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
Come face to face with history at the National Portrait Gallery. Families can meet Henry VIII and Elizabeth I; say hello to Shakespeare and Jane Austen; and even discuss politics with Winston Churchill or have their photo taken with Ed Sheeran. There are also free family activity trails to enjoy.
Every day of the October half term between 11am – 4pm youngsters can visit the FAB (Family Activity Base) cart for free activities including a Pop-Up Gallery where they can create their own portraits and 3D models.
Also, on 25th October, from 11am-4pm, there will be a free family art extravaganza for the annual “Big Draw” Festival, which celebrates the power of drawing. Families can drop in and join in the fun with a team of artists who will be taking part in collaborative activities across the Gallery.
GET SWEPT AWAY ON A MOANA WAVE AT THE RA’S LANDMARK OCEANIA EXHIBITION
Children and families who enjoyed Disney’s Pacific island dwelling Moana, will love the Royal Academy’s 2018 Oceania exhibition – the UK’s first major show exploring Oceanic art, featuring 250 objects, including canoes, god figures and feast bowls from the South Pacific
Oceania marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy, founded in 1768, the same year Captain James Cook set off to discover this part of the world. It provides a rare opportunity to be immersed in the art and culture of an area that represents nearly a third of the world’s surface, a region rich in history, ritual and ceremony.
Sing along to Moana as a family at the RA’s film screening on 26 October (£10 adults/ £5 children, booking opens 10 September), led by favourite characters from the film, in collaboration with dance troupe Beats Of Polynesia.
SUNDAE BUILDING AT FORTNUM & MASON
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 MOVIE ACTION AT LEICESTER SQUARE’S CINEWORLD
Families can immerse themselves in the heart of the film action at Leicester Square Cineworld. This autumn’s family-friendly films will include computer animated comedy Smallfoot, comedy adventure Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween and Rowan Atkinson will return as much-loved accidental secret agent in Johnny English Strikes Again.
HOLLYWOOD TASTER OR A PIZZA PARTY
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