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Top ten half-term activities in London

Impress the kids with some of the best activities London has to offer this half-term

© Chris Christodoulou

As much as we love telly and video games, we have to admit: a half-term in London spent on the sofa is one wholly wasted. With that in mind, here’s our round-up of the capital's best events, activities and more to keep the kids entertained over the Spring half-term (Monday February 13 – Friday February 17 2017). Batteries not included – or necessary.

RECOMMENDED: Explore the full guide to half-term in London as we'll be updating this page with events nearer the time

Top ten half-term activities for kids

How To Hide A Lion

Iris has a brand new friend, but she knows her family and friends won't love him quite as much as she does. This story of a girl trying to hide a lion in all sorts of devious ways is adapted by Peter Glanville from Helen Stephen's children's story, and will feature songs by singer-songwriter Barb Jungr. There are two versions: one for todders ages 1-2, and another for kids ages 3-6. 

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Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Until Sunday February 26 2017

The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit

Belgian artist Carsten Höller (who set up a pair of spiral slides outside the Hayward Gallery as part of his 2015 exhibition) has designed this new addition to the Olympic Park's sculpture-cum-attraction. Guests will be able to fly down the world's longest and tallest slide as part of their visit.

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ArcelorMittal Orbit , Stratford Until Saturday December 31 2016

Fire! Fire!

On September 2, 350 years ago, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary about ‘an infinite great fire’ raging in London. Homes burned, people scrambled to save their goods and pigeons ‘hovered about the windows and balconies till they some of them burned their wings’. It’s a compelling tale but, for a museum, a tricky one to tell. How do you stage an exhibition when so many of the artefacts have been incinerated? 

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Museum of London , Smithfield Until Monday April 17 2017

Land of the Lions

Construction of this vast new exhibit began back in 2014. Two years on, the zoo is ready to rehome its pride of endangered Asiatic lions in this enclosure which is styled on the ruins of an amphitheatre-like lion temple. Visitors can get up close to the beautiful big cats thanks to newly installed 'windowless-views' created using fine wires and explore the park filled with rickshaws.

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Until Sat Dec 31

Cartoon Museum

Downstairs the artists' names are immediately recognisable; upstairs – where comic strip art from 2000AD, the Dandy and the Beano is displayed – is much more about the characters portrayed: Rupert the Bear, Dan Dare, Judge Dredd et al. The excellent shop is recommended. Children's animation workshops are held during school holidays.

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Bloomsbury

Science Museum

Recommended

The Science Museum features seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command module and a flight simulator. Launch Pad is a popular hands-on gallery where children can explore basic scientific principles.

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Brompton

Tower of London

Despite the exhausting crowds and long climbs up stairways, this is one of Britain's finest historical attractions. Who would not be fascinated by a close-up look at the crown of Queen Victoria or the armour (and prodigious codpiece) of King Henry VIII? 

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Tower Hill

Sealife London Aquarium

In addition to the hundreds of varieties of fish and sea life from all over the world, including stingrays, sharks, piranhas and sea scorpions, the aquarium's Shark Walk allows visitors to walk over a floating glass platform with sharks swimming just below their feet.

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South Bank

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Run by the team behind London Zoo and set in 600 acres of Bedfordshire parkland with views across the Chilterns, Whipsnade offers a huge variety of animals including all the favourites – chimps, lions, elephants, camels, zebras, hippos and giraffes. The emphasis is on learning about how the animals live in near-as-possble natural habitats, with viewing huts providing exceptional views through glass walls. There are also daily shows where you can watch feeding time and find out more about the zoo's exotic beasts. The ZSL Animal Photography Prize Exhibition runs at the zoo until July 1, featuring impressive images of animals around the world.

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London

The View from the Shard

The View from the Shard offers panoramic, 360-degree views across the capital and beyond (up to 64km or 40 miles on a clear day) from 244 metres (800 feet) up – almost twice the height of any other viewing point in London. The attraction is a two-level deck on floors 68 to 72 of the skyscraper, to which visitors are whisked in two stages on supersmooth, high-speed lifts that take just 30 seconds to reach the 'View'.

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London Bridge

Find more family-friendly fun in town

101 things to do in London with kids

There need never be a dull moment in this city – London is jam packed with fantastic experiences and days out for families and kids. Here are 101 of the best things to do with children in London.

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By: LauraLee Davies

Comments

5 comments
lilibartley
lilibartley

Thanks ThomasCrock, I am going to take you up on the Lincoln thing! My daughter is weirdly obsessed with him so that will definitely wile away a few hours...

ThomasCrock
ThomasCrock

great selection. thank you, has been invaluable. Did also go to the new Tiger space at London Zoo, unfortunately was a very rainy day and the tigers (as with most of the animals) were in hiding. Have also been using www.lincolnfingerpuppet.com as a companion to keep the kids amused!

Daniela Dellacqua
Daniela Dellacqua

hello i am very impressed with your choices of children half term activities only i would like to suggest to include a few for the under 5 years old many thanks

Anne Bradley
Anne Bradley

Half term for some parents outside of London started on the 11 February 2013. London should take into account this.

Maureen
Maureen

I do feel sorry for more than 2 kids in family as I feel they do miss out I know my 4 grand children do I want to take them to places but just cant afford places of interest as 4 comes so expensive.