Without the good weather or the festivals of other school holidays, this time of year can prove a tricky one for families, so I’ve rounded up some of the best things to do in February half-term in London with kids to keep everyone entertained.
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There are free events, some lovely exhibitions aimed at younger kids, creative fun, chances to get outdoors and plenty of ideas for a rainy day at February half-term in London.
February half term dates for London schools runs from February 13-17, 2023 but with other UK schools having their half-term later, it’s worth knowing that very few of the special half-term activities will be taking place the following week so check out some of the ongoing exhibitions and attraction if you’re visiting London in February with kids.
Imagine Children’s Festival at Southbank Centre
Imagine Children’s Festival is London Southbank Centre’s exciting annual festival for children aged 0 to 11 – now in its 21st year (though it promises not to grow up!)
Running across 11 days from February 8-18, the festival is all about unlocking kids’ creativity and sparking imagination, with 100 (mostly free) activities and workshops spanning across theatre, comedy, music, literature, poetry, dance, and more.
With everything from talks by famous children’s authors to a daytime rave with the world’s youngest DJ, the festival promises to be a fun-filled and educational experience for the whole family.
As part of the festival, there’s also a free family activity trail inspired by Sam Winston’s book One & Everything, aimed at ages 2-11, running from February 8-17.
Vets in Action at London Zoo
For kids who love animals, London Zoo’s Vets in Action event is a fun and educational opportunity for kids to learn about animal care and wildlife conservation through a series of interactive family events during February half-term.
During the free (with a zoo ticket) event, kids will get to meet with the zoo’s vets and zookeepers and watch live demonstrations, including vet examinations and training sessions.
Children aged three to 11 will even have the opportunity to step into the role of vet themselves at the specially-recreated zoo vet centre. After putting on their hairnets and masks, Junior vets will help the experts examine, diagnose, and perform treatments on soft toys.
Explore, Build, and Play at the National Gallery
The National Gallery is celebrating its upcoming building redesign (ahead of its 200th anniversary in 2024) by inspiring young architects at their half-term ‘explore, build, play’ event from February 14-16.
At the event, families will work with artists James and Eva to look beyond the paintings and seek out architectural and decorative details throughout the magnificent Gallery, from floor mosaics to the building’s design.
Little ones will then be able to get creative themselves and play with scale, shapes, and sensory materials to create new exciting structures that can be explored, both inside and out. The drop-in sessions take place from 11am-4pm.
Shakespeare’s Globe Family Workshops
For an interactive and educational way to get your kids interested in the works of William Shakespeare, join the Globe’s Family Workshops this February half-term in London!
Led by some of the theatre’s talented actors, teachers, and directors, these practical workshops will explore the language, characters, and themes of the plays in a variety of engaging activities and games. They’re the perfect way to introduce little ones to one of the world’s most iconic playwrights.
With multiple plays to choose from – including Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet – and four age groups (5-8, 9-12, 12+, and 15+ year olds), there’s a workshop for everyone.
Or for something a little less interactive, the Globe’s family storytelling sessions are another great half-term activity in London for kids. Must be pre-booked, tickets cost from £10.
Make History at Eltham Palace
Eltham Palace and Gardens never fails to impress with its schedule of fun family events. And this February’s ‘Make History this Half Term’ event is certainly no exception!
Taking place daily over the school holidays, kids can join characters from the past for historical hi-jinks and hands-on shenanigans throughout the historic palace and it’s extensive gardens.
Character performers will enthrall you with stories of Victorian London, while kids can also discover what life was like in a Victorian school and have a go at writing their own adventure novel.
Runs from February 11-19, admission to the family half-term event is included in the standard admission ticket price.
Isaac Newton and the Mystery at the Mint at the Tower of London
The Tower of London always has great family events on during holidays and this February half-term is no exception, with a chance to help Isaac Newton, the new Warden of the Royal Mint.
Newly appointed to his post at the Tower in 1696, his task is to root out corruption and crack down on the fraudsters – with a little help from his young allies, who are asked to report any suspicious goings-on and useful information back to him.
From February 11-19, keep an eye out for him on the South Lawn at 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm (if the weather is dry) or if it’s raining and at other times, you’ll find him in his new office in the Lower Bowyer Tower. And don’t miss The Tower’s Mint interactive exhibition as you explore too.
Get discounted entry to the Tower of London using my code MUMMYTRAVELS6 if you book through this link
Interactive Mars Workshop at the Royal Observatory Greenwich
Young space enthusiasts can’t miss the Royal Observatory’s half-term event ‘Out of this World: Mars’. Starting in the planetarium, guests will travel across the solar system before ending up at our closest neighbour, Mars.
You can then join an interactive workshop where you’ll learn all there is to know about the fascinating Red Planet that was once not that different to our own.
The family-friendly science session is suitable for kids 7+ and will take place twice over the half-term; on Tuesday February 14 and Wednesday February 15 at 10:30am.
