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.
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 make-and- take 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, including the 50 interactive exhibits in the Launchpad area and the dazzling Exploring Space Gallery. Jonathan Ross and Prince Andrew are among those whose children have enjoyed a Science Museum sleepover and recent satisfied overnighters praised the event as ‘better than we even dared imagine’.
£35 per person (bursaries are available). Five children per adult. Suitable for eight-to-11-year-olds.