ToyDrop’s Guide to Half Term in London

8th October 2019

Words by Anna Whitaker

How on earth is it Half Term already? I haven’t even got round to sewing name labels into clothes yet (might be why we’ve lost so many plimsols). But if you’re planning a week off with the kiddos or just a couple of days at the weekend, there’s actually loads going on in the capital that you might genuinely fancy. Just writing this list made me want to take a few extra days off so I hope it gives you a little inspiration too. Happy Half Term!

1. Set sail on a musical adventure with Cutty Sark’s Ports of Call activities every day of half term. From African drumming to Flamenco dance and an adventure trail to find out ‘Where’s Wally?’, just turn up on the day to get involved (21-26 October).

2. Take young animal lovers on a different kind of city tour at The Museum of London’s Beasts of London, an enchanting and interactive exhibition that goes into the capital’s history through the animals that have lived here. From fleas and foxes to elephants and pigeons, the charming characters narrate you through the tour, with a few voices you might even recognise (until January 2020).

3. As Londoners, it’s not always easy to get hands-on with nature. But with a number of Forest Schools opening their doors this half term, it’s a great chance to inspire your little environmentalists with bush crafts, fire lighting, den building and outdoor cooking. This one in Tower Hamlets is aimed at 6-11 year olds and is running Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning next week.

4. Get your LEGO® lovers down to the Horniman pronto for Brick Wonders, an exhibition packed with more than 50 of the world’s most magical landmarks, natural wonders and modern marvels, made from half a million of our favourite Danish bricks (until 27 October).

5. One for the little (and big) seafarers amongst us. Get Lost & Found presents Pirate School at North Finchley’s ArtsDepot, where you’ll be giving Polly a cracker and manning the poop deck on board the good ship ‘Soggy Otter’. Book in advance for 45 minutes of proper pirate training. ARRRR! (22-26 October).

6. The Southbank Centre is always a favourite for school holidays and the same goes this Half Term. The Fairytale Trail is designed for families to follow at their own pace; solving puzzles, playing games and getting creative with different activities along the way. There might even be a reward at the end for anyone who completes it. But we didn’t tell you that (21-27 October).

7. Surrounded by fairy lights nestled in frost-covered trees and set against the incredible backdrop of the Waterhouse Building, the ice rink at the Natural History Museum is the place to kick off winter this year. Reopening on 19 October, just in time for half term, it’s a great spot to burn some energy after a day at the museum (until January 2020).

8. Filled with tales from West Africa and the Caribbean, Anansi The Spider is the Unicorn Theatre’s latest production vividly brought to life in celebration of Black History Month. The story follows the infamous spider hoaxter, as he plays tricks and spins yarns in this immersive and engaging performance (until 27 October).

9. Potter heads will love The Potion Room, a magical afternoon tea at the Secret School of Wizarding Alchemy. Starting with a potion class, young scholars will then enjoy a feast of sweet and savoury treats accompanied by their own creations. It’s just a short walk from the Palace Theatre, where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is also running (until December 2019).

10. Thought Go Ape was just in the forests? Think again. There are now three sites accessible by underground, in Cockfosters, Battersea and Alexandra Palace. The latter has the most amazing views of the city, with the iconic palace just next door and is a stone’s throw from the high street.

11. If you’ve not yet been to The Discover Story Centre for The Tiger Who Came to Tea, now’s your chance. The world of Judith Kerr is brought to life through a wonderful and immersive experience full of everyone’s favourite characters. And if it’s a very special day or they’ve been very very good all week, The Savoy are offering a Tiger Who Came to Tea themed afternoon tea, complete with all the biscuits and all the cake…

12. If your little’ns are anything like ours, you’d better hit up this link pronto. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s beloved tale of The Gruffalo is coming to ArtsDepot in North Finchley for one week only and by happy coincidence (well, probably not) it’s half term! This musical production of our favourite beast is suitable for ages 3+ and has tickets from just £9 (22-27 October).

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