Things To Do In London In Half Term: February 2020

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Things To Do In London In Half Term: February 2020

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A Harry Potter event is part of Imagine Children's Festival at Southbank Centre

ORCHID FESTIVAL: With its floral arches and blossoming animals, Kew Gardens' Orchid Festival is one of the prettiest events in London each year, adding a much-needed splash of colour to the chilly London winter. This year, focus is on Indonesia, with orchids from the archipelago on display, and tigers, rhinos and orangutans created from the flowers. Timed entry is a new addition this year, so although the festival is included in admission, you'll need to book a slot in advance. 8 February-8 March

IMAGINE FESTIVAL: Southbank Centre's annual Imagine Children's Festival focuses on all things to do with children's books and literature, aimed at tots through to teens. Highlights from this year's event include a celebration of the Harry Potter books, a kids' beatbox comedy show, and appearances by Michael Rosen and Dermot O'Leary. Southbank Centre, various prices, book ahead, 12-23 February

HARRY POTTER ART: Not yet made it to the Warner Bros Studio Tours in Leavesden? If you go this half term, there's the added bonus of an exhibition about the artwork of the films. Introducing the Art Department offers an insight into how props such as Harry's Hogwarts acceptance letter, and the Daily Prophet newspaper were designed. Warner Bros Studio Tours, various prices (exhibition included in admission), booking required, 14-24 February

Enrol the kids in Knight School at the Tower of London

KNIGHT SCHOOL: Time travel back to 1471, the time of the War of the Roses, when knights from the Houses of York and Lancaster were in battle. Find out if you have what it takes to become a knight at Tower of London's Knight School, aimed at 5-12 year olds, where tutors teach the skills required, ending in a knighting ceremony. Tower of London, included in admission, booking recommended, 15-23 February

PERMIAN MONSTERS: Yeah, dinosaurs are cool, but what came before the dinosaurs? Permian Monsters, that's what, and Horniman Museum dedicates a new, family-friendly exhibition to the sabre-toothed predators and bizarre insects of 252 million years ago. Find out about the Permian period and the creatures who lived then, through fossil skeletons and full-sized animatronic creatures. Horniman Museum (Forest Hill), family ticket £18, book ahead, 15 February-1 November

Come face to face with Permian Monsters

MAKE IT GO: Racing vehicles take centre stage at the Cutty Sark this half term, with kids invited to design and race their own creations. It's based on the sleek design of the Cutty Sark herself, created to make record-breaking journeys across the world's oceans. Cutty Sark (Greenwich), included in admission, just turn up, 17-21 February

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN: Head up to the roof of The Berkeley hotel for cosy, family-friendly screenings of The Greatest Showman at the Rooftop Winter Cinema. Curl up under fluffy blankets for the special half term events, with an Aspen-themed menu for the adults, and mini burgers, fries and chocolate brownies for younger viewers. The Berkeley (Knightsbridge), £95 adult/£75 child, book ahead, 17-23 February

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 May 2020

The Berkeley runs special half term screenings

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.

Saturday 15 February

See Mr Men and Little Miss come to life on stage.

MR MEN: Roger Hargreaves' Mr Men and Little Miss characters are brought to life on stage, using puppetry and music to amuse younger audiences. Mr Bump, Mr Tickle and Little Miss Splendid are among the familiar faces making an appearance. Age 1+. ArtsDepot (North Finchley) book ahead, 15-18 February

SHAUN THE SHEEP: Barbican's Family Film Club screens Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon. The 2018 Aardman film is about a toddler alien who crash lands, and needs the help of Shaun and co to find her way  home. Adults can only attend if accompanied by kids, and kids can only attend if accompanied by adults. Barbican Cinema, £3.50/£2.50, book ahead, 11am

Sunday 16 February

There's a free family fun day at Keats House

THE GREAT STINK: Summer 1858 was a smelly one in London. Learn all about the Great Stink from storyteller Emily Grazebrook, and find out about the dirt, disease and pollution which caused the river to smell so bad. Age 5+. Museum of London Docklands, free, just turn up, 15-16 February

FAMILY DAY: Musician Luke Crookes holds a free, family fun day at Keats House. Focus is on wellbeing through breathing, singing and creative expression. Keats House (Hampstead), free, just turn up, 2pm-4pm

