It only seems like last week since we were heralding the end of the summer holidays and the beginning of the autumn school term. How time flies, because we’re nearly half way through. That’s 1/6 of the school year. So only another 5/6 to go.
It also means that there’s a week when you’ll need to find something to do with the kids. So, here’s our half-term pick of what’s happening in London during the autumn half-term, activities that are sure to keep them entertained…
We’re Not Scared…
Michael Rosen’s Bear Hunt story is a firm favourite with parents and children alike. It’s one of those rhyming stories that stays with us, in fact, most 40 year olds could recite it back-to-back, almost word-for-word.
The Discover Centre in Stratford are celebrating Mr Rosen’s brilliantness with an exhibition: Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake and Bad Things: “Step inside a humongous chocolate cake and explore a secret larder, swishy swashy and splash splosh your way through a Bear Hunt. And dare you explore the Bad Things in the Dread Shed? Discover hidden rooms and brilliant clues that show what inspired Michael Rosen’s writing including his Grandparents’ sitting room and his classroom. Younger children can enjoy a Bear Hunt trail, whilst older children can go on a fun fact finding mission on Michael Rosen and create poems of their own to take away.”
Discover more at the Discover Centre website here.
20 Fenchurch Street: The Sky Garden, Copy that.
20 Fenchurch Street quickly earned itself the nickname the Walkie-talkie. It’s not hard to see why – it only needs a big antenna on the side and it would indeed look like a great big hand held Police radio. But the Building has a hidden gem – over three floors starting at 35. Called the Sky Garden it’s an open plan area – complete with Cafe, Restaurant and Cocktail Bar.
The best bit though – is that it’s free. Unlike the Shard, there’s no fee to go up. All you’ll have to do is give the friendly receptionist some details and go through airport style security – and you’ll have access to some of the best views of London (it’s right in the middle – so you can see all the major landmarks on a clear day).
The coffee and pastries in the cafe aren’t expensive either – which makes a refreshing change for a free visitor attraction. Although it is free, you almost certainly need to book during half-term – which you can do online at the Skygarden London website.
If the craze for costume dramas like Downton Abbey has got your family wanting to sample a slice of country estate life, then Morden Hall might be your cup of afternoon tea. Morden Hall is not quite as grand as Highclere Castle (where Downton Abbey is filmed) – but it is in the middle of the London suburbs – so you won’t have to trek that far to visit.
Situated on the River Wandle between Wimbledon and Sutton. Originally owned by Westminster Abbey it’s a National Trust site. From the industry of grinding tobacco to make snuff, its use as a Hospital during World War I, both the Hall and grounds have an interesting and varied history.
Let it go, Let it Go,
Disney’s cartoon musical Frozen has become a modern classic. The relentless recital of Elsa’s trademark ‘Let It Go’ has been bringing joy to the hearts of 3-11 year old girls, and their parents, the world over. At least for the first 200 times. After that it gets a touch repetitive.
If the apple of your eye has been on a Frozen break recently, you might be ready to immerse yourself in the magic of Disney again. Venues don’t come more iconic than the Royal Albert Hall or performers more prestigious than the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – but that’s what you’re getting with this – the World premiere of the frozen soundtrack Concert.
Performances take place on 29th October, with Doors opening at 1.15pm & 5.45pm. Find out more and book tickets direct over on the Royal Albert Hall website. But be quick – they’re sure to be a half-term hit.
The Journey Home
Based on the book by Fran Preston-Gannon, the puppeteers of Islington’s Little Angel Theatre are performing The Journey Home until 28th October. It’s a story about melting ice-caps, the relocation of Polar Bear and the friends that he meets during his ‘Journey Home’.
If seeing one of their shows whets your children’s appetites for puppeteering, then the Theatre also run Puppet workshops, introducing this unique performance art. During half-term (which falls across Halloween) they’re offering a special ‘Spooky Puppet’ theme. Places are limited (Monday is already sold out) – but if you’re quick there is some availability (at the time of writing) for the session on Friday 30th. Click here for more.