The Director of Fun, at The Rubens at the Palace, John Goncalves, has been there for 34 years and is really just a big kid at heart! As one of London’s most family friendly hotels, John loves helping visitors young and old discover the thrills of London and this October half term is no exception!
Here are John’s Top 10 Things to do with Kids in London this October Half Term…
1. Watch a West End Show
This half term there are plenty of great family-friendly shows being performed in London. From Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre, to one of the most popular shows of the decade, The Lion King, at the Lyceum Theatre, there’s something for everyone. But most appropriate for a spooky Halloween treat is WICKED, being performed at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
Based on the acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire that re-imagined the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West. The ultimate Halloween show to see this October half term.
2. Join the Witches Academy on the London Eye
There is no better time to take a ride on the London Eye, as from 26th October to 2nd November the Witch Academy will be taking over the pods and signing up fresh new recruits. In the spooky Halloween Storytelling capsule, the High Witch will share top secret plans to take on the evil Grimly Grim and stop him from stealing the Crown Jewels. All graduates from the Witch Academy will receive a special badge of honour and join the highly esteemed With Academy Alumni.
Prices start from £15.66.
3. Take a Trot Across Autumnal Hyde Park
Horseback is the ideal way to get little legs around the beautifully autumnal Hyde Park without any moaning! For the more experienced, riding along Rotten Row, one of England’s most famous equestrian venues for over 300 years, will be a truly unforgettable moment. The popular Hyde Park Stables have horses for all sizes, and hacks are led by professional and experienced riders.
Prices start from £69 an hour for a truly unforgettable and unexpected afternoon exploring one of London’s most glorious parks.
4. Visit the London Zoo’s Royal Babies
It has been a busy year of births at London Zoo, with lots of new arrivals fighting Prince George for attention! Amongst the new faces are three cheeky meerkat pups, triplets nicknamed Basil Brush (due to his bushy tail), Robin (Basil’s sidekick) and The Tiddler (the smallest of the three). Slightly less cuddly are the Zoo’s newest residents, six newly hatched rhino rat snakes, an incredibly rare breed. Meanwhile, the Flamingo enclosure is now home to two adorable new flamingo chicks, so be sure to pop by and say hello.
Ticket prices start from £16 and are available from www.zsl.org.
5. Be entertained in Covent Garden
If you can face the crowds, then Covent Garden is a great place to spend an afternoon. The streets are always lined with entertainers that are sure to leave children speechless and parents smiling. From jugglers and contortionists, to beat boxers, living statues and musicians – it’s like circus city. And best of all, it’s completely free.
6. Eat dinner in the Rainforest
Finding a restaurant that is both child and parent friendly can be quite a struggle in Central London, so the Rainforest Café on Shaftesbury Avenues is a breath of fresh jungle air. Kids get the chance to eat their dinner surrounded by characters straight out of the Jungle Book – with waterfalls, tropical fish tanks and ‘animals’ that really move (thanks to some clever animatronics!). The menu has been cleverly designed to suit all palates, without breaking the bank.
7. The Making of Harry Potter
A favourite with children of all ages, a daytrip to the Warner Bros. Studio is an unforgettable experience. Hop on a bus from London to the Studios, and take a unique walking tour that will take you behind-the-scenes, showcasing a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes and props. Learn the secrets behind the films’ special effects and breath-taking animatronics. This is an unforgettable, magical day out for all the family.
Evan Evans offer daily trip to the Warner Bros. Studios. Tickets start from £18.
8. Explore The British Museum
This impressive building is not just for grownups, and is guaranteed to leave kids open-mouthed in awe. Packed full of hands on exhibitions and unbelievable artefacts, The British Museum is sure to get the mind whirring. This half term the Museum will be handing out free gallery backpacks to their young visitors. Each one is packed full of goodies relating to a special theme – such as Marvellous Mexico, which will get kids learning about the Aztec Gods, spinning an Aztec calendar and making their very own turquoise mosaic.
Entry and backpacks are free, though availability is limited. The British Museum is open daily from 10am-5:30pm.
9. Dine like a Prince or Princess at the very royal Rubens at the Palace
Everyone knows the afternoons are best spent sipping tea and eating freshly baked scones topped with lashings clotted cream and jam. And why should kids miss out on all the fun? Here at the Rubens at the Palace in Victoria, we’ve designed a Little Prince or Princess Afternoon Tea menu so that the entire family can dine in style and join in the fun.
Little Prince or Princess Afternoon Tea is available for children under 12 and costs £15.
10. Watch The Insect Circus in action
This half term, Sir Ronald McPeak will be bringing his menagerie of Acrobatic Ants, Vicious Vespa Wasps, Worm Charmers and many more to Jacksons Lane. A show like none you will ever have seen, with all the fun of the fair and plenty of lovable characters.
The Insect Circus will be at Jacksons Lane from Tuesday 29th October to Saturday 2nd November, with shows at 12pm and 3pm. Tickets are priced from £10.99-£12.95, or a family ticket for £40. Please call Jackson Lane Box Office on 020 8341 4421.