Days out with kids in London

Fire! Fire! – Museum of  London – ends 17 April 

These hols is your last chance to catch this interactive Great Fire of London exhibition that brings history lessons to life. Step into Pudding Lane and see what conditions were like for ordinary Londoners in the 17th century. Walk into the bakery where the fire started and see how the flames spread across the city. Play archaeologist and identify real objects melted by the flames. Hear personal stories of the people affected by the disaster. There’s even a restored 17th century fire engine on display. Tickets cost from £8 for adults if booked in advance, £4 for 5-16s.

Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN. museumoflondon.org.uk

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Ocean Invaders – Sea Life London Aquarium, London SE1 – ongoing

 

The London Aquarium never disappoints. The beautiful, bonkers and plain ugly get the full point and stare treatment. This month jellyfish joins the celebrity gold fish bowl with a new permanent exhibition dedicated to Ocean Invaders’. Discover the most dangerous species and create our own digital jellyfish. It’s cheaper to book in advance, £19.50 for adults, £14.50 under 16s and under 3s for FREE!

London Aquarium, Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7PB. visitsealife.com

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Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail – Museum of London Docklands – until 3 Sept

Museum of London

I saw a preview of this exhibition on the telly and it looks amazing. It’s the most complete range of archaeological objects unearthed by Crossrail to be displayed and has gone on display alongside the story of Europe’s largest infrastructure project. Over 10,000 artefacts shine a light on people in almost every important period of the Capital’s history from Mesolithic tool makers and inhabitants of Roman Londinium to those affected by the Great Plague of 1665. There are skeletons, tools, pottery, even makeshift ice skate blades fashioned from bones. Entry is free.

Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Dock Road, Canary Wharf, London E14 4AL. museumoflondon.org.uk

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Adventures in Moominland – Southbank Centre, London – until 23 Apr

You’ve gotta love the Moomins and over the hols you and yours can check out this new exhibition and take a wondrous journey through Moominland. Clamber through forests, huddle in caves or set sail on the high seas to try and find the Moomin family. Tickets cost from £13.50.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX. southbankcentre.co.uk

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Robot Zoo – Horniman Museum, London SE23 – until Sun 29 Oct

It doesn’t get much cooler than a robotic zoo. Let’s be fair it needs to be impressive to schlep deep into south east London. But it’ll be worth it to see a robotic rhino, a squid with 18-ft tentacles and a mahoosive house fly with a vacuum cleaner for a mouth at the Horniman’s Museum in Honor Oak. All the robot animals are made from everyday machines and gadgets. Through interactive games and challenges the creations will reveal how real anatomy works. Plus this museum with its quirky exhibits and large cafe and terrace is a big favourite with families at any time. Tickets: Adults £7; Kids, £4.

The Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Rd, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ. horniman.ac.uk

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Moon Adventures – Kew Gardens, Richmond – Sat 1 to Mon 17 Apr

Explore the hidden depths of the Gardens on an interactive trail culminating at the magical Moomin Festival Camp in the wild woodland of the Natural Area. Take part in craft workshops while you sample the Moomins’ beloved pancakes and visit the Hemulens’ Herbarium to find out more about your favourite spring flowers and plant conservation. Included on the admission price: Adults £15.50; kids (4-16); £2.50; under 4s free.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB. kew.org

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KidZania – Westfield, London W12 – ongoing

Those who’ve been rave about this place at Westfield. A friend from overseas bought her sons for a rammed fortnight in London during which they saw pretty much every museum and attraction and this was their favourite. It’s a child-size ‘city’ where the kids are in charge (scary, no?). It provides real life role play experience for 4-14 year olds, blending learning and reality with entertainment. They can try more than 60 role-play activities (actor, doctor, police officer etc) with each  experience crafted to teach kids essential life skills like team work and independence. Younger kids can hang out in the dedicated Early Years area. And you can, you know, go shopping.

KidZania, Westfield London Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 7GA. london.kidzania.com

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Science Museum – London SW7 – ongoing

Masses on at this ever brilliant museum – spend the whole day here – including the new exhibit of  Tim Peake’s Spacecraft – Soyuz TMA-19M.  Also on is a brand new exhibition Robots, which reveals our 500-year quest to make machines human, from a 16th century mechanised monk to some of film’s most iconic robotic creations and the very latest humanoids. Finally, your kids will love Wonderlab, the newest and most spectacular interactive gallery in the world.

