February Half Term in London

Feb 7, 2018 by

Festivals: London boasts a number of cultural festivals over February half-term.  I have listed the ones I prefer and some of the highlights of each, check through for dates and times.  

Imagine Festival: what is February half term without The Imagine Festival? Stop in to literary workshops and talks with authors; music and poetry performance; beatbox workshops; dancing .. . it is a quality line up, do check it out.  The Seven Ages Festival at Wigmore Hall is a series of concerts, talks and workshops exploring the different stages of our lives. There are many performances for little ones and interesting discussions for older ones.  Shakespeare’s Globe, Tales for Rainy Days: head to Southbank and book the kids into a variety of events from storytelling, workshops exploring The Tempest, puppet making, Chinese Paper Folding, West African tales … a varied and fantastic line up of events and activities in an inspiring venue.  Battersea Power Station, Storystock: this is brand-new and looks AMAZING.  Judith Kerr will be speaking, an Atticus the Storyteller inspired Greek Myth Marathon, The Secret Garden performance, drawing workshops, writing workshops … Katherine Rundell discussing the craft of adventure stories. Each event is ticketed and run from £5 – £15.

A quick mention about a very special sponsor of London Baby and Kids, local mum’s gold-standard favourite weekly activity: Monkey Music

Monkey Music Hampstead and Primrose Hill has a few vacancies for their Primrose Hill area classes.  Also, Wednesdays on Earl’s Court Road near Holland Park has a few remaining spaces, ring on 0208 438 0189, email hampstead.nottinghill@monkeymusic.co.uk (if you mention London Baby and Kids when you book and you will get an extra special discount!)

If that is a bit too far for you, Monkey Music Chelsea and Westminster has a few openings in The Hut Alpha Place, located directly behind Hill House School on Flood Street and in the gorgeous Cineworld on Fulham Road.  There are a few more openings in their other beautiful, kid and push-chair friendly venues (read more here) Contact Jayne or Caroline to book a class: Chelsea.westminster@monkeymusic.co.uk or ring 208767 9827

Theatre and Performance: if you are in town for the school holidays, there are some fantastically valued, high-quality shows on for families.  Here are a few of my favourites, check dates and times. 

Ovalhouse, One Item Only: Friday 16th & Saturday 17th, 2pm. Follow one child’s journey across continents in search of refuge from her troubled homeland, in this uplifting story of hope and resilience.  £10, £28 family, ages 7+.  Baby Broadway and Baby Gospel: if you get a chance, these concerts are simply fantastic (they are performed by West End luminaries). Baby Broadway has you and the kids singing and bobbing to classic pop songs and show tunes while Baby Gospel uses a Gospel choir to sing Soul and Motown classic. Concerts in Earlsfied, Islington, Sydenham, Forest Gate, Putney, Barnes, Stoke Newington, Walthamstow, Balham, West Hampstead and Waterford over the holidays.  Vauxhall Vaults Festival, One Duck Down.  3rd-18th February, 2:45.  Based on the true tale that saw 7,000 rubber ducks empty from a shipping container in a storm and they ended up all over the Atlantic.  Tickets £9.50, all ages.  The Unicorn Theatre, bring children age 3-6 to see Seesaw, a play about friendship or take the older kids, ages 8-12, to see Othello (my 9 year old boy LOVED it – guns, laughs … but he did not care for the ending – I did not like how the handkerchief was given greater sentimental significance on Othello’s party and more casually dismissed by Desdemona, along with a few other issues, but that made for quality post-theatre chat about gender and the male gaze with my 12 year old).  Half Moon Theatre, bring the little ones to Bear and Butterfly for ages 4-7 and John Hegley: All Hail the Snail for ages 7+. Tickets just £7.  Little Angel Theatre, head to Islington for Heaven, The Singing Mermaid (nearly sold out), 5 More Minutes or Sourpuss.  Kings Place, bring the kids to listen to the Aurora Orchestra, a self-portrait workshop, or a storytelling workshops with Ben Haggarty.  The Peacock Theatre has Zippos Cirque Berserk.  The Puppet Theatre Barge is performing Joey’s Circus in Little Venice. Pop-Up Performance at the V&A, Step inside Christopher Robins’ playroom and help create an imagined world where toys come to life, 11am, 1pm and 3pm, free, all ages.  Royal Albert Hall has Tales from the Shed, Nick Cope, Tongue Fu for Kids, Albert’s Band Presents and the regular storytelling and music sessions.  British Library Chinese Tale and Ribbon Dance: join Jih Wen Yeh as she performs a beautiful ribbon dance, tells a story and then leads a ribbon dancing workshop, ages 5-11, free.

