Top 10 things to do with the kids this bank holiday
Stuck for things to do with the kids this August bank holiday? Panic over, we've got plenty to keep them sweet
This year's August bank holiday falls on Monday August 25 2014 and, as always, we've got some fail-safe family-friendly ideas to keep the kids happy over the long weekend. Forget staying at home in front of the television, London's got a lot to offer the little ones over the bank holiday weekend.
Keep the kids entertained all weekend long
A walking tour for 'Harry Potter' fans, exploring film locations and inspirations for the books, with props and trivia. Ten per cent of donations go to charity. Group sizes are kept small so booking is essential. And you need a travel card as a short tube is involved.
The Horniman Museum provides extensive facilities for families, including a nature trail, weekend workshops and a hands-on base where children can touch museum objects. The gardens offer spectacular views over London. The Nature Base explores the natural world with exhibits including the Horniman Museum beehive.
- 100 London Road, SE23 3PQ
Rooms 62 and 63 of the Roxie Walker galleries are top of most children's agendas; it's here that the Egyptian mummies reside, exerting an eerie spell over visitors. Inventive and free family events run on Saturdays. Handling sessions take place daily in various galleries and there are some fantastic trail booklets available in the Paul Hamlyn Library that help kids of different ages get the best out of the museum.
- 44 Great Russell St, WC1B 3DG
The museum splits its exhibits into four colour-coded zones, each with its own marvels. In Blue Zone, a life-size model of a blue whale quietens all but the loudest of kids. Geology takes centre stage in the Red Zone. It's a dramatic escalator ascent through the centre of the earth. At the top you'll find the ground-shaking earthquake simulator – a reliable source of giggles and a few shrieks of alarm.
- Cromwell Rd, SW7 5BD
No one's too young (or old) to get a kick out of a visit here. Icons of science (Stephenson's Rocket locomotive, Crick and Watson's DNA model) are treated with due respect, but this place couldn't be less stuffy with its games, simulators and interactive exhibits. The jewel in its crown is Launchpad, where 50 hands-on exhibits and experiments keep kids agog; here, they can make a rainbow or take a dizzying turn on the rotation station.
- Exhibition Rd, SW7 2DD
This much-loved museum does a sterling job of presenting a fascinating and entertaining history of transport in the capital, with many vehicles to explore along the way. For children, the London Transport Museum has an under-fives play area decorated with Steven Appleby illustrations and the chance to sit in the driver's cab of a red bus and guide a Northern Line simulator through tunnels and up to platforms – (truth be told, it's fun for adults, too).
- Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB
A lot of thought has gone into making this museum child-friendly; after all, it's a tease to see so many toys and not be able to play with them. To compensate, there are activity stations in each area with Lego, stickle bricks, a sandpit, board games, rocking horses, a book corner and many other treats. In addition, the museum hosts plenty of kids events at weekends and during school holidays.
- Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 9PA
Housed in a set of 18th-century almshouses, the Geffrye Museum offers a vivid physical history of the English interior. It's like time-travelling without the Tardis. On the first Saturday of the month there are free quizzes and craft activities for 5-16 year-olds, while half-term brings hands-on workshops for all ages. In summer, there's an eclectic array of family days; events often spill into the glorious gardens, so bring a picnic to eat on the grass.
- Kingsland Rd, E2 8EA
The Pollock’s Toy Museum collection includes board games, marbles, money-boxes, puppets, wax dolls, toy theatres, dolls houses and wonderful, intricately detailed model shops, as well as the world’s oldest surviving teddy and a 4,000 year-old mouse made from Nile clay.
- 1 Scala St, W1T 2HL
Monthly creative family workshops run by artists bringing Kenwood's paintings to life. Families can try different arts and crafts whilst exploring the house and finding out more about its collections. Drop in any time to these free activities.
Dinosaurs, mummies, rockets and planes – who said museums were just for grown ups?
Discover fantastic days out for all of the family just outside the capital
Worry not, you're guaranteed to find a film that will keep the kids amused
Even the smallest members of the family will enjoy the odd stage show, trust us
- The Institute of Sexology
- Hogwarts in the Snow
- Real Food Market
- Mapping the City
- Astronomy Photographer of the Year
- Silent Disco at The View from The Shard
- Wildlife Photographer of the Year
- Drawn by Light: The Royal Photographic Society Collection
- The Art of the Brick
- Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House