Half Term – London getaways

With Half-term upon us, it’s highly likely you’ll be turning your attention to where to go and what to do with the kids over the next week. If you’re in or heading to London, it inevitably depends on what the weather is going to be doing.

Now that the wet weekend (and today) is out of the way the forecast for the rest of the week is set fair with a mixture of sun and clouds and a top temp of 10º C. That opens up plenty of options for the half-term week – so here’s our pick, if you’re heading down our way.

Shard-eh

No, it’s not an 80’s tribute night celebrating Smooth operator – this is far better than that. If you like heights, then Western Europe’s tallest building – The Shard – is a doing a special deal for the half-term week. Pre-booked Adult tickets cost £24.95 – but the best bit is that for half term kids go free. With an open air viewing platform on floor 72, The Shard provides an unrivalled  view of London’s landmarks and incorporates some clever digital telescope technology to explain some of the history behind the huge variety of iconic landmarks. You can turn up, but you may not get the kids go free deal – pre booking (you’ll be given a time slot) is strongly advised.

3 of the best – Museums

Museums with kids. Hmmm. If you’ve ever dragged them round a bunch of exhibits, you’ll know that it can be just that – a drag. In London though you’ve got some of the world’s best. They’re designed to make stuff interesting for children and hold their attention. Excluding any special exhibitions, they’re also free, which makes them a really cost effective day out. Here’s our pick…

The Natural History Museum.

Probably London’s most famous museum, it’s not hard to see why. The Natural History Museum one of the world’s premier places to learn about our planet’s natural history – past and present. From dinosaurs to butterflies and virtually everything in between – just be sure to visit before 2017 if you want to catch ‘Dippy’ the Diplodocus in the entrance lobby (before it gets switched for a Blue Whale)!

The Science Museum

Virtually next door to the Natural History Museum is the Science Museum. It’s the flip side of human existence – exhibiting everything from food to steam engines to space rockets (the actual Apollo 10 command module to be exact). You can find out how a computer works and see all sorts of machines – including the flying bedstead – which was the test bed for the engines on the harrier jump jet. There are seven floors of exhibits and – just like the Natural History Museum – a day probably won’t be enough time to see everything.

Old Operating Theatre

If Natural History or Science are not really your thing and you’re looking for a smaller museum (i.e. less of a whole day), then how about medicine? London is home to Britain’s oldest surviving operating theatre. Situated in the loft space of St. Thomas’ Church in Southwark (some wards of the original Hospital were built around the Church) You’ll understand why it was called a theatre (it had seats more like an auditorium – as anatomy was something that was just becoming popular to study study). There’s far more than just the operating theatre though. An Apothecary (Chemists) and plenty of gruesome surgical implements are also on display to explain the history of medicine.

This one’s Wizard…

No, really, it is – because it’s the Harry Potter experience. What’s slightly less magical is that it is 20 miles north of London at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour – but once you’ve made the trip it should be well worth it.

Exhibits in this ‘behind the scenes – how the movie was made’ experience include the original Hogwarts Express, a recreation of platform 9 3/4, Dumbledore’s office, the Hagrid’s Hut – you can even walk the cobbles of Diagon Alley and visit Ollivanders Wand Shop.

Whatever you get up to in London this Half-term – we hope you have a great day.