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London's BEST Family Experiences this February 2024

Tom Fletcher Play

We're taking the argh out of half-term with our guide to the best things to do with kids this February and half-term - the only pickle is they might not want to go back to school, afterwards.

From children’s festivals, new dinosaur experiences, theatrical family feasts, ice rinks, free cookery masterclasses and the world's first inflatable museum to Roald Dahl stage magic, slime, record-breaking slides, wizards and space adventures.

Our top picks include a gaggle of free events and there’s something to entertain (and wear out) every flavour of child.


Imagine Children's Festival

Imagine Children’s Festival

One of our favourite children’s festivals turns 22 in February, but it has no intention of growing up and will be entertaining children during half-term with more than 100 events, 40% of which are FREE.

From 7-17 February, Southbank Centre’s annual arts festival for children aged 0-11 will exploding with events, spanning theatre, dance, music, poetry, literature, art and trails.

The week before half term focuses on early years, with a free Wondergig, and Tom Fletcher’s interactive adventure There’s a Monster in Your Show going from page to stage. 

Half-term highlights include dance circus fusion from Motionhouse’s Starchitects: A Cosmic Adventure, talks by Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho and Michael Rosen, CBeebies Ocean Adventure and the Art Makes People Powerful creative zone.

For children aged 7+, there’s Chotto Desh - pictured above - from the Olivier-winning choreographer Akram Khan, Rosie Jones: The Amazing Edie Eckhart, and modern circus Human 2.0

The festival has a relaxed approach to noise and movement in the space and even provides chill-out spaces and noise cancelling headphones for children AND adults - BOOM.

Imagine Children’s Festival. 7-17 February. Southbank Centre,  Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Mixture of FREE and paid events.

Chinese Lion Dance

Free Lunar New Year Event at National Maritime Museum

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon at this brilliant, FREE day of celebrations, live performances and activities.

On 3 February, the National Maritime Museum will have four free performances from traditional Chinese lions, plus a Taiwanese ribbon dance, Korean harp and a martial arts demonstration.

There will also be free Lunar Fans workshops, a chance to make your own Magnificent Dragon; meet a Chinese sailor with fascinating tales to tell; learn how to make Hmong hats; discover the art of paper folding; Mahjong instrument classes plus Lunar New Year storytelling.

And kids can get involved in the Chinese Opera Show and Tell, get their name written in Korean Calligraphy, learn more about Chinese instruments or head to the Planetarium for a Chinese Astrology show.

National Maritime Museum, Romney Rd, London SE10 9NF. 3 February. Free. 

Children's Cookery Masterclass

Colonel Saab’s FREE Kid’s Half-term Cookery and Art Masterclass

Multi-Award-Winning restaurant, Colonel Saab invites children to join their FREE Pancake and Valentine’s Kid’s Masterclass this February half-term on 13 February.

Following the success of their Easter and Halloween kids’ masterclasses, the restaurant is launching a new cookery and arts class, this time at their new, larger restaurant, by Trafalgar Square.

Children can enjoy a craft table brimming with paints and materials with an artist to guide them through making their own Valentine’s cards and love-themed craft projects.

And Chef Sohan Bhandari and team will help children to make their own pancakes and treats to enjoy.

They will also enjoy a smoothie and mocktail workshop, to whip up their own, healthy tipples.

Colonel Saab, Trafalgar Square, 42 William IV St, London WC2N 4DD, 13 February. 3.30 - 5.30pm. FREE. To book a slot, email

Dinosaur revolution

Dinosaur rEvolution

South East London’s hidden gem, The Horniman Museum launches its roarsome new dinosaur exhibition for February half-term. The show invites us to rethink everything we thought we knew about dinosaurs, exploring the relationship between dinosaurs and birds.

It includes five large, animatronic models, a gaggle of fossil skeletons and skull casts, as well as touchable, detailed graphics by the acclaimed artist Luis V Rey, dress up, games, and more.

It will also be your last chance to see its beloved, overstuffed, taxidermy walrus until 2026, when the Natural History Gallery will reopen after a two-year refurbishment.

Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ 10 February - 3 November. Tickets from £9 per adult and £7 per child.

Roc-King Club Lunch

The Roc-King Club’s Theatrical, Family Lunch

On Saturday 10 February, Paddington's Porchester Hall will welcome families for an immersive, three-course feast, surrounded by performers, magicians, dancers and music.

On arrival. children are given a fruity berry mocktail in a golden chalice. Dishes and sequins follow, including a Pie of Wonder for children - popcorn chicken, fries, flowers and surprises hidden beneath a pastry lid - as well as colourful nacho boards, while grown ups can feast on gunpowder roast duck and wild mushroom and leek croquettes. The meal closes with the  "surprise cupcake carousel” or "Sir Tain Death’s Poison Elixir.”

The show includes audience participation, games, a mystery and a cast of queens, knights and a loveable stable girl.

The Roc-King Club, Porchester Hall, Porchester Rd, London W2 5HS. 10 February. 12pm. Tickets from £155pp during introductory offer

Tiger on rock

February Half Term: KIDS GO FREE at Howletts Wild Animal Park 

Howletts, Kent’s original wildlife park, is just one hour from London and is home to some of the world’s most endangered and rare animals. With more than 390 animals, including Kent’s only giant anteaters, the largest herd of African elephants in the UK, more gorillas than any other zoo in the country, and now the introduction of the adorable lion cubs, Zemo and Zala.

This February half term, kids can experience all of this for free.

You can even book a close encounter with your favourite animal, from elephant feeding, going behind the scenes with gorillas, meeting black rhinos, red river hogs or even hand-feeding anteaters - animal encounter prices start from £15. 

Howlett's Wild Animal Park, Bekesbourne Ln, Bekesbourne, Littlebourne, Canterbury CT4 5EL. Tickets can be booked in advance online and cost £24.50 for an adult, FREE for children aged 0-15 from 10 - 18 February

Balloon Museum

Balloon Museum: EmotionAir

The world’s first inflatable art museum has opened in East London, after attracting two million visitors on its stops in Paris, Rome, Milan and Madrid.

The Balloon Museum launched with huge fanfare and giant queues for the EmotionAir exhibition, featuring works by 20 artists, in which air is a distinctive element.

Expect sound trapped in floating bubbles, giant pink rabbits, huge, otherworldly ball pits, psychedelic balls you can swing and monstrous weebles in a show big and little visitors are invited to immerse themselves in through play and touch.

1 Old Billingsgate Walk, London EC3R 6DX. Until 18 February. Tickets from £28.10 per person

Cute cat

Cute exhibition

A major new exhibition exploring the irresistible force of cuteness opens at Somerset House from 25 January, featuring a games arcade for all ages and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hello Kitty.

The show brings together contemporary artworks and cultural phenomena from emojis to internet memes, video games to plushie toys, food to loveable robotic design, exploring how cuteness has take over the world.

Somerset House, Embankment Galleries, South Wing. 25 January - 14 April. £18.50pp. Concessions from £11. 

Light show


Following the success of last year’s Space, St Martin in the Fields invites you to a shiny new sound and light show. Life will be projected onto the outside of the buildings, throughout the underground Crypt, culminating in a sensational light show, filling the whole Church. This colourful and immersive light display takes guests on a journey through earth, sea and sky and is suitable for all ages.

St Martin in the Fields. 30 January - 3 February. 5.30 - 9.45pm. Tickets from £8 pp or £6 for under 16s.

Child Indoor Skydiving

iFly Childrens’ Skydive

Anybody from the age of 3 to 103 can experience the superpower of flight at iFly, as long as they can comfortably wear a helmet.

The instructors allow children to safely feel the sensation of an exhilarating, 12,000 ft free-fall and flight, without jumping out of a plane.

