London days out with kids

Planning a trip to London over the school summer holidays? Check out what some of the big museums and attractions in the capital (and just outside) have running at the moment.

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 join 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 a bit pricey but cheaper to book in advance, £19.50 for adults, £14.50 under 16s and under 3s go free.

visitsealife.com

Wizarding Wardrobes, Harry Potter Studios, Leavesden WD25,  Fri 21 July – Mon 4 Sep

There’s always a new angle to explore at the wily Harry Potter experience and this Summer we look back over the 250,000 costumes that have been stitched up since during the 10 years of filming. From initial sketches to the finished costume, this special feature will take you on a journey through the behind-the-scenes process that brought our favourite characters to life. It’s a really extensive attraction as it is and I was much more impressed than I expected to be on my visit. It’s best suited to older children, 9+ I’d say.

Robot Zoo, Horniman’s 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. How cool is that? 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.

 horniman.ac.uk 

The Sherlock Holmes Experience, Madame Tussaud’s until 30 Sept

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.

madametussauds.com

The Art of the Brick: DC Superheroes, South Bank, London, runs to Sept 2017

This contemporary art exhibition by LEGO® artist Nathan Sawaya uses nearly 2m bricks to create large-scale sculptures of the most enduring Super Heroes and Super Villains: from Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, to The Joker and Harley Quinn. You’re on the South Bank so plenty to do afterwards too. 
aotbdc.co.uk

Thorpe Park, Chertsey, Surrey, ongoing 

The latest attraction at Thorpe Park 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. There’s plenty for younger kids to do too 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.

thorpepark.com

 

Science Museum, London, new ongoing exhibits

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.

sciencemuseum.org.uk

 

London Zoo, Regent’s Park London, new exibit, ongoing

London Zoo has a new Land of the Lions, immersive (but not too immersive) exhibit with walkways from where you can explore Indian-themed areas  – including a train station, crumbling temple clearing, high street and guard hut.  No extra charge – it’s all included in entry to the Zoo.

London Zoo

The Archaeology of Crossrail, Museum of London Docklands, London, until 3 Sept

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 it’s 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.

museumoflondon.org.uk

Kidzania, Westfield, London, 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 major 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.
london.kidzania.com

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 southbankcentre.co.uk

Star Wars Identities, 02 London, until 3 Sept 2017

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Picture Lucasfilm

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.

axs.com/starwarsidentities

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