For ideas of more things to do in Greenwich with kids, check out my top picks
Making Connections at the London Transport Museum
The London Transport Museum is marking the 160th anniversary of the London Underground this half-term with a busy schedule of family-friendly games and craft activities that celebrate the city’s famous Tube network.
From February 11-19, kids can design their own Connect 4 counter for a giant game with a transport twist, or add a heart-shaped love note to the #LoveTheTube wall (it will be Valentine’s Day after all) – all on the theme of Making Connections.
Plus, families can explore the popular London museum on a special themed trail that will have you solving puzzles and answering quiz questions about London Underground stations at each stop. For each puzzle solved, you’ll collect a letter. And these letters will eventually uncover a hidden word!
Included in entry to the museum – get a discount on tickets for tickets to the London Transport Museum if you book through my link using code MUMMYTRAVELS6
Discovery Days in Hyde Park
Hyde Park’s popular Discovery Days are back once again for more free family-friendly fun amongst nature this February half-term in London.
The Brilliant Birds Discovery Days will be packed with plenty of fun and educational hands-on activities for younger children. Kids can build their own bird feeder to take home with them, craft a birds nest using natural materials, go bird watching in the Lookout garden, and learn fascinating facts about our feathered friends.
As usual, the Spring Discovery Days are completely free to attend. This year, they’ll take place between 11am and 3pm on February 14-16 – no prebooking required, just drop in any time.
The Big Hide Out at WWT London
For even more bird-themed fun this half-term, head to the London Wetland Centre in Barnes for their Big Hide Out.
Kids can hide out in the bird hides and use the centre’s binoculars and telescopes to spot bird life and other wetland wildlife, while other family-friendly activities include making nests, building a bird hide, and cooking up a (messy) storm in the mud kitchen.
The activities are included in the standard entry ticket, plus there’s also a special bird trail around the wetland centre which costs £1 for the trail map.
Sailing Out at the National Maritime Museum
Greenwich’s National Maritime Museum is hosting a series of creative workshops for families to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month.
From constructing costume hats inspired by Queen Elizabeth I to creating your own rainbow merfolk and colourful sea creatures using the colours of the Pride flag, there are plenty of fun hands-on activities for kids of all ages.
The whole family can also learn about heroes from the LGBTQ+ maritime community in the immersive learning space and across the fascinating galleries. The free drop-in sessions take place from 11am-1pm and 2-4pm from February 12-19 – entry to the museum is also free.
Brick Dinos at the Horniman Museum
One of the best things to do in London for February half-term with younger children is to pay a visit to the Horniman Museum, which is home to an exhibition of dinosaur models created from Lego.
Brick Dinos at Horniman Museum is opening just in time for half-term, running from February 10 (until October 29), with the chance to see a string of other prehistoric giants as well – fortunately recreated in miniature form.
Look out for the life-sized flying pterosaur though, as well as other rarely seen specimens from the Horniman’s collection. There are also opportunities for kids to get hands on, including building your own dinosaur and digging for fossils.
Entry to the Horniman Museum is free, but tickets to Brick Dinos costs £9 for adults, £4.50 for children (free for under-threes).
For another reason to visit the museum, the Elmer and Friends exhibition is also still running until April – scroll down for more details
Design workshops at the V&A
The V&A is running several workshops for families during February half-term, inspired by its Hallyu! The Korean Wave exhibition.
On February 13 and 14, there’s a chance to experiment with Korean calligraphy, including trying your hand at mastering the Korean alphabet (Hangeul) using traditional brushes and inks, and creating your own bookmark.
There are two sessions each day: the 10.30am workshop is recommended for ages 7-10, while the 2pm event is aimed at ages 10-13. Tickets cost £15 and must be prebooked.
Or from February 15-17, there’s a free drop-in workshop, Digital Talnori, created by Seoul-based digital and design studio, Commoners, where you can design a traditional Korean mask known as Tal-nori.
As well as learning about traditional and modern Korean culture, you can use augmented reality to interact with your mask. Aimed at ages 5+.
STEM Week at the Royal Air Force Museum
Challenge your science skills and test your tech talents, along with a spot of engineering and maths fun at the RAF Museum London from February 11-19.
There will be a range of family-friendly activities and workshops running as part of STEM Week during February half-term, including fun events like a robot coding workshop, an aircraft design challenge and a radar maths challenge.
All the workshops take place in Hanger 6 and are free but places are limited, so book online in advance. There’s also the opportunity to have access to the cockpit of the Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer which flew in service during the Gulf War (tickets cost £5 each).
More February days out with kids in London: ongoing
There are plenty of other ideas if you’re looking to entertain kids during February half-term in London at the usual family attractions – check out my pick of the best 59 things to do in London with kids plus some of the other highlights below.
Twist Museum of Illusions
New in London last November, the illusions at Twist Museum are perfect for a rainy day during February half-term in London with kids – or a sunny one for that matter.
With over 60 exhibits showing different illusions and displays to trick all your different senses, the interactive experience is fun for all ages. Check out our review of a visit to Twist Museum London with kids.
