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Half-term in London

Looking for fun stuff to do with the kids over the 2017 May half-term in London? Get inspired with our guide of half-term events and activities

The May half-term in London (Monday May 29 – Sunday June 4 2017) has plenty to offer the kids. There are all kinds of fun activites to keep you and your gang going, whether you fancy a child-friendly museum exhibtion, taking in a children's theatre show or visiting one the city's best best parks, plus lots of free stuff for when you need to save the pennies.

We'll be updating this page with events nearer the time, so keep checking back for the latest half-term highlights.

May half-term in London ideas

May half-term activities
Kids

May half-term activities

Ten ace ideas for entertaining the little ones over half-term

Top 10 museums for kids
Museums

Top 10 museums for kids

Dinosaurs, mummies, rockets and planes – who said museums were just for grown ups?

Top ten children's theatre shows this half-term
Theatre

Top ten children's theatre shows this half-term

Treat the gang to some culture this half-term

Free things to do with the kids
Kids

Free things to do with the kids

Keep the children entertained without spending a penny

City farms in London
Things to do

City farms in London

Meet the animals at one of these urban green spots

Harry Potter experiences in London
Things to do

Harry Potter experiences in London

Here's how to go from muggle to wizard in the day

A few half-term in London highlights

Adventures in Moominland
Things to do

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. 

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Robot Zoo
Things to do

Robot Zoo

Meet a robotic rhino, a squid with 18-foot tentacles and a huge house fly with a vacuum cleaner mouth at the Horniman Museum’s Zoo for larger-than-life robot animals made from familiar machines and gadgets. Through interactive games and challenges the robot creation will reveal how real animal anatomy works. Book tickets here. 

STAR WARS Identities
Things to do Buy tickets

STAR WARS Identities

Explore a collection of 200 props, models, costumes and artworks from the Star Wars film series to explore the genetics and psychology of characters in its universe. You can even develop your own original character while you visit. 

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Matilda the Musical

Matilda the Musical

Opening to rave reviews in Stratford-upon Avon before transferring to the West End in 2011 and snatching up Olivier Awards with all the alacrity of a sticky-fingered child in a sweetshop, Matthew Warchus's RSC production remains a treat.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Orchid Festival
Things to do

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. 

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
The Red Balloon
Theatre

The Red Balloon

Puppet Theatre Barge use their signature wood-carved marionettes to tell the story of 'The Red Balloon'. This artful mime performance is accompanied by a specially composed soundtrack. 

The Fantastic World of Dr Seuss
Kids

The Fantastic World of Dr Seuss

Explore the imaginative world of Dr Seuss and his fantastical stories including 'Green Eggs and Ham', 'The Lorax' and 'Oh The Places You Will Go' at this family-friendly exhibition. Little ones can take part in dressing up sessions, play music with the Boom Band and meet characters such as Sam I Am! and The Cat in The Hat. The exhibition opens in the newly refurbished Discover Children's Story Centre designed by Studio Weave. 

Fire! Fire!
Things to do Buy tickets

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? There are some poignant objects in the Museum of London’s show about the Great Fire: a Bible with singed pages, a heat-buckled key, a half-finished piece of embroidery, apparently salvaged from the blaze. But many of the exhibits are representative of the kind of objects that were around at the time; generic 17th-century wine bottles stand in for the flasks Pepys buried in the garden to keep them from the flames. The interactive bells and whistles include a stylised recreation of Pudding Lane, complete with the artificial scent of bread to evoke the bakery where the fire began. It’s hard to escape the suspicion that all this is compensating for the lack of objects with the gee-whiz factor. It's a show designed with pint-sized visitors in mind; children will enjoy fighting flames on a touch screen and dressing up as firefighters. Adults may find Pepys’ prose gives a more vivid account of the catastrophe.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars

London's child-friendly museums

V&A Museum of Childhood
Museums

V&A Museum of Childhood

Home to one of the world's finest collections of children's toys, dolls' houses, games and costumes, the V&A Museum of Childhood shines bighter than ever after extensive refurbishment, which has given it an impressive entrance. Part of the V&A museum, the museum has been amassing childhood-related objects since 1872 and continues to do so, with 'Incredibles' figures complementing bonkers 1970s puppets, Barbie Dolls and Victorian praxinoscopes. There are regular exhibitions upstairs and the V&A Museum of Childhood has plenty of hands-on activities for kids and special events at weekends and during school holidays, while the café helps to revive flagging grown-ups.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
London Transport Museum
Museums

London Transport Museum

Among the vehicles on display at the London Transport Museum is the first underground electric train, which had no windows because there was nothing to see underground. The trouble was that no one could tell which stop they were at, a glitch resolved by employing an athletic announcer who ran to each carriage at every station, shouting out the stops. Dating from 1890, this is one of several museum exhibits you can board. The design gallery is a tribute to Frank Pick, the man responsible for rolling out the London Underground brand and giving each line its own character. 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).

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

The handsome Alfred Waterhouse building houses a collection that contains some 70 million plant, animal, fossil, rock and mineral specimens. The Natural History Museum’s Life Galleries are devoted to displays on animal life, from creepy crawlies to the plaster cast of a Diplodocus that lords it over the Central Hall. The Earth Galleries explore the natural forces that shape our planet, the treasures we take from it, the effect we have on it and its place in the universe. The museum's wildlife garden attracts urban wildlife such as dragonflies, blackbirds and wrens and highlights inner-city wildlife conservation.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Museum of London
Museums

Museum of London

The history of London, from prehistoric times to the present is told in the Museum of London through reconstructed interiors and street scenes, alongside displays of original artefacts found during the museum's archaeological digs. Check the website before your visit as a packed programme of temporary exhibitions, talks, walks and children's events is central to the life of the Museum of London.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
FIND MORE CHILD-FRIENDLY MUSEUMS IN THE CAPITAL

More half-term inspiration for little ones

101 things to do in London with kids
Kids

101 things to do in London with kids

There need never be a dull moment in this city

Kid-friendly climbing walls in London
Things to do

Kid-friendly climbing walls in London

Take your little ones to grand new heights this half-term

The best kids’ movies on Netflix
Film

The best kids’ movies on Netflix

When you're exhausted from all those half-term activities, why not settle in and enjoy one of the best kids' movies on Netflix.

The best child-friendly restaurants in London
Restaurants

The best child-friendly restaurants in London

These central and neighbourhood restaurants in London know how to feed the whole family, offering value for money grub for babies, children and adults, too. You can even enjoy a cocktail while the kids are kept entertained. 

Comments

4 comments
Dora M
Dora M

Come to the UCL Your Universe Festival of Astronomy!