Looking for family-friendly things to do in London in the Easter holidays? Check out our guide to Easter fun in the capital. From exhibitions to stage shows to craft activities, there's plenty going on in London while school's out.
School holiday dates vary from borough to borough and school to school, but the Easter holidays fall roughly between Monday 3 April and Sunday 16 April 2023 for most schools. Easter Weekend is 7-10 April 2023.
Easter holiday events in London
BBC EARTH: It feels like it's been forever in the making, but the immersive BBC Earth Experience finally opens in Earl's Court just in time for the Easter holidays. Voiced by David Attenborough, it's open to all ages (under-3s go free) and will be a walk-through take on 2019 TV show, Seven Worlds, One Planet. 30 March-31 July
ZOONORMOUS EGG HUNT: Take your family to see the animals at London Zoo during the Easter holidays, and there's the added bonus of a Zoonormous Egg Hunt to keep younger visitors entertained — and it's included in your entry ticket. As you wander around, solve riddles and unscramble clues on an animal theme to find your way to the secret golden egg. There are also Easter craft activities throughout the holidays. 1-16 April
SUPERWORM: Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's bestselling children's book Superworm is the focus of school holiday activities at Kew Gardens. Follow a trail through the gardens, keeping your eyes open for characters from the book, and find out the role they play in the gardens, as well as the importance of soil. Time it right, and the cherry blossom might be in full plumage too. (Plus, if you travel to Kew Gardens via TfL public transport, you can get 30% off tickets, excluding the Easter weekend — details on the TfL website) 1-16 April
MOMENTOUS MOMENTS: VE Day and the London 2012 Olympics are among the momentous moments being celebrated in London Transport Museum's Easter activities. As you wander through the Covent Garden museum, past historic trains, trams and buses, meet characters from different eras of London's history. Then, get creative and build your own futuristic time-travelling vehicle, in a workshop for 8-14 year olds. 1-16 April
CORONATION: The coronation celebrations begin early at Tower Bridge, which has drop-in creative sessions for kids to design their own celebratory bunting. Each piece of bunting made will go on display within the bridge over the coronation weekend. 4, 11 and 15 April
CLASSICAL FOR KIDS: Introduce younger members of the family to the joys of classical music at Classical for Kids, a relaxed chamber music concert at the Royal Albert Hall. It's performed in the Elgar Room by professional musicians from the Hall's resident Albert's Band, with no expectation for audience members to stay still or quiet throughout. Aimed at ages 4-11 and their families, but other ages welcome. 8 April
CHOCOLATE WORKSHOP: As if kids don't munch their way through enough chocolate at this time of year, Chelsea Physic Garden hosts another of its regular family chocolate workshops. Learn about how cocoa is grown and chocolate is made, before having a go at making your own chocolate treats. Age 5+. 11 April
Family-friendly exhibitions in the Easter holidays
ELMER AND FRIENDS: It's the final couple of weeks of Elmer and Friends, a Horniman Museum exhibition celebrating the work of late children's author David McKee. While kids will be most familiar with the patchwork elephant, older generations might recognise his previous work, including Not Now Bernard, King Rollo and Mr. Benn. Until 16 April
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY: Older kids and teenagers — especially those who love animals or are handy with a camera — might enjoy Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. It's one of our annual favourites, and this year more than 100 stunning snaps are on show from all over the world. Until 2 July
BRICK DINOS: The Lego-centric Brick Dinos exhibition is back at Horniman Museum, with creatures from the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods recreated in the tiny plastic bricks by artist Warren Elsmore. New for this time round is a Polacanthus model, displayed alongside the raptor-like Masiakasaurus — a life-sized flying pterosaur, the swamp-dwelling, crocodile-like Sarcosuchus — among others — plus hands-on activities such as a digging for fossils. Until 29 October
TITANOSAUR: It's great being a dinosaur fan in London right now — in addition to the above, Natural History Museum's anticipated new exhibition, Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur opens in time for the Easter holidays. It explores the world of titanosaur Patagotitan mayorum, one of the largest known creatures to have ever stalked our planet. Get up close to the colossal creature, and learn how it survived on our planet. Until January 2024
Family-friendly shows in the Easter holidays
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.
