What’s On For Families In October

Eva de Valk

October is here, and with plenty of autumnal, magical and spooky activities on offer, it should be easy to keep the family entertained this month.

Fans of a certain boy wizard should not miss out on afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge’s Potion Room. The Soho bakery has transformed their downstairs into an actual potions classroom for an interactive afternoon tea experience, complete with cauldron-stirring, wand-waving and, of course, magical treats. The Potion Room is open until July next year; tickets are £49.50 for adults and £39.50 for children.

Those who prefer to stick to Muggle cookery can head over to ExCel for the Cake and Bake Show, which can be best described as the live incarnation of the Great British Bake Off. A number of current and former contestants will be there to give demos, although families will probably want to make the dedicated Kids’ Zone their first port of call. Young visitors can get stuck right in with icing and decorating workshops, among other activities. Elsewhere in the show, the whole family can marvel at the very elaborate birthday and wedding cakes that are on display, or check out sugar craft artists in action. The Cake and Bake Show runs from 5 until 7 October; adult tickets are £13, with children’s concessions available.

More edible entertainment can be had at Forty Hall Farm in Enfield, which hosts its annual Apple Fair on 7 October. Unsurprisingly, activities revolve largely around the various ways in which a person might entertain themselves with the humble fruit, although throwing them at the local GP does not seem to be on the menu. Instead, visitors can watch apple pressing demonstrations, have a go at apple bobbing or take part in a longest peel competition. Food stalls will be on site as well, in case you fancy getting your teeth into something less healthy. Tickets can be bought on the door, at £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.

Image Credit: Forty Hall via Facebook

The week after, the Geffrye Museum is continuing autumnal celebrations with their Hoxton Harvest Ceilidh. This family friendly affair will feature live music by ceilidh band Fiddle Paradiddle and everyone, from experienced dancers to the hopelessly left-footed, will have a chance to get stuck in with traditional Scottish dances. Family members who prefer to steer clear of the dance floor can try their hand at seasonal crafts such as leaf bunting and leaf wreath making. The Hoxton Harvest Ceilidh takes place on 13 October and is free to attend.

Half term kicks off with the annual Bloomsbury Festival, which offers a range of free activities for children. A particular highlight this year is Roll Up Store Street (19 October), a street party celebrating the best of circus arts in the UK. Professional circus artists are joined by young performers from the National Centre for Circus Arts as well as dancers, actors and musicians to create a fun and inspiring evening. While some of the performances will be strictly ‘do not try this at home’, visitors can have a go at less risky disciplines such as juggling and synchronised hula-hooping. There is much more to get stuck into later in the weekend at the Sunday Funday Festival Hub (21 October). A full programme of performances, workshops and other activities awaits young visitors, who, among other things, can learn Bollywood dance, print their own t-shirt, join a Suffragette tea party or have a cricket taster class. The Sunday Funday activities are recommended for children aged five to twelve.

With Halloween coming up, there is of course also no shortage of eerie entertainment opportunities, from free pumpkin carving at Ramsey Flowers in Islington to creepy crafts at Burgh House and Hampstead Museum’s Kids Halloween Party. The bravest souls might also consider a sleepover at the Museum of London Docklands, where families can explore the galleries after dark, solve a spooky crime and hear the strange tales of Sweeney Todd, Doctor Jekyll and other notorious Londoners. The Halloween Sleepover is suitable for children ages seven to eleven and their families; the event takes place on 26 October, and tickets are £60. 

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