Keep the kids entertained (and on your side) during October half-term 2019 in London with our pick of the capital’s best family activities and events over the school holidays.
Whether it's with teenagers or toddlers, pack your London October half-term holiday with fun activities, Halloween events and unique experiences. And with so many things to do over half-term in London, make sure you stay for the whole break: these family-friendly hotels and top restaurants for kids will help you plan your visit.
Cool stuff for teens this half-term in London
- Master your skateboarding skills at the Southbank Skate Space or visit House of Vans for more skating fun and events.
- Watch a film at BFI Southbank – if you're 16 to 25 years of age, sign up for £3 tickets!
- Bounce around on trampolines, as you tackle high-rope adventures at Oxygen Freejumping at The O2.
- Create FOMO among your friends as you snap away at top Instagram spots in London, including Tower Bridge’s glass walkway, colourful Neal’s Yard and views from the Sky Garden.
- Grab an Insta-worthy cake and coffee at one of London's quirky cafes, including Peggy Porschen and Dominique Ansel Bakery.
- Bring out your inner dancing queen with Mamma Mia! The Party, an immersive dining experience dedicated to all things ABBA, at The O2.
- Go on a high-wire adventure at one of Go Ape’s testing courses.
- Get the adrenaline pumping on a thrilling adventure, from The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit, to fast and furious speedboat rides or a vertigo-busting Up at The O2 climb.
Find more things to do with teenagers in London.
Refresh your look
- Source the latest fashions for your winter wardrobe: head to Topshop and Topman, or Primark on Oxford Street for great value items, venture to Carnaby for iconic brands such as Dr Martens and Liberty London, or find the latest sportswear in Lillywhites and Niketown.
- Peruse the big-name stores at London's shopping centres and outlets, such as ICON Outlet at The O2, the London Designer Outlet, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.
- Look for vintage threads in London’s markets, such as Portobello Road Market or Camden Market.
- Be pampered in Covent Garden and Seven Dials as you stock up on makeup and beauty products. Options include Charlotte Tilbury, Kiehl’s, Neal’s Yard Remedies and Toni&Guy.
Seek out more shopping hotspots in London.
Reach #familygoals at top London attractions
- Pick up a Merlin five-in-one London attractions pass to enjoy top attractions, such as Madame Tussauds and the Coca-Cola London Eye, or choose a London Pass for entry, queue-jumping and offers at more than 80 attractions.
- See London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Tower of London with a hop-on hop-off bus ticket.
- Find free museums and activities for kids in London for a budget-friendly half-term.
- Go on a sightseeing cruise with City Cruises – pick up a 24-hour sightseeing pass and hop on and off to your heart's content.
- Spend some time at London’s top attractions for kids, from entering the land of the lovable ogre at Shrek’s Adventure! London to historic Tower of London, home of the Crown Jewels.
- Spot Nemo’s relatives and many more tropical species at the UK’s largest coral reef, which was recently unveiled at SEA LIFE London.
Find more London attractions for October half-term.
Try October half-term activities in London
- Head to the child-sized city of Kidzania in Westfield London, where little ones can enjoy more than 60 interactive activities.
- Learn how Miss Florence Nightingale became one of the world’s most famous women during a special storytelling activity at the Florence Nightingale Museum.
- Celebrate Diwali with a range of activities, from Diwali on Trafalgar Square, to the Diwali: Festival of Light at National Maritime Museum.
- Prepare your sea legs for a musical adventure on the high seas, with Cutty Sark’s Ports of Call experience.
- Calling budding filmmakers… Take on the Documentary Film Challenge with your family at IWM London. You can gain some inspiration by meeting war veterans or joining storytelling sessions about animals’ roles in conflict.
- Search for hidden messages and crack difficult codes as you go on a D-Day family mission on HMS Belfast, or keep the ship in top-notch condition during Ship Shape Saturdays.
- Be amazed by the animals that once lived in London with video-based exhibition Beasts of London at Museum of London.
- Snap an Instagram shot at Carnaby’s ZSL London Zoo pop-up, For People, For Wildlife, as you learn about the life in Nepal, all in aim of helping the local communities.
- Learn about the lives of female prisoners in the Tower of London through trails, performances and more.
- Hear tales and music of the world during free Tales from afar at the British Museum.
- Join in on Abbey Birthday celebrations with brass-rubbing, meet medieval characters and family-friendly Eucharist as Westminister Abbey turns 750-years old.