Museums and Art Making: take the kids to do some looking and making, here are my picks of the most interesting museums and workshops.  

Two Temple Place, 100 Years of Jazz: bring the kids to various art workshops where they will make jazz instruments, listen to music, make illustrations, textiles and more.  Ticket £5 and under, various dates and times.  The Foundling Museum Half Term events: make your own poetry inspired mobile, your own instrument, animal mask and a garden for foundlings. Book making at the V&A: create your own character and tell their story with illustrator Loretta Schauer, £8 each, 5-12 year olds, twice daily Monday-Friday.  National Portrait Gallery half term: the activity base is open and there are two workshops for hearing impaired families; there are stop-motion animation workshop.  Wallace Collection are holding Animal Portraits workshops for 8-11 year olds, and 12-15 year olds along with a storytelling session. Westminster Abbey Commonwealth Week: learn about the 52 countries of the Commonwealth through music and dance, art workshops, families tours.  Tickets are £20 per adults, £9 per child.  British Museum Chinese New Year: take the kids stop the Great Court and take part in craft making, performance and storytelling.  Chinese New Year Family Festival Day, National Gallery: Saturday 17th, head to Trafalgar Square for a variety of workshops and performances.  The Garden Museum Half Term Activities: paint, draw and make colourful flowers based on Katie Harnett’s “Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud”, Katie will be in The Garden Museum on Tuesday to sing her books.  Monday-Friday, 2-4, free, ages 3-10.

Special Half Term Days Out: not free, some not even affordable, but for a special treat these are some tried and true outings that are sure things with my kids – click through and read my detailed reviews. 

Splash out for a great time and watch your kids push themselves at Go Ape in  Battersea Park, take the kids for day of exploring forces, pushes, pulls and learn about changing states of matter in the dry ice section – all in the fantastic Wonderlab in the Science Museum.  If they are climbing the walls at home, take them to Chelsea’s Clip N Climb, get them to bounce it all out at Oxygen Freejumping or, take them for their own Mission Impossible adventure at Si5 in Croydon.

Need a forest bath? According to my Facebook feed, the Japanese take therapeutic walks in the woods and call it a “forest bath”.  If you are happy to take a train out of town, try Charles Darwin’s Down House in Downe; Tunbridge Wells for Groombridge Place or Sevenoaks for magical Knole Park or go a bit farther to the New Forest and hire bikes at Brockenhurst Station.

Science and Outdoor Workshops: there are a variety of workshops on offer over the holidays, here is a selection of our favourites.  

RIBA half term events:  book your kids into a variety for Design Quest workshops where they will learn about creating architecture.  Workshops for ages 5-7, 8-10 and 11-15 year olds.  RIGB Family Day: Saturday 17th, 11am-4pm.  Hands on learning, lecturing and discovery around the theme “The Language of Life”, tickets £16 adults, children free.  Also, book kids into RIBA Workshops. The Chelsea Physic Garden workshops are just wonderful, book the kids into chocolate and a lotions and potions workshop.  Hyde Park Education Centre half term events: book 8-11 year olds into a nature inspired activity day or bring younger children to the Brilliant Bird Discover Days on the 14th and 15th.  Holland Park Ecology Centre Half Term: book kids into half day sessions learning about creepy crawlies, animal tracks, or head to the open afternoon and build a nest box.

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