20+ Things to do With Kids in London - May 2017 (inc Half Term)

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It feels like the Easter holiday was only last week but here we are starting another month, which will close with yet another half term break.

Thankfully the weather is improving which means we can enjoy London in all its outdoors-y goodness.

There’s still plenty to be getting up to with the kids this month – our picks are below:


Quentin Blake: The Life of Birds at House of Illustration

From Friday May 5

The Life of Birds exhibition, curated by Quentin Blake himself, is the first to examine bids - a theme that has intrigued him throughout his career.

It will show a series of original drawings from his personal archive of birds in everyday situations, and reveal Blake’s mastery of conveying emotion through expression and gesture, a hallmark of his illustrations.

Child tickets from £4. One ticket covers admission to all House of Illustration exhibitions that are open on the day.

Book here.


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Hamleys London: Star Wars Weekend

Saturday May 6 + Sunday May 7

Hamleys London is dedicating an entire weekend to all things Star Wars. Located amongst the new Star Wars collection on the lower ground of its Regent Street store, take your pick from these free activities:

  • See incredible LEGO models of some of the kids’ favourite characters
  • Take a selfie with a Stormtrooper
  • Become a Star Wars toy by having your picture taken in a life size toy box
  • Chase radio controlled BB-8 around the store
  • Test out the brand new Bladebuilder Lightsabers
  • Dress up as your favourite character to win Star Wars prizes in store, with extra goodies for the grownups that join in

For more information, visit hamleys.com/explore.


Adventures in Wonderland

From Saturday 13 May 2017 to 3 September 2017

The award winning show returns to The Vaults at Waterloo for a limited season. The critically acclaimed, multi-sensory experience, created and directed specifically for children aged 5 to 10 allows families to explore Wonderland up close, in an immense multi-room set in the Vaults under Waterloo station.

In this hour-long show, children will play a part in controlling their own experience, as they search for Alice, who is missing in Wonderland. On entering Wonderland whether you ‘Eat me’ or ‘Drink Me’ will determine your unique path. Tumble with the Tweedle twins; follow the White Rabbit and take Tea with the Hatter at the Maddest Tea Party of all.

Prices from £15.50.

Book here.


Chestnut Sunday in Bushy Park

Sunday May 14 – 1230 - 1630

With its roots in Victorian times, Chestnut Sunday is an annual celebration of the blossom on the horse chestnut trees in Bushy Park. Festivities include a parade through Chestnut Avenue at 1230 with military vehicles, vintage cars and City of London horses.

Kids can enjoy live music, pony rides historical re-enactments and traditional fairground rides.

Find out more here.


Museum of London Docklands

Toddler Takeover

Saturday 20 + Sunday 21 May

1200 - 1600
Bring your little ones for a weekend full of exciting activities designed especially for under 5s. Enjoy a range of interactive workshops and performances created in collaboration with local families. Takeover Day is a celebration of children and young people’s contributions to museums and is coordinated by the charity Kids in Museums. Best suited to children aged 5 and under. Entry is free.

Archaeology Detectives

Every Wednesday in May and June
Put your detective skills to the test and see if you can help uncover London’s past using real archaeological artefacts. Meet the Museum’s archaeology team and find out what survives from the everyday lives of Londoners throughout time. Suitable for children of all ages. Free entry.

Find out more about half term at the museum here.


Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre

Previews at the Piccadilly Theatre begin on Tuesday 23 May with opening night on 5 June 2017.

Multi award-winning comedy writer, actor and author Miranda Hart makes her West End Theatre debut as Miss Hannigan in Annie. Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Meanwhile, spiteful (yet, fabulous) Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family.

Tickets from £42

Book here.


The View from The Shard

Kids Go Free between Saturday May 27 to Sunday June 4

Explore the sights of the capital at The View from The Shard, as two free child tickets come with every two adult tickets sold.

Take in the city’s iconic skyline, and spot both historic and modern landmarks whilst discovering over 1000 years of London’s rich culture and history. As the tallest building in Western Europe, you can experience 360-degree views for up to 40 miles from the attraction’s viewing platforms, located on Level 69 and the open-air Skydeck on Level 72.

