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Plan a fun-filled half term with these exciting events and activities


January is almost over and February half term is in sight… things are looking up! We’ve teamed up with dandelion.london to get some exciting suggestions for those much needed in-real-life outings and activities to do with kids in London this half term. Get booking as availability is often limited!


The Big Half Term museum openings

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Life opens at the V&A on 12 Feb but (as with their last blockbuster, Faberge) is sold out until March. Book now – it will be a goodie. They have a couple of fun family workshops related to the show, including Live Mini-Beast Drawing on Sat 12th at 10.30am (ages 7–9), 1pm (ages 9–11) and 3pm (ages 11–13). Sessions are 90 mins and there is currently availability for all three, but booking is essential.


The World of Stonehenge is at the British Museum from 17 Feb and there is good availability. Some of the BM’s shows are dry to the point of boring but their current Peru exhibition (on until 20 Feb) is anything but and definitely makes the trip to Bloomsbury worth it.


New(ish) art exhibitions

Between Two Islands: Caribbean British Art 1950 to Now at Tate Britain opened in December and is our pick of the bunch for older kids. A fantastically engaging show that is full of beauty and joy as well as confronting issues of bigotry, racism and violence of our recent past. A must.


The Caribbean vibe continues in an unashamedly commercial new show, Bob Marley: One Love Experience which opens at the Saatchi Gallery on 2 Feb. Tickets are via Ticketmaster and expensive (£26.40 for the regular option, £55 for VIP room access, £72 for Yoga in the Love Forest!!) but it looks to be huge, interactive fun. Under 8s are free.


Francis Bacon: Man and Beast opens at the Royal Academy on 29 Jan and explores his fascination with animals and how this impacted his portrayal of the human form. Definitely not one for littles. Under 16s are free.


Van Gogh – Self Portraits is at the Courtauld, Somerset House, from 3 Feb. Not that you need any excuse to go to the Courtauld at the moment following its total dream of a makeover. And it is free to all U18s or students. Other galleries take note.

 

 

Do check the dandelion.london website to see what we thought of the above. Press previews for Bob Marley, Bacon and Van Gogh are next week and the week after.


Bookish fun

The Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival is celebrating its 20th year and has a packed programme throughout half term. Very much a multi-arts celebration, there is heaps of theatre, comedy, music and performance, much of it free. The last weekend is a kids’ literature extravaganza. Highlights for us will be Julia Donaldson and Adam Kay on Sat 19th and Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen and Joseph Coelho on Sun 20th but have a look at the full programme. You are truly spoilt for choice!


Stories are at the heart of the half term events at the Postal Museum which are on a theme of the magic of storytelling. Wednesday morning sees a live author event with the brilliant PG Bell, creator of the popular A Train to Impossible Places Adventures series. Finished by lunchtime, you can wander up to Exmouth Market and play some table football and have lunch at Café Kick.


Animal magic for littles

There is an extra reason to visit London Zoo this half term. Their Vets in Action role-playing experience is running from 12–20 Feb. Junior vets are provided with hairnets and masks before helping experts examine, diagnose and treat life size soft toys including a Sumatran tiger cub and a giant Galapagos turtle. Activities are drop in and included in the entry price.


Or, looking south, the Horniman’s new exhibition is Raining Cats and Dogs. Opening on 12 Feb, study canine and feline behaviour and learn to see the world through the eyes of your favourite pet. There are storytelling sessions running daily (except Wednesday) throughout half term to accompany the exhibition.


Thrilling theatre

Garlanded with five star reviews from its run at the Bristol Old Vic, a punchy, musical adaptation of Wuthering Heights  arrives at the National Theatre on 3 Feb. Plenty of availability over half term. Ages 12+.


Have your kids ever taken part in a Perform drama workshop? This half term sees the company’s first professional foray into the West End. Jungle Rumble is a ‘wild new musical’ with an eco twist and runs at the Fortune Theatre, Covent Garden.


For more interactive theatrical fun, there are family workshops and storytelling at the Telling Tales festival at Shakespeare’s Globe. Macbeth, The Tempest, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream brought to life for age specific sessions, ages 5–12. Highly recommended.


Design workshops

The Design and Textile Museum in Borough is running 2-hour Fashion Collection workshops on 16 Feb for aspiring designers aged 12–18. Drop teens off to work up an appetite creating mood boards and then meet afterwards in Borough Market for some foodie rewards. There are also sessions for younger kids on 18 Feb.


If buildings are more your bag, the John Soane Museum is running an Architectural Design Workshop on 16 Feb, 11am–3pm. Suitable for ages 11–14, work in teams to devise and model a sustainable London culture site.


Fire, Fire!

Last up: there are still spaces available on the Museum of London’s Great Fire of London family walk on Sun 19th, the last day of half term, at 10.30am. An interactive guided hour round the City, learning how the Great Fire started, spread and was finally stopped. Booking essential.


For lots more suggestions and reviews, head to dandelion.london or visit them on instagram.

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