Along with watching the instructor perform a mesmerising dance on air inside the vertical wind tunnel, your family can enjoy the extraordinary sensation of weightlessness, soaring around the glass tube and unlocking a core memory of their newfound super powers.

iFLY London at The O2, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX. Tickets and vouchers to fly can be purchased by clicking here and are available from £69.99 per person

Charlie Cook's Favourite Book

Charlie Cook's Favourite Book at Little Angel Theatre

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s deliciously meta book about the magic of reading has had a major new adaptation from our favourite puppet alchemists, Little Angel Theatre.

Adaptors Barb Jungr and Samantha Lane (who also directs) reunite for the show, fresh from their Olivier-nominated collaboration on Donaldson and Scheffler’s other hit book, The Smartest Giant in Town.

The puppet-filled musical will be supported by a programme of play-based workshops to inspire little readers and give families and teachers the tools to explore books through play. The story follows Charlie diving through books, magazine and encyclopaedias and encompasses 11 books, complete with ghosts, pirates, aliens and dragons. It will move from page to stage from 18 November to 4 February, before going on a UK tour next year.

Little Angel Studios, Sebbon St, London N1 2EH. Running time: 1 hour. Until 4 February. Adult tickets £16. Child tickets £14 (1-17) All tickets £8 Thurs and Friday at 4.45pm.

Ice Skating

Ice Rink Canary Wharf

London’s longest running seasonal ice rink, Ice Rink Canary Wharf runs until Saturday 24 February. Offering visitors a magical skate session in the heart of Canary Wharf, the ice rink includes themed skating sessions, including 80’s, 90’s and Soul Classics nights. There’s a transparent roof, to thwart Blighty’s pesky weather, plus an apres-skate alpine bar serving winter warmers for skaters and spectators. Ice Rink Canary Wharf. Canada Square, London E14 5AB. 21 Oct - 24 February

The Witches

The Witches

The National Theatre has launched its major musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s deliciously dark novel, about an English boy and his Norwegian grandmother, who discover child-hating, secret societies of witches. They are ruled by the evil Grand High Witch (played by three-time Olivier award nominated Katherine Kingsley) who heads to England on a mission to turn all of the children into mice.

The Witches, Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX7. 7 November to 27 January. Tickets from £20 per person. Recommended for 8+ years

Unicorn Cocktail

Wizard Exploratorium

Soho's magic-themed Wizard Exploratorium is a five-storey, geek wonderland, offering a 4D wand-making workshop, immersive trick shop and suitably magical afternoon tea encompassing tea brewing, molecular gastronomy, and technology. Wizard Exploratorium, 26 Greek St, London W1D 5DE

Slime party

Slimy Gootopia Sessions

Slime is a gloopy rite of passage for every child - parents quickly learn the art of removing it from hair and unwitting pets and it’s up there with ice cream in the kiddie delight department. Enter stage left: Gootopia, which brings its gloopy joy to Brixton and Lewisham. The venues have shelves of ready-made slime, slime ingredients, activator, and their ‘goo-to-go’ slime vending machine. They also offer a range of activities and experiences for kids of all ages, including slime workshops, birthday parties, school science workshops, drop-in slime-making sessions and live slime-making demonstrations by goo alchemists

Gootopia. Brixton and Lewisham locations.

Child pampering

Pampering for all the family at Pan Pacific London

Family activities that involve lying down and being pampered? Count us massively IN. Pan Pacific London has partnered with luxury children’s brand Bonpoint, to create a unique offering for the hotel’s dedicated Wellbeing Floor. The first partnership of its kind in the UK, the duo have created a range of unisex skincare treatments and packages for children aged 6 – 16 years old, that provide an opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their children and teens and enjoy a spot of pampering. Pan Pacific Family Pampering, 80 Houndsditch, London, EC3A 7AB. Treatments start from £100.

Science Museum

Power Up at the Science Museum

Following five successful runs, Power Up will make its permanent home at the Science Museum from July, allowing visitors to try over 160 consoles and hundreds of the very best video games, all year long. With the new Power Up annual passes, visitors can return whenever they fancy, to journey through the world of gaming. Experience the evolution of gaming – from classics such as Pong and Street Fighter to the latest PlayStation and Xbox – while discovering the science and history behind gaming’s most iconic developments. Power Up Ticketed, daily passes: £10, annual passes: £15   . Age: 5+. Science Museum, Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD

The Young V&A

The Young V&A

The former Museum of Childhood has had a three-year transformation - the biggest in its 150-year history - into the UK’s first museum designed by and for 0-14 year olds.

