So we tried not to blink. But it didn’t make any difference, half-term is here and it’s apologising to no one! The leaves have turned brown, summer “heat” faded to a distant memory and now it’s time to find an assortment of activities to keep the loving and grateful children entertained while school’s out. At least it’s not Christmas yet… (YET!). So here’s our third and final pick for half-term busyness – and this time it’s Camden…
The British Museum
It’s not very bohemian or edgy, but it’s here in the borough all right – The British Museum is a fascinating choice for a day of culture, history and really really old stuff. The museum is free of charge and open for the public to marvel in a range of epochs and civilizations through a fascinating and deceptively gigantic setting (make a note of the bathroom locations before getting lost in ancient Mesopotamia – trust me!). Special exhibitions on during half-term include a look at relics from sunken Egyptian cities, a taste of ancient South African art, and a look back at the American dream through the lens of recent history (these you will have to pay to see!).
Weather depending, Regent’s Park is a great option to wear them out and iron out any schoolroom and office sitting creases. The 400 acres is home to a maze of winding paths, waterways, rose gardens and statues. In the centre is an open-air theatre and hub which hosts a range of sport pitches, activities and informal play areas. All that ambling, sport and open-air theatre is likely to build up an appetite – thankfully there is a great choice of restaurants and cafes dotted around the park including Regent’s Bar & Kitchen, the Boathouse Cafe, Smokehouse and more.
It seems a little old fashioned to say that children love cartoons – so I won’t – everybody does! Cartoons have been a staple of British culture, humour and satire for centuries, and comics, or the telling stories through pictures, is one of the oldest forms of communication our species possesses. The Cartoon Museum offers a fantastic opportunity to explore original exhibitions from British cartoonists past and present, including a few household favourites. During half-term the museum will be offering a collection of Kid’s Workshops where children will get the chance to learn about creating characters, comic strips, and exciting visuals from the masters (booking required!).
Sherlock Holmes Museum
For fans of London’s most famous (fictional) detective, in whatever form you know him from (because he’s taken a few), the Sherlock Holmes Museum located, of course, at 221b Baker Street is a must. The museum has been faithfully preserved as a Victorian time capsule based on the author’s descriptions and contains a charming collection of all things Sherlockian. Towering nearby is a fitting statue to the great literary figure and what feels like a whole street themed in his image.
Of the many words that come to mind when picturing Camden, you can be sure that boring is pretty low on the list. Camden market is a feast for the senses with over 1,000 shops and stalls radiating a cacophony of sights, smells, sounds and tastes in the form of art, music, fashion and just about everything else. What began as a small arts and crafts fair has grown into the biggest market in London, open 7 days a week, so choose your time carefully to avoid the crowds!
So there we are – much to keep all entertained this autumn. But if all else fails, just stuff the kids into storage and indulge yourselves in the many restaurants, bars and clubs scattered throughout the vibrant borough! You’ve probably earned it…