TOP 55 KIDS CHRISTMAS EVENTS 2023
The Best Festive Family Experiences This December
Polish your baubles, unleash the shelf elves, frown at the orange cream Quality Streets and get out the novelty hats because it’s here… the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR.
Time Well Spent’s elves have been gathering the best things to do with kids this December and wrapping it up in a giant bow for you.
And our excitement about this month’s unmissable Christmas events is as high as Santa’s sleigh. They include magical portals to ancient elven civilisations in Lapland, trips to see Christmas wishes take flight, snowy Hogwarts experiences, beautiful light trails, the best ice rinks and festive theatre to get you in the mood - oh yes it will!
Pure Christmas magic, which leaves visitors of all ages in no doubt that Father Christmas exists and resides within this ancient elven civilisation at Lapland UK. This extraordinary, immersive experience starts when your child opens the icy cold, wax-sealed invitation from the Big Guy, inviting them to Lapland to help the elves make their toys. Deep in Ascot's snow-covered, Enchanted Forest, the elf folk present the Small People with special elven passports, enabling entry through the secret doorway to Lapland, where they will discover a jaw-dropping world full of elven characters, the toy factory, real reindeer and huskies, Mother Christmas’s Kitchen, The Elven Village complete with ice rink, elf emporium, restaurant and Elva’s Post Office for a magical, four-hour experience in an astonishingly detailed and sprawling world. Finally, deeper in the forest, past the magical sleigh, they head to Father Christmas’s wooden cabin and see their own names handwritten on the Good List, before meeting St Nick himself, in front of a roaring fire - he knows plenty about each child and will present them with a toy and a special bell, only awarded to his best elves. Lapland UK, Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Rd, Winkfield Row, Ascot SL5 8BD. Tickets from £59 pp in November and from £89 pp in December. Opens on 11 November until 24 December
Elf the Musical
Will Ferrell's festive movie stalwart, Elf heads back to the West End for ‘Elf the Musical’ a Christmas cracker of a musical with bells on. With Matthew Sklar’s fun and emotive score, it follows the story of Buddy, who mistakenly crawled into Santa’s bag as a baby and was raised as an elf. He is the North Pole’s biggest misfit and finally crashes in Central Park on Santa’s sleigh to save Christmas forever.
Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7AQ. 15 November to 6 January. Tickets from £30 per person. 4+ years
Hansel and Gretal at Shakespeare's Globe
Follow the trail of breadcrumbs all the way to Shakespeare's Globe this Christmas, for their beautiful new production of Hansel and Gretal. Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage transforms the Globe Theatre into the gingerbread and lollipop festooned sphere of the world's most famous witch-conquering siblings, for this classic Brother Grimm fairytale.
In this timely retelling, a woodcutting dad and breadmaking mum leave their children in the woods to protect them from their war-torn village. And through music, magic and songs, little audiences follow the siblings on their adventure from a trail of treats to a strage old lady with a plan of her own.
Hansel and Gretal, Shakespeare's Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT. Tickets from £5 (standing) to £59 (seated, peak performances)
Charlie Cook's Favourite Book at Little Angel Theatre
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s deliciously meta book about the magic of reading is getting a major new adaptation from our favourite puppet alchemists, Little Angel Theatre.
Adaptors Barb Jungr and Samantha Lane (who also directs) will 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. 18 November - 4 February. Adult tickets £16. Child tickets £14 (1-17) All tickets £8 Thurs and Friday at 4.45pm.
