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Caroline Dennigan

Caroline Dennigan Blog Posts
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Things to do in London during the half term


Planning a trip to London with the kids during half term? Take a look at these 10 things to do, all of them are FREE with the exception of the HMS Belfast. However, there is a 2 for 1 offer available if you travel to London by train. I promise you, these places will keep the whole family entertained come rain or shine. Please do check the official websites for opening hours as some of these attractions are not open every day.

On a personal note, I do have three favourite places that I can easily visit time and time again when I am in London. They are the HMS Belfast, Sir John Soane's Museum and the Novelty Automation Arcade. The latter are both in Holborn and within a 2-minute walk of each other and Holborn underground station. If you like walking and every corner turned is an interesting one in central London, then it is a very pleasant walk from Holborn to the HMS Belfast, passing the famous Forbidden Planet store en route.

HMS BELFAST This historic warship is easy to get to from London Bridge station or you can enjoy a very pleasant walk along the South Bank from Waterloo station. The HMS Belfast lets you discover what life was like on board for the crew at war and at sea from WW2 to 1963.

SIR JOHN SOANE'S MUSEUM A quirky museum crammed full of fascinating objects. It is FREE to visit and as an added bonus sits in the lovely square of Lincoln's Inn Fields. The house and museum are of distinguished 19th-century architect Sir John Soane. At Soane's request, the house has been left untouched since his death – almost 180 years ago.

HUNTERIAN MUSEUM The Hunterian Museum sits opposite the Sir John Soane's museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields. The museum is at the Royal College of Surgeons and is another FREE museum. Probably not suitable for very young children. The Museum boasts collections of body specimens, models, operating instruments, sculptures and paintings from the 17th century right through to the present day.

NOVELTY AUTOMATION In a word, this small museum is 'FUN' and home to about a dozen satirical home-made machines. FREE entry. Most of the arcade games cost £1 or £2 and you can get tokens at the desk The arcade is within a short stroll of the Hunterian Museum and Holborn underground station. Fancy visiting? Get hold of a free token right here

CANAL WALK Head to bustling Camden town and after you have experienced Camden market, step off the beaten track and hit the peace and quiet of the Regent's and the Grand Union canals. Don't forget your camera as there are loads of interesting spots for some great photographs.

THE ROLLING BRIDGE Time it right and you will see the rolling bridge in action. Installed 13 years ago, the Rolling Bridge spans an inlet of the Grand Union Canal, towards the head of Paddington Basin. Well worth checking the times and paying a visit if you are in the Paddington area. The bridge is about a 10 min walk from Paddington station.

SEE THE PELICANS being fed at St James's park. While the park is very well known, not a lot of people know about its penguins which were first introduced to the park in 1664 as a gift from the Russian Ambassador. Feeding times can be found on the official website.

NATIONAL GALLERY During your time in London you will undoubtedly spend a couple of hours in Leicester square. Home of the largest LEGO store in the world and M & M's World as well as Ripley's Believe It or Not! which is at Piccadilly Circus. From Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus the National Gallery is less than 5 minutes away on foot. My favourite painting is the life-size painting of the racehorse Whistlejacket, painted by George Stubbs. There are usually craft workshops and activities going on over the half term which makes the National Gallery a great choice for a rainy afternoon.

SCIENCE MUSEUM No visit to London is complete without a visit to the Science Museum. Always plenty going on especially at half-term including shows and the interactive gallery. The museum is a short stroll from South Kensington underground.

RAGGED SCHOOL MUSEUM gives children the chance to experience a glimpse of what Victorian life would have been like in their unique classroom. As well as the classroom there is a reconstructed domestic kitchen. Check the website for half-term activities.

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