Best Events this February Half Term

 
 
 
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London Puddle Jumping Championships

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London Puddle Jumping Championships
Vets in Action
Play Well
Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs
Dermot O'Leary is at the Imagine Children's Festival
Imagine Children's Festival
Erth's Dinosaur Zoo, Imagine Children's Festival
Cressida Cowell is at the Imagine Children's Festival
Knight School at the Tower of London
Lightopia at Chiswick House
Nest
Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh
Top Secret: from ciphers to cyber security
 

 

Looking for ways to fill the February half term? Between 15th and 23rd February 2020 the Southbank Centre hosts the Imagine Children's Festival, Big Bones is at the Vault Festival and the Horniman Museum explores Life Before the Dinosaurs.

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Imagine Children's Festival

12 days of half term family fun for children of all ages from babies up to 11.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 12th - 23rd February 2020

 

Keeping kids entertained for twelve days this February Half Term, the Imagine Children's Festival delivers a line-up of family fun for 0-11 year olds. Head to the Southbank Centre for colourful puppet show The Very Hungry Caterpillar, multi-sensory experience Nest, the immersive, musical Soundpit and the chance to meet a dinosaur at Erth's Dinosaur Zoo. Other highlights include a celebration of the Harry Potter books and an adventure with Pippi Longstocking while special guests include Michael Rosen, Dermot O'Leary, Cressida Cowell, Cerrie Burnell and Konnie Huq. Children can also learn fun facts about J.K. Rowling's boy wizard with Fleurble Laffalot, see cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat and enjoy music by CBeebies' star YolanDa Brown. Suffragette descendant Kate Pankhurst looks at notable female leaders and there's a free daily event highlighting young people making the headlines. Further free activities include illustration workshops, a family sing-along, jazz show Groove Baby and a child-friendly exhibition at the Hayward Gallery.

 
 
 

Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs

Meet the bizarre looking animals who used to inhabit earth before Triceratops and T-Rex.

Horniman Museum, 100 Road, London, SE23 3PQ

Tube: Denmark Hill Station

 

Dates: 15th February to 1st November 2020

 

Meet the giant insects and bizarre looking animals who used to inhabit earth 252 million years ago in the family friendly Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs exhibition at the Horniman Museum. Before Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex, life on earth was dominated by fearsome sabre-toothed predators, giant insects and strange reptiles with mammal-like characteristics. The Permian age ended with a mass extinction caused by a phenomenon getting a lot of press right now - global warming. It destroyed 90 per cent of all life. It would be millions of years before our planet's next great rulers arrived - the dinosaurs. You'll get to see fossil skeletons as well as full-size models and animatronics that bring the Permian back to life. Put your inner paleontologist to work with fossil digs in interactive pits throughout the exhibition.

 
 
 

Nest

Drama about the Welsh princess whose beauty caused a civil war.

The Vaults, 10 Leake Street, London, SE1 7NN

Tube: Waterloo Station , Lambeth North Station

 

Dates: 16th - 23rd February 2020

 

Taffire Theatre's drama about the Welsh princess Nesta Ferch Rhys, Nest is told by jesters through song, dance and rhyme. Timed to coincide with half term, families are invited to The Vaults to meet a woman whose beauty caused a civil war. It's a tale of bewitched kings, princes and courts and of a woman of true Welsh blood with a story to tell.

 
 
 

Top Secret: from ciphers to cyber security

Last chance to see this fantastic free display on covert operations.

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 10th July - 23rd February 2020

 

A fantastic free exhibition in the dimly lit bowels of the Science Museum, Top Secret explores over a century's worth of communications intelligence, exhibiting hand-written documents, declassified files and previously unseen artefacts. Among over 100 objects are an Enigma machine, a mock up of the Krogers' 1960's house - the unlikely couple who were part of the most successful Soviet spy ring in Cold War Britain - and declassified files from GCHQ. An interactive puzzle zone gives you the chance to test your own codebreaking skills and you'll be able to see the people and technologies keeping us safe from the very real modern day threat of cyber security attacks.

