HALLOWEEN: TOP 40 THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS THIS OCTOBER 2023
Trick and Treat the Kids this Halloween and Half-Term
Give your little monsters something to cackle and scream about this Halloween, with our ultimate guide to the sprog-friendly spooky season and a suitably haunting half-term.
We've got more ghoulish activites than you can shake a broomstick at, from monster raves, haunted houses, creepy cooking schools, thriller Thames rides, wizard wand-making, spooky adventures at iconic landmarks and Lego "brick" or treating.
There's also a gaggle of spook-free fun, plus plenty of free treats to keep them occupied.
You can also check out our guide to this year's best pumpkin patches, here.
Old MacDonald’s Halloween Festival
With more spooky sprog shizzle than you can shake a broomstick at, Old MacDonald’s fright-fest includes a haunted house, magic school, rollercoaster, scary stories, a ghost trail with gift, pumpkin patch, free Halloween tattoos, witchy arts and crafts, shows and a chance to meet a dragon. And each kid's ticket includes a free pumpkin. Boom.
Old MacDonald’s Farm, Weald Rd, Brentwood CM14 5AY. 21 - 31 October
Raver Tots Halloween Party
Get those tiny claws reaching for the lasers at this Ministry of Sound, Halloween rave-up for sprogs. The party features dancers, performers, cold pyro, bubbles, festival sized confetti blasts, multi coloured lasers and lighting, parachute games, giant balloons, licensed bar and face painting.
Raver Tots Halloween, Ministry Of Sounds,103 Gaunt St, London SE1 6DP
Michel Roux Jr Cookery School's Kids’ Halloween Class
Sauce by The Langham hosts a beast of a kid’s cookery event this Halloween to trick and MASSIVELY treat your little monsters. Bite-sized bakers (aged 4-10) will make creepy bites like spooky fingers, ghoulish cakes, witch’s hats, and mummies in The Langham’s rustic, farmhouse-style kitchen. As they learn the fundamentals of baking from the best and in deliciously creepy fashion, they’ll be given snacks and drinks and will leave with their handmade goodies, plus an apron and tote bag.
Sauce by The Langham, 1C Portland Pl, London W1B 1JA. £90 per child. Accompanying adult goes free.
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. Check out our review, here. Wizard Exploratorium, 26 Greek St, London W1D 5DE
Halloween at the Tower of London
Meet the spirits from thousands of years of the landmark’s history, on a family-friendly adventure through the Tower of London's haunted past. Children will come face-to-face with ghosts who spent their final moments here, from Medieval queens, to Wizard Earl concocting potions. You will explore some of the most eerie locations of the historic fortress, from The White Tower and Traitors’ Gate to the Bloody Tower. The Halloween Tower Tour is designed to spook not terrify, so is suitable for kids.
The Tower of London, London, England EC3N 4AB
Halloween at Hampton Court Palace
Explore Henry VIII's haunted palace, tiptoeing through the corridors and courtyards and disovering ghosts who are best kept to the past. Witches and alchemists have taken over parts of the palace. And in the Gallery of the Damned, you can witness eerie portraits coming to life, stop by the Council Chamber for a seance and check out the pumpkin art in the Haunted Garden, before enjoying a spooky treat and a ghost story in the cafe.
Hampton Court Palace, Hampton Ct Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU. 21-19 October
Thames Thriller Ride
This Halloween event is guaranteed to get your kids shrieking (in the right ways) with a spooky, speedboat experience up to 35mph, headed by a creepy crew on a haunted horror trail across London. Kids will learn some of the capital’s most gruesome stories, between cackles and shrieks as the engine revs up.
Thames Thriller Ride. 29-31 October
Brick or Treat at Lego Land
The Lego Monsters are taking over and throwing a Monster Party, featuring 4D movie, ‘The Great Monster Chase!’, hands on Lego builds, the Monster Jam show on the Harbour plus the return of ‘Monster Street.’
Legoland, Winkfield Rd, Windsor SL4 4AY
Chelsea Physic Garden Halloween Workshop
Fly over to Chelsea Physic Garden for your wee witches to craft their own broomsticks from foraged materials found in the pretty gardens. The workshop ends with a flight around the gardens on their brooms, to learn about the plants.
Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Rd, London SW3 4HS. 23 October. £15 per adult. £10 per child.
