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Cute, Somerset House, 2024
Photo: David Parry

The best February half-term activities in London

Keep the kids busy and entertained this February 2024 half-term with some fantastic activities around London

Written by
Rosie Hewitson
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski
&
Alex Sims
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Guess what: it’s somehow half-term again. It might seem like mere days since the end of the Christmas hols, but the kids are getting a whole week off, which means it’s only a matter of time before somebody complains that they’re bored and you’re racking your brains for something to do besides plonk them in front of the telly. 

Luckily, London has plenty of brilliant kid-friendly museums and galleries that really come into their own when school is out. And February half-term is a particularly good one, with plenty of family-friendly exhibitions just getting started, plus the return of the redoubtable Imagine Children’s Festival to the Southbank Centre. 

When is February half-term this year? 

This year, half-term falls from Saturday February 10 to Sunday February 18 2024

Whether you’re after some rainy day fun, outdoor play or some budget-friendly free activities for families, London absolutely has you covered. Here’s our roundup of all the best things to do with your children this February half-term. 

Things to do in February half term with kids in London

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Art
  • Aldwych
  • Recommended

From emojis to plushie toys, Somerset House’s big new exhibition is a mind-melting assault on the senses, a barrage of objects, ephemera, history and artworks that shoves cuteness down your eyeballs until you want to burst (into pink love hearts). It’s complex, tiring, clever, and very good.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Kew

The Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens is getting a Madagascan makeover this February, courtesy of the latest annual mind-bending orchid display that takes over the iconic glasshouse each year. As ever, the exotic display will celebrate Madagascar’s natural beauty and biodiversity – the place is home to 14,000 plants found nowhere else in the world. Look out for sculptures of native animals, carved out of plants, including giraffe weevils and ring-tailed lemurs, installations on extinct species and learn more about the Malagasy orchids that grow at Kew.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Forest Hill

You can rarely go too long at the Horniman without encountering some form of prehistoric life: following its recent ‘Permian Monsters’ and ‘Brick Dinos’ exhibitions, 2024 sees it play host ‘Dinosaur rEvolution’. It’s based around five showstopping animatronic models,including a seven-metre-long T-Rex.

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  • Theatre
  • Children's
  • Canonbury

Billed as ‘Percy Jackson meets Heartstopper’, this grungy musical is aimed at an older-than-usual audience for the Little Angel Theatre (ages ten-plus) and relocates various figures from Greek mythology to an American high school-style setting. Combining knitted puppets and punk rock tunes, it looks like a riot.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Bethnal Green
  • Recommended

The first temporary exhibition at Young V&A is a real delight, and should appeal to grown-up Nippophiles just as much as school kids. ‘Japan: Myths to Manga’ is a grab bag of the more eye-catching highlights of the past few centuries of Japanese pop culture, taking in everything from Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave’ to copious Studio Ghibli appearances, to a draw-your-own manga craft corner.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals

London’s annual Chinese New Year parade is back this February, with thousands of revellers expected to flock to the city centre to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Dragon with dragon and flying lion dances, martial arts displays, firecrackers, a Lions’ Eye-Dotting Ceremony, street food and special feasts at Chinatown’s best restaurantsIf you’re taking kids with you, you may prefer to watch the festivities by Family Zone on Shaftesbury Avenue. There’ll be plenty of kid-friendly activities here after the parade ends, as well as a lion dance through the streets of Chinatown, and performances on the Main Stage in Trafalgar Square. 

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • South Kensington

The Science Museum’s ‘Power Up’ holds bank after bank of classic videogames. It’s made an attempt at education with a wall of consoles from throughout history, but you can ignore all that if you want and just concentrate on turning your eyes square. There’s a Mario section and a Sonic section, a rhythm action game bit and a VR gaming bit, there’s 16-player Halo and solo Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Absolutely perfect to kill a day on a gloomy holiday.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Fitzrovia

It’s been three decades since the nefarious penguin Feathers McGraw and his rubber-glove hat entered our lives when ‘Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers’ was released in 1993. To mark the big anniversary, the Cartoon Museum and Aardman Animations have collaborated for this exhibition, shining a light on the short film’s legacy. Visitors can look at never-before-seen behind-the-screen shots, once-believed lost set pieces and models and every surviving piece of original artwork. There’ll also be original art showcasing early designs for characters and original storyboards and other artworks from the Aardman vault. Cracking exhibition, Gromit! 

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