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Half-term fun for families in South Bank

October 22nd, 2022 | by Tom Harrow-Smith
© Imagine Children's Festival

Half-term fun for families in South Bank

Jump into half term with a jam packed programme of events and attractions in South Bank this February! From family events and activities at the Imagine Children's Festival, to exploring family-friendly museums and attractions such as Florence Nightingale Museum, the world-famous London Eye and the London Dungeon at County Hall. 

Read our round-up of family-friendly activities in South Bank and make it a winter half-term to remember.


  • Imagine Children's Festival

    Dozens of live shows for kids aged 0-11, plus a brilliant programme of free events and workshops

    Southbank Centre's annual children's festival returns this February half term with 100+ shows. The largest festival of its kind in the UK, Imagine Children’s Festival is dedicated to bringing families together through creative and playful experiences. Aimed at children aged 0 to 11, the eleven-day programme is bursting with music, storytelling, comedy, poetry, dance, visual arts and plenty of interactive activities.

    This year’s edition is a "Relaxed festival", meaning people are allowed to enter and leave the auditorium freely, and there is an open attitude towards audience noise and movement. There are also specific sensory-adapted shows, BSL-interpreted and non-verbal performances on the programme making for an inclusive and welcoming environment.

    > Explore the Imagine Festival programme here.

  • Meet Puss in Boots at Shrek's Adventure! London

    A fun immersive adventure for fairytale fans 

    Shrek’s Adventure! London is the capital’s most immersive and interactive family attraction. Especially for half-term Shrek's Adventure! is hosting a full-blown fiesta with the feline hero Puss in Boots. Join in and show off your dance moves, sword-yielding poses the fur-midable feline and his feisty friend Kitty Softpaws. 

    For the kids there's also themed activity sheet with stamps to collect as you explore the rustic taverna where the swash-buckling cat awaits. Hang out, dance and have your picture taken with Puss or Kitty Softpaws in this fun-filled Spanish adventure. Viva el Gato!

    > Find Out More

  • SEA LIFE London Aquarium

    Wonders of the marine world at one of the UK's best aquariums

    Dive in and explore an underwater world of glittering scales, waddling feet and razor-sharp teeth at SEA LIFE London Aquarium in South Bank. There's everything from a face-to-face encounter with sharks to meeting Gentoo Penguins in an ice adventure, making this a super exciting day out for any youngsters with an interest in marine life. During half-term the aquarium hosts regular keeper talks throughout the day in the penguin, rainforest, ocean and shark zones making for an especially educational and engaging visit. 

    > Find out more. 

  • Witness for the Prosecution

    A super atmospheric theatre experience that's great for teens

    Perfect for older children, London County Hall invites you to jury service as this gripping and intense adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie play! Leonard Vole is accused of murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. The stakes are high - will he survive the shocking witness testimony, and convince the jury (and audience) of his innocence and escape the hangman’s noose?

    Set inside the former debating chamber of the Greater London Council at County Hall, you couldn't pick a more atmospheric setting for a courtroom drama about justice, passion, and betrayal. Suitable for children aged 10 and over with parental guidance.

    > Find Out More

  • Jubilee Gardens Adventure Playground

    Need to let the kids run off some steam? Take a pit stop at the Jubilee Gardens adventure playground at the foot of the London Eye. Refurbished in 2022 with large-scale new installations designed to let young imaginations run wild, there's also lots of sensory play and fun games that reference local London icons. The adventure playground caters for all children from toddlers to age 11 and also has accessible areas that allow children with disabilities to also join in the fun. Entrance is free although bear in mind that if the weather is particularly icy then the playground will be closed.

    > Find Out More

  • Draughts

    Board game fun for tweens and teens

    With it being February, we can't guarantee that the weather will be family-friendly throughout the half-term – that's why it's a good idea to have a rainy day idea up your sleeve! Draughts Waterloo is the ultimate board game cafe boasting over 1,000 games from the classic to the obscure. It's located inside the Leake Street graffiti tunnel which is also a cool sightseeing opportunity in and of itself.

