Mouse, Fox, Owl and the Gruffalo himself. Age 3+. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), from £9, book ahead, 22-27 October
ANANSI THE SPIDER: Unicorn Theatre's Anansi The Spider show celebrates Black History Month by telling West African and Caribbean tales about Anansi The Spider. The creature was apparently once the cleverest animal in the kingdom, and quite the trickster — but could sometimes be too clever for his own good. Unicorn Theatre (Southwark), £16/£13/£10, book ahead, until 27 October
ICE SKATING: The Natural History Museum ice rink has announced that it will reopen on 19 October. However, Canary Wharf ice rink isn't happening this year — keep an eye on our ice skating guide for further updates on rinks across the city.
BRICK WONDERS: Egyptian pyramids, the Great Barrier Reef, Greek temples and the old London Bridge are just some of the landmarks, both historical and present day, that have been recreated in Lego bricks for this fantastic exhibition. Horniman Museum (Forest Hill), £8/£4.50, book ahead, until 27 October
POTION ROOM: Wands at the ready as you tuck into a Potion Room afternoon tea. Attend a potion class at the secret School of Wizarding Alchemy, and enjoy a sweet and savoury afternoon tea paired with the potions you make. Age 8+. Cutter & Squidge (Soho), £49.50 (£39.50 kids), book ahead, until December 2019
BEASTS OF LONDON: Museum of London's enchanting interactive experience Beasts of London tells the history of the capital through the animals that have lived here. Fleas, foxes and elephants are just some of the animals voiced by celebrities including Brian Blessed. Aimed at age 7+. Museum of London, £10/£5, book ahead, until January 2020
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. Or visit a budget-friendly alternative to the big attractions. If your kids are a bit older, check out these ideas for days out with teenagers. Take a look at our map of where you can see animals in London — whatever the weather.
WHERE TO EAT: Finding somewhere to eat out with kids can be tricky, but these child-friendly restaurants in London offer more options than just pizza and chips. The pub may seem like an inappropriate suggestion, but bear with us — we've rounded up the best family-friendly pubs in London. See if your local made the list. Alternatively, try out these restaurants where kids eat for free.
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.
Looking for a fun way to keep the kids entertained this half term? Try Kidtropolis!
Kids already pestering you about half term activities? Take them to Kidtropolis this October half term — for hours of fun, away from the internet and TV.
One of the UK's most exciting kid events, Kidtropolis is at ExCel London from 19-21 October — promising spectacular fair rides, a 200 metre inflatable Labyrinth challenge, messy play, VR, gaming and even ice skating!
Kids will love seeing their favourite YouTubers, character mascots and TV superstars. And let's face it, you're already excited about going, too!
Tickets include all activities unless otherwise specified. No wonder last year’s show was a sell out. Get your tickets before they're all gone.
Kidtropolis is at ExCel London from 19-21 October. Tickets for a four-hour session start from £12 (+booking fee). Recommended age for kids: 12 and under.
Saturday 19 October
MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO: Kids have to be accompanied by adults, and adults have to be accompanied by kids at Family Film Club. This week's screening is My Neighbour Totoro, a Japanese fantasy animation about young sisters Satsuki and Mei who move to the countryside and make friends with the furry seven foot Totoro who lives in a tree in their garden. Barbican Cinema, £3.50/£2.50, book ahead, 11am
Sunday 20 October
POPPING POEMS: As part of Poetry International festival, Southbank Centre hosts a show of Poems That Pop, making the art form accessible to children and their families. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 12pm
COMEDY CLUB: Why should adults have all the fun? Comedy Club 4 Kids is exactly what it says — an adult-style comedy club, but with the jokes toned down for a younger audience. Age 6+. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), from £9, book ahead, 12pm/2.30pm
PEG DOLLS: Keats House hosts a creative afternoon where anyone's invited to create peg doll incarnations of the people who once lived in the house. Keats House (Hampstead), free, just turn up, 2pm-4pm
Monday 21 October
AUTISM-FRIENDLY DAY: Gunnersbury Park Museum hosts a more relaxed day, aimed at families with children on the autism spectrum. A quiet room is available for anyone who needs it, and object handling is available for anyone with sensory needs. Gunnersbury Park Museum, free, book ahead, 11am-3pm
HALLOWEEN SHOW: If your little monsters are excited about Halloween already, take them along to the Not So Scary Halloween Show, a gently spooktastic production featuring the brave Captain Fantastic and his friends. Age 3+. Dugdale Centre (Enfield), £11/£10.50, book ahead, 11am/1.30pm (repeated on Sunday)
JACQUELINE WILSON: Bestselling children's author Jacqueline Wilson makes an appearance at Ally Pally to celebrate the launch of the next instalment in the Tracy Beaker series. Wilson reveals the storyline of Tracy and her daughter Jess, and offers a look at what's next for them. Illustrator Nick Sharratt also appears. Age 8+. Alexandra Palace, from £16/£12, book ahead, 2pm
Tuesday 22 October
