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Keep the kids entertained (and on your side) during October half-term 2020 in London with our pick of the capital’s best family activities and events over the school holidays.
Whether it's with teenagers or toddlers, pack your London October half-term holiday or staycation with fun activities, Halloween events and unique experiences. There are so many things to do over half-term in London, that you can easily fill the whole break: these family-friendly hotels and top restaurants for kids will help you plan your visit.
When out and about, make sure to share your half-term fun using the #BecauseImALondoner hashtag!
The week-long half-term holiday differs across the UK, with some regions choosing one week and other regions opting for the following week.
Many London attractions have reopened with appropriate social-distancing and safety measures in place, so you can bond with the kids in a safe environment. Book tickets to family-friendly attractions in advance, to save money and guarantee entry.
Reach #familygoals at top London attractions
- Pick up a Merlin five-in-one London attractions pass to enjoy top attractions, including Madame Tussauds and the London Eye.
- See London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Tower of London with a hop-on hop-off bus ticket.
- Find free museums and activities for kids in London for a budget-friendly half-term.
- Go on a sightseeing cruise with City Cruises – pick up a 24-hour sightseeing pass and hop on and off to your heart's content.
- Spend some time at London’s top attractions for kids, from entering the land of the lovable ogre at Shrek’s Adventure! London to the historic Tower of London, which is home to the Crown Jewels.
- Spot Nemo’s relatives and many more tropical species in the UK’s largest coral reef at SEA LIFE London.
- Stand 243m (800ft) above London while snapping family selfies at The View from The Shard.
- Spend the day exploring some of the capital's best museums and galleries, from the Natural History Museum and Museum of London to the National Gallery.
- Explore another universe during a spectacular show at the Peter Harrison Planetarium.
- Have a fun family day out and say hello to some of your favourite animals at ZSL London Zoo this half-term.
Find more London attractions for October half-term.
Cool stuff for teens this half-term in London
- Tuck into a tasty Peter Pan-themed afternoon tea with Insta-worthy views across London at Aqua Shard.
- From petri-dish jam to dinosaur biscuits, treat the kids to an interactive afternoon tea with the Science Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel.
- Get the adrenaline pumping on a thrilling adventure, from The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit, to fast and furious speedboat rides or a vertigo-busting Up at The O2 climb.
- Master your skateboarding skills at the Southbank Skate Space.
- Watch a film at BFI Southbank – if you're 16 to 25 years of age, sign up for £3 tickets!
- Bounce around on trampolines, as you tackle high-rope adventures at Oxygen Freejumping at The O2.
- Create FOMO among your friends as you snap away at top Instagram spots in London, including Tower Bridge’s glass walkway, colourful Neal’s Yard and views from the Sky Garden.
- Grab an Insta-worthy cake and coffee at one of London's quirky cafes, including Peggy Porschen, Draughts or Biscuiteers.
- Go on a high-wire adventure at one of Go Ape’s testing courses.
- Master the controls as you emulate being a pilot at the Emirates Aviation Experience.
- Have a go at table tennis or challenge yourself to mountain biking and BMX trails at Lee Valley VeloPark.
- Immerse yourself in culture at London's best museum and gallery exhibitions.
Find more things to do with teenagers in London.
October half-term activities in London for younger kids
- Head to the child-sized city of Kidzania in Westfield London, where little ones can enjoy more than 60 interactive activities.
- Look out for school holiday activities at more of London’s children's museums and attractions during the half-term break.
- Head to the London Transport Museum this half-term and track down Billy Brown of London Town on a family trail. 17 Oct-1 Nov
- Explore an architectural London icon, St Paul's Cathedral, with free entry for kids during half-term, and learn about the cathedral's history on four family trails. 17-31 Oct
- Explore 100 years of model-making at Brass, Steel and Fire exhibition at the Science Museum. 22 Oct
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show has wiggled back to London this half-term for a socially distanced run at artsdepot in North Finchley. 24-27 Oct
- Make your own designs reality in a t-shirt, skeleton mask or lantern-making workshop at the Foundling Museum. 27-30 Oct
- Visit the National Army Museum to take on the Robot Coding Challenge (27-31 Oct) to fulfil a mission, dive into the inventions of WW1 in a short family show (27-29 Oct) or enjoy the special sensory-friendly opening (31 Oct).
