What’s On For Families In March

Eva de Valk

Between half-term, Saint Patrick’s Day and International Women’s Day, there’s lots going on to keep the kids occupied this month. We’ve lined up some of the best activities on offer in March.

Scare your children into behaving by showing them what it was like in the bad old days at Seen & Heard, a fascinating exhibition at Guildhall Art Gallery exploring how the role of children changed over the Victorian era in Britain. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg either: under 12s go free to the exhibition, Wednesdays at 1pm you can go on a free curator talk to learn more and there are free family events every second Saturday of the month.

It’s time to throw on something green and celebrate the Emerald Isle at the annual Saint Patrick’s Day festivities. On Saturday 16 March, families can attend a screening of kids’ film Zoo, followed by a puppet-making workshop, at the Irish Film Festival. Sunday 17 March is the big day, however; the traditional parade – featuring floats, dance groups and marching bands – will be a colourful spectacle, and the cultural festival on Trafalgar Square is also guaranteed to attract the crowds with its line-up of music and performance alongside a food and crafts market.

If you prefer something less rowdy, head over to the Wallace Collection for their Horrible Helmets family day. This free activity, which is aimed at d/Deaf children and their families, includes a special tour of the museum and the chance to get kitted out in some real armour. Afterwards, participants get creative in a sculpture-making workshop. Both the tour and the workshop will be in British Sign Language, accompanied by voiceover interpretation. Horrible Helmetstakes place on 16 March and is suitable for children aged five and older. Tickets are free, but should be booked in advance.

The same weekend, the Royal Opera House are hosting their regular family Sunday (17 March); this month’s theme, in honour of International Women’s Day, is Wonder Women. A range of creative activities will introduce children to some of the powerful females of opera and ballet, while also offering them a chance to find out more about what goes on backstage. A free guided tour can also be booked in addition to the regular activities. Family Sundays are aimed at children aged three to ten; tickets are £8 for kids and £10 for adults.

Finally, for a completely different kind of musical experience, try out the Southbank Centre’s gamelan taster sessions. In these two-hour workshops, families can have a go at playing the gamelan, a Javanese percussion instrument that comprises gongs, drums and metallophones. No previous experience is necessary, so this is a perfect opportunity for the more and the less musically accomplished family members to all play an instrument together. The workshops take place on Saturday 23 and Wednesday 27 March; adult tickets cost £10, children’s tickets are £5.  

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