Children can hunt down some of London's most famous sights with a chance to win a monthly prize via the Activity Sheet (available to download online or guests can collect them once at The View from The Shard). The Houses of Parliament, The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the Olympic Park and Wembley Stadium are just some of the buildings waiting to be discovered. Parents can entertain themselves with a tipple from London’s highest champagne bar as the sun sets over the city’s skyline.

Tickets from £25.95 per adult and are available to book from theviewfromtheshard.com. Children under 3 don't need a ticket.

Opening hours are 1000 – 2200 Monday to Sunday (last entry 21:00).


Drawing + Discovery at The Museum of Brands

Saturday 27 May – Sunday 4 June

Get creative and use the toys, sweets and breakfast cereals of the past to design and make your own seed packaging. Enjoy sketching in the Time Tunnel and garden then take home a designed seed pack full with cress seeds to grow and eat at home.

All activities are free with your Museum admission - no booking required.

  • Adult Museum Admission £9
  • Concessions £7
  • Children £5 (under 7s free)
  • Family Ticket £24

Museum open Tuesday to Sunday and on Bank Holiday Mondays.
Find out more at museumofbrands.com/whats-on/


Half Term at Museum of London

Creative Cattle

Saturday 27 + Monday 29 May

  • 1230 – 1400 + 1430 – 1600
  • Make your own model cow and herd it into a Saxon house.

The Tale of Thor’s Wedding

Saturday 27 May

Thursday 1 June

Sunday 4 June

  • 1300 – 1330
  • 1400 – 1430
  • 1500 - 1530

Help tell a captivating Old Norse myth.

The Tale of King Alfred

Sunday 28 + Monday 29 May

  • 1300 – 1330
  • 1400 – 1430
  • 1500 - 1530

Take part in an interactive storytelling session.

Beautiful Brooches

Sunday 28 May + Sunday 4 June

  • 1230 – 1400
  • 1430 – 1600

Explore the brooches in their collection then make your own.

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday 30 + Wednesday 31 May

  • 1230 – 1400
  • 1430 – 1600

Make your own model of a Saxon home.

Anglo-Saxon Songs and Sounds

Tuesday 30 + Wednesday 31 May

  • 1300 – 1330
  • 1400 – 1430
  • 1500 - 1530

Enjoy a musical version of Beowulf and learn a song in Old English.

Find out more about half term at the museum here.


Half Term at Horniman Museum

Hands on Base: Horniman Explorers May Half Term

Monday 29 May and Friday 2 June

  • 1100-1230
  • 1400 - 1530

Get interactive in the free Hands on Base gallery. Play a West African thumb piano, explore the jaws of a shark and take part in challenges involving trying on clothes, playing music, drawing and exploring.

Pond Dipping

Tuesday 30 May

  • 1100
  • 1200
  • 1300

Discover the variety of spring wildlife living in the Nature Trail pond. All equipment is provided and a tutor will guide you through the process and help you identify your finds. The Horniman Nature Trail is the oldest in London and is carefully managed to encourage wildlife. Children must be age 5+ and accompanied by an adult. These activities are not suitable for prams or pushchairs.

Tickets - £3 per child, accompanying adults free.

Big Wednesday: As Dead as a Dodo

Wednesday 31 May

  • 1100 - 1330

Enjoy a day of free family activities inspired by the new Tiger display in the Natural History Gallery. Meet the natural history curators to find out about animals that are endangered or close to extinction. Children can listen to stories about strange and fabulous creatures that once lived on the Earth and use their imagination to create a drawing of an extinct animal.

Minibeast Safari

Thursday 1 June

  • 1100
  • 1200
  • 1400
  • 1500

Search for creepy crawlies and bugs on the Horniman Nature Trail and discover the variety of insect life to be found in London during the spring. Suitable for children age 3+. All children must be accompanied by an adult. This activity is not suitable for prams or pushchairs.

Tickets: £3 per child, accompanying adults free.

Find out more about half term at the museum here.


Hetty Feather: The Film Set at The Foundling Museum

Tuesday 30 May

Sessions run:

  • 10:30-12:00
  • 13:00-14:30
  • 15:00-16:30

Jacqueline Wilson’s much-loved fictional character Hetty Feather has brought the history of London’s Foundling Hospital to life and fans of the book can make their own Hetty Feather film set in this free family workshop. As part of the exhibition Picturing Hetty Feather, families can make a miniature film set and bring it to life with puppets of their favourite Hetty Feather characters.