 
 
 

I, Cinna (the poet)

Fleshing out a minor character in Julius Caesar and making poets out of children aged 12 to 14.

Unicorn Theatre, 147 Tooley Street, More , London, SE1 2HZ

Tube: London Bridge Station

 

Dates: 05th March - 29th February 2020

 

One of the BBC's top 20 theatre shows for 2020, I, Cinna makes poets out of all of us when it comes to the Unicorn Theatre in February 2020. Fleshing out a minor character in Julius Caesar, playwright and theatre-maker Tim Crouch gives Shakespeare's poet Cinna his own show about "words and actions, art, power and protest". The poet Cinna, who briefly appears in Julius Caesar before being viciously killed, hardly says a word before he's mistaken for someone else and torn to pieces by an angry mob. Presented as a monologue, the play is an exploration of a character whose only role is to be in the wrong place and wrong time. As Cinna searches for the subject of his next poem he invites us, the audience, to write with him. Recommended for children aged between 12 and 14 years old.

 
 
 
 

Lightopia

Uplifting light installations, acrobats and musicians at Chiswick House.

Chiswick House and Gardens, Burlington Lane, London, W4 2RP

Tube: Turnham Green Station

 

Dates: 22nd January - 01st March 2020

 

A brand-new interactive light festival from the creators of the Magic Lantern Festival, Lightopia brings light installations, acrobats and musicians to Chiswick House & Gardens. The installations have been created using ancient Chinese lantern making techniques along with modern technology to follow the theme of Harmony. A Tree of Light sculpture forms the centrepiece with a 10 metre tall sculpture surrounded by 20 drums that can be used to control the tree's colours. There's also a rainbow tunnel, an 18-metre peacock and 70,000 flickering roses along with street food stalls, bars and a kids zone.

 
 
 

Knight School at the Tower of London

Brave warriors battle it out at the Wars of the Roses.

Tower Of London, Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4AB

Tube: Tower Hill Station

 

Dates: 15th - 23rd February 2020

 

Only the bravest will join Knight School at the Tower of London this February Half Term. The date: 1471, the setting: the height of the Wars of the Roses. The Houses of York and Lancaster are battling it out for the throne of England and children aged between five and 12 are invited to train with the Tower's team of battle-hardened tutors. First as a page, then a squire, until at last you are worthy to become a knight. Successful training results in a knighting ceremony, where brave little warriors are joined by a host of medieval characters including Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV, and her brother Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers, dressed in magnificent full plate armour. Inside the White Tower is the real-life armour that forms part of the Royal Armouries collection while child-friendly drop-in activities include designing a family crest, armour handling and creating a catapult.

 
 
 

Fairy Tales

Enter a world of giants, palaces and gingerbread houses in this immersive exhibition.

Discover Children's Story Centre, 383-387 High Street, Stratford, London, E15 4QZ

Tube: Stratford Station

 

Dates: 15th February - 31st August 2020

 

Tiptoe over the bridge but don't wake the troll as you enter a magical Fairy Tale world at the Discover Children's Story Centre. Enter a world of giants, palaces, gingerbread houses and treasure caves in the immersive exhibition brought to life by illustrator David Litchfield, creator of the award-winning The Bear and the Piano. He has worked with author Ross Montgomery - the pair also collaborated on picture books The Building Boy and Space Tortoise - to create a tall tale about the magical characters who have stayed in the Three Bears' guest house before stepping into a fairy tale town and through into the woods. Children aged 0 to 8 and their grown-ups are invited to join in the palace disco with the musicians of Bremen, sit in a giant's footprint and help Jack win some magic beans. During the 45 minute session, which includes storytelling, you can search for treasures in the magical cave and stop by Grandma's caravan... if you dare.

