London’s a great place for a family day out at any time of year. This month, as ever, there are loads of fun things happening in the capital, plus Spring’s nearly here, the kids have a week’s half-term holiday, it’s Chinesefamous New Year and it’s Pancake Day. Marvellous.
Here’s my pick of the excellent things to do in London this month.
Winnie-the-Pooh exhibition, V&A
The V&A has a marvellous exhibition devoted to Winnie-the-Pooh and friends until Sunday April 8th, 2018. Author A. A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard created the much-loved stories of Christopher Robin and his toys in the 1920s, and today they are as popular as ever. The exhibition is designed for both children and adults, and my teenage daughter and I really enjoyed it when we went. You can read my review here.
Cost: £8 for adults, £5 for 12-17 year-olds, free for under-12s with a ticket holder. Entry to the museum is free, donations are appreciated.
Southbank Imagine Children’s Festival
Imagine Children’s Festival is the Southbank Centre’s annual children’s arts festival, and this year it runs from 7th – 18th February. The festival features the best in children’s literature, theatre and music and there are plenty of workshops and activities for kids up to the age of 12 years old. Many of the events are free, including a Strictly Kids dance workshop and a stop-motion filming session.
Cost: Varies according to activity.
Warner Bros Studio Tour: Introducing the Art Department
Visitors to the excellent Warner Bros Studio Tour (just outside London) can see a special exhibition about the art department this month. The craftmanship and artistry that went into creating every detail of the Harry Potter wizarding world for the films is highlighted in Introducing the Art Department, from February 9th – 19th, 2018. We had a fantastic day at the studios when we visited as a family – you can read about it in my post Warner Bros Studio Tour: the making of Harry Potter.
Cost: Children from £31, adults from £39. Tickets need to be booked in advance.
London Zoo is run by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) charity, which works for the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. The zoo is home to more than 16,000 animals, from lions, penguins and giraffes to seahorses, butterflies and komodo dragons. You can read about our family trip to London Zoo here.
From 10th -18th February 2018 visitors to the zoo can step into the shoes of the vets, nurses and zookeepers who treat the patients of the zoo’s animal hospital at Vets in Action role-play events.
Cost: Adults from £20.45, children from £15.95, if booked online in advance. Under-threes free.
Colour: The Rainbow Revealed is at the Horniman Museum and Gardens from 10th February – 28th October 2018. The award-winning exhibition explores the endless ways in which colour shapes our world and shows how colours are made and perceived and how animals use colour.
Cost: Adults from £7.00, children from £4.00, under-threes free.
This year Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, falls on Tuesday February 13th. Shrove Tuesday is the feast day before the start of Lent, the 40 days which lead up to Easter, and was traditionally the day when people used up the foods (eggs, butter and milk) which they wouldn’t be eating during Lent. These days Shrove Tuesday is mostly celebrated by eating piles of pancakes, and also by having charity pancake races (a race where the competitors run while tossing a pancake in a frying pan). There are various pancake races happening in London, including one at the Houses of Parliament – details in this Visit London feature.
If you’d like my mum’s Scotch pancake recipe you can find it here.
Cost: Depends on how many pancakes you make/ eat.
Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year celebrations in London are the biggest outside of Asia. The Year of the Dog starts on Friday February 16th, 2018, and the London events to mark the occasion take place on Sunday February 18th in Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and across the West End. The celebrations begin with a lion dance parade which sets off from Trafalgar Square. If you’re going along, be sure to wear something red, to bring you luck in the New Year (according to Chinese tradition).
Museum of London: Votes for Women
2018 marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave some women in the UK the right to vote. The Museum of London is displaying exhibits from its vast Suffragette Collection and is running a Women’s Movement walk through Westminster and Soho on certain dates from 24th February to 29th April 2018. The walk lasts about an hour and a half and the minimum age for walkers is 12.
Cost: Varies according to activity. Entrance to the museum is free.
Kensington Palace has been a royal palace for more than 300 years, and is still home to various members of the royal family, including Prince George, Princess Charlotte and their parents. Part of the palace is open to the public, and it’s a very interesting place to see. You can read my review of our tour of the palace here: Kensington Palace tour. The popular Princess Diana Memorial Playground is in nearby Kensington Gardens.
Cost: Adults from £15.50, under-16s (accompanied by an adult) free.
Science Museum: Wonderlab
Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery at the Science Museum is a truly amazing place. Described as ‘the most spectacular interactive gallery in the world’, Wonderlab has more than 50 exhibits, shows and demonstrations to experience across seven different zones.
Cost: Day passes from £8. Entrance to the main museum is free.
London Transport Museum
Covent Garden’s London Transport Museum is always a fun and interesting place to explore. It shows the development of public transport in the city from sedan chairs right up to the Emirates Air-Line cable car. Adults and over-13s can take part in the museum’s Hidden London tours and events at disused stations and secret sites across London.
Cost: Adults £17.50, children free. Hidden London costs vary.
Where to stay
If you’re looking for accommodation in the capital, check out my post on recommended family-friendly places to stay in London.
More on London
Over to you
Do you have any tips to share for great things to see or do in London this month or any other month? Do share so that I can include your recommendations.