    It costs £7 per person to come in and play and you get a three hour allowance. Kids under 12 play for free and teens aged 13-17 play for half price. Kids must be accompanied by an adult and no under 18s are allowed after 9pm. Advanced booking is strongly recommended!

    > Book a table

  • The Garden Museum

    The perfect day out for green-fingered kids

    The Garden Museum celebrates British gardens and gardening through its collection, temporary exhibitions, events and garden. The museum is a very family-friendly place. The museum's nine galleries have interactive displays and kids get an activity sheet with a specially designed trail they can follow through the museum. There's also a specially designed Learning Space where the museum hosts workshops that combine art, craft, cooking and plant science to help children learn more about the natural world. Older kids will enjoy climbing up to the top of the museum's medieval tower 131 steps to enjoy the view over the river towards Big Ben.

    > Find Out More

  • Florence Nightingale Museum

    A great museum experience for history-loving kids 

    Visit the Florence Nightingale Museum to celebrate the life of this trailblazing woman. Discover all about her affluent childhood, how she fought against her parents’ wishes to become a nurse, her work during the Crimean War and how she campaigned for better healthcare for ordinary people.

    For kids there's various supplementary material to make your visit even more interactive including a Family Trail and STEM trail activity sheets and the opportunity to dress up as a nurse in the Family Corner. Look out for the free “Lady with the Lamp” 30-minute performance, every Saturday at 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm.

    > Find Out More

  • South Bank Book Market

    Brilliant book browsing for enthusiastic young readers

    Open daily until 7pm, the iconic South Bank Book Market is a great place for families with a wide range of books that will appeal to all ages. Seeing what gems you can uncover from among the tables is all part of the fun! There's usually a decent selection of second-hand children's books and lots of classics that will appeal to teenagers. If your teens are vintage fans they'll also no doubt find something interesting hidden among the many old-fashioned prints on sale.

    > Find Out More

  • London Dungeon

    A fun day out for youngsters who love spooky experiences and horrible histories

    The London Dungeon is one of the capital’s signature attractions, delighting audiences for almost 40 years. Located at County Hall next to the London Eye, the Dungeon brings together an amazing cast of theatrical actors, special effects, immersive 360 sets, and thrilling rides in a totally interactive walk-through experience that you see, hear, touch, smell and feel. On your immersive journey through the city's gruesome past you'll experience 14 live shows, two underground rides and finish up with a themed drink at the Victorian Tavern.

    > Find out more

  • Children's Self-Portrait Workshop at NT

    A free portrait drawing workshop for kids

    On Sat 11 Feb from 10:30 National Theatre hosts a free drop-in workshop aimed at budding young artists. This special half-term self-portrait drawing workshop is led by NT's artist-in-residence, Curtis Holder. No booking is necessary – just turn up and stay for as long as it takes to complete your self-portrait. Materials are provided and there will be separate tables for under 5s/5+. This workshop is aimed at children (under 16s), and children must be supervised at all times. 

  • Family films at BFI

    Family favourites on the big screen

    Take your teenagers to the BFI during half-term to catch cinema classics as part of the BFI's epic 100 Greatest Films of All Time series. If the kids fancy themselves as a future filmmaker you can also enroll them in the a four-day workshop exploring the murder mystery genre or take them along to mix and mingle with other filmmaking teens at this year's BFI Future Film Festival.

    Mon 13 Feb, The Parent Trap 25th Anniversary The BFI screens Nancy's Meyers fun 1998 remake of The Parent Trap starring a young Lindsey Lohan.

    13–16 Feb, Whodunnit? Murder Mystery filmmaking workshop This four day filmmaking workshop is aimed at 8 to 11 year olds. Children will get hands-on experience working in a team to make a short film from concept to completion, developing their creative and communication skills, and boosting their confidence. The course costs £99 per child and booking is essential. Find out more here.

    16–19 Feb, Future Film Festival The UK's largest festival for young, emerging filmmakers, there are four jam-packed days of screenings, workshops and masterclasses aimed at young filmmakers aged 16-25.

    > Find out more about what's on at the BFI here.