The Independent Parnet: Which London museums have half-term children's events?
Saturday 09 October 2004
Q. We are taking our two children (aged 12 and 15) to London for half term and would like some advice about things for us to do. We are keen to visit some museums and galleries, but preferably ones with interesting events for children.
A Randall, via e-mail
A. The artistically minded should try "Amazing Spaces" at the Design Museum (020-7940 8782; www.designmuseum.org), on the South Bank close to Tower Bridge. Here, children will be taught how to create pop-up paper models and mechanical drawings. The event is part of the "Big Draw" art celebration (pictured) and takes place over the weekends of 23-24 and 30-31 October from 2-5pm. Admission costs £6 for adults and £4 for children (aged six-12). The museum opens daily from 10am to 5.45pm, except on Fridays when it is open until 9pm.
The Victoria & Albert Museum (020-7942 2000; www.vam.ac.uk) on Cromwell Road will run a workshop at which children can create prints from around the world using rubber stamps, which are then transferred onto T-shirts. The workshops take place from 23-31 October from 11am-1pm and 2-5pm and admission is free. The museum opens daily from 10am-5.45pm and on Wednesday until 10pm.
"Poo: A Natural History of the Unmentionable" at the Natural History Museum (020-7942 6171; www.nhm.ac.uk), also on Cromwell Road, addresses pressing questions such as "What is poo?", includes an analysis of bat faeces and even provides an opportunity to see some fossilised dung.
The mummies in the Egyptian Galleries of the British Museum (020-7323 8000; www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk) on Great Russell Street are always a hit with children. You'll be able to immerse the family further in African culture with the museum's "Celebrating Africa" weekend, taking place from 22-24 October. This forms part of a month-long Black History Month in October. The museum opens daily from 10am-5.30pm, except Thursday and Friday, when it stays open until 8.30pm. If you are all interested in travel, head over to the National Portrait Gallery (020-7312 2483; www.npg.org.uk) on Trafalgar Square, which is staging two "Around the World" themed events for families to coincide with its exhibition entitled "Off The Beaten Track: Three Centuries of Women Travellers". The events, which take place on 26 and 27 October, include opportunities for children to make their own "magical" map, travel journal and globe. Admission is free and the events take place every day from 1.30-4pm.
Finally, if you would like a bit of a spooky theme, take your children along to the British Airways London Eye (0870 5000 600; www.ba-londoneye.com) on the South Bank between 23 and 31 October. Here you will find a Halloween-themed festival telling spine-chilling stories every day between 4pm and 8pm. Tickets for the "flights" on the wheel cost £11.50 per adult and £5.75 per child (aged five-15). It opens daily from 9.30am to 8pm.
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