Wishmas: A Fantastical Christmas Adventure
This event is made by immersive entertainment juggernauts, Secret Cinema and directed by Punchdrunk’s former, acclaimed director Elgiva Field, so expectations and excitement are as high as Santa’s sleigh. The experience will transform the huge space beneath Waterloo Station into The Old Bauble Factory, where visitors will enter a magical portal into an enchanted world to discover where all of the Christmas wishes take flight. Visitors will board the Wishmas Train and meet Wishkeepers, Robins and Father Christmas himself as they explore magical rooms and ensure that no wish is ever forgotten, before enjoying Christmas crafts and cheer in the Wishmas Fair. The Old Bauble Factory, 1 Launcelot Street, Waterloo, London, SE1 7AD. 14 November - 31 December. Tickets from £29pp
Christmas at Narnia
Step through the magical, fur-filled wardrobe at Leeds Castle into Christmas at Narnia, an immersive retelling of CS Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
An icy spell has transformed this secret wonderland into an eternal winter, and little visitors will embark on a snowy adventure to restore the spirit of Christmas and break the spell.
They will encounter Narnia legends including the fawn, Mr Tumnus and Aslan the Great Lion.
The quest to save Narnia will see them sneaking onto the White Witch’s sleigh and learning combat skills from Mrs Beaver, with a glimpse of Santa himself.
Christmas at Narnia, Leeds Castle, Broomfield, Maidstone ME17 1PL. 25 November to 1 January. Tickets from £22.50
The Elves and the Magic Bear
The Old Royal Naval College will present immersive family show, The Elves and the Magic Bear filled with magic, singing, dancing and slapstick silliness. It follows a chaotic elf adventure, after Santa’s helpers discover a bag of untouched Christmas letters a few days before the big day, spurring a quest to ensure all children receive a gift from the Big FC.
The Old Royal Naval College’s Christmas programme also includes storytelling with Father Christmas, a carol concert in the stunning Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, and a rare opportunity to see the breathtaking art installation Coalescence by Paul Cocksedge, made from more than 2,500 pieces of anthracite excavated from the UK’s last remaining coal mine.
The Elves and the Magic Bear, The Old Royal Naval College, London SE10 9NN. 9-21 December, Tickets £14
The Gingerbread City
The Museum of Architecture’s deliciously festive Gingerbread City returns this Christmas, with an eye-popping world of buildings and people made entirely from gingerbread, frosting and sweets, complete with moving trains and twirling parts.
Each year, the MoA challenges more than 50 leading architects and designers to create a futuristic, gingerbread city.
And it heads to Westfield London in December, where visitors can expect 70 gingerbread buildings, including sugary houses, train stations, markets, museums, schools and parks.
Visitors are invited to try their hands at consumable construction in workshops learning to make their own gingerbread masterpieces to take home. Sessions are bookable in advance at £18.50 per adult.
MoA’s Gingerbread City, Westfield London, Ariel Way, London W12 7GF. 2 – 15 December and 2 – 7 January: Monday – Saturday 10am – 9pm, Sunday 12 – 6pm
Christmas at Kew
The most festive botanical event this side of the moon kicks off on 15 November, with Kew’s annual light behemoth. Discover glittering tunnels of light, dancing lakeside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colours. Warm up with flickering flames in the fire garden, wander beneath larger-than-life illuminations and keep your eyes peeled for Father Christmas along the way. Kew Gardens has four entrance gates: Victoria Gate (TW9 3JR) Elizabeth Gate (TW9 3AB) Brentford Gate (TW9 3AF)15 November - 7 January. From £29 per adult. £15 per child. Children under 4 go free.
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
The capital’s annual, Christmas mecca returns for its 16th year on 17 November. The event includes a Magical Ice Kingdom made from more than 500 tonnes of ice and snow, plus an apres ski ice bar; ice rink, a real ice slide; wintry Cirque Berserk circus show; Zippos Christmas Circus Show, ice sculpting workshop; open air Christmas markets and a Bavarian Village.
