Looking for ways to keep the kids entertained this half term? The Resident has teamed up with KidRated – a website where days out, attractions, events and activities are all reviewed by children (think TripAdvisor by kids) – to bring you some of the most entertaining ways to spend some quality family time together…
Lead image: Thames Rockets
1 Thames Rockets
With their distinctive red ‘Rocket’ boats, the Thames Rockets has yet to get a bad review by our K-Raters. It’s exciting, informative and always fun especially with their hilarious and knowledgeable guides. Warm coats are provided but don’t forget to take your camera because the sights look amazing from the Thames.
Kids Will Love: Going fast!
Adults will love: The clever commentary and nostalgic soundtrack.
Cost: Kids from £25.95, adults from £44.95
KidZania is a world where kids take charge. Both educational and fun, kids can learn all kinds of practical skills through role-playing, even earning money for their ‘work’ in the form of ‘kidZos’, which can be redeemed at the reward store. Kids can try out being a pilot at the aviation academy, working as a journalist in a newspaper, or even be a sports star or a fashion designer. It’s great for ages 4-14 with an early years programme for ages 0-3.
Kids will love: Getting stuck in a learning ‘grown-up’ skills
Adults will love: Watching the kids learn while having fun
Cost: Adults from £16, kids (4-14) from £25
3 Oxygen Freejumping
Trampolining is fun. Full stop. But what’s even more fun is a whole room filled with trampolines and leaping from one to the other with all your friends. There are also puzzles to solve, obstacle courses to tackle and other fun activities like dodgeball. Find them in Acton, Croydon and Greenwich (the O2 Arena).
Kids will love: Bouncing around, obviously!
Adults will love: Either joining in or just knowing the kids will be pooped afterwards
Cost: Tickets are £13
4 Escape Entertainment London
Perfect for super sleuths and wannabe Sherlocks, this attraction sees you locked in a room full of clues with 60 minutes to escape. There are several different themed rooms with different mysteries, ranging from kidnappings to murders, so you can return more than once if you love solving clues. There are also a number of identical rooms so that you can race, not just against the clock, but against other teams. This one’s great for teens.
Kids will love: Solving the puzzles and beating their friends on other teams
Adults will love: Getting stuck in alongside the kids
Cost: £52 for a room of six
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5 Tower Bridge Exhibition and Walkway
The Tower Bridge Exhibition was always a great attraction but since it installed the glass walkway it’s become a must-see for visitors. There are maps, films, interactive exhibits and a brand new free family trail app. Don’t forget the bridge actually opens so if you time your visit right you could be there to see it.
Kids will love: Lying on the glass walkway.
Adults will love: Discovering they get two experiences for the price of one when they visit the Victorian engine rooms at the foot of the bridge.
Cost: Family tickets from £18
6 The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Just like travelling to Mecca, at some point every Potterhead must make the pilgrimage to the Warner Bros Studios. Rather cheekily, it’s marketed as a London attraction, but it’s distinctly north of the Watford Gap, located in Leavesden, Hertfordshire. It is, however, just a short 20-minute train ride from Euston. Speaking of trains, the tour features the original Hogwarts Express in a recreation of Platform 9 3/4, and you can even explore the inside of a carriage on the train.
Kids will love: Everything! This truly is an A-list attraction.
Adults will love: Visiting for the day and tiring the kids out. Book Now!
Cost: Family ticket £150
7 The Royal Observatory, Greenwich
As well as being able to stand on either side of the Meridian Line and exploring the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition, at the Royal Observatory, you can catch a show at the only planetarium in London. Over half term, there are three daily shows at the planetarium for kids: Ted’s Space Adventure (3-7 year olds), Phantom of the Universe (ages 7+) and One Day on Mars (ages 7+).
Kids will love: Exploring space!
Adults will love: Being in beautiful Greenwich – grab some lunch at Greenwich Market while you’re in the area.
Cost: For the observatory, kids are £8 (under 4s free). To book planetarium tickets call 020 8312 6608
8 The London Wetland Centre
The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) London Wetland Centre, just a 10-minute walk from Hammersmith, is a beautiful way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. You can stroll among the lakes, ponds and gardens of this nature sanctuary, plus there’s an indoor/outdoor café and play areas that kids will love and each half term usually brings special activities to get stuck into. There’s wildlife to see all year round, with each season bringing different and exciting mix of species.
Kids will love: The adventure playground with zip wires, a climbing wall and water vole tunnels
Adults will love: Taking in some fresh air and getting back to nature
Cost: Family ticket £36.63
9 The View from The Shard
A half-term visit to London’s highest landmark is well worth the trip as kids usually go free (check the website for the offer). Timed access to the Viewing Gallery means it never really feels busy and overcrowded, and kids rate it… ahem, highly. Spread over the Shard’s 68th, 69th and 72nd floors, The View takes in all 360° of London, with a fantastic open-air area on the top floor that makes you feel like you’re in the clouds.
Kids Will Love: The express lifts, friendly guides and digital time travelling telescopes.
Adults Will Love: The views from the loos and the bar!
Cost: Family tickets from £28pp
10 Hackney City Farm
Currently closed due to Covid-19
Getting them away from screens and outdoors is no mean feat, but cute piglets and rabbits will usually do the trick! Hackney City Farm is a great way for kids to learn about farm animals without leaving the city. You’ll find everything from small animals like guinea pigs and rabbits to traditional farmyard animals like sheep, goats, chickens and pigs.
Kids will love: Being outdoors and feeding the animals
Adults will love: Getting the kids away from screens
11 Natural History Museum
A long-term favourite for families in London, the Natural History Museum is full of specimens ranging from dinosaurs to butterflies. While the dinosaur gallery used to be the most popular area of the museum, kids love the giant life-size blue whale too. Saying that, a huge moving T-Rex is still pretty cool! You can even experience being shaken up by the magnitude earthquake machine.
Kids will love: Standing under the giant blue whale
Adults will love: The huge variety of things to do here – oh and it’s free!
Co-founded by former journalist and TV exec, Simon London, KidRated launched with over 100 reviews of London’s major attractions in June 2014, and has been growing ever since. The simple idea struck Simon after a holiday in Egypt, during which his 10-year-old son, Elliot made a video review of the hotel which they put on YouTube. It was only really meant for Elliot’s grandparents, but on returning a year later in 2011, they were astonished to find many kids not only recognised Elliot, but their parents had booked the hotel based on his son’s review.