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, Kensington, London SW7 2DD. sciencemuseum.org.uk

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Forbidden Forest, Harry Potter Studios, Leavesden WD25, from Fri 31 March

 

There’s always a new angle to explore at the wily Harry Potter experience and this Easter we leave the safety of the Hogwarts to venture into the depth of the Forbidden Forest filled with mystical creatures. Step over the twisting roots of 19 giant trees, take a bow before Buckbeak the Hippogriff, come face-to-face with Aragog the Acromantula and take control of the weather in the mysterious forest.

Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden WD25 7LR. wbstudiotour.co.uk

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The Sherlock Holmes Experience – Madame Tussaud’s – ongoing

A departure for Madam Tussauds, this new Sherlock Holmes Experience (included in the normal ticket price) is live walk-through adventure. Journeying from 221B Baker Street to Dartmoor where a demon hound lurks, with plenty of stops along the way. You must help Dr. Watson find the missing Sherlock Holmes to reach a dramatic ‘watery’ conclusion. The experience is totally interactive with textured theatrical sets laden with detail, hidden clues and special effects. Bring your own deerstalker.

Madam Tussauds, Marylebone Road, Marylebone, London NW1 5LR. madametussauds.com

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Star Wars Identies – O2 London – until September 2017

Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd

Learn about the characters of Star Wars in a new dimension through this exhibition which boasts some 200 props, models, costumes and artworks from the original Star Wars films <squeal!>.There’s also an interactive identity quest that helps you learn your Star Wars identity (please not Jabba the Hut!) It’s all about what forces shape you – geddit? It’s open daily from 10am onwards till Sept so plenty of time to catch this one.  Tickets cost from £20 adults, £10 children and £48 family off peak.

The 02, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX.  axs.com/starwarsidentities

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Jurassic Kingdom – Osterley Park, London TW7 – Sat 1 to Mon 17 April

Jurassic Kingdom: Where Dinosaurs Came to Life kicks off in London’s Osterley Park on 1 April, where more than 30 true-to-life dinosaur models and installations will be ready to roar, spit and snarl at those brave enough to get up close and personal. Tickets: adults £13.50; kids £11.50; family £46.

Osterley Park and House, Jersey Road, Isleworth TW7 4RB. jurassickingdom.uk

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Urban Festival – Southbank – London

Breakdancing battles, dance residencies, workshops, lots of free family events, workshops and parties at the South Bank Centre’s Urban Festival showcasing the best in street culture from 1 – 17 April.

southbankcentre.co.uk

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Tall Ships Regatta – Greenwich, London – 13 to 16 Apr

Over the Easter weekend, 13 to 16 April, more than 30 majestic sailing vessels will be in action along the Greenwich and Woolwich riverfronts at the Tall Ships Regatta, with some ships open for visitors to get on board to look around and talk to the crew.

pla.co.uk

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Thorpe Park – Chertsey – ongoing

The latest attraction arriving at Thorpe Park just in time for Easter is super-scary sounding Derren Brown’s ‘Ghost train: Rise of the Demon’  – seriously not for the faint-hearted, with live action and physical effects, it’s probably not one for your toddlers! There’s plenty for little ones to do though and the website has a brilliant ‘which rides are for you’ search by height function so you can check out the gentler options in advance. Great idea!

Thorpe Park, Staines Rd, Chertsey KT16 8PN. Tel: 0871 663 1673. thorpepark.com

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London Zoo

Two new reasons to visit the amazing London Zoo:  Land of the Lions is a brand new immersive exhibit with walkways from where you can explore Indian-themed areas  – including a train station, crumbling temple clearing, high street and guard hut. Between 1 – 17 April, there’s a special celebration of 35 years of Rod Campbell’s cult kids’ book Dear Zoo with interactive trails and activities and storytelling. No extra charge – it’s all included in entry to the Zoo.

London Zoo, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY. London Zoo

 

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Trafalgar Square, London – The Passion of Jesus – Good Friday

The Passion of Jesus, is a really popular annual re-enaction of the Easter story in Trafalgar Square, Taking place on Good Friday, around 20,000 people watch 100 Wintershall Players perform and it’s all free! No tickets needed and performances are at 12 noon and 3:15 pm. On Easter Saturday the Wintershall cast of players and animals moves to the High Street in Guildford. The play begins at the junction of High Street and Quarry Street. There will be two open-air viewings on Saturday 15 April at noon and 2.30pm.

Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN. Wintershall Players

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