The Best Family Events in London this February

Eva de Valk

This month’s family calendar is, unsurprisingly, full of half term activities in all shapes and sizes.

The Museum of Brands is hosting a Teddy Bear Adventure Trail, in which families have a self-guided nosey around the exhibition. Visitors will travel through time as they discover the evolution of brands and try to spot all the teddies who feature in the collection. There are fun facts and creative activities along the way, and at the end of the trail there’s always the option to try out some of the museum’s regular family activities.

Museum of Brands Robert Opie Collection
The adventure trial runs from 10 -18 February and is free with admission to the museum. Tickets for adults are £9, and family discounts are available.
Teddy bears are not just travelling through time this half term, but through space as well. In the Holiday to Space workshops at the Royal Observatory, children between the ages of four and seven will go on a spectacular space safari, find the Big Dipper through the means of song, and help their bear guide Ted to plan his holiday to a different planet.

(c) National Maritime Museum, London
Holiday to Space takes place on 14, 15 and 16 February, and tickets are £6 (on top of the regular Royal Observatory admission price).
Those who are looking to let their kids burn off all their excess energy in a more outdoorsy way might consider a visit to the London Wetlands Centre, which is hosting a Dusty’s Puddle Jumping Championship from 10 to 18 February. Children will compete to see who can make the biggest, baddest and/or most beautiful splash, with judges giving points for qualities such as enthusiasm and creativity. There will also be hands on activities available for the members of the family who are less keen on getting wet.

Dusty Duck's Puddle Jumping Contest, Soloman B D Limm (c) WWT

Entry to the puddle jumping is free with admission to the centre. Ticket prices start at £11.45 for adults, with family discounts available.
The National Theatre offers budding actors and playwrights the chance to delve into a Shakespeare classic, The Winter’s Tale, in different workshops. On 12 February, children aged seven to twelve and their parents can participate in the all-day Play in a Day session. Together the participants will create characters, work on their own script and design a piece of costume, which will all come together in a performance at the end of the day. Those who find the idea of a whole day at the theatre a bit daunting could consider the shorter The Winter’s Tale Explored workshops on 14 February, which lasts just over an hour. Here, families will learn to walk the walk and talk the talk of shepherds and princes, and get to imagine what it’s like to be king.
Tickets for Play in a Day are £12 for adults and £8 for children, tickets for The Winter’s Tale Explored are £5 and £3 respectively.
This year, half term also encompasses the very best of the February holidays: Pancake Day. Tuesday 13 February will see people all over the capital running around with frying pans, for charity as well as for your entertainment. The most famous one is without doubt the Parliamentary Pancake Race, which sees MPs, Lords and members of the press do some competitive batter-flipping for Rehab. In the City, members of the pancake-related Guilds, such as the Poulters and the Fruiterers, battle it out in their full regalia, while the Scoop hosts a triathlon-inspired event that also includes a treasure hunt and pancake flip-off. 
We end half term on a high with the Chinese New Year celebrations, heralding the Year of the Dog. 18 February will see the West End filled with all sorts of activities, including dragon and lion dances on Charing Cross Road and a full stage programme on Trafalgar Square. Head over to the family zone on Leicester Square for dress up, calligraphy and kid-friendly performances, and make sure not to miss the closing fireworks for a perfect end to the holidays!

Chinese New Year in London (c) Jon Mo/LCCA


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