The World’s Biggest Disney Exhibition
It all began with a mouse and now, 100 years later, a major new exhibition launches in London, inviting fans to experience the iconic characters, stories and experiences that touched the lives of audiences around the world. Disney100: The Exhibition arrives at London ExCel on 13 October, featuring 10 themed galleries bulging with more than 250 iconic props, costumes and treasures including the actual carousel horse that Dick Van Dyke rode in Mary Poppins, the glass slipper from Cinderella (2015), the Iron Man helmet from Avengers: Infinity War, original artwork from One Hundred and One Dalmatians and the red dress from the 2021 Cruella film. The 20,000 sq ft beast of a show has 14 interactive installations and themed galleries allowing you to dive into classics like Snow White and Encanto as well as the new additions to the Disney family, like Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel movies.
Disney100: The Exhibition. ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL. Tickets on sale now, starting from £16.50 off-peak for children. 13 October 2023, until 2024.
Uniqlo Tate Play: Shadow and Light Make Studio
This brilliant, free event invites under fives to create magical worlds using light, shadows, projectors, glowing objects, lasers and mirrored surfaces. The Tate’s walls will be illuminated with your mini light artists’ unique works in this sensory experience, in which they will also explore the world of light drawing. Tate Modern, Clore Studio, Bankside, London SE1 9TG. Wednesdays and weekends from 2 September - 18 October. Free.
The Smeds and the Smoos
Read our review of lubular lakes, tall trockles and jellyful fruit on London’s new, intergalactic trip to the Wurpular Wood here. Tall Stories are the alchemists of forensically faithful Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book adaptations, expertly stretching five-minute bedtime reads into hour-long spectacles, bursting with puppets, songs and interactive scripts. The kids’ theatre company has been touring its stage version of The Gruffalo for more than 20 years - almost the age of the book itself - and after successful adaptations of Donaldson's The Gruffalo’s Child and The Snail and the Whale, they now bring The Smeds and the Smoos to London’s West End.
The Smeds and the Smoos, Lyric Theatre, 29 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 7ES.
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.
Open Water Family Swimming at Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf reopened its swim hotspot at Middle Dock just in time to fling in children, over the Summer and it's still open until 31 October for brave kids. Open throughout the week and welcome to all abilities over the age of 10, families can practise their strokes and cool off in the safe-to-swim and clean water course. A dip in the Thames with old crisp packets and fag ends hasn’t been the most appealing option before, even in these deodorant-defying times. But Canary Wharf’s 220-year-old Middle Dock has been cleaned up and lifeguarded for a pretty swanky swimming experience, against the backdrop of One Canada Square and Newfoundland, seven days a week, until the end of September. Since opening last summer, Canary Wharf has hosted 7,000 swimmers as part of a growing trend for open water swimming. The activity continues to be a popular choice for those wanting to boost immunity, improve flexibility and relieve stress. Visit Love Open Water for more info. Until 31 October
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.
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 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
Get the Kids Climbing the Walls
Get the kids climbing the walls this July, at London’s shiny, new 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
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: 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 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 January 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.
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
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 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.
Shakespeare's Globe Bankside
Banish the bored with the Bard at Shakespeare’s Globe. With interactive theatre shows, tailored to a young audience, Elizabethan dress-up, sword fighting demos and storytelling, Shakespeare will keep little ones entertained.
Shakespeare's Globe: 21 New Globe Walk SE1 9DT. Dates, times and ticket prices vary.
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
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 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
Ambulances and fire engines hurtle through the streets and emergency workers tumble out to jet hoses at the Grand Flamingo Hotel fire or treat the wounded, while police cordon off the area and Metro journalists interview witnesses.It might not sound like your typical half-term trip, but the kids will love every second, because they are the firefighters, paramedics, press and police role-playing in KidZania, London's extraordinary, 75,000 sqft indoor city for children. Check out our review, here
KidZania: Westfield London Shopping Centre Ariel Way W12 7GA. For 4-14 year olds
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
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
Rumpelstiltskin is on the loose, and he’s causing all kinds of mischief for the characters of Far Far Away and beyond.
Luckily, Donkey is on hand to give you a ride on his flying bus and Shrek and Fiona will join up with you as soon as they get the chance. Shrek’s adventure is a wild adventure through the land of children’s favourite ogre and actors, technology and immaculately created sets will make sure your children are engrossed from start to finish.
Check out our Shrek’s Adventure review to find out more.
Shrek’s Adventure tickets. Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1
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 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
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
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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