Want to sleep with dinosaurs? Bed down under an Elizabethan cannon? Or wake up beside the mummies? Time Out rounds up the top attractions that will let your kids bed down for the night. Call venues to find out dates of upcoming sleepovers.
On selected dates during the summer months London Zoo will allow (brave) kids to spend the night in their BUGS house alongside exotic, dangerous creepy crawlies from all over the world. Talks, snacks and a torchlit tour of the zoo are all included, as well as a morning tour before the zoo opens again the next day.
£65 per person. Minimum one adult per six children. Suitable for seven-to-11-year-olds.
Visit the London Zoo website for upcoming dates and more details.
These popular sleepovers take place every two months and are open to Young Friends of the British Museum and their chums.
Every sleepover brings temporary and permanent exhibitions to life with storytelling surrounded by centuries of world history, before kids bed down in the Egyptian and Assyrian Galleries. Then it's up early for breakfast, which is included in the ticket, and a farewell activity. Sleepovers are advertised in the magazine for Young Friends of the British Museum and bookings will be accepted by post only within the first few weeks to ensure fair ticket allocation.
In addition to sleepover invitations, Young Friends receive a gift membership pack full of museum goodies and the chance to attend other fun events.
Suitable for ages 8-15. Up to four children, one of whom must be a Young Friend, per adult.
The museum's monthly sleepover brings together a programme of activities to allow visitors to investigate the museum at night. There's a torch-lit tour to the darkest depths of the galleries, nature puzzles, then a chance to snuggle down for the night in the Central Hall, in the shadow of Diplodocus. 'Dino Snores' events sell out quickly so booking well in advance is essential. Visitors should eat before attending and take a snack for later in the evening. Breakfast is provided.
Each booking must include a minimum of five children and one adult. Age 7-11.
An opportunity to sail the seven seas in the company of famous and infamous explorer Sir Francis Drake, sleepovers aboard the Golden Hinde, a replica of Drake's ship permanently moored on the southern bank of the Thames, offer a 'voyage' in search of hidden treasures, and perhaps a bit of plundering too.
On arrival at 5pm a quick change into Tudor sailor costumes gets everyone set for firing the canons, before a traditional Tudor dinner and storytelling. After an exhausting evening on the high seas, the young crew bed down on the gun deck among the cannons. During the chilly winter months there are electric radiators and additional blankets available for families who don't fancy replicating the harsh conditions Drake and his crew would have endured. There's a security guard on board all night as well as the actors who lead the fun. Popular for birthday parties, the ship is also available for private hire.
Suitable for ages 6-11, with one adult per group. The events take place monthly from March to October.
Not a budget option, but if cost is not an issue what party girl or boy wouldn’t relish the chance to join the Hamleys teddy bears for their picnic, save the world with the action heroes, or relax at a doll’s pampering session? The world-famous toy shop is available for private hire on Saturday nights, when trained staff run treasure hunts and games galore and a chef serves a midnight feast before the partygoers head to the land of nod.
£4,500 for ten children. Suitable for six-to -11-year-olds.
Walk in the footsteps of Londoners past and explore the museum's galleries by torchlight at these special after-hours events for ages seven to 11. Three immersive activities will teach young guests about Roman armies, the Great Fire of London and Victorian detectives before they settle into sleeping bags for the night. The morning schedule involves a family-friendly film and breakfast. Each child or group of up to four children must be accompanied by an adult.Read more
Kids aged seven to 13 can embark on a very arty overnight at the Dulwich Picture Gallery on its first ever sleepover, Pillows and Paintbrushes. The event will be themed around American children's classic 'The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler', with stories, trails and creative activities in the gallery before lights out. A film adaption of the book will be screened in the morning, and a healthy breakfast will be served. Tickets go on sale on the Dulwich Picture Gallery website on August 3.Read more
The veteran in city sleepovers, Science Night has been running for so long that some of the current staff first attended as children in the nineties. Activities are based around a different theme each month but a hands-on workshop, a science show, and an IMAX film are guaranteed. After breakfast, once the doors are opened to the public, those exhausted by all the excitement head home to show off their creations but kids with energy to spare are free to explore the museum. Suitable for ages seven to 13. At least one adult per family group, see the Science Museum website for school group requirements.Read more
Growing up in London doesn't mean you can't be outdoors-y, and this camping expedition to the wild meadows of Morden Hall Park will be a treat for kids (and their parents) who can't get enough of the countryside. An afternoon of nature activities in the beautiful former deer park and ancient hay meadow, with its extensive network of waterways and impressive avenues of trees, will be followed by a night walk, then stories and toasted marshmallows by the campfire. Tea, dinner and breakfast are provided, but adventurers should bring all their own camping gear, including walking boots. Book ahead on 020 8545 6850.Read more