The Bethnal Green cultural destination is FREE (woo) and packed with interactive and hands-on activities for kids and families.

Highlights of the £13m revamp will include colourful, sensory playscapes, including a finger skateboard park, an ‘Imagination Playground’ construction zone, a performance and storytelling stage and sandpit.

The museum has been shaped around childrens' interests to encourage playful learning and spark their imaginations. Three galleries, Play, Imagine and Design, will help children build the skills and creative confidence they need to thrive.

Young V&A. Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, Cambridge Heath Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA. General Museum Access: FREE

Climbing wall

Get the Kids Climbing the Walls

Get the kids climbing the walls at London’s Parthian Climbing centre in Wandsworth.

The 25,000 square foot beast combines climbing with lifestyle, thanks to its café, bar, gym, retail and co-working space. And it is the first indoor climbing facility in the UK to feature an exact replica of The Titan Olympic bouldering wall, which will be used at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

They offer a range of kids’ sessions and courses for ages 3 and up. There are instructors for little ones taking on their first climbing experience, as well as the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) for a progressive syllabus. They also host kids’ parties, for 1.5 hours of climbing activities and games which are the perfect antidote to ‘Fun Freddie’ wrestling a balloon into a drooping sausage dog.

Parthian Climbing Centre, 52 - 58 Garratt Ln, Wandsworth, London SW18 4TF

Mrs Doubtfire

Mrs Doubtfire

Hellooooo London, dear! Everybody's favourite out-of-work actor and divorcee is now in the West End.

Daniel loses custody of his kids during a messy divorce, so creates Scottish nanny alter ego, Euphegenia Doubtfire in a desperate bid to stay in their lives. As his new character takes on a life of her own, Mrs Doubtfire teaches Daniel more than he bargained about how to be a father.

rCreated by a transatlantic team of award-winning artists, this warm-hearted, comedy musical came to London earlier this year following a sold-out run in Manchester.

Shaftesbury Theatre, 210 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8DP

Titanosaur skeleton

Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur

For the first time ever, the colossal Patagotitan mayorum titanosaur - one of the largest known creatures to have ever walked our planet - will go on display at Natural History Museum. Four times heavier than Dippy the Diplodocus and 12 metres longer than Hope, the museum’s legendary blue whale, this gigantic creature is a spectacular sight. You can view this gargantuan dinosaur skeleton up close at this fun, interactive family exhibition. You'll follow the life of a titanosaur, from a football-sized egg plucked from its nest to a fully grown adult, bearing the marks of an encounter with a ferocious predator that took a bite out of its tail. As you weave your way around the gallery, you'll handle specimens, stare into its gigantic sauropod skull and even smell its poo. Natural History Museum, Waterhouse Gallery, South Kensington, London. Under 3s are free. 4-16 are £9. Adults £16.

BBC Earth

BBC Earth Experience

Travel the world and seven continents in one, visually delicious immersive experience through the hit BBC series, Seven Worlds, One Planet. With bespoke narration from Sir David Attenborough himself and hosted at Earl’s Court's purpose-built Daikin Centre, you will experience the incredible diversity of the seven continents through multiple, multi-angle, 360-degree screens, meeting the extraordinary animals which inhabit them. The event - suitable for all age groups - also boasts breakout zones where you can dive into the depths of Water World, marvel at the sweeping landscapes of the Vista Stage, and test your bravery by getting close to creepy crawlies in the Micro Life zone.

BBC Earth Experience. The Daikin Centre, Earl’s Court, Hammersmith, London SW6 1TR. Until 1 February 2024. Adult £28.50 children under three go FREE


Avora Family Experience

Up an unassuming, Shoreditch street is a secret portal to another planet. And on school holidays and Sundays, you can take your kids for a well-deserved break from Earth, on planet Avora.