ARTSDEPOT: North Finchley arts centre artsdepot has a fantastic programme of family-friendly shows year-round, and the Easter holidays are no exception. In addition to lively shows Breathe and Animals, the programme includes The Bubble Show, a production of Tom Thumb, and a family circus workshop (though tickets for that one are selling out fast!).
THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF: Coming to the Unicorn Theatre in musical form is traditional fairy tale The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Watch the story of hungry goats Baby, Middle and Big, as they hatch a plan to cross a bridge to get to greener grass, only to encounter a troll along the way. The show lasts just short of an hour, and is ideal for ages 3-6. 12 March-23 April
THE TEMPEST: The Globe Theatre puts on a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, aimed at 11-16 year olds, some of whom may be studying the play in school. Watch the story unfold on a remote island, where Prospero commands spirit Ariel to wreck a passing ship, causing the passengers to wash ashore and become entangled in all sorts of drama. Scroll down this page for details of accompanying workshops and events. 18 March-15 April
BOSSY: An empowering family show celebrating Black culture, Bossy is the story of Beth, who goes on a hunt for an appropriate role model after being called 'bossy' when she runs for Head Girl. Catch it at Southbank Centre, accompanied by a Caribbean soundtrack. Aimed at ages 7-11. 7 April
Free things to do in London in the Easter holidays
PLAYGROUNDS: If the weather's playing nice, few things bring a smile to 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 located handily near tourist attractions so you can burn off some 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 should charm them.
CARIBBEAN TAKEOVER: The National Maritime Museum teams up with the Caribbean Social Forum for a free Caribben Takeover day, open to everyone and celebrating all aspects of Black culture here in Britain. Stay tuned for more details. FREE, 1 April
DISCOVERY DAYS: A staple of any school holiday in the capital, Royal Parks' Discovery Days are back, encouraging little Londoners to get closer to nature. Head to Hyde Park on 4 April to learn about springtime nature through pond dipping, a nature trail, arts and crafts and storytelling, or on 11 April for a look at some of mammals which live in the park. FREE, 4 and 11 April
THE PASSION OF JESUS: One of London's annual traditions is the Wintershall Players' free open-air performance of The Passion Of Jesus, taking place in Trafalgar Square on Good Friday. It tells the story of the last few days of Jesus's life and it's very popular — thousands of people usually turn up to watch so it's well worth getting there early to get a good view. It features a crucifixion scene, so may not be suitable for younger kids. We chatted with the guy who plays Jesus back in 2019 — though a new actor is taking on the role for 2023. FREE, 7 April
PEDAL POWER DISCO: How do you wear the kids out, and entertain them, for free, at an event that works whatever the weather? Take them along the Pedal Power Disco at Southbank Centre and get them cycling away to power the music — if they stop, the music stops. The bad news? There are adult-sized bikes too, so you're likely to get roped in to help. Ah well, can't win 'em all. FREE, 8 April
BOOK BUZZ: Got a little bookworm on your hands? If they've read their way through their entire bookshelf during the holidays, head to Book Buzz at artsdepot, a free book swap where they can exchange one of their old books for another one. Various activities are planned too — keep an eye on the website. FREE, 16 April
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.
Family-friendly activities in London in the Easter holidays
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 (we also have our pick of London's outdoor pools and lidos — but maybe save that one for the summer holidays, eh?)
ICE SKATING: Forget waiting until Christmas — London has year-round ice skating rinks, including one slap bang in the middle of the Central line.
DAY TRIPS: Fancy getting out of London for a day or two? Take a look at our map of day trips from London 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.