HEDGEHOG DAY: Celebrate all things spiky at Battersea Park Zoo's hedgehog day. Reps from the People's Trust for Endangered Species are on hand to talk about the difficulties hedgehogs face, and what we can do to help them. There's also storytime, arts and crafts, and maybe even the chance to meet a real hedgehog. Battersea Park Zoo, included in admission, just turn up, 10am-4.30pm
CHOCOLATE TUESDAY: Chelsea Physic Garden benefactor Sir Hans Sloane is also credited with introducing hot chocolate to the UK. Pay tribute to him at Chocolate Tuesday, a day of garden tours, craft activities and tastings based on the history and geography of chocolate. Age 6-11. Chelsea Physic Garden, £15, book ahead, 10.30am-2.30pm
MISSION INVERTEBRATE: Meet all manner of bugs and creepy crawlies at the Mission: Invertebrate Roadshow. Get up close to London's bees, beetles, snails and spiders, and learn more about them through a bug hunt, storytelling and craft activities. Brompton Cemetery, free, just turn up, 11am-3pm
Wednesday 23 October
GREEN SCREEN: Create a film with your own character, and learn about drawing, performance and theatre design at this workshop. Learn green screen techniques to animate your character and bring it to life. Foundling Museum (Bloomsbury), included in admission, just turn up, 11am-1pm/2pm-4pm
STORYTIME: The Science Museum heads west for an off-site family storytime session. Hear the tale of the Not So Sleepy Hedgehog, whose eyes play tricks on him when he settles down to hibernate. Age 3-7. Gunnersbury Park Museum, £4, book ahead, 11am/12pm/1.30pm/2.30pm
BEATBOX FOR KIDS: World record-breaking beatboxer SK Shlomo leads kids on a beatbox adventure, teaching them how to make music using just their mouths and a microphone. Let's hope you don't hear them awake practising at 3am... Royal Albert Hall, £11, book ahead, 11am/2pm
Thursday 24 October
MAKE A WAND: Get ready for Halloween by creating your own magic wand. Learn how to use specialist wood carving tools under the guidance of an experienced carver — all children need an adult on hand to help them out. Age 8+. Gunnersbury Park Museum, £12, book ahead, 10.30am/1.30pm
MAGIC POTIONS: Learn about the history of medicine and the folklore of plants at Chelsea Physic Garden's lotions and magic potions day. Learn how to make your own low-cost healing potions, and plant your own mini medicinal garden to take home with you. Age 8+. Chelsea Physic Garden, £15, book ahead, 10.30am-2.30pm
HOCUS POCUS: Family-friendly Hocus Pocus is a dance show featuring two performers, vivid costumes and eerie props, creating a dreamlike spectacle. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), from £9, book ahead, 11am/2pm
HAIR-RAISING HALLOWEEN: Royal Parks offer free creepy crawly Halloween activities, including spooky stories, a nature trail, and a potion made using foraged herbs. For an extra charge (£15), make your own bat box to take home with you. Hyde Park, free, book ahead, 11am-3pm
Friday 25 October
PUMPKIN CARVING: Skilled woodcarver Tim Norris offers expert advice on pumpkin carving, showing you how to give your vegetable some personality, at this workshop. Age 4+. Gunnersbury Park Museum, £11, book ahead, 10.30am/1.30pm
THEATRICAL WIGS: Kids can indulge their inner thespian at the Foundling Museum, where artist Isobel Manning leads a creative session creating the type of wigs you'd see at the theatre. Age 5+. Foundling Museum (Bloomsbury), included in admission, just turn up, 11am-1pm/2pm-4pm
SOLAR SYSTEM: Take a grand tour of the solar system as part of London Literature Festival. Space scientist and educator Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock talks about the most magnificent sights and spectacles in outer space including planets, moons, asteroids, comets and satellites. Southbank Centre, £10/£7.50, book ahead, 2pm
Saturday 26 October
BOO AT THE ZOO: Things get spooky at Battersea Park Zoo. Head along in your scariest fancy dress costume and get your face painted, take part in spooky crafts, listen to story time, and brave putting your hand into scary boxes and guessing what's inside. Battersea Park Zoo, included in admission (small extra charge for some activities), just turn up, 11am-12.30pm/1.30pm-3.30pm
FAMILY FUN DAY: One for budding scientists — head to the Royal Institution for a family fun day of engineering, medicine and science. Exact details tbc. Age 7-12. Royal Institution (Mayfair), £16/£10, book ahead, 11am-4pm
DIWALI: Celebrate the festival of light with a day of family-friendly activities. Watch Bollywood music and dance performances — and have a go yourself — and take part in craft activities themed on light. The day ends with a parade. National Maritime Museum (Greenwich), free, just turn up, 11am-4.30pm
Sunday 27 October
FUNHARMONICS: Zog the dragon — a creation of story book duo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler — has been translated onto the big screen in an animated film. Watch the film, accompanied live by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Southbank Centre, £8-£24, book ahead, 12pm
ENSONGLOPEDIA: Distressed damselflies, crazy corals and batty birds are some of the creatures that feature in the Ensonglopedia of Animals, a musical show with a song about an animal for every letter of the alphabet. What's the betting zingy zebras make an appearance? ArtsDepot (North Finchley), from £9, book ahead, 11am/2pm
FAMILY CONCERT: Introduce your children to the joy of a concert at Barbican. London Symphony Orchestra performs a family-friendly show about enchanted woods, wolves and witchcraft. Age 7-12. Barbican Hall, £16/£10/£5, book ahead, 2.30pm