Planning a trip to London this half term or soon after? Check out what some of the big museums and attractions in the capital (and just outside) have running at the moment. In fact some of these are on into Easter and beyond.
Robot Zoo, Horniman’s Museum, London SE23, Sat 11 Feb – 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.
The Sherlock Holmes Experience, Madame Tussaud’s
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.
Kidzania, Westfield, London
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.
Directing Dobby, Harry Potter Studios, now until Fri 31 March
There’s always a new angle to explore at the wily Harry Potter experience and this half term we’re able to take part in an interactive motion capture experience. Consisting of three screens, the attraction shows Dobby at different stages of motion capture, from an initial wireframe to the fully-rendered elf. Standing in front of the display, visitors will see the three versions of Dobby reflecting their movements in real-time, demonstrating the process used by filmmakers when bringing CGI characters to life on screen.
Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank, London, Thurs 9 – Sun 19 Feb
An utterly awesome 11 day festival run by kids for kids, it’s a chance for children to enjoy the best theatre, literature and music, with plenty of workshops and free activities for children up to 12 years old. There’s everything from The Gruffalo & Room on the Broom accompanied by whimsical orchestral music to a free screening of The Little Mermaid where the film is powered entirely by bicycles, to interactive storytelling, or Rave-A-Roo, the ultimate party for the whole family (dig out your glow sticks pronto).
Science Museum, London
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.
Star Wars Identities, 02 London, until 3 Sept 2017
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 Archaeology of Crossrail, Museum of London Docklands, 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 is just going 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.
Fire! Fire! Museum of London, until 17 April
This interactive Great Fire of London exhibition 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.