There are rides for all ages, from Ice Mountain to a ride around a Christmas tree in giant baubles, plus Santaland with more rides, the Santa Express Train and the chance to meet the Big Guy himself; firepits for marshmallow toasting, the apline, Explorer’s Rest and a Santaland Chill Out area for little ones. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London. 17 November - 1 January. Off peak tickets are free and peak tickets are £7.50
Hogwarts in the Snow
Have a very Harry Christmas at the Hogwarts in the Snow studio tour, when the iconic Harry Potter sets are twinkling with Christmas lights and covered in a blanket of snow. The Great Hall will be decked in golden decorations from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and you’ll find a banquet of turkeys and flaming puddings for the end-of-term Hogwarts feast. Learn the dance moves studied by Neville Longbottom ahead of the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, or how the invisibility cloak Harry Potter receives as a Christmas present was used to create the illusion on-screen. Then step into the Forbidden Forest, where the woodlands will be covered in snow, or stroll down Diagon Alley with its snowy shop fronts and cobbled stones. Stop by the Christmas shop which has returned this year to provide you with a premium and exclusive selection of Christmas gifts, souvenirs, and stocking fillers. The experience ends with a walk around the Hogwarts Castle model, which is blanketed with snow. Hogwarts in the Snow, Warner Bros Studios, Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LR. 12 November - 15 January. Child ticket £39.95. Adult ticket £49.95
St John’s Smith Square will be transformed into a winter wonderland for Raymond Briggs’s timeless classic, The Snowman. On 9 and 10 December, young fans can enjoy the festive classic on the big screen, accompanied by a live soundtrack by Southbank Sinfonia. In partnership with Carrot Productions, world leaders in orchestra and film events for families, the programme also includes The Bear and the Piano, based on the award-winning book by David Litchfield. It features music by Daniel Whibley and is narrated live by a surprise guest.
The Snowman, St John’s Smith Square, London SW1P 3HA. 9 and 10 December. From £15. Under twos go free.
The Ruckus: Everyone’s Invited
Inspired by the myths and legends of London, The Revel Puck Circus’s electric new show is inspired by folktales and the warmth of human connection. Staged in a magnificent Spiegeltent, The Ruckus will transport onlookers into the magical world of circus camaraderie with astounding aerial, hand to hand acrobatics and physical comedy
The Ruckus, Fellowship Square, Waltham Forest, London E17 4JF. 14 December - 1 January. £12 under twos go free
Christmas with Shrek
For a swampy twist on the traditional grotto, head to Shrek’s Adventure, where the Big Green Ogre dons the famous red suit to take children on a festive, fairytale adventure from Far Far Away on a flying bus, guided by Donkey. They’ll encounter Puss in Boots, Pinocchio, Princess Fiona, Cinderella and the Muffin Man along the way, before their happily ever after, culminating in an audience with Santa Shrek for photos and sweet treats.Check out our Shrek’s Adventure review to find out more.
Shrek’s Adventure tickets. Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1. Dates TBC
Santa’s Secret Village at Hobbledown Heath
Hounslow’s Hobbledown Heath transforms its outdoor adventure park and indoor play barn into an enchanting wonderland this month, brimming with festive fun .
It includes storytime with Santa, who will read little ones Christmas tales while they enjoy snowman shaped pancakes and festive baps. There’s also a 12 Days of Christmas treasure hunt, reindeer walks and a Christmas carol concert.
