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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

© James Berry

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 (Monday May 30 - Friday June 3 2016). With that in mind, here’s our round-up of the capital's best events, activities and more to keep the kids entertained. Batteries not included – or necessary.

RECOMMENDED: explore the full guide to half-term in London

Top ten half-term activities for kids

Above and Beyond

Experience the marvellous world of flight and aerospace innovation at 'Above and Beyond', an immersive exhibition offering a look at the past and future of the science behind flight. Expect interactive experiences using flight simulation, augmented reality and virtual reality.

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National Maritime Museum , Greenwich Until Monday August 29 2016

Sensational Butterflies

The Natural History Museum's butterfly house returns for an eighth year in 2016 to a specially constructed tropical enclosure on the Museum's east lawn. Visitors can come face-to-face with tropical butterflies, including the swallowtail, blue morpho, the moon moth and many others originating from Africa, Southeast Asia and North and South America, and take part in games, activities and challenges that teach more about the sensory world of the fluttering creatures. 

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Natural History Museum , Brompton Until Sunday September 11 2016

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

Dinosaurs: Monster Families

Expect to see life-size models, interactive exhibits and authentic specimens at this family-friendly exhibition exploring dinosaurs and prehistoric approaches to parenting. Visitors can find out how dinosaurs cared for their eggs, nest and babies as well as marvelling at a near-complete skeleton of a dinosaur embryo and an incredible collection of fossils. 

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Horniman Museum , Forest Hill Until Sunday October 30 2016

Aladdin

Disney's lavish musical adaptation of its enormo-smash 1992 film has already been a walloping smash in New York, and this West End transfer has been on the cards for yonks. The London production will be anchored by Broadway cast member Trevor Dion Nicholas, who will follow in the late, great Robin Williams's footsteps in the pivotal role of the wisecracking Genie. 

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Prince Edward Theatre , Soho Monday July 25 2016 - Saturday February 11 2017

The City Garden

Inspired by gardens in the City of London, artist Rebecca Louise Law has created an installation especially for new Guildhall gallery The City Centre. Fresh flowers entwine with copper wire above head height where they will, over the summer, dry out and preserve themselves. Films accompany the exhibition.

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The City Centre , Moorgate Monday July 25 2016 - Sunday September 25 2016

Curtain Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Theatre in London and New York

This glam little exhibition makes the V&A's permanent 'Theatre and Performance' collection look positively drab with its flashing lights, sequins and showstoppers. It's a collection of posters, costumes, artefacts and recordings that represent the biggest shows in West End and Broadway history. 

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V&A , Brompton Until Wednesday August 31 2016

Festival of Love

The Southbank Centre's having quite the love-in this summer with the return of their Festival of Love – a summery collection of installations, activities, pop-ups and performances that celebrate humankind's most overwhelming emotion. Some weekends will explore specific themes; look out for the Big Wedding Weekend (Saturday August 27), which will involve a number of mass ceremonies in which couples may wed, renew their vows or convert their civil partnership into marriage.

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Southbank Centre , South Bank Until Monday August 29 2016

The Railway Children

Critics' choice

Review is from January 2015; the cast from April 27 2016 is headed by Martin Barrass as Mr Perks Mike Kenny’s hit stage adaptation chugs into a new station at King’s Cross with all its charm and energy intact. E Nesbit’s book-turned-cult movie about three exceptionally well-mannered Edwardian children is essentially ‘Brief Encounter’ for families. But this lively live version is more than just a ticket for the nostalgia express.Admittedly, the 60-tonne star of the show is a very real museum piece, the big, brassy William Adams Express Passenger Engine No 563. But the human cast is jolly decent too: Jeremy Swift (aka Maggie Smith’s butler in ‘Downton’) brings comedy and gravitas to Mr Perks, the stationmaster who befriends the three children (nicely played by grown-ups) when they move up to Yorkshire after their father is wrongly imprisoned.The stage show is livelier and less exquisitely poignant than the movie: steam locomotive nerds may get misty eyed, but anyone who has the words ‘daddy, my daddy’ monogrammed onto their tear-stained pocket handkerchief may be disappointed. That’s largely a good thing in this kiddie-packed temporary theatre, erected over railway track that will shortly make way for Google’s London headquarters. Small viewers appreciate the thrilling and clever staging, which hoots, chuffs out smoke, and sends the railway children racing all over a set built on platforms either side of the track.The show has lost some of its pace since first outing, but it’s

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Until Sun Jan 8

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

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.