- Listen to tremendous tales and get stuck into DIY projects at Westminster Abbey's Family Day: Building History. 30 Oct
- Visit the Barbican for magical fairytales accompanied by live music with the Family Film Club. 31 Oct
Discover more family fun with our 101 things to do with kids in London.
Outdoor half-term activities
- Get up close to some of your favourite big-screen stars with Scenes in the Square, including Harry Potter, Paddington and Mary Poppins.
- Head over to Trafalgar Square and wave at the four bronze lion statues overlooking this iconic London landmark.
- Let the kids run wild during a visit to London's leafy Royal Parks, including Hyde Park, Greenwich Park and Regent's Park.
- Fill a scrapbook with autumnal leaves from some of the City of London's parks and green spaces.
- Treat yourself to some delicious street food from the open-air Southbank Centre Food Market.
- Set off on a Gruffalo Adventure around Kew Gardens, as you look for the character hiding in the dark woods this autumn. 17 Oct-1 Nov
Get your spook on at Halloween in London
- Encounter unsavory characters from London's past at immersive The London Dungeon.
- Travel to some of the city's creepiest spots with The Ghost Bus Tours.
- Prepare for the ultimate scare as you navigate the Tombs at the London Bridge Experience.
- Hear spooktacular stories as you whizz down the river with Thames Rockets' Thames Thriller family experience this Halloween. 31 Oct
- Get on a quest for magic potion ingredients hidden around the Whitehall Historic House on a treasure hunt. 24, 29 and 31 Oct
- Go on a Spooky Family Tour around Chelsea Physic Garden in search of herbs to save Professor Bella Donna Sneeze Wart's beloved cat! 29 Oct
Look out for other spooky children's Halloween activities across the city.
Hit the shops in London
- Discover the flagship LEGO store's huge collection of exciting LEGO sets and create your own LEGO portrait with the in-store mosaic maker.
- Explore a colourful chocolate-filled wonderland with a visit to M&M's World in Leicester Square.
- Step into the magical world of Hamleys and browse the shelves of London's largest toy shop this half-term.
- Source the latest fashions for your winter wardrobe: head to Topshop and Topman, or Primark on Oxford Street for great value items, venture to Carnaby for iconic brands such as Dr Martens and Liberty London, or find the latest sportswear in Lillywhites and Niketown.
- Peruse the big-name stores at London's shopping centres and outlets, such as ICON Outlet at The O2, the London Designer Outlet, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.
- Look for vintage threads in London’s markets, such as Portobello Road Market or Camden Market.
- Or stock up on more sustainable fashion finds at the Buck Street Market.
- Be pampered in Covent Garden and Seven Dials as you stock up on makeup and beauty products. Options include Charlotte Tilbury, Kiehl’s, Neal’s Yard Remedies and Toni&Guy.
- Pop over to hidden gem St Christopher's Place to discover a trendy array of shops and boutiques.
Seek out more shopping hotspots in London.
Things to enjoy from home
- Learn about artist William Hogarth and philanthropist Thomas Coram through online storytelling or get crafty with virtual workshops from the Foundling Museum.
- Go potty for crafts and entertaining learning with Disney-themed online workshops to enjoy on your half-term afternoons.
- Fill your days with virtual voyages to space with activities from Royal Observatory Greenwich.
- Support the Pleasance Theatre by tuning into a virtual reimagining of The Snail and the Whale, based on the tale of a snail travelling the world on the back of a whale. 26 Oct
- Find out what hides behind the doors of the opulent Westminster Abbey on a free online tour. 28 Oct
If you're visiting London in and around half-term, check out our pick of the best things to do in autumn, including key October events. And keep an eye out for family-friendly activities with our guides to what's on this weekend and things to do today.