 
 
 

Play Well

Explore the power and importance of play.

Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE

Tube: Euston Square Station , Euston Station, Warren Street Station

 

Dates: 24th October - 13th April 2020

 

The Wellcome Collection explores the power of play and the important role it has in society for adults and children alike in its enlightening exhibition, Play Well. Split into three different sections - Nature/Nurture, Toys Like Us, and Rules and Risk - the exhibition delves into everything from the importance of play in childhood and its therapeutic abilities to the evolution of toys and the move from playing outdoors in the street to inside on the computer. As part of the exhibition, a group of young people aged 14-19 respond to the fears of safety and the rise of digital play with a series of games designed by them that explore loneliness, anxiety, commerce and teamwork in the digital sphere. Artist Adam James has created an accompanying commission that explores the role of play in the adult world; photographer Mark Neville shows how play can serve as a retreat from conflict with a series of photos depicting children playing in the aftermath of shelling in the Ukraine; and creative collaborative Toys Like Me looks at the power toys have when challenging stereotypes and changing attitudes.

 
 
 

Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

Last chance to see these famous museum pieces before they return to Egypt forever.

Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's Square, King's Road, London, SW3 4SQ

Tube: Sloane Square Station

 

Dates: 02nd November - 03rd May 2020

 

Immerse yourself in the golden world of Egyptian gods, myths and kings via the glittering display of more than 150 original artefacts from Tutankhamun's tomb at the Saatchi Gallery - your last chance to see these museum pieces before they return to Egypt forever. Under dramatic spotlighting and within nine blue-lit darkened rooms, you'll follow the journey into the boy king's afterlife through the Book of the Dead and marvel at gold leaf figures of the gods and king. The gilded ebony bed from his tomb is just one of 66 items seen outside Egypt for the first time. All of the artefacts from his tomb, first uncovered by Howard Carter 100 years ago, are truly remarkable. His remains the only Ancient Egyptian royal tomb ever found intact. The immersive galleries use digital content, contextual material, audio and custom soundscapes to put Tutankhamun's treasures in context. It's worth seeing them now - after this current world tour, the items will be permanently housed at the new Grand Egyptian Museum close to the Giza pyramids. For half term the Family Holiday Pass, valid for 9am and 9.30am weekdays Monday 17th to Friday 21st February, allows 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children entry for £70 (plus fees) when booked in advance.

 
 
 
 

London Puddle Jumping Championships

Make a stylish, huge or muddy splash to compete for the prestigious puddle title.

WWT London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Barnes, London, SW13 9WT

Tube: Ravenscourt Park Station

 

Dates: 15th - 23rd February 2020

 

Don full body wet weather gear and make a splash at the London Puddle Jumping Championships when you take on the specially designed obstacle course. Points will be given for style, creativity, size of splash and - an important one - enthusiasm. Perfectly timed to add some wild time to half term, the competition will be held at WWT London Wetland Centre. Daily winners will be announced and there are other watery fun activities and Puddle Jumping is free with admission to the centre (free to WWT members). There's no avoiding the rain in the winter so why not jump to it? Further February half term family activities include building wetland villages to see if it can withstand a flood and an interactive science show about water sustainability.

 
 
 

Vets in Action

Discover how vets ensure the 18,000 animals housed at the zoo stay healthy.

ZSL London Zoo, Regent's Park Outer Circle, London, NW1 4RY

Tube: Chalk Farm Station

 

Dates: 15th - 23rd February 2020

 

This February half term see the Vets in Action at the London Zoo and find out how vets ensure the 18,000 animals housed at the zoo stay healthy. Budding young vets will be prepped with gloves and masks before joining the team in the specially recreated 'surgery'. Becoming part of the action, children will help experts examine, x-ray and carry out toy treatments - experiencing first-hand the huge variety of work carried out by the zoo's vets, vet nurses and zookeepers.

 
 
 
 
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