We’re only at the start of half-term and the mini-Minteds are already driving each other crazy. As usual, it’s up to Mother to find entertainment. I’ve been too busy to book anything in advance so I’ve been having a look around to see what’s on now. I suspect all the big London museums and attractions will be rammed so I’d like to share a few alternatives that popped up on the Minted radar. Some are free but some, at this late stage, aren’t.
1. Chelsea FC and stadium tours
Chelsea has the largest football museum in London which you can visit on its own or combine with an hour-long stadium tour. This takes you behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge to see the changing rooms, dugout, player's tunnel, press room and other areas normally reserved for the players. The tour is £24 for an adult, £15 for under-16s.
2. Ride the slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit
A terrifying but only 40-second descent down the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture is combined this half-term with Bricks in the Sky, a reproduction of the London skyline in Lego bricks. Help Lego artist Warren Elsmore build popular London landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament and possibly combine the trip with other activities in the former Olympic park. The London Aquatics Centre swimming pool has been turned into an inflatable assault course or you can take the Emirates Air Line cable car over the Thames between the Greenwich Peninsula (near The O2) and the Royal Docks (near ExCeL London). Slide and viewing platform tickets (or platform only for the faint-hearted) are £16.50 for adults and £10.50 for children aged 3 to 16.
3. Children’s festival at the Southbank Centre
The Imagine Children's Festival focuses on children's literature, theatre and music. Events include a sandpit that makes noise, a Peppa Pig concert, and a talk by children's authors Malorie Blackman, Jacqueline Wilson and Chris Riddell. There are also free workshops and activities.
4. British Airways i360 in Brighton
Here’s a bargain: children can ride the doughnut-in-the-sky for a quid this half term! Each paying adult (£16.50 a ticket) can bring two under-16s for just £1. And if you fill in the Discovery Trail booklet and take it to West Beach Bar & Kitchen, where children also eat for free with paying adults. There’s plenty of other stuff to do in Brighton such as the onion domes of George IV’s crazy Pavilion palace and of course the fun-fair on the Pier and the Sea Life aquarium. Stop in the café of chocolatier Choccywoccydoodah for a sugar rush. TOP TIP: the portions are large so order with restraint!
5. Pets at Home and Hobbycraft workshops
These two stores have free workshops for kids during half-term. Snuggle up to hamsters and guinea pigs and learn how to care for them at Pets at Home or indulge in a range of craft activities at your nearest Hobbycraft. Children do need to be accompanied, however.
With all that outlay, you’ll be needed to take packed lunches with you. Alternatively, check out KidsPass* which you can currently get for £1 for a 30-day trial. The app allows you discounts for children on meals in restaurants, cinema tickets and on days out. Their best current offer is that kids can eat for just £1 at Greene King Pub & Grills nationwide. Happy half-term!
See our newsletter this week for other half-term deals.