From free family activity trails at the National Portrait Gallery to a free lantern making workshop at the Royal Academy plus a hands-on pizza class and 4DX cinema experience, half term is all wrapped up in the heart of London’s West End.
FREE ARTS TRAILS AND WORKSHOPS AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY AND PORTRAIT GALLERY
Come face to face with history at the National Portrait Gallery. Families can meet Henry VIII and Elizabeth I; say hello to Shakespeare and Jane Austen; and even discuss politics with Winston Churchill or have their photo taken with Ed Sheeran. There are also three free family activity trails to enjoy.
Youngsters can visit the FAB (family Activity Base) cart for free activities including a Pop-Up Gallery where they can create their own portraits. Other activities include Pop-up Gallery, where kids can create their very own 3D model. Open every weekend and every day of the May half term between 11am – 4pm.
Join the Royal Academy on the 27 May (11am to 3pm) for a Landscape Lanterns workshop in the new Clore Learning Centre, inspired by the Tacita Dean: LANDSCAPE exhibition. The free family workshop will explore iconic landscapes and the changing seasons whilst creating beautiful willow lanterns. Decorate the lanterns with printed leaves, colourful landscapes and favourite wildlife scenes, inspired by RA artists such as John Constable and JMW Turner.
NEW 4D SENSES EXPERIENCE AT LEICESTER SQUARE CINEWORLD
Forget 3D, taking the senses to a new level, families can totally immerse themselves in the heart of the film action at the new 4DX screen in Leicester Square Cineworld. This thrilling new experience stimulates the senses with an exciting ride of high-tech motion seating and special effects including: wind, fog, lighting, bubbles, water, snow and rain, that work in synchronicity with the action on the screen. Different smells are pumped into the auditorium to complete the experience. Choose from the newest instalment of the Star Wars trilogy, Solo: A Star Wars, Avengers: Infinity War and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Prices from £19.20.
After, families can visit the largest LEGO Store on the planet, home to a 200,000 brick model of Big Ben and the LEGO Mosaic Maker photo booth, a nifty machine that creates a personalised LEGO portrait. Explore the Star Wars Section of the store and create a Han Solo mini figure.
Just opposite the LEGO store, sweet loving families will not want to miss Europe’s biggest sweet shop, M&M’s World. Large enough to house 100 double decker buses it’s home to the world’s largest chocolate wall. Visitors can get their own personal mugshot on these delicious chocolates and grab a selfie with an M&M character.
JAPANESE-STYLE PICNIC AND CRAFT IN THE PARK
Children’s Day or Kodomo no hi is a special event that takes place in Japan during May. To celebrate, Leicester Square’s very own Japan Centre has an eye-catching selection of goodies that kids will go crazy for. It’s the perfect place to pick up some quirky picnic treats with Pokemon chocolate puffs, Dragon ball crisps, sushi doughnuts and noodles galore in the food hall. While the craft centre is crammed with traditional carp fish streamer decorations, origami sets, Manga magazines and cute stationery. Stock up then head to the revamped Leicester Square gardens for a Japanese style picnic and craft session under the spring blossom. For more information visit: www.japancentre.com
PIZZA PARTY AT MOD PIZZA OR TREATS AT THE RAINFOREST CAFE
Enjoy a hands-on half term with friends and family at London’s hippest pizza joint – Leicester Square’s MOD Pizza – where groups of 10 or more can catch up over an hour long pizza making session, feast on a pizza and enjoy a drink for £20 a head. Working alongside a member of the MOD Squad, kids can learn all about MOD, create their very own pizzas and show off their creations to friends.
Alternatively, families can immerse themselves in the Rainforest Cafe, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the Amazon Rainforest with tropical showers, cascading waterfalls and periodic thunderstorms. Under 12s can choose from the special kids’ menu including: a main, dessert, drink and Rainforest Cafe activity pack for £16.40, with the animatronic elephants, crocodiles, gorillas and more providing entertainment. The main menu features a variety of meat and seafood options, pasta dishes and salads.