Head here for our full review of this worthy and otherworldly adventure, encountering scientists, mocktails, aliens, army villains and closing with a child-pleasing, farty finale.

Avora: Family Immersive Adventure 5C, 127 Hackney Road, London, E2 8GY. Sundays, 12pm – 3:30pm. School Holiday weekdays. £24.50 per child (6-13) £29.50 per adult.

Gunpowder plot

The Gunpowder Plot at Tower of London Vaults

Older children (12+) will be catapulted into the most exciting history lesson of their lives, in this explosive new, immersive experience, starring Harry Potter’s Tom Felton. Your mission is to go undercover and unmask the mysterious figures behind history’s most infamous plot. But when you’re surrounded by traitors, who can you trust? With surprises around every turn, descend into the vaults and experience a combination of live and digital actors, virtual reality and fancy pants technology like motion simulators and special effects, transporting you back to London 1605 in the heart of the Gunpowder plot.

The Gunpowder Plot, 8-12 Tower Hill Vaults, London, EC3N 4EE

GoBoat river cruise

Play Captain on a GoBoat River Picnic

If you’re looking for somewhere to spend a genuinely relaxing few hours for parents and children (plus dogs, if you have one) we recommend a GoBoat trip.

You can enjoy a picnic as captain of your own, electric boat through Canary Wharf, Paddington, Kingston, Thames Ditton or Birmingham.

Check out our review of the GoBoat Canary Wharf experience HERE GoBoat UK, Open 7 days a week from 9am - dusk. Prices start from £85 for 1 hour and £125 for two hours on the 8-person boats. GoBoat Canary Wharf, 22 Churchill Place, London, E14 5RE

Paddington Bear Bus

Paddington Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

Brigit's Bakery launched the first, official Paddington Bear afternoon tea bus tour, celebrating the capital.The double-decker has built-in screens, so that Paddington and Mrs Bird can provide an animated guide to the tour, which includes some of Paddington's favourite landmarks, like Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street, St. Paul's Cathedral, Borough Market, Green Park and Piccadilly Circus. The tour takes just under two hours, while you scoff treats including glittering shortbreads, designed to look like nibbled marmalade sandwiches, mini pizzas, smoked salmon and cucumber pretzels, turkey ham and cheddar or cream cheese and cucumber finger sandwiches and naturally, marmalade sandwiches. And for those who share the bear’s sweet tooth, the homemade sweet treats included a rice pudding studded with chocolate honeycomb, chocolate cupcakes crowned with Paddington’s chocolate paws, lemon meringue tarts, chocolate macarons and freshly baked scones with cream and jam. Brigit’s Bakery also provide vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and halal afternoon teas. Check out our review, HERE

Paddington Afternoon Tea Bus tour Departs from Trafalgar Square, Wednesdays to Sundays. Prices from £45 adult, £35 child.

Discover children's story centre

Discover Children’s Story Centre

Stratford's immersive, sprog-storytelling Mecca is brimming with entertainment across three floors, plus a wonderfully imaginative Story Garden. Creep through caves, find fairy worlds within magical trees, explore hidden ships, perform in a puppet castle, leap over alligators and man your own spaceships and rockets across two floors, which also host art and craft stations, beautiful reading corners, storytelling sessions, immersive events and installations. Or head outside to the magical new play area to discover Baba Yaga’s hut held up by chicken legs, climb Hootah’s castle and slide out of the Stratford Sputnik. Check out our review here

Discover Children's Story Centre 383-387 High St, London E15 4QZ

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Whizz Down The ArcelorMittal Orbit

How about hurling your children down the world’s tallest slide? The 178m long ArcelorMittal Orbit was the iconic landmark of the 2012 London Olympics and is now an attraction with three adventure experiences. Families can speed down the winding slide, abseil, or walk around the glass orbit at the top. You can also pretend it's a high-brow, cultural experience, because the orbit is also a sculpture by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond. And it beats the usual views of grubby swings and bins, because here you can check out the stunning views of Queen Elizabeth Park. To ride the slide, children must be at least eight years old and over 1.3m. ArcelorMittal Orbit, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 5 Thornton St, London E20 2AD. From £10.75.