- Take the job of Queen Elizabeth I's spy masters with cool workshops and performances at Hampton Court Palace.
- See if Princess Louise gets her way as her mother, Queen Victoria visits her at Kensington Palace, then follow Victoria's story trail, finding the Queen's treasures along the way.
- Enjoy heaps of activity at the Unicorn Theatre: see Maggot Moon or Anansi the Spider, then get your creative flair on at Anasi Patterns and other art workshops.
- Explore the National Portrait Gallery with an added tonne of fun as you follow trails which teach you and the kids how to draw – then enjoy a special offer on kids’ lunchbox at Portrait Café.
- Pull out your detective’s gear for a fun-filled Where’s Wally? hunt at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club or the London Transport Museum.
- Celebrate autumn with a ceilidh, then munch on street food, dig through the market and attend workshops, all as part of Seasonal Shindig at Geffrye Museum.
- Learn how plants got their names in storytelling sessions, become an expert stage performer or explore the vast grounds during Autumn Antics at Kew Gardens.
- Look out for school holiday activities at more of London’s children's museums and attractions during the half-term break, including sleepovers and arts and crafts.
Discover more family fun with our 101 things to do with kids in London.
Find out-of-this-world experiences
- Be transported to the land of fairytales at Southbank Centre this half-term. Move with the music at a fairytale-themed dance workshop, follow a special trail or be part of an interactive show full of magical stories.
- Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in Greenwich: see artefacts from the Apollo 11 mission at The Moon Exhibition at National Maritime Museum; learn about other moons at the Royal Observatory’s Marvellous Moons displays; study an Elizabethan portrait with Mortal Moon at Queen’s House; or see a moon-themed planetarium show at Peter Harrison Planetarium.
- Experience a sneak peek of winter at the Ice Bar with a cosy cape and hot cuppa in hand, where kids go free this half-term.
- Watch the kids learn the best of theatre's tricks as they produce their own animal-inspired show during Behind The Scenes Magic workshop at the Museum of London.
- Master the controls as you emulate being a pilot at the Emirates Aviation Experience.
Get your spook on at Halloween in London
- Watch out for Death Eaters as the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is given a Halloween makeover.
- Encounter unsavory characters from London's past at immersive The London Dungeon.
- Put some spookiness into your school holiday with Halloween-themed arts and crafts at Old Royal Naval College.
- Travel to some of the city's creepiest spots with The Ghost Bus Tours.
- Prepare for the ultimate scare as you navigate the Tombs at the London Bridge Experience.
- Show-off to your friends as you flash your very own slime, made at Horniman Museum and Garden’s Halloween Slime Workshop.
Look out for other spooky children's Halloween activities across the city.
Book the best kids half-term London shows
- Treat the children to a smash-hit West End musical, from The Lion King to Wicked and School of Rock.
- Have a spoonful of sugar and more as Mary Poppins returns to London’s West End.
- Join Peppa Pig and her family in an adventure through caves and castles during Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever.
- Catch a show at one of London's children's theatres.
Find more children's shows in London.
Dig into hands-on activities
- Let the kids channel their creativity at Nick Ellwood's drawing and art workshops during The Big Draw at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
- Go on an Operation river rescue! workshop at Museum of London Docklands to investigate the reason behind pollution in rivers.
- See the kids learn about street-art from Carleen de Sözer, and even create their own murals at Alexandra Palace’s five-day From the Street workshop.
- Create a self-portrait painting masterpiece or get your hands dirty with a sculpture workshop at the Royal Academy.
- Master the art of origami at Bang Bang Oriental's free workshop.
- Assist wildlife researchers (and become one yourself) as you pond-drip, birdwatch and create your own leaf hero at the London Wetland Centre.
- Take the little ones down to the National Gallery for a session of Studio Play – an open-ended play featuring sensory materials, inspired by the surrounding paintings and exhibits.
- Surprise little cooks with pizza-making classes at Mews of Mayfair.
- Watch the kids master the world of digital technology and design through Digital Kids workshops at the V&A.
- Or see them dive into acting at drama workshops at The Old Vic.
- Prep Greenwich Park for upcoming winter season at bunch of autumnal activities and talks (and possible visits from squirrels!).
If you're visiting London in and around half-term, check out our pick of the best things to do in autumn, including key October events. And keep an eye out for family-friendly activities with our guides to what's on this weekend and things to do today.
Book tickets to family-friendly attractions in advance, to save money and guarantee entry.