Don’t miss one of the last changes to venture into Dopamine Land, extended to February 26 before it closes in London.
The multisensory experience combines media, technology and play, with a series of colourful installations to help all ages get in touch with their inner child – and all designed to raise a smile on a grey February day.
The UK’s largest, permanent digital art exhibition in Marble Arch, Frameless lets kids – and big kids – experience artworks like never before.
Set within a 30,000 square foot space, with four separate galleries, visitors can discover key moments in art history, with state-of-the-art projection and motion sensor technology to bring to life work from artists including Cezanne, Kandinsky, Monet, Canaletto, Rembrandt and Klimt.
With the chance to touch, move and interact with the paintings, it couldn’t be further from a traditional gallery and the perfect way to help families discover the world of art.
The Green Planet
Spring might not yet have sprung in London but you can immerse yourself in The Green Planet at Piccadilly Circus this February half term.
Using augmented reality to help families discover more about our world’s plant life, you can discover what life on earth looks like from their point of view – including how they battle for survival and interact with animals.
There are five digitally enhanced worlds to explore, from Rainforest and Desert to Freshwater and Saltwater, along with Seasonal, all narrated by David Attenborough. Lasting around 40-60 minutes, it’s free to visit, and runs from February 11 until March 9.
For ideas of more things to do nearby in Leicester Square, check out my top picks
Puss in Boots at Shrek’s Adventure
En garde! Puss in Boots is back once more at Shrek’s Adventure for February half-term, with the chance to meet the swashbuckling hero (and his friend, Kitty Softpaws) and show off your own sword-fighting poses, enjoy some extra activities and pose for photos as part of the visit.
There’s also the usual fun for Shrek fans, to explore the world of Far Far Away, encountering Princess Fiona and Donkey and an adventure on the 4D flying bus.
Included in standard entry and takes place after the main Shrek meet and greet of the experience. Prebooking recommended.
Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination at the Science Museum
If you didn’t have chance to see it last year, Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination, is still running until May 4, aimed at kids aged 8+.
The immersive event takes you on your own science fiction adventure as you board a spaceship, scout an unknown planet and investigate how both scientists and the creators of science fiction have imagined and built new worlds, along with objects from film, TV, and books, artwork and photography.
There’s a separate charge for this event (from £18 for adults, £16.20 for kids) with 10% off if you book in advance: entry to the main museum is still free, prebooking advised during half-term.
ELMER and Friends at the Horniman Museum
As well as the new Brick Dinos exhibition, you can still visit ELMER and Friends at the Horniman Museum, wandering through the world of the colourful patchwork elephant.
Opened in October, ELMER and Friends: The Colourful World of David McKee – celebrates 30+ years of one of the most widely read children’s book series of all time, with themed games, dressing up stations and McKee’s striking illustrations.
Meet the characters at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich
Greenwich’s iconic Cutty Sark is hosting a number of family-friendly events to help keep kids entertained this February half-term.
Families can meet colourful character actors from Cutty Sark’s past throughout the week, as well as at weekends, while older kids (12+) can still climb the ship’s famous masts in the thrilling Cutty Sark Rig Climb Experience.
There’s a discount on tickets for the Cutty Sark if you book through my link using code MUMMYTRAVELS6
Family activities at HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast has some great nautical fun again over February half-term with their usual string of family activities.
From February 11-19, kids can earn their Sea Legs in an interactive activity that involves them completing fun tasks around the ship, plus there’s the dedicated ‘We were there’ family day on February 17 with special guests sharing their personal experiences at sea.
Light Festival 2023 at Battersea Power Station
Add some light to the darker months with Battersea Power Station’s Light Festival, back for a third year and continuing through February half-term.
One of the best free things to do in London with kids in February, there are eight artworks on display inside the Grade II listed power station and outdoors, switched on from 8am to 11pm daily (although some indoor installations will switch off earlier at 10pm). Runs to March 5.
Magical Mischief at the Harry Potter studio tour
There’s Magical Mischief back once again at the Warner Bros studio tour in Leavesden, on the outskirts of London, returning to the Harry Potter world for a second year.
Running until April 18, it focuses on magical pranks and wizarding mishaps but also the filmmaking trickery involved in turning them into reality – everything from just how the Invisibility Cloak worked to Harry’s flood of flying acceptance letters, plus a chance to make your own origami Howler. Tickets must be prebooked.
Follow a Treasure Map Trail
These lovely colourful treasure hunt-style maps include three routes in central London – and there’s 10% off is you use the code MUMMYTRAVELS.
A fun way to explore London with kids, the hunts challenge you to spot all kinds of quirky sights, from signs and statues to carvings, all enlivened with a fun fantasy design to transform the real life streets.
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Stik Street art/Tower of London/London Transport Museum/London Wetland Centre/V&A/Twist Museum/Cutty Sark copyright MummyTravels, Puss in Boots courtesy Shrek Adventure, all others courtesy of Depositphotos