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Top 10 things to do with the kids this bank holiday

Stuck for things to do with the kids this May bank holiday? We've got plenty to keep them entertained

This year's May bank holiday takes place on Mon May 4 2015 and, as always, we've got some fail-safe family-friendly ideas to keep the kids happy over the long weekend.

May bank holiday events for kids


Canalway Cavalcade

The pretty waterways of Little Venice will be even more colourful than usual for 2015's May bank holiday weekend as the Inland Waterways Association organises their annual gathering of canal boats. Many of the waterborne homes will be dressed up to the nines ready for the pageant, and visitors can expect plenty of very British fun including morris dancers and a real ale tent. There'll also be trade stalls, live music, children's activities and refreshments.

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Little Venice Saturday May 2 2015 - Monday May 4 2015 Free


Let’s face it: everyone could do with improving their street cred occasionally. Thankfully, we can all up our game at Streetfest – which takes in top-level DJs spinning underground beats, furiously fresh rappers and cutting-edge designs from graffiti artists and tattooists. If all that ink sounds a little static, enjoy some physical thrills instead. Breakdancers will be battling while skateboarders and BMX riders throw themselves around a big ramp for your sadistic viewing pleasure. 

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Tobacco Dock Sunday May 3 2015

Early May Bank Holiday at Discover

This Bank Holiday weekend is dedicated to everyone's favourite waddlers: penguins. You'll be able to listen to a penguin story (at 12.30pm Sat-Mon), make your own mini penguin, dress up as a penguin and even (at 3.30pm Sat-Mon) join the penguin parade. Special events include author William Grill giving an illustration workshop based on his book Shackleton's Journey (over-7s; 2.30pm May 2) and a reading of Space Penguins by author LA Courtenay (over-6s; 2.30pm May 3).

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Discover Children's Story Centre Saturday May 2 2015 - Monday May 4 2015

Penguin Parade

Waddle your way into May at this penguin-themed activity weekend featuring readings from 'Penguin' by Polly Dunbar and 'Space Penguins' by L A Courtenay. At 3pm each day a penguin parade will take place in the garden (weather permitting) with 15 minutes of games and prizes for the best penguin shuffle. Activities are included in the price of admission.

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Discover Children's Story Centre Saturday May 2 2015 - Monday May 4 2015

Shaun in the City

Fifty giant (and very colourful) statues of Shaun the Sheep will be dotted around the city ready for fans of the fluffy fella to track down. The Shauns have been decorated by artists, celebrities and designers and once their trail duties are done they'll be auctioned off in aid of children's hospitals across the UK.

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Various London locations Until Monday May 25 2015 Free

Sensational Butterflies

The Natural History Museum's butterfly house returns for a seventh year in 2015 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 Until Sunday September 13 2015

Stepping Out: Celebrating Hackney City Farm

To mark the birthday of Hackney City Farm, which was founded by Hackney residents in 1984, Hackney Museum is bringing together a celebratory exhibition about the farm's rich history. As well the opportunity to learn about the site’s former uses and see exhibits about the animals and gardens there will be creative activities for visitors of all ages. Visitors will also be able to use an interactive map created by artist Rebecca Davies in collaboration with local people who live, work or play in the E2 community. At the end of the exhibition’s run in May it will transfer to Hackney City Farm.

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Hackney Museum Tuesday April 21 2015 - Saturday May 16 2015 Free

Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime

Our picture may be somewhat skewed as a result of compulsive viewing of various TV crime series but, every which way you carefully inspect it, forensics is a damn cool use of science. This exhibition of original evidence, archival material, photographs, film footage, specimens, forensic implements and artworks will look at the history, art and science of forensic medicine. Exploring the area where law and medicine cross over, it promises to reveal the truth behind some of the myths perpetuated by crime dramas. 

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Wellcome Collection Until Sunday June 21 2015 Free

Strange Creatures: The Art of Unknown Animals

When intrepid explorers set out on international adventures and discovered animal species which were completely alien to their society, the only way of explaining them to the wider world was through art and description. Nowadays we have more impressive technology to help us get it right, but an artist's impression is still often our first contact with a previously undiscovered species. This exhibition brings together a range of animal representations including Europe's first image of an Australian animal, medieval accounts of exotic creatures and cutting-edge reconstructions of dinosaurs.

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Grant Museum of Zoology Monday April 20 2015 - Saturday June 27 2015 Free

Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation

Considering its culture dates back around 55,000 years, we don't get many chances to learn more about indigenous Australia. This exhibition will use objects from the British Museum's collection to tell its story, focusing on complex spiritual relationships with the natural world and the intimate knowledge of the country's unique and diverse environments. The exhibits often originate from the earliest contact between indigenous Australians and outsiders in locations which are now major Australian cities, and the history of collecting these objects is represented, as well as contemporary indigenous responses to them.

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British Museum Thursday April 23 2015 - Sunday August 2 2015

Looking for more bank holiday ideas?

Bank holiday in London

If laying in bed with a boxset was your initial bank holiday plan, scrap it – there's too much going on to stay indoors.

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By: Elizabeth Darke



Basement of the science museum is best for under fives.


Not much for under fives