London and The UK's Best Half-Term Activities For Kids In 2023
For kids of all ages, fun things to do in London and around the UK.
During a chilly winter that makes selling the idea of getting together in the great outdoors quite challenging, we've rounded up the best (mostly indoor) activities for kids ahead of February half-term. We've rounded up the best things to do with kids in both London and across the UK during the February half term, from quirky exhibitions to escape rooms and festivals that feature live music and shows.
Our favourite family-friendly hotels and restaurants are the perfect place to unwind after a long day of adventure.
If you're looking for a city break, Rich Report shares some of the best family trips in the UK.
Imagine Children’s Festival at the Southbank
Imagine Children's Festival is now in its 21st year, but its events still have their childlike energy, spilling spectacularly over the February half-term with eleven days of fun. There will be poetry, theatre, music and drama on offer this week, and Michael Rosen, the star of sparky children's books, will perform from his new book, I Am Happy, as well as some of his classics, all part of the high-energy mix. BAC Beatbox Academy will teach their techniques later in the week, or for a more lulling experience, the Philharmonic orchestra will accompany an animated movie of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes.
During the Sixties, Magdalena Abakanowicz led the New Tapestry movement in Europe with her highly innovative sculptures (known as Abakans). Abakanowicz's current Tate exhibition featuring these creations, as well as Chilean fibre artist Cecilia Vicuna's works, inspire these daily workshops. There is no limit to what can be knitted or woven, and families are encouraged to work together to create a cylinder-shaped masterpiece by looping, stitching, or draping their works together. To entertain younger children, a big version of a knitting tool will be available.
Make-it: Korean Calligraphy at the V&A
Despite the fact that Korean calligraphy is derived from Chinese forms, mastering it will take more than a few hours – but artists Kilchan Lee and Taeyoung Lee will help you unravel the complexities of the native alphabet (Hangeul) through brushstrokes. How did it turn out? That's a pretty good start - a bookmark to take home. There are two workshops available: 10.30am and 2pm, but note they are geared towards different age groups: 10-13 and 7-10. The museum's current Hallyu exhibit is also worth a visit if you're interested in all things Korean! From menacing characters in Squid Game to the mind-blowingly upbeat Gangnam Style, the Korean Wave exhibition celebrates the popular culture of South Korea.
The Twist Museum, Oxford Circus
There is a lot of power in perception psychology. To achieve this, Twist Museum teamed up with philosopher Professor Fiona Macpherson, neuroscientists, and artists to create a sensory overload that marries science, perception, and illusion. Experience light exhibitions like the inside of a giant kaleidoscope as you walk through interactive corridors that lead nowhere. In addition, you can see shrinking effects in the Ames room.
Wildlife Photographer of The Year Exhibition at The Natural History Museum
When it comes to children, going to an exhibition with photographs of animals is much easier than going to a retrospective on abstract expressionism, for example. The photographs at this newly redesigned show are fascinating and wide-ranging, exploring the beauty of our planet and its nature. Now, the bar for the quality of photographs is very high, both technically and truthfully, and scientists from the museum provide insight as well.
The Museum of Marvellous Things at Jacksons Lane
It is a dreamlike experience to watch this show at Jacksons Lane, which is based on Kristina Stephenson's picture book. There will be songs, puppets, and audience interaction in this high-energy, magnificently colorful production. They show you how to make stars in jars, dance with Doo-Dahs and sing with Noo-Nahs in their museum of marvellous items. Balloons will, of course, be present as well. For older kids (ages 8-14), half-term circus workshops are a great way to clown around.
Brick Dinos at the Horniman Museum and Gardens
Warren Elsmore and his team combine LEGO with dinosaurs to create miniature artworks. From a life-size flying pterosaur to a lizard-like Masiakasaurus - all built from the wildly popular small plastic bricks - intricate scenes and full-scale models will be on display. Additionally, the kids will be able to build dinosaurs and hunt for fossils through hands-on activities.
Enigma Quests Escape Rooms, Moorgate
Getting the children away from the computer game screen and into a more sociable adventure is one of the best things you can do for them - and, since they take place inside, bad weather is not a problem. Teams of three to five can solve mysteries and overcome obstacles in Enigma Quests' challenging settings. Submarine: Mission Wavebreak lets them diffuse an imaginary bomb, or they can take on the Million Pound Heist. As well as a room for witchcraft and wizardry, there is also a room for magic.
Scarecrow Festival at Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire
In the daytime, scarecrows are fun, but at night they are terrifying. By creating a sense of mystery around the possibility that these bird detersents might come to life, Worzel Gummidge has done wonders for raising children's interest in these straw deterrents. This festival will fill Cheshire's sprawling Tatton park, normally a deer-spotting playground, with raggedy, colorful scarecrows. A kings and queens theme is fitting for a historic estate - with some well-known (straw) faces to be spotted.
The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum Group
Do you ever wonder if a song can be tasted? Perhaps not. But this is one of the questions explored in the power of music exhibition, which you can still catch in Manchester this half term. A number of opportunities will be provided to share and make music, as well as tests to determine whether or not you can distinguish between a human-made symphony and one created by a robot.
Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Taking place for the first time in Scotland, Worlds of Wonder features eight zones of immersive Doctor Who fun for fans everywhere. Time vortex corridors, TARDIS tech rooms (which geeks will love) and monster vaults are all included, along with answers to some top life questions. There will also be some pop-up planetarium shows this half-term at the National Museum of Scotland.
Royal Mint Experience, Wales
All of the UK's coins are manufactured by the Royal Mint, and the 2023 collection will mark the transition from Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III, a major shift in the coin industry. With a ringside view of the factory floor, you can observe how billions of shimmering coins are made (and who wouldn't want to see that?). A coin-making station and interactive money games are also available. JRR Tolkien's life, the NHS, and the Windrush generation will also be included in this year's edition.
Half term at RHS Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire
It's worth visiting RHS Harlow Carr just for its gardens - it's a gem in the Yorkshire countryside that's been attracting people since the 1950s with its landscapes and plant collection. Houseplant-themed trails are offered this half term (using plants you can mostly buy afterwards), as well as crafts using upcycled materials (bring your own tins or random glass containers). A garden detective adventure walk and a family story yoga session will also be offered. Information about what's happening and when can be found on the website.
Street Art walking tour, Glasgow
Street art tours are an excellent way to expose budding young artists to the lesser-known streets of Glasgow, while giving a glimpse into the city itself. The World's Most Economical Taxi and the Billy Connolly mural may not be Banksys (for now), but there will be an array of murals by local artists, as well as the stories behind the graffiti. The meeting point is 81 Mitchell Street, where there is a mural.