It’s half-way through half term and if you’re anything like us, you may be running out of ideas to keep the kids amused. Here are a few of our top half-term antics to inspire you along the final furlong.
London Transport Museum (Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB); The London Transport Museum The London Transport Museum is always a favourite with the kids and best of all is right in the centre of Covent Garden so is super easy to get to by the Piccadilly line. The Museum explores the story of London and its transport system over the last 200 years, caring for over 450,000 items of British Transport history.
The museum is a show stopper however if you’re needing some further inspiration there are a selection of half term activities and workshops: Storytime (all ages; Sessions take place at 11:00 and 14:00 and last approximately 20 minutes); All aboard – a play zone perfect for younger visitors; Singing and stories (<5yrs) Tuesdays during term-time at 10.45, 12.00, 13.45 and 15.00; behind the scenes tours – hear the stories of our historic buses, see a special Underground train driven by the Queen, and discover some of the secrets behind our fascinating collection.(Age guide: 5-11 years).
Top Tip: combine with a trip to The Milk Train Cafe (see below)
Picture courtesy of The London Transport Museum
The Milk Train Cafe: www.milktraincafe.com
Feeling a bit peckish after the Transport Museum? Head over to the ever instagrammable Milk Train Café for ice creams truly worthy of a holiday snap. (Age guide: all).
Top Tip: Find a spot to sit and watch the street performers. You’ll be surprised for how long the kids can actually sit still!
Victoria and Albert museum www.vam.ac.uk
Whenever I have visited the V&A it is always so much less busier then the other museums close by. You don’t feel yourself constantly saying ‘excuse me’ or chasing after your kids through the crowds. In addition they’re putting on a load of half term activities including a spooky Halloween Tour. (Age guide: all).
Top tip : The outdoor ‘hidden’ courtyard is one of the most lovely and least well known spots in London. Depending how the weather is sit outside, have lunch and let the kids run free.
If you fancy heading down to Buckingham Palace its definitely worth going to visit the Changing of the Guard. Remember to check the calendar to see which dates the Changing of the Guard is on (see here). (Age guide: all).
Top Tip: from www.changing-guard.com
‘Standing in the huge crowds in front of Buckingham Palace can make a visit to the Changing of the Guard ceremony a daunting experience for younger children. However, kids can still see the Guards, hear the Bands play and avoid most of the crowds by following this suggestion.
IMPORTANT: The official start time for Changing the Guard is currently 11:00 hours.
Make your way to Wellington Barracks, at the Buckingham Palace end of Birdcage Walk, for about 10:15.
There you will see the New Guard forming up and being inspected, and then while they are waiting for their Regimental Colours the Band play a selection of music.
At 10:57 the New Guard led by a Regimental Band will march out of Wellington Barracks, and turn left for Buckingham Palace.”
St James’ Park www.royalparks.org.uk
St James’ Park is right next to Buckingham Palace and it’s a lovely option to tag onto an outing. It can get quite busy so a visit after the Changing of the Guard so you may want to go to the park first.
There is also the option to visit the Guards Museum – which our kids adored. Nothing beats the chance to dress up in military uniform and look at the horses in the stables through the viewing gallery. (Age guide: all).
Top tip: Combine with a trip to the Changing of the Guard (see above). Also, if the weather isn’t very good stop off at the cafe in St James’ park who do a great hot lunch.
London Aquarium www.visitsealife.com
The London Aquarium is easy to get to on The South Bank. Head to either Waterloo or Westminster and it is a short walk; the 12, 53, 59, 76, 148, 159, 211 or 341 busses stop outside the front door!
There are always a number of exciting activities and experts to talk to during your visit, you won’t be disappointed. However it’s always worth planning ahead especially around talks and feeding times. (see here for scheduled talks and feeding times). (Age guide: all).
Top tip: It’s worth buying aquarium tickets online. At busy times the queue can be quite intimidating
Top tip 2: We took the river bus to the South Bank from Chelsea (using our oyster card). Times are limited, so be sure to check them out (here) – it’s no fun waiting around. If you book tickets online you are eligible to discounts at the aquarium and another places (such as the London Eye or the London Dungeons).
Kew Gardens www.kew.org
Autumn is one of Kew’s key seasons and there will always be plenty to see at this time of year. There are plenty of half term activities to choose (see here) but in reality our children are always so preoccupied with being outside we never never get round to any of them. (Age guide: all).
Top tip: Be sure to check out the tree top walk for some amazing views – can be tricky to find so make sure you keep hold of your map.
London Wetland Centre www.wwt.org.uk
The London Wetland Centre is always my default go-to when I need an outing to entertain the kids. There are always lots going (see here) but make sure leave time for bird spotting in the observatory overlooking the wetlands and (of course) the playground hidden at the end of your walk. For getting the most from your trip check here for some more tips. (Age guide: all).
Top tip – With an annual membership you receive unlimited access to all WWT sites for a year (they have 10 around the UK) . This ticket only costs a small amount more then general admission so it is really worth it if you think you will visit again. In addition your membership helps save wetlands and wildlife in the UK and abroad, such as the charming water vole which has declined by 95% since the 1970s. So whilst enjoying a great day out you can also feel good that you’re making a difference.
West Wittering Beach www.westwitteringbeach.co.uk
West Wittering beach is under 2 hours from South West London. With beautiful long sandy beaches and a tide that goes out for miles, it is well worth a day trip. Parking is extensive and there is a handy cafe (although don’t expect too much!). (Age guide: all).
Top tip : Dogs are allowed on the beach from October to May. The beach can get windy so be sure to bring along plenty of layers.
Top Tip 2: if the weather isn’t quite what you hoped for, Fishbourne Roman Palace is close by and is an excellent alternative. This is the UK’s largest Roman home with the greatest collection of mosaics. Great for children and grown ups!
Oxygen Free jumping www.oxygenfreejumping.co.uk
Sometimes you just need to get out and get exercised. Oxygen free jumping trampoline park by Park Royal is an excellent option. Such a good day out for everyone to burn off some energy. (Age guide: all).
Top tip: If you book online you save 10%!
Top tip 2: If your child is 5 or under it is definitely worth taking them to the ‘Little O Todler Trampolining‘ sessions at 10 am. It is a lot less busy so your little ones can move round freely without being afraid of getting squished!
Is always a winner when trying to inspire the kids to step away from the TV. Check out our blog post here for some favourite things to do and places to go this halloween.