London days out with kids
Let us help you plan a trip to London over the school summer holidays
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.
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.
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.
The Art of the Brick: DC Superheroes, South Bank, London, runs to Sept 2017
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.
Science Museum, London, new ongoing exhibits
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.
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.