Things to do in London with the kids this half term
Whether you live in the capital or are visiting on a London city break, you’ll know it can be difficult to think of ways to entertain the kids. Travelzoo has come to your rescue for half term, with this list of family favourites from our 101 Things to do in London guide. You’re welcome!
Get to Greenwich for distractions galore
There are just so many things to see and do in this historic corner of London. You could straddle the Meridian Line, snoop around the Cutty Sark, marvel at Nelson’s uniform in the National Maritime Museum or head to the Royal Observatory. While you’re there, stop in at the Astronomy Centre and get your kids to touch the meteorite in the lobby (for free). It’s 4.5 billion years old and proudly sports a sign that claims it is “the oldest object you will ever touch”. Guaranteed to blow any young scientist’s mind…
Drive, fly & sail down memory lane
If your little ones are into vehicles and trains, the London Transport Museum will definitely float their boat. Go back to the 1800s and examine the horse-drawn carriages that once carted people around. Then head to the first floor and check out the first steam-powered underground engine and an old wooden railway coach you can actually board – just the ticket for train nerds.
Treat them to cronuts at Dominique Ansel bakery
Welcome to Dominique Ansel, the home of the cronut. Yes, that’s a croissant-doughnut hybrid and yes, it’s exactly as good as it sounds. Assuming your children have been sufficiently well behaved, this would make for a great treat stop. You should probably try one yourself, just to be on the safe side. There are other goodies to enjoy too, including a sumptuous hot chocolate with magic flowering marshmallow.
Take the Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Warner Bros Studio Tour gives you a chance to get close to many of the sets and props from the Harry Potter movies – it’s the closest you’ll get to beeing inside Hogwarts itself. Saunter down Diagon Alley, explore the Great Hall at Hogwarts, drink a flagon of Butterbeer, and discover the secrets behind the films’ special effects and animatronics.
Come face-to-face with nature’s most awe-inspiring beasts at the Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is a cavernous space full of wonders from the natural world. Take an escalator through “the centre of the earth”, experience the ground shaking in an earthquake simulator and even get up close with a giant squid. Encounters with this astonishing creature, as well as many other spectacular exhibits, are available on special private tours.
Befriend a taxidermied walrus at the Horniman Museum
What child doesn’t want a selfie with a big stuffed walrus? Exactly! Set in surprisingly suburban-feeling Forest Hill, the Horniman Museum is home to other taxidermied creatures of all kinds, from crabs and owls to bulldogs. Other collections include anthropological exhibits from around the world and a gallery packed with musical instruments. There’s also a little aquarium downstairs, plus regular new exhibitions to watch out for.
Hide in Churchill’s Bunker at the Cabinet War Rooms
Welcome to the place where some of World War II’s most pivotal strategies were masterminded. Lurking beneath Government offices in Westminster, the Churchill War Rooms (also known as the Cabinet War Rooms) provide a perfectly preserved snapshot of the world of Winston Churchill as he led the UK through World War II. This amazing series of underground rooms is a true historical treasure trove, offering unparalleled insight into the upper echelons of wartime Britain – you can even see the gouged arms of the Prime Minister’s red leather chair caused by the nervous pounding of his pinkie ring.
Get thoroughly spooked at the London Dungeon
Not suitable for either the very young or the easily scared, the London Dungeon is a part-theatrical, part-historical walk-through experience that’s designed to educate, terrify and enthral. As you’re led through the dark, dingy cobblestone entrance, the smells, sights and sounds you encounter will reveal some of the city’s darkest stories – from tales of the Great Plague, with its corpses, boils and scuttling rats, to the death-dealing exploits of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper. The experience lasts 90 minutes, but if you’re easily scared (or have very young children) you should maybe stay away.
Walk with wild deer in Richmond Park
There’s no bad time to visit Richmond Park, but autumn is particularly special, bringing with it the start of the deer rut, in which stags compete for females. Be advised: the stags will be in a particularly aggressive mood at this time, so you’d be well advised to view from a distance. This is the largest of London’s eight Royal Parks, with more than 1,000 acres of green space to explore. There are also a number of coffee shops offering a good selection of sandwiches and cakes within the park (you may need a map to find them, though).
Be wowed by the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition
The winning images from this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition are now on display at the Natural History Museum. Each year, the acclaimed exhibition is first shown in the museum before touring more than 60 cities in the UK and across the world. The award-winning images, captured by photographers young and old, will leave you in awe of the beauty and brilliance of the natural world.
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For more tips, check out our guide, 101 Things to do in London