Monday 17 February

AQUATIC ADAPTATIONS: With the Thames running right through the middle of London, find out how humans and animals have adapted to live alongside waterways. Museum of London hosts an interactive storytelling session looking at the past, as well as what we might have to change in the future. Age 3-5. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 11am/12.30pm/12pm

Tuesday 18 February

NATURE SKILLS: Who says kids can't go wild in the city? Spend a day in Hyde Park learning wild skills such as building a fire, cooking their own bread and creating a mask from hazel rods. The session is led by a fully trained and DBS checked forest school leader. Age 8-11. Hyde Park, £20, book ahead, 10am-3pm

CHOCOLATE TUESDAY: Chelsea Physic Garden's Chocolate Tuesdays are back. Learn about the history, geography and science behind cocoa and find out how the Garden's benefactor Sir Hans Sloane introduced cocoa to England. A tour, craft activities and tastings are all part of the event. Age 6-11, children must be accompanied by an adult. Chelsea Physic Garden, £17, book ahead, 10.30am-2.30pm

Wednesday 19 February

Have a go at light painting

LIGHT PAINTING: Learn how to use a DSLR camera to create light paintings — a technique which involves using a long exposure, and drawing in the air with sparklers (probably a Don't-Try-This-At-Home situation, to be honest). Learn different techniques, and work in groups to create your own designs. Age 8+. Gunnersbury Park Museum, £15, book ahead, 10am-12pm/1pm-3pm

BRILLIANT BIRDS: Spend the morning at The LookOut Centre in Hyde Park, helping out the birds which live nearby. Learn how to make a bird feeder (and take one home with you), follow a trail to learn more about the feathered residents, and take part in some bird watching. Hyde Park, free, book ahead, 11am-3pm

Thursday 20 February

Learn about lotions and potions at Chelsea Physic Garden

LOTIONS AND POTIONS: Find out how plants can be used as medicine — and poison — in Chelsea Physic Garden's lotions and potions session. Learn how to make your own, low-cost medicinal remedies, and see some of the medicinal plants grown in the garden. Age 7+, all children must be accompanied by an adult. Chelsea Physic Garden, £17, book ahead, 10.30am-2.30pm

LITTLE PRINCE: Hear the classic story of The Little Prince, retold on stage by a pilot stranded in the desert. Dance, comedy, spoken word and music all feature in the lively show. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), from £9, book ahead, 2pm

Friday 21 February

PUPPET WORKSHOPS: Learn the art of shadow puppetry at a workshop led by award-winning theatre company Smoking Apples. Use one of their designs or draw your own, and create a puppet to take home with you. Age 7+. Gunnersbury Park Museum, £15, book ahead, 10am-12pm/1pm-3pm

PAST LONDONERS: Meet a Londoner from the past at Museum of London. Wander around the galleries, and as you go, look out for actors playing the roles of important city dwellers, including sewer pioneer Joseph Bazalgette and Auxiliary Fire Service Officer Edith Tynan. Age 6+. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 11am

Saturday 22 February

Amazing Animations at Barbican

FAMILY FUN DAY: The Royal Institution holds a family fun day on the theme of secrets and lies. Talks, demonstrations and experiments run throughout the day, covering suspicious statistics, engineering meltdowns and more. Royal Institution (Mayfair), £16/£10, book ahead, 11am-4pm

AMAZING ANIMATIONS: As part of London International Animation Festival, Barbican Cinema's Family Film Club screens Amazing Animations. 12 short animated films from around the world are shown in the 70-minute programme, all suitable for 0-7 year olds and their families. Barbican Cinema, £3.50/£2.50, book ahead, 11am

Sunday 23 February

Learn about fishing in the Thames

ZOG: ArtsDepot keeps the entertainment coming with performances of Zog. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's trainee dragon is brought to life with new songs and plenty of the mischief he's known for. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), from £9, book ahead, 22-23 February

GONE FISHING: Find out about the history of fishing in the Thames. In 1957, the river was declared biologically dead, but these days, many species of fish thrive there. Take part in activities to learn about these species, and how people have fished in the Thames throughout history. Age 6+, Museum of London, free, just turn up, 22-23 February

Last Updated 17 January 2020