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May Half-term Family Activities: 5 to Try in London 2023

May Half-term Family Activities: 5 to Try in London 2023

May half term is looking lovely in London this year, sunshine and warmer temps mean outside fun is go! We have five family-friendly half-term activities to try, suitable for all ages and lots of outdoor activities to enjoy with kids in London.

Photo by Leon Neal for Getty Images

Ally Pally’s 150th Birthday Party

Come and celebrate 150 years of beloved London institution Alexandra Palace (her friends know her as Ally Pally) with a massive FREE Birthday party!

Discover all sorts of family-friendly activities, from face painting, arts & crafts and storytelling to drumming, camera and circus workshops and a even a birthday card making station! All that plus performances from Chicken Shed Theatre as well a Makers Market and Farmers Market too!

This is all in addition to live music, a street food festival, ice skating and hockey demos, films, those gorgeous views from the hilltop palace and more. Whew! Go big Ally.

When: 27 May; 12pm–9pm
Where: Alexandra Palace 
Cost: lots of free stuff, some things require pre-booking and payment
More info: website


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Soapbox Science on the Southbank

This celebration of game-changing women and non-binary people in science is returning for a 13th year inspiring the public in the city.

Gabriel’s Wharf will become a hive of scientific sharing, as some of the UK’s leading scientists take to their soapboxes to showcase cutting-edge research in this free live event.

Speakers include ZSL Institute of Zoology’s Ceri Webster on how sharks have kept oceans healthy since before the dinosaurs, King’s College London’s Navodini Wijethilake delving into how AI could be used to manage brain tumours and UCL’s Dr Zoë Waller on tiny medicine-delivering robots made from DNA.

When: 27 May; 1pm-4pm
Where: Gabriel’s Wharf on the Southbank
Cost: Free
More info: website

The Magical Paper Theatre Presents: Pinnochio

This beautiful show from the Magical Paper Theatre Company retells the well-known tale with puppets in an out-size replica of a Victorian paper theatre. Then after the show, the audience is invited ‘backstage’ for a tour to meet the puppets and see how the crankie-style theatre actually works.

The performance last 45 minutes and guests will also have some time to look around the museum – Europe’s oldest surviving operating theatre!

When: 31 May; 12pm or 2pm start time
Where: The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret 
Cost: £12
More info: website

Spring Family Festival at London Zoo

This half-term you and your family can celebrate the Zoo springing into life with an action-packed festival programme of animal talks, arts and crafts, interactive gameshows, music, workshops and a whole host of other spring festivities to mark the season.

Step into the colourful festival hub in the centre of the Zoo and experience spring in full bloom then visit the festival tents where you’ll find lots of interactive fun.

When: 27 May – 4 June
Where: ZSL London Zoo
Cost: included in zoo admission
More info: website


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Open Sunday at Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery: Architectural Explorations

A special Open Sunday for London Festival of Architecture! Participants of all ages will explore the festival’s theme of ‘In Common’ with a family-oriented tour of the Manor led by storyteller Judy Preece, and a drop-in workshop with artist Amy Leung to design architectural models inspired by the designs of Sir John Soane, the architect of Pitzhanger.

Pitzhanger Manor sits in the beautiful Walpole Park, an ideal place for families to picnic and play outside!

When: 4 June
Storytelling 11am-11:30am and 12pm-12:30pm, book your places online here
Art/Architecture Workshop drop-in sessions: 10:30am-11am, 11:15am-11:45am, 12pm-12:30pm. This is a drop-in event which includes access to Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery from 10am-12:30 pm. The activities will begin at 10:30 am.
Where: Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery 
Cost: activities included in admission (children 15 and under are free; adults £9)
More info: website 


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