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6 Things to do in London over the Christmas break

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By Elisa Freeling

In London over the holidays? You’re in luck. There’s loads to do with the kids across our splendid city, from a sleepover with dinosaurs to a cosmic Christmas. And if you can’t find something you like from the list below, we’ve got more options: you can get outdoorsy, get playing or get silly. Above all, be merry!

 Gawk at our galaxy at the Royal Observatory’s Cosmic Christmas.

On the 22nd and 29th of December, bring the kids (ages 7 and up) to see a Christmas-themed planetarium show in Greenwich. Learn about the most colourful parts of our galaxy and what those colours tell us about the makings of the universe; spot the pink of the Christmas Tree Cluster and the blue of Neptune and learn a space-themed 12 Days of Christmas.

Cost: £6

 Inspire your children with science at Richer Education’s Christmas science camp.

In this two-day session held at Imperial College London, kids aged 5 to 11 will learn about the wonders of chemistry and use physics to undertake challenging construction tasks. Plus, since it’s held from 9am to 3:30pm on Thursday the 22nd and Friday the 23rd of December, this may be your last, best chance to do last-minute Christmas errands!

Cost: £160

 Explore the Natural History Museum after dark at Dino Snores.

Kids aged 7 to 11 can explore a torch-lit trail, make a dinosaur t-shirt and meet live reindeer at this special Christmas sleepover on the 23rd of December. At midnight you’ll bed down in the shadow of Dippy the Diplodocus—can you sleep under a dinosaur’s stare?

Cost: £130 each (includes dinner and breakfast)

Watch swimmers compete for the Peter Pan Cup at the Serpentine.

Held annually since 1864, the race for the Peter Pan Cup sees the hardy members of the Serpentine Swimming Club leaping into the frigid Hyde Park waterway at 9am sharp on Christmas morning. Cheer on those brave souls, then warm up with a hot chocolate from the Lido Café.

Cost: FREE (hot chocolate not included)

Experience Victoria’s Christmas at Kensington Palace.

Through the 2nd of January 2017, illuminated illustrations based on extracts from Queen Victoria’s diary light up the ground floor. If you visit from the 27th of December through the 2nd of January, you’ll also have a chance to hear members of the Prince Regent’s Band perform Victorian carols on 19th century brass instruments.

Cost: £16.90 adult (online price)/kids FREE

Warm up at Vauxhall Winter Village.

Enter an alpine village in the middle of Vauxhall. Sip some mulled wine from Sweet Nothings or, for something heartier, a burger from City Burger and pretend you are après-ski.

Cost: FREE to enter

Elisa Freeling

Elisa moved to London a decade ago from San Francisco, where, in pre-children days, she was the managing editor at Sierra magazine. She lived in Brook Green, Notting Hill and Chiswick before settling in Northfields, where she lives with her book-loving daughter, architecture-loving son, and thickly moustachioed husband.

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