Family-friendly London activities for May half term
Take advantage of these special child-friendly activities, taking place around London this week for the school holidays.
Family Day at Your Stratford Stage (pictured above)
11am-4pm, Wed 29 May
Right next to Westfield Stratford City, this outdoor stage has been entertaining shoppers and Olympic Park visitors for the past few weeks with all sorts of entertainment. For its Family Day, the stage is hosting Stratford Circus performances, storytelling sessions, a dance battle and workshops, as well as a live DJ.
Free | www.internationalquarter.london
Westfield, Endeavour Square, Stratford, E20 1HZ
What Shapes Can Say at The National Gallery
11am-4pm, Mon 27 May to Fri 31 May
This is an opportunity for children to awaken the tiny artists living inside them, as they experiment with colours and shapes in Room 34. These drop-in activities are inspired by Irish-American artist Sean Scully’s current exhibition, Sea Star, which is an abstract look at Turner’s The Evening Star.
Free | www.nationalgallery.org.uk
Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN
Half-Term at Hamleys
Fri 24 May to Sun 2 Jun
If you haven’t been to Hamleys on Regent Street with your kids, then you should know that it’s more than just a big shop: performers and toy demonstrators roam around throughout, making it really interactive – and chaotic! For half-term, Hamleys has an extensive programme of extra daily activities, such as the Scalextric Time Trial challenge (12.30pm, 2pm & 5pm, floor 4), puppet shows (1.45pm, 3.15pm & 5.45pm, ground floor) and the Hamleys Daily Parade, including a pirate, a wizard, a toy soldier and more (4pm, ground floor).
Free | www.hamleys.com
188-196 Regent St, W1B 5BT
Original Kids Tour of London
2pm, Thur 30 May & Sat 1 Jun
The long-established Original Tour has designed this open-top bus route specifically for children, which means that it includes commentary from a guide who will work hard to entertain little ones. The 45-minute tour starts next to Her Majesty's Theatre in the West End and includes Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye.
Adult £15, child £8 | www.theoriginaltour.com
Her Majesty's Theatre, Haymarket, W1Y 4QL
Queen Victoria's 200th birthday at The Postal Museum
11am-4pm, every day until Sat 1 Jun
Every day the museum is celebrating the monarch with a different activity: construct a Victorian top hat or tiara on 30 May; design a ‘Penny Black’ greetings card on 31 May; make a Queen Victoria hand puppet on 1 Jun. Also, if your name is Victoria (in any language), bring valid ID and you won’t pay for entry in May!
All activities free with admission; adult £17, child £10 | www.postalmuseum.org/may-half-term
15-20 Phoenix Place, WC1X 0DA
Meet Mary Seacole at the Florence Nightingale Museum
11.30am, 1.30pm & 3pm, Sat 1 Jun
You might know that nurse Florence Nightingale found fame as The Lady with the Lamp during the Crimean War, but you may not realise that Mary Seacole also achieved great things as a military nurse during this conflict, too. Take your kids to meet Mary and hear her story. There’s also a Teddy Bear Hospital in the museum, 11am-1pm & 2pm-3.30pm Thur 30 May – bring your teddys and toys to nurse them back to health.
All activities free with admission; adult £8, child £4 | www.florence-nightingale.co.uk
2 Lambeth Palace Rd, SE1 7EQ
Fancy seeing a child-friendly show? There’s lots to watch at the Underbelly Festival on the South Bank