Cutty Sark Rig Climb

Cutty Sark Rig Climb Experience

Originally climbed when the ship first arrived to Greenwich in 1954, visitors can now recreate this, by clambering up the famous masts of the Cutty Sark.The Rig Climb Experience invites kids and brave parents to step up from the main deck onto the ship’s ratlines and climb up its top mast, as hundreds of sailors did during the Cutty Sark’s heyday. Once at the top, climbers will experience a controlled descent from the rigging. Participants will be rewarded with some of the best views in London, overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard and Tower Bridge.

Cutty Sark King William Walk, London SE10 9H

centre of the cell

Snot, Sick and Scabs at the Centre of the Cell

Deliciously disgusting and sneakily educational centre in a futuristic, light-studded pod suspended above the laboratories of the Blizard Institute in Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Children can learn about the heart, teeth or senses, see scientists at work and enjoy their delightfully vile ‘Snot, Sick and Scabs’ session. Centre of the Cell, 4 Newark St, London E1 2AT

the British Museum

Out-of-Hours at the British Museum

Your little ones can walk in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks, Pharoahs or journey through the cultures of China at The British Museum's family-friendly, out-of-hours tours. Taking place between 8.50 – 10am, before the galleries are open to the public, you can beat the unsavoury crowds. And from 4 - 25 March, children can explore Roman history through Minecraft, create a Japan-themed family photo (11 March) and make mosaic masks inspired by the Aztec gods on 18 March. The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG. Under fives go free. £16.50 for 5-15 year olds. £33 Adults

Monopoly Lifesized

Monopoly Lifesized

Go big or go home… or straight to jail at Monopoly Lifesized, an immersive, on-your-feet version of the classic, family game, played on a 15m x 15m lifesized Monopoly board. Enter the 4D experience and compete in challenges for your chance to buy properties. Stage a heist in Mayfair, compete against a clock to build some of London’s iconic buildings, solve a baffling murder mystery or step into the world of codebreakers. The 80-minute experience is suitable for kids from 9 and older and is open every day except Mondays.

Monopoly Lifesized, 213-215 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7PS. Tickets £49 pp

Crystal Maze Live

Crystal Maze LIVE Experience

Older children (from 8 onwards) can take on this immersive adventure, which brings the hit 90s TV show to life.Run around like mentalists, yell, complete a host of difficult challenges and end the game in a fetching, satin bomber jacket. Crystal Maze Live Experience, 22 - 32 Shaftesbury Avenue W1D 7EU

Flip Out Hounslow

Flip Out Hounslow

If your children are of the ‘charmingly indecisive’ type, then a trip to Hounslow’s newly-opened Flip Out might be the answer to your prayers. Cramming mini-golf, arcades, laser quest, bumper cars, inflatables, a ninja assault course and soft play under a single, cavernous roof, the beauty of Flip Out is that you pay for entry to the venue and not for individual activities. We’re yet to discover whether you can drive a bumper car around the laser quest arena, performing drive-by shootings with a slushy in your hand, but there’s only one way to find out.Entry is a very reasonable £19pp (dropping to £14 for children under 1.1m tall) for three hours in the ‘Arena’ and if you’re not local to the newest venue in Hounslow, Flip Out has similar offerings all over the country. BUY TICKETS Flip Out Hounslow, Units 3, 4 & 5 High Street Quarter, 8 Smithy Ln, Hounslow TW3 1EH

planetarium show

Holiday to Space at Royal Observatory Greenwich

Join Ted and Plant as they explore the Solar System in search of the best place to take a holiday in an intergalactic morning adventure, including a planetarium show and interactive workshop. Recommended Age: 3 - 6 yrs. Open 10am-5pm daily

Royal Observatory Greenwich Park, Blackheath Avenue SE10 8XJ

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