Half-term is always a welcome break after the madness of a new year begins to take its toll. If you’re looking forward to spending time as a family but are running out of original places to go, we have the week tied up in a list that not only provides entertainment for your children, but for you too; remember adults need fun too!
For a great value day out, take a look at the Family Red Rover deal and save the equivalent of three kids travelling free. This ticket allows 2 adults and up to 3 children to hop on and off any City Cruises sightseeing ship between Westminster, London Eye, Tower Bridge and Greenwich, all day. Cruising across the river is the perfect way to start your day of fun, the journey is efficient and the sightseeing educational, wherever you’re going.
Imagine Children’s Festival – Southbank Centre, Monday 10th February – Sunday 23rd February
This festival hosts a range of different events to interest your little ones, from pirate crafts, to rock bands, to a children’s edition of question time, there’s something fun for everyone. Furthermore the fun can start from as young as 6 months so if you’re juggling a vast age range of inquisitive minds at home, this festival is perfect for your brood.
Whilst it’s a festival run by children for children, they haven’t excluded adults. Why not book yourself into the ‘Children’s poets for grown-ups’ workshop and educate yourself on what it takes to become a great child’s poet. Set in the poetry library at the Royal Festival Hall, the location alone is bound to get you feeling creative.
Click here to find a list of full events taking place as part of ‘Imagine Children’s festival’ – the talent recruited to speak and the interactive events available are all highly imaginative, a true credit to the festival’s namesake. We think you’ll need no further tempting once you discover you could be going on a bear hunt…for free! Brilliant fun for children and adults.
Chinese New Year – National Maritime Museum, 15th February 2014
This event at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is another great event for all ages. Workshops being run include discovering which Chinese new year animal you are, mask making, and a traditional lion dance (see below). It’s also free! Hooray!
This year we celebrate the year of the Horse. According to the Chinese zodiac, typical ‘Horse’ character traits are; hard-working, outgoing and gifted. If you’ve just read this description out loud and someone around the office is now boasting they’re a horse, Beware! They are also said to be impatient, bad tempered and highly cunning! Well now, no one’s perfect.
Definitely worth taking a Cruise direct to Greenwich Pier to get your kids in the spirit of maritime learning; the museum will do the rest and provide fun, interactive ways of discovering how trade by sea brought people and cultural celebrations from Asia to Britain.
Big and small family day – Tate Britain, Friday 22nd February
Big and small family day is the result of a collaborative project that takes place with local families, community groups and children’s centres. It’s a workshop day that incorporates play with learning in a creative environment. Children will have the opportunity to engage all their senses as they’re encouraged by artists to use ordinary everyday materials to create extraordinary art, sculpture and sound. This interactive day is aimed primarily at 5 year olds and under, but older brothers and sisters are warmly welcomed to explore too.
If you tire yourself out running about as your kids hop from creation to creation, rest assured there’s a gorgeous cafe that looks out over the Thames. Relax with refreshments that are prepared from fresh in front of you. Naturally there’s a great range of healthy salads, but we’re going to recommend you go for the great big slab of cake.
Story Days – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Saturday 15th February and Saturday 22nd February
The Tate Britain focused on activities better suited to younger children, so here’s an option for those slightly older sproglets (specifically 6 and above!) but you can’t deny this has a certain appeal for adults too: there’s no shame in sitting and imagining you’re acting the lead role at the round.
Gather round as the Globe Education storytellers create a majestic atmosphere that will transport you to either a magical deserted island (in the Tempest, Feb 15th) or to the hustle and bustle of Venice (The Merchant of Venice, Feb 22nd). You need to book for this event, tickets are £15 for 1 adult and 1 child.
ThamesJet – Westminster Pier, everyday from the 16th-21st February
Now we’re moving onto a slightly older age group – this is the biggest thrill you can get for children starting from aged 7. Is your child full of beans? Adventurous? Not likely to be found sitting still for prolonged amounts of time? If you’ve answered a resounding yes than get down to Westminster pier and experience the fastest jet boat on the Thames! There’s a choice of two rides – either ThamesRush which is 50 minutes in duration or ThamesMax the 75 minute full throttle experience. As you speed along the river up to Canary Wharf, it’s impossible at any age not to get carried away in the moment, with the secret agent music and commentary adding to the thrill. A morning or afternoon that we’re sure will be as much fun for you as it will your kids and don’t worry mums – you’ll be offered protective clothing when you get there! Head to the website to book tickets now.
Remember half-term fun starts on the river, take a look at our sightseeing deals and January sales here.