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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 Feburary 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 – Sunday February 19 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

Magical Lantern Festival

The UK's Chinese Lantern festival floats back to Chiswick House and Garden for a second year - this time, with VR, theatre, performances and over 50 light installations. Look out for the giant fire rooster to celebrate the New Year.

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Chiswick House and Gardens , Chiswick Thursday January 19 2017 - Sunday February 26 2017

Orchid Festival

Kew Gardens' celebration of the orchid returns for its 22nd year, this time with an Indian theme. Sounds of India will surround the visual displays in the glasshouse, which will feature elaborate floral creations inspired by Indian markets. The festival includes behind the scenes tours, hands-on workshops and ‘Orchid Lates’ - allowing you continue the fun after hours. 

Kew Gardens , Kew Saturday February 4 2017 - Sunday March 5 2017

Adventures in Moominland

A major new immersive, interactive exhibition presents new insights into author Tove Jansson’s life and influences with rare archive objects and illustrations built into the experience. Part of the Southbank's Nordic Matters season. 

Spirit Level , South Bank Thursday January 19 2017 - Sunday April 23 2017

The Sherlock Holmes Experience

Once upon a time, the basement of Madame Tussauds was home to the Chamber of Horrors. The wax likenesses of murderers and criminals have made way for a Sherlock Holmes-themed interactive experience, which brings the world of the fictional detective to life for a walk-through adventure. See Holmes's drawing room, walk along a lamp-lit Victorian street and search for the infamous 'demon' hound on a dark moor. This permanent addition to Madame Tussauds London is included in the venue's entry price.

Madame Tussauds , Regent's Park Until Saturday July 15 2017

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. 

Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Thursday January 19 2017 - Sunday February 26 2017

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

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.

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

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.

By: Laura Lee 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.