Suitable for children age 5+.

Free for children and up to two accompanying adults. Sign up on the day.

More info here.


Flip Out Brent Cross

Flip Out opened a new branch in Brent Cross last month with a range of facilities suitable for all ages, including a Ninja Warrior course (as seen on TV), trick park to try out new stunts and a laser maze to test your stealth skills. If that all sounds too energetic, you can escape to a meditation room or relax in the Sky Lounge.

Unlike other aerobic activities, trampolining places less strain on your joints, increases oxygen capacity, improves balance, firms and tones muscles, boosts energy levels and strengthens the heart. While running puts physical stress on lower limbs and feet, using a trampoline can reduce the impact placed on weight-bearing joints.

Suitable for children from 6 months old. Prices start from £12.50.

Book here.


Mini Mozart Music Lessons

Mini Mozart was started by a musician mum on maternity leave who couldn’t find a music class that really excited her child so she decided to gather her NCT friends round and started her own. 

The idea of Mini Mozart is to get children really interested in music so that rather than merely hearing, they are actively and avidly listening.  All classes include a musician playing Piano plus at least one other instrument (violin, viola, flute, clarinet) accompanist.

Classes are available at 17 venues across London and most include options for babies and toddlers. Taster sessions are available with a full money back guarantee if you or the children don’t enjoy it.

Book here.


Indoor Play Idea: Selfie Clothing

The idea behind this is brilliant – clothes the kids can colour in and wear!

Coz let’s be real, it’s bound to rain at least one day of the half term.

Prices start at £. Buy yours at selfieclothing.co.uk


Parkland Play: Minibeast World

  • Tuesday 30 May in Greenwich Park. From 1030 – 1145
  • Wednesday 31 May in Regents Park. From 1030 – 1145
  • Thursday 01 June in Bushy Park. From 1030 – 1145

Explore the world of minibeasts – get down and dirty with creepies, crawlies, buzzers, flappers and wigglies.

Suitable for children 18 months to 4 years old.

Tickets £5 per child, £2 per adult. Book here.


Half Term Workshops at Punk Me Up Ceramics Café

Wednesday May 31 from 1000 to 1230 (drop the kids and go!)

Planting + Printing Workshop

A fun plant based workshop where children learn about terrariums and make one to take-away.  There’ll be a still life-drawing class and time to explore mono-printing. Tickets cost £28 and this includes a drink and snack.

Book here.

Sewing School: Make a Zipper Bag

Wednesday May 31 from 1400 to 1600

A 2-hour workshop all about learning sewing machine basics in a small-group environment. Children will cover how to thread a machine, master straight lines and go on to make a simple zipper bag that can be used to stash all sorts of things from sleepover stuff to pencils and more. Everyone will get some 1-on-1 time to use the machine. It’s recommended that kids have some hand-sewing experience before this workshop. 

Tickets cost £24. Book here.


The Man Who Knows It All – The Unicorn Theatre, London

From Wednesday 31 May to Sunday 4 June 2017

The Man Who Knows It All is a wonderfully surreal, wickedly intelligent and original tribute to not knowing much about anything. Two performers and a musician go on a quest in search of everything it is possible to know.  Along the way it becomes evident that the questions and answers just keep coming, especially when the audience gets involved. Knowing everything is more difficult than we imagine.

Audience members will have the chance to submit their questions for The Man Who Knows It All beforehand and this will become part of the show.

This multi award-winning show with music and something resembling dance lasts 50 minutes and is aimed at ages 4 to 10 years. Its existential reach will leave adults and children howling with laughter.

Tickets:

  • Under 18s from £8
  • Adults from £12 (concessions £3 off)
  • Disabled customers may bring one carer for free

Book online here.


Investigate for Families at The National History Museum

Weekdays only

Become a scientist in the Investigate Centre and examine hundreds of real natural history specimens. Science Educators are on hand to help make use of the many tools provided. Bring your own questions, or use some of theirs to make the most of this hands-on science experience.

Free admission. Find out more here.


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