London’s Best Free and Affordable Half-Term Musuem and Workshop Activities

Oct 22, 2014 by

Museums and Activities: October Half-term in London


Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery: Tuesday 28th, Pangaea Free Family Day – 10:30-3pm bring kids of all ages to take part in a day of exploring the Saatchi Gallery.

British Museum, Half Term Magnificent China.  Monday 27th – Friday 31st, all ages, free, drop-in.  Different, engaging events on each day – make jewellery, have a go at Chinese calligraphy, storytelling and more.  The Big Draw, Ming Family Event: Sunday 26th from 11am-4pm, create your  own plate, draw lions and more.

National Portrait Gallery: Lots of interesting and quality events on at the NPG this half term.  There is lots with William Morris, making wall hangings, wallpaper, clay tiles in addition to puppet making and portraits.  Monday 27th – Friday 31st, check web site for event times and ages.  Free, drop-in.

Ragged School Museum

Ragged School Museum: The kids will love the Ragged GHOUL Museum this half-term.  Join in face painting, dressing up, arts and crafts, Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th, 10am-5pm, all ages, drop-in, free.

London Garden Museum: over the half-term, come in and help make a clay garden installation for the museum.  Free, all ages, drop-in Monday 27th-Friday 31st, 2-4pm.


Isis Education Centre, Hyde Park: Go Batty for Bats Discovery Day – come and pop in the amazing Isis Education Centre for drop-in activities including a bat trail, potion making, craft making and other activities exploring bats and nature.  Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th, 11am-3pm.

V & A: head over for a week of exploring Constable.  Storytelling in atmospheric landscapes, Imagination Station activity pack of cloud making kids.

Wallace Collection: Friday 31st come and make monster masks in this lovely artist-led workshop.  Free, ages 6+ (younger siblings welcome). Drop-in, 10:30-2:15 and 2:00-3:45.  The Little Draw Sunday 2nd November– all ages, free drop-in.

National Gallery: Family Art Workshops– Sunday 26th-Tuesday 29th, 11am-1pm repeated 2-4pm.  Join artists Harriet Hill and Gayna Pelham to make a spooky shadow puppet.  Ages 5-11, free, tickets allocated on arrival up to one hour before the workshop begins. Drawing Stories and Stay and Play – for children 0-5, come and explore a painting in the National Gallery.

Museum of London: this museum has a wonderful education room where children make arts and crafts that accommodates younger siblings.  Over half-term there are lots of storytelling, exploring and craft making activities to choose from.

Whitechapel Gallery: Family Day: The Weave of Textile Language, Saturday 1st November, noon-4pm.  Bring the kids for this artist led workshop where you will create a painting out of wire, cotton, string, rope, plywood and paper.  Free, booking strongly recommened,

Geffrye Museum Holiday Activities: take the kids to the Geffrye this half term as every day there are loads and make and do crafts for the kids to take part in.  Create soaps, candles, tea-light skulls, bake and much more.  Spaces are allocated on arrival and you will have to queue for baking workshops in particular, but there is lots on each day in case you don’t make it in time.  All free, ages 3+, check times for specific events.

Horniman Museum: lots and lots on every day over the half-term.  There is craft making, object handling, storytelling, bulb planting, Indian dancing, puppet making – take a look.  Many activities are free, and some are drop-in.

Somerset House: Saturday 1st November, noon -3pm.  Join Jacky Bahbout, author of Funny Face to make, well – funny faces.  A lovely, free drop-in for families with children ages 6+.

Activities, workshops and museums with small fees:


Anselm Kiefer Royal Academy

Royal Academy Anselm Kiefer Creative Art Workshops:  Come to this artist-led, hands on workshop inspired by the Anselm Kiefer Exhibit.  These workshops are usually very well-run and definitely worth-while.  £10 adults, children £5.  Tuesday 28th and Thursday 30th, 10:15-1pm.

National Gallery Artist Apprentice Workshops (£8 per person – adults mandatory and ticketed) as part of Rembrandt the Late Works, explore how Dutch artists used contrasts between light and dark using paper negatives to make images using light.

Foundling Museum: A series of fantastic-sounding workshops: on Tuesday 28th, use glue, card and help build a collaborative architecture project.  On Wednesday 29th, create a doctors kit complete with leaches and other old remedies.  There is a Halloween special on Friday.  All sessions are free with 1 adult museum ticket (£7.50) and are drop-in between 10:30 and 4:30.

Whitechapel Gallery: Saturday 1st November, 1-3pm.  Work with artist Joanna Brinton to create your own printed publication of poetry and typography.  £15 per participant, ages 5-12.

Saatchi Gallery: a series of wonderful art workshops to choose from this half-term.  On Monday 27th and Wednesday 29th, come and try out the Magna Master Class for children ages 7+.  Drop in between 11am-1pm and 1:30-3:30, £5 per participant.  Tuesday 28th, Pangaea Free Family Day – 10:30-3pm bring kids of all ages to take part in a day of exploring the Saatchi Gallery.  On Thursday 30th book in for Animation Studio lesion for ages 7-12, £8.50 per participant.

Benjamin Franklin House: bring the kids to the London home of this fascinating American Founding Father on Tuesday 28th from 4-5pm.  Dress up for Halloween and come play games and listen to spooky tales at the Benjamin Franklin House Halloween party.  £5 per child.

Kensington Palace Kids Worskhop

Kensington Palace: King’s Table – Autumn Half Term Activities.  Bring the kids for a day of learning and exploring the life and times of George III.  Meet his chef, learn about Georgian diets, craft making and storytelling all free with the price of admission.  This is honestly worth the ticket price as you completely escape the crowds that plague the museum campus and can enjoy a sumptuous time in the palace.

Dulwich Picture Gallery: Sunday 26th Artplay- drop-in activity with a Halloween theme.  Also on the day, there  is a storytelling session, Why Dogs Chase Cats.  Then on Sunday 2nd November there is a Big Draw session with artist Erica Parrett where children will explore indigenous totem poles and then create their own. All activities are free with the £6 adult admission to the museum.

holland park ecology centre

Holland Park Ecology Centre: this is a brilliant way to spend a day with the kids, book now to make a shelter, investigate creepy crawlies, track animals who live in Holland Park, create your own habitat – an 2 hour session of investigation, making and games.  £5.40 for non-residents, £4.20 residents, children ages 5-10 years old (8 year old children may be unaccompanied).  The newly renovated Ecology centre is now located in the Adventure Playground, pictured above ready for a birthday party.

Wallace Collection: Silk Paintings for children, £11 ages 9-11 Wednesday 29th.

Chelsea Physic Garden: Thursday 30th, 10:30-2:20 Big Draw – this is an artist led workshop where children will gain practice using their observational skills to sketch, but also to interact with the gardens in printmaking, model making, painting and more. Ages 6+,  £8.60 per child for the session.  On Friday 31st, 10:30-noon or 1pm-2:30 Creepy Crawling: come and handle hissing cockroaches, a corn snake, and African snail, tree from and more.  Ages 4+ £6.60 per child.

V & A: Explore Constable in this painting workshop for children ages 6-12. £7.50

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