Hobbledown Heath, Staines Rd, Hounslow TW14 0HH 25 November to 24 December. Tickets from £20
Cinderella at the Lyric Hammersmith
Yes you can go to the ball, to enjoy Vikki Stone’s modern twist on Cinderella. Here, Cinders runs her own business at Shepherd’s Bush Market, where the Prince - in cunning disguise - has as mooch and falls in love with her. Annoyingly, pesky paps cause him to flee. And so begins a slapstick quest to unite the unlikely pair, with stepsisters Muffy and Gusset and stepmum Lady Jelly Bottom working hard to stop their happily ever after. Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Lyric Square, King St, London W6 0QL 18 November - 6 January. Tickets from £10
Raymond Briggs Father Christmas at Lyric Hammersmith
Back by popular demand, Lyric’s festive retelling of Raymond Briggs’ much-loved story returns, to take children on a journey through the busiest day of Santa’s year: Christmas Eve. In this comical tale, Father Christmas wakes from a dream of sun, sea and sand, only to discover that it’s the night before Christmas, and there is much to be done. Co-produced with the Olivier award-nominated Pins & Needles Productions, and combining puppetry, music and the Big Guy himself, children watch as he prepares the deliveries, feeds the reindeer, overcomes various hiccups and finally takes flight into a snowy sky. Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Lyric Square, King St, London W6 0QL. 22 November - 30 December. Tickets from £10
Glide at Battersea Power Station
Set against the backdrop of one of London’s most iconic buildings, this Insta-perfect rink offers stunning views of the Thames, while you skate around three interconnecting rinks surrounded by twinkling lights and a giant, 30ft Christmas tree. Afterwards, you can warm up with a hot chocolate - or something stronger - at the Glass House Nine Elms, London SW11 8EF. 10 November - 7 January. tickets from £14.
Skate at Somerset House
It’s not Christmas until Somerset House opens its iconic ice rink. This year, the grand, open-air courtyard will be transformed by Switzerland Tourism into an icy, festive destination. Expect sessions inspired by Swiss regions of Bern, Lucerne and Valais; a new series of rink-side decks takeovers; their West Wing restaurant, Chalet Suisse, a rink-side view Skate lounge by Whispering Angel; Skate School lessons, and a pop-up Shelter Boutique pop-up store. Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA15 Nov - 14 Jan. Tickets from £11 for adults and £8.50 for children.
The Queens House Ice Rink
The Queen’s House Ice Rink is a magical, open-air ice rink in the heart of Greenwich's UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rink is surrounded by iconic architecture, with views of Greenwich Park to the south and the glittering lights of Canary Wharf to the north, providing a backdrop of some of the best views in London. Warm up with hot drinks and seasonal fare at the Benugo café, inside the skate exchange, next to the ice rink. The Queen’s House, Romney Rd, London SE10 9NF. 23 November - 7 January. Adults from £10. Children from £7
Ice Rink Canary Wharf
London’s longest running seasonal ice rink, Ice Rink Canary Wharf, is returning for 18 weeks from 21st October to Saturday 24th February. Offering visitors a magical skate session in the heart of Canary Wharf, this year’s ice rink will be putting on themed skating sessions, including 80’s, 90’s and Soul Classics nights to get skaters in the festive spirit. There’s a transparent roof, to thwart Blighty’s pesky weather, plus an apres-skate alpine bar serving winter warmers for skaters and spectators. And the centre piece this year is a glorious Christmas tree, beneath a suspended giant mirrored ball, casting disco reflections across the rink. Ice Rink Canary Wharf. Canada Square, London E14 5AB. 21 Oct - 24 February
Ice at Kensington Palace
ICE at Kensington Palace will be opening for the first time this winter, with the UK’s largest ever UK ice rink, measuring the same size as a full length football pitch. Running from 30 November to 7 January, the event in the grounds of Kensington Palace will feature sustainable food and drinks plus a VIP area with magical views over the rink, with premium brand partners including Cecconi’s, by Soho House and Fortnum & Mason.
Ice at Kensington Palace, Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX. £19 per adult. £16 per child
Santa's Special Trains - Epping Ongar Railway
For turbo-Polar Express vibes (in Essex) head to the glorious Epping Ongar Railway to board Santa’s Special Train.
Grab some festive drinks and nibbles and listen to the brass band while awaiting the magical train, then head over the footbridge for photos with the man in red and a view of the steam train’s grand arrival.
Once onboard, children can write their letters to Santa and will be entertained by his elf friends, while waiting for Father Christmas to waddle through each carriage, meeting the children and giving them presents.
Epping Ongar Railway, Station Approach, Chipping Ongar, Ongar, Essex, CM5 9BN. Select dates from 24 November to 24 Dec.
The National Theatre launches its major musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s deliciously dark novel this November, 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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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