Mobile menu

04th September 2018 Kingfisher Visitor Guides

Heading to London’s West End for half term fun? Here are the top picks…

From free family activity trails at the National Portrait Gallery to an exhibition of Oceanic art at the Royal Academy, sundae building at the iconic Fortnum & Mason plus the latest cinema blockbusters, the heart of London’s West End has half term treats for everyone.

Free Arts Trails at the National Portrait Gallery
National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery in London is geared up to offer families a fabulous day out

Family Day programmes at the National Portrait Gallery are interactive, fun, hands-on, and informative and include such elements as story time, a gallery self-guide (scavenger hunt), arts activities, and dance and musical performances.

NPG partners with the Smithsonian American Art Museum for several annual family day events, such as Presidential Family Fun Day each February and Baseball Family Day each summer. Family Days are free and open to the public; no reservations are necessary.

The Royal Academy of Arts
Royal Academy Escape into Landscapes

At the Royal Academy events families can explore art materials and creative techniques

The Royal Academy of Arts, located in the heart of London, is a place where art is made and exhibited. Some of our workshops are particularly tailored for families with children with special educational needs. At our events, families can explore art materials and creative techniques, learn more about our exhibitions through collaborative projects and build a shared interest in art. There are free monthly family events (like storytelling and acrobatic displays!) and practical workshops to join in with which are always based around the exhibitions on display in the galleries at the time. Both workshops must have places booked as they’re pretty popular but the family studios are free and drop in so just turn up!

Sundae Building at Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea sundae

Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea sundae

Children (and the young at heart) can create their own work of ice cream perfection in The Parlour restaurant at Fortnum & Mason.

They can be as Dahl-esque as they dare, choosing up to three scrumptious flavours from the 22 available including rose ripple, crème caramel, chocolossus and new vegan flavours avocado & lime and chocolate & cashew plus pick from a range of sauces, toppings and sides all from £6.50.  Families can then browse Fortnum’s famous food halls and gift floors, for a take home treat.

Catch the latest movies at Leicester Square’s Cineworld

Leicester Square is the home of entertainment in London and Cineworld is the jewel in its crown. Whether it’s a special occasion or just the thrill of seeing a big new movie on opening night, a visit to always makes filmgoing that extra bit special.

As you enter Leicester Square Cineworld, an iconic all-digital staircase brings the film experience dazzlingly to life. Cineworld gives you exciting new ways to experience the biggest films and lose yourself in the action.

Hollywood taster or a pizza party
Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood in London

Film lovers can enjoy a taste of Hollywood at family-friendly Planet Hollywood located just off Leicester Square.  Packed full of eye catching movie memorabilia including a Star Wars Stormtrooper Helmet, a pair of Rocky’s boots from Rocky III as well as a Bond themed room filled with real movie pieces.

In 2018 Planet Hollywood was voted for the third year running as London’s Best Child-Friendly restaurant. The menu caters for all tastes with dishes ranging from American classics such as burgers and wings to Italian and Asian plus a dedicated Kids Menu.

Go on a book hunt

While away an hour book or present hunting in London’s oldest bookshop: Hatchards. This Piccadilly stalwart was established by John Hatchard in 1797 and is bookseller to all the royal households.

With 100,000 books in store and an impressive children’s section, complete with comfy sofa and book-loving staff on hand to inspire and suggest – even the most reluctant readers will be converted.


Everything you need to know about London

Where to shop in London

A guide to nightlife in London

Where to eat in London

The best days out in London

A guide to Arts & Culture in London

Image credits: Mooneyphoto